FRANKLIN BLANDING, a resident of Hamilton, held in high repute for worth and works, was born in this town,
November 28,1831. He is one of the widest
known business men of Madison County, being one of the most extensive cheese manufacturers in the State, and emphatically the architect of his own fortune. He is of New England descent, his father and paternal grandfather having been natives of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Mass., whence they removed to Richfield, Otsego County, N.Y., early in the century. At a later period the father of the subject of this sketch came from that town to Hamilton, where he made his home until his death, in 1835. Bred to the work of a farmer, he also learned the trade of a shoemaker. As was the custom in those primitive times, he went from house to house in the country, fitting each family with shoes. He married Amanda Filkins, who became the mother of four sons, of whom Franklin was the youngest, the others being Ebenezer, Henry, and William.
Left an orphan by the death of his parents when he was but four years of age, Franklin was brought up in the family of a neighboring farmer. He pursued his primary studies in the district school, and had the advantages of a course in the higher branches in the Brookfield Academy. In the mean time, it may be safely affirmed, his industrial training the in the art of agriculture was not neglected. At the age of twenty-one years, not being the possessor of inherited or purchased acres, and desiring to see a little of the world before settling down to his life-work, he went forth as a travelling salesman for a jewelry house, in who employ he continued for the next three years, journeying through the Eastern States, adding to his knowledge of men and affairs and developing his inborn faculty for business.
Returning to New York at the end of the time mentioned, Mr. Blanding bought a farm in Brookfield, and devoted himself assiduously for a number of years to its cultivation and improvement. In 1866 he embarked in the business of manufacturing cheese, in which he has continuously and increasingly engaged. The rapid growth of this important branch of dairying in the Chenango Valley has been largely due to his enterprise and administrative ability. He has superintended the erection of several cheese factories besides those which he is directly concerned in operating, the average daily output of which is thirty-seven cheeses at fifty pounds each, or eighteen hundred and fifty pounds per day. His business interests and influence are not confined within the narrow limits of a single town. He has been a prominent member for several years of the State Dairy Association, and now ably fills the position of President of that body. He has been an active member of the Board of Trade of Utica since its organization. His brother, William Blanding, a contractor, built at Philadelphia the structure known as the National Dairy Building, which was devoted exclusively to the exhibits of butter and cheese at the Centennial Exposition of 1876.
In 1860 Mr. Blanding married Miss Catharine Brigham, daughter of Lawson and Prudence Brigham, by whom he had four sons,--William L., Olin E., Homer F., and Hartwell. The latter died young. William the eldest son, married Miss Minnie Stanton, daughter of Moses Stanton. Mrs. Blanding died in March, 1880; and in 1881 Mr. Blanding married Miss Carrie J. Gorton, of Morrisville, Madison County,
N. Y. Her parents were from Rhode Island.
The religious faith of the family is that of the fervent followers of John Wesley; and they are regular attendants at the Methodist Episcopal church, generously aiding in its work for the good of mankind. A loyal Republican, Mr. Blanding regularly votes the party ticket. His record as a public-spirited
citizen and an honorable, straightforward business man is of the best, and in private life his character is above reproach. He is interested in the affairs of the community, and for ten years has admirably filled the office of Justice of the Peace.
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