Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch

In 1802 Nathaniel Bowditch of Salem published The New American Practical Navigator (which is often referred to as simply "the Bowditch" and whose full title is  "The New American Practical Navigator: Being an Epitome of Navigation; Containing All the Tables Necessary to Be Used With the Nautical Almanac in ... and Keeping a Complete Reckoning at Sea").  This remarkable publication is still in use by those who navigate ocean-going vessels to this date.  It has been through over fifty editions (and its publication is now overseen by the US Government).

 Part of 1884 Map showing the Bowditch property (off May Street)

Part of 1884 Map showing the Bowditch property (off May Street)

Upon Nathaniel's death in 1838 the editorial responsibility for the book was passed to his second son Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch (1806- 1889).  Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch moved to Jamaica Plain in 1854 when he  purchased most of the land known as Moss Hill today,  from Theopolus Parsons.   His first house actually burned in 1856 but luckily, the family's bust of Nathaniel Bowditch was saved from the flames. He rebuilt his home and became involved in many community organizations, including the First Church.  He served as an Overseer at Harvard as well as serving on the Corporation of MIT.

In 1836, Jonathan married Lucy Orne Nichols. She was the granddaughter of Col. Thomas Pickering who had served as an aide to Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War.  Togther they had eight children.  Six lived to their maturity (3 sons and 3 daughters).

Jonathan also constructed homes on his Jamaica Plain property for each of his three sons. The last house built for Alfred, dates to 1885. 

 

 
 Lucy Orne Nichols Bowditch. Courtesy First Church of Jamaica Plain.  Download photograph at high-resolution.

Lucy Orne Nichols Bowditch. Courtesy First Church of Jamaica Plain.
Download photograph at high-resolution.

Sources:

The Bowditch-Loring Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society

Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,Vol. 24 (May, 1888 - May, 1889), pp. 435-437  

 

 

 Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch. Courtesy First Church of Jamaica Plain.  Download photograph at high-resolution.

Jonathan Ingersoll Bowditch. Courtesy First Church of Jamaica Plain.
Download photograph at high-resolution.