Notes for: Judith ("Juda") Bodine

Judith and her husband, John Thomson (later spelled Thompson by his son), a Scottish immigrant, were married in New Jersey. They lived in Readington and then moved west to the "Shamoken Country" in Pennsylvania on July 5, 1772 (before the Revolutionary War). This was on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. They were caught in what in Pennsylvania is called "The Great Runaway" (some kind of battle or massacre?). This is largely unknown to New Jersey and New York researchers. Note: At first, this area in Pennsylvania was known as the "Shamoken Country." Later it became known as "Shemokem."

John Thomson was "killed and scalped by ye Tory and Indians at Shomoken," June 9, 1778. See Hazard's Pennsylvania Archives, VII, p. 589. Sinnott says this was a band of Indians led by a Tory (p. 162). Judith's story is recounted in the History of the West Branch of the Susquehanna (by Maginnis - sp?). She was 43 at the time of her husband's death.

The following may come from Somerset County Historical Quarterly, v. VI, p. 43.

Earliest American Ancestors of Somerset Families: Thompson - Various early ancestors bore the name Thomson and Thompson. The Readington Thompsons descend from John Thomson. He settled first near White House, New Jersey and then at Shemokin, Pennsylvania.

There is some of Judith's genealogy and quite a bit about her life in History of Hunterdon and Somerset Counties, New Jersey with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, by James P. Snell, pages 521 to 527. And more about John Thomson's genealogy is on pages 533ff. This appears in the section "History of the West Branch Valley." The book was first published in 1881 by Everts and Peck, Philadelphia. It has been photocopied and reproduced and is available from Genealogy Publishers. This book is a great source for New Jersey people and mentions just about everyone in the neighborhood. Snell lists Judith as a child of Abraham Bodine - although that is not very clear in the book. I will put below some extracts from this book.

There is something written on the pages (521 and earlier) preceding the info about Juda, but I only have pages 520 and 521. John Thomson and another man, Shufelt, were at Thomson's place and had been caught by a band of Indians led by a British Loyalist (a Tory). A group of militia from Fort Muncy, under the command of a Colonel Hosterman and a Captain Reynolds, was out at about the time the raid happened. The militia heard yelling and shooting, but arrived too late to help. They had to cross a swamp to get to Thomson's place and this delayed them quite a bit. It says the following:

They found the barn with its store of grain on fire, and heard in the distance the triumphant shouts of the foe. Two of these shouts they recognized as "Death-Halloos," and one they correctly took to be a "Prisoner Halloo." From the shouts thus given they supposed the Indians were about fourteen in number. This was a very good guess, for the friendly Indian, shot by DeWitt, had given information "of those twelve Indians who did the murder." (See also Colonel J. Potter to Mr. Stewart, in Pennsylvania Archives, vol. VI, page 603.) And there was also a Tory with the party. Captain Reynolds' company saw his tracks, along with the moccasin tracks of the Indians, in the soft ground near the house.

The story goes on to say that this company searched the house and premises but could not find any bodies. Colonel Hosterman returned that evening to Muncy Farm where he wrote up his report of the raid. This can be found in Pennsylvania Archives, vol. VI, p. 589. See also H.B. Wright's History of Plymouth, Pennsylvania, pages 158 and 170 (maybe also 209-215 in the first edition). Colonel Hosterman's report, dated at "Monsey [Muncy] Farm, June 10, 1778," says that the death of John Thomson occurred "this day." This would conflict with the Bible entry saying John died on June 9. The story goes on as follows:

The next morning, when the people there and at the fort learned that the companies which went out the day before had not returned, they grew uneasy and sent off a search party of between twenty and thirty men under Captain Shaffer. These men, when they came to Thomson's, made a thorough search of the house and premises. At length they found the bodies of the two men lying but a little distance apart outside a field, among some pine grubs. Thomson was shot through the left side, and his jacket was scorched by the burning of the powder, so that they thought he had been shot a very short range. Shufelt was shot through the left shoulder. Doubtless the bodies of the dead were buried, but there is no record of the fact, and no monument to tell where they lie.

The following image comes from the Thomson Family Bible and probably represents Juda's handwriting.

Probable handwriting of Juda (Bodine) Thomson

Snell says that Juda was descended from the Jean Bodin from Medis, France; however, he gives no proof for this. The information I have says she actually descends from the Jean Bodin from near Bethune, France. Snell also says the following:

Her husband called her "Juda." So he wrote her name in his family record, and so she continued to write it after his decease. In this form it continues among her descendants to this day. But his care for her came to an untimely end on that dreadful 10th of June, 1778. Henceforth she was alone in the word, with a young child to care for, and destitute. No wonder if she were at first almost in despair. No wonder that she turned down the leaf of her Bible at the passage: "Even to-day is my complaint bitter; my stroke is heavier than my groning" (Job 23:2 - the spelling is as above). It remains still turned down at this place.

The article goes on to say that the settlers should take refuge in Fort Augusta. Juda may have gone with the Wyckoffs, her friends, to Sunbury. How long she remained there is not known. "She availed herself of an early opportunity to set her face again toward the home of her youth. Undoubtedly she traveled by the old road, 'the first road over the Blue Mountain,' which struck the Susquehanna at the Isle of Que."

The article continues with this:

Her child was too small to make the journey on foot and too large to be carried in arms. The horses had been lost the day of her husband's death. But mother-wit is quick wit, and mother-love a love which overcomes all obstacles. She succeeded in securing a little wagon suitable for the purpose, and in it she placed her child, with the Bible, which had been her husband's, and such slight articles of apparel as she had been able to bring with her. This cart she pulled, through storm and sunshine, the whole two hundred and fifty miles, over the mountains and across the streams, through "The Beech Woods," to Easton, and then the Jersey hills to her former home.

Her return was like that of Naomi from the Land of Moab. She "went out full" and the Lord brought her "home again empty." The one treasure she still possessed, the only relic rescued from the destruction of her home by the heathen, was her husband's Bible. The family record in this precious book was now increased (apparently by the hand of some friendly schoolmaster), as follows: "The 9th Day of June, 1778, John Thomson Departed this life; was killed and Scalped by ye Tory & Indians at Shomoken."

A page from the Thomson Bible

The devastations of war had been felt on the Raritan as well as the Susquehanna. Washington's army had crossed the Delaware at Coryell's Ferry (now Lambertville, N. J.), and had met the enemy on that memorable hot Sunday (June 28, 1778) at Monmouth. Several of her friends and relatives were in the army, and (even if she had been willing to receive it) none of them were in a condition to render her more than a very limited assistance.

It is true that her child was but six years of age, and that she was forty-three and without means of support, save such as she should find in her own resources of body and mind. But she had inherited the virtues of generations of struggle with adversities, civil and religious. And her life for nearly half a century had been such as to develop her inborn strength of character, and fit her for the future upon which she was now entering. She was named after the Jewish widow whose wisdom and courage had given a future to her people, and the better courage of this Christian widow now rose in like manner to the height of the occasion. She had only her son to live for; but she would live for him in such a way as to make him worthy of his ancestry. And she did.

As the article stated earlier, during the Revolutionary War, many returned from the Shemokin area to somewhat safer grounds in New Jersey. Judith was one of those. She returned to New Jersey after her husband's death where she worked for the family of Jacobus Van Derveer at Holland's Brook (near Raritan and one mile west of Readington church). Jacobus was married to a Femmetje Stryker.* "She made a home for herself and her boy, and sent him to school while she could, the schoolhouse being only three-fourths of a mile away, on the road to the mill and church. As soon as he was old enough she took care to have him become familiar with the routine of work on the farm. After that she bound him apprentice to a tailor, that he might become the better able to support himself by his own industry." The tailor's name was Pietro Mazzini.

When she was no longer needed there, she went to service with Dr. Jacob Jennings. He was just beginning to practice medicine in the area. Later she was employed by Peter Whorley of Raritan. He kept the big stone tavern at what is now the village of Raritan. After that, she worked for Jacob de Groot of Bound Brook. It is there that that her self-denying life ended. She was buried on June 17, 1796.

The article goes on to say this:

It was customary in those days for a woman who could write to record her name in her Bible, with the added statement that "God gave her grace," etc. This pious formula of covert self-laudation she turned into a prayer, and wrote:

Juda Thomson, her book:

God give her grace therein to look;

Not only to look but to understand!

John Thompson, her son, was married at the age of twenty-one to Hannah Van Syckle. He then bought a farm near Campbell's Brook, Readington. He was for thirty years a Justice of the Peace and thirty-two years a judge of Hunterdon County. He was a prominent citizen. There is more about him featured in Snell's book on pages 526 and following.

*Jacobus Van Derveer, son of Dominicus and Jannetje Van Nostrand Van Derveer, was born December 10, 1721 and baptized on February 10, 1722. He married on May 25, 1745 at Flatbush DRC Femmetje Stryker (b. June 19, 1725). Femmetje Stryker was the daughter of Sarah Bergen (bap. June 2, 1678; d July 15, 1760) the second wife of Jan Stryker. Sarah and Jan were married February 17, 1722. Jan's first wife was Margareta, daughter of Johannes Schenck of Bushwick. As Sarah was married at age 44, it is possible that she too was married previously. Jacobus had moved to Raritan in 1741. Mapes refers to him as Jacob of the Raritans. He may be the "James" of Hunterdon, Reading, listed in the Revolutionary War Census of New Jersey, and the James of Readington, widower, in the 1790 Census. Jacobus may have run a mill on Holland's Brook at Readington. Jacobus and Femmetje had daughters: Sarah, wife of Brogun Brocaw; Jane, wife of Dominicus Stryker; and Catherine, wife of William Spader. This comes from his will which went to probate on October 27, 1815. There was also a son, Jacobus. He was born after 1757 and died after 1815. He married Maria _____. I think he or she was mentioned in his father's will: "part of my dwelling lands and executor of my estate."

The Compendium of American Genealogy, vol. 1 (p. 993) states: John Thompson (1730-78) from Scotland to Hunterdon Co, N J. Moved to Shamokin (Pa.) on West Susquehanna 1776; soldier of Continental army; killed by Tories and Indians, near Cherry Valley; married Judith Bodine (1735-96), granddaughter of Jean Bodine, d. 1695, A Huguenot naturalized at London 1681.

I later received this message from Peter Christianson, a descendant of John and Judah:

Subject: Re: Juda Bodine
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001
From: "The Christiansons" (pchristianson5 at


Thanks for your reply. It was good to hear from someone with a connection to my Bodine line. How are you related?

My sources ("John Thomson and Family" and "A Jersey Woman of the Eighteenth Century" by John Bodine Thompson, my great, great grandfather's - Aaron J. Thompson - brother) state that Jean Bodin's second wife was Esther Bridon, and then goes on to name his children, Marianne and Jean. There is no mention of his first wife, so it has been assumed by my family that Esther was their mother. Your information disputes that. Can you confirm it?

..."John Thompson and Family" ends with a detailed chart of his descendants, down to my great grandmother, Josephine Anderson (Thompson) Kershaw. John Thompson had 11 children, so there is a huge number of descendants.

Also, I was very surprised to see the signature of Juda Bodine and the inscription from the family bible scanned onto the website. The bible was handed down to my grandmother, Grace Louise (Kershaw) Thomas, who donated it to the Readington Reformed Church, in Readington, New Jersey, many years ago.

The book of writings by John Bodine Thompson that I have contains much more family (non-Bodine) history, plus histories of education and libraries, a theological dissertation, and a sermon. I would be happy to share more with you, if you would like. Let me know what you need.


Peter later sent the publication dates for the two articles he mentioned above. "John Thompson and Family" was written in 1889, and Snell is mentioned in one of the footnotes. "A Jersey Woman of the Eighteenth Century" was "Read before the New Brunswick Historical Club March 16,1893."

Donna Tunison sent me this:

SCHQ 1917, p. 43.
Thompson. Various early ancestors bore the name Tomson and Thompson. The Readington Thompsons descend from John Thompson, b. in Scotland in 1730; m. Judick Bodine and settled first near White House, N J., and then at Shamokin, Pa., where he was killed by the Indians in 1778. Had one son, Judge John Thompson, of Hunterdon co. The late Judge Joseph Thompson was a son of Judge John. The family of Col. William Thompson, of Somerville, probably descends from
Cornelius Tomson, of Monmouth co., who d. in 1727. Hon. Lewis A. Thompson, also of Somerville, descends from Thomas Tomson, who was at Easthampton, L. I., in 1649. Generally speaking all Thompsons are either of English cr Scotch descent.