Appalachia Appalachian Writers

Comin’ Round The Mountain

Comin Round the Mountain by Brian Blake


It’s been over a year since I first became acquainted with Brian Blake of Shelton, Connecticut. Blake discovered the Blind Pig & The Acorn Blog while researching Appalachia for Under Brilliant Stars-a biography of his great-grandfather.

Brian Blake’s grandfather, Colonel John Y.F. Blake, 1856-1907 was a celebrated commander of the Irish Brigade in the Boer War. John Y.F. “Beau” Blake’s father, born in East Tennessee in 1813, was a woodsman.

Brian Blake


Last spring, Brian Blake asked me to review “Comin’ Round the Mountain,” an excerpt from the forth coming biography which deals with his family’s history in Appalachia from Daniel Boone through the War of 1812. I was thoroughly impressed with the excerpt; it left me wanting to know what came before in the Blake Clan’s history-and what came afterward as well. I was tickled pink when Blake said I could use the excerpt as a giveaway here on the Blind Pig.

Information about the Biography in Blake’s own words:

Acclaimed as “Liberty’s Champion,” Colonel Blake’s inter­national career span­ned the Wild West and the Age of Imperialism. Placing this intrepid adventur­er in perspective, Brian’s book surveys England and America from 1262 to the Edwardian Era, with twenty generations of the Colonel’s forefathers as a common thread. His family chronicle from Colonial Virginia to Frontier Texas is the saga of America. This sketch of the life and times of our country’s pioneer ancestors should appeal to all who wonder who we are and how we got that way.

Under Brilliant Stars was begun in 1984 for our author’s now-grown son, and is due for completion in 2012. For genealogists seeking to swell the parade, an appendix will list over sixty related families. Our Comments Prize pamphlet includes a page of “Family Thoughts,” the book’s table of contents and foreword, and a recipe for hellfire stew, that staple of the Confederate Army in the Civil War.

Now retired from a career in banking and finance, Brian is a director of the New York Society of the Founders and Patriots of America, a Vietnam veteran, and a graduate of Harvard University. I’m sure you, too, will enjoy “Comin’ Round the Mountain” when she comes.

Brian P.T. Blake

While I’m sure the entire book, Under Brilliant Stars, will be a fascinating read; I feel positive anyone with an interest in Appalachia will more than appreciate the excerpt “Comin’ Round the Mountain”.

Leave a comment on this post to be entered in the giveaway. (The giveaway ends on Sunday April 15th )




You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Sheila Hoyt-Aldrich
    July 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Is the book still going to be published – I see Brian passed away in 2019. If it is ever published I would purchase a copy as I have researched the Blake family extensively.

    • Reply
      July 21, 2020 at 6:39 pm

      Sheila-I’m unsure whether Brian published the book or not. I did not know he had passed away and am sorry to hear it.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 12:28 am

    It’s so interesting to me to read things like this.
    I’d love to be entered in the giveaway.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Sounds like it will be a great read!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    April 12, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Sounds like a good one. Sign me up!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    April 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I bet that will be a great read, Anything concerning our area is so interesting..

  • Reply
    Ferne Kellow
    April 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I’ll be watching for the full-length book, as I have ancestors from eastern Tennessee and somewhere in North Carolina. Until then, sign me up for the excerpt.

  • Reply
    Marylou Sweat
    April 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I love genealogy and have been tracing my family for years. Mostly in NC, some SC and Va also. Even in NY I’m sad to admit ;o) This book sounds like it’s going to be a great read…looking forward to it. Marylou

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Sounds like a fascinating read! I have been doing genealogy for decades and never cease to be amazed – as Appalachians we are all descended from heroes!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    April 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Comin’ Round the Mtn is stuck in my head-but in a good way. When I was little, we would pile our barbies, coloring books, etc. in the car & go out on the mountain to see my grandparents. The closer we got, the more excited my mom would get. Half way up the mountain she would start singing & of course we were required to join in. Oh, she’ll be driving a new Galaxy 500 when she comes! Oh, she’ll be driving a new Galaxy 500 when she comes!-Thanks for the smile, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    April 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Sounds so interesting… I’d love to be in the drawing!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Family history especially anything dealing with the mountains fascinates me. Mr Blake’s family sure sounds like they have very much a history of interest.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 11, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    You know, Tipper, every day I open your blog and think…..”I wonder what that girl is going to come up today?” …and every day I am surprised and never, ever disappointed.
    Mr Blake picked the right girl to review his writing. You have an eye for the interesting and you always bring it to us to look at too.
    Thank you!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Oh, I know my sister, Charline and I will be so happy to get ahold of this book! She does the geneology thing…all the work, and I enjoy reading it all! We will see if our families cross paths…

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Looking forward to reading his book. Having traced Mama’s linage back to Hannah Boone Pennington,Sister to Daniel, it would be very interesting reading.

  • Reply
    Thurmon Allen
    April 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I think the book will be a great read , if you know when it will be released please let us all know, thanks Tipper.

  • Reply
    Rick Kratzke
    April 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Very interesting post, I always did like history.

  • Reply
    Mary Holcomb Brock
    April 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for your daily Posts.I too will be waiting for this book!
    I have 23 families of Applachia I have proven connections with.
    Mary Brock

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    April 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    count me in please!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 11, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    and Mr. Blake….Thanks for including all of us in your glimpse of your new book…
    At first when I opened the Blind Pig this morning I thought, well now, we are going to
    be singing “Comin’ round the Mountain” and I knew I could join in since I have sung
    that song many times to my grandchildren….LOL
    Brian Blake sure picked a goodin’ to review the excerpt of his family history that includes
    Appalachian roots…
    The book sounds very interesting and I am looking forward to reading it….I hope it
    comes out on the Kindle as well…What a wonderful family history he has written for
    the future generations…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…”She’ll be wearing wool pajamas when she comes” Tonight for shore,
    I hope to have Chicken n’ Dumplin’s too. To ward off this cold and freeze
    due today and tonight!….LOL.

  • Reply
    Special Ed
    April 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I shore hope the book has alot of pitchers in it. My tooter sez my spelin an ritin isa comin a long but my reedins not as good. Mabee buy the time it is out ill bee abel too git threw it.

  • Reply
    Gloria Owenby
    April 11, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Sounds like a very interesting read, am looking forward to reading the book in its entirety.I love this history of Appalachia! Will be interesting to see the families that spotlights. Gloria Owenby

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Brian sure has an interesting book
    stemming 20 generations of family.
    I guess most of us don’t even know
    past our grandparents…Ken

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    April 11, 2012 at 10:43 am

    This looks to be a fascinating book. History can be so “dry.” When it’s told in the context of someone’s family, it has to make history come alive and more personal. Looking forward to reading this book!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I love reading historical literature. It does my heart good to know people are preserving family history.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    April 11, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Having traced my Mother’s linage back to Lady Anne St. Leger in the 1400s England I would be very interested to see if the Blake linage crosses with mine by chance. Anyone interested in Applachain History should enjoy “A Journey in Courage” a Historical Novel co-written by Robert Shook of Macon Co. about the Shook families voyage from Europe to WNC.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

    What a treat and honor to be asked to review the “Coming Around the Mountain” section of this facinating sounding book! Can’t wait to read it:)

  • Reply
    S Kalvaitis
    April 11, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I wouldn’t know where to start looking for where my people came from or what they did with their lives. But I like hearing about other families journeys through time. This will be a very interresting book.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Very interesting! I absolutely love History, and really have never been into reading fiction. There is something in my appalachian roots that makes me love reading anything about the area. What a great idea! Comin’ Around the Mountain wll definately be an intersting read.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    April 11, 2012 at 9:19 am

    That excerpt is something I would love to have. I’ll be looking for the book.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Brian’s grandfather would have been proud of his accomplishments. I admire all veterans, especially the ones who served in Vietnam. I will definitely be looking forward to the book’s release.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    April 11, 2012 at 8:33 am

    History is facinating no matter whose or what location. However it is always much more interesting and enticing when the historical setting is either in or close to your own place of rearing. This should definitely be an interesting read. Thanks for sharing Tipper.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I am intrigued…I will be anxiously awaiting the release of this book.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    April 11, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I always wondered about the significance of the song. Very interesting at best! I’m not a true history buff, but I know I will find his story both educational and interesting.

  • Reply
    Robert Wolford
    April 11, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Sounds like a great read can’t wait!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Oh my, this sounds like a fantastic read!!! Historical books are my favorites and those about family histories are the best! I hope if I don’t win this, I can find it on Amazon, I don’t get into a good size books store very often anymore. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

    oh no, now i am singing the song comin round the mountain, it popped right in my head when i read the post. you found me feb 2010 when i did my post on Appalachia speak to me. i am so happy you did, I love keeping up with you and your family

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    April 11, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I am not from appalachia but I do enjoy your posts so much I feel like I am, we have always enjoyed traveling in your neck of the woods but we didn’t get off the beaten path as much as I would have liked to. thank you so much Tipper for doing what you do.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 11, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I am looking forward to publication of the book. I am very interested in history and especially in Southern Appalachian history.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

    This sounds like a good one. I would much rather read this type of book, one on everyday people, our people, and our Appalachia. I look forward to reading about the East Tennessee roots.

  • Reply
    Liz Petty
    April 11, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Mr. Blake joins a multitude of others in seeking family history of Appalachia. I, too have been seeking information on my ancestors, primarily from Haywood County, NC. It is a journey that has presented surprises of past relatives and the reconnection with present family as well. It is a better understanding of who we are.

  • Leave a Reply