Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


Chapter XIV

From Lillye Younger, The History of Decatur County Past and Present (Southhaven, MS: Carter Printing Company, 1978).
Special thanks to Constance Collett for permission to make these web pages.

In Memory of Lillye Washburn Younger 1912-1998.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

Ruth Dodson Townsend

William Bird Dodson was born 9/18/1853, died 5/23/1923 and served Decatur County in the capacity of Magistrate and County Trustee. An existing letter written to Squire Bird Dodson shows that he was serving as a Decatur County Magistrate in the year 1912 (letter taken from old Family Bible dated 1882). Also Bird Dodson served his county in the following capacity: (information taken from copy of records in the Tennessee Archives Building) in the County Court January term of 1866, it was ordered by the Court that William Dodson be appointed Overseer of the road from Farmville to Broady's ferry commencing at Farmville and work to the Natchez Trace and have the hands usually allotted on that section of the road and work the same as the law requires." The road was referred to as the William Dodson Road. Mr. Carl Partin, who is still living today, remembers when Bird Dodson served as Magistrate and County Trustee.

William Bird Dodson was descended from Charles Dodson of Old Rappahanock County, Va., 1680. The first descendant of this particular Dodson branch to arrive in Tenn. was Elias Dodson, grandfather of Bird Dodson, who settled in Hickman County, Tenn. Elias, born March 22, 1786 in Halifax Co., Va., and his wife, Maria Marshall Dodson, had five children: Elias (E.J.), Newton, Marshall, William, and Claiborne. Newton Dodson had issue as follows: William Bird Dodson, Mary E. D. MoCullum, Susannah Dodson, Claiborne Bird Dodson, Joe O. Dodson, Lucy Priscilla Dodson, Andrew Sugg Dodson, Frances Byron Dodson. Newton Dodson married Nancy Sugg in Dickson County November 9, 1846 and lived in Lobelville, Perry County, Tennessee. Newton Dodson was also married to Susan Thomas from Sugar Tree, Tenn., Decatur Co., later in his life since his first wife preceded him in death; he and Susan had no children. Newton's house, still standing today in Lobelville, is occupied by a Lobelville Pharmacist. Elias's father was Joshua Dodson who married Ann Chilton from Va. Joshua served his country by fighting in the Revolutionary War alongside his brother, Caleb Dodson, ancestor of Lillye Younger, author of this History book. Joshua also fought alongside his father-in-law, Charles Chilton, of Virginia.

It is not known exactly what date William Bird Dodson settled in Dectur County, but he married Lora Frances Hendrix December 25,1879. Lora was the daughter of H.V.M. Hendrix and Sarah Wesson of Sugar Tree, Tenn. According to a deed recorded August 14, 1883, Register of Deed's office in Decatur Co., it is shown that William Bird Dodson sold a tract of land in Decatur County in Civil District No. 5, lying and being on Lick Creek, for the sum of $1,175.00 toG. W. Baugus. William Bird Dodson also owned land on the south side of Cub Creek and his wife's family owned land on the north side of Cub Creek. The William Bird Dodson homeplace burned a few years ago, but was situated on what was then known as the Camden Road across from the George Bell property. At the time the house burned, it had been beautifully remodelled and was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Paul White who have since built a brick home on the Dodson site.

William Bird Dodson and Lora Frances Hendrix had issue as follows: Birdie Dodson Garrison, Roy Burton Dodson, Joseph Hendrix Dodson, and Mary Frances Dodson. Birdie Dodson is still living near Kenton, Tenn. Her deceased uncle, Joe D. Dodson, was postmaster at Kenton; he and his son made application and was the first in the United States to begin rural mail delivery. Roy Dodson was credited with being one of the "builders" of Jackson, Mississippi. He served for years on the board of the Standard Oil Co. and on Board of Directors of a Jackson, Mississippi bank and was very active in Civic affairs such as Rotary Club, etc. Joseph Hendrix Dodson moved to Chicago and was owner of an apartment house and restaurant. Sally Mary Dodson married Ed Walker and remained in Decatur County.

Birdie Dodson's one living child, Janie Meyers, and her children live in Chicago; Roy Dodson's only child, William Burton Dodson, graduated from Georgia Tech University where he majored in engineering, and he is presently living in Louisville, Kentucky - William is an inventor and lives exclusively from invention royalties and rental fees from his Industrial Science Library; Joseph Dodson's only son, Leonard Ray Dodson, a farmer from Decatur County (Bible Hill) was killed in an accident in 1944 while serving in the United States Navy; Sally Mary Walker had issue as follows: Mary Frances Walker Houston and John William Walker.

William Bird Dodson is buried on what was formerly the Ed Walker property located on Camden Road. The land surrounding the cemetery is now owned by Thomas R. Odle.

Descendants of William Bird Dodson living in Decatur County today are: John William Walker, Brenda Kay Walker (child and grandchild of Sally and Ed Walker); Ruth Dodson Townsend, Kyle Lamar Townsend, and Valerie Ruth Townsend (child and grandchildren of Leonard Ray Dodson and Blanche Bicknell Dodson Maxwell).

Submitted by: Ruth Dodson Townsend (Mrs. H.L., Jr.), 201 West Fourth Street, Parsons, Tennessee 38363