The Dodge Connection: The Roots of Dodge Legacy | History of Pottawattamie County
Dodge’s paternal grandfather, Solomon Dodge, was born in Rawley, Massachusetts, in the year of the Declaration of Independence. He would father eight children from three separate wives. In 1801, Solomon Dodge’s first son, Sylvanus (by his first wife), was born.
Sylvanus Dodge’s life, as one researcher noted, “has been marked by indecision, poverty and defeat.” His struggles cast a strong shadow on his two sons.
Grenville, born 1831, and his younger brother, Nathan (the founder of NP Dodge Real Estate). Seeking to earn enough money to support his wife and sons, Sylvanus and his wife Julia have moved nine times in 15 years. Relocation is a costly affair, and the ongoing and ongoing costs of endless relocation have only increased the specter of poverty. Sylvanus’ eldest daughter, named Julia after her mother, added another mouth to feed.
Sylvanus, despite his bad situation in life, was greatly appreciated. He has been described as a hard worker with a natural talent, talkative, an original and generous thinker – generous for a fault. Without Sylvanus’ charity, many other families would have lacked both food and shelter.
Slowly, his fortune began to improve. He quit his job as a door-to-door hawker and started tinkering. Sylvanus would try anything that could make money. He and his eldest son, Grenville, could be seen driving through town on the meat cart selling meat.