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Judge John Taggard Blodgett

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Judge John Taggard Blodgett

Birth
Death 4 Mar 1912 (aged 52–53)
Burial Providence, Providence County, Rhode Island, USA
Memorial ID 29099639 View Source
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The New England Historical and
Genealogical Register - July 1912

Hon. John Taggard Blodgett A.M.
by Amasa Mason Eaton A.M. LL.B

John Taggard Blodgett a resident member of
the New England Historic Genealogical
Society from 1906, and elected its Vice-
President for Rhode Island at the annual
meeting preceding his death was born in
Belmont Massachusetts, May 16, 1859, the
son of William Alfred and Anna Marcia
(Taggard) Blodgett, his line of descent
from Thomas Blodgett, born in England in
1605, who came from London, England, to
Boston, Massachusetts in the "Increase"
in 1635, and settled at Cambridge, being
through David, Thomas, Joseph, Jonathan,
Jabez, Alfred, to William Alfred his father.
His great-great grandfather Jonathan Blodgett
of Hudson, New Hampshire, answered the
"Lexington Alarm" April 19, 1775, and served
later as a private in a New Hampshire regiment.
He was a great-great grandson of William
Taggard of Hillsboro, New Hampshire ensign
and lieutenant in the Second New Hampshire
Regiment, 1776-1780; and also the great-
grandson of Bartholomew Trow of Charlestown
Massachusetts, a member of the "Boston Tea
Party," a minute man at Lexington April 19,
1775, lieutenant in colonel Thomas Gardner's
regiment at Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775, and
captain in the 25th Massachusetts Regiment
at the siege of Quebec in 1776. He was a
great-great grandson of Hezekiah Welch of
Boston, second lieutenant of the frigate
"Boston" in 1778; and he was the great-grandson
of Ebenezer Welsh of Boston, midshipman in the
Revolution.
He received his early education in the public
schools of Belmont and of Watertown, Mass.,
and was graduated from the Watertown High
School in 1875, and from Worcester Academy in
1876. He then entered Brown University, and
was graduated with his class in 1880, being a
member of the Society of Phi Beta Kappa, and
receiving three years later from the college
the degree of A.M.
Upon graduation he entered upon the study
of law in the office of Benjamin N. Lapham
in Providence. There he comnpleted the
regular course of three years' study, and
passing with brilliancy the bar examinations,
he was admitted to practice, in the United
States Circuit Court of Appeals in 1895, his
law practice relating principally to corpora-
tion and banking business. He was United
States Commissioner for the District of
Rhode Island from 1890 to 1897; and he be-
came supervisor of Federal elections in Rhode
Island in 1891, remaining in that office un-
til the repeal of the Federal election law,
the duties of the office being to inspect the
list of voters and to see that no fraud was
practiced in Federal elections. The familiarity
with election laws thus acquired led him to pre-
pare and to carry through a state law relating
to the appointment and defining the powers
and duties of the Board of Canvassers and Regis-
tration. Upon its passage in 1895 he was appoint-
ed a member and became its chairman, remaining
so until he became a member of the Supreme Court
of the state.
He was a member of the House of Representatives
from the city of Providence from 1898 to 1900,
and took a leading part while a member in drafting
and securing the adoption of important legislation
relating to the city. His experience upon the
board of canvasses led to his appointment in
1900 as chairman of a commission to revise the
ward lines of the city of Providence.
He was chairman of the Rhode Island Commission
to the Jamestown Exposition of 1907.
In 1900 he was elected by the General Assembly
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode
Island, remaining in that office until his
death, at Providence March 4, 1912.
An examination of his opinion in the Rhode
Island Reports illustrates his throughness
of research, his scholarship, capacity for
work, and independence of judgement,
especially in some of the dissenting opinions
he delivered.
Besides his association with this Society,
Judge Blodgett was a member of the Rhode Island
Historical Society of Sons of the American
Revolutiion. He was also a corresponding mem-
ber of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts,
and contributed a paper upon "The Political
Theory of the Mayflower Compact" to its Trans-
actions in 1909.
He married first, March 28, 1883, Amelia Wilson
Torrey, daughter of Moses Eddy and Amelia (Wilson)
Torrey of Providence, by whom he had a son, Moses
Torrey, who died soon after his birth, and a
daughter Gwendolen. On August 15, 1900, he
married his second wife, Amy de Lacy Bemiss,
daughter of Dr. Samuel Merrifield and Frances
(Lockert) Bemiss of New Orleans, Louisiana, who
survives him, with the daughter by his first
wife, Gwendolen Blodgett.


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