Other branches of our family tree



Richard Wodell (Abt 1515-?)

Mary Ithell (Abt 1518-?)

This branch of the Wodell family is considered to have come from Warwickshire, England.

Richard and Mary had two sons:

   William Wodell    b. 1540
   John Wodell       b. 1542


William Wodell (Abt 1540-?)

Meribe Lascall

The only known children of William and Meribe are:

   Lascelle Wodell     1566-?
   Gershom Wodell      1583-?


Gershom Wodell (1583-?)

wife unknown

Again, just two sons are known:

   Gershom Wodell  ?-1710     m. Sarah ?
   William Wodell  1614-1693  m. Mary Gatchell

Both sons came to America and settled in Rhode Island.


William Wodell (1614-1693)

Mary Gatchell (1622-1675)

In 1637, William was living in Boston, Massachusetts. He shortly got into political trouble and was accused of treason against the colony. The charges were based on: "the opinions and revelations of Mr. Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson which seduced and led into dangerous errors many of the people here in New England." Resisting the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, he was nevertheless brought before the court in Boston, charged with heresy and sedition, and with others was ordered by the town council to give up all arms and ammunition. The entire company was sentenced to prison, with the death penalty added should they attempt to escape. Though most of his companions were imprisoned, William remained at large until the following March, at which time he was banished from Massachusetts.

Following the lead of many political refugees from Massachusetts, William went to Rhode Island where he was one of the first settlers of the new colony. In 1643, he and ten others bought a tract of land from the Indians, founding the historic charter colony of Warwick, RI. In the same year he also appears in Portsmouth where he served as deputy to the General Court for sixteen years.

In 1643, he was one of the company of Groton, serving in the Colonial Wars. He was taken prisoner, and was imprisoned at Watertown by the government of Massachusetts. He was subsequently released. Before 1648, he had moved to Tiverton, Portsmouth RI.

He lived the remainder of his life in Portsmouth, filling various important offices until at least 1690. He was a freeman in 1655, Commissioner from 1656 to 1663, Deputy to the General Court in 1664 and succeeding years, and member of the special council for the colony of Rhode Island in King Philip's War 1675, and was appointed Assistant in 1684.

William and his wife, Mary Gatchell had six children:

   Uzal Wodell     1639-?
   Mary Wodell     1640-1703  m. Daniel Grinnell
   Gershom Wodell  1642-?     m. Mary Tripp
   Sarah Wodell    1644-1680  m. Samuel Sanford
   Alice Wodell    1650-1734  m. Abraham Anthony
   Frances Wodell  1652-1692  m. John Anthony

Mary Gatchell Wodell died in 1676, and William died in 1692.


Mary Wodell (1640-1702)

Daniel Grinnell (1634-1702)

There is an interesting but highly quesionable anecdote in the linking of one American family to English origins. That is the claimed connection between the American Wodell (Wordell) and the English Woodhull families.

In this scenario, Mary Wordell is claimed have come from a long, large and influential English family. The English spelling of the name is Woodhull. The "Wordell" version originated in America, but as usual there are variations, with the common version being "Wodell". Mary's father, William Wodell, is known to have emigrated from England to Rhode Island. It also seems clear that his father's name was Gershom, the grandfather was William and the great-grandfather was Richard Wodell.

At the turn of the century, a professional genealogist under an assignment prepared a paper demonstrating that the American Wordell line was directly linked to the English Woodhull family. The case was made that Mary Wodell (and thus her descendants) were directly related to Sir Nicholas Woodhull in England. The Woodhull family name is an ancient one and is well documented through the centuries to the Magna Carta. Not satisfied with that impressive lineage, the line continued back to William the Conqueror (1027-1087), and even to Charlemagne (741-814)!

Thus linked to British nobility, a social coup of prime magnitude was established. Social mavens who were American descendants of Mary Wodell could then make heredetary links to British nobility.

As it turned out upon further analysis, the link fails close scrutiny at the last proved English noble, Fulk Woodhull (1530-1613). The two intervening generations between Fulk and William Wodell (1604-1693) are simply filled with names with no substantiating dates or documentation.

Note: This astonishing piece of genealogical research is found in Magna Carta, by John Wurts, 1945, pages 864-865


For further information on this family, see the GRINNELL section of this history.

Thank you for visiting our family history.

You can click here to go back to the top of this family page.

Or, Return to the Family Surname list.

Comments are welcome, and any additions or corrections are especially appreciated.

ink potYou can reach us at: geneals@earthlink.net

Updated 4-17-03