John Stott Blakey has for many years been prominent in the town of Union Grove, where he is identified with the milling business, with banking and with civic and moral progress. A native of Racine County, he was born within a mile and a half of Union Grove, on the 23rd of September, 1847, a son of Thomas and Mary (Stott) Blakey, both of whom were born in Rochedale, Lancashire, England. The father, whose natal year was 1826, was a son of John and Mary Blakey, the former a butcher by occupation. Thomas Blakey learned the shoemaker’s trade, which he followed for some time in England. In 1844 he came with his family to America and after remaining in Lowell, Massachusetts, for a year, removed to Southport, now Kenosha, Wisconsin. A short time later he took up his residence in Yorkville, Racine County. He traveled over the County, making shoes for the early settlers. but at length turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and purchased eighty acres of land, to which he subsequently added eighty acres more. He passed his last years in Ackley, Iowa, his death occurring in 1896. His wife was born in 1822 and was a daughter of John Stott. a spinner by trade. She passed away in 1886 and following her demise Mr. Blakey married Mrs. Rebecca J. Hussey, who still survives. The children of the first marriage were: Emma, the deceased wife of Eugene Rice; Harriet, the widow of John Smith and now a resident of Dover, Racine County; John Stott; Austin, who is successfully engaged in mining in Leadville. Colorado; Alvin, a real estate dealer of Chicago; Darius, of Spirit Lake, Iowa, who is engaged in various lines of business: Charles, a real estate dealer of Estherville and a retired farmer and stock raiser, and Mrs. Jane Goldsworthy, a widow residing in Union Grove. The father was a republican in politics and in religious faith was a Methodist. He was very active in church work and for a number of years was a local preacher.
John S. Blakey received a good common school education in Racine County and also attended the R. C. Spencer Business College at Milwaukee. Early in life he learned the miller’s trade and for seven years was employed at Rochester, Wisconsin, but at the end of that time came to Union Grove. In 1875 he began business here on his own account, but later returned to Rochester, where he remained for two years, being a member of the firm of Russell & Blakey. At the end of that time he came again to Union Grove and has since engaged in milling here. He pays careful attention to every detail of the business, is alert and aggressive and keeps in touch with the latest developments in the trade. He has also bought stock, wool and grain to some extent and has a number of other business interests. He is president. of the State Bank of Union Grove, which he aided in organizing, and of the Union Grove Telephone Company.
Mr. Blakey was married on the 23rd of May, 1876, to Miss Mary Brush, who was born in Elyria, Lorain County, Ohio, of the marriage of John and Permelia (Alcott) Brush, also natives of that County. Her paternal grandparents, Benjamin and Elizabeth Brush, both reached an advanced age and her paternal great grandfather served in the Revolutionary war. Mrs. Blakey, who was left an orphan at an early age, came to Wisconsin with an uncle and for several years engaged in teaching school. She is an accomplished musician and has sung many times in public. Mr. and Mrs. Blakey have one son. Halbert Brush, who was educated in the University of Chicago and Rush Medical College, and is now one of the leading physicians of Columbus, Ohio. He makes a specialty of the treatment of diseases of the lungs and has gained high standing in his chosen profession. He, too, has musical talent and is not only a fine pianist but also composed the music for the comic opera given in 1904 by the Blackfriars, a student organization of the University of Chicago.
Mr. Blakey’s political beliefs are in accord with the principles and policies of the Republican Party, but he frequently votes independently, believing that the qualifications of a candidate are of much greater moment than his party affiliation. He has served as a member of the school board and as town clerk and in 1892 was elected president of the village board of Union Grove and for fourteen successive years held that office. In 1904 he was chosen a delegate to the state convention of the Republican Party and his advice has often been sought in party councils. A leading member of the Congregational church of Union Grove, for twenty years he served in the office of clerk and for a similar period was superintendent of the Sunday school. He is also president of the Delavan Lake Assembly Association and for almost thirty years he has been either president or vice president of the Old Settlers’ Society, now filling the office of president. Fraternally he is connected with Purity Lodge, No. 39. I. O. O. F., with the Daughters of Rebekah, to which his wife also belongs, and with Grove Camp, No. 370, M. W. A. In addition to his other activities he has served as president of the Commercial Club and there have been few movements for the promotion of the public welfare that have not profited by his advice and his active support. He possesses the quality of leadership and in all of the lines of endeavor to which he has turned his attention his ability has been recognized by his fellows.