Rev. William Bradford Dodge
REV. WILLIAM BRADFORD DODGE, deceased, deserves representation in this volume,
having been one of the early settlers of the county, and a prominent man of that
day. He was born in Rowley, Essex County, Mass., September 29, 1783, and sprang from
an old English family. The progenitor of the family in America was Richard Dodge, a
gentleman of English birth who came from his native land to America about 1630, and
died in Beverly, Mass., in 1671. In direct line of descent they ran as follows:
John, who was born in 1631, John, born in 1652; Phineas, born in 1688; John, born in
1714; Phineas, a Revolutionary soldier, born in 1745; and William B. of this sketch.
Portrait and Biographical Album
Lake County, Illinois, 1891
Our subject was a man of fine mind, and being afforded good educational
advantages he stored it with much useful knowledge. He was an able educator
and for forty years taught in one school in Salem, Mass. The last seventeen
years of his residence in the Bay State he served as Chaplain in the City
Asylum. Near Newburyport, Mass., he married Miss Sarah, daughter of Capt.
Samuel and Hannah (Little) Dole. She was born near Newburyport, December 8,
1781. Of their twelve children, five died in childhood and seven lived to be
grown, but all of the family save one, Judith, unmarried, have passed away.
In the spring of 1844, Mr. Dodge and his wife followed the course of human
emigration which was steadily flowing westward and located in Avon township, on a
farm where be made his home until his death. He was soon called to preach for the
Congregational Church in Millburn, of which pastorate he continued in charge some
nineteen years, when he resigned on account of age. He was a strong anti-slavery man
and during the dark days preceding the Civil War his voice was often heard upon the
lecture platform advocating the cause of freedom for the oppressed negro. He took a
very active part in everything pertaining to the advancement and welfare of the
county and was particularly interested in political affairs. When the Republican
party was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery he was one of the first
to espouse its cause and became one of its staunch supporters. He lived to see the
war brought to a successful terminus, the Union saved and the negro made a free man-
causes in which his whole heart was engaged. His death occurred April 1, 1869, and
his faithful wife joined him in the future home the following February. Among the
early settlers "Father Dodge" was greatly revered forhis knowledge and for his
great goodness of heart and purity of life. The nobility of his character left its
impress upon those with whom he came in contact and still lives, exerting a benign
influence in the world.
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