Ira “Ike” Blossom Putnam
Best known to all by “Ike”, he was born Ira Blossom Putnam on 30 March 1883 in Three Rivers, California. The son of Joseph Fletcher Putnam and Ida May Clough. That name always bothered me, not Ike but Blossom. It was especially strange that every cow we ever had was called “Blossom”. When my sister and I were working on the family history we had this “Aha!” moment. We discovered that Ike’s mothers step father was Ira Blossom. Blossom being his surname. So Ike was actually named after his step grandfather.
From the time that Ike and his two sisters were born until about 1892 the Putnam family lived in Three Rivers, California. In the Voter Registration book for Fresno County in October 1892 Joseph Putnam registered to vote. The precinct was called Sequoia and the Post Office was Camp Badger. Whether the whole family was living there is hard to know, possible since Ida May’s mother and step father were also living in Three Rivers, Ida May and the kids stayed there while her husband worked at Camp Badger to earn extra money. It may have been a logging camp. I have not found any information on Camp Badger. I did find a small community called Badger in Tulare county north of Visalia at approximately 3,000 ft. elevation near Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Could be the place.
In 1894 Ike’s grand father Joseph Putnam died in Clements California.
In 1896 I found Joseph Fletcher Putnam is in the Voter Registration book for San Joaquin County listed as a farmer in Clements. I take it that Joseph has gone home to Clements to take care of his fathers farm.
In the 1896 Voter Registration book for San Joaquin County Joseph Fletcher Putnam is still there. This time He is listed as a Saloonkeeper. So is his family in Clements?
The next record I have is 1897 where Ida May marries a Charles Peters in Tulare County. They later move to Los Angeles.
In the 1898 Voter Registration book for San Joaquin County, Joseph Fletcher Putnam is still there and is again listed as a Saloonkeeper.
I found it interesting that Ike’s father moved up and down California so much and wondered if the kids were shuffled along with him or did they stay in Three Rivers all this time?
1900 US Census
Santa Clara, California
In the 1900 census we have Ira B. Putnam at 16 years of age with his father and his two sisters, Lena and Blanche, in Santa Clara.
Lena, Ike, Blanche
Grace and Joseph F. Putnam
They were not his only siblings. His father had been married previously and he had two older sisters Grace being the eldest and Alice who I believe Ike may have never met. His mother was also married previously and she had C.E. (Ed) Bryant, Maud Bryant, and Allace (Alice) Bryant. In this same year (1900)Grace, Ike’s older sister, has married a George Bryant and that family is living in Alameda, not so far away. “And that’s another story.”
Later that year (1900) Joseph Fletcher marries Elizabeth Potter.
Anyway back to Ike. On 15 July 1907 Ike married Etta Jane Francis in Visalia California.
Ira (Ike) and Etta Jane Putnam
Wedding 15 July 1907
The 1910 US Census shows Ike and Etta in Visalia. They are shown on the county road Goshen to Tulare. Ike is shown as a farmer who owns his place free and clear. From this I would ascertain that they are on the Ranch that my older brother and sister remember. Which would now be between the end of Walnut Ave. and Hwy 99 West of Visalia.
1910 US Census
Visalia, Tulare County, California
Etta, “Ike” and baby Lloyd
Their son, Lloyd was born 3 May 1912 and their daughter, Eunice was born 20 Feb. 1914.
“Babe” (Eunice) and Lloyd
From the 1910 census until his death “Ike ” lived and worked the Ranch outside of Visalia.
His mother died in Los Angeles February 1932. and his father died later that same year in December in Visalia.
Ike died 19 April 1948.
My paternal grandfather died before I could know him. I was sure my siblings all would have memories. My brother who is 6 years older then me wrote:
I was six or seven when he passed away, do not really remember much. They had sold the major portion of the ranch and had only kept the 20 acres where we grew up. I remember before they sold the ranch, going to the milk barn with dad and the milk man would always put me on the roof to be out of his way. That was when they would come to pick up the milk in the milk cans. Also remember picking up prunes after they were shaken from the tree. When they killed a hog they would scald it in a big iron tub and scrape the hair off the hide. Mom would render the fat and we would have cracklings. After they sold that portion of the ranch and built the house between the one we lived in and aunt babes, he had cancer and they amputated his leg. I remember him walking on crutches. I have a picture from grandma Gay of him and Dad, holding a rattle snake he had killed. He loved the three rivers area, and we had relatives’ there. He was always kind and thoughtful
So then my older sister who is 8 years older called me to relate her stories to me.
I remember when the family would go Posting up to Three Rivers. That’s what they called it when they would go get Posts for the Ranch. There were rattlesnakes everywhere. Out there where that big oak tree was, was a Prune orchard. When Sweringer bought that piece he took all those Prune trees out and planted cotton. I use to follow him (Grandpa Ike) around when he picked blackberries in the garden, he had a big garden. I’ve never found nectarines as good as Ike’s. Maybe because he grafted everything. I remember the pomegranate tree, it was there as you drove up the lane and came around the house on the left you could see the pomegranate tree.
When I asked about his having his leg amputated she said:
Yes they had to do it twice. They took it off below the knee and then they had to go back in and take more. I was really devastated. All I really remember is his lying there in that bed at the house.
So my other sister who is just eighteen months older really has no memories. She does have a photo that has a story about her taking an egg to Grandpa Ike to show him.
Visalia Times 1948