Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 281-282
William BODINE, following general farming on section 18, Harrison Township [Winnebago County, IL], is a pioneer settler, the length of whose residence in Winnebago County is surpassed by few of its citizens at the present day, for he arrived here in Jan 1840. He was born in the township of Southwold, in [p 282] the district of London, now in the province of Ontario, Canada, 08 Mar 1820, and is a son of Abram and Zelah (TAYLOR) BODINE, the former of English and the latter of French and German parentage. The father was born in NJ, and his wife was a native of PA. In 1810 they removed to Canada, where he engaged in farming, and where they made their home until called to their final rest, Mr. BODINE departing this life in Jun 1846, when about 65 years of age, while his wife died in Apr 1837, when about 50 years of age. They had a large family, and two of the sisters came to IL; a son of one of them, Frank PELLEY by name, is now residing in Rockford Township.
William BODINE was reared in Canada, and there made his home until 18 years of age, when he went to MI, where he spent 15 months. He then removed to Joliet [Will County], IL, and in Jan 1840 arrived in Winnebago County. A year or so afteward he settled upon the farm which is now his home, purchasing a claim of S. S. RICHARDS. After spending the first summer at Roscoe [Winnebago County, IL], Mr. BODINE took up his abode on this farm, and is now the oldest resident of Harrison Township. He owns 89 acres in the home place, besides 60 acres on section 7, Harrison Township, and he has long carried on general farming and stock raising, bring his land up to its present high state of cultivation and making all of the improvements upon the place. It came into his possession just as it had left the hand of nature, and the soil, naturally rich and productive, under the cultivation of Mr. BODINE has brought forth rich harvests which have annually returned him a good income.
In Harrison Township, Winnebago County, Mr. BODINE was first married to Miss Harriet Sophronia BABCOCK, a native of NY, who died here in Aug 1846, leaving two children: (1) Harriet Lenora, born 01 Sep 1844, is the wife of Alexander TUNKS, of Plover, Portage County, WI, and she is now a grandmother; and (2) George W., who served in the Civil War, entering the army as a recruit of the 55th IL Infantry, died before joining his regiment, being then about 18 years of age.
For his second wife Mr. BODINE chose Frances E. ALLBRIGHT, of Winnebago County [IL], who was born in OH, but was reared in MI and IL. She is now living at more than 74 years of age. There were eleven children by this marriage: (1) Orin J., (2) Jacob, and (3) Doris C., who all three died in infancy; (4) Zelah, the wife of Daniel DOBSON, a farmer of Harrison Township; (5) Jeremiah, a farmer, living in AR; (6) Esther L., the wife of John M. HURD, who resides in Harrison Township; (7) Charles Sumner, who died when 21 years of age; (8) Laura Emeline, the wife of George M. NORTON, a farmer and carpenter, residing near her father's farm; (9) Arthusa, who is living at home; (10) Anna Loiza, the wife of Frank W. SELDEN, living on the home farm with her father; and (11) Isaac, who died when about 17 years of age.
Politically Mr. BODINE is a stalwart Prohibitionist, and supported the Abolitionist party before the war. He was the first boy who dared to step forward and sign the cold water pledge in the town where he was born in the early days of temperance agitation, and he has always exerted his influence, both by precept and example, against the liquor traffic. He has served in some of the local offices of the township, has been chairman of the board of trustees of the Freewill Baptist church, and is an earnest Christian gentleman and highly respected citizen. Honorable principles and upright motives have actuated his life, and he receives the veneration and esteem which should ever be accorded to those who have advanced far on life's journey. Through 65 years he has lived in this county, and we of the 20th century can scarcely realize the hardships, dangers and privations borne by the early pioneers who bravely met the stuggles and difficulties incident to settlement in a frontier region and planted the seeds of civilization which have brought forth the comfort and prosperity of the present time.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.