Dotson
   The name "Dotson" is Welsh in origin. But the surname was first found in Cheshire, where the family was seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
   The name Dotson is a patronymic derived from the name Dodd or Dodds. The Coat of Arms features a silver shield with a blue bend engrailed between two Cornish chough, and the family motto is "In Copia Cautus," meaning "Careful amid plenty."
   Many Dotson family histories trace our lineage back to CHARLES DODSON, who lived during the 1600's in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia. He is the earliest known ancestor who can be proven in public and legal documents. But his ancestry is the source of a fierce debate. His descendents include actor Tom Hanks.
   Some say Charles, himself, is descended from JOHN DODS, who was a member of the first permanent English Colony in America, at Jamestown, Virginia. John was listed as 18 years old on the original ship passenger list, and set sail from London with Captain John Smith in December of 1606. He is listed among a hundred and five men in the company that became the first settlers in Jamestown, arriving aboard the Susan Constant on May 13, 1607, as a labourer from the region of Lincolnshire. They reached the capes of Virginia and sailed up the broad river, thirty-two miles from the river's mouth. They named the river "James" and their settlement, Jamestown, in honor of their King.
   The colonists soon erected cabins out of poles and branches and some dug caves to live in. The site of the colony was unhealthy, and the deaths, especially during the first few years of the colony, were horrifying.
   Family lore declares that John married JANE EAGLE PLUME, a Powhatan Indian and the daughter of Chief Eagle Plume. (John Dods' wife is only listed as Jane in legal records. Some genealogists contend that his wife was JANE DIER who came over after the first settlers. He then lived and died in Richmond Co., Virginia.)
   From 1606 to 1618, eighteen hundred immigrants sailed from England for Virginia. At the end of that time only six hundred were living. Attacks by Indians, starvation, and the system of holding property in common added to the difficulties of the colonists. But in 1612 they began to grow tobacco and they began to fare better.
   In spite of all the hardships, John survived and was reported to have been an able hunter and fur trader. He was also a soldier in expeditions against the Indians.
   After the First Anglo-Powhatan War (1609 - 1613), the marriage of Chief Powhatan's youngest daughter Pocahontas and colonist John Rolfe in 1614 began a period of more peaceful relations between the English colonists and the Indians of the Powhatan Confederacy.
   But in the spring of 1622, after the murder of his adviser, Nemattanew, by an Englishman, Chief Opechancanough launched a campaign of surprise attacks upon at least thirty-one separate British settlements and plantations mostly along the James River.
The Indian massacre of 1622 (also known as the Jamestown Massacre, shown below) occurred in the Virginia Colony on Good Friday, March 22, 1622. Almost a third of the English colonists were killed by a coordinated series of surprise attacks of the Powhatan Confederacy under Opechancanough. Fortunately, John had left the area to Charles City just before the massacre, so he survived. The Tax List of James City 16 Feb 1623 lists John Dods and Mrs. Dods as living at the Neck of Land near James City, now Chesterfield, Virginia. He was also listed on the Virginia musters of 1622 and 1624 at Neck-of-land, Charles City. In 1626 he is listed as owning 50 acres in Charles Cittie and another 150 acres in the Territory of Tappahanna.
   But proof that John and Jane ever even had children is scarce. Dods is one of only three 1607 settlers still alive in 1624, and there's no evidence that John or any of those surviving settlers ever had any kids. So we can only speculate that he is related to the ancestors in our line.


The 1622 Jamestown Massacre, as depicted in an etching by De Bry.


Hagger
   Another theory is that the Dotson line in America is descended from JOHN DODSON, born in 1580 in Great Neck, Yorkshire, England. He sailed to America, then lived and died in Richmond County, Virginia (some say this is actually John Dods, although he wasn't close to eighteen years old in 1822).
   His son, JESSE DODSON, was born in 1620, probably in England, but sailed to the Colonies with his father (no son is listed with John Dodds). A 1979 article by Mrs. C. T. Dodson, of Wayne County, Kentucky, relates a family story handed down through the Centuries, in which Jesse chose his bride from of a ship load of eighty prospective wives arriving from England. A colonist could pay a woman's transportation fees (with her permission), in the amount of 120 pounds of tobacco, and secure her as a wife. It is by this method that Jesse and a brother, William, supposedly obtained wives.
   Jesse then married JUDITH HAGGER (b: 1627 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England) on the 7th of May, 1645, in Jamestown, Virginia.
   Hagger is an ancient Pictish-Scottish name. It is derived from the Gaelic form Mac-an-t-sagairt, which means son of the priest. Patronymic names often substituted the name of a saint or other revered religious figure in place of a devout bearer's actual father. However, the patronym Hagger often denotes actual paternity in this case, since the marriage of clerics in minor orders was permissible, although the marriage of priests was declared illegal and invalid during the 12th century. The Hagger name was first found in Perthshire, where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. The Coat of Arms is a blue shield with a silver star. The family motto, "Modeste conabor," means "I will attempt moderately."


The Rappahannock River in Old Rappahannock County was organized from Lancaster County, Virginia in 1656. In 1692, Richmond County, on the north side of the river, and Essex County, primarily on the south side of the Rappahannock, were organized from Old Rappa, which was then abolished.

   Our lineage can definitely be traced back to CHARLES DODSON, was born around the year 1649 in Rappahannock County, Virginia (Charles swore he was "aged fifty years" in a court record of 6 Mar 1699/1700. [Richmond Co VA Miscellaneous Record Book, p. 41]). He lived in an area about 60 miles northeast of what is now the city of Richmond, near the Rappahannock River. Many Dotson family histories actually begin their genealogies with Charles, as he's the first proven ancestor in this family. As there is no record of his birth to Jesse, nor is there any documentation of a Charles Dodson arriving in Virginia by ship, so he fits neatly into either family history scenario. (One database in Salt Lake City shows that Charles Dodson, Sr. was the son of Jesse who came from England, with Judith Hagger. Another lists the same mother, but the father's name is Thomas Dodson, b. 1620 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. Take your pick.)
   The problem is that the Colony was growing so fast that it was practically impossible to keep faithful records. New immigrants arrived in Virginia in boatloads, almost every month in the year. By the year 1700, there were more than 80,000 persons living in the tidewater region of Virginia, when there had been only a handful in the day of John Dods. Between the influx of new immigrants, and official records stored in Richmond, being destroyed by fire, much of the genealogical work has to be left to family histories and church records.
   Until 1686, the Episcopal Church was the State church in Virginia. All children, regardless of religious affiliation, were required to be baptized by the minister of the church, like the parish that the Dodsons lived near in North Farnham. Dates of birth and names of their parents were recorded in parish registers. The same information was taken of marriages and burials. The church records are preserved, and are available in the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia.
   These records to not reveal the origins of Charles. But the fact of the matter is that Charles himself makes an impressive start to any genealogy. He was by all reports a successful, industrious, remarkably well-respected frontiersman. Fortunately, the records do show that between 1678 and 1680, Charles married a woman named ANN (last name unknown, but it was probably either ELMORE or DOTSON, b: 1654) in Rappahannock County.
   Charles prospered in Rappahannock, which became extinct in 1692, being divided into Essex and Richmond counties. Charles owned land in both counties, but actually resided in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia. He was a highly trusted neighbor, and witnessed many deeds and wills. An excellent example of ther esteem held for Charles is in the will of John Lincoln, dictated on Dec. 18, 1686, in which an affidavit reports that Lincoln "would have no other but Charles Dodson as his executor although several insisted that he have his wife."
   Charles and Ann had the following children:

CHILDREN OF CHARLES AND ANN DODSON

  • CHARLES DODSON, JR. was born Abt. 1675. He married Anne who left a will in 1718. They had the following children: Charles III, who inherited his land; Mary, who never married and died Abt 1718; William; James; Fortunatus (1700-1737), who married Alice Goad (actor Tom Hanks is one descendant), another daughter of Abraham Goad. (His widow then married John Fowler); Anne; and possibly Samuel.
  • THOMAS DODSON was born in 1681 and married Mary Durham. They had the following children: George, who married Margaret Dagard/Dagood. Thomas, Jr. born early 1700s, married (1) Elizabeth Rose (2) Elinor, widow of John Sloan in Halifax County 1766, died 1783; Greenham, who married Elizabeth Hightower, daughter of John. John Hightower appeared in a deed of Abraham Goad, Sr. in Richmond County; Abraham (1723-1768) , married Barbary Russell (b. 1729); Daughter Tabitha, born Abt. 1755, married Lt. Daniel Shumate before 1776; Winnie Dodson married William Scoggan Abt. 1763, who was killed at the battle of Yorktown. (Some say Winnie was a Johnston who had first married and divorced a Rev. William Dodson.); Elisha, Sr.; Joshua, Jr. , Baptist minister, born 1725 in Richmond, moved to Fauquier County, Pittssylvania in 1771, then to Stokes County, N. Carolina; Alice married William Creel; and Mary, who married Mr. _?_ Oldham.
  • BARTHOLOMEW RICHARD DODSON married Elizabeth Clarke before 1707, and they had a son James, born 23 Dec 1716, and a daughter named Elizabeth. Batholemew appeared as a witness on his mother’s will in 1718, but not a legatee. Perhaps had been given his share in her life-time. He sold the land he inherited from his father to his brother, Thomas, in May of 1734.
  • WILLIAM DODS or DODSON was born in 1685 in Richmond County, Virginia, according to the Millennium File, Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Heritage Consulting.
  • JOHN DODSON was born in 1687. He married Elizabeth Goad (b. 1695, daughter of Abraham and Katherine Williams-Goad). They acquired land in Frederick County, in Aug, 1756. Will of 26 Aug 1784 in Shenandoah County, Virginia. They had the following children: Moses born 1729; Charles (he and Moses last heard of in 1753 as was Moses and both then disappeared); Martha Ann; Isaac; Peter; Elizabeth, who married John Cole or Kyle; and John Jr. John Sr. died in 1784.
  • LAMBETH DODSON was born about 1689 in Richmond Co., Virginia. He married SARAH HARRIS (b. 1693, died 1736 in Richmond County). Lambeth left Richmond in 1739, and acquired land in Halifax County, VA, in 1747, 1755 and on the Mayo River in 1765. He died after 1780 in North Carolina.
  • ANNE DODSON was born in 1692, in North Farnham, Richmond, Virginia. No further information, except that she receved a share of the moveable estate in her father's will.
  • ELIZABETH DODSON was born in 1695, in North Farnham, Richmond, Virginia. No further information, except that she receved a share of the moveable estate in her father's will.
  •    Charles' growing family was expanding into new areas of the Colonies, along with the rest of this restless population. In the life time of Charles there were many new immigrants arriving in Virginia from England. They came in boatloads almost every month in the year. More and more settlements were established. By 1700 there were more than 80,000 persons living in the tidewater region of Virginia. During this time the colony was in almost constant trouble with their ruler, the English government and its representatives. Mainly the colonists objected to the arbitrary action of the colony officials and their ruthless demands. As new immigrants arrived, the frontier was pushed further westward until the settlements reached the mountains. As the people moved farther away from the royal governors, they gained more and more privileges and grew more independent.
       Conversely, as people moved deeper into the wilderness, they came to rely more on their family and neighbors. The Dodsons were allied with two families more than any other at this point in time: the Goads and the Smythes, and their families intermarried and grew extremely tight for several generations.
       Charles died on 6 Feb, 1705 in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia. After his death, Ann married a man named John Hill, sometime before 3 July 1706, on which day they petitioned the court for an appraisement of Charles' estate (Richmond Co. Order Bk 4, Page 171). Her son, Thomas Dodson, then brought an action in court "against John Hill marrying the Executrix of Charles Dodson." The action was dismissed by the court on 3 April 1707, "the plaintiff not prosecuting' (Richmond Co., Order Bk 4, page 262). The reason for this court action was not explained, but the wishes of Charles' will, transcribed below, were obeyed:

    WILL OF CHARLES DODSON

    Richmond County, Virginia
    Will Book 2, pages 95 and 96 (3 pages)
    In the name of God amen
       I Charles Dodson* being sick and weake of body but in Sound and Good disposing memory praise be given to God for the same do make this my Last Will and Testam... manner and forme following that is to say first & principally I resigne my soul into the merciful hands of almighty God my Creator assuredly hoping through the merritts of my blessed Saviour to obtaine Remission of all my sins and my body I Committ to the Earth whence it was taken to be Decently buryed by the Discretion of my Executrix herein after named and as for the worldly Goods and Estate the Lord hath Lent me I dispose thereof as followeth
       I Give and bequeath to my son Charles Dodson the plantation formerly called Coll?? Travers quarter with a hundred and fifty acres of Land to him and to the male heires Lawfully begotten of his body and if the aboves Charles Dodson should Die without any male heirs that then the Land should Returne to the next heire of the Dodson.
       Secondly. I give and bequeath to my son Thomas Dodson a plantation seated in a neck formerly called the Rich neck with a hundred and Fifty acres of Land to him and the male heires Lawfully begotten of his owne body forever and if the aboves Thomas Dodson should dye without any male that then the Land should return to the next heire of the Dodson
       Thirdly. I Give and bequeath to my son Baartho: Rich Dodson the plantation that Thomas Reeves liveth on knowne by the name of oake neck with one hundred and fifty acres of Land binding upon the Land formerly belonging to Daniele Everard from the head to the foot to him and the male heires Lawfully begotten of his owne body and if he should dye without male heires that then the Land to Returne to the next heires
       Fourthly. I Give and bequeath to my son William Dodson the Plantation in hickory neck with one hundred and fifty acres of land to him and the male heires Lawfully begotten of his body and if no male heire appeare then to Returne to the next heire of the Dodson the said Land to bind upon brtother Bartho Richd Dodsons Land from the head to the foot -
       Fifthly. I give and bequeath to my son John Dodson two hundred acres of Land it being part of hickory neck and of Indian Cabin neck binding upon his brother William Dodson to him and the male heires Lawfully begotten of his owne body and if the aboves W Dodson should die without any male heire that then the Land Returne to the next of the Dodson -
       Sixthly. I Give and bequeath to my son Lambert Dodson my new Dwelling plantation with the hundred acres of Land belonging to it to him and the male heires Lawfully begotten of his body and if no male heire appears that then the Land to Returne to the next of the Dodson
       Seventhly. I Give and bequeath to my Deare and Loving Wife Anne Dodson and my daughters Anne Dodson and Elizabeth Dodson all my moveable Estate of what kind soever within and without to be Equally Divided betweene them.
       Eighthly. My desire is that none of the Land out of the name might be sold Except one Brother selleth to another and if no male appeareth by none of my sons that then my Daughters may Inheritt the Land
       Lastly. And all the Rest and Residue of my Estate Goods and Chattells not herein before bequeathed after my Debts and funrall Expenses discharges I do give and bequeath unto my Deare and Loving wife Anne Dodson whome I do make sole Exect?? of this my Last will and Testament Revoking all other wills by me heretofore made IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale the 11th day of Jan. one thousand seven hundred two three
       CHARLES DODSON Sen (Seal)
       Proved in Richmond County Court by the oath of Christopher Petty the 6th day of Febry. 1705 and by the oath of John Beckwith the 6th day of March following & Recorded


    Harris
       Ann and their daughters received "all my moveable estate of what kind soever within and without." The list of possessions were appraised and included chests, chairs, tables, cloth and linen napkins, two spinning wheels, a pestle and mortar, knives, cart wheels and casks. One of the more expensive items, valued at 2200 (shillings?) was "one servant man three years eight months to serve" so Dodson obviously had an indentured servant on hand.
       Charles left houses and extensive land holdings (at least 150 acres apiece) to each of his six sons. As an interesting stipulation, Charles insisted that none of the land could 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." This proviso became an obstacle for those sons who later decided to sell out and head west. Several sold their land to brothers, while one, John Dodson, leased 100 acres of the land to Robert Mathews "for three natural lifetimes." (The land would have reverted back in about 1930, but John's descendants, then in Tennessee, never reclaimed the land.)
       Of those six sons listed in the will, our ancestor is the sixth, LAMBETH (or LAMBERT) DODSON, Sr., who was born around 1689 in Richmond County, Virginia. He married a woman named SARAH HARRIS between 1720 and 1723.
       Starting around 1750, people from eastern Virginia began moving into an area along the Dan River in southern Virginia, and Dodson families joined the early migration, according to a small booklet for land entries in Halifax and Pittsylvania (formed from Halifax in 1766). Lambeth apparently left Richmond before 1739, as his name disappears from the record there. But in the 11th of November, 1747, he had acquired a 190 acre plat on Falling Creek, Halifax County. In the same book (Plat Book 1), is a plat for 400 acres on Sandy Creek, dated 17 Feb 1755, on the Mayo River in Pittsylvania Co. The land was transferred to George Gibson a year later, (so either Lambeth had died, or Gibson may have been a son-in-law).
       The children of Lambeth and Sarah were:

    CHILDREN OF LAMBETH DODSON AND SARAH HARRIS

  • LAMBETH DODSON, JR., was born around 1710.
  • MARY DODSON was born on 3 Apr 1724.
  • ISAAC DODSON was born in 1730. He married Jennet Aubrey (?). Children: Joshua Dodson b: BEF 1768 in Pittsylvania Co.,Va.
  • ANN "NANCY" DODSON was born on 20 Jul 1734
  • JOHN DODSON was born in 1721, and died in White County, Tenn. (age 109 ??). Wife unknown. He had a son, Jesse, born in 1784 who had Samuel born 1831 who lived in Van Buren County, Tenn. A Rev. Jesse lived in Grainger, Hawkins and Claiborne counties, Tenn. and ended up in McMinn and Polk counties, Tenn.
  • CHARLES DODSON. A small booklet for land entries in Halifax and Pittsylvania (formed from Halifax in 1766) lists Charles as a land owner in 1753. Charles first appears on his own in an early North Carolina tax list, in Rowan County, in 1768, and then again in the 1771 tax list of Surry County, North Carolina, when he is taxed for two polls (Reuben and John Dodson were also on the list). In 1772, he was assessed for three polls (Reuben remains on the list, but John is gone) the Surry co. tax lists for 1773 are missing, but in 1774, Charles is not listed (through Reuben remains) in Charles McAnally's District.
  • DANIEL DODSON married a Harris. Daniel appears on the 1782 Virginia tax list with a family of nine.
  • GEORGE DODSON is listed as living alone in the 1782 Virginia tax list.
  •    When Pittsylvania County was created in 1766, some Dodsons fell into the area of the new county, others remained in the section that was still Halifax. Records for both counties in the ensuing decades record a considerable number of Dodsons. Generally speaking, the Dodson families lived in the southern half of the county. Lazarus, George and Thomas were on the same list, and Thomas was tithed with eight slaves.
       Meanwhile, their brother LAMBETH DODSON, JR., was on a separate list. He and his wife, ELIZABETH, lived between the Patrick and Henry Counties on the North Carolina state line in the early-to-mid 1700's. Lambeth Jr. patented land in Guilford Co NC in 1779, some of which was sold by Lambeth Dodson of Henry Co VA to Zachariah King in 1784; another part of this land was sold by Dodson heirs in 1814.
       The Surry Co. tax list for 1775 are about two thirds complete. there are no Dodsons on Charles McAnally's very incomplete list; Reuban Dodson is on Camplin's list and George Dodson is on Benjamin Clevelands's list. Charles Dodson was not listed in 1775. There are no Surry County tax lists for 1776. In 1777, Charles Dodson re-appears on the tax lists in Jabez Jervis' District. (This district covered an area presently in Wilkes County.) No other Dodson's are on the 1777 tax lists for Surry, which are estimated to be about one-third complete, so others may actually have been living there.
       Lambeth Jr. married ELIZABETH, and they had:

    CHILDREN OF LAMBETH JR. AND ELIZABETH DODSON

  • CHARLES DODSON was born in 1740/1750. He served in the Virginia and North Carolina Militias during the American Revolution.
  • ESAU DODSON was born about 1754. He died after 1832.
  • RICHARD DODSON died about 1829 in North Carolina. Richard married Mary. They had the following children: Charles DODSON; Jeremiah DODSON; Richard DODSON Jr.; Sally DODSON; Mary DODSON.
  • LAMBETH DODSON III, who calls himself "Junior" in a Court deposition, provides a close approximation of his age (b 1751/1752) married Hannah Witt about 1771, and died at his home near the State line with Virginia on PawPaw Creek in Rockingham Co., NC, in 1814, as known from his will and the distribution of his property in Henry Co., VA and Rockingham Co., NC. His children living at the time of his death were: John Dodson; Jane Dodson (who married Spencer Kallam and was named in her father's will); Elizabeth "Betsey" Dodson; William Abraham "Bart" Dodson
  • REUBEN DODSON married Agnes WHITLOCK on 10 Feb 1780 in Surry Co, North Carolina. Agnes was born on 24 Feb 1758 in Albermarle Co, Virginia. She died on 7 Jan 1855 in Roane Co, Tennessee. They had the following children: Alexander DODSON; Obediah DODSON was born before 1775. George Washington DODSON was born about 1783 in North Carolina. He died about 1842 in Lawrence Co, Indiana; George married (1) NEAL on 15 Jan 1807. George married (2) Mary THOMPSON on 13 Aug 1815; Lambeth DODSON was born about 1788 in , , , North Carolina. He died on 1 Oct 1838 in Lawrence Co, Indiana. Lambeth married (1) Patsy DEATHERIDGE on 19 Aug 1817 in Stokes Co, Indiana. Lambeth married (2) Nancy GROVES on 2 Mar 1828 in , , Lawrence Co, Indiana; Sabrinah DODSON was born about 1777 in North Carolina. Sabrinah married (1) George NEAL. Sabrinah married (2) Robert HALL on 16 Dec 1824 in Lawrence Co, Indiana; Mary DODSON was born in 1774. She died in 1850 in Stokes Co, North Carolina. Mary married TILLEY. TILLEY was born in 1770 in King William Co, Virginia. He died on 25 Mar 1859 in Stokes Co, North Carolina.
  • WILLIAM DODSON b. March 29, 1758, Virginia; d. Aft. 1830, White County Tennesse. He married (1) TIBITHA HENDRICK. Children of WILLIAM DODSON and TIBITHA HENDRICK are: SIMON DODSON, b. Abt. 1780, Virginia; WILLIAM "BUCKY" DODSON, b. February 02, 1793, Halifax Virginia; d. May 09, 1861, Elamsville ,Patrick County Virginia; m. JUDITH DIXON, Abt. 1817; ELI DODSON, b. 1798, Halifax County, Virginia; d. March 17, 1828, White County, Tennessee; DANIEL DODSON, b. Abt. 1790, Virginia. Then William married (2) MARTHA PECK. She was born Abt. 1760. He served in Virginia and North Carolina Militias during the American Revolution.
  • THE DOTSONS IN THE REVOLUTION


    A map of North Carolina in 1779. The border with Virgina, where our Dotson ancestors lived at the time, is on the upper part of the map (click to enlarge).


    Typical soldier in the North Carolina Militia, as painted by Don Troiani.
       In March of 1775, Patrick Henry gave his "Liberty or Death" speech in support of his resolution to raise forces to defend Virginia against the British at the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church in Richmond. In April, 1775, the people of North Carolina drove the royal governor out of the colony, and in May the citizens of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, declared the British government suspended. The opposing sides took on the name of English Parliamentary parties. The "Whigs" were the patriot side and the "Tories" were the Loyalists. War with Britain was imminent.
       In 1776, North Carolina became the first colony to vote for independence from England, and Virginia followed in May. Young men from across the Colony signed up to fight.
       The Dotson land stretched across the border of both states. To the north, Colonial Virginia did not maintain a standing army. Nearly everyone was engaged in agriculture, and needed to plant in the spring and harvest in the fall. The Virginians were not wealthy enough to afford full-time soldiers. Whenever there were colonial "alarms" about the British, pirates or Indians, riders on horses would spread the word to various farms and the men would assemble as needed.
       Charles actually fought in the militias of both North Carlina and Virginia. When one understands the geography of this region (shown in the map, above), it is easy to see that residents responded to the geography, not necessarily to the civil boundaries. The original Lambeth Dodson land that had been handed down to Charles probably spanned the boundaries of Virginia and North Carolina—so in truth, they may have been uncertain in which state they lived, so answered the call that came the loudest. When the British were attacking and threatening the lives of his family, Charles looked for a rifle, not a boundary line.


    Virginia Militia, as painted by Don Troiani.
       In 1777, Charles signed an oath of allegiance in Henry County, Virginia. He and brother William Dodson then both served in the Virginia Militia, in Harmon Critz' Company from Henry County. In the summer of 1780, the company marched against the Tories and pursued them as far as the Yadkin River. On March 11, 1781 the company was ordered to assist General Greene in North Carolina, and fought at the battle of King’s Mountain. That battle was fought by 1,000 plus militiamen—without orders, formal military training, uniforms or provisions, and with no promise of pay—against the supposedly “superior forces” of noted English Col. Patrick Ferguson—and is credited by most early historians with having changed the course of the Revolution in the South. Ferguson (the only English regular on the field—the rest of his men were Tories recruited from the Carolinas and Virginia) had sworn death and destruction to all Patriots (and their families) living across the mountains. The 'Over the Mountain Men,' from the wilderness of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, took offense at this. "They had a finely honed sense of vengeance, and didn't fight fair."
       One account of the Henry County Militia in the American Revolution was recorded by Judith Parks Hill who wrote a History of Henry County, Virginia, recorded in 1925: "On March 11, 1781, Colonel Penn and his men marched from Beaver Creek in Henry County, crossed Rowland's Ford just below Fontaine, followed the old road, deep cuts now showing its location, up Marrowbone Valley crossing the creek west of where Ridgeway now stands, thence along the ridge two miles, then crossing Matrimony Creek half a mile to the state line, only one mile from the Marrowbone home of Old Rusty Hairston to the National Highway is now used for public road. From the line south is not known, however, they marched so rapidly they soon reached General Lord Cornwallis a few miles north of Greensboro, North Carolina, and begin what became known as the Battle of Guilford Court House on March 25, 1781. General Green said our men would fight, get beat, rise, and fight again. This American defeat helped win the War for Independence as the casualties for the British forces represented 27 % of the British troops and the American losses amounted to only 6 % of the total forces engaged. Lord Cornwallis said 'another victory such as this would ruin the British Army.'"


    The Battle of Kings Mountain, as painted by Don Troiani.

    Muster Roll
    Image
    Name: Charles Dodson
    Military Organization: First Regiment
    National Number: M246
    Date Range: 1775-83
    State: North Carolina
    Folder: 1
    Page: 32
    Service Record : M881
    Document
    SOURCE INFORMATION: National Archives. Personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units in the Revolutionary War, '75-'85.
       In 1778, Charles and Reuben Dodson were on the roll of Reed's Company, 1st North Carolina Battalion, Thomas Clarke commander, both serving as privates. One of the muster rolls can be seen at right. The militia defeated Tory forces at the Battle of Moore's Creek Bridge in February 1776, the first military action in North Carolina and the last until near the end of the war. In March 1781, American forces under General Nathanael Green defeated Lord Cornwallis' forces at Guilford Courthouse, which forced the British to vacate the Carolinas. But there was always action on the Virginia side of the border.
       The record of Henry County, Virginia, show that Charles Dodson was on the tithable list for that county beginning in 1778 assessed one white poll. In 1789, Charles is taxed for 2 polls aged over 16 and under 21 years of age; indicating that he possibly had 2 sons born between 1768 and 1773.
       After the war, Charles went back to farming full time. His residence was listed in North Carolina for the 1790 Federal Census, but the pages for the area he lived in, Granville County, were lost. The census was later reconstructed from tax lists. Charles' entry in the 1800 census is still available, however.

    Personal Information
    1790 Census Image
    Name: Dotson, Charles
    Township: --
    County: Granville
    State: North Carolina
    Year: 1790
    Roll: M637_7
    Page: --
    Image: --

    Slaves:

    --
    No image available
    View blank 1790 census form
     (PDF 13K)
    Personal Information
    1800 Census Image
    Name: Dodson, Charles
    Township: Hillsboro
    County: Granville
    State: North Carolina
    Year: 1800
    Roll: M32_21
    Page: 514
    Image: 466

    Slaves:

    2
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1790 & 1800 US Census Records. Index created from United States of America, Bureau of the Census.

       Charles sired at least three sons: REUBEN DOTSON, whom was born sometime around the year 1775, Charles and James. We know next to nothing about the last two sons, and even less about their mother (many North Carolina records from this period have been lost, so it's doubtful that we'll ever know anything).

    Personal Information
    1810 Census Image
    Name: Dadson, Charles
    Township: Greensboro
    County: Guilford
    State: North Carolina
    Roll: M252_40
    Page: 932
    Image: 279.00

    M, 10-15:

    0

    M, 16-25:

    0

    M, 26-44:

    1

    F, 10-15:

    2

    F, 26-44:

    1
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    Personal Information
    1810 Census Image
    Name: Datsun, Reuben
    Township: Unknown
    County: Ashe
    State: North Carolina
    Roll: M252_39
    Page: 80
    Image: 17.00

    M, 1-9:

    1

    M, 10-15:

    1

    M, 26-44 :

    1

    F, 1-9:

    1

    F, 26-44 :

    1
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1810 United States Federal Census. M252, 71 rolls. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC

    Estep
    Personal Information
    1850 Census Image
    Name: Reuben Dotson
    Age: 75
    Birthplace: North Carolina
    Home in 1850:

    District 9, Johnson, Tennessee

    Estimated Birth Year: 1775
    Read/Write No
    Page: 20
    Roll: M432_886
    Year: 1850
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1850 United States Federal Census. M432, 1009 rolls. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington DC.
       Reuben Dotson married SARAH ESTEP (b. Abt 1781), the daughter of the local miller, and became a soldier in the War of 1812, fighting as a private in Captain Mason's Company, a Cavalry in the Tennessee Militia.³
       Reuben was a farmer, unable to read or write. In the 1815 North Carolina census, Reuben owned 100 acres of land adjoining John Estep. (This area became Watauga County, North Carolina, in 1849.) In 1820, Reuben Datson was listed in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee (Roll: M33_125; Page: 170; Image: 179). Reuben was in Carter Co., Tennessee in 1830 (the part that became Johnson Co. in 1836). He lived on Roan's Creek along the state line between Johnson County, Tennessee, and Ashe County, North Carolina. Records indicate that Reuben and some of his children simultaneously owned land in both states. His old home was at "Bulldog," a side road just below Trade, Tennessee. By the 1850 census, shown at right, Jordan lived on a $200 farm property in what was by then the state of Tennessee, with his wife and daughter, Malinda. They lived next to the family of his son, Reuben Jr.
       Reuben died 28 Jan 1869 (age 104 years), according to the family records of Verna Dotson. (Her records say he was born in 1765, which is in conflict with census records.) Family records give the name of his wife as Nellie Green, though she is shown as Sarah on all census records. The wife, Sarah, as shown on census records was born c. 1782/85 in North Carolina and died after 1860. Her death is not recorded in the family records.
       Reuben Dotson, Sr., died on the 28th of January, 1869, in Ashe County, North Carolina. But many in his family had already moved on to new areas in the United States. The open, available land in that state was rapidly disappearing, and his sons had moved westward a couple of decades before. Whether or not Reuben knew what became of them is unsure, but where his sons were living, there wasn't any post office to send a letter. Those children were:  

    CHILDREN OF REUBEN DOTSON AND SARAH ESTEP

  • JORDAN DOTSON was born in 11 Nov 1805 in Ashe County, North Carolina. on 4 Dec 1825 he married Mary "Polly" Wilson in Ashe County, North Carolina. He died on 2 Feb 1887 in Coleman, Pike County, Kentucky. He's buried in the Coleman/Dotson Cemetery. Family listed below.
  • WILLIAM E. "BILLY ARNOLD" DOTSON was born on 10 Jan 1801. He married Rhoda Stout and they had two children: Godfrey Daniel Dotson (b: Abt 1827 in NC), and Elijah Dotson (b: Abt 1846). He married a second time, to Elizabeth Bumgardner (b: 1817 in NC), on 27 Jan 1845 in Ashe Co., NC. They had the following children: Elizabeth D. Dotson b: 1845 in Ky; Mary Dotson b: Abt 1847 in Va; John C. Dotson b: 1850 in Tn; David H. Dotson b: 1852 in Tn; Barbara Dotson b: 1854 in Tn; Rebecca Dotson b: 1856 in Pike Co., Ky; Matilda Dotson b: 1858 in Pike Co., Ky. William died in 1875 in Paw Paw, Pike County, Kentucky.
  • ELIJAH DOTSON was born in 1810. He married a woman named Anna (b: 1814 in NC) in 1835 in NC. They had the following children: Sarah Dotson b: Abt 1836 in Nc; Allen Dotson b: Abt 1838 in Nc; Nancy Dotson b: Abt 1840 in Nc; Alison ? Dotson b: Abt 1842 in Nc; Anna Dotson b: Abt 1849.
  • ALLEN DOTSON was born in 1815-1817. He married Delila Pearce (b: 15 Apr 1822) on 25 Feb 1843 in Ashe Co., NC. They had the following children: George W. Dotson b: 24 Jun 1841 in Johnson Co., Tn; William Green Dotson b: 4 Jul 1843 in Nc; Sarah Fine Dotson b: 19 Sep 1845 in Johnson Co., Tn; Malinda Dotson b: 12 Nov 1847 in Tn; Alfred A. Dotson b: 26 Jan 1850 in Johnson Co., Tn; Eadia C. Dotson b: 16 Oct 1851 in Johnson Co., Tn; John F. Dotson b: 23 May 1854 in Johnson Co.,Tn; Albert E. Dotson b: 24 May 1856 in Johnson Co., Tn; David S. Dotson b: 13 Aug 1859; Nancy Elizabeth Dotson b: 11 Sep 1866. He died on 8 Dec 1899 in Johnson Co.,Tn.
  • REUBEN DOTSON, JR., was born in 1824. He married Sarah (Sallie) Johnson on 1 Oct 1844 in Ashe Co., North Carolina, and they had the following children: William R. Dotson b: Abt 1845 in Nc; Nancy A. Dotson b: Abt 1847 in Tn; (General) Jordan Dotson b: Abt 1849 in Tn; Sarah Malinda Dotson b: Abt 1855 in Tn; Reuben H. Dotson b: Abt 1856 in Tn; Mary E. Dotson b: Abt 1857 in Tn; Allen F. Dotson b: Abt 1859 in Tn; Mary J. Dotson b: Abt 1861 in Tn; Delilah L. Dotson b: Abt 1862 in Tn: Martha C. Dotson b: Abt 1869.
  • GEORGE WHEELER DOTSON was born on 16 Nov 1824. He married Katherine Bumgardner (b: Abt 1825 in NC) on 29 Jan 1850 in Pike, KY. They had the following children: John S. Dotson b: Abt 1845 in Tn; Sarah Dotson b: Abt 1847 in Va; Reuben F. Dotson b: Abt 1849 in Tn; David H. Dotson b: Abt 1852 in Tn; Allen Dotson b: Abt 1855 in Tn; Martha Dotson b: Abt 1859 in Tn; Peter L. Dotson b: Abt 1861 in Ky. Married again, to Margaret Estep (b: Abt 1834 in Va) on 31 Jan 1850, in Pike Co.,Ky, and had the following children: Elizabeth Dotson b: Abt 1864 in Ky; Pricey Dotson b: Abt 1866 in Ky; Melinda Dotson b: Abt 1868 in Ky; George W. Dotson b: Dec 1869 in Pike Co., Ky; James A. Dotson b: Abt 1873 in Pike Co., Ky; Nancy Dotson b: Abt 1874 in Pike Co., Ky. He died on 04 Oct 1909 in Fedscreek, Kentucky.
  • MALINDA DOTSON apparently never married. She's on the 1882 tax lists of Johnson County as a property holder.
  • SARAH FINE DOTSON was born in 1830 in Carter Co., Tn. She married William R. Barry on 21 Mar 1847, in Johnson Co., Tn.
  • EADY DOTSON married Joseph Pearce on 28 Oct 1840 in Ashe Co., NC. No further information.
  • RACHEL DOTSON married Abraham Willson on 17 Aug 1841 in Ashe Co., NC.
  • DICY DOTSON married William A. Williams on 14 Feb 1850 in Johnson Co., TN.

  • Wilson
       Reuben's son JORDAN DOTSON married MARY "POLLY" WILSON (b. Mar 1807 in Randolph Co., North Carolina; d. 12 Jan 1901) on December 4, 1825, in Ashe County, North Carolina.
       Jordan and Polly lived in Raleigh, North Carolina until the mid-1840's, then moved to what is now Coleman, Pike County, Kentucky, along with two of Jordan's brothers.
       Pike County was formed on December 19, 1821 from a part of Floyd County by act of the General Assembly of Kentucky under Governor John Adair. Pike County was named in honor of General Zebulon Pike. The first Pike County court was held on March 4, 1822 at the home of Spencer Adkins which was located just below where Levisa Fork meets the Russell Fork of the Big Sandy. A commission was appointed on March 25, 1822 to select a permanent county seat. Elijah Adkins donated one acre of land for the courthouse and was surveyed by James Honaker on March 23, 1824. The first courthouse was to be of hewed logs 24 feet square and 1 1/2 stories high covered with shingles. The first Post Office was called Pike and Will Smith was Postmaster. The name was changed to Piketon in 1829 and William Williams was Postmaster. The name was changed to Pikeville in 1881 and Lewis C. Dils was Postmaster. The first census of the city of Pikeville list 7 families with a total of 49 persons; 34 of those people were under 30 years of age.

    Personal Information
    1850 Census Image
    Name:   Jordan Dotson
    Age in 1850:   46
    Birth Year:   1804
    Birthplace:   North Carolina
    Home in 1850:   Pike, KY
    Family Number:   600
    Occupation:   Farmer
    Slaves:   None
    Read or Write:   No
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    Personal Information
    1860 Census Image
    Name: Jordan Dotson
    Age: 55
    Birthplace: North Carolina
    Home in 1860: District 1, Pike, Kentucky
    Estimated Birth Year: 1805
    Post Office: None
    Roll: M653_392
    Value of Real Estate: 150
    Value of Personal Estate: 200
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration. 1850: Pike, Kentucky; Roll: M432_217; Page: 474B; Image: 87. 1860; Census Place: District 1, Pike, Kentucky; Roll: M653_392; Page: 0; Image: 514.

       Jordan applied for homestead land on Big Branch, on January 25, 1851, and received 100 acres. They worked a farm near Peters Pond, and their family became closely allied with branches of the Stump, Coleman, and Hatfield families (our line later married into the McCoy family, meaning we had lots of family actively involved on both sides of the famous Hatfield/McCoy feud).
       By 1860, Kentucky had an overall population of approximately 1,150,000, of whom about 226,000 were slaves and about 10,000 were free blacks. The state stood third in total population among the slave states. Kentucky was poor, and no planter owned over 300 slaves, only 7 owned over 100, and only 70 owned more than 50. However, on the other hand, with the exception of Virginia, Kentucky had more slaveholders owning from one to seven slaves than any other slave state. Jordan and Polly probably had no slaves, and they barely scraped togther a living on their farm. Both were illiterate, which was very common for the time and area. They had the following children:

    CHILDREN OF JORDAN DOTSON AND POLLY WILSON

  • SARAH "SALLY" DOTSON, who was born in December of 1834. She married DANIEL "BONE" WOLFORD, and their daughter would actually marry back into our branch of the Dotson family! ARMINDA WOLFORD, would marry HARRISON DOTSON, the son of her brother, George!
  • JOHN DOTSON married Sarah "Sally" Charles (b: 1830 in Ky) on 5 Apr 1849 in Coleman, Pike Co., Ky. They had the following children: George W. "Redneck" Dotson b: 1855 in Pike Co.,Ky; David Dotson b: 1861 in Pike Co., Ky; Harrison Dotson b: 1860 in Pike Co.,Ky; Elias Dotson b: Abt 1854 in Pike Co., Ky; Malinda Jane Dotson b: Abt 1857 in Pike Co., Ky; America A. Dotson b: 1865 in Pike Co., Ky; Rebecca Dotson b: Abt 1850 in Pike Co., Ky; Pricey Dotson b: 1851; Mary Dotson b: 1863; Rachael Dotson b: 1853; and Amanda Dotson.
  • REUBEN DOTSON (b. 1830) married Matilda Ann Coleman (b: 1835) on 23 Mar 1851 in Pike Co., Ky. They had the following children: George W. Dotson b: 15 Jan 1859; Daniel Jeams Dotson b: 1854/1856 in Pike Co., Ky; Sherman Dotson b: 1876; Ransom Dotson b: 1869; Jordan Dotson b: 1857; Elkanah "Cain" Dotson b: 1867; William H. Dotson b: 1861; Moses Dotson b: 1874; Aaron Dotson b: 1874; Reuben Walter Dotson b: 1863; Matilda "Sis" Dotson b: 1872; and Louisa Kaldone "Done" Dotson b: 1879.
  • ELIJAH DOTSON (b. 1833) married Elizabeth Charles (b: 1836 in Ky). They had the following children: Jane Dotson b: 1854 in Pike Co., Ky; Mary Dotson b: 1854 in Pike Co., Ky; David Dotson b: 1857 in Pike Co., Ky; Minda Dotson b: 1866 in Pike Co., Ky; Ransom Dotson b: 1868 in Pike Co., Ky; Marinda Dotson b: 1870 in Pike Co., Ky; Bazzel Dotson b: 1872 in Pike Co., Ky; and John Dotson b: 1874 in Pike Co., Ky.
  • RACHEL DOTSON, b. 1839, married Moses "Mose" Coleman (b: 1826) on 29 Jun 1854, in Coleman, Pike Co., Ky. They had the following children: Reuben Coleman; Sarah Coleman; Elige Coleman; Arminda Coleman; Joe Coleman; Green Coleman; Nancy Coleman; and Rene Coleman.
  • ELIZABETH "BETSY" DOTSON, b. 1841, married A. James "Jim" Stump (b: Sep 1870) and they had the following children: George Stump; and Harrison Stump
  • JORDAN DOTSON JR., b. 20 May 1845 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He married Rhoda E. Stump (b: 1847 in Va) on 9 Jun 1865 in Johns Creek,Pike Co.,Ky. They had the following children: George B. Dotson b: 1866 in Pike Co., Ky; Anderson Dotson b: 1873 in Pike Co., Ky; Mary L. "Sis" Dotson b: 1876 in Pike Co., Ky; Elias Dotson b: 1879; Paris W. Dotson; James E. Dotson b: 1871 in Pike Co., Ky; Margie Dotson; and W. N. Dotson b: 13 Mar 1867. Jordan married again, to Sarah Ann Hatfield. They had the following children: Philip Dotson; Gustavia "Pet" Dotson; Lizzie Dotson.
  • MARY DOTSON married Daniel "Callaway" Coleman (b: Abt 1849 in Ky) and they had the following children: William Ferrell Coleman b: Abt 1867 in Pike Co., Ky; Ransom V. Coleman b: Abt 1870 in Pike Co., Ky; James Lewis Coleman b: Abt 1875 in Pike Co., Ky; Caroline "Lina" Coleman b: Abt 1872 in Pike Co., Ky; Katheryn Coleman; Mary Coleman; and Ida Coleman
  • RANSOM DOTSON was born 22 Mar 1847. He married Louisa Jane Coleman (b: 24 Sep 1855) and they had the following children:Walter Dotson b: 11 Nov 1885; Garfield Dotson b: 16 Jul 1880; E. Burbage Dotson b: 1 Apr 1882; Rhoda Dotson b: 18 Jun 1872; Nancy L. Dotson b: 2 Sep 1873; Columbis Dotson b: 15 Nov 1873; Perry Dotson b: 16 Oct 1878. Ransom died on 8 Nov 1919 in Coleman, Ky.
  • NANCY DOTSON, b. 1852, married Curtis Coleman. They had the following children: George Coleman; Louise Coleman; Ida Coleman; Lona Coleman; Clemantine Coleman; Nelson Coleman; Ira Coleman; Roma Coleman; and Wayne Coleman.
  • GEORGE W. (WHEELER or WASHINGTON) DOTSON was born in 1837. He married NANCY J. DAUGHERTY (b: 1843 in Va) on 1 Aug 1861 in Coleman, Pike Co., Ky. Family listed below. He died in 1875 in Pike Co., Kentucky.

  • Daugherty
       Their son, GEORGE W. DOTSON, was the last of our line to be born in North Carolina, in 1837. Records differ on George's middle initial: Some say the "W" stands for Washington, while others say it stands for Wheeler (from an earlier relative). Whatever his middle name was, George W. traveled with his father to Kentucky, where he had some basic schooling.
       It was also at his father's farm where George married NANCY JANE DAUGHERTY (b. 1843 in Smythe County, Virginia) on August 1, 1861. Nancy was the daughter of HIRAM M. DAUGHERTY and KEZZIAH WHITEHEAD. After the wedding, George and Nancy started a farm next to his father's, at Big Branch in District #7 of Pike County.
       Kentucky was one of the "border states" in the Civil War, both geographically and politically. It was situated on the dividing line between the northern and southern regions of the United States. And it was one of only a few slave states that opted to stay in the Union. President Abraham Lincoln recognized the importance of the Commonwealth when he declared "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." Though the Commonwealth was officially neutral, its citizens were deeply divided over the issues that caused the Civil War, and over the war itself—a division symbolized by the fact that both Civil War presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, were Kentucky native sons.
       By law, Kentucky was a slave state. Kentucky was a source of slaves for the cotton plantations in the lower South, and the slave trade was a very profitable business for many Kentuckians. However, most Kentuckians did not own slaves. Those who did were wealthy plantation owners who stood to lose a lot if slavery were abolished. The major slave-owning areas in the state were the Bluegrass region, Henderson and Oldham counties on the Ohio River, and the western Kentucky counties of Trigg, Christian, Todd, and Warren. Many Kentuckians from these areas joined the Confederate army.
       Our ancestor was probably a Confederate: A George W. Dotson enlisted with Company H of Diamond's 10th Kentucky Cavalry ("The Yankee Chasers") on May 15, 1863. Diamond's unit was from eastern Kentucky and southwest Virginia.4 Meanwhile, George's in-laws were devout Union supporters (brother-in-law Hiram Mahlon Daugherty was a surgeon in the 39th Infantry). That means that if our family wasn't exactly brother-against-brother in the Civil War, it was at least brother-in-law vs. brother-in-law.
       In 1861 and 1862, Kentucky saw a number of battles and skirmishes. By the end of 1862, after the battle of Perryville, Confederate forces retreated from the state. But the destruction caused by the war was not over for Kentuckians. From December 1862 to January 1865, Confederate raids by John Hunt Morgan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Quantrill, and "Sue" Mundy destroyed Union supply depots, bridges, county courthouses, and people's personal property. Kentucky also experienced a period of lawlessness in 1864, when "Bushwhackers"—small bands of unruly soldiers from both sides—looted small towns and robbed local farmers of produce and livestock. Meanwhile, battles were fought practically in the Dotson back yard: On May 16, 1864, there were two skirmishes at Pond Creek.
       But Kentucky changed drastically after the end of the Civil War. Slavery had been abolished, and while this saved millions from the horrors of that practice, it also destroyed the economy of slave states like Kentucky. Slaves became paid laborers, and farmers could no longer make enough money to pay them. The agricultural trade was crippled, with factories closing and trade businesses crippled and bankrupt. Soon, mining companies began to buy farmers out, paying a fraction of what the land had been worth before the war. Meanwhile, these farmers were not prepared for any other kind of career. Most of them could only read and write enough to sign a sales receipt. Soon they would be working in the mines on land they once owned for very little pay, practically turning them into indentured servants, themselves.
       Jordan and George
    continued to farm, however, and George had at least a little bit of schooling, as evidenced by the 1870 census, which shows that unlike his father, he could read and write:

    Personal Information
    1870 Census Image
    Name:   Jordan Dotson
    Age in 1870:   63
    Birth Year:   1804
    Birthplace:   North Carolina
    Home in 1870:   District 7, Pike, KY
    Land/Personal property:   --/--
    Post Office:   Mouth of Pond Creek
    Occupation:   Farm Laborer
    Read:   No
    Write:   No
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    Personal Information
    1870 Census Image
    Name:   George W. Dotson
    Age in 1870:   34
    Birth Year:   1836
    Birthplace:   North Carolina
    Home in 1870:   District 7, Pike, KY
    Land/Personal property:   --/$240
    Post Office:   Mouth of Pond Creek
    Occupation:   Farmer
    Read:   Yes
    Write:   Yes
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: Data imaged from National Archives and Records Administration. 1870 Federal Population Census. M593, 1,761 rolls; part of Minnesota T132, 13 rolls. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration. Census Place: District 7, Pike, Kentucky; Jordan: Roll: M593_495; Page: 94; Image: 191. George W: Roll: M593_495; Page: 87; Image 176.

       In the 1870 census, they live near the Mouth of Pond Creek, and George is a farmer. They apparently rent the land, as no value is given to their farm property.
       The census taker lists George as being able to read and write, while Nancy can only read. Meanwhile, their son, eight year-old HARRISON, is attending school. Other children listed at home are Arena (age 4), Kizziah (age 3) and John B. (age 1). One more child would be added in 1875, George W., Jr.
       Altogether, George and Nancy had the following children:

    CHILDREN OF GEORGE W. DOTSON AND JANE DAUGHERTY

  • HARRISON DOTSON, b. in 1862. He married ARMINDA WOLFORD on 27 Apr 1883 in Pike Co., KY. Family listed below. They are buried in the family cemetery at Bone's Branch, Phelps Pike County, Kentucky. He died on 17 Oct 1938. She died on 2 Jun 1951 in Pike Co.
  • MARY E. DOTSON was born in 1864.
  • ARRENA DOTSON was born in 1866. She married Richard Blankenship (b. Jul 1859) on 4 Aug 1882 in Pike County, Kentucky. The 1900 Census shows that after her father's death, Arrena and her husband lived with her mother, Nancy Jane Dotson, as well as Marry E Dotson, and Nancy's grandchildren, Arminda Dotson (5) and Arfin Jane Dotson (2).
  • KEZIAH DOTSON was born in 1867. She married John Raines (1872 - 1925).
  • JOHN B. DOTSON was born in Oct of 1869 in Pike Co., KY. He married his cousin Mary "Polly" Wolford (b: Nov 1863 in Pike Co., KY) on 1 Dec 1887 in Pike Co. They had the following children: Anie Dotson b: Sep 1888; Calvin Dotson b: Oct 1891; Stella Dotson b: Jan 1894; Vada Dotson b: Jun 1895; and Grayson Dotson b: Jul 1898.
  • GEORGE W. DOTSON, JR. was born before 1875. He married Tennessee Blankenship (b: 1882) in Pike Co, Kentucky, and they had the following children: Esther Dotson b: 1900 in Pike Co, Ky; William Billy Dotson b: 1902; Ora Dotson b: 8 Oct 1906; Virginia Ginny Dotson; Edith Edie Dotson; Stewart Dotson; Mary Dotson; Wheeler Dotson; and Grant Dotson.
  •    Times were very hard in Pike County. The economy of the area was changing drastically. You could no longer survive by farming alone, because the coal mining industry had taken over, and either buying out the farmers and creating mining towns, driving them out of business.
       The existence of coal deposits in the area was well known to early explorers and to early residents, but there was no vast commercial market for it due to transportation problems common to hilly terrain with secondary roads which were often little more than trails.
       But on March 12, 1883, the first carload of coal was transported from Pocahontas in Tazewell County, Virginia, on the Norfolk and Western Railway. This new railroad opened a gateway to the untapped coalfields on the borders of West Virginia and Kentucky. Virtually overnight, new towns were created as the region was transformed from an agricultural to an industrial economy.

    Personal Information
    1880 Census Image
    Name:   Jordan Dotson
    Age:   75
    Estimated birth year:   <1805>
    Birthplace:   Virginia
    Occupation:   Farmer
    Marital Status:   Married
    Home in 1880:   Peters Creek, Pike, KY
    Father's birthplace:   Tennessee
    Mother's birthplace:   Tennessee
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    Personal Information
    1880 Census Image
    Name:   Nancy J. Dotson
    Age:   37
    Estimated birth year:   <1843>
    Birthplace:   Virginia
    Occupation:   Keeps House
    Marital Status:   Widowed
    Home in 1880:   Peters Creek, Pike, KY
    Father's birthplace:   North Carolina
    Mother's birthplace:   Virginia
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: Year: 1880; Census Place: Peters Creek, Pike, Kentucky; (LEFT) Series: T9 Roll: 439 Page: 669. (RIGHT) Roll: T9_439; Family History Film: 1254439; Page: 660.4000; Enumeration District: 101; Image: 0177.


    Wolford
       While times were tough for most farmers, the Dotson family had it much worse: George died in 1875 at the age of forty. The circumstances are unclear, but the family soon fell apart.
       In the 1880 census, his widow Nancy is raising their son George W. near Peters Creek, while her children John B. and Keziah were living with 75 year-old Grandpa Jordan and Grandma Polly, working the farm.
       Arena was living nearby with G.D. Dotson and his wife, Elizabeth, as a laborer.
       George's eighteen year-old son, HARRISON DOTSON, was nowhere to be found on the census, so it can be assumed he was an itinerant day laborer until he could find a permanent home. Fortunately for our family, a year later, Harrison would reappear in the public record and marry ARMINDA WOLFORD, the daughter of Civil War Veteran DANIEL "BONE" WOLFORD (on the Union side) and his aunt SARAH "SALLY" DOTSON, on August 1st, 1881, in Pike County.
       They had the following children:

    CHILDREN OF HARRISON DOTSON AND ARMINDA WOLFORD

  • WILLIE DOTSON was born on 18 May 1884 in Pike Co., Kentucky. He married NANCY McCOY (06 May 1887 - 31 Aug 1960). He died 29 Dec 1966 in Pike, KY.
  • GREEN D. DOTSON was born in 1890 in Pike County, Kentucky. He married Lula Norman (b. 1890), and they had a daughter, Zettie Dotson, in about 1912.
  • FRANCIS MORSE DOTSON was born on 06 Dec 1891. He married Mattie Dalby "Dollie" Preece (7 Jan 1900 - 12 Nov 1986).
  • MARY DOTSON was born in 1900. She married Lew Hubbard Preece (17 Dec 1898 - 31 Aug 1970), and they had a son, Lew Hubbard Preece (17 Dec 1898 - 31 Aug 1970). Mary died on 16 Dec 1964.
  • ANTHONY DOTSON on 20 Sep 1909. He married Mary Wolford (28 Jul 1915- 4 Sep 1987).

  • McCoy
    Personal Information
    Marriage Record
    Name:   Willie Dotson
    Spouse:   Nancy McCoy
    Date:   31 Dec 1903
    County:   Pike
    View image
    SOURCE: Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records - Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.
       Harrison Datsun (sic) and his wife, Arminda, are listed on the 1920 census, right above their son, WILLIE DOTSON, and his family. Willie never learned to read or write, according to the census, but he was a legendary character in the family—from tales of moonshining and hiding from the revenue men, to even the person he married, who herself came from a very legendary family.
       On New Year's Eve, 31 Dec 1903, Willie married NANCY McCOY at the District 73 school house in Pike County. Nancy was a descendant of the McCoy side of the infamous Hatfield / McCoy feud. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, the bloody rivalry made front page headlines all over the United States, and even became romancticized and turned into Broadway shows and movies. But the ways of Appalachian Culture were changing quickly.
       Times had changed in the area for the Dotsons and other residents, and farming was no longer the main trade. The coal companies had set up a system that gave them total control of the town and the people. The houses, hospitals, stores and even the churches were company property. Miners worked in company mines with company tools, blasting powder and equipment, which they were required to purchase or lease. The housing for their families consisted of rough lumber with no indoor plumbing, and the rent was deducted from their pay. When there was illness, the company doctor was called in, and the miner had that expense deducted from his wages. The company stores charged over-inflated prices, since there was no alternative for purchasing goods. To ensure that miners spent their wages at the store, coal companies developed their own monetary system. Miners were paid by scrip, in the form of tokens, currency, or credit, which could be used only at the company store. Therefore, even when wages were increased, coal companies simply increased prices at the company store to balance what they lost in pay. The entire system was built around keeping the workers poor. More than one miner would pick up an empty pay envelope because his indebtedness had taken all he earned.
       In addition to the lousy economic conditions, safety in the mines was of great concern. Deadly methane gas, being odorless, was a silent killer, but far more miners died of black lung, a disease where the air sacs of the lungs are destroyed from breathing coal dust. The coal companies refused to recognize black lung as a valid medical disability caused by working conditions. Many company doctors would diagnose respiratory disorders as nearly anything but black lung. Historians have suggested that during World War I, a U.S. soldier had a better statistical chance of surviving in battle than did a West Virginian working in the coal mines. Fortunately, Willie was able to avoid this fate—but the alternative he chose may have been even more dangerous.

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   Willie Datsun (Dotson)
    Age:   22
    Birth State:   Kentucky
    Home in 1910:   Peter, Pike, Kentucky
    Occupation:   Farming
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    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   Willie Datsun (Dotson)
    Age:   36
    Birth State:   Kentucky
    Home in 1920:   Peter, Pike, Kentucky
    Occupation:   Farming; Trucking
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    SOURCE INFORMATION: 1910 US Census data; National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, DC. Peter, Pike, Kentucky; Roll: T624_499; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 180; Image: 892; 1920 US Census data; National Archives and Records Administration. Washington, DC. Peter, Pike, Kentucky; Roll: T625_596; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 130; Image: 805.

       Proud mountain people, Willie and Nancy became moonshiners to augment their farming income. Kentucky's tobacco and whiskey industries had boom years during the teens, but the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) seriously harmed the economy, which led to widespread bootlegging. According to the The Kentucky Encyclopedia, by John E. Kleber, a moonshiner like Willie could easily make $300 per month, in a time when most miners just went further into debt with each pay period. During this time, revenue agents seized an average of a hundred stills per year and 20,000 gallons of distilled spirits. To keep from being caught, Willie and Nancy hid the moonshine under fence posts, so the revenuers wouldn't find it, and delivered the 'shine by horse around the mountains. Bootlegging was one of the few ways a farmer like Willie could still make a living in the area—and compared to the mining industry at the dawn of the 1900's, bootlegging seems pretty honest!

    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   Willie Dotson
    Age:   44
    Birth year:   1886
    Birth State:   Kentucky
    Home in 1930:   Peter, Pike, Kentucky
    Occupation:   Laborer, Coal Mines
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    Personal Information
    Census Image
    Name:   Willie Datson
    Age:   57
    Birth year:   1883
    Birth State:   Kentucky
    Home in 1940:   Phelps, Pike, Kentucky
    Occupation:   Farmer
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    SOURCE: Year: 1930; Census Place: Peter, Pike, Kentucky; Roll: 775; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 30; FHL microfilm: 2340510. Year: 1940; Census Place: Phelps, Pike, Kentucky; Roll: T627_1351; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 98-35.

       So Willie got out of the mines, but with the widespread unemployment and farming restrictions enacted during the Great Depression, then the end of Prohibition and shortages in copper and other necessary materials for stills during wartime, his children wouldn't have many other options (legal or otherwise). Those children were:

    CHILDREN OF WILLIE DOTSON AND NANCY McCOY

  • HARRISON DOTSON was born on 28 Jan 1905 in Pike County, Kentucky. He died on 9 June 1972 in Phelps, Pike, Kentucky.
  • LOUISA "ELSIE" DOTSON was born on 8 Feb 1907 in Pike County, Kentucky.
  • DREWY DOTSON was born on 14 Nov 1908. He died on 25 Jan 1989 at 41528 Freeburn, Pike County, Kentucky.
  • ROY DOTSON was born on 11 Nov 1911 in Pike County, Kentucky. He died in Mar 1978 in Phelps, Pike, Kentucky.
  • WILLIAM DOTSON, JR. was born in 1914 in Pike County, Kentucky.
  • JAMES DOTSON was born on 14 Feb 1915 in Pike County, Kentucky, according to Kentucky Birth, Marriage, and Death Databases: Births 1911-1999. Frankfort, Kentucky: Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.
  • HOMER DOTSON was born in 1915
  • CHARLEY DOTSON was born in 1917
  • WALTER DOTSON was born on 4 Aug 1917
  • ONA DOTSON was born in 1919
  • GREEN J. DOTSON was born 23 Feb 1921, the same year that Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest organized armed uprising in American labor history, occurred in Logan County, West Virginia. By 1940, he was working in those Logan County mines, himself. After marrying JACQULENE BALDRIDGE (children listed below) he served as a Warrant Officer during World War II. He then returned to the mines and died mysteriously sometime around 21 Dec 1957, driving home through the mountains after a union meeting.
  • FRANK DOTSON was born in 1924. A Frank Dotson (listed as born in 1922) enlisted in the army on 8 Apr 1941 in Huntington West VA as a Private. Education: Grammar school; Civil Occupation: Farm hand, general farms; Marital Status: Single, without dependents; Height: 68", weight 129 lbs.
  • BRADY DOTSON was born on 23 Jun 1928 in Phelps, Pike, Kentucky. He married Vesta Tosten (1930-2002). Brady died on 20 March 1981 in Pike county, Kentucky.
  • MORE TO COME...


    NOTES


    Directions to Farnham Episcopal Parish.
    —North Farnham Parish (Old Rappahannock, 1683-1692; Richmond, 1692-), on the north side of the Rappahannock River, was formed in 1692. After the Revolution this Episcopal church was deserted for many years. Bishop Meade reported that the bricks of the wall around the plot had been used for hearths, chimneys, and other purposes and that the church itself was used 'as a granery, stable, a resort for hogs . . . For years it was also used as a distillery . . . while the marble font was circulated from house to house, on every occasion of mirth and folly . . . until at length it was found bruised, battered, and deeply sunk in the cellar of some deserted tavern.' The walls show bullet holes, scars of a skirmish during the War of 1812, when the Richmond County Militia repelled Admiral Cockburn's raiders. The church was restored in 1835, but during the War between the States was again stripped of its furniture and occupied by both Federal and Confederate troops. Restored, it was burned in 1887 and restored again in 1920-24. The communion silver and the communion font have been returned. Farnham Church is located in Farnham Virginia to the south and east of Warsaw Virginia. From Warsaw, Farnham is just 10 miles east of Warsaw Route 3 and a 10 minute drive. The church is at 211 Canal Road just to the west of Scotts Corner.

    —Abraham Goad in his 1734 will in Richmond County named two daughters married to Dodsons, Elizabeth born 1795, was married to John Dodson, and Alice was the wife of Fortunatus Dodson, son of Charles, Jr. On 9 Feb 1699 - Will of William Smyth, husband of Eve witnessed by Mary “Doson”. Goads are heirs. On 24 April 1704 the Will of Eve Smith (Smyth), mother of Katherine (Williams) Goad was witnessed by William, Charles and Anne Dodson, and proved 4 Oct 1705 by Charles and Anne. Goad grandchildren are heirs.

    ³—National Archives and Records Administration. Index to the Compiled Military Service Records for the Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Microfilm Publication: M602, Roll Box: 60.

    4—Another George W. Dotson was on the Union side, a Private in Co. H of the 39th Kentucky Infantry. But that George was still alive in 1890 and living in a different precinct of Pike County.

    SOURCES:

  • "The Dodson (Dotson) Family of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia: A History and Genealogy of their Descendants." By Mrs. Sherman Williams and the Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas, Jr. Our genealogy: Charles Dodson (#1, Page 1), Lambeth Dodson (#7, Page 8), Lambeth Jr. (#38, Page 29), Charles Dodson (#129, Page 77), Reuben Dodson (#405, Page 196), and Jordan Dotson (#1371, Page 197)
  • "Registers of North Farnham Parish 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish 1783-1800 Richmond County Virginia," by George H. S. King. Southern Historical Pr; Reprint edition (December 1985)
  • "The Complete Book of Emmigrants 1607-1676," Peter Coldham
  • "Ancestors of Robert Dodson and his descendants" by Mrs. C. T. Dodson, 1965.
  • "Supplement to the History of the Dodson-Dotson Family of Southwest Virginia," by Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas, Jr. Southern Historical Press, 1966. 124 p.
  • THE 10TH KENTUCKY CAVALRY, C.S.A. - THE YANKEE CHASERS, by John B. Wells III and Jim Prichard, Gateway Press, 1996.