GEORGE M BLODGET
Atchison county, Kansas, has many prominent citizens who were pioneers there and many more who were soldiers in the civil war and comparatively few who were both pioneers and soldiers. Of this last mentioned class George M. Blodget, of Mount Pleasant township, is a conspicuous member, and it is thought fitting that an account of his busy and eventful career should have a place in this volume devoted to the lives and achievements of leading citizens of the district from which he went forth to do duty as a soldier and which by all the labors of his life since then he has helped to develop.
George M. Blodget, born in Livingston county, New York, October 6, 1834, is a son of George W. and Lucinda (Garfield) Blodget and a grandson of Thomas Blodget. Thomas Blodget, who was a soldier under General Washington and fought for the independence of the American colonies, lived in the Green Mountain state many years during his active manhood and was a blacksmith and a farm owner. He went to Michigan in 1856 and remained there to be near his son, George W., who had settled at Kalamazoo ten or eleven years earlier. Mr. Rowel, the father of Thomas Blodget's wife, was a Revolutionary soldier. The children of Thomas Blodget were named George W., Riley and Jared. Riley went to Rhode Island and became connected with shipping interests, navigating waters in the vicinity of Newport. Jared lives in Michigan. Of George W. more detailed information will be given further on. Thomas Blodget died at Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1859, aged ninety years.
George W. Blodget was born in Vermont in 1800 and died in 1880, aged eighty. His wife, Lucinda, nee Garfield, was a daughter of Solomon Garfield, of Ontario county, New York, who had two other daughters, that lived and died in Vermont, and two sons, -- Solomon and Ira Garfield. Lucinda (Garfield) Blodget died in 1849, leaving the following named children: Orinda, who married Thomas Sanders; George M.; Emma, who is Mrs. Nathan Allen, of Michigan; and John, who is dead.
The education of George M. Blodget was limited and he became used to hard work at an early age. He was for a time a hired man at different farms, then worked at logging in the pineries of Michigan. He left the parental home permanently at the age of twenty-one years and proceeded to Winnebago county, Illinois, to take possession of a quarter-section of land for which he had traded. All his life he had been in the timber and among the hills. The prairie land around Rockford appeared so cold and so barren that it discouraged him from settling there, for it seemed to him that he would surely freeze on that open prairie land with no sheltering trees and no elevations to ward off the winds and temper their fury. He took advantage of an opportunity to trade his holdings there for a small farm, now within the limits of the city of Moline, Illinois. There he located and remained four years, bartering in various commodities and dealing in stock, which he drove to Chicago to market and turned an honest and hard earned penny by running a threshing machine in season. He traded his Moline farm for one in Iowa and almost immediately sold that. Then, with such means as he possessed, he came to Kansas, arriving at Atchison April 5, 1855.
Kansas was then in turmoil, almost in a state of anarchy, and border ruffianism was rampant. Mr. Blodget knew not a soul in Kansas except a friend who went there with him, but who, faint-hearted, was soon frightened away by prevailing conditions. Left alone, Mr. Blodget took up a part of his present farm and bought a claim on some Delaware Indian lands. He settled down to stock raising and the production of grain, occupations in which he was not seriously interrupted until the outbreak of the civil war.
When volunteers were called for Mr. Blodget offered himself for the defense of his country's honor and was accepted as a member of Company F, Thirteenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry (Colonel Bowen's regiment), of the Seventh Army Corps, which was mustered into service at Leavenworth, Kansas, and was in the military department of the west. Mr. Blodget, who was duty sergeant of his company, participated in much of the fighting of every kind that took place in southern Missouri and eastern Arkansas and was once wounded by the bursting of a shell.
Mr. Blodget was married, in 1857, to Mary E. Cline, a daughter of Henry Cline, one of the early settlers of Atchison county. The children of this union are: Thomas L.; Frank F.; Frederick; Luther; Lavina, now Mrs. Levi Lawler; Jessie, the wife of Levi Ellerman; and Lulu.
Mr. Blodget is one of the stalwart Republicans of the county, has filled some of the public trusts of his township and in 1856 was deputy sheriff of the county. As a farmer and business man he is eminently successful. He has accumulated a body of more than five hundred acres of land, always keeps his farm well stocked and his success is regarded by his co-workers in the field as one of the examples of what energy and tenacity of purpose will do in Kansas.