|The Elusive Col. John Dodge The following letter was sent to us by Jay Shinkle after we asked him if he would be willing to send us any info he had on the elusive Col. John Dodge. (See The Dodge Family Journal, April 1998)|
In The Illinois Country 1673-1818, Clarence
Alvord:p. 352: John Dodge "...was born in Connecticut,
had become a trader at Sandusky before the
outbreak of the Revolution, and, because
he showed his attachment to the cause of
the colonies, he had been arrested by the
British and carried to Detroit and later
to Quebec, whence he escaped in 1779. Washington recommended him
to Governor Jefferson of Virginia as a man
who would be useful in the west. The latter
sent him out to he Illinois as an Indian
(Thomas) Bentley and (John) Dodge formed a partnership and bought up claims of the inhabitants against Virginia for trifling sums. It was suspected that they used public finds for these purchases, and their financial operations in securing supplies for the troops likewise aroused suspicion. ... The means they used to procure provisions for the troops reduced to abject poverty many of the French of the region." At this point Alvord seems to have lost track of John, but he became an agent cum quartermaster at the short lived establishment of Fort Jefferson/Clarksville on the Mississippi. His brother Israel and the Hunter family were also there. However, the tenor of historian's attitude toward John Dodge is shared by several others.
In Issues at Fort Jefferson, 1780-1781, , Carstens, Kenneth C. in Selected Papers From the 1987 and 1988 George Rogers Clark Trans-Appalachian Frontier History Conferences:
p. 61: References to Dodge as "Captain" Dodge seem unfounded and without substance . . . It is possible that because agents and quartermasters were paid the same rate as an adjutant - six shillings per day, which is the same rate of pay as a captain, - that Dodge may have simply extended the rationale of "rate of pay" to one of "rank;" although but a theory, it is in keeping with Dodge's personality as described . . . "
p. 62 It is difficult to determine if Dodge
. . . took (his oath) of appointment to heart.
There are numerous accusations questioning
Dodge's character, loyalty and honesty, as
made by the people of Kaskaskia..., Americans
at Fort Jefferson, and even the British!"