Luzerne County PA Dodsons

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Luzerne County Pennsylvania Dodson Line

Huntington and Salem Townships

Luzerne was formed from other Pennsylvania counties, so Dodson records from 1752 to 1786 can show up in other Pennsylvania counties.  Because of changing county lines, it's often hard to understand where people were on certain dates in history.  Northampton County was formed in 1752.  Northumberland County was formed in 1772 from five counties, including Northampton.  Luzerne County was formed from Northumberland County in 1786. 

In viewing the migration path of the Dodsons who settled in Luzerne County Pennsylvania around the end of the 1700's, it appears they are descendants of Dodsons born in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Some facts about the Chester County Dodson line.  The early Dodson line in Chester County is not fully documented, but it is thought that Thomas Dodson born about 1685 was the father to the following sons born in Chester County:  John born about 1720 married Eleanor Evans; Michael born about 1722 married Ann Evans; William or John William born about 1729; Richard born about 1731 married Susannah Rhodes; Thomas born about 1732; James born about 1734; Joseph born about 1737 and Samuel born about 1738 married Elizabeth Rhodes.  Information about these men and their descendants was first outlined in a book by Rev Thompson P Ege in 1907.  His ancestral line went back to Richard, and he only shows scanty information about the other children.  With the surnames of the first generation repeating in later generations, it's hard to document lineages.  

From tax listings and other information, it appears that John Dodson spent many years in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  It appears that late in life he went with his sons to Luzerne County where he died in 1818.

Michael Dodson of Chester County was an early settler in  Frederick County, Maryland, and his descendants were probably those who migrated to Bedford County and surrounding counties in Pennsylvania.  

A widow of a Thomas Dodson filed a court case in 1793 in Coventry Township in Chester County PA about land Thomas had purchased in 1746 in Chester County.  He may be the Thomas who owned and sold land in Shenandoah County, Virginia in 1776, but this has not been fully documented.  There is a Richard Dotson born in 1752 in Frederick/Shenandoah County VA, and the DNA of his descendants matches descendants of  the Dodsons of Chester County PA.  

Ege does not address the migration of sons James and Joseph Dodson of Chester County, only making a comment that they may have left Pennsylvania and settled "in Kentucky".  It appears that Joseph Dodson was in Chester County for a few years and then migrated to Frederick County, Maryland around 1765.  He lived there for about 30 years, raised his family, and then migrated with some of his grown children  to Washington Township in Fayette County Pennsylvania before 1800, and probably died there. 

John, Richard and Samuel Dodson of Chester County seem to be the most likely progenitors of later generations of Luzerne County.  

Although it has been said that John, born 1720 in Chester County settled in Luzerne County, several write-ups about John, a son of Samuel and Elizabeth Rhodes Dodson, report another John Dodson who settled in Huntington Township in Luzerne County.   So there is confusion.  It is possible that both lived and died there. The "History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania" published in 1893 says, "John Dodson was born in Northampton county, Pa., February 26, 1771, and located in Huntington (township) in 1796. He was the first Pennsylvanian who settled in this township, all other settlers having come from States east of this."  Another source says, "A Mr Tubbs moved to Huntington Valley PA and settled on Lot 29 of the first Division in Huntington which his father had deeded to him.  On 20 April 1796 he sold it to John Dodson of Penn Twp of Northampton County, PA for 345 pounds.  This lot became the John Dodson homestead lying between Huntington Mills and the Watertown Cemetery. "

It is believed that two men, claimed to be sons of John from Chester, Thomas and James Dodson, also were early settlers in Luzerne County in Salem Township.  Ege comments:  "John's two sons were born in Chester County. John removed to Salem Township, Luzerne County, in 1777, but was driven out by the Indians. He returned later, with his sons, and made themselves homes, clearing virgin forests there for buildings and farms."   John's sons are said to be Thomas, James and John, and were early settlers, along with descendants of Samuel Dodson. 

There is a record of a Richard, Thomas, James and John Dodson in 1776 in Plymouth District of what became Luzerne County PA.  This township was formed in 1768 by the Susquehanna company at Hartford Connecticut.  These could be four brothers from Chester County or the Thomas, James and John, sons of John.  There is no record that John had a son named Richard. 

Luzerne County, Pennsylvania was formed in 1786 from Northumberland County.  In 1793 in Northumberland County, we find a record of 400 acres of land patented to each of Susannah, John, Mable, Thomas and James Dodson. These people are probably the wife and children of Richard Dodson who was born 1731 and died in 1785.   This land was sold in 1832.

Richard and Samuel Dodson from Chester County, PA married sisters. Richard married Susannah Rhodes and Samuel married Elizabeth Rhodes, daughters of John and Judith Gregory, born in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  The Samuel and Richard Dodson families and the Rhodes families lived in Northampton County.   As mentioned, Samuel's son John Dodson is considered to be the first Dodson to settle in Huntington Township in Luzerne County.  


The area marked in blue area is where there are records of the Samuel Dodson family.  Children were baptized at the Moravian church at Gnadenhutten, and Samuel died and was buried "on Lizard Creek".   

When the Dodsons pushed northward from Chester County, they encountered problems with the Indians.  Samuel and Richard Dodson settled in Northampton County.  They appear on most tax lists from 1770 until 1785 when Richard died and where Samuel's daughter, Abigail, was captured in an Indian raid. Samuel continues on the tax lists until 1793.  He died in 1795. Richard's oldest son was killed by Indians, and Richard's home was burned in 1784. 

As mentioned, John of Chester County, born 1720, is said to have had two sons who were early settlers in Luzerne County in the Salem Township.  James and Thomas Dodson married Susannah and Mehitabel Bixby, daughters of Elias and Dezier/Deziah Bixby.  Dezier was married second to a Nathan Beach who was a step father to her children and father to their son, Nathan.  According to Ege, "Nathan Beach, Sr., came to Luzerne County in 1769, from near Hudson, N. Y. His wife, the widow Bixby, was the first white woman to cross the Blue Mountains into Pennsylvania." Her tombstone reads:  "Deziah Rhodes, mother of Nathan Beach, Jr., died 18 April, 1804".  She was married a third time to a Rhodes.

Thomas Dodson (1755 - 1818)

This Thomas Dodson has been said to be a son of John and Eleanor Evans Dodson of Chester County, Pennsylvania, but there is no known documentation to prove this relationship.  The following information is from a variety of sources - where the source is known, it is indicated.  

Thomas'  birth has been reported to be 15 Sep 1755 in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  John Dodson was living in Chester County at that time as indicated by tax lists in 1753 and 1756 for Vincent township of Chester County, but other Dodsons were there also.  

Historic and Character Sketch from "Dodson Genealogy 1600 to 1907" by Thompson P Ege 
Thomas, after his marriage, became associated with the family of Nathan Beach, Sr., having for a time his home with them, at Beach Haven, Salem Township, Luzerne County. He assisted Nathan Beach in the building of one of the early flour mills of the region. Thomas finally settled on a farm near the mills, and was both farmer and miller. Thomas was a participant in many of the Indian attacks incident to the early settlement of the Wyoming Valley region. He was well versed in their wily tactics, and became a noted fighter and trailer, and was often called out to battle against the skulking foe. On the occasion of one of their attacks on a Block House near Beach Haven, to which, taking warning, many of the nearby inhabitants had fled for safety, and while Thomas and his wife were also fleeing to this place of refuge, they suddenly thought of their infant child left asleep in their home. Bidding his wife to remain hidden, he hastened back to bring it to her. This interval of delay saved their lives, for the Indians had been temporarily repulsed and had retired to a thicket in a ravine after killing and wounding several of the defenders. After reaching safety in the fort, Thomas called for volunteers to aid in driving them off. Young Nathan Beach, though a boy, ventured to go. Having secured guns and ammunition in the fort, they went forth, Nathan to carry and load the guns, under strict orders to follow close behind and under cover. They soon espied an Indian peeping from behind a tree, whom Thomas instantly shot and killed. In a few moments another, stealthily creeping to drag away his dead companion, met a similar fate. After nightfall the Indians took away the bodies of the slain, and departed. Thomas and the other refugees remained in the fort all night. Next morning Thomas and others followed their trail for many miles, finding where they buried their dead, but did not overtake them. 

Mehetabel (a good Old Testament Bible name, ( contracted to Mabel), was the daughter of Elias Bixby and Deziar Herrick, of Puritan stock. Elias Bixby was a sea captain, and lost his life at sea. His widow married Nathan Beach, Sr., in Connecticut, and came with the colony from that State to the Wyoming Valley. She had four Bixby children, Elias, David, Mehetabel and Susannah. The two sons lost their lives in the Wyoming massacre, and their names are inscribed on the commemorative shaft erected there. Deziar Herrick, the mother of Mehetabel Bixby, came from distinguished English ancestry, viz., Lord and Lady Herrick of "Beau Manoir," Leicestershire, England. Their son Henry, Puritan settler in Salem, Massachusetts ; his son Ephriam and wife, Mary Cross, Beverly, Mass. ; his son Samuel and wife Mehetabel Woodward, Beverly, Mass. ; his son Ezekial and wife (name unknown), Coventry, Conn.; his daughter, Deziar, married, ist Elias Bixby. 2nd Nathan Beach, Sr., 3rd, in her old age, Joseph Rhodes, and died September 1 8th, 1804. 

Thomas and wife were devoted Christians and members of the Methodist Church. Their hospitable home was. during his life, the place of general worship, the home of the itinerant minister, and the place where all Christian people were ever welcome, as followers and brethren of the same Divine Master and Father. Their numerous and respected children partook largely of the same spirit, thus exemplified by the parents, and were mostly members of the same religious society. Their parents names were household words in their day and generation, and generations following, as their repeated names in a long line of descendants will testify. 

From another source about Elias Bixby a brother to Thomas' wife:  Wyoming (County) was at that time called Westmoreland, attached to Litchfield County, Connecticut. Elias Bixby was orderly sergeant in the same company, and served at the battle of Long Island, and afterward taken prisoner at Fort Washington, was placed aboard the prison ship Jersey, and was killed July 3, 1778, in the Wyoming Massacre. He left one sister, married to Thomas Dodson, both since deceased, leaving the following children: Elias, Nathan, Richard, Stephen, John Dodson. It is said that all the names are registered in the War Office, and calculations made of the amounts due each officer or soldier. Examination of the rolls of soldiers in the American Revolution, preserved by the states of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, fails to reveal the name of the above described Elias Bixby. It is acknowledged that the rolls of the Wyoming companies are incomplete. The name of Elias Bixby appears on the Wyoming Monument. Administration on the estate of Elias Bixby was first granted to Dodson, who filed an inventory taken in 1782 by Hugh Fordsman and Abel Yarrington. The estate was represented worth 52, including several small notes of hand. There is no record of Dodson's appointment either at Wilkesbarre or at Sunbury. Nathan Cary was appointed administrator, 10 Dec, 1788

The names of John, Thomas, Richard and James Dodson appear in the tax lists of Plymouth district for the years 1777 and 1778. 

1780 At a Court of Probate held in Westmoreland within and for the district of Westmoreland on the 18th day of January 1780 present Nathan Denison Esq: Court Administration was Granted to Thomas Dodson upon the Estate of Elias Bigsbee late of Westmoreland Deceased who became bound in a bond of five hundred pounds Lawfull money with Abel Yerington for the faithfull performance of that Trust. Nathan Cary was appointed administrator, 10 Dec, 1788. From: PROCEEDINGS AND COLLECTIONS OF THE WYOMING HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY, For the Year 1922. EDITED BY Frances Dorrance, Director. VOLUME XVIM. WILKES-BARRE, Pa. Printed for the Society. THE E. B. YORDY CO. 1923. 

In 1789 a Thomas is showing as a taxable in East Nantmeal Township in Chester County Pennsylvania, but there is no way to establish if this is the same Thomas.  In 1796 Thomas is listed as taxable in Salem Township in  Luzerne County, Pennsylvania who may be this Thomas.  Early records of the patents and warrants of land in Salem and Huntingdon Township show many of the names that are listed below, including Dodson, Tubbs, Courtright, Beach and others. 

1790 Census Luzerne Thomas Dodson 1 male over 16 - 2 males under 16 and 4 females.

1796 John, Thomas and James Dodson appear in the list of Salem township taxables. 

1803 Thomas Dodson  is  listed as one of those holding title to lands in Huntington Township in Luzerne County Pennsylvania.

Some have claimed that this Thomas Dodson served in the Revolutionary War in the Fifth PA Regiment of the Continental Line.  However, the Thomas who served in this regiment applied for and received a pension Shenandoah County, Virginia.  The soldier died  in 1825 in Virginia so he can NOT be this Thomas who died in 1818 in Pennsylvania.

From: Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania by John W Jordan 

Thomas Dodson seems to have been a farmer, a millwright and a miller. In 1798, in conjunction with Nathan Beach, of Salem, he built the second grist-mill (known as Rogers') in Huntingdon township, on Marsh creek. The wife of Thomas Dodson, to whom he was married in 1778, was Mehetable, or Mabel, Bixby, born in 1760, died in 1804, and both he and she were ardent Methodists. "Their hospitable home was, during his life, the place for general worship, the home of the itinerant ministers of the Methodist Episcopal church, and the place where all Christian people were warmly welcomed." 

Thomas Dodson died April 29, 1818, seven weeks subsequently to the death of his father, and was survived by five sons and five daughters. 

The second of these children was Elias Dodson (1781-1859), who became an extensive landowner in Huntingdon township, and operated saw and grist mills. In his later years he became a Baptist preacher, and largely through his efforts the first Baptist meeting-house in his township was built. His wife was Mary Long, and their third child was Nathan Long Dodson (1808-1882). 

The latter spent his (Nathan) life of seventy-four years in Huntingdon township, and during the greater part of that period was engaged in farming. He married, June 2, 1831, Susan Stevens (1811-1882), and they became the parents of four sons and five daughters. 

The youngest of these children was William Egbert Dodson, born in Huntingdon township, August 21, 1853. He remained at the home of his parents until some time after his marriage, working on his fathers' farm in the summer time and, while a youth, attending school in the winter months. About 1889 he removed to Wilkes-Barre, where, during the ensuing fifteen years, he was engaged in business as a dyer and cleaner. He then returned to his ancestral acres in Huntingdon township, where he has since resided, engaged in farming. 

William E. Dodson married, December 31, 1877, Alice Chapin, and they became the parents of four children : Victor Lee, of whom further; Bessie Elizabeth, Clarence Furman, and Blanche Margaret, who is married to William Aston, of Wilkes Barre. 

Victor Lee Dodson was born at the Dodson homestead in Huntingdon township, June 12, 1879. 

The death of Thomas Dodson is reported as 29 April 1818 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and it is said he is buried in Luzerne County in the Harveyville Cemetery. 

Susquehanna Democrat 1 May 1818 
Died - In Huntington on the 29th inst., Thomas Dodson, aged 62 years, a respectable citizen of that place.

July 3, 1818 Estate of Thomas Dodson, late of Huntington, Luzerne Co., requests payments and demands. Elias Dodson, Acting Executor, Huntington

Will Book A page 209:  May 14 1818 Luzerne county Huntington Township: Will of Thomas Dodson of  names wife Mehitable; daughters Mary Cortright, Elizabeth Culver, Eliner Bowman, Sarah Stiles, Susannah Dodson, and daughter in law Sophronia Monroe (Note: John Dodson, said to be son of Samuel and Elizabeth Rhodes Dodson is said to have married Sophronia Monroe in 1820 - after Thomas' death).

The children said to be those of Thomas Dodson and Mehitable Bixby are:

Mary Dodson born 3 February 1779 in Huntingdon Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  She married about 1802 to  Isaac Courtright, born about 1802, son of Elisha and Huldah Dingman Courtright.  Mary died 27 October 1852.  Their children were Elisha, Mable, Ann or Nancy, Thomas, Huldah, Nathan, Abram and Rachel.

Elias Bixby Dodson born 15 January 1781 in Huntingdon Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  He married about 1802 to Anna Mary Long, daughter of Elias Long.  Elias Dodson died 11 Aug 1859.  Their children were George, Mable, Nathan Long, Thomas L, Joel Rodgers, Silas, Frances, Elias, Fletcher and Philip.  From Thompson P Ege:  Elias Dodson, the head of this family, was born and reared in Huntingdon Township, Luzerne County. He was an heroic and stalwart yeoman of his day. He was an extensive landholder and operated saw and grist mills, and a thorough business man. Besides this he became an able preacher of the Baptist faith and caused to be built the first Baptist place of worship in his native township. He found time 'midst his active business to lead a life of great useful ness and good works in his community. In the fulfillment of various calls and duties, he feared neither storm nor hindrance, and left behind him a name still fresh in the memory of the few remaining ones of the generation following him, for his worth and example of good works. Many incidents in his life are still household legends oft repeated.

Ellen Dodson was born 12 August 1787 in Huntingdon Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  She married Fletcher Bowman 23 May 1815.  Their children were George Washington, Mary Cortright and Rebecca.  Ellen died 22 March 1869.

Deziar Dodson was born 20 May 1789 - no further information.

 Sarah Ann Dodson was born 29 Jul 1791 in Huntingdon Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  She married Lewis Stiles about 1809 in Luzerne  County. He was born about 1785 in Kingston, Luzerne County, the son of Richard and Sarah Rodgers Stiles.  He died about 1856 in Town Hill, Luzerne County. Sarah  died 19 Feb 1874 in Town Hill, Luzerne County.  Their children were Richard Dodson Stiles, Darwin, Daniel, Nathan, Stephen, Elias, John, Samuel, George and Frances Elizabeth.

Richard Dodson was born 6 July 1793 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  He married Hannah Watson about 1816. She was born 24 March 1798 and died 17 July 1878.  Richard died 25 October 1845 in Huntingdon Township in Luzerne County.  There children were Richard, Minerva Cecelia, Amariah William, Jasper, Jackson, Milton, Ann Eliza, Elmira Ellen, Ritner, Nelson Highland, and Milton.

John Dodson was born 29 July 1795 in Huntingdon Township Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  He may have married a Permelia McCafferty.  He died 24 Jun 1849 in Polo, Ogle County, Illinois.  (Another source shows death date as August 1850 and another source shows 24 Aug 1849).  His children were Asenath, Mary, Arthur, Elizabeth, Hilzey, Fletcher and Melville.

Stephen Beach Dodson was born 16 October 1797 in Pennsylvania. He married Flavia Tubbs 05 April 1821 in Huntingdon Township, Luzerne County, PA.  She was born 25 Jun 1802 in Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas and Abiab Franklin Tubbs, and died 22 May 1875 in Chebanse, Illinois.  Stephen died 28 January 1877 in Kankakee, Iroquois, Illinois.  Stephen and Flavia's children were Abbia Tubbs, Amos Franklin, George Bowman, Sarah Ann, Epiphras Wadsworth, Amy Tubbs, Rebecca Bowman, Eliphalet Edson, Sophia Bowman, Thomas Tubbs, Susan Bowman, Joel Rogers,  Isaac Manville, Emory Fillmore.

Elizabeth Dodson was born 12 April 1783 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania and died 14 October 1855.  No information about marriage, but she is said to have had two children Ellen and Elias Culver.

Susan Beach Dodson was born 9 March 1801 in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.  She married George Bowman 1 May 1820.  He was born 1795 in Somerset, York, Pennsylvania and died 1871 in Rock Island, Illinois.  Some of their children were Mary, Eliza B, Charles M, Sarah A, Ellen B, Julia Ann and Sophia G.

From the Sharon Springs (Kansas) Times ca. 1889 believe to be about Susan Beach Bowman: 
Mrs. Susan B. Bowman, mother of Mrs. McMichael, landlady of the Sharon Springs Hotel, of this town, is now in her 88th year, and is quite smart for a woman of her age. Her father, Thomas Dodson, settled in Shickshinny, Luzerne County, Pa., about 120 years ago, in the then howling wilderness and among wild animals and savage Indians. Her grandmother was carried off by the Indians and was kept by them some four years along the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers. Her folks found out where she was, and with a large posse of armed men, one dark night, stole in among the wigwams and captured her after some severe fighting. She had been among the Indians so long that she had become accustomed to their ways and could handle the bow and arrow with accuracy; but on her return home was overjoyed to be on the little side-hill farm, instead of the small wigwam among the bloody savages. She said she never expected to see her parents again. Mrs. Bowman's father's house in Luzerne County, Pa., was burned twice by the Indians in mid-day. They saw the Indians coming, and heard the sounds of their war whoops, and fled, her mother carrying her in her arms many miles. Mrs. Bowman has all of her faculties except being a little hard of hearing, but she reads every day without glasses. She has been a true, consistent member of the M. E. Church for more than 70 years, and is an aunt to Bishop Bowman, of St. Louis. Mo. Mrs. Bowman is the mother of nine children and has outlived all of them but two. Tipstaff Charles M. Bowman, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Mrs. McMichael, of Sharon Springs, Kan.

James Dodson  (1757 - 1831) is listed on a 1796 tax list for  Salem Township in Luzerne County, PA, and is probably the James Dodson listed in the 1810 Census Salem Township, Luzerne County, PA with 6 people under 16 and 4 people over 25.  James died in Salem township, June 1, 1831, aged 75 years.

From Luzerne County Biographies:  "James Dodson, formerly of Lehigh County, Pa., first settled in Salem in 1777, but was driven back by Indians. He returned thither in 1786, and cleared a farm, as also did his father, John Dodson, who was a native of England. The wife of James Dodson was Susannah Beach [Bixby], and their children were: Betsy (Mrs. William Henry), Polly (Mrs. Abram Van Cortright) John, Eleanor (Mrs. Amos Van Horn), Nathan B., Thomas, Hannah (Mrs. D.H. Goodwin), James, Sally (Mrs. U.O. Barnes.)"

 1777 James Dodson on tax list - Plymouth Township - now Luzerne County, PA

A James Dodson entered 6th Btn of Northumberland Co 9/26/1781 to 11/12/1781; also 11/16/1780 to 1/4/1781. 
James Dotzen listed as discharged 1783/1784 from Northampton County militia.

Northumberland: 1783/1784 Tax list James Dotsan, Wyoming Township no acres 1 horse 1 cow tax 12.1 for 1783 and 13.9 for 1784

Northumberland: 1785 Tax list Wyoming County Dotsan, James 300 acres 1 horse 1 cattle 7 .3 tax

Northumberland: 1786 James Dotson Tax list, Wyoming Township 300 acres 2 horses, 1 cow 4.4 Tax

1790 James Dodson on census report for Luzerne County showing 1 male over 16, 3 males under 16 and 4 females

1796 James Dodson on tax list of Salem Twp in Luzerne County, PA

28 Feb 1803 James Dodson listed as one of those holding title in Salem Township, Luzerne County, PA

1815 Estate of Daniel Stookey, late of Salem, request payments and demands against estate. Isaac Courtright and James Dodson, Executors, Salem. 

1810 Census Salem Twp, Luzerne County, PA James Dodson  6 under 16 4 over 25

23 October 1818 Susquehanna Democrat - Letters in the Post Office at Wilkes-Barre October 1st - James Dodson

26 Feb 1819 Register's Notice: Account of Isaac Cortright and James Dodson, executors of Daniel Stookey, late of Salem 

10 August 1821 Lost on Wednesday, 2nd August inst., on the Easton and Wilkesbarre Turnpike, between Tobehanna and Wilkesbarre (as is supposed) a small package, containing two letters &c. One of the Letters was directed to Thomas & James Dodson., Huntington, Luzerne County. As these papers cannot be of value to the finder, it is hoped he or she will had them to the Editor of the Susquehanna Democrat, who is authorized to pay a suitable reward. 

Aug 24, 1821 - Susquehana Democrat
If James Dodson, of Nescopeck, Luzerne County, will call at the Office of the Susquehanna Democrat, he will hear of something to his advantage. 

10 March 1826 Susquehanna Democrat Sheriff's Sales to be held Saturday, 1st April: Land in Nescopeck Township Seized and taken in execution at the suit of John Briggo assignee of Jonathan Bulkeley against James Dodson 

1831 June 1 James Dodson died in Luzerne County, Salem township  aged 75 years