Otis Blake Everett was born to parents Otis Everett and Elizabeth Blake Everett on 26 March 1829. After his schooling was complete, Otis Blake became a merchant for the East India Company—Tuckerman, Townsend & Co.–and lived in Calcutta, India from 1851 to 1859. Boston was home to the largest port in Massachusetts and the principle port for trade. Tuckerman, Townsend & Co. was located on Long Wharf, the main entrance point for cargo from the East Indies until mid-nineteenth century when New York companies began to buy out Boston merchants.
By the 1850s, Tuckerman, Townsend & Co was heavily involved in trade with India, China, and the Mediterranean and had ties to ports in Sicily, Singapore, Penang, and Calcutta. Agents, like Otis Blake, purchased goods, like wine, cream of tartar, fruit, licorice, past, and linseed, then coordinated shipments back to Boston. In late 1859, Tuckerman, Townsend & Co. suffered from heavy financial losses and the firm dissolved.
Otis Blake’s passport to India. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com
Otis Blake never married, although he courted British and American women both in Boston and in India. He wrote on 12 June 1854 to his father upon hearing of his brother Thomas’s engagement, “I have made up my mind if I can find a lady like mother I will get married, but I am very much afraid I never shall find one, and have to live single. This engagement of Tom’s has made me think more of getting married than I ever did before, and I am afraid that you will think by this letter that I am love sick, but such is not the case.”
Otis Blake died in Calcutta, India on 20 June 1859. Although there is no information on his death or a death certificate, the suspected cause is cholera. The third epidemic of cholera hit Bengal (where Calcutta is located) in 1859 and reached far beyond India’s borders because of international trade. Merchants like Otis Blake were susceptible.
In the Descendants of Richard Everett of Dedham, MA, it is listed that Otis Blake’s body was brought home to Boston and interred in the Forest Hills Cemetery located in Jamaica Plain but no evidence has been found to back that up.