The Parents of Charles Dodson, Jamestown Unraveled, 52 Ancestors #163

First, let me say right out and straight up that we have absolutely NO EVIDENCE whatsoever for who the parents of Charles Dodson ARE. But we do have evidence that strongly suggests who they aren’t!

Having said that, let’s look at the various rumors that persist and let’s see if we can address them.

The most common rumor, and by the way, I fell for it hook, line and sinker too, initially, because I was making the assumption that earlier researchers certainly would have had evidence or they would not have made fantastic claims, is that Charles Dodson is the grandson of John Dod’s of Jamestown through son Jesse Dodson who married Judith Hager.

Furthermore, Ann Dodson, Charles’ wife is rumored to have been his first cousin through Benjamin Dodson, brother to Jesse Dodson.

If anyone ever had evidence, it has disappeared today along with the documentation of whatever it was.

If you have or come across evidence, please, by all means contact me, because I’m still searching and I would actually LOVE to find some evidence that is documented.

What I will share with you is what I and other researchers have been able to assemble from records.

The Reverend Silas Lucas

The go-to resource for the Dodson family is the Dodson Family of North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia, an exceptional two volume set by the Reverend Silas Lucas published in 1988. He had written an earlier book in 1958 that preceded this more comprehensive set. Reverend Lucas spent 30 years sifting through primary records in every county in Virginia and many other states as well. Dodson researchers owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

On page vi of the introduction, here is what Rev. Lucas has to say:

A word of warning about trying to claim kinship with people with whom we cannot prove a relationship, i.e. “Are we kin to the John Dodson, d (sic, but he meant circa) 1607” of Jamestown, Virginia or Benjamin Dodson c 1652 of Essex County, Virginia? Some people would like to say that these men are the direct ancestors of Charles Dodson who died in 1701(sic). They state that a John Dodson came with Captain John Smith in 1607 and the John Dodson had sons Jesse and William Dodson. It is further stated that the aforementioned Jesse Dodson was the father of Charles Dodson, born about 1649 and died about 1701, in Richmond County, Virginia. Some of these people further state that our Charles Dodson of Richmond county, Virginia married one Anne Dodson, daughter of Benjamin Dodson of Essex County, Virginia. Regardless of how much one would like to claim descendancy from these aforementioned Dodsons, it must be stated unequivocably that no legal records exist to prove this hypothetical descendancy of Charles Dodson. Others have said that Gervais Dodson of Northumberland County, VA c 1650 was the progenitor of our family, but this also has not been proved.

To show how ridiculous this type of false claiming of kinship is, when I first heard of the above claims, I telephoned a lady in Texas who had been making these claims to Dodson descendants who had written her for possible help. I asked her where she got this proof, and she told me that several people who had joined one or more patriotic organizations had used these claims in their affidavits of descendancy, and she told me that it had to be true if one of these patriotic organizations had accepted the person for membership. I tried to point out that some of these organizations were of very recent beginnings and many had no hard-and-fast membership requirements, as to the DAR, Colonial Dames of America, as far as authenticating each detail of descent. Needless to say, I was unable to convince her of the questionable validity of these organizations and her desire to be associated or claim kinship with persons of the Jamestown era was too overwhelming for her to accept the basic premise of genealogical research concerning documenting proof of family descendancy by legal records.

Of course, for any genealogist reviewing this information, the first issue is that Essex County, Virginia didn’t exist in 1652. Neither did Richmond County.

The history of the counties that ultimately became both Richmond and Essex in 1692 when Old Rappahannock was dissolved, is as follows.

Dods and Dodson

From the book Domesday People: Domesday Book by K.S. B. Keats-Rohan, we find that a man named Aluuin Dodesone lived in Hertfordshire in 1086.

The book The Quest for a Lost Race by Paul B. Du Chaillu who proposed the theory that the English were descended from Scandinavians rather than the Teutons – Normans rather than Germans provides the following:

Dodson – The son of Dode, Alwinus Dodesone, occurs in Domesday as a tenant-in-chief. It is an open question whether it is Scandinavian or Anglo-Saxon. Even Lower is doubtful. There is a large connection of this name in Maryland and Kentucky. One branch is connected with the Botelers of Virginia. A good English stock.

The following publication from the Oxford University Press also provides information.

Is this the same as what would become Dodson, and if so, is it our Dodson line? We know positively that there was more than one, according to Y DNA. We have no way of knowing if this line would become our Dodsons.

Ancestry provides us with the following information about the source of the Dodson surname.


For the past two or three years, I’ve been focused on the Virginia and Maryland ancestors. I had the opportunity to visit Jamestown in 2015. When there and in the Virginia archives in Richmond, I checked for Dod, Dods, Dotson and Dodson in early records of both Jamestown and also of the area that became surrounding counties.

I really wanted to find proof, or even a probable trail that indicated my ancestor actually was John Dods who had been at Jamestown.

The following digitized book includes transcriptions of the original early documents.

The original lists of persons of quality; emigrants; religious exiles; political rebels; serving men sold for a term of years; apprentices; children stolen; maidens pressed; and others who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700 : with their ages and the names of the ships in which they embarked, and other interesting particulars; from mss. preserved in the State Paper Department of Her Majesty’s Public Record Office, England

Jamestown Biographies

When I found the Jamestown Biographies project, and discovered that John Dods, wife Jane, was listed among the available biographies, I quickly purchased one. Thankfully, it was only $5.

It documents that John Dods was in Jamestown and that oral history says that Jane was an Iroquois, daughter of chief Eagle Plume. Oral history? Seriously? And I paid for this? Their source, personal correspondence with Dodson researchers. My heart sank.

A second page repeats the lore that Jane was reported by the family to be the daughter of Chief Eagle Plume, an Iroquois.

There is some good news in this report and that is the additional research. If we, meaning the Charles Dodson Y DNA descendants, ever get a Y DNA match to someone overseas, these very early references may become invaluable because one of them could potentially be our ancestor – whether through John Dods or not.

Jamestown lists two wills, both in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury.  The first dated February 6, 1560 is the will of John Dodd, gentleman of Little Illford, Essex, and the second dated May 7, 1652 is for John Dodd, gentleman of Enfield, Middlesex.

If John Dodd’s on the lists is actually John Dodson, then the Dodd wills, above, are irrelevant.

Dispelling Rumors

Some genealogists contend that John Dodds wife was Jane Dier who came over after the first settlers and that John Dodds then lived and died in Richmond Co., Virginia.

The second part of that contention is impossible, since Jamestown was settled in 1607 and Richmond County was formed in 1692, which would have made John Dodds about 100 years old when Richmond County was formed. Oh, those pesky details.

John Dods did survive the Indian massacre at Jamestown which occurred on March 22, 1622.

According to the Persons of Quality book by Hotten:

The List of Living and Dead on February 16, 1623 shows John Dod’s and Mrs. Dod’s living at “ye neck of land.”

In 1624, at Neck of Land Corporation of Charles Cittie, John Dod’s is listed on the muster as being 36 years old and arriving on the Susan Constant in April 1607. His wife, Jane is listed as age 40 and there is no arrival ship beside her name, which is probably much of what fuels the speculation that she is Native.

In 1626, John Dodd’s is listed with 50 acres at Charles Cittie and with 150 acres at Tappahanna against James Cittie.

There is absolutely no evidence or records to suggest that John had children. The various lists do include “infants,” meaning underage children, and there are no other Dod individuals listed by any surname spelling, and nothing even close.

Other families on this same list had children listed, such as John Price, wife Ann, and Mary, a child aged 3 months. Very few families have children. Many woman arrived between 1620 and 1623.

Most women are younger than Jane. She along with one other woman is 40, and one woman is 50. Not all women have ages. Most are listed with the names of the ships they arrived in. The other woman, aged 40, does not.

There is no evidence that John and Jane, or John and anyone had any children who survived. There are no records of Jesse and/or William, their supposed sons, whatsoever. If other couples with children have their children listed, John and Ann would too. The oldest child born on American soil was age 8, and there was only one. Two children aged 7 were born in Virginia. It appears that there were very few females in the early colony and that children did not survive the 1722 attack. According to Jamestown historians, only three of the original settlers were still living and found on 1723 list of the living – and none with known children.

Given the information we do have, combined with the fact that Jane was age 40 in 1624, it’s reasonable to surmise that John Dodds and Jane never had children that lived. If they did, it would have had to have been in very short order, given Jane’s age.

Given that children are listed among the dead, and there is no Dod, Dods or Dodson listed by any spelling, it’s reasonable to presume that they did not have a child or children that died. Given that there are no other individuals listed with the Dodds surname, it’s reasonable to conclude that there were no other Dodds or Dodson individuals in the colony in 1624.

Under the list of Thomas Dunthorne’s muster, we find “Thomas an Indian Boaye” under the subtitle, “servants.” This suggests that if Ann had been an Indian, a notation beside her name might have said “Indian.”

Following further rumors, the marriage between John Dodson’s son, Jesse Dodson and Judith Hagar is supposed to have occurred on May 7, 1645 in Jamestown. The problem with this information is that there appear to be no records whatsoever of Jamestown marriages that have survived. Furthermore, there is no record of Judith Hagar arriving in Jamestown, either. Nor is there any record of Jesse Dodson. This rumor has struck out altogether.

Another rumor is that Jesse Dodson died in 1680 in Old Rappahannock County, Virginia, but you guessed it already, there is no record of any Jesse Dodson ever living in Rappahannock County or dying in Rappahannock County in 1680 or anytime, for that matter. Furthermore, Charles Dodson had no sons named Jesse.

Where is Charles Cittie?

John Dods owned land in Charles Cittie and James Cittie.  Charles Cittie is now Charles City County.

James Cittie is now James City County, adjoining Williamsburg and including Jamestown, which is, indeed, on a neck of land.

James City County abuts Charles City County.

On the map below, you can see both Jamestown and Charles City, along with the Northern Neck of Virginia, at the top of the map, north of the Rappahannock River, near 360, where Charles Dodson lived.

Jamestown and Charles City are 23 miles distant. John Dod’s land could have been anyplace along this route. His 2 parcels of land could actually have been very close if they were located near the border of Charles Cittie and James Cittie. Given that John Dodd was one of the original settlers, few of whom survived until 1623, my presumption would have been that he would have been allowed land in the original Jamestown settlement, if he wanted land there.

Where Did These Rumors Come From?

In determining whether there is any truth to a rumor, it often helps to determine the source. For example, if this line of descent had been reported in every one of Charles Dodson’s children’s lines, recorded repeatedly before the days of easy access to other people’s work, I would be more likely to consider the possibility that the story actually descended from the original settlers and wasn’t somehow later manufactured or surmised.

I discovered that I’m not the first person who asked that question. Glenn Gohr back in the 1980s and 1990s posted a significant amount of research on his Rootsweb page involving the various Dodson records.

Glenn first found the Dodson information involving Jamestown in a 1908 document:

Ege, Thompson P. Dodson Genealogy, 1600-1907. Philadelphia, PA: Deemer & Jaisohn, 1908.

Page 4 of the above book does have a good clue:

“Colonial Annals of Virginia mention ‘Dodson’s Plantation’ in 1632.”

Some say this is a reference to the plantation of a John Dodson, who they list as the grandfather of Charles Dodson (c1649-c1704) of Rappannock County and North Farnham Parish in Richmond Co., VA. I do not see enough evidence at this time to establish Charles Dodson’s progenitors.

Pages 363-364 lists origins of early Virginia branches of Dodsons. It says:

“The annals of Virginia record the name of a ‘Dodson Plantation’ in 1632. And the traditional story in a large and widely scattered line of descendants is that their ancestor settled along the James River and was one of the early Jamestown Colony.”

This document goes on to give partial more recent lineages for the Tennessee Dodsons, not going back as far as Charles of Richmond County and his sons. The more I read, the less reliable this source seemed to be.

Glenn continues with the following:

No documentation is given for any of the above. Much more is given on descendants in each of these lines. They do not show Charles Dodson of N. Farnham Parish in the lineage, but some of these names, especially the ones in Estanalle Valley of TN are listed in Rev. S. E. Lucas’s 2-vol. book (but) the lineage in the Ege book does not line up with the lineage in the Lucas book. The connection to Jamestown is interesting, and these lineages may provide some clues for researchers, but they cannot be taken as fact.

The above book also covers Dodsons in Maryland and Dodsons in Pennsylvania, and some unplaced Dodsons. There is also mention of 3 early Dodson settlers (2 brothers and a sister–John Dodson, b. March 1655; Mary Dodson, b. 11 Nov. 1664 md. Richard Boyes; Thomas Dodson, b. 19 Oct. 1669; md. Katharine Savill) who settled in New Jersey and were Quakers and children of a Daniel Dodson, b. ca. 1635 of Knaresborough, Yorkshire, England. These appear to be the ancestors of Dodsons in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland.

The information about the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland Dodsons is useful relative to Y DNA testing in the Dodson DNA Project which shows that the Talbot Co., Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Dodson’s don’t match either the Charles Dodson line, or each other.

Glen then notes another book which repeats the Jamestown story

Ancestors of Robert Dodson and His Descendants, written by Mrs. C. T. Dodson; Illustrated by Miss Oneida Uzzell. Privately published, [1964?]. She included this information:

“The year 1619 brought three important events to Virginia and the colonists. Virginia was permitted to enjoy a measure of self government; a ship load, eighty, of prospective wives arrived from England (probably Jesse (2) Dodson and William (2) Dodson married two of these women). The colonist could secure a wife, with her permission, and by paying her transportation, in the amount of one hundred and twenty pounds of tobacco–about $500 dollars worth; and the first Negro slaves landed in Virginia.”

Glen then provides the information from an application for the Daughters of Colonists that seems to be part of the source for the rumors.


Here follows information on records to get into Daughters of the Colonists by Lillian E. Dodson.

  1. 72-73 (This is quoted word for word from the book, including mispellings or question marked items–gg):

Copied 9 February, 1966 by Edith Wolf Standhardt from handwritten copy lent by O. H. Schwanderman.

From Records to get into Daughters of Colonists by Lillian Elanine Dodson [I think this should be Daughters of the American Colonists– gg]

Name of Ancestor – John Dodson of James River or Jamestown. Served in the Council and General Court of Jamestown, 1622 – 1629.

The undersigned have investigated and approve the applicant and her application

Signature of St. Louis Chapter Officers:

Chapter Regent: Maude Bryan Jenneinzo (?) (Jennings?


Chapter Registrar: Gertrude L. Wingert

Chapter Sec: Clara Sizer Nevling

Date: Nov. 21, 1949

Signature of Missouri State Officers:

State Regent: Mrs. Edwin Lamont Barber

State Registrar: Nell Downing Norton

State Sec: Acenath M. Booth

Date: Nov. 21, 1949

Fee received by National Society: Mabel S. Stoyer, Nat. Treas. Dec. 15, 1949

Signature of National Officers:

Natl. President: Margaret F. Powers

Natl. Registrar: Lillian M. Sanford

Natl. Sec.: Mabel Puffer Martin

Date of Acceptance: Jan. 31, 1950


Mrs. Clyde Nevling, 4259 Maffit Ave., St. Louis

Mrs. Joseph Jannuzzo, 8016 Seminole Place, Clyton 5, Mo.

Miss Lillian Elanine Dodson, born 4 Feb. 1901, Wayne Co., KY. herein apply for membership in Society by right of descent from John Dodson, a member of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia, who is mentioned in Va. Mag. Vol. 23, p. 11 in St. Louis Public Library Ref. Room., of Jamestown, Virginia, born in England, died in Virginia, served in Council and General Court of Jamestown 1622-29.

I was born in Steubenville (Wayne Co.) Ky. I am the daughter of John Cornelius Dodson of Steubenville, Ky., born 22 Feb. 1869, died 31 Jan. 1931 – married 22 Feb. 1900 to Nancy Kelly, born 19 Dec. 1869 d. 18 Dec. 1939.

John Cornelius Dodson, son of John Dodson born 23 Nov. 1831, died 11 Aug. 1885, married Sara Phillips, born 23 Nov. 1828

John Dodson is the son of Jesse Dodson born 26 Dec. 1802, died 3 Jan. 1864, married 14 July 1824 Elizabeth Small, born 12 Oct. 1805, d. 12 June 1876.

Jesse Dodson is the son of Thomas Dodson, died prior to 1836. married Jemima Randall.

Thomas Dodson is son of George Dodson of Richmond Co., Va., born 31 Oct. 1737, died 1825 Pittsylvania Co., Va., married twice, Margaret and Elizabeth.

George Dodson is the son of George Dodson, married 30 April 1726 in Richmond Co., Va. to Margaret Dagord.

George Dodson is son of Thomas Dodson born 15 May 1681, died 21 Nov. 1740.

Thomas Dodson is son of Charles Dodson of Richmond Co., Va. born 1649, died 1704.

Charles Dodson is son of Jesse Dodson, Richmond Co., Va. married to Ann.

Jesse Dodson is the son of John Dodson of Jamestown Settlement born in England.

Records to be found: Genealogy traced in “Dodson Genealogy 1600 – 1907” page 364, St. Louis Mo. Library. Will on record in Pittsylvania Co., Courthouse, Va. proved 19 Dec. 1825. Named in father’s will proved 2 Mar. 1740 in Richmond Co., Va.

Named in father’s will (Charles) in Richmond Co., Va. Courthouse, 1704. Abstracts of Richmond Co., Va. Also “Dodson Genealogy”, Ege. Lineage in “Dodson Genealogy 1600-1907” by Rev.. T. P. Ege, Local Library. Mentioned in “Dodson Genealogy”, also Virginia Mag. of History.

Children of Ancestor

Jesse Dodson)

   ) sons of John Dodson

William Dodson)

Authorities proving services of Ancestor: Virginia Mag. of History, Vol. 23, p. 11; his name given in minutes of the Council and General Court, 1622, 1629, and the fact stated that he was a passenger on ship Ann, that he came to Jamestown in the original settlement. He was called to report in the Council on conditions of the ship and provisions for the voyage. He is reported to have been a hunter of some note, a good citizen, and the father of at least two children, sons William and Jesse, listed above in Dodson Genealogy.

Copied by Oliver H. Schwanderman of Fort Recovery, Ohio, Route 3, 4 Feb. 1964. She is a cousin to me by Dodson lineage from Rutha Mary Dodson Schwanderman, 1870 – 1959, Wayne Co., Ky. Champaign Co., Ill.

Ancestors of Robert Dodson and His Descendants. Written by Mrs. C. T. Dodson; Illustrated by Miss Oneida Uzzell. Privately published, {1964?] (Note: This book is 115 p. and is located in the Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX, call # R929.2 D647d), pp. 73-74:

Article in Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol.23 (1915), pp. 11-12, as quoted in:

*Note: I am quoting this directly from the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography article–there is more than what is quoted, here, but this is the part that refers to John Dodson.–gg

Minutes of the Council and General Court

[ink folio 105]

Mr. Thomas Edwardes beinge Demanded wt he could sayd concerninge the Accomodatinge of passengers yt cam in the shipp called the Ann said that he wold never Desire to be better vsed Yt is ordered Yt mr Daniell Lacye shall haue four acres of grounde in the Islande adioyne on the grounde of mr Kingsmells, wch is the rather granted for that mr Kingsmell Doth Desire the same Moris Thomsone and John Dodson sworne and Exand sayeth that for ye they were a fortnight or three weeks abourde befor they had any breckfast Drinke allowed them, And after they had Complayned, they had to smale Cans of beere for breckfast to 5 men wch Contynued soe for some six weeks or two moneths And they had a quarter can of beere to a meale for 5 men wch Contynued for the space of sixteen weeks, And after that for the space of Six weeks a three weeks they had three smale cans of beere to A messe. And a pounde and a halfe And that they had three pownd of bred a Daye to A messe for the space of some sixteene weeks. And after till theyr cominge in thre bisketts a meale to A mess. And for A sixteen weeks they had thrree flesh Dyes A week, And after that for about a moneth fortnight they had too flesh Dyes a week and after yt 2 flesh meales a week till theire Cominge in foorther they say that ther beere was well condicioned except a butt or two (ink folio 106) And fovrther they say have harde some of the passengers Complayne but wt cause they had they know nott….

Glenn closes by stating the following:

Mrs. Dodson does try to list and include sources about the information she has listed, but there is NOTHING besides “family tradition” which definitely links the John with the 2 sons, William and Jesse. Also nothing besides tradition to link Jesse with Charles Dodson of N. Farnham Parish, Richmond Co., VA.

Still it is fascinating reading, hoping that it all could be true and proven true. I, personally don’t see enough proof for the links.

At least now we know where this came from, thanks to Glenn’s detective work.

The Reverend Elias Dodson, writing about 1859, penned a manuscript titled “Genealogy of the Dodson Familes of Pittsylvania and Halifax Counties in the State of Virginia.” Reverend Lucas had a copy of that document and used it extensively when writing his book. However, Reverend Elias Dodson says nothing at all about Jamestown or John Dods. This is the earliest known family document or history of the Dodson family – and it stands mute.

If Elias had heard about Jamestown, and that Charles was descended from John Dod or his son, Jesse, Elias surely would have included that information.

However, there are records of some additional Dodsons that we should review.

Thomas Dodson of Northumberland County

There is a Thomas Dodson found in Northumberland County in 1658.  Because Charles Dodson names his second eldest son Thomas, and because the eventual Richmond County is taken from part of the original Northumberland, these records deserve close scrutiny.

Thomas Dodson patents land on Dividing Creek in 1658 in Northumberland County, but the patent expires and nothing more is known of Thomas’s land until 1694 after he has lost the land and died. Unfortunately there are no records in this part of Virginia that speak to his death, so he may have died elsewhere.

The book Cavaliers and Pioneers volume 1 by Dennis Ray Hudgins, page 383, documents that Thomas Dodson was granted 1200 acres on Nov. 29, 1658 in Northumberland Co., VA for the transportation of 24 persons. His name appeared on the list, which suggests that he is one of the 24. The fact that he transported (or paid for the transportation of) 24 people suggests that Thomas Dodson is wealthy.

Researcher Michelle Ule found the following:

Patent Thomas Dodson grantee 29 Nov 1658 Northumberland County 1200 acres on the high lands above the head of the Dividing Creeks. Source: Land Office Patents No 4 1655-1664 pg 340 reel 4) Dividing Creeks is south of the Great Wicomico and the river flows into the southern Chesapeake Bay.

1200 acres would be the exact amount, at 50 acres each, for transporting 24 individuals.

Grant Walter Jenkin grantee 30 Nov 1694 Northumberland County 500 acres escheat land part of a tract of land of 1200 acres granted to Thomas Dodson 29 Nov 1658. Southermost &c of sd 1200 acres, adjoining to the lands of Colo. Lee and John Cousins. Source: Northern Neck Grants No 2 1694-1700 pg 88-91 (reel 288)

Grant John Lewis grantee 26 Mar 1695 Northumberland County 150 acres escheat land beginning on the land of Charles Lee, Walter Jenkins, Peter Hammon, and Thomas Haydon. Thomas Dodson, died seized of 1200 acres patent dated Nov. 29, 1658. Source: Northern Neck Grants No. 2, 1694-1700, p. 146-147 (Reel 288).

Grant Grantee Hammon, Peter grantee, Date 26 March 1695.  Note  Location: Northumberland County.  Note  Description: 150 acres escheat land, Thomas Dodson died seized of 1200 acres of land, patent dated Nov. 29, 1658, the 150 acres abutting southerly on the land of Walter Jenkins westerly on the land of Thomas Williams. Source: Northern Neck Grants No. 2, 1694-1700, p. 144-146 (Reel 288)

Source: Land Office Patents No. 6, 1666-1679 (pt.1 & 2)

Another researcher reports the following information pertaining to Thomas of Northumberland.

1663 March Northumberland County land record sale of land by Wilbur and Sarah Mauder to Thomas Dodson – the land upon which he lives.

1664 Northumberland County Power of attorney from Jane Wiley to Symon Dodson.

The above record is the only record that involves Symon Dodson.

One Thomas Dodson apparently lived in Northumberland County between 1658 and 1663, but he was not living there in 1652 when the loyalty oath was taken.  He may have had a relative named Symon.  We don’t find anything about either man after 1664, in Northumberland or any of the spinoff counties.  We do know that by 1694, Thomas had died, apparently still owning his land, and the land reverted, probably due to lack of tax payments or because he never paid the fees or had the land surveyed.  If Thomas had an estate that included underage heirs, such as Charles Dodson, a guardian would have been appointed to protect the assets of the heirs and the land would not have been allowed to escheat back to the colony.  No such records exist, so it’s extremely unlikely that Charles is the son of Thomas.

Charles, born in 1649, would have been age 14 in 1663 when Thomas last appears in the records, obtaining land from Wilbur and Sarah Mauder.

Thomas Dodson died sometime between 1663 and 1694.  Charles never owns or sells land in Northumberland County, nor do we find any record of Thomas’s land from the Mauder’s being sold.

Englishmen non-resident in England had their wills probated through the Canterbury Court. One Thomas Dodson’s will is probated in Canterbury in 1672, but his wife’s name is Sarah, as well as his daughter, and he lived in Great Warley, Essex.  Other Thomas Dodson’s are found in Yorkshire, Kent and one buried in London in 1668.

There is no Charles born in 1649 in any of these locations, and no Charles born to a Thomas in any records that are indexed yet today – although future researchers should check these records again.  There is a Charles born in 1645 to Northamptonshire to John and Joanne Dodson and in 1655 in Shropshire to Edward and Frances Dodson – neither of which look promising, given naming conventions.

Charles first appears in Old Rappahannock County in 1679 in a lease type arrangement with Peter Elmore.  Charles does not purchase his own land until 1686, so he clearly didn’t have funds until that time. Nor did Charles patent land, so apparently someone else took credit for his 50 acre headright.

Other Dodsons

Gervais Dodson appears before Charles Dodson in the records of Northumberland County, VA in 1658, but he appears to have died without issue. Furthermore, there is no Gervais in any of Charles children nor their offspring.

There is a John Dodson line in early Maryland which, via DNA testing, we know does not match our Charles Dodson.

Another researcher reports several other Dodsons:

1622 – 31 July Robert Dodson Jr. came to Virginia at the expense of Robert Dodson Sr aboard the ship James.

I was not able to find any evidence of this Robert Dodson Jr. He is not among the list of living taken in 1623.

1623 – 30 April Robert Dodson Jr. said that he had firsthand knowledge of the plantations east of Jamestown.

I have not been able to confirm this informaton, and he does not appear on the 1624 muster list.

1643 – Thomas Dodson by Richard Richards, Charles River Virginia. Source:  Greer, George Cabell. Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666. Richmond VA: W.C. Hill Printing Co., 1912. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1978. Repr. 1982. Page: 96.

Charles’s wife Ann, Daughter of Benjamin?

A secondary Dodson rumor is that Charles married his first cousin, Ann, daughter of Benjamin Dodson, son of John Dodson, of Jamestown.

If you’ll notice, the original rumor has changed. Originally, John Dodson and Jane had two sons, Jesse and William. However, when Ann’s story got added, she became the first cousin of Charles through Benjamin, the brother of Jesse. Therefore, John Dods (Dodson) of Jamestown would have had three sons, Jesse, William and Benjamin. The rumors aren’t adding up, especially considering that John and his 40 year old wife had no children in 1624.

And then there’s the pesky issue of the fact that we have an immigration record for Benjamin in 1635.

1635 – Benj Dodson Place: Virginia Source:  Greer, George Cabell. Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666. Richmond VA: W.C. Hill Printing Co., 1912. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1978. Repr. 1982. Page: 96.

1635 – 22 June: Captain William Pierce, Esq received 2000 acres for the transportation of 40 persons including Benjamin Dodson.  Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.

Another researcher takes this a step further, providing the following:

Charles Dodson, born about 1649, d 1705 Richmond, Co., Va. m Ann Dodson (dau. of Benjamin Dodson, who gave his daughter a legacy of land on the James River in Essex Co., Va., May 1652.  This joined John Hill, Sr.’s land.  (This Benjamin probably came from England.)  Ann m before 1680 to Charles Dodson (2nd) John Hill, Jr., after Charles’ (3) death.

One thing I can confirm is that indeed, Ann did marry John Hill after Charles died. I can’t confirm that it was John Hill Jr.

I can state unequivocally that there was no Dodson in Northumberland County in 1652 when the loyalty oath was signed, so Benjamin must have been elsewhere at that time.

Capt. Hill does patent land, according to the Virginia County Records Quarterly Magazine March 1911, Vol. IX #1:

Capt John Hill land grand 1669 Rappahannock Co for 650 acres, also in 1670 for 1200

However, Essex County wasn’t formed until 1692, so it’s impossible for Benjamin Dodson to leave anyone a legacy in Essex County in May of 1652. In 1652, this area would have been part of Northumberland or Lancaster.

I review the Essex County records, which includes the original Old Rappahannock records prior to 1692, and there is absolutely no mention of Benjamin Dodson in any type of record, including land, court, church or will/probate.

There is absolutely no record to substantiate the claim that Ann was the daughter of Benjamin Dodson, or that there were any transactions between John Hill and Benjamin Dodson, or that John Hill even owned land in what would become Essex County.

Charles Dodson’s wife was clearly Ann.  Later, in online trees, she rumored to be the daughter of Peter Elmore, which I wrote about here.

Dodd is Not Necessarily Dodson

The Dodd family is also found in Richmond County, VA. It has never been suggested that the Dodd and Dodson families are one and the same, nor am I suggesting that now, but while we Dodson researchers have been incredibly focused on the Dodson surname, we need to be cognizant that the Dodd surname in Richmond County is equally as likely, if not moreso, to be descended from John Dodd at Jamestown – if anyone is.

I did find evidence of John Dod(d) who was married to a Jane in the Richmond county records, according to records beginning in 1696/97 in both deed and court records. This record at the Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck Counties site reveals more information about this John Dodd, including that he is the son of Richard Dodd who was born in 1634 in England and died in 1678 in Charles County, Maryland. So, clearly, this is not the Jamestown Dod family, nor is he related to our Dodsons.


Not only do we have absolutely not one shred of evidence that John Dod, Dodd or Dodson of Jamestown is an ancestor of Charles Dodson, we have evidence that he isn’t.

Probably the most compelling evidence is that John and his wife are listed in the 1624 muster without children, where other people are listed with children. Given that Jane is 40 at that time, it would be very unusual for her to bear 3 additional children, Jesse, William and Benjamin, and for all 3 to live.

There is also no information about what happened to John Dod or Dodson, or what happened to his land.

There is no evidence whatsoever that a William, Jesse or Benjamin Dodson lived in Virginia before the record of Benjamin’s arrival in 1635. Neither Jesse nor William are ever reported in any record.

It is possible that some Dodson was living in Virginia by 1632 when Dodson’s plantation was reportedly referenced, although I have not been able to confirm that record.

However, given the fact that Charles Dodson can write suggests strongly that he was not raised in early Virginia. If Charles could write, then he would have been the son of a gentleman. He would likely have been sent back to England to be schooled, and when he returned, it would not have been as a penniless man who contracted to work and improve another man’s land 1679 for a period of 19 years. The son of a gentleman would simply have purchased land. Charles did not – at least not for another 6 years, in 1685. Nor did Charles ever claim a 50 acre land grant for transporting himself, so either he was transported by someone who claimed his headright, or he arrived as an indentured servant.

The best we can piece together is that Charles was probably born in England. I’m hopeful that eventually, a parish record will emerge that shows a Charles born in about 1649, a year revealed by Charles’ own testimony in 1699 stating that he was about 50 years old.

Until then, all we can say is that the parents of Charles Dodson were almost certainly NOT Jesse Dodson and Judith Hagar who supposedly married in 1645 in Jamestown. Unless new information is forth coming with actual documentation of some sort, this couple must be relegated to the annals of myth – along with Charles Dodson being the son of John Dods of Jamestown.

I’m hopeful that one day either a parish register of Charles’ birth will emerge or a Y DNA match to an English Dodson whose lineage is located in a small village and has been since records began. Either one would go a very long way in terms of helping us bridge the gap between Charles and his parents by providing us with a search location in England.  Those records may be waiting in a small village church in England for Dodson researchers to find them – along with Charles’ ancestors in the church cemetery!



I receive a small contribution when you click on some of the links to vendors in my articles. This does NOT increase the price you pay but helps me to keep the lights on and this informational blog free for everyone. Please click on the links in the articles or to the vendors below if you are purchasing products or DNA testing.

Thank you so much.

DNA Purchases and Free Transfers

Genealogy Services

Genealogy Research