August 2014 Issue Explore Historic California - Magazine for Enthusiasts










Room 8-The Most Famous Cat in Los Angeles

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 * Please contact owner Sean Patterson for information about visiting Cerro Gordo *


Contact us through email at:


Friends of

Cerro Gordo

The Friends of Cerro Gordo is a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation established to assist in the preservation, interpretation and public enjoyment of Cerro Gordo.

Help support these efforts by becoming a member.

Click on the FOCG logo (above) for additional information and to join or make a donation.

First year membership is only $10.

Now Available

Cerro Gordo

A Ghost Town

Caught Between


Cecile Page Vargo's collection of Cerro Gordo stories, true, farce and somewhere in between, is being published in a new book, Cerro Gordo A Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries.

ISBN: 978-0970025869

The book gives glimpses of Cerro Gordo from the silver and lead mining days through the early twentieth century zinc era to its modern place as, according to author Phil Varney, "Southern California's best, true, ghost town." There's even a possible solution to the location of the fabled "Lost Gunsight Mine" that former Cerro Gordo owner Mike Patterson once suggested.

We are proud to team with the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert (HSUMD) in Ridgecrest, Calif., to bring Cerro Gordo A Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries to print. This is their first major publishing venture. The book is  available for sale directly from HSUMD or through selected book sellers.

Contact HSUMD directly to order:

P.O. Box 2001, Ridgecrest, CA. 93556-2001.

Phone: 760 375-8456


Announcing our Arcadia Publishing Book:



Cerro Gordo

by Cecile Page Vargo and Roger W. Vargo

ISBN: 9780738595207

Arcadia Publishing Images of America series

Price: $21.99

128 pages/ softcover

Available now!

(Click the cover image for ordering information)

Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or online.

Mules can taste the difference--so can you

Friends of Last Chance Canyon is a new organization interested in sustaining and protecting areas within the El Paso Mountains, near Ridgecrest, California. The main focus is preserving and protecting historic sites like Burro Schmidt's tunnel and the Walt Bickel Camp.

Please click on either logo to visit the FLCC site.

We support

Bodie Foundation
"Protecting Bodie's Future by Preserving Its Past


Click on Room 8's photo or phone

951-361-2205 for more information.


The Panamint Breeze is a newsletter for people who love the rough and rugged deserts and mountains of California and beyond.

Published by Ruth and Emmett Harder, it is for people who are interested in the history of mining in the western states; and the people who had the fortitude to withstand the harsh elements.

It contains stories of the past and the present; stories of mining towns and the colorful residents who lived in them; and of present day adventurers.

Subscriptions are $20 per year (published quarterly March, June, September & December) Subscriptions outside the USA are $25 per year. All previous issues are available. Gift certificates are available also.

To subscribe mail check (made payable to Real Adventure Publishing) along with name, address, phone number & e-mail address to:  Real Adventure Publishing, 18201 Muriel Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92407.

For more information about the Panamint Breeze e-mail Ruth at:

It's always FIRE SEASON! Click the NIFC logo above to see what's burning.

Visit Michael Piatt's site,, for the truth behind some of Bodie's myths.

Credo Quia Absurdum




Explore Historic California!

     Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles. Ironically, industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to drive their vehicles off the paved highway.

     Click your mouse through the website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them.



W. S. Bodey Revisited

By Nick Gariaeff

Note: Discovering Bodie by Nick Gariaeff is a staple in the Explore Historic California library for the most comprehensive research and updates on the history of the ghost town of Bodie and its key historical figures. His book, which is available through his website, Discovering Bodie (, and at Bodie State Historic Park, is always a work in progress, with new information waiting to be unlocked. Nick granted us permission to peak inside his current project and share the information with our readers.

New information, which will be incorporated in the next (third) edition of Discovering Bodie, has been found regarding W.S. Bodey. His given name may not have been Wakeman, Waterman, or many of the other names commonly associated with him. His surname may not have been Body, Bodey, or Bodie when he was born.

His wife, Sarah, died in 1893, at the age of 73 and was buried in the Old Ladies Home section of the Rural Cemetery in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her death certificate shows her as Sarah Body, born in New York City. Her father's name was Thomas Woolcock, and mother's name was Anna. Sarah's internment record listed her as Bodey with Bodie crossed out. New York City directories reveal some interesting entries.

In 1840, an entry shows Waitman S. Bodey living at 86 Walnut Street working as a tinsmith. It also lists a Mary Bodey living at 219 Church Street working as a nurse. The previous year Waitman S. Bodey ran a porterhouse (a beer hall) named "Bodey & Lewis" with Hiram Lewis at 86 James Street. This puts them in the bawdy Five Points district of Lower Manhattan depicted by the movie Gangs of New York. The house at 219 Church Street was occupied by Kitchel family members or Mary Boddy, a nurse and widow of John Boddy, since the mortgage was obtained in 1818. The house was in the name of John and Mary Boddy, her mother Margaret Kitchel, widow of Isaac, and other family members. Mary and John Boddy, it turns out, were W.S. Bodey's parents.

Mary Ketchel, daughter of Isaac and Margaret Kitchel, married John Boddy in the Presbyterian Church of New York City on October 21st, 1807. In 1843, Mary Boddy filed a chancery claim against the Kitchel family for the house on 219 Church Street. After the settlement, Mary Boddy moved to Newark, New Jersey. In 1866 she died. Mary's will left one half of her estate to "my grandson Ogden E. Boddy son of my son Waitman S. Boddy." The other half went to the daughters of her other son, Andrew K Boddy. Ogden E. Bodey is well known as one of the sons of W.S. Bodey, who had five known children, all who tragically died young. The children were buried in the Old Baptist Burying Grounds, and their gravestones moved to the Rural Cemetery of Poughkeepsie in 1927. The children were:







Philip Bodey

Apr 29, 1839

Mar 15, 1841

1yr 10 mo

Buried with William.

George A Bodey

Dec 08, 1840

Mar 09, 1860

19 yr 3 mo

Died of typhoid fever.

William A.O. Bodey

Nov 05, 1843

Dec 18, 1852

9 yr 1 mo

Died of drowning during a fight

Ogden E.Bodey

Jun 01, 1846

Jan 03, 1871

24yr 7mo

Died of meningitis in Newark, NJ.

Mary Ann Bodey

Nov 22, 1848

Aug 3, 1865

16 yr 8 mo

Died of a long painful illness.


* Note: Ogden E. Bodey's gravestone specified that he died on January 3rd and was 26 years old. Sarah said he fell off a roof in Newark, NJ. His death certificate listed his age as 24 years, 7 months and 2 days. The census data for 1850, 1860, 1865, 1870 is consistent with his death certificate. It appears that he was working on a roof while he had meningites. Mary's gravestone was not found.

The genealogy of Mary Ketchel, W.S. Bodey's mother, is quite well known. She is a descendent of Robert Kitchel. In 1879, the book Robert Kitchel And His Descendants From 1604 To 1879, by H.D. Kitchel was published. In the book Isaac Kitchel is listed with children - Betsey, Mary, and Sarah. Mary is listed as having married "--------- Bodie". It is interesting that the ghost town spelling was used for W.S. Bodey's father. Isaac Kitchel, W.S. Bodey's grandfather, was a Windsor chair maker. His red painted comb back chairs are graceful, beautifully crafted, and very collectable. While John Boddy, W.S. Bodey's father, was a coach maker at 35 Leonard Street in New York City, Isaac made his beautiful creations in the back of the house.

Coincidentally, another Mary Boddy, who was also a widow of a John Boddy, resided at the famous three story building at 105 Mercer Street in what is now the SoHo district of Manhattan. The dwelling is known as the oldest former brothel in New York City still standing. Mary M. Boddy of Mercer Street died of consumption in 1832 at the age of 62.

Another book, Kitchell Family History, was published in 1989. Much of the research for the book came from the efforts of George and Virginia Jansen. In the book W.S. Bodey's name is specified as Waiteman Supple Bodie with a birth date of May 13, 1814 (Friday the 13th !) The website Kitchel Ancestry of Jansen Daughters specifies the names as Boddy rather than Bodie and shows three sons of John and Mary Boddy :

  • Philip Boddy born January 7th, 1809

  • Andrew K. Boddy born November 10th, 1811

  • Waiteman Supple Boddy born May 13th, 1814, and died at Mono diggings, CA December 9th, 1859

Sarah Bodey's father, Thomas Woolcock, was a coach lamp manufacturer. Although Sarah's death certificate says he was born in New York, it is likely he immigrated from England during the war of 1812. The book British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812, describes him as 24 years old, 5 foot 2 inches tall, brown complexion, sandy hair, and light eyes at 62 Gold Street making coach lamps. At the time of the Panic of 1837 Thomas Woolcock committed suicide. His son, Thomas Jefferson Woolcocks took over the coach lamp business and started manufacturing Victorian speaking tubes with his son. He received Patent No. 200,420 for a speaking tube whistle device that notifies a party when wishing to speak. In 1850, he was living in Brooklyn, New York with five children and his mother Ann.

Ann Woolcocks died on July 12, 1872, in Newark, New Jersey, and was buried three days later at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, where the other members of the Woolcocks family are buried. She presumably was nursed by her daughter Sarah. Newark, New Jersey directories in the early 1870s list Sarah Bodey living in Newark.

W.S. Bodey may not be buried in any of the three current Bodie cemeteries. The August 29th, 1903, edition of the Bridgeport Chronicle refers to "the reburying of Mr. Bodey on the steep bluff behind the Hospital." The Mono County Hospital at that time, on Block 28 lot 3, was situated at the base of Foundry Hill. The two story brick building was originally owned by Julius de Roche, who was lynched in 1881, and was referred to as Joseph de Roche in the newspapers of the time. His widow, Nettie de Roche, sold the house in 1883 to Mrs. S.B. Hearne, who ran the Mono County Hospital until it was sold to the county in 1899. An earlier hospital was established in 1879 near Lowe and Mills Streets.

The location of W.S. Bodey's grave on top of Foundry Hill, is where Warren A.R. Loose was buried in 1917. A November 3, 1879, article from the Daily Free Press indicates that W.S. Bodey was buried in a donated plot fifteen foot square "within the cemetery." Another article appeared on January 6, 1906, in the Bridgeport Chronicle which stated "The remains of the respected pioneer were interred in a grave on the cliff above and south of the cemeteries and a monument was erected to his memory." Warren Loose wrote in the December 1975 issue of True West magazine an article titled Bodie Archangel of the Mining Camps that the site his father is buried on Foundry Hill is where the original Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery was. Internments were discontinued after 1879, thus explaining the apparent discrepancies between some of the articles. Loose wrote that the hill is solid andesite and even with hand-drilling and blasting it sometimes took several days to dig a grave. There is very good site on top of the hill where W.S. Bodey may be buried. Five forensic search dogs have all separately alerted at the edge of the bluff where his grave and marker would be visible from the town . Terri Geissinger of the Bodie Foundation, first realized the significance of description of the burial sites in newspaper articles and the Loose article in understanding where W.S. Bodey may be buried.

A chart summarizes W.S. Bodey's genealogy. A table lists some of the addresses where family members resided and the corresponding name spellings that were recorded in city directories for New York City, Poughkeepsie, and Newark, New Jersey.

The origin of the Supple middle name may be from the Supple/Sipple family that settled in Murderkill Hundred, Kent County, Delaware. There were a number descendants of Garrett Supple, who first settled in the area named Waitman Sipple. A Philip Boddy had a son John Boddy born in 1786 in Murderkill Hundred. John had a brother Waitman Christman Boddy, who may have been the namesake for W.S. Bodey.

Wakeman may have been an adopted name from Elizabeth Wakeman, part of the Kitchel line. Wakeman was used in the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Census, 1860 Mortality Schedule, several city directories, as well as a fire department roster in Poughkeepsie. Another possibility for the Waitman and Wakeman names may be the misunderstanding of Sarah Bodey's speech if the 'T' sound (T-glottalization) was dropped when starting the second syllable of a word.

Waterman is most likely a misread of Wateman. For example, the official city returns from the elections of 1847 were recorded with the name Wateman S. Body. Newspapers printed the name as Waterman S. Body. When the Poughkeepsie Village directories were transcribed for use in the first editions of Discovering Bodie, Waterman was mistakenly recorded instead of Wateman.

  Copyright 2013 Nick Gariaeff. All rights reserved.

Friends of Bodie Day 2014

It's "Back to the Good 'Ol Days" at the annual Friends of Bodie Day, Saturday, August 9, 2014. This annual event features a living history day in Bodie where staff, volunteers and visitors relive Bodie's past by dressing in period costumes. Bodie State Historic Park is open to the general public 9 am - 6 pm.

This event draws a large number of visitors,; plan to arrive early for close in parking.

Visit the Bodie Foundation website ( or phone 760-647-6564 for additional information.




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