David Dodge was born in Erie County, New York, May 29, 1848. His father, Daniel Dodge and Mary (Harwood) Dodge were both natives of New York State and owned and operated a little farm there miles east of the Village of Holland.
David dodge had one sister and two brothers, but as David was the oldest boy he was kept at home to work and received altogether not more than one month's schooling and barely learned the letters.
When he was twelve years old he left home and went out to work on a farm and every cent he earned he gave to his mother.
In 1855 his parents sold their 160 acre farm and the whole family moved to Chickasaw county, Iowa and purchased 80 acres of virgin prairie land and about 15 acres of timberland. After this deal he still had $1200 and a dishonest Iowa merchant swindled him out of that, so hard work was now the order of the day - and long days at that.
The family established their residence on the 15 acre tract and lived there until the early part f 1862 when Daniel Dodge hitched up his team of Oxen to his wagon and with some bedding and provisions started for western Minnesota which was extensively advertised at that time and where government land could be procured.
As soon as Daniel dodge, worn and weary from the long journey over a wild wilderness without roads and bridges, arrived at his destination the terrible Sioux Massacre occurred. The Indians tortured and butchered the people, burned their houses and left country waste.
What happened to Daniel Dodge is unwritten history - not a word from him or a trace of him has ever been heard.
These were terrible years for David Dodge. His father had lost all his money and his life. Hard times rapped on the door. David had to work out among the farmers and gave all his earnings to his good, faithful mother.
In The spring of 1864, while the Civil war was still raging with undiminished fury, David Dodge Then only sixteen, answered his country's call and enlisted in Dubuque, Iowa, and was placed in Company B, First United States Infantry under Colonel Woods. He saw service at Newport, Kentucky and at new Orleans, and remained in the army until the close of the war.
Before David could enlist in the army his mother had to give her consent and at this time she prevailed upon him to promise her to abstain from strong drinks of every kind tobacco in all its forms, gambling and houses of ill fame. This promise he never forgot and never broke. He regarded it as sacred before both his God and his mother.
It should also be mentioned that during the whole year that he served in the army fully half of his rations were stolen by his superior officers and poor Dave was hungry all the time.
For his service in the army he received $13.00 a month, payable once every three months ($39.00), and nearly all of this money he sent home to his poor widowed mother whom he loved so well.
After the war was over he was engaged in farm work and dug wells. He also operated saw mills at Dubuque and Manchester, Iowa and finally put up a saw mill of his own in 1879 in Elmdale, Wisconsin. This mill he operated four years. It was here in 1880 that he joined the Seventh Day Adventist church and has ever since been true to that faith.
He moved to Idaho in 1884, settling first at Shoshone where he worked one year for the Oregon Short Line Railway, building a round house and machine shops there.
In 1885 He moved to Mountain Home and filed on a 160 preemption claim and while improving and holding his claim he served as pump repair man and water tank filler for the Oregon Short Line Railway which position he held until he resigned n 1892.
He gave five acres of land to Mountain Home for a cemetery and planted the first trees in this city, hundreds of which are still alive and of great size. In 1892 he started to do missionary work and continued at this work with great success until 1915. He traveled as a missionary in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia, Making thousands of converts. During these trips he preached thousands of sermons, visited homes and led in Prayer. He had oceans of hardships and difficulties to overcome.
He was shipwrecked twice, picked up as dead once, and totally exhausted with fatigue dozens of times, but his motto was "Onward and Forward and Never Say Fail."
David Dodge married Jennie Steers at Little York, Iowa in 1872. This union was a happy one and it was this noble woman that taught David to read, write and figure.
Four Children were born to them, Willis C., in 1873; Frank in 1875; Mamie in 1884 and Lillie in 1886. Only two of them are now alive, Willis C. in Mountain Home and Lillie Smith in Los Angeles.
On November 2, 1892 his good loving, faithful wife passed into the great beyond. She was a true and steadfast Christian and was glad to go home to her heavenly Father and the angels whom she loved so well. During the last eleven years David Dodge has not carried on any extensive missionary work but has been very active in all church affairs and has always been a steady attendant at all church meeting and has taken an active part and encouraged everybody to lead the right kind of life. He has invited thousands of people to come to church and has distributed thousands of religious tracts and papers as well as many books. He has also make liberal money donations for the church, school and mission.
In July 1892 he was admitted to the Soldiers home at Boise. He has never applied for a pension but preferred to make his own living.
On December 8 while on his way to prayer meeting he was suddenly taken very ill and fell and hurt his head seriously. He was brought to St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise where he seemed ot rally so was taken to his son's home in Mountain Home December 17th where he received the best of care but his Maker decided to take him away, so at 1:35 o'clock in the morning of December 27th he breathed his last.
His final wish was that he might meet his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in Heaven.
The funeral services were conducted at Mountain Home by the Rev. W. A. Gosmer of Boise and the body was laid to rest in the family lot beside that of his wife, Jennie and his daughter Mamie in the Mountain Home cemetery.
There are many unanswered questions contained in the above article;
1.The parents of David's Father, Daniel Dodge have never been found. Daniel may not have been born in New York According to the 1920 Census of Adams County, Idaho, He was living in his Son Willis' residence and it showed that his (David's) parents were born in MA, and Vt. We do know that Daniel was born in 1822.
2. Was Daniel killed in the Sioux uprising? Or did he abandon the family?
3. We have not been able to find the parents of Mary Harwood, David's mother. We do not know where she died, Iowa or Wisconsin or Idaho. She did not make it to Mtn. Home, Idaho.
3. What happened to David's siblings.
Esther born in 1846 at ???
Daniel born in 1850 at Holland, NY
Francis (Frank?) born in 1854 at Holland, NY
Did they stay in Iowa or Wisconsin, they did not come to Idaho with David. We would like to find out what happened to them.
4. Who is Col. Woods? We have not been able to find any information about him.
Daniel and his family have been found in the 1850 and 1855 NY Census in Holland, Erie, NY.
There was an article written in Wisconsin about David's sawmill in Elmdale, Wisconsin.
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