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 (http://discoveringbodie.com),
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
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:
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
Jun 01, 1846
Jan 03, 1871
Died of meningitis in
Mary Ann Bodey
Nov 22, 1848
Aug 3, 1865
16 yr 8 mo
Died of a long painful
* 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
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.
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,
Andrew K. Boddy born November
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
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
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
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.
chart summarizes W.S. Bodey's
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.