Sunday, April 24, 2011
My Grandma Ona Blodgett
My Grandma, Ona Eva (Dye) Blodgett was born in Corvallis, Missoula, Montana the 12th of March, 1890, daughter of George Tolson Dye and his wife Aquilla Odell.
Ona, 1968, Salt Lake City
She said, “I remember clearly the day father and mother and my three older brothers and sisters were baptized into the Church by the missionaries.
Wedding picture, 1908, Hamilton, Montana
“We lived on our ranch in Corvallis, now Ravalli County, Montana. The family moved here from Walnut Grove, in Sacramento Co., California where father worked as a butcher and farmer. He bought this Montana ranch and we moved here several years before I [Ona] was born. Father crossed the plains as a boy in a covered wagon with his family. He was born in Missouri and his family did not take a liking to the Mormons there. On the way West they steered clear of Utah, passing through Arizona and Nevada before arriving in Walnut Grove, California.
“Father did not have fond feelings for the Mormons, and mother Aquilla heard him say so many times. For a time Mother kept her feelings about the subject to herself. She knew that her own father and mother were sympathetic towards the Mormons, but she did not know why.
“When two missionaries approached the house Momma told them she wanted to listen, but that her husband wouldn't allow it. She asked them where they were going to stay that night. They replied they would stay under a tree somewhere. She couldn't ask them to stay, so they left. Mother and all the children watched the missionaries walk over the fields for as far as their eyes could follow their tall black top hats over the horizon. When they were just about out of sight, mother told George (my oldest brother) to fetch them back, so he ran out after them.
“The missionaries came back just as father was returning from the fields. He asked mother who they were and what they wanted. When she told him they were missionaries, he said, "You know I don't allow that kind of thing around here," and asked her to get rid of them. She pleaded for him to let them stay the night, but he refused saying he would rather see an Indian than a Mormon, and told her to tell them to leave.
“The argument was strenuous and he persisted. Mother asked if they could sleep in the hay loft, but Papa said they would probably set fire to it with their tobacco. Mother said, "Oh, they don't use tobacco, there’s no need to fear of that!”
“Eventually they were allowed to stay in the barn on condition that they would leave first thing in the morning. In the morning Mother took them out some breakfast early before they left. The missionaries returned several times after that and taught Mother and children on the porch. Finally Papa listened, and his heart was softened. On the 15th of March, 1898 he and my brother George were baptized in the Bitterroot River on the west side of the farm. Mother [Aquilla] and sisters Elmina and Isabel followed on the 29th of March, 1898. Bert, myself [Ona], and Ora were baptized March 15, 1904.
“When I was in school I recall being forced to wear a handkerchief when I played with the other kids, so that none of the "Mormon" would rub off on them. We lost many of our friends when we joined the Church. Our farm became the headquarters for proselytizing in that region and many meetings were held in our barn. Later, Papa became the branch president.”
Recorded and transcribed at her home in 1972, by Steven W. Blodgett