H is for Henry

Today’s letter is H. I want to take a moment to talk about my 10th great grandad Henry Bodwell. Henry’s story is unlike any other in my family history.

Like most of my ancestors Henry came over to the US in the late 1600s. Before he made the journey as a boy he was born in London, England. When he was only about three years old his father died. This single death would set the stage for the rest of Henry’s life. His mother remarried and ten years later she passed away.

Not willing to let Henry inherit the estate his step father sent him to America alone. At only 13 years old. Henry was entrusted to the ships captain for the safe arrival to the New World. It is said that this captain robbed him of what little money he had and then indentured him when they arrived to the coast to be a servant until he was of age. There is also an account that he was placed under the guardianship of Rev. Thomas Parker but there is no proof of this on record.

The first solid proof that we have of Henry in the US is the Battle of Bloody Brook (September 17, 1675) located at the present site of the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts. He was a sharpshooter in Capt. Thomas Lathrop’s company and only one of seven or eight men who survived the battle. “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.”

Henry married Bethina Emery and had 12 children. He died in 1745 in Massachusetts at the age of 94. The origins of Henry are still widely debated, but one thing is for sure. He was only a child when he came to the US. He was alone and there wasn’t anyone in his country that wanted him. Even against the odds and almost dying in war, he made a life for himself and his family.

Henry Bodwell is just another ancestor that I’m proud to call family.

One response

  1. My goodness. I can’t even imagine a child being sent anywhere without someone to look after them, left alone another country. No doubt as tragic as those circumstances were, they helped shape Henry’s persona, and helped him survive. Well done to Henry Bodwell for making a life for himself in a strange country, with no-one to help him out.

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