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Archiver > BODKIN > 1999-02 > 0919356497

From: "Mark Allen" <>
Subject: Gleb Botkin Letter
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 10:48:17 -0600

To the group in regards to the Gleb Botkin story submitted by Linda earlier
here is a letter he wrote. The details of the Hugh and Charles Botkin
coming to America and fighting in the Rev War are incorrect. My Charles is
the Charles he mentions and although Charles did serve in the Cont Army and
Hugh was in the Militia they did not come from Ireland or anywhere outside
America. The story of two Botkin brothers coming to America together is a
common one passed around and is generally told in regards to either Charles
and a brother named Hugh or sometimes the brother is named George.

You'll have to reformat the letter. I have everything saved in Word format
and the formatting is lost when going through the Rootsweb server.

Mark Allen






December 26th, 1968

Dear Mrs. Holmes,

So many thanks for your kind and interesting letter. I have little that you
and I are related, even if we probably must go quite a few generations back
to find our common ancestor.

The name "Botkin", originally spelled "Baudekin" and later "Bodkin", has,
according to some historical material I have been shown by a history
professor, originated towards the end of the 13th century, in Ireland. It
seems that a certain Thomas, related to the FitzGeralds, won some kind of
battle in which he fought with a short, gold sword - that is, a bodkin - and
was first nicknamed and ultimately given the official name of "Thomas Boyd
Bodkin" which meant in Gaelic, "Thomas the Gold Sword". He also designed the
first Bodkin coat-of-arms which is obviously a variation of the FitzGerald
coat-of-arms. The latter consists of a red St. Andrew’s cross on a white
shield. Thomas Bodkin’s coat-of-arms, dated "about 1290", consists of the
same red St. Andrew’s cross, but on an ermine shield and with two gold
leopard heads added - one, right under the center of the cross; the other,
in the crest.

It seems that the spelling "Bodkin" changed to "Botkin" in Scotland to which
some of the Botkins moved, just the way the Irish Galaghers became Galachers
in Scotland.

I have no official documents to prove it, but apparently the first Botkin to
move from Scotland to Russia was my great-grandfather, Conan Botkin. Two of
his sons, Hugh and Charles did not like it in Russia and came to Virginia
where they fought in the Revolutionary War. Some of the Virginia Botkins
claim descent from them, while the ancestors of other Botkins and Bodkins
seem to have come to this country directly from Scotland and Ireland. I have
been visited by a number of Botkins and Bodkins and we all acknowledge one
another as cousins.

In Russia, the Botkins had acquired the status of hereditary Noblemen. The
most prominent among them were: my great-grandfather, Peter Botkin, and
three of his sons, Basil, Michael and Sergius. Peter Botkin was a man of
great wealth and his house was a gathering place for young writers,
philosophers, poets and artists. Basil was himself an author and
philosopher. Michael assembled the largest collection of Byzantine art in
the world. Sergius, my grandfather, was a famous physician and
philanthropist and is often referred to as "the Father of Russian Medicine".
He was also the personal physician of the Russian Emperors Alexander II and
Alexander III. My father, Eugene Bodkin, was the personal physician of
Emperor Nicholas II and perished with his Sovereigns and their children in
Siberia, in 1918.

The Botkins, however never seemed to feel quite at home in Russia. On his
vacations, Grandfather usually went to the British Isles. He and his
brother, Michael, acquired land in Finland, and it was in Finland that I was
born. By now, there are no Botkins left in Russia. There are Botkins in
Sweden, in Scotland and Ireland. They seem to be quite numerous in Virginia,
West Virginia and Ohio in which latter State, as you probably know, there is
even a town called "Bodkin".

Many thanks also for your lovely Christmas card and good wishes. In my turn,
I wish you a very happy New Year.

With kindest regards,

Most cordially yours,

(Signed) Gleb Bodkin

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