Israel and Avis Blodgett arrive

In 1836, Israel Blodgett and wife Avis left a homestead near Naperville to establish a farm and blacksmith shop south of what was to become Maple Avenue. Some of Israel’s earliest customers were Indians who brought firearms to be repaired.

Blodgett Family

Israel and Avis Blodgett were one of the first settlers in the area. The Blodgett family played an important role in early Downers Grove history. Israel Porter Blodgett, Sr. operated a blacksmith shop, and is credited with developing the self-scouring plow used to turn the Illinois prairie. His second son, Israel Porter, Jr., helped to construct a much-needed sawmill. The Blodgetts were also known to enjoy a close connection with Native Americans in the region.

And what of the events that happened in the house? Perhaps the role of the house and the Blodgett family in the Underground Railroad is most significant. Several members of the Blodgett family were active in the abolitionist cause. The 1846 Israel Blodgett House itself is documented as an active stopover on the Underground Railroad that led from slavery to freedom.

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