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Early Dodson Lines in Pennsylvania


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Pennsylvania Dodson Lines

Read about the Northampton County PA Dodson Line Here 

Read about the Luzerne County PA Dodson Line Here

Read about the Bedford County PA Dodson Line Here

Documentation about the Chester County PA Dodson Line Here

Although it has been repeated many times that the Dodsons of Pennsylvania can be traced to a Daniel and Susanna Dodgson/Dodson in Knaresborough in Yorkshire England, and to three of their children migrating to America - this information is undocumented.   Reverend Thompson P Ege first published this  information in 1908 in “Dodson Genealogy 1600 -1907".  Ege said that John, Thomas and Mary Dodson were Quakers who came to Burlington New Jersey in 1677. Although records of the family have been found in England, no record has been found that they migrated to AmericaResearch about this family in England and documentation that they were children of Daniel appears to be correct, but Ege's report about the children coming to America and Thomas going to Talbot County Maryland has not been documented. 

From Ege:

John Dodson, of Daniel I, settled finally in Cheltenham Township, then Philadelphia County, near the Bucks County line, and nearly opposite Burlington County. He became a farmer there, and was living there as late at 1725, at which time, (April 7th, 1725) he witnessed the Will of one Toby Lynch. (Reference, "Will Book E, page 10, Philadelphia Record Office.") John, the older brother, left Burlington, crossed over into Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and settled there about the time Penn returned from England in 1682 with his grant as Proprietor of Pennsylvania, and his first colony of settlers therein.  Note:  There was a John Dodson who witnessed the will as stated, but further records have been found for him, and no record that John, son of Daniel, came to America.

Mary Dodson, of Daniel I. Born Nov. 11, 1664; married in Burlington in 1683, Richard Boyes. Reference "Town Annals of Burlington."   This line has not been traced, tho' there are descendants of the Boyes name still remaining in B'urlington County. Note:  Documentation of this marriage has been found in several different records, but there is no documentation that she was a daughter of Daniel and Susannah Dodson/Dodgson of York England. 

Thomas Dodson, of Daniel I. Born October 19, 1669; married July 16, 1698, Katharine Savill, daughter of John Savill, of Snape, England.
Thomas also left Burlington some time after 1700, went down into Maryland and settled in Talbot County, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, where many of his descendants still remain, while also a long line of descendants, thro' his son John, who settled in Virginia about 1725, are found there and in North Carolina. John, Sr, thus became the head of the Pennsylvania Branch, and Thomas of the Maryland and one Virginia Branch. 
Note:  Recent research has shown that the marriage took place in England, that there is no record that Thomas came to Burlington or that he settled in Talbot County

Read more about Thomas Dodson of Talbot County Maryland Again, there is no documentation that this Thomas is from York England or that he was the son of Daniel and Susannah Dodson/Dodgson.  It is more likely that this Thomas Dodson married and remained in England.  But this information is in publication, again with no documentation.

A Richard Dodson, from whom Rev Ege,  his wife and son-in-law all descend, was baptized in 1731 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Richard was a son of Thomas Dodson, but the mother is unknown. Ege makes an assumption that the Thomas Dodson who married Mary Prigg 14 Apr 1718 at the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, PA, was a son of a John Dodson and was the same Thomas Dodson who migrated to Chester County.  However, Ege supplied no documentation of this relationship.  Also, Ege says that Thomas and Mary had a son Michael baptized at Christ Church in Philadelphia, but the church records do not list the parents' names. 

These types of problems exist throughout Ege’s book. Some assumptions seem logical, although undocumented, such as when two men marry sisters in the same area. They could be brothers, as Ege claims, or merely cousins or some other relationship. Without documentation, it's only a best guess.  

You can download  Ege's book  Dodson Genealogy 1600 to 1907, but please understand that the information in the beginning of the book is undocumented and most likely wrong, based on other records.


Chester County Pennsylvania Dodson Line

A Thomas Dodson of Pennsylvania married a Mary Prigg 14 Apr 1718 in Philadelphia at the First Presbyterian Church. 

Although Ege said that Thomas was John’s son, he supplied no documentation. 

Ege did not cite many of his sources, but he said that Thomas settled in Chester County, Vincent Township, Pennsylvania in 1723, having purchased land from the Franklins, and that he is showing on a 1729 tax list as a landowner.  These records have not been found, but in 1730 a Thos. Dotson is showing in the Vincent Township Chester County Tax list, and on 3 December 1731 is living on French Creek where three of his children were baptized by Rev John Caspar Stoever.  Those children were Hannah, William and Richard

Some added information about Thomas Dodson in Chester County from Ege:

1746 May 26  Thomas Dodson 100 acres of land in Chester County.
1755 August 25 Survey map shows  Thomas' land and with John Dodson's adjoining it.
1756 A Thomas moved to E Nantmeal Township
1758 A Thomas owned lands in Nantmeal and Vincent township

Because Thomas is said to have had a son Thomas, it’s hard to distinguish between the two on Chester County records showing Thomas Dodson. 

Ege claims thirteen children for Thomas and Mary Prigg Dodson.  Please noteOnly the three children baptized in Chester county on French Creek in 1731 - Richard, Hannah and John William -  can be documented as children of a Thomas Dodson.  Their mother is not listed. However, the children claimed by Ege to be those of Thomas and Mary born between 1717 and 1740 and are Jane, John, Michael, Thomas, Anne, Hannah, William, Richard, James, Mary, Joseph, Samuel and Esther.  

       Jane Dodson Ege reports Jane as a first-born daughter of Thomas and Mary Prigg Dodson and as  born about 17 January 1717/1718 and dying 25 January 1718 in Cheltenham Township of Philadelphia.  There is a record of her death, and her parents are listed as Thomas and Mary Dodson. Christ Church Records

    John Dodson is the next child claimed to be a son of Thomas and Mary.  It’s clear from several records that there was a John Dodson living in Chester County who would have been of the age to be a son born of these parents.  However, there is nothing that fully documents the relationship.  It is said that John was born in 1720 in Chester County, PA.   

Ege states that John had a license January, 1745, to marry Mary Eleanor Evans, of Wales, granted by the Court of Chester County. A record of a marriage license was found for John Dodson in Pennsylvania, but it does not name bride or county.  However, There are three Chester county wills of the Evans family which document the wife of John Dodson as Eleanor Evans – the wills of her father, her mother and her brother.

John appears to have spent most of his life in Chester County, probably in Vincent and East Nantmeal Townships. 

1756 John Dodson Vincent Townshp tax list
1760 John Vincent Township Chester County Tax List
1764 60 acres of land with buildings and 20 acres of woodland.
1765 John Dodson Vincent Twp.
1768 An article relating to foreclosure of a neighbor's land tells us that the land, owned by Myrick Davis, is: 40 acres, bounded by lands of John David, Taylor, John Dodson, and Joseph Eddy" (near Yellow Springs Baptist Cemetery)
1770 John Dodson Vincent County Landowner
1774 John Dodson was a landowner in Chester County along with a William Evans, probably his brother-in-law.
1776 in what was later Luzerne County PA Richard , Thomas, James and John Dodson in the Plymouth District.
1777 Ege says he went to Salem Township Luzerne Co but was driven out by Indians. Returned there later with sons where they all made homes.
1786 Dodson John Sr. East Nantmeal 1786 Gone from Tax list
1786 Dodson John Jr. East Nantmeal 1786 Gone from Tax list
1789 John Dodson is showing in East Nantmeal Twp Chester County, PA

Some have said, probably quoting Ege, that about 1797 or 1798, John (and Thomas Dodson) removed with their families to the adjoining township of Huntington, Luzerne county, and there John Dodson died March 10, 1818, aged ninety-seven years and eleven months with his remains being buried in the "Goss" graveyard, at Harveyville, Huntington township.   The Susquehanna Democrat Newspaper of Luzerne County PA reported on 20 March 1818  "Died - In Huntington on the 8th March last, John DODSON, aged 97 years and 11 months."

Descendants of Richard and Samuel Dodson also moved to Luzerne County to Salem and Huntington Townships, and it is reported that sons of John born about 1720 also moved there. Information about John, born 1720, may be confused with a John Dodson who was son of Samuel of whom there are records of early settlement in Luzerne County.  There are several write-ups about this John, son of Samuel, one of which states, “John Dodson was born in Northampton county, Pa., February 26, 1771, and located in Huntington (township in Luzerne County) in 1796. He was the first Pennsylvanian who settled in this township”

Read more about descendants of John Dodson

     Michael Dodson is said to be a son of Thomas and Mary Prigg Dodson. Although Ege has said that he confirmed the parents from the baptismal record in Philadelphia, Christ Church, the record only shows a Michal Dodson baptized 29 July 1722 with no date of birth nor the surnames of the parents recorded. 

Michael's wife's name, Ann Evans, is obtained from the three wills for her father, mother and brother. These also establish her relationship as sister to Eleanor Evans, wife of John Dodson.

In 1717 a Samuel Nutt established an iron forge in Chester County, and a second forge at the confluence of the north and south branches of French Creek. It is believed this is the Michael referenced in an entry in the day book of Coventry forge in Chester County: 

"April 24th.  1752, Carried a letter to George Taylor from Anna Nutt and Robert Grace to discharge the sd Geo. Taylor as manager for the sd Nutt and Grace as their manager at Coventry Forge and the sd Taylor took the letter from me and said he would write an answer as soon as he had time to do so. (Signed) Michael X Dodson. Witness, Jno. Hunt."

Michael is found in the 1750 and 1753 tax lists for Chester County, Vincent Township, but we know he moved to Frederick County, Maryland sometime between 1753 and 1757.  Frederick County was formed in 1748 with land taken from Prince George's County; in 1776 it then became the parent to Montgomery and Washington Counties.  In October 1757 in Frederick County Maryland Court Papers: Michael Dodson and others to appear in March Court 1758 to answer complaint of Capt. Thomas Norris. Michael Dotson witnessed a bill of sale dated 16 February 1760 from Samuel Lewis of Pipe Creek Hundred to John Brazilton. Family records show that John Braselton immigrated to America about 1730. He married in Fredrick County Maryland and settled about 10 miles east of Frederick Town on Pipe Creek, where he purchased land which was surveyed in 1746, was on Hans or Hand Branch of Little Pipe Creek and was called Level Springs.  In July 1760, Michael Doddson, son-in-law of John Evans, was living in Maryland as stated by the will of John Evans.  In July of 1782 there is a record in Frederick County of a wheat certificate issued to a Michael Dodson. By this date there are two other Michael Dodsons in Maryland who would be adults, one born in 1751 and the other born in 1759, so it's not clear as to which Michael is referenced.
In June of 1783 Michael, formerly of Chester County, Pennsylvania is still living in Frederick county Maryland, according to the will of William Evans, brother-in-law of Michael, when William references "my plantation in Frederick County, Maryland known as Pleasant Meadows whereon Michael Dodson now lives"

No record has been found for the death of Michael or Ann Evans Dodson. There is a Michael Dodson in the 1790 census of Frederick County Maryland with two males over age 16, but it's not clear which of the three Michaels this would be.

Read more about
Michael Dodson and his descendants.

    Thomas Dodson is said to be another son of Thomas and Mary Prigg Dodson but very little is known about him, his family or his whereabouts.  There is a record of land for 100 acres in Chester County, PA 26 May 1746, but it is not clear if this is father or son.

Ege reports, with no documentation, Thomas Dodson, son of Thomas and Mary Prigg Dodson, was born in 1732, in Chester County, Pa. After reaching manhood and probable marriage he settled for a time in what is now Lehigh County, and finally, in the latter part of 1700, settled in the western part of the State on a farm near Warrior's Mark, in Huntingdon County. Of his wife and family no data has been obtained except the name and descendants of one son, Richard.

There is a Thomas who owned 367 acres of land in Shenandoah Co VA which was on Jeremy's Run, which would now be in  Page County Virginia. This land was sold 12 March 1776 to Ephraim Leith. There is a Thomas Dodson,  Revolutionary War soldier in Shenandoah County who enlisted in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but his date of birth is 1748, so he appears to be too young to be of this generation. 

There are many Thomas Dodsons who had Pennsylvania connections, so it's very difficult to be certain.   Some have claimed a Richard Adams Dodson as a son of this Thomas, but no conclusive documentation.

There is a lawsuit filed in 1793 by a Mary Dodson, widow of a Thomas Dodson regarding the sale of the 1746 land.  

    Ann Dodson is said to have been born about 1725 in Chester County, Pennsylvania and to have died October 1790 in Frederick County, Maryland.  She is said to have married a James or Joseph Burneston.  With a marriage in Baltimore and family name connections to the Maryland Dodsons, it's not certain this is the correct line.  However there is a suggestion in a family write-up:  "Mrs. Dodson, the great-great-grandmother of Chas. J. Baker, was born in Pennsylvania, Jan. 24, 1699 (this is supposedly referencing Mary Prigg Dodson). Her daughter Ann was married to Joseph Barneston, of Frederick County, Md., and their daughter Anna was born Oct. 28, 1757, and married William Baker, the grandfather of Charles J. Baker."

    Hannah Dodson is said to have been born  7 Dec 1727 in Chester County, PA and baptized 23 December 1731.  She is said to have married a William Richard Templin in Chester County.  There is a record of her burial at St. Mary's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Warwick, Chester County, PA: Birth date: 12/7/1727, Death date: 7/23/1805.  It is believed that this family may have lived in both Berks County, where some children were born, and also in Chester County.

   William Dodson is said to have been born about 1730 in Chester County, PA, but no records have been found for him or for his descendants.  There is a William Dodson later in the Washington County Maryland census in 1790, but unknown if same  It's possible that some of the unconnected Dodsons might belong to this line.

   Richard Dodson was the ancestor of Thompson P Ege and this information comes from his book:  Richard Dodson, fourth son of Thomas and Mary Prigg Dodson, was born in Chester County, Pa., June 26, 1731, and with a brother and sister, William and Hannah, were baptized at the same time, December 3, 1731, by Rev. John Caspar Stoever, Jr., an early Lutheran missionary, who ministered to the scattered people of the several counties in the eastern part of the State. 

This reference of birth and baptism dates was recently found by the author in a record of baptisms and marriages, as written by Rev. John Casper Stoever, and recently translated from the German (1896) by Rev. J. F. J. Schantz, D. D., of Myerstown, Pa. Said record book is now preserved in the Pennsylvania Historical Society Library in Philadelphia. 

Richard removed about the time or soon after his marriage to Penn Township, Northampton County, Pa., where he purchased and owned land near some other brothers and members of the Rhodes family, relatives of his wife, Susannah Rhodes, granddaughter of John Rhodes, of Derbyshire, Eng land, who came to Pennsylvania in 1682, with Wm. Penn, and took up a large body of land, on which is now the town of Darby, a suburb of Philadelphia, and so named by him from his native shire of England. 

During the war of the Revolution, Richard Dodson raised a company of militia in Penn Township, Northampton County, Pa., of which he was commissioned as captain, May 22nd, 1775. (Penna. Archives, 2nd Series, Vo'l. XIV. Page 555.) His company became part of the famous "Pennsylvania Line," in which he served during the war, and it is thought until after the winter at Valley Forge. 

About 1780 he removed from Northampton County to Salem Township (Beach Haven), Luzerne County, Pa., and by warrant took up two hundred acres of land, fronting on the Susquehanna River. There he built his home of hewn logs from the forest, and began to farm anew. Among his first troubles incident to his new home were those of disputed boundaries and claims between the Connecticut and Pennsylvania settlers, which were finally settled by the Colonial Assembly surveying and defining boundaries and giving each landholder a river frontage of a thousand feet, and so running back from the same. Indian raids were frequent, and their depredations were severe. In one of these raids their oldest son, John, of about eighteen years, was killed. He was buried on the Beach Haven farm, near the river. 

In the late fall of 1784, in another Indian incursion, they were driven from their home and their house was burned, with all its contents, family records, deeds and papers. The father was breaking up some new ground for spring planting, some distance from the house. The mother noticed a skulking Indian near. She at once sent one of the young children to warn the father. He sent the child back to have the mother send the children one by one to the spring, as if to get water, and last of all, she herself followed with infant in arms. (Said infant became the grandmother of the author.) Meanwhile the father hid his horses in a thicket of bushes, joined them and hastened to their boat at the river, wherein to make their escape. When about the middle of the river they saw their home in flames, the Indians dancing around it, and hurling feather beds in the air. They crossed to Wapwallopen, where they found such shelter as best they could, and with but their scanty clothing for a protection, passed the night. 

In the morning the father ventured back, found his horses, and recrossing the river with them, began their refuge journey through the Wapwallopen Gap, and over the mountains to relatives and friends in Northampton County. 

From the hardships and exposure of the war and the recent toil and experience of loss and journey Richard sick- ened and died in the next year. The mother was left with quite a family of young children. These were compelled to find homes with friends and strangers. The widow's main dependence being her oldest son, Joseph, then about nineteen years of age, who became the practical head of the family, and with whom the mother made her home, surviving her husband until 1815. 

As soon as they could, when Joseph became of age, they returned to Salem Township and took up their claim. They found other claimants for it, and a dispute between two such for its unlawful possession. The court finally awarded it to one "Lockhard" on condition of his paying the widow Dodson's claim, a large portion of which land is still in the Lockhard possession (Case of Lockhard vs. Kuhn and Kern (Bound Mss. Proprietaries, Pg. 579) July, 1790). Joseph then finally took up a large tract of eight hundred acres in Union Township, Luzerne County, about 1796, having then married.

Read more about Richard Dotson and his descendants

    James Dodson, according to Ege was born about 1734 in Chester County PA.  There is a tax listing for a James in 1750 in Chester County PA. A James Dodson was in the  6th Btn. of Northumberland County PA from 16 Nov /1780 to 4 Jan 1781 and also 26 Sept 1781 to 12 Nov 1781. A James Dotzen is listed as discharged 1783/1784 from Northampton County militia.  It is not known if this is the same James Dodson.  It's more likely that this James was son of John and Eleanor Evans Dodson.  No records of his descendants.  According to Ege:  According to the memories and traditions of family members, James and Joseph went to KY soon after or about the close of the Revolution.

    Mary Dodson is said to be the next child in this line, but no further information about her or her descendants.

    Joseph Dodson born about 1737 is the next child, but no documented information about him or his descendants.  There is a Joseph Dodson in Frederick County Maryland living near Michael Dodson, who is probably this Joseph.  He shows in the 1765 tax list for Chester County, but shows in Coventry Township in 1769 as absconded.  We find a Joseph Dodson in Frederick County Maryland about this time, married to a Catherine Plain.  This family later migrated to Fayette County, PA.  Based on names and locations, it's possible that this Joseph is the son of Thomas and Mary Prigg Dodson. Ege wrote:  According to the memories and traditions of family members, James and Joseph went to KY soon after or about the close of the Revolution.

Read more about Joseph Dodson.  Read more about descendants of Joseph Dodson.    

    Samuel Dodson was born 6 May 1738 and quite a bit of information has been written or recorded about him and his family. Church records for this family are found in The Moravian Church Records of Gnadenhütten, Pennsylvania.  Read more about Samuel Dodson and his descendants.

There are several accounts about the family and the capture of Samuel's daughter Abigail. 

In 1775, Benjamin Gilbert came to the valley of the Mahoning in Penn township, Northampton county, five or six miles from Fort Allen - now in Mahoning township, Carbon county. The family of Samuel Dodson came to the valley about the same time. They settled about a mile from the Gilberts, on a farm near Pleasant Corner. Samuel was a native of Chester County, where he was married, and where his children were born. Abigail, when fourteen years of age, was sent by her father to the mill of Benjamin Gilbert, on the Mahoning Creek. Early on the morning of the 25th of April, 1780, she was captured with the Gilbert family by the Indians. Abigail Dodson was given to one of the families of the Cayuga nation, and was finally surrendered to her relatives at a place now known as the city of Detroit, Michigan, after having been in captivity about three years. The family of Dodsons remained upon their plantation, and did not, like many others, abandon their settlement.

Samuel Dodson died in 1795, and was buried in the Lizard Creek Valley. Soon thereafter most of his family removed to Shamokin, later going to Huntington township, Luzerne county, where their descendants are numerous. His children were John, Thomas, Samuel, Joseph, Hannah, Elizabeth, Polly, Abigail, and Sally. 

John, the eldest son, after the death of his father, took the management of the farm, and in 1797 sold it, and the family all moved to Shamokin. The children of Samuel had all reached maturity, and several of them were married and settled on the homestead farm in Mahoning Valley. Joseph was married before the death of the father; and Isaac T. Dodson, so well known to old citizens of the county of Carbon, was born on the homestead farm in 1796. His father, Joseph, moved with the rest of the family to Shamokin. After a few years most of the family of Samuel removed to Huntington township, Luzerne Co., where their descendants are numerous


    Esther Dodson said to be the last child of Thomas and Mary Prigg and born around 1740 in Pennsylvania.  Nothing is known of her or her descendants.

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