Henry Bodwell (1653 - 1745)

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 DateDeath Place
1.Bethia 2 Jun 1682Newbury, Mass 24 Apr 1760Boxford, 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 1688Andover, Mass 13 Apr 1773Methuen, Mass
7.James 10 Jun 1690Andover, Mass ca Jun 1746Methuen, Mass
8.Daniel (Capt.) 14 Feb 1692Andover, Mass ca Apr 1787Methuen, Mass(?)
9.Sarah 1 Dec 1694Haverhill, Mass 4 Feb 1737Methuen, 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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Contact: bodwell@ptcpartners.com December 26,1996
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