It was actually only recently found that Blake may have been born in 1896; a team of researchers traced various document's about Blake, and came across his death certificate. There it stated that he was born in 1896 in Newport News, Virginia. Little else is known about Blake until he burst onto the music scenes of the 1920s.
Compared to his generation of guitar players, with people like Patton and Peg Leg Howell among others, it's quite a sign of success that Blake recorded around 80 tracks for Paramount from 1926 to '32. Part of that was surely because he could play so clean and comfortably through more intricate chord progressions, veering into jazz territory at the time.
Blake unfortunately passed early in his life, in 1934. Apparently, Reverend Gary Davis recounted that Blake may have been hit by a streetcar; Davis, with notoriously high standards, noted that the two players he respected most technically on the guitar were Blake and Lonnie Johnson. Today, he's buried in Glendale, Wisconsin.