MRS. ADELONE (WILBER) BLODGETT, one of the oldest natives of Madison County now living, an esteemed resident of Cazenovia, was born in the town of Nelson, May 18, 1811. A woman of many virtues, the surviving helpmate of one of the most successful and enterprising farmers of this vicinity, she bears as lightly as may be the burden of more than fourscore years. Few can tell so much as she of the history of the county. Her mind still preserves the memory of her early years, when railroads had not been dreamed of, and when farm produce was drawn to a distant market with ox-teams, when the means of life were nearly all wrested from the soil, and when carding, spinning, and weaving were familiar industries of every well-ordered household.
Richard Wilber, father of Mrs. Blodgett, was born in July, 1770, in Massachusetts, where he grew to manhood, and whence, accompanied by his newly wedded wife, he emigrated in 1795 to Madison County, making the journey with oxen. They were among the earliest settlers in what is now the town of Nelson, then a thickly wooded wilderness. No moments were lost in felling trees and putting up a log cabin, which they moved into in a few days' time, although it was yet without floor, chimney, or permanent door. Crusoe and his man Friday were not more favored with solitude. Did they yearn for social intercourse with their kind, they could have it by stepping over to their nearest neighbors on the one hand, three miles away, or by tripping through the forest by the guidance of blazed trees seven miles in another direction. Howling wolves sought to intrade, but were not made welcome. The woodman could not afford to spare the trees, which but cumbered the soil needed for cultivation. There being no market for timber, huge piles of trunks and branches were burned to clear the land. As the years went on, improvements were made in the clearing: the log house gave place to frame buildings. Here Mr. Wilber made his home until his !, death, October 24, 1842. The maiden name of Mrs. Wilber was Rhoda Miller. She was born in Massachusetts, January 20, 1775, and died February 11, 1861. Of the nine children of this family of hardy pioneers that grew to maturity, Adelone, Mrs. Blodgett, is the only one now living.
Adelone Wilber remained at the home of her birth till her marriage, at the age of twenty years, to Arba Blodgett. Her husband, a native of Smithfield, was born March 20, 1807. Ozem Blodgett, father of Arba, came from Massachusetts, supposed to have been the State of his birth, to Madison County, and was a pioneer in the town of Eaton. After remaining there a few years, he removed to Smithfield, and from thence to Nelson, where he died May 17, 1835. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Anderson, died in Smithfield in January, 1862. Arba Blodgett was bred to the life of a farmer. Beginning in his tender years as chore-boy at home, staying with his parents till his marriage, he gained a practical acquaintance with the varied details of farm management.
Intelligent and enterprising, Mr. Blodgett became one of the most successful agriculturists of Madison County. His specialty was dairy farming, and more particularly cheese-making, to which he early turned his attention. In 1862 he built at Peterboro the first cheese factory in Madison County. In 1866, selling his estate in Smithfield, he bought a farm on the west shore of Cazenovia Lake, and there made his home for a period. Becoming now well advanced in years, and wishing to retire from active labors, he sold this place and bought a home in Cazenovia, where he lived till his death, in September, 1891, at the advanced age of eighty-four years. A man of industry and integrity, who had thriven by his own exertions, one who was well disposed toward his fellow-men, he was much respected. Five children of Mr. and Mrs. Blodgett grew to maturity--Rhoda, Mary, Sarah, Ludum, and Amelia Velnett. Mrs. Blodgett has nineteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren now living to comfort her declining years.
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