Ballston Spa Life
Milton Blood Family Name Entwined with US History
Ballston Spa Life
In researching the biography “Isaiah Blood: Scythe and Axe Maker,” it was discovered that Isaiah’s father Sylvester was not the first of the Blood family to live in this area, as is commonly assumed. Rather, it was his great uncle John who moved to Ballston and set up shop as a blacksmith on the Mourning Kill.
Until the twentieth century, nearly every person with the last name of Blood was descended from one of two men who emigrated from England in the mid-1600s. Isaiah was the direct descendent of Richard Blood, who came to America to work in the country’s first iron foundry, located near Lynn, Massachusetts.
Several of Isaiah’s ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, including his great grandfather and grandfather, both of whom were also named Isaiah. One of the Blood family attended the Boston Tea Party, while another spent the winter at Valley Forge with General George Washington.
Isaiah’s great uncle Hosea gained some notoriety serving as a surgeon in the War of 1812. He saw action in the opening battles of the war, which were fought against the British-supported Shawnee Tribe.
A combined force of British soldiers and Indian warriors later forced General Hull to retreat to Fort Detroit. Hosea attended to the wounded in a makeshift hospital, but was himself wounded in the leg by a British canon ball. His actions are documented in a letter sent to President Madison by General James Taylor.
Isaiah’s grandfather died at a relatively early age, so when John Blood moved to the town of Ballston in 1792, he brought along his nephew Sylvester. John was one of the signors of the deed of incorporation for the Ballston Baptist Church. However, by 1810 he had left Ballston and moved to New Lisbon, New York.
Sylvester remained behind, purchasing his uncle’s land on the Mourning Kill. John had trained him well as a blacksmith, so he was able to increase his book of business by manufacturing scythes for local farmers.
Isaiah was born in 1810 and apprenticed in his father’s scythe shop. Sylvester decided to expand his operations to the more robust water powers of the Kayaderosseras Creek just north of Ballston Spa. Upon Isaiah’s marriage in 1831, Sylvester gave him the choice of taking over the new scythe shop or a retail store that he owned. His son chose the scythe shop, and the rest is history.
Timothy Starr’s biography of Isaiah Blood is now available at the Brookside Museum. For more information on this or his other books, visit www.ballstonhistory.com. Starr is also the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees at Brookside.