Blodgett Family Monument







Information

Israel and Avis Blodgett were married in Amherst Massachusetts in 1820. Israel was born the day John Adams was inaugurated as the second President of the United States, March 4,1797. He was a machinist and blacksmith like his father and Avis was the daughter of a farmer. As they began their family, Israel felt moving west would be best. So, in 1830 Israel joined a group that set out to find land in Illinois leaving Avis in Massachusetts with several small children. By 1832 he had found land near Naperville and sent for the family. Arriving the year of the Black Hawk War, the Blodgett family joined other pioneer families who traveled to Ft. Dearborn in Chicago for safety. Israel stayed behind and served as a Corporal in the company led by Captain Naper to defend against Black Hawk if he arrived. Soon the threat was over and the families returned. By 1836 the family made another move, this time to the settlement of Downers Grove where Israel bought about 500 acres of land. They built a cabin on an Indian Trail now called Maple Avenue and raised their family of 7 boys and one girl. Israel farmed and operated a blacksmith shop while Avis kept house and saw to the education of her children. She believed it was important for them to have a good education and she taught her daughter Mary so she could also teach. With the help of neighbor Sam Curtiss, they improved Maple Avenue and planted trees along the road. By 1846 they were able to build a second home that was much bigger than the one room cabin they lived in for 10 years. Israel and Avis were against slavery and their home would become a stop on the secret underground railroad network in DuPage County. Often the lantern in their window signaled their house was a safe place for runaway slaves to find food, clothes and transportation to Chicago on their way to Canada. The family was saddened at the death of son Daniel in 1849 and then daughter Mary in 1856. Six of their sons reached adulthood and become valued citizens of the state. Three fought in the Civil War, one became a judge another a lawyer and one was Mayor of Waukegan, Illinois. Their youngest son Charles remained on the family land here and ran the farm when his father died in 1861. Avis lived to be 86 and died in 1882. The Blodgett land would eventually pass to Will, the son of Charles, who lived in Downers Grove until his death in 1933.


Home      Map