Henry was born 17 Jan 1653 in, London, England. The Bodwell ancestral estate was located near the tip of the Llyn Peninsula in Northern Wales. In 1656, Henry's father died, leaving a widow and Henry. The widow married again and oral tradition holds that the step-father sent Henry to America to insure that Henry would not inherit the property. The sea captain who brought him over robbed him of what little money he had with him and put him ashore at Newburyport, Massachusetts, binding him over to a farmer in Newbury, Massachusetts until he came of age.
In 1675, Henry was a soldier in Capt. Thomas Lathrop's company (The Flower of Essex). He was one of the seven or eight men who came out alive at the Battle of Bloody Brook (September 17, 1675) located at the present site of the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts. "Henry...had his left arm broken by a musket ball, being a man of great strength and courage, he seized his gun in his right hand, and swinging it around his head, forced his way through the Indians, by whom he was surrounded." (The Emery Genealogy, p.4) (see also Bodge "Soldiers of King Phillip's War")
Henry was a renowned hunter, marksman, and a terror to the hostile Indians. The Bodwell family was much exposed to the Indians who crossed the river at the fords, and making raids for cattle into the common lands or pastures, alsong the Shawshin, escaped easily across the river to their hiding-places. He (Henry) is said, on one occasion, to have shot an Indian on the opposite side of the Merrimack River, who, thinking himself at a safe distance, was making insulting gestures. Henry then swam the Merrimack and retrieved the Indian's possessions. (Coffin's History of the United States, p. 385) According to another source: Bodwell, taking a boat and rowing across, found the Indian dead, and secured his scalp and his fine wolf-skin blanket. (Historical Sketches of Andover, Massachusetts, S. L. Bailey, 1880, p. 122)
In 1678 Henry took the Freedman's oath.
On May 4, 1681, Henry married Bethia Emery, daughter of John Emery and his wife Mary Webster, of Newbury. He resided in Newbury until 1683, they then moved to Andover, where they lived until 1693, and finally to Haverhill, where in 1693, his father-in-law gave him and his wife 100 acres of land. This parcel was bounded on the South by the Merrimack river and on the North and East by the Spickett River, and on the West by a line extending north and south between the two rivers where Lawrence Street is now. This property is currently in the town of Lawrence, Masachusetts. Henry's second house was built in 1709 and remained standing until the mid 1970's.
Bodwell's Falls (located in Methuen, Massachusetts) and Bodwell's Ferry are named after Henry.
"At the annual meeting for 1716 several persons (including Henry Bodwell) applied for an abatement of the their taxes for the ministry, and the school, on account of the great distance they lived from the town, and the difficulty they met with in coming. The town (Haverhill) voted to abate ½ of their ministry rates." History of Haverhill, p. 237.
"In July of this year (1719) Stephen Barker, Henry Bodwell, and others petitioned the town to 'grant or set off a certain tract of land lying in the township of Haverhill so that they might make a township.' But the request was denied." History of Haverhill p. 251.
Henry died 1 Jun 1745 in Methuen, Mass.
Children of Henry and Bethia (Emery)
|Name||Birth Date||Birth Place||Death Date||Death Place|
|1.||Bethia||2 Jun 1682||Newbury, Mass||24 Apr 1760||Boxford, Mass|
|2.||Mary||1 Apr 1684||Andover, Mass||7 Jan 1716||Haverhill, Mass|
|3.||Henry||27 Jan 1685||Andover, Mass||29 Jan 1685||Andover, Mass|
|4.||Josiah||27 Jan 1685||Andover, Mass||31 Jan 1685||Andover, Mass|
|5.||Abigail||15 Jan 1686||Andover, Mass||7 Aug 1778||Coventry, Ct|
|6.||Henry||6 Nov 1688||Andover, Mass||13 Apr 1773||Methuen, Mass|
|7.||James||10 Jun 1690||Andover, Mass||ca Jun 1746||Methuen, Mass|
|8.||Daniel (Capt.)||14 Feb 1692||Andover, Mass||ca Apr 1787||Methuen, Mass(?)|
|9.||Sarah||1 Dec 1694||Haverhill, Mass||4 Feb 1737||Methuen, Mass|
|10.||Hannah||1 Sep 1696||Haverhill, Mass||bef 5 Jan 1743|
|11.||Judith||4 Apr 1698||Haverhill, Mass||5 Oct 1777||Methuen, Mass|
|12.||Ruth||2 Dec 1699||Haverhill, Mass||aft 5 Jan 1743||Kingston, NH?|
|13.||Phebe||10 Jul 1701||Haverhill, Mass||10 Sep 1730||Methuen, Mass|
December 16, 1996
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