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The Dodges

             Solomon Dodge (1798 - 1889) came to Bloomington around 1830 with his family, which included his daughter Lucy (1823 – 1903). In later years Lucy Dodge Perry was interviewed by Madame Annette when she was visiting friends in Bloomington. Although she did not live her entire life here, she had interesting stories to tell of the early days. The Dodge family came from Ohio by river and landed in Pekin. Solomon Dodge built the third log house in the city and set himself up as a wool carder. He obtained a wool carding machine from St. Louis and was busy all the summer carding wool for the neighboring stock raisers. The year before Solomon Dodge left Bloomington he purchased the Caravansary Hotel, the first hotel in Bloomington. 


              Lucy recalled when John Greenman, her first teacher, excused the class to watch a group of Kickapoo Indians proceed through the country in a long single file when she was ten years old. She completed her studies at Dr. Foster’s seminary and received a certificate that she was qualified to teach school when she was sixteen. She taught for four years and recalled that many of her students were older than she, but could not read or write, the availability of education being so poor in those years. Payment of teachers was also uncertain, and Lucy recalled hearing her father speak with Mr. Moore about the public education bill that was before the legislature just as she began teaching. If there were insufficient funds to pay Lucy at the end of the term from the public funds, the families of the students came forward to make up “the deficit in produce of some sort.”


              “I recall most distinctly my first ball; it was when I was 12 years old, and I was taken to it by my cousin John Baker, who said I was quite old and big enough to go to the dance, which was held at the Killup’s house. Two men, one white the other black, played the two fiddles which furnished the dance music. . . . I still retain the ticket that was given me that night. Such a thing as a program was unheard of but everybody enjoyed themselves. . . Among the managers of that ball were the Withers, the Covells and the Baker boys, all names familiar to this day.” Lucy recalled the arrival of Asahel Gridley’s wife and the excitement this occurred. People would stand under the balcony of the hotel just to get a glimpse of the beautiful new bride.


              Lucy Dodge Perry was cousin to John Baker because his mother was Susannah Dodge, the sister of Solomon Dodge.

               Susanna’s granddaughter Laura Baker (b. 1839) married Hiram J Noble and gave birth to the only line of Dodges that continues to live in McLean County.  If you are descended from Agnes Noble (Atlanta) or Lucille Baker Wilcox, you are related to Susanna Dodge.

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