- Marc Rothenberg
Bowditch, Nathaniel (26 March 1773–16 March 1838), astronomer and mathematician, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Habakkuk Bowditch, a shipmaster and cooper, and Mary Ingersoll. His family moved to Danvers, Massachusetts, while he was still an infant but returned to Salem when Bowditch was seven. Business reverses forced his family into poverty, and Bowditch’s formal education ended at age ten, when he entered his father’s cooperage shop. In 1785 he became an apprentice clerk in the ship-chandlery shop of Hodges and Ropes in Salem; five years later he moved to the shop of Samuel C. Ward. Between January 1795 and December 1803, Bowditch made five voyages on merchant ships, including four to the East Indies and one to Europe, serving on the last voyage as master and part owner. In March 1798, between voyages, he married Elizabeth Boardman, who died seven months later. He married Mary Ingersoll, a cousin, in 1800; they had eight children....