Washington's third mayor


James Heighe Blake (1768 - 1819) of Calvert County, Maryland was a physician, and the third mayor of Washington, D.C., elected by the council of aldermen in 1813 and serving until 1817. The City Council elected him mayor on  June 14, 1813 and relected him three times afterwards.

When the English attacked an unprotected City of Washington on August 24, 1814, as part of the War of 1812, Blake urged First Lady Dolley Madison  to flee the city before the British arrived and then sent his own family over to the safety of Virginia.

Blake rounded up men to defend the city, but by then most of the city’s residents had fled to Maryland, so his ranks were thin. Blake finally had to give up the fight and flee the city or be taken prisoner  "I would exert myself” he wrote  “to the last moment and agree to die in the streets rather than give up the city, but, if all resistance was given over, and our military abandoned it, I would then also leave it and not surrender myself a prisoner to the enemy."

Blake died on July 29, 1819 at the age of fifty two. The remains were interred in the Methodist Episcopal Burial Ground in Georgetown and then moved to the William A. Gordon lot in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington D.C. on November 2, 1870.


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