Clare Thomas Bodwell (1893-1976)

Son of: Franklin 1853

In 1927 the Franconia Notch area of the White Mountains of New Hampshire was under pressure from development and logging. A number of people, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, petitioned the legislature to act to preserve the area. The legislature appropriated $200,000 toward the purchase of the Notch with a stipulation that another $200,000 would need to be raised privately. Mr. James Storrow, former treasurer of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, contributed $100,000 and the remaining $100,000 was raised by a national campaign whereby school children and organization could "buy" a tree in the Notch area for a dollar.

The Society kept control of the southernmost 1,000 acres for the first 20 years, including the Flume and Pool, while the state obtained title to the 5,000 acres to the north.

"The first director of the Flume end of the Notch was Clare ('Tom") Bodwell. A more dedicated, enthusiastic man could not have been found. Tom was born in Riverton, Nebraska, but came with his family, at the age of six, to Bethlehem, New Hampshire. He married a Bethlehem woman, Inez E. Whitcomb, and had two daughters Natalie and Lucille. When he was appointed director of the Flume Reservation, the family moved to Franconia. Always deeply concerned about conservation and forest management, Tom believed strongly with Dr. Charles Eliot that "to establish a forest reservation is as nearly immortal as any human effort can be; it is self-perpetuating and lasts from generation to generation." With glowing energy and devotion, Tome applied this belief to the expanded management of the Flume Reservation for many years. He also developed a deep love for the Old Man and his preservation. On one trip to the Profile, accompanied by this daughter Lucille's husband, G. Peter Macon, he told the younger man, "Please scatter my ashes here." Peter carried out the wish. On a lovely August day of that year he took the ashes of that devoted friend of the Old Man and, with the permission of the Notch managment, scattered them among the weathered rocks of the Old Man's forehead."

"Saving the Great Stone Face", p.81-82.

BornDiedMarried Spouse
20 Oct 18931 Feb 1976 25 Sep 1918Inez Estelle Whitcomb
Riverton, NePompano Bch, Fl Bethlehem, Nhb. 7 Feb 1891

Children of Clare and Inez (Whitcomb) Bodwell

NameBirth Date Birth PlaceDeath Date Death Place
1.Natalie Clare9 Jul 1919 Bethlehem, Nh2 Nov 1976 Littleton, Nh
2.Lucille Patricia25 May 1923 Bethlehem, Nh


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Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 Donald J. Bodwell. All rights reserved