(Jeremiah, Jeremiah, Phineas, John, John,Richard) Dodges of Post Mills, Vermont
Taken from "History and Folklore of Post Mills, Vermont" by Jessie A. Baldwin
Jeremiah Dodge (1743-1824) came from an old and distinguished family which first came to Salem, Massachusetts, in 1629. He came to Post Mills in 1803 from Danvers, Massachusetts. It is not known why he chose this location, but we do know that he was a skilled ship's carpenter, and the fine virgin forests here would naturally attract him. Jeremiah Dodge bought of Aaron Post nearly 200 acres which covered much of the "plain" and was largely the original Post farm. The 200 acres also included the sawmills and water rights at the outlet to Fairlee Lake.
Eliphalet Dodge (1776-1854), Jeremiah's son, came to Post Mills in 1801 at the age of 24. He did not own land to begin with. In 1802 he married Mary Cox, and had a large family, most of whom lived in Post Mills. They married into local families - Riley, Heaton, Slack, Niles, Ladd, Wilcox, Worthen. Mrs. Slade commented that Post Mills did not become a village until the Dodges came - there were so many of them.
Eliphalet Dodge ("Captain Life") was active in the life of Post Mills, ran saw and grist mills, farmed, was one of the leading spirits in building the church, and at times kept a tavern, as did many farmers with large houses. According to an account in the Bradford United Opinion of Jan. 4, 1895, on the history of Thetford, the following menu might be served at "Captain Life's" supper table: pumpkin pie, brown bread and beans, warm biscuits, big red doughnuts, "biled' cider, apple "sarse', and cherry brandy. He was also one of the farmers who in the winter loaded great sleds with dressed beef, pork, butter, and farm truck to be hauled to Boston in exchange for groceries not readily available in local stores.
Harvey Dodge (1821-1912) was one of Eliphalet's younger children. He lived in Post Mills all his life. When he married John Riley's daughter, Sarah Jane, in 1846, he came into possession of all the Riley land west of the Ompompanoosuc, including the original Post mill and water rights. Harvey was a farmer and livestock dealer, and was active for many years in politics, serving in the legislature and as a side-judge.
Harvey Dodge had two sons, Burton (1851-1939) and Henry (1858-1941), neither of whom had children. Henry lived on and farmed the home place. Burton lived at home for a time and later moved to his Aunt Sophronia's house next to Baker's store. Burton was an ingenious character whose true ability was not recognized. He early became interested in photography. He used wet plates which had to be developed immediately in a dark place. It was a common sight to see Burton trudging along the local roads drawing a small cart with a frame on which he could mount his camera. This whole contraption was covered with a heavy black cloth. It seems quite likely that Burton knew Albert Southworth of the well-known Boston studio of Southworth and Hawes. Albert Southworth came from Blood Brook and in his later years spent many summers there.
Burton Dodge's chief interest, however, was in telephones. It was Burton whom local people called to repair their telephones. He was continually experimenting and drawing diagrams for improving telephone service, especially long-distance calls. In his later years he was quite bitter about the Bell Telephone Company. He claimed that they had refused to buy his invention, but had used a similar method several years later.
Another member of the Dodge family who is well remembered by many was Eliphalet's great-granddaughter Bertha Amelia, better known as Annie. She taught school for several years in Post Mills, and in 1911 was one of the founders of Camp Quinibeck on the east side of Lake Fairlee.