Lt. Sherman Bodwell (1835-1871)

Son of: Anson 1801

Sherman was born in Geauga County, Ohio. While still an infant his parents moved to New Haven, Connecticut. There at the age of 18 he united with Congregational church, and continued to the end of his life as an exemplary Christian.

Sherman was the brother of Rev Lewis or Louis Bodwell. Together they entered Kansas in 1856. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Sherman enlisted in the Kansas Militia as a Private in 11th Regiment Kansas Volunteer Calvary Company "H" August 23, 1862. In September, 1862, Sherman was promoted to 1st Sergeant. In September 1862, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. On December 6, 1862, he was severely wounded in the leg while seeing action in southwestern Missouri. . On January 1, 1865, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Sherman participated in the defense of Kansas City during the Price Raid, October 21, 1864 and ended the war as a Lieutenant. The reader is encouraged to consult p.155 of Pioneer Days in Kansas, by Richard Cordley, for a brief description of Sherman. The 11th Regiment spent the later part of the Civil War patrolling Indian territory.

In 1867, Sherman was elected Sheriff of Shawnee County, Kansas which contains the city of Topeka. Sherman held the post of Sheriff for two years. At the time of his death he was employed in the Topeka post office. The following newspaper account describes the circumstances of his death:

"We are pained to announce the death of Sherman Bodwell who was killed last night under the following circumstances:

Mr. Bodwell , at about sunset yesterday evening, started to cross the KansasAvenue and had got a few feet from the lamp post on the north east corner of Kansas and Sixth avenues, when a drunken man came riding down Kansas avenue, at high speed, and rode directly on to Mr. Bodwell, hurling him to the ground with great violence. The horseman was riding with his bridle loose on his horse's neck. making no effort to guide him, and it is doubtful if Mr. Bodwell saw him approach. After the unfortunate gentleman was stricken down, the guman brute who had done the deed, rode on without stopping to make any inquiries. Mr, Craigue, who lives on the north side, and another man mounted their horses and gave chase. The man darted across the bridge followed by Mr. Craigue, who pursued him into the timber north of town, and brought him to bay, but as the fellow was armed and Mr. Craigue was not, he was forced to let him go. Mr. Craigue's companion had been unfortunately stopped by the bridge keeper who did not understand the circumstances. Mr. Bodwell in the meantime, was picked up in an insensible condition, and carried into the clerk's room of the post office, and laid upon a bed. His external injuries appeared to be a large, bloody bruise on the right side of the forehead, and his right eye was swollen and closed. Drs. Price and Sheldon came and gave him careful attendance, and in time he revived and recognized and spoke in a feeble voice to those about him. Later in the evening he seemed better and was taken to his father's residence, on the corner of Eigth street and Topeka avenue, but soon became unconscious and died at twenty minutes past ten o'sclock. Dr. Tefft , the family physician, was with him a short time before his death, but he was then unconscious.

The death of a man like Sherman Bodwell is a misfortune to a community under any circumstances, and in this case the manner of his death mingles a feeling indignation with the deep sadness which pervades the community. That a man so universally beloved, should thus be virtually murdered in the most public street of our city, and in the presence of a score of friends powerless to save him , is matter for bitter reflection. Sherman Bodwell was a good man and true, a modern knight, "with out fear and without reproach."

"He leaves a father, mother, brothers and sisters to mourn his loss. He was never married. This morning the news of Mr. Bodwell's death was made known throughout the city, and created great feeling. The man who rode Mr. Bodwell down, was understood to be an employee of "Curly" Marshall, on the Atchison extension of the A.T.& S. F.R.R. Deputy Sheriff Ed. Davis and Policeman Fowkes went out on the line of the railroad early this morning. They found that the murderer had been to his camp and changed horses and fled. They pursued their chase some distance but finally lost all trace. It is to be hoped that a reward will be offered, and every step taken to bring the wretch to justice." (Copy of newspaper announcement of death of Sherman Bodwell in possession of Evalyn C. Bodwell.)

3 Aug 183512 Sep 1871
Chardon, OhTopeka, Ka

01/29/97 05/4/97

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