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Francis Asbury Blades

fa blades

7 August 1821 - 24 April 1906
Conference Cane: 1905
Age at death: 85 years, 8 months

Rev. Francis Asbury Blades

Francis A. Blades was born in Newton, Maryland, August 7, 1821, and died in Detroit, Michigan, April 24, 1906. His parents came from England and first settled in Maryland, but after Francis' birth removed to New Jersey, to New York State and then to Michigan, making their home at Grand Blanc in May, 1835. William Blades, his father, was a man of ability and in 1848 represented his district in the state legislature. The pioneer could do more at his fireside than the schools could do for the studious boy. Hence, in 1840 Francis engaged in the work of teaching. After four years he entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Beginning with a 300 mile circuit which included all of Shiawassee County and part of Genesee, Livingston, Clinton and Saginaw Counties, and which required twenty-eight preaching services every four weeks, he closed his active ministry as presiding elder of the Detroit District, having been pastor at such chief points as Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, Adrian and Woodward Ave., Detroit. During this last named pastorate, viz., in the year 1856-7, occurred one of the greatest revivals in the history of the city.

Superannuated in 1872, Brother Blades began the career of business administrator, which will make his name memorable in the history of Detroit. Appraiser of Customs 1874-1886, and Comptroller 1895 until his death. To the very last he commanded respect from men of all parties for the uprightness, energy and good sense of his official life.

He was married twice; to Helen Brown of Grand Blanc, in 1845, who died Oct. 1, 1849, and to Mrs. Eliza Jane Ament in 1850, whose death occurred Jan. 8, 1898.

Brother Blades was a charter member of the Methodist Publishing Company, and served as director upwards of thirty years. In every station of life he showed himself a man of intellectual force beyond others and one who feared God and loved his fellowmen. Had his memoir been written at the time of his superannuation there would have been no terms of praise to which those who were then his co-laborers would not have heartily assented. As it is now, after so long a time, he is best known for his services to the city, whose most responsible office he so signally honored.

His funeral was attended by the Mayor and Common Council of Detroit, by Commanderies of the Knights Templar, by a large body of citizens, by a goodly number of pastors, and by the remaining members of his family. Perhaps no sincerer mourner paid this last tribute of respect than Ex-Senator Palmer, whose friendship had been closer than a brother for two score and more years. Dr. W.H. Shier most worthily spoke the memorial address.


- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1906, pp. 309-310