Woodward, Bezaleel

Birth: July 16, 1745 in Lebanon, CT
Death: August 25, 1804 in Hanover, NH
Affiliation:

Moor's Indian Charity School; Dartmouth College (Honorary Degree 1773); Dartmouth College Board of Trustees (1773-1804); The Presbytery; Committees of Inspection and Correspondence; Committee of Safety

Education:

Moor's Indian Charity School; Yale (1764)

Faith:

Presbyterian

Occupation:

Preceptor Moor's Charity School 1767-1768, tutor 1770-1778, Dartmouth College Librarian 1773-1777, Treasurer 1780-1803, Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, judge, clerk, representative

Residence:

Lebanon, CT (from 1766-11 to 1769)

Hanover, NH (from 1770 to 1804)

Events:

Woodward was very involved in the Western Rebellion, when numerous towns from New Hampshire seceded from the state and formed a union with Vermont in 1778 and again in 1781.

Marital status:

Married Mary Wheelock, the daughter of Eleazar Wheelock, on February 6, 1772 in Hanover. It was the first marriage recorded in the town. They had 9 children: Abigail, William, George, Bezaleel, James, Mary, Henry, Annnette, and Henry.

Biography:

Bezaleel Woodward was an integral figure at Dartmouth College and the greater Hanover community; and like that of Eleazar Wheelock, Woodward’s career consisted of a blend of education, religion, and local affairs. After attending Moor’s and graduating from Yale in 1764, he became a preacher. Upon his return to Lebanon in late 1766, he began to hold various positions at Moor’s and became the first tutor of college department in 1768. Woodward later was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Dartmouth College, as well as a member and clerk of the Board of Trustees. In 1772, he solidified his connection to Wheelock even further by marrying Wheelock’s daughter, Mary. Woodward also held numerous titles outside of the school. He was an elder of the Presbytery and attained multiple appointments in the local court system. A natural leader, Woodward was an influential member and clerk of several committees, representing both Hanover and the Dresden college district. He was thus a leading figure in the Western Rebellion, promoting several towns’ secession from New Hampshire and union with Vermont. Although Woodward resigned from his professorship in 1778, supposedly disassociating himself from Dartmouth while he engaged in politics, it was merely a formality. Upon Wheelock’s death, Woodward acted as president of the college from April to October 1779. Woodward continued to perform many of the executive tasks even after Wheelock’s son and successor, John Wheelock, took over the position, and also held the late Wheelock’s post of treasurer. Claiming to be finished with politics, he officially returned to Dartmouth as tutor in 1782, and performed the president’s duties while Wheelock was abroad in 1782 and 1783. Nonetheless, Woodward continued to participate in local affairs — in 1783 he unsuccessfully attempted to have the New Hampshire General Assembly approve Dresden’s status as a separate town; and in 1786, he became the county treasurer and register of deeds. Woodward remained a prominent figure at Dartmouth and the surrounding area throughout his life. He was, for instance, involved in the construction of Dartmouth Hall in 1784, and was part of the committee formed in 1788 to regulate the contested use of the fund raised by Occom and Whitaker in Great Britain for Moor’s. Woodward died August 25, 1804, at the age of 59.

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Sources:

"Bezaleel Woodward (b. 16 Jul 1745, d. 25 Aug 1804)." Ancestry.com. http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/k/a/z/Kristen-Kazlauskas-WA/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0760.html. Chase, Frederick. A History of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. Ed. John K. Lord. Cambridge, MA: University Press, 1891-1913. Accessed via HathiTrust. Dartmouth College and Associated School General Catalogue 1769-1940. Dartmouth College Publications: Hanover, 1940. Records of the Council of Safety and Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, to which are prefixed the records of the General Conventions from July 1775 to December 1777. Volume 1. Ed. E. P. Walton. Mont Pelier: J.&J.M. Poland, 1873. Accessed via https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output=reader&id=9nIPqVWOd3IC&pg=GBS.PR4.