Does anyone know where Fort Blodgett was located in Montana? It apparently was a trading post in the 1870s for the Gros Ventres and River Crows, and should have been relatively close to Fort Benton, Montana. The fort is metioned several times in period newspapers, but after the 1900s disappears from any record. Other than seeing some streets etc. named after Blodgett in Hamilton, MT, I have not found anything online... Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Los Angeles Daily Herald February 10, 1878 Indian Troubles Again Washington, Feb. 9. -- The following dispatch has been received here and it is vouched for as reliable in every respect: "Fort Benton, Mont., February 7, -- Charley Buckmann arrived from Fort Blodgett last evening with the following important information: On the 13th(?) the Crows and Gros Ventres at Fort Blodgett discovered moccasin tracks of the Sioux in the vicinity of the camp, and pieces of tobacco tied to sticks were found which signified that the Sioux desired to smoke and hold council. The Crows and Gros Ventres, however, considered the tobacco a decoy and were afraid to venture out. The following day, Major Reed who was at the Fort started for his ranch, in company with one of the Crows. When a few miles out, they discovered a large party of Sioux mounted and were compelled to turn back. That night all of the Indians camped near the Fort, tied their horses to their lodges, but, in spite of this precaution, fifty head of animals were stolen, evidently by the mounted party seen the day previous. The party on foot is supposed to be still prowling near the Fort. Lame Bull, a Gros Ventres, has gone with the Crows into the Judith country, taking the lodges of his own people with him and advising the rest to follow. A Gros Ventres Indian came in from Marion today and reported a number of the Blackfoot tribe recently came to his camp on the Marion to learn how he and his people felt about joining the Sioux. It appears that the Sioux have held council with the Sans Arcs at Cypress Mountains, when the Sioux stated that they wanted to form an alliance with all of the northern tribes to kill off the whites, before the later became too numerous. The Sans Arcs communicated with the Blackfeet and the latter sent this Indian to negotiate with the Gros Ventres and Piegans. Before the Gros Ventres Indian from whom the information was obtained, left Marion, a runner from the main camp on Milk River had come in with news to the effect that a delegation of nine Sioux Indians had come to camp to get Gros Ventres and Assinaboines to join them against the whites. The Gros Ventres profess to have threatened this party, whereupon the latter went outside the camp, dug a hole and dared them to come on. They say they would have attacked them but were afraid of the Assinaboines.
I didn't find a Fort Blodgett on any maps that I've collected, so I searched for people named Blodgett in Montana for that time period. The article that I transcribed from the LA newspaper had the date that the moccasin tracks were discovered distorted, but it looked like the 13th. If so, the guy carrying the news (Charley Buckmann) must have travelled a long distance to get to Fort Benton. Do you think it possible that Fort Blodgett was actually Fort Owen in the Bitterroot valley? Fort Owen was just a trading post, and Joe Blodgett sold food & supplies there. Major Owen was no longer involved at the fort in the 1870s, so perhaps Blodgett's name became associated with the post. You might try searching David Ramsey's map collection for Montana maps in that time period. www.davidrumsey.com Here's a biographical sketch of Joe Blodgett: Joseph S. Blodgett, Sleeping Child Creek, was born in Ohio, December 27, 1835; is a son of Norman and Sally Blodgett and brother of Lyman Blodgett, near Corvallis. Joseph Blodgett was raised in Hancock Co., 111., his parents moving there when he was but a mere child. In 1847 he moved to Iowa, where he resided three years, when he went to Utah and settled at Ogden. In April, 1854, he went on an Indian trading expedition among the Snakes, but soon left the expedition, and in company with Wm. McWhirk and John Jefferys, went to Oregon; moved in 1855 to California with a herd of cattle; remained one year working in the mines and then went to Walla Walla. W. T., and was in the employment of Capt. C. P. Higgins when the treaty with the Indians was made by Gov. Stevens. After the treaty had been signed the Indians became dissatisfied and attacked ('apt. Higgins, who had left the fort with a wagon and only seven men. The fight commenced at ten o'clock in the morning and continued until midnight, when u company of soldiers arrived with a cannon. The company all reached the fort with the loss of a few oxen only. An attempt was then made by the redskins to lire the fort, but was not successful, and finding themselves defeated they ran up a white flag, whereupon a new treaty was made with them. While it was being signed every soldier and volunteer stood with gun in hand ready for immediate action should it be necessary to keep the Indians quiet. In 1858 Mr. Blodgett ran a schooner from Cascade to The Dalles and in 1859 came to the Bitter Root valley and purchased a pack train of Major Owen at the fort. At this time there were but twenty-nine white men in Bitter Root valley. Mr. Blodgett trapped and hunted until 1862, when he went to Utah and brought back with him wagons, teams and necessary farming implements, and located on a ranch below the present town of Corvallis. In 1877, during the trouble with the Indians, Mr. Blodgett was with General Gibbon and in company with eight men was left at camp to await day light, when they were to bring the cannon on to the field for use. About the time the firing commenced they started with the cannon and when about half way down to the front they were attacked by the Indians, and one man killed and two wounded, but by taking to the timber the balance of the company reached the wagons, which had been arranged for defense. Mr. Blodgett, like all his brother pioneers, has passed through some very hard and trying times.
I should have included this piece pertaining to Joe Blodgett. Most histories call him Joe, and a few have just one T in his last name, but all obviously pertain to the same guy who operated out of Ft. Owen. It still seems like a long shot that he is the guy connected to Ft. Blodgett, because the Crows and Gros Ventres are associated with north-central Montana. genealogytrails.com/mon/ravalli/bios.html Ravalli County, Montana Biographies George W. Dobbins . . . in 1862 he came to Montana and took up a claim on the present site of Stevensville . . .On the recommendation of a pioneer named Joseph Blodgett, Mr. Dobbins and his wife traveled to the Bitter Root country, a distance of about two hundred miles, and on the way found miners at work in the Big Hole diggings badly in need of food. Mr. Dobbins went back to Fort Owen and purchased from Mr. Blodgett eighteen packloads of vegetables, which he brought back to the Big Hole diggings and sold to the miners for two hundred dollars in gold dust and a span of American horses and harness, all valued at about five hundred dollars, these being the first vegetables sold or taken out of the Bitter Root valley.
Interesting, thanks for sharing. Not sure if there is any connection, as would be too far away for a Lakota raid in 1878. A Major Reed is also mentioned, he owned a trading post near present-day Lewistown MT. My feeling is that Fort Blodgett was also in the Judith Basin, search continues.
Carlo, I agree -- the Bitter Root Valley would have been out of range. Nonetheless, the Blodgett research made good reading. If you're interested, you'll probably have to hit refresh on each page to get the links to work.
books.google.com/books?id=UWljNeWRsJoC&pg=PA203&lpg=PA203#v=onepage&q&f=true For five years Blodgett hunted, trapped, and traded, often joining Indian hunting parties and going out on the plains after buffalo. . . they were always running into hostile war parties that disputed every foot of the buffalo country. . . Joe Blodgett had a good Sharp rifle and he was a good shot and a good horseman. The Flatheads were glad to have him with them. . . In 1877 when the Nez Perce came through the valley on the warpath, Blodgett joined Gen. Gibbon's command . . .
books.google.com/books?id=UWljNeWRsJoC&pg=PA204&lpg=PA204#v=onepage&q&f=true Told by Alexander M. Chaffin Yes, I knew Joe Blodgett. He was in the Bitter Root Valley when my father arrived here. He was married to a Flathead Indian woman and lived on a ranch below Corvallis. . . There were several Blodgett children, a girl Sarah and two boys. Newman and Joe went to school with us at Corvallis.
books.google.com/books?id=UWljNeWRsJoC&pg=PA205&lpg=PA205#v=onepage&q&f=true "When Charlos' band of Flatheads left the valley for the Flathead Reservation , Joe Blodgett sold out and went with them and since that time I have lost track of him. I do not know what became of the children. I suppose they are on the reservation, as they would have allotments of land through their mother. I don't doubt but they are doing well down their." -- talk with Alex Chaffin ....... I first knew Joe Blodgett in 1866. . . There was one girl, Sallie Blodgett, who rode horses very well, and was often on picnics and fishing excursions with the other young people of the valley. . . I used to envy Sallie the beautiful spot where she lived . . . The old Blodgett place, as it is in my mind today, was the most beautiful spot I have ever seen.