Biography of Eli Bodely
Saunders County, NE Biographies





Eli Bodley is a retired farmer of Wahoo and his efforts constituted a valuable contribution to the agricultural development of the county while he was still busily employed in the work of the fields. He now makes his home in the city, where he occupies a pleasant residence standing in the midst of three acres of ground. His well kept land is adorned with beautiful flowers and shrubs and the home is one of the attractive places of the city.

Mr. Bodley is a native of Simpson, Bucks county, England, born February 25, 1850, and his youthful days were there spent upon a farm, while his education was acquired in an academy of London. Starting out in life for himself, he rented land that had been in possession of the family for over two hundred years. His father had been overseer of the poor, collector of imperial and local taxes and had held other offices. He was a surveyor by profession and also taught school and was a man of considerable local prominence. He built the first solid roads in his locality and contributed to improvement along various lines. Moreover, his integrity was such that he was known throughout the community as "Honest John Bodley."

While still residing in England Eli Bodley was also called to public office, serving on the school board and as tax collector. Like his father, he was engaged in road building, constructing hard macadamized roads in two or three parishes, but at length he determined to try his fortune in America and on the 15th of February, 1880, landed in New York. He at once started for the middle west and on the last day of the month reached Wahoo. The year previously he had purchased what was known as the Dickinson homestead, a tract of land of eighty acres a mile and a half north of Wahoo, for which he paid eleven dollars per acre. All of the land was broken but there were no buildings upon it and he erected a residence, good barns and sheds. He also planted an orchard, set out shade trees and for a considerable period followed general farming and stock raising, handling both hogs and cattle. After a time he purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land, thus extending the boundaries of his farm until it comprised two hundred acres in a body. In a word, he made his farm a valuable, attractive and highly improved property, his energies and efforts being notably resultant. In 1911, on account of the condition of his health, he rented his farm and removed to Wahoo, securing his present home, which stands in the midst of three acres of ground on which are many fruit trees.

On June 21, 1877, Mr. Bodley was united in marriage to Miss Mary Ann Hobbs, who was also a native of Bucks county, England, where she was reared and educated. She accompanied her husband to the new world and here reared a large family but death called her February 9, 1896. To Mr. and Mrs. Bodley were born ten children, five of whom died in early life, the others being: Anna, who was born in England and is now the wife of Manse Templeton, a resident farmer of Douglas precinct; Herbert John, who married Miss Martha Davis and is a resident farmer of Cedar precinct; Rupert Hobbs, and George B., at home; and Ralph Ewart, who is in the government service as a forester in Montana. He was for five years in the Nebraska State University, being graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science. He entered the forestry service and after a year's work was sent to the federal college at Missoula and on completing the work there was given charge of the large forestry interests over which he now has supervision. Having lost his first wife, Mr. Bodley was married July 24, 1908, to Mrs. Mary E. Holmes, a daughter of John and Susan Harris, natives of England. They emigrated to New York, where their daughter Mary was born but returned to England two years later, where the parents passed away. After the marriage of Miss Harris and Mr. Holmes, they settled in Colorado where the latter died. Mrs. Holmes then again returned to England, where she married Mr. Bodley.

Mr. and Mrs. Bodley are members of the Methodist church and in politics he is a populist with independent tendencies. He has never desired office, although he held various positions in England. He has preferred here to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs, yet he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day not only in politics but along all those lines which affect the general interests of society and indicate the trend of progress of the race. He is a well read man and is always found in those circles where intelligent men are met in the discussion of vital questions.

From:
Past and Present Saunders County, Nebraska
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Charles Perky Supervising Editor
Vol. II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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