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John Dodson Family of Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

The tract map below prepared by Jeffrey LeFave jlafavre@jcu.edu shows a precise location for the 260 acres of land owned by John Dodson purchased in 1754 and located 3 miles west of the town of Mt. Jackson, Virginia, on Mill Creek.  You can view the full map, and read more about surveys and other properties at this site.  John Dodson sold this land  in May of 1761 and purchased 400 acres on Stony Creek which was willed upon his death to his son Peter Dodson.  

  

 

The following information is all from: “The Dodson (Dotson) Family of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia: A History and Genealogy of their Descendants, Volume One” by Mrs. Sherman Williams, Compiler and Editor and The Rev Silas Emmett Lucas, Jr., Publisher. Southern Historical Press, Inc. Easley SC, 1988.  This publication has the best researched material for the Dodson families of North Farnham Parish in Richmond County Virginia and other counties and nearby states.  The progenitor of the Richmond County VA line was Charles Dodson born about 1650 in either England or America. 

Page 2: “In his will, Charles Dodson, Sr. bequeathed to his wife, Ann, and to his daughters “moveable estate.” To each of his sons, he gave a tract of land with the restriction that the land not be sold out of the Dodson name “except that one brother selleth to another and if no male heir appeareth by none of my sons that then my Daughters may Inherit the Land.” Children names: Charles Dodson, Jr; Thomas Dodson; Bartholomew Richard Dodson; William Dodson; John Dodson; Lambeth Dodson; Anne Dodson; Elizabeth Dodson." 

Page 6: “John was born around the early 1700’s in Richmond County., VA. He married Elizabeth Goad about 1724, and died Shenandoah Co., VA in 1784. John was a minor and probably very young when his father died in 1704/05. He inherited from his father by will 200 acres, “it being part of hickory neck and of Indian Cabin neck binding upon his brother William Dodson (with the proviso in the will that this, and all bequeathed land, not be sold out of the Dodson family).

On 2 July 1726, John Dodson and Charles Dodson sold to Robert Mathews “for the use of Mathews for three natural lifetimes,” 100 acres of his inherited tract. There is some question as to the identity of the Charles Dodson who joined in this conveyance. Some have suggested that it was Charles Dodson III (son of Charles Jr.). However, Charles III signed his legal papers by name while this particular deed was signed by a mark. It would seem more probable that this transaction was made in the name of John’s own son, Charles. In that case there is a conflict of dates. The deed was dated 2 July 1726 while the birthdate of Charles is given in the North Farnham Parish Register as 28 August 1726. There is always the possibility that parish registers contain errors as events were usually not recorded exactly at the time of their occurrences. Whatever the circumstances, John and his heirs considered that the title to the 200 acres in Richmond County remained with them. In John’s will, dated 16 Nov 1779, he gave to his son Charles 5 pds. Current money “in retaliation of the land to which he might have had a right and I do hereby utterly debar my son Charles Dotson his heirs from holding and possessing any part of my land forever.” Whatever the meaning of that statement might have been, Charles Dotson considered himself entitled to the land in question. In his own will, written in Greene Co., TN on 21 June 1797, Charles bequeathed to his son, John, “my land or plantation being or lying in Richmond County and state of old Virginia containing 200 acres . . . . likewise all rents recoverable on the same.”

John Dodson (son of Charles of Greene Co., TN) evidently forgot all about this land since he did not pass its title on to his heirs. If “three natural lifetimes” was considered to be 70 years per lifetime, then this land would not have reverted back into the Dodson family until the 1930’s. No doubt the land in questions was sold by or descended to the heirs of Robert Mathews.

On 6 June 1737, “Charles Dodson and Moses Dodson, the sons of John Dodson,” were put in the care of the church wardens of North Farnham Parish (Richmond Co. Order Bk 10, p. 521). They were 1 and 8 years of age. One wonders at the circumstances of this action.

Evidently before, or soon after, this action John Dodson left Richmond County. He was in old Augusta Co., VA by 1741 when the Rev. John Craig baptized his daughter Elizabeth. Rev John Craig of Donegal Presbytery came as early as 1740 and served regularly the congregations of the Upper Shenandoah and irregularly the scattered settlements on the upper branches of the James and Roanoke rivers. He was the pastor of historic August Stone church.

On 11 Nov 1756, John Dodson patented 260 acres in Frederick Co., VA (Virginia Land Grants: Northern neck Grants, Fairfax tract). John and wife, Elizabeth, of Frederick Co sold this land (described as 260 acres in Frederick, the part formerly Augusta, on Mill Creek adjoining Mary Allen) to Abraham Derst (Darst) for 5 shillings (a curiously small consideration). There were several small creeks in the vicinity called Mill Creek, the best known being one that flows from the northwest and enters the north fork of the Shenandoah River at Mt. Jackson. This was the one the surveyors of the Fairfax line crossed near its head which they identified as “Benjamin Allen’s mill creek.” Allen was one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Mt. Jackson. 

On 30 Sept 1756, John Dodson patented 400 acres in August Co. (Virginia Land Grants: Northern Neck Grants, Fairfax tract). This is likely the “400 acres on the drains of Stony Creek whereon I now live” which John Dodson willed to his son Peter in 1779. Stoney Creek feeds into the north fork of Shenandoah River at Edinburg.  John Dodson was married to Elizabeth Goad, daughter of Abraham and Katherine Williams Goad of Richmond Co., VA. There were several marriages between the Goad and Dodson families. Elizabeth’s sister, Goad Phillips (sic should read Hannah Goad Phillips) (the widow of Tobias Phillips) married William Dodson who was a nephew of John. Another sister, Alice Goad, married Fortunatus Dodson, another nephew of John (William and Fortunatus being sons of Charles Dodson, Jr.). Elizabeth, Hannah and Alice had a brother, John Goad, who settled in Bedford Co., VA. Among his children was a daughter, Joanna, who married Valentine Sevier and became the parents of Col/Gov John Sevier (Governor of the State of Franklin and the first Governor of Tennessee). Valentine and Joanna Goad Sevier settled near New Market, Frederick (now Rockingham) Co., VA and then moved to the Watauga Settlement of Tennessee in the fall of 1773. They died in present Carter Co., TN. The son, Col. John Sevier, settled in the Nolachucky River valley in Washington Co, TN. This no doubt influenced the move of some of John and Elizabeth Goad Dodson’s children to this area.

The children of John and Elizabeth Goad Dodson were:
Martha Ann Dodson (Callendar) – Martha Ann was born 7 Nov 1725, Richmond Co., VA (NFPR). Her marriage to Michael Callender probably occurred under the jurisdiction of “old” Augusta Co., or Frederick Co., VA. She was bequeathed 30 shillings by the will of her father in 1779, referred to as “daughter Ann married to Michael Callender.” There is no further data.

Charles Dotson Charles was born 28 Aug 1726, Richmond Co., VA (NFPR). When he was around the age of eleven, the Churchwardens of North Farnham Parish ordered that he and his brother, Moses, be bound out. The reason is not stated. There is no further mention of Charles until 1753/4 when Charles and Moses Dodson are named as tax delinquents in Augusta Co., VA (Chalkley). Somewhere in Virginia, Charles married Mary (surname unknown). He was living on the Staunton River in 1751 or 1752 when his son, John, was born (John Dodson, Revolutionary Pension #2518). Possibly they were residing in the vicinity of some of their Goad relatives on Staunton River. Later Charles moved to Shenandoah Co., VA where his father resided, and was living there at the outbreak of the Revolution. About 1776 he moved his family to Washington Co., TN, the part that became Green Co. in 1783, but was than a part of North Carolina. He settled on the Nolachucky River and was taxed for 300 acres of land as early as 1780. This tract of land came down in the family to heirs of Charles’ son, Moses Dodson. When John, the father of Charles, wrote his will in 1779 in Shenandoah Co., VA, he left his son Charles 5 pds current money “in retaliation of the land to which he might have had a right and I do hereby utterly debar my son Charles Dotson his heirs form holding and possessing any part of my land forever . . . “The purpose of this emphatic statement is not quite clear. The reference to the “land to which he might have had a right” obviously refers back to that 200 acre tract in Richmond Co. which could not be sold out of the Dodson name, per the terms of the will of Charles Dodson Sr. (1704). It is plain and clear that Charles Dodson (son of John and Elizabeth Goad Dodson) of Greene Co., TN thought he had a right to the 200 acres in Richmond Co. He willed it to his own son, John (of Hawkins Co., TN) in 1797. The 200 acres had been “leased” to Robert Mathews in 1726 for the term of “three natural lifetimes.” No one has yet uncovered the facts regarding the eventual ownership of the 200 acres in Richmond Co. Charles died in Greene Co., TN in 1797 (between 21 Jun, the date of his will, and the August session of court when the will was proved). In the will he named his children, most of whom married in Greene Co., TN. He also named a grandson, Daniel, whose parents were not identified but who was probably a son of Charles Dotson, Jr. This branch of the family generally adopted the “Dotson” spelling of the name. Mary, the wife of Charles Dotson, survived him and held a life estate in his property. She was alive as late as 1816 as shown by Green Co. tax lists, at which date there is a loss of tax lists until 1828 and she is no longer listed. 

Moses Dodson – Moses was born 12 Jan 1729, Richmond Co., VA (NFPR). He and his brother Charles were “put in the car of churchwardens of North Farnham Parish to be bound out, on 6 June 1737 (Richmond Co Court Orders 10-521). There is no explanation for this action. Moses was about 8 years old at the time. There is no information available on the whereabouts of Moses until his name is found on a list of tax delinquents in Augusta Co., VA for the year 1753-4; “Charles and Moses Dodson – out of the county (Chalkley, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, Vol.2, p. 415). After this record, Moses fades into oblivion. It is not known if he married and had children. Apparently he was already dead in 1779 when his father, John, wrote his will in Shenandoah Co., VA as he is not mentioned in the will. 

John Dodson Jr. it is presumed that he is the John Dodson b. 12 Aug 1731 and who died 27 May 1734 Richmond Co., VA (NFPR).

Peter Dodson was born 22 May 1735, Richmond Co., VA (NFPR). He died around Sept 1800 in Shenandoah Co., VA. His wife was Mary (surname unknown). The date of her birth and marriage to Peter are not known, but she was still alive in 1800. Peter inherited his father’s plantation in Shenandoah Co., “400 acres on the drains of Stony Creek,” where he continued to make his home. This branch of the family seemed to be obsessed with the idea of restricting their land to their families. Peter wrote his will on 4 Sept 1800. He specified that his wife, Mary, was “to keep the land and plantation whereon I now live until my two sons, Joseph and Jacob, come of age and they are not to sell it until it comes to their children’s children” (Shenandoah Wills E-373). In 1813, Jacob and Joseph Dodson confirmed this land to each other by deed (Shenandoah deeds U-524,526). This may have been done at the time their mother died. The fact that Peter, born in 1735, had minor children in 1800 could be an indication that he was married twice. He could have had older children by a prior marriage who were not dealt with in his will. Or, this could only mean that he married late in life. A thorough study of Shenandoah Co. records would probably reveal much about this family. 

Elizabeth Dodson (Kyle) – Elizabeth’s date of birth does not appear in North Farnham Parish Register. She evidently was born after the family left Richmond Co. She was baptized in Augusta Co., VA in 1741 by the Rev John Craig . . . The record of her marriage has not been found, but she is referred to in her father’s will as “daughter Elizabeth married to John Coile.” She was bequeathed 30 shillings. Her descendants have not been traced.





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