Chasing Henry Blake’s Murder

“The man with the donkey and his daughter Bertha are my family. This is my great-great Grandfather Henry Blake from Reqoi (Requa) in Klamath California,” writes Richard England, Sr., “This picture was taken at Turup, (Tarup Creek, Klamath Glen) California at their ranch and dairy across from Blake’s landing shortly before he was murdered on the way to Crescent City to sell milk and butter.”

Bertha and Henry Blake, Requa, 1908
“This is one of Henry’s 13 children. He had a wife named Sophie Blake; she was a kind and beautiful women who was loved by all. Their daughter Lillian Blake Puzz, a full-blooded Yurok Indian, was my great-grandmother.

She too was a beautiful lady who lived to be around 95 years old,” England adds.  “She was born in late 1888 and passed in 1983.”

She told her grandchildren and great-grandchildren stories about Oma- ahh, the Indian devil and how if you miss behaved or snuck away to the river to play by ourselves he would come get us.  Her son, who could not swim, drowned in the river and this is how she protected us from the same fate.”

It is in response to a photograph I posted on another website. It was the first time I had heard of Berth and her father, Henry Blake, or of his murder and I wanted to know more.

A quick Internet search revealed this piece written by Kim Mamaradlo, called “Honoring Our Ancestors,” from the May 2011 issue of ‘Yurok Indian Housing Authority.’

“Henry Blake was born between 1869-1870 in Crescent City to Mary and Skow. Sophie was born between 1868 and 1870 in Moreck to Sallie Long.

Charlie & Sallie Long sold Sophie in marriage to Herger of Requa. Sophie was very young and Herger was much older and she didn’t care for him.

Sophie had a child with Herger but both he and the child were killed by soldiers. It is believed that Henry Blake was related to Herger and as an eligible bachelor, took the widow Sophie as his bride, as was Indian custom.

Henry and Sophie Blake had thirteen children: Ora (1889/1890-1912), Lilly (1890/1892-1983), Henry (1893-1910), May (1895-1927), Warren (1897-1980), Charlie (1900-1909), Alfred (1902-1913), Lena (1904-1967), Mary (1906-1996), Maggie (1908-1986), Ashford (1910-1911), Bertha (1912-1951) and Jessie (1914- 2005).

In an eight year period between 1908 and 1915, there were nine deaths in their immediate family: five of their children; Sophie’s father and brother, Henry and his mother.

Sophie’s grief was great and she would go to the river by herself to mourn. Sophie was a kind and gentle soul towards her family… no reprimands from her… just acceptance and love.

But she could be tough.

While Sophie was living in her house on the Blake allotment, the game warden drove through the Blake property down to the landing and confiscated Sophie’s fishing net, which had been set in the Blake hole. When Sophie saw the game warden go through, she went down and locked the gate across the road. She refused to unlock the gate to let him out until he returned the net to her.

Sophie is buried in the Blake Family Cemetery.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything more about Henry Blake’s murder, but the search continues.


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