Item - Bodwell family fonds

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Bodwell family fonds

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  • Textual record

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  • 1824-2023, nd. (Creation)
    Bodwell family

Physical description area

Physical description

approximately 10 inches of textual records including:

  • several family photo albums
  • large metal box

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Biographical history

The son of James M. and Mariah (need Glidden) Bodwell, Captain James W. Bodwell Jr. was born in Maine, New England on December 28, 1795. In 1819, he married Abigail Eason Smith Vining (1799-1883) in Sweden, New York. They moved to West Nissouri Township, Middlesex, County, in 1821 and belonged to the West Nissouri Baptist Church. By 1837, the family had relocated to Dereham Township where he served as Township Clerk from 1981-1842. In 1848, he built the impressive Bodwell home in Mt. Elgin called Elgin Hall. There the family were active members in the Mt. Elgin Baptist Church. James Bodwell Jr. passed away at Mt. Elgin, Ontario on December 4, 1874.

His son, James Vining Bodwell was born in Aroostook, Maine in October1819. He married Mary Ann Sinclair (1825-1894), in the Township of Nissouri, District of Brock, on October 28, 1848, and eventually settled on Lot 11, Concession 5, Dereham Township. The couple would go on to have five children: Hiram Alphonso (1849-1913) Hason Fletcher Sinclair (1852-1932), Ralph W. (1856-1921), Sarah Abigial (1857-1931), and James Vining Jr. (1866-1909). In July 1850, he was appointed Lieutenant & Adjutant in the Sixth Battalion of the Oxford Militia by the Right Honour James, Earl of Elgin and Kincardine. A dairyman and farmer, for many years he served as the Superintendent of Schools for Dereham Township. He died on August 9, 1891, in Mt. Elgin, Ontario.

His younger brother, Ebenezer Vining Bodwell was born on April 30, 1827, in Nissouri Township, Middlesex County and later moved to a farm in Dereham Township with his family. He studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A general merchant in Mt. Elgin, he also served as Clerk and Treasurer for the Township of Dereham. In addition, he served as a member of the Township Council, Dereham was elected Township Reeve and eventually elected Warden for Oxford County, in 1863.

He married Esther Dillingham Crandon in Brantford Ontario on June 6, 1854, and the couple would go on to have seven children: James Cowland Ebenezer (1855-1858), Ernest Victor Dillingham (1856-1918), Fredwald Hiram Gordon (1857-1907), Jame Marie Esther (1860-1945), Frank Vining Fyfe (1863-1926), Anna Eason Lillie (1870-1921), and Agnes Ruth (1874-1958).

After the death of George Skeffington Connor in 1863, Bodwell ran in the by-election for the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada but was defeated by George Brown. In the 1867 Canadian federal election, he was elected to the House of Commons of the 1st Canadian Parliament from the South Riding of Oxford. In 1875, Bodwell was appointed superintendent for the Welland Canal and served until 1879, when he was named government accountant for the Canadian Pacific Railway and sent to British Columbia. In 1887, he moved to Vancouver where he would serve as the second president of the Vancouver Board of Trade.

Ebenezer Vining Bodwell died on October 18, 1889, at Morley, Alberta and is buried in Vancouver. His great-grandson, Garth Turner, also served as a Member of Parliament and a former cabinet minster.

Custodial history

The records were created, collected, and maintained by members of the Bodwell family of Dereham Township, Oxford County between 1824 and 2023. In March 2024, Elizabeth Warren donated the records to the Oxford County Archives on behalf of the family.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of records related to the Bodwell family of Dereham Township, Oxford County. It is arranged into the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Land Records
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Photographs
Series 4: Newsletters
Series 5: Military
Series 6: Family histories
Series 7: Dereham Township
Series 8: Receipts

Notes area

Physical condition

The records are in fair condition. Some of the early land records require conservation work.

Immediate source of acquisition

The Oxford County Archives received the records from Elizabeth Warren, on behalf of the family, in March 2024.


Language of material

  • English

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    Location of originals

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    Restrictions on access

    The fonds is open to publish research. However, please contact the archivist responsible for the records regarding access, as some materials may be too fragile to handle. The Archives will make every effort to supply reference copies where feasible.

    Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

    Copyright is held by the archives. Researchers are responsible for observing copyright regulations that may apply to the publication of their research. If you wish to publish any of this material, please contact the archivist responsible for the records.

    The Archivist has the right to restrict reproduction if the material is in a fragile condition.

    Finding aids

    A detailed finding aid is available for researchers. Please contact Archives Staff for further information

    Associated materials

    RG1 District of Brock fonds
    RG2 County of Oxford fonds
    RG7 SWOX Series 3: Dereham Township
    COA166 Mt. Elgin Baptist Church fonds
    COA photograph collection; Warden’s portraits

    Related materials


    No further accruals are expected.

    General note

    Elgin Hall, the Bodwell family home, was built in 1848, in the Italianate style in Mt. Elgin, Ontario. Sadly, following an attempt to historically designate and save the home from developers, it was torn down in 2023.

    For more information on the Bodwell family and their residence Elgin Hall, please see the book “The Bodwells of Elgin Hall” Mount Elgin Hamlet, Dereham Township, Oxford County, 1848-2023” by George Emery and Debbie L. Kasman.

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