Jean Bodin(e) & Esther Bridon
by Dan Reddell
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The following info is from Dave's Bodine Genealogical Web Site
Husband: Jean Bodin \ Bodine
The Four Jean Bodins on Staten Island
Many of the Bodines in America have come from four Jean/Jan/John Bodins who came to America in the latter part of the 1600's. (Jean is the French spelling for John; Jan is the Dutch spelling.) Despite much research, the facts involving these John Bodins are still subject to controversy. At this point, the research tends to point to a pair of Jean Bodins who came from near Medis, France and another pair of Jean Bodins from near Bethune in the former Southern Netherlands (now located in France).
Historical Background: Flanders
Jean Bodin II, from Bethune, and his father, possibly named Jean Bodin, also, may have come to America together. Before 1667, when King Louis XIV of France conquered that area, Bethune was actually a part of the Southern Netherlands, not France. (This was also called the Spanish Netherlands since Spain controlled the area at that time.) The Southern Netherlands overlapped an older political area that was known as Flanders. Flanders was the name of a medieval kingdom that was once more a patchwork of fortified city-states than a real country. It was comprised of part of the present-day French Department du Nord, the Belgian provinces of East and West Flanders, and the southern part of the Dutch province of Zeeland. This "kingdom" no longer exists today. The language the people of Flanders spoke was a dialect of French in Southern Flanders. These were the Walloons. The people in the Northern part of Flanders spoke a dialect of Dutch. They were called Flemings. Jean Bodin would have been born in Bethune when it was a part of the Southern Netherlands. It might be best to consider him a Walloon and not a Huguenot as has been reported. However, this depends on what one's definition of a Huguenot is. Some define Huguenots as French Protestants. Others define Huguenots as any Christians from any country in Europe who followed John Calvin's type of Protestantism. Therefore, the most practical term to use for Jean might be to call him a "Huguenot"; however, officially, he was really a Walloon.
There is no official term for a Protestant Walloon.
Walloons could have been Catholic or Protestant. The majority were
Catholic. Protestant Walloons faced the same persecutions in the Catholic
Southern Netherlands as the "Huguenots" faced in Catholic
France. Many fugitives from Flanders fled to England where they set up
churches. The Dutch speaking churches in England were comprised of
Flemings. Many of the French speaking churches were made up of Walloons.
There were Walloon churches in Norwich, Canterbury, Southampton, and
London. The Walloon church in London is very famous. It was called the
Threadneedle Street Church, but it most often referred to as the
The other set of Bodins came from Medis, France. Jean Bodin of Medis fled from Soubize, France in September of 1681 for England with his wife, Esther Bridon, and possibly two children (Hands, A.P. and Irene Scouloudi. French Protestant Refugees Relieved Through the Threadneedle Street Church, London, 1681-1687. Huguenot Society of London Quarto Series, v. 49, London, 1971). They, including a son named Jean, eventually settled on Staten Island. The controversy surrounding the early Jean Bodins still needs to be worked out to a satisfactory conclusion. These two families of Bodins were in the Staten Island, New York area at roughly the same time. They do not seem to have been related by blood, but from the evidence of the relationship between these two Jean's, it appears as though the Jean Bodin from Bethune, once widowed from his first wife (Maria Crocheron) may have later married Esther Bridon, the widow of the Jean Bodin from Medis. This might seem strange, but it could be true. Ronny Bodine has done a lot of research into this question. He says, "There is no direct evidence of the marriage (between the widower, Jean of Bethune, and Jean of Medis' widow, Esther Bridon), but it becomes clear when following the trail of ownership of the land that Jean of Medis purchased in 1701, coming into possession of the Bridon family (Jean of Medis' wife's family), then being devised through several wills and deeds to Esther and Jean Bodin of Bethune." (No new children would have come from this second marriage, though.) The children of these two families are the beginning of many of the Bodines in America. There are also some Bodines who came from Ulster County, New York. They may have come from Holland or Germany. The earliest documentation on these is from the 1750's. A connection to the Bodines from France has not been proven or disproven. There are also some Bodines that moved from Sweden to Minnesota in the mid 1800's. These may also have a French origin, but they would not be related to the Jean Bodin mentioned here. And there are some Bodines of Italian origin. The ancestor of these Bodines originally spelled his name differently, but eventually changed it to Bodine. There may be other Bodines of different origins as well.
Much of the earlier research into the Bodine family has made the claim that there was only one Jean Bodin who married both Maria Crocheron and Esther Bridon. However, this would have been impossible. The marriage of Jean Bodin and Maria Crocheron took place on January 11, 1680 on Staten Island. The other Jean, the one from Medis who married Esther Bridon, was naturalized with her in London, England on October 14, 1681 (Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England and Ireland, 1603-1700. Huguenot Society of London, v. 19, London, 1911, pp. 128-129). That leaves less than two years between these marriages. The main problem with this timeline is that Nicholas Crocheron, the brother of Maria, made a bequest to "the children of John Bodine of his first wife, my nieces and nephews." The phrase "nieces and nephews" means at least four children. Jean and Maria surely did not have two sets of twins in two years. This would have been the only way to have four children in that short of a time span. Neither does it take into account the fact that Jean Bodin would have had to travel back to England to be married (which would have taken at least three months by ship). That leaves even less time for all this to happen. In addition, records from the Threadneedle Church in London, England appear to prove that the Jean Bodin of Medis fled France no earlier than September 13, 1681 (see info below on this).
As a point of interest, my wife, Joy, and I visited Medis, France in early September of 1995. We paid a quick visit to the regional archives and looked through microfilm of the records of the Protestant churches of the area of Medis. The regional archives are located in La Rochelle. The address is Archives départementales, 17000 La Rochelle, 35 rue de vaux de Foletier. I believe there was a Bridon listed in the Protestant records in La Rochelle (p. 112?) with a baptismal date of 1640. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to see if this person was related to François Bridon. And we visited the Genealogical Circle of Saintonge. The Circle's address is Cercle Géneálogique de Saintonge, 17100 Saintes, 8 rue Mauny. This circle is very organized, helpful, and has a lot of information on computer. There are many Bodins in their databases. Nothing was found on Jean Bodin of Medis, but there could be something there.
Protestants Flee Persecution
Jean Bodin was a Huguenot who probably fled the Medis area with his family due to religious persecution by the Catholic government. Thousands of Protestants were put in prison or chained as galley slaves in the holds of ships. Many more were killed in massacres by the French government and populace. The Protestants themselves were not innocent of bloodletting, but by far they suffered the most. In Charles Baird's well-known book about Huguenot immigrants to America, he has this to say of the French Protestants killed during that time:
"...France was deluged in blood; and among the thousands who were butchered in cold blood, or in the frenzy of fanatical zeal, many of the noblest and purest of her sons perished" (Huguenot Immigrants to America, by Charles Baird, v. 1, p. 148).
To avoid this "Inquisition," many Protestants fled to places where there was more religious freedom: Holland, England, and later, America.
Jean Bodin Comes to America
The first ships to America loaded with the Puritans (also called Pilgrims) were sailing around the early 1600's to America from England. From the early 1600's until 1664, the Dutch government was in the process of settling people in the New York area (called New Netherlands then), including Staten Island. The Dutch government had formed an organization called the West India Company for "the development of traffic with America, the humbling of Spain, the conversion of the Indians and colonization in general" (Corwin, p. 16). It was an armed commercial organization with almost limitless powers. It brought many Dutch, Walloon and Huguenot immigrants to the New World. In return for their services as colonists, the West India Company paid for their passage to America. However, the company eventually headed toward bankruptcy and ceased operations after the British took control of New Netherlands in 1664. It was then the British who continued bringing in new settlers, including Huguenots and Walloons. Jean Bodin must have heard of this land of opportunity called America and hoped to start a new life there with his family. They were on one of these ships that went to America in the late 1600's or early 1700's.
My thanks to Ronny Bodine for the well-researched information that follows. He is a descendant of this Jean Bodin:
Jean Bodin was born, it is said, in Medis, a village in
the Canton of Saujon,
Jean and Esther Bodin first removed to Soubize, a small
village in the Canton
By order of Council July 28, 1681, King Charles II of England authorised the granting of free denizations to the "distressed Protestants" fleeing for safety to his realm. Denization was the process of granting a foreign resident a subject's rights--except the rights to inherit property or hold public office, and was generally granted only to adult males. The only requirement placed upon them as new subjects of the crown was in these terms:--"Provided they live and continue with their families (such as have any) in this our kingdom of England, or elsewhere within our dominions." Among the first free grants of Letters of Denization entered in S. P. Dom., Car. II (Special Patents, King Charles II), Entry Book 67, on October 14, 1681, were those to John Boudin and Ester, his wife, as well as Francis Bridon (spelled Bridan), junior, Suzannah, his wife, Francis Bridon, his son, and Elias Vallet, his servant, (Letters of Denization and Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England and Ireland, 1603-1700, Huguenot Society of London, xix: London, 1911, p. 128-129). The date of their naturalization given by Sinnott in her Annals (p. 154) as being March 21, 1682, citing Agnew, ii, 45, comes from the subsequent entry in the British Patent Rolls bearing that date. Agnew was apparently unaware of the existance of the Entry Books.
A document related to his information is the will of Suzannah Bridon, widow of Francis Bridon, Jr. See below (Abstracts of Wills Vol II 1708-1728, pages 304 & 305):
Page 5.--In the name of God, Amen, November 10, 1724, I, SUSANAH BRIDON, of Staten Island, widow, being in good health, I leave to my well-beloved cousin John Bodin, all that certain messuage, or Point of land on Staten Island on the north side of the Fresh Kill in Charles Neck, between the land of said John Bodin and the land of Teunis Griggs, containing 10 acres, with all the salt meadow, house, barn, and other buildings, Also Å"175 which he oweth me. All this to him for life, and then it shall come into the hands of my well-beloved cousin Esther Bodin, wife of said John Bodin, for life, and then to their children. I leave to my niece Judith, wife of John Chadine Å"50, and a feather bed and bedstead, and a rug and blanket. I give to Judith Chadine, Elizabeth Tillon and Ann Tillon all my linen, brass and pewter vessels, and other household goods. I leave all the rest to John Tillon, Peter Tillon, Elizabeth Tillon, and Anne Tillon. I make my friend John Casson, executor (a John Casson was the husband of Esther Bodine, daughter of John and Esther Bodine).
Witnesses, Daniel Low, Engelbart Van Sane, Abraham Cole.
Proved, December 5,
The arrival in America of Jean Bodin can be ascertained only by June 19, 1701, when Jean Bodin, as a resident of Middlesex County, in the Province of East Jersey, purchased an 80 acre tract of land on Staten Island, New York from Johannes and Neeltje Messereau. Middlesex County was situated just across Hudson Bay from Staten Island.
On December 1, 1702, Jean Bodin, now 57 years old, if the date of his birth can be trusted, found reason to compose his last will and testament. This will was not available to early family historians as is evident by the preface to an article in the October 1949 (p. 216) issue of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record entitled Three Early New York Wills. (The following transcription of that will is by Ronny Bodine and a little different from the published transcription.)
THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF JOHN BODINE, 1702
In the name of god amen the first day of December in the
year of our Lord god
Impris - I make my well beloved wife Ester mistress and dame of all my hole Effects moveable and unmoveable whatsoever freely to be possessed and enjoyed during her widowhood without any cost or bond whatsoever and if she shall come to marry againe the Estate to fall to my Children and then to be divided amongst all my Children Excepting seven pounds which I give to my son John Bodine and one mare with the proviso that my son John doe Live with his mother to help bring up the rest of the Children, Also not to have no more than his Equall share with the rest of his brothers and sisters.
Furthermore my will and desire is that if my wife shall marry again that I appoint Denis Rishe and fransis Bridon my administrators of my Estate so long that my Children Come of age and then to be Equally divided amongst my Children Excepting the seven pounds and a mare which have giving unto my son John with the proviso herein spesefied Restating and Confirming this and no other to be my Last will and Testament in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this day and year above written.
Jean Bodin (SEAL)
Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Delivered by the said John Bodine as his Last will and testament in the presence of us the subscribers viz:
New York March 24th 1707/8
Then appeared before me Edward Viscount Cornbury, Cap Gen & Gov in Chief & David Bourepos & made oath upon holy Evangelists of Almighty God & he did see the testator John Bodin sign seal publish & declare the within writing to be his Last will & Testament & at the time of his doing thereof he was of Sound & perfect mind & Memory to the Best of this Deposes & Knowlege and he ______ ______ ______ that he did see Jacob Cariot & William Tillyer the other two witnesses to the said Will Sign as witnesses in the presence of the Testator.
(New York County Wills, File No. 234)
It would appear from the above probate that Jean Bodin, now better known as John Bodine, died shortly before March 24, 1708. His death likely occured shortly before January 3, 1708 when his will was noted in New York Calendar of Land Papers, iv (1704-1709), p. 81. A census taken of the inhabitants of Staten Island and usually assigned the date of 1706 seems, on the surface, to have overlooked Jean Bodine, yet recording his wife and three children:
hester bodine--Francies bodine--Jane bodine
(Stillwell, John E. Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Data Relating to the Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey, New York, 1903, i, 150-156)
End of information from Ronny Bodine.
Other information says that Jean was the youngest child of Daniel and Marie Croise Bodin. However, this is probably not correct. At least, it is not substantiated. There is a 1943 update to the article A History of the Branch of the Bodine Family Founded by Cornelius Bodine, by E.P. Bodine, published in 1897. This update was written by George F. Bodine. He states, "Gulliamo Le Baudain of Cambray, whose son Daniel Bodin, went to Medis, in the ancient province of Saintonage, whose son, Daniel Bodin, born at Medis, went to London, England and married there, July 30, 1637, and returned with his wife to Medis and dies there. His son Jean Bodin, was born in 1645." This information is something to think about, but again it has no documentation or evidence to back it up.
His wife, Esther, was the daughter of Francois Bridon and Jeanne Susanne Bridon. She was the executrix of her father's will. She made an inventory of his estate on May 22, 1704 (NY Wills, Book 5/6, p. 385). They were all naturalized in London on October 14, 1681 and must have stayed there a number of years. (Besides the earlier reference, also see Agnew's French Protestant Exiles, ii, p. 45; Frelinghuysen ?; and C. Baird, v. 2, p. 39.) They then came to America around 1701. On June 19, 1701, he bought 80 acres of land on the west side of Staten Island at Charles Neck in Richmond County (Richmond Co. Deeds, B, p. 402). As mentioned before, this is the earliest record that we have of this Jean Bodin. At the time, he was a resident of Middlesex County, Province of East New Jersey. Robert Moore of Lexington, Kentucky, says that the two Jean Bodin families can be distinguished by how close one lived to the Poillons and the other to the Bridons. The Jean Bodins from Bethune lived south of Fresh Kill near the Poillons. The ones from Medis lived north of that area. Jean of Medis' cattle mark was registered on December 1, 1702 (Richmond Co. Court Records ?; Stillwell, v. 1, p. 30).
Note: There is a Jean Bodin mentioned in the "Livre des Tésmoignage de l'Eglise de Threadneedle Street, London, ENG" (v. 21 of the Quarto series of Huguenot Society of London publications, also on LDS film # 0962137). Here are two entries. There may be more information in the actual book. I'm not sure if these are abstracts or not. I believe I may have seen these entries in the Huguenot Society publications when I was in Paris. Several Jean Bodin's were mentioned, but there was no way to tell which Jean Bodin it was. A Suzanne Boudin is also mentioned.
BODIN, Jean.....T. Mr. LORTIE.....5 Nov 1681
His wife, Esther, was listed as head of household in the 1706/1708 Census. This could mean that Jean of Medis was dead by that time or that he had been overlooked in the Census. Some people have put the real date of the 1706 Staten Island Census at about 1708 based on the known birthdays of some people and their ages as listed in that Census. Also check NY Wills 7, p. 312. His entire will appeared in NYGBR, v. 80 (1949), p. 216. After the death of Jean Bodin, Esther, his widow, probably married the Jean Bodin from Bethune. He was a widower. Information on this relationship will hopefully be forthcoming in the near future. She continued to live past March 7, 1736/1737. A Bodine Branches article lists the following reference for Esther having survived Jean: NY Wills, 6, p. 88; 7, p. 147.
Wife: Esther Bridon
Born: at: France Died: AFT MAR 7 1737 at: Staten Island,
NY 3 Father:Francois
Susanne __________ Other Spouses: Jean
Bodin \ Bodine PEDIGREE
If the estate administration mentioned for her second husband, Jean Bodin
Name: Francis (Francois) Bodine Born: ABT 1691 at: Staten Island, NY Married: ABT 1717-18 at: Staten Island, NY 9 Died: ABT 1736 / 1757 at: Cranbury, Middlesex Co., NJ 10 Spouses: Mary (Maria Dey) Dye PEDIGREE NOTES
SOURCES 1) Date is based on a universal tradtion, but undocumented by original sources. 2) Date his will noted in "NY Calendar of Land Papers," iv (1704-1709), p. 81. 3) Date she signed a deed with 2nd Jean (Richmond Co. Deeds, Book D, p. 131-134). 4) Ronny Bodine examined the records in the registers in Rye, Sussex, England and 5) R. Bodine examined records in Rye, Sussex, England registers. Nothing found. 6) Date will proven (NY Wills, 10, p. 159; NY Colon. Mss. Land Papers, 4, p. 84). 7) Year is just a guess based on siblings' birth years. 8) Year Book of the Holland Society of NY. 1899. Burials in the Dutch Church. 9) Richmond County, NY, Deeds D, p. 131 - mention made of marriage. 10) Article on Judge Joseph Lamb - soon aft March 1736. Other info says abt 1757. 11) Date given in the LDS info at www.FamilySearch.com, but is probably a guess.
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