Blake, Thomas L.

Hunter, trapper and diarist born in Hamilton Inlet (Nunatsiavut) in 1843 and died in Hamilton Inlet (Nunatsiavut) in 1935.

Thomas L. Blake was born in 1843 in Hamilton Inlet, a small on the north coast of Nunatsiavut. He was the eldest son of William Blake Jr. and Lydia (Brooks) Campbell. He had both English and Inuit descendants. His paternal grandfather William Blake came from Devonshire, England, as a young seaman working on fishing vessels and his maternal grandmother was Inuit. He was taught to read and write by his mother before leaving his home to attend day school as a young child in Nova Scotia. Returning home, he later taught night school at Lester Point, Nunatsiavut. He spent most of his life hunting, trapping and fishing with his relatives. Thomas L. Blake took four wives during his lifetime, their names were: Hester Ann Sheppard, Sarah Jane Oliver Blake, Mary Goudie and Caroline Osmond. He had at least two children, two girls named Millicent Blake Lodor and Flora Baikie.

In 1883, he began to keep a written diary, detailing events in his life. The diary’s short entries include information about his work and travels, as well as observations about his community, the temperature and the climate. This journal keeping follows in the footsteps of his mother Lydia Campbell, the first person from Nunatsiavut to publish a book, Sketches of Labrador Life (1894). A few members of their extended family were also writers: Margaret Baikie, author of Labrador Memories (1918) and Elizabeth Goudie who wrote Woman of Labrador in 1973. Thomas L. Blake’s daughter, Millicent Blake Lodor, carried on the tradition and published Daughter of Labrador (1989).

In 1977, Thomas L. Blake’s other daughter, Flora Baikie, donated a copy of his diary to Them Days, an organization that keeps an archive of Labrador-related material and publishes a quarterly oral history magazine. Excerpts from Thomas L. Blake’s diary were published in Them Days magazine in 1984 and 1999. In 2001, Them Days published the entire work in book form as the Diary of Thomas L. Blake, 1883-1890.

Thomas L. Blake died in 1935 at the age of 92 in Hamilton Inlet (Nunatsiavut).

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.

(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.