The earliest known antecedent of the Dodge family, who were pioneer settlers in the USA, was Peter Dodge in the time of Edward I (1274-1307). He was held in high esteem by the king for services to the crown and because of this he was granted arms (Ensigns and Arms of Honour). The original patent, written in Norman French, survives in the Heraldic Library of England and it shows that Peter Dodge was a native of Stopworth in the County of Chester. Stopworth, also known as Stopford, ultimately became Stockport.
The grant was given 'on the 8th day of April, in the Thirty Fourth year of the reign of our said Sovereign Lord, Edward, son of king Henry (III), after the Conquest, of the First of that name (that is, Edward I).' The date means that the grant was given on the 8 April 1307, the final year of the reign of Edward I.
Arms of Peter Dodge
The Visitations of Chester for 1613 record the armorial bearings of the Dodge family of Stockport in heraldic language:
ARMS (in trick): Barry of six Or (metallic gold colour) and Sable (black colour), on a pale Gules a woman's dugg (breast) distilling drops of milk Argent(metallic silver colour).
CREST: A demi sea-dog rampant guardant Sable, tufted and collared Or.
During the Victorian era the medieval charge of the Dodge family was considered to be somewhat immodest, so it was adjusted to make it more respectable. Since those days it has reverted to its original design.
Moving on to the 16th and early 17th centuries, the Dodge family were still to be found living in the Stockport area. Some of these are shown below but no attempt has been made to interpret family relationships.
Olliner (Oliver?) Dodge: Born c.1564, of Heaton, Cheshire. Married Jane Hulme on 15 December 1589 at Heaton Norris, Cheshire.
George Dodge: Born c.1567 of Manchester, Lancashire. Married Isabell Boulton on the 29 October 1592 in Manchester. This couple had five children:
John Dodge: Married Jone Fyshe at Manchester Collegiate Church on 20 July 1600.
Robert Dodge: Born c.1574 at Stockport. Parents, George Dodge and Joane Owldon.
William Dodge: Born 1600 at Stockport. Parents, Robert Dodge and Dionisia Barber.
Richard Dodge: Born c.1602 in Suffolk (possibly), died on 15 June 1671 at Beverly, Massachusetts, USA.
Thomas Dodge: Christened 7 February 1574 at Manchester Collegiate Church. Son of Otywell Dodge.
It is known that from the 15th century until 1841 that the family seat of the Dodge family was at Halliday Hill Farm in Offerton, Stockport, Cheshire. This suggests that Peter Dodge and his descendents were farmers who cultivated their own land, especially that they were members of a class of freeholders in England. It was possible for a yeoman to become a lesser official in royal or noble households and it appears that this happened to Peter Dodge. Halliday Hill Farm, which is in the Foggbrook area of Offerton, is now listed as Grade II.
William le Dogge became mayor of Stockport in 1433, during the reign of Henry VI (1422-1461 and 1470-1471 after readeption - restoration), and the last member of the family to hold this office was Samuel Dodge in 1812, during the reign of George III (1738-1820). A total of 17 members of the Dodge family were mayors of Stockport over this period. In January 2000, a blue plaque commemorating the Dodge family, was erected at Halliday Hill Farm.
The Dodge family connection with the USA commenced when two Dodge brothers emigrated to the USA, arriving at Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, on the 10 July 1629. One was William Dodge (listed above) but the identity of the other brother seems to be unknown. Many people in the USA, who bear the surname Dodge, are descended from these two brothers. However, the Stockport Dodge family was not the only Dodge family to settle in the USA and one notable member was Tristram Dodge (born in the USA 1647/48) whose antecedents were Tristram Dodge Senior, John Dodge and Isaac Dodge, respectively, all born in Suffolk, England.
The Dodge surname is commemorated in the USA by:
In addition, the world's first transcontinental railway was built across the USA in the 1860s, linking the railway network of the Eastern United States with California on the Pacific coast. The Union Pacific Railroad Company and the Central Pacific Railroad Company built the line to the east and west respectively, the western side being very challenging to build because of the Rocky Mountains (Rockies).
The Union Pacific Railroad Company hired Grenville M Dodge as their Chief Engineer.
Grenville M Dodge in the
uniform of a Major General