My broadly traveled Uncle Mark once spoke to his visit to Blodgett Oregon but from the memory, it was uneventful except for a cool photo of a Blodgett street sign. Must be this one here.
I have to admit, at first glance, there really isn’t much to the place. As you enter Blodgett, the landscape is absolutely breathtaking however unless you take one of the few sideroads, Blodgett Road being one of them, its hard to find the community of not more than 50 people. Note the amusing tagline – “Slow Down, You’ll Live Longer.” I’ve never known a true Blodgett who believes in slowing down. It’s something I subscribe to today however.
Apparently Blodgett really isn’t an incorporated town but the town store and local Blodgett post office serves the greater communities of Philomath, and Corvallis.
It’s an odd place in the middle of the Oregon wilderness and everything seems to be named after Blodgett, i.e., Blodgett Road, Blodgett Country Store, Blodgett Church, Blodgett School, Blodgett Post Office.
The beautiful drive down Blodgett Road:
We discovered a side road to the north just next to the Blodgett Country Store that unless you had a vested interest in the area, wouldn’t think to explore. My main curiosity was finding the home of the local eccentric herbalist who created herbal remedies, creams, drinks, soaps and incense somewhere along this very rural road. Was this where he lived? We couldn’t find much else.
We stopped in the Blodgett Community School and spent time with teacher and kids. She handed me a few books to dive into, including a couple of historical books on the area, the yellow pages and two phone numbers including the 70 something year old great great granddaughter of William Blodgett, founder of the town.
She sent us to Philomath, where we could read old archives at the Benton County Historical Society and Museum. They too provided the great great granddaugter’s contact information and some background on her family. A historian herself, she has written a few books on the area including Stories of a Blodgett Girl and a foreward to more mainstream historical extracts of the entire region.
As I ploughed through the archive folders, books and papers, I recognized names I had heard over the years from my grandfather….the wild brother of my great great grandfather who took off for the Gold Rush in the 1800s. Had to be William. The more I read, the more I realized this eccentric man was a Blodgett male – William Blodgett, who was known for his woodmanship, his knowledge of close to ten languages, his stamp on the community, his life as a schoolteacher, drinking alcohol. Not uncommon during the harsh days of the Gold Rush, his offspring sadly fell into the same pattern. Take this amusing article from the Benton County Herald, posted on July 9, 1859:
But It Wasn’t a Taxi! ‘Shorry. Offisher!
It finally happened……! Clyde Rufus Blodgett, 52, a logger from Seneca, Oregon, was charged with being drunk on a public street about 10:30 pm July 3 when Corvallis Police Officers Sgt. Chesney and Officer Downing drove alongside to investigate Blodgett’s actions. He appeared a bit unsteady on his feet adn was bumping into a building on Second Street.
Officer Downing opened the patrol car door, and Blodgett brightened as he called commandingly, “Taxi, Mister!”
Once seated inside, he lolled back and gave the address to which he wished to be driven, but almost instantly the awful truth dawned.
Detained overnight as a guest of the city, Blodgett posted $25 bail on the morning of the 4th.
I spent hours at the Benton Country Historical Society and Museum taking notes, making photocopies and reading articles and archives, mostly in utter amusement. I was dumbfounded by the similarities of this old ancestor and the Blodgett males he left behind in upstate New York 150 years ago.
Lots more to post here on the stories and history I discovered. Refer to the Blodgett Discoveries blog post in the On People & Life category.