Rev. Joseph Conner Bodwell (1812-1876)
Son of: Abraham 1777
Joseph was an 1833 graduate of Dartmouth College. He taught at Haverhill Corner the following year, and the Woodman Acadamy in Sanbornton 1835-36.
Joseph studied divinity at Highbury College, London, two years. He was ordained pastor of the Independent Church, Weymouth, Dorsetshire, April 3, 1839; dismissed in 1845; installed at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, June 22, 1847; dismissed and returned to the United States in the autum of 1850; installed at Framingham, Mass., June 30, 1952; dismissed, November 5, 1862; installed at Woburn, Mass., November 11, 1862; dismissed, August 3, 1866, to become "Professor of Pulpit Training and Pastoral Care " in the Hartford Theological Seminary, where he continued for seven years. He died of a carbuncle on the back base of his head, at Southwest Harbor, Mt. Desert Island Me, July 17, 1876, and was buried in Sanbornton, Nh on the 21st in the same lost with his parents in the old cemetery. No native of the town has risen higher in distinction and usefulness abroad, while none retained a more ardent affection for the town itself, or was more ready to labor for the benefit of the citizens, who were gladdened, for a short time, by the prospect of his spending the remainder of his life among them had it been prolonged.
Dr. Bodwell, who received his degree of S. T. D. From Dartmouth in 1864, possessed "a high order of natural gifts, and a broad and generous culture." "English literature was a study and a delight to him: and few men understood and exercised better the forces and the graces of our language, whether written or spoken."
"From his early English training for the ministry and its exercise there for the first fourteen years, he acquired the off-hand, semi-memoritier style of the English pulpit. In this he had peculiar success, and was, withal, very successful in training his ministerial pupils to this mode." "He was above all artifice or professional manoeuvre, trusting to the truth, plainly given, and to the Spirit of God; and as endorsing this policy, the churches to which he ministered will always carry distinct marks of growth and of fruit for the years he was with them." "He dad a keen sense of the apt and beautiful in the expression of thought, and many of his sermons will long be remembered as admirable specimens of the best English." Several of them were published, though a sensitiveness, now much regretted, kept many others from the press. Among those printed are "A Pastor's Farewell to his Flock," preached in the 1st Congregational Church, Woburn August 5, 1866, and "The Preachers demanded in Our Day, and how to secure Them," an inaugural discourse, as Professor at Hartford, the same year; but his native town and church were brought under peculiar obligations to him for the admirable "Historical Address" delivered at the centennial celebration of the Sanbornton Congregational Church, November 13, 1871. He was one of the founders of the "American Theological Review," and one of the four original Proprietors and editors of the "Boston Congregational Review," many of the pages of which for its first five years, were from his own pen. His lectures on English life, delivered at Dartmouth College and elsewhere, soon after returning from England, and on educational and other topics, scattered through years, placed him among our most instructive popular lecturers. As a pastor he excelled, especially amid the "reverse" of his people, and " in the chambers of the sick and of the dead." He will always stand out in the memory of those who knew him "as a fair specimen of the noble, liberal, Christian gentleman." In his friendships he was discriminating, ardent, and fast. "His home," as in Framingham, Woburn, and Hartford, in all of which places he built elegant houses, "was simply an outgrowth of himself,--open, genial, and hospitable." (History of Sanbornton, New Hampshire, Vol. 11, pp. 42-44.
He taught in the Hartford Theological Seminary for seven years. Between 1852 and 1862, Joseph was involved with organizing speakers and lecturers for the Young Men's Mercantile Library Association, of Portland, Maine. Guest speakers of the association included Henry Ward Beecher, Oliver Wendall Holmes, and Horace Mann.
Children of Joseph and Catherine (Sykes) Bodwell