Sunday, April 26, 2015

Martha Bowdoin

This week, I thought I would tackle a "coded" Patriot as well as my first female Patriot. Martha Bowdoin is a "coded" Patriot in the DAR database. For various reasons, men and women have been "red-lined" in the database preventing their being used for future applicants unless someone fixes whatever problem the DAR has discovered along the way. There are many things that could cause someone to be red-lined, and there are many different "codes," but Martha's code is "Future Applications Must Prove Correct Service," or "FAMPCS."

FAMPCS says, "The proof of service used to establish this person as a patriot is no longer valid. Subsequent evaluation of the proof of service may have determined that the proof is not acceptable under today's standards (examples: tombstone, obituary, undocumented genealogy or county history, family tradition); the service belongs to another person of the same name; the residence of this person during the Revolution is inconsistent with the service, or multiple people have claimed the same service. Future applicants must provide proof of service (and possibly residence) that meets current standards." So, since the status of a Patriot is determined solely on the proof of the service they provided in the founding of our country, this is probably the most serious of all of the "codes" in the database.

As for Martha's service, legend has it that, when Martha was a mere 12-year-old girl, she delayed the Tories, who had intruded upon her family demanding a home-cooked meal, by turning their horses loose out of the barnyard. A small act, but one that took courage and a true American spirit.

Since proving that story would probably be the hardest thing to try to do without lucking upon a diary or letter written in the time, the best efforts for clearing Martha's FAMPCS code would be the find a new service altogether. I would imagine the best place to look for a new source of service for Martha would be that (seemingly) go-to source for North Carolina patriotic service, "North Carolina Revolutionary War Army Accounts." I also hope to figure out what they "originally" had as a source of service for Martha as that would probably be a good start on where to find new service for her.

Martha came from a family that all provided some kind of service to the American efforts. Her father furnished supplies, her sister Elizabeth's husband (John Macon) was a member of the board of auditors and also furnished supplies, and her father-in-law (Nehemiah Odell) rendered material aid. I'm sure in the midst of a family like that, Martha has to have some kind of record proving her allegiance to the American cause.

Here's what I do know about Martha (though mostly from family legend). She was born 13 Nov 1768 in North Carolina to William Boudouin and Elizabeth Macon. (This means the legend of her run-in with the Tories took place about 1780.) She married Isaac Odell sometime before or around 1790 (since they seem to be living together in the 1790 census). She died in 1800 in Randolph County, North Carolina.
Clipping from 1790 census showing one "tick mark" for Isaac and one (presumably) for Martha
As for Martha's descendants, I have not traced this family very much myself. I know, so far, of the name of the single child who is listed in the DAR.
  • James Alexander Odell
According to census records, it appears as though the couple had at least a few more children (at least another son and two daughters), but I have not yet located a will, pension, or land record for this family in order to place names to the "tick marks" on the early census records.
Clipping from 1800 census showing one "tick mark" for Isaac, one (possibly) for Martha, one for a son under 10,
one for a son aged 16-25, and two for a daughter under 10
If you happen to know the names of the other children born to this marriage, or if you think you have proven the family legend of her service, let me know! I would love to see her opened back up for future applicants.

  • 1790 Randolph County, North Carolina U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)
  • 1800 Hillsboro, Randolph County, North Carolina U.S. Federal Census (accessed on Ancestry)

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