Bodie State Historic Park, Bodie, California

Misspelling of Bodie

"Incidentally, it is to Robert M. Howland that history is indebted for adopting the spelling "Bodie," as it has now been for 110 years. Judge J. G. McClinton, who came to Aurora in 1860 on the heels of its discovery and was later a Nevada state senator and presiding judge in the Eighth District, and one of the earliest men to own and develop claims in Bodie and Aurora in the 1860’s and well known for his knowledge, his veracity being unquestioned by the pioneers of both camps, described how the spelling was changed:

"The way in which the orthography of Bodey’s name came to be changed as applied to the district was as follows. In 1860, Professor J. E. Clayton and the Hasslet brothers, Ben and John, located the Bodey Ranch between here [Bodie] and Aurora. They cut the natural growth of grass and packed it to Aurora, then a thriving young place, and built a small log stable. Then they gave a verbal order for a sign, "BODEY STABLE"; but the painter for an eye to the beautiful, which I highly commend, executed it "BODIE STABLE" and the word looked so much better in that form that the people soon adopted that style of spelling it. I am not now certain to whom we are indebted for the orthographical improvement, but I think it was Robert M. Howland who is now in Bodie, and at any rate, Bob was the first sign painter I remember having seen in Aurora." In doing research on the early history of Bodie I was privileged one sharp, clear, beautiful spring day in 1937 to have the opportunity to interview two old-timers who had lived in Bodie in its heyday. One was John Parr, whom my father first met in the spring of 1876 when John and Tom Parr, Horace Marden, and others under the direction of Warren Rose and H. M. Yerington, who had bought the 16-stamp brick mill and mines of the defunct Empire Gold and Silver Mining Company, came to Bodie to refit the mill and put it in operation. I visited with Mr. and Mrs. John Parr at their home in Piedmont, California. Both were in their eighties, alert and active. The talk ranged over the early days of Bodie when they lived there, during its heyday. Mr. Parr affirmed that Bob Howland was the man who changed the spelling of Bodey’s name in lettering it for a stable in the early days of Aurora."

Source: Bodie Bonanza, Warren Loose



"The spelling of Bodey District is found throughout the mining records until October 15, 1862, when, on the Notice of Location of The Seneca Quartz Lode, the name Bodie appears for the first time. W.A. Chalfant tells, in his "Outposts of Civilization," that the spelling was changed by a sign painter, Bob Howland by name, who was ordered to paint a sign in Aurora for a livery stable owned by Bob Hazelton of the Body Ranch. He painted "BODIE STABLES" and, as the spelling was more pleasing, and there could be no doubt as to the pronunciation, it remained Bodie from that time on."

Source: The Story of Bodie, Ella M. Cain
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