My West Virginia Pioneer Families
Examining Theories about the Ancestry of Richard Dotson born
23 October 1752
Based on research and DNA, to date, there is no evidence n or documentation of Richard Dotson's parents. The DNA results to date have shown that he is NOT connected to the Charles Dodson line of Richmond County Virginia or Charles' son John of Shenandoah County. He is NOT connected to the Charles County Maryland line. He is not connected to the Dotsons of Greenbrier and Nicholas Counties WV. He has some kind of connections at some point in time to Dodsons who were in Chester and Fayette Counties Pennsylvania and Frederick County Maryland, but we do not know if these connections were in America or back in England in prior generations.
Old Theory : RICHARD DOTSON DESCENDS FROM CHARLES DODSON SR OF RICHMOND COUNTY VA
Many DODSON lineages from Charles Dodson have been traced and are outlined in "The Dodson (Dotson) Family of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia: A History and Genealogy of Their Descendants, Volumes One and Two, The Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas, Jr. Southern Historical Press, Easley SC, 1988", but no one has suggested a parentage for Richard that can be proved. In fact, he is listed in Volume II as one of the "dangling Dodson/Dotsons" - ancestry unknown. The line traced in the books is from a Charles Dodson born about 1649 with records of many of his descendants in Richmond County Virginia, and others traced to other counties in Virginia and to other colonies and states. With Richard Dotson's birth documented in Frederick/Shenandoah County and with another Dodson family, descendant of Charles, in Frederick County at the time of his birth, it seemed logical that there should be a connection with that family.
In Minnie Kendall Lowther's book "History of Ritchie Co, WV" , writing about Richard Dotson and his descendants, she says "The original spelling of this name in the Old World was "Dodson", but for some unknown reason, probably from the natural inclination for mispronouncing names, it became changed to its present form. Two brothers, James and William Dotson, came from England in colonial days and settled near Richmond, Virginia; and from James, or some say his name was Richard, the different families of this part of the county trace their lineage. William Dotson, son of James, or Richard, married Miss Mary Franks, and settled at Greenwood, in Doddridge county in his younger days . . ." Miss Lowther did not record the source of this information, but Rev Lucas printed this information in an earlier version of his book, showing Richard Sr. and William as brothers, rather than father and son.
Jim Dotson and Barr Wilson in their book "Richard Dotson (1752-1847) and his Descendants" 1989, examined the possibilities of parentage for Richard by looking for any of Charles Sr.'s descendants who were in Shenandoah County VA in 1752, where and when Richard said he was born. Jim Dotson found an "unknown" Thomas Dodson Sr. in Augusta Co, VA in 1750, list of tithables, and Thomas Jr and Sr on personal property tax lists in Shenandoah County from about 1783 to 1790. Jim says that this might be a Thomas Dodson born 25 May 1735, son of George and Margaret Dagord Dodson. George born in 1702 was son of Thomas, son of Charles Sr. of Richmond County. He apparently sold his land in Richmond County in 1756 and his whereabouts are hard to trace after that. No proof, but it has been reported that his descendants ended up in KY. There is also a Thomas Jr. born about 1748 who received a Revolutionary War pension from Shenandoah County. Other Dodsons in Shenandoah County with no information to confirm or deny relationship to Richard are William, David, and Samuel.
A book entitled "Portrait and Biographical Album of Marshall County, Kansas" was published in 1889 in Chicago by Chapman Brothers. This book contains a biographical sketch of a then living grandson of Richard Dotson, Solomon Dotson, who was born in 1816 in what was then Wood County, Virginia, now Ritchie County, WV. This Solomon said that Richard's father was named Solomon. Read the write-up about Solomon HERE.
Conclusion: Although it seemed possible based on the above information that Richard Dotson was the son of Solomon Dodson, grandson of Charles III Dodson, great grandson of Charles Jr. and great great grandson of Charles I, recent DNA testing of descendants of Richard has shown this is NOT the correct line.
Old Theory: RICHARD DOTSON IS SON OF MARYLAND BRANCH OF DODSONS
There are records of early Dodsons in Charles, Calvert and Talbot counties in Maryland, but there are no records connecting those Dodsons to Frederick/Shenandoah County Virginia. Also, recent DNA testing of a descendant of Robert Dodson, early settler of Talbot County shows no connections.
Conclusion : To date, there is no evidence to tie Richard to these Maryland Dodsons. Recent DNA testing suggests that there may be MD and/or PA ties for our Richard Dotson line, but DNA has ruled out a connection to the Charles County and Talbot County Maryland lines.
Old Theory: RICHARD DOTSON IS THE SON OF THOMAS DOTSON AND FRANCES MINOR
There is a lineage that his been around for many years which was gathered by a Hazel Seevers and given to Bertha Dotson Sellers of Toll Gate, WV. It was later reported that this information originated with a Mrs. Sandy Miller of Starke, FL who several years ago "earned a reputation for selling phony pedigrees".
The lineage quoted is (with no one offering any documentation):
1 Abraham B Dodson 1689/90 married an Elizabeth Dameron 1692 -
......... 2 Thomas Dodson 1731 -
+Frances Minor 1731 -
.................... 3 Richard Dotson 1752 -
Richard Dotson fought in the Revolutionary War under a Capt. John Minor, so attempts have been made to find Frances Minor, as the parent. The following is from a Minor researcher: "I have over 67,000 descendants of Thomas Minor and Grace Palmer of Stonington, CT and several thousand descendants of several unrelated Minor families of Virginia but I do not have Richard or Thomas Dotson nor a Frances Minor". Efforts have also been made regarding the Dameron connection, with no success. Richard's mother may be Frances Minor, but no one has offered any proof. There is a John Minor who died in 1698 who had a daughter Frances, but she would have been too old to marry Thomas Dodson born in 1731 or have a child in 1752. So, as yet, there is neither proof of the Thomas Dodson and Frances Minor parentage nor any record of these names in any documents.
Conclusion : To date, there is no evidence to tie Richard to an Abraham Dodson or to a Thomas who married Frances Minor.
Most Likely Theory: RICHARD DOTSON IS A DESCENDANT OF THOMAS SR DODSON OF PA BORN about 1685
A Thomas Dodson settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania about 1730. Through baptismal records, three of his children are documented: Richard born 1731, William born 1729 and Hannah born 1727. Others have claimed descendancy from this line but there is no current proof. Read about this line HERE
The most promising clue for Richard who was born in Frederick/Shenandoah County, VA 23 October 1752 is that descendants of four different sons of Richard have had DNA testing done, and they match with a descendant of the Richard born 1731. One of them has a 100% match on 37 markers. This does not prove a direct descendancy from Thomas, but with that match there is a common ancestor for both of them. Two alleged sons of Thomas of Chester PA - William (proven by baptism) and Thomas - have no traceable descendants, so they are possible candidates.
Conclusion: Based on DNA it appears that Richard could be a grandson of Thomas born around 1690 who was in Chester County, PA by 1730. Read more about this line HERE