W. S. Bodey Update - 7/16/2014

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, that were 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.


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