J. Harvey Dodson. The present superintendent of schools for Sequoyah County has a very small proportion of Cherokee Indian blood in his veins. Mr. Dodson ’s great-grandfather, George W. Dodson, was, a century or more ago, a minister of the Primitive Baptist
Church who carried on his work partly as an itinerant preacher and as a missionary among the white and the Indian inhabitants of South Carolina and Georgia. He married Elizabeth Fagan, a half blood Cherokee. Since that generation there has been no important admixture of Indian blood and it is necessary tor Mr. Dodson to go back fully four generations to find a full blooded Cherokee among his ancestors.
It was not so much his Indian relationship as his profession as an educator which brought Mr. Dodson into the old Indian Territory. For the past ten years he has been actively identified with the life and affairs of Sequoyah County, either in his capacity as a teacher or as a county official. He was born in Cooke County, Texas, March 11, 1878. His grandfather, John M. Dodson, was born in Habersham County, Georgia, March 10, 1814, and was educated for the profession of medicine. About 1849 he moved to Arkansas, where he carried on his professional duties a number of years and died near Mountain View that state in November, 1889. Prior to the war he owned slaves, and was always affiliated with the democratic party. He married Eliza beth Warden, who was born on the ocean while her parents were on their way to the United States from Ireland. She died in Franklin County, Alabama, in 1846, and a brief record of her children is: William, who was a Confederate soldier and died while in the military prison at Alton, Illinois; Robert, who lives in Stone County, Arkansas; John; and Elizabeth, who died single.
John Dodson, father of J. Harvey, was born in Franklin County, Alabama, December 22, 1842, was reared and educated in Stone County, Arkansas, and as a young man in May, 1861, enlisted at Yellville, Arkansas, in Captain Campbell’s Company of the Fourteenth Arkansas Infantry. That regiment was first commanded by Colonel Mitchell and afterwards by Col. Eli Dodson, who became prominent as a legislator in later years in Arkansas. After the battle of Pea Ridge he was transferred to the army east of the Mississippi, was under Van Dorn in the operations around Corinth, and was with Gen. Joe Shelby at the end of the war. In 1870 he settled in Cooke County, Texas, and it was during his residence there that Superintendent Dodson was born. He returned in 1885 to Arkansas and lived near Mountainburg. While in Texas he served as a county official. By his first wife, Miss Martha Measles his children were: John E., of Frisco, Arkansas; and Robert Sidney of Hanson, Oklahoma. John Dodson married for his second wife Martha M. Oliver. Her father, Capt. Alfred Oliver, was a veteran of the Seminole Indian wars in Florida, and afterwards commanded a Texas company in the war with Mexico. The names of the children by the second marriage of John Dodson are: J. Harvey; Cora, wife of Rev. Noah Johnson; Arthur W.; Ernest F.; Alice, wife of Harmon Johnson; Grover; Rosa; and Roland.
From the age of seven J. Harvey Dodson was reared to manhood in Arkansas. As a boy he conceived an ambition to amount to something in the world, and though his advantages were only these of the country schools and the influences of a good home, he found opportunity to advance himself toward his desired goal. After finishing his course in the high school at Porter, Arkansas, he began teaching before he was twenty-one. For six years he taught in Crawford County, Arkansas, one term in the Uniontown High School, and on moving to the Cherokee Nation in 1906 became a teacher in what is now Sequoyah County. Two years later, after statehood, he was made deputy county clerk under H. B. Clark. He was also the first justice of the peace elected for Hanson Township, and served as a member of the first county board of education. After leaving the office of deputy clerk he became principal of the Hanson schools for two years, and his qualifications as an educator led to his becoming a candidate for the nomination of county superintendent. He won the nomination at the democratic primaries, and in the fall of 1912 was regularly elected to that office. In 1914 he was renominated and re-elected without opposition, and is now serving his second consecutive term. Mr. Dodson is an educator of long and thorough experience, has an intimate knowledge of the needs of the younger generation growing up in his section of the state, and has done much to adapt the work of the local schools to the standards of efficiency which are required by local conditions and which are generally recognized over the state at large.
Outside of his public work and his home Mr. Dodson takes much interest in fraternal affairs. He is a Master Mason and a member of the Eastern Star, and is also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World, and the Modern Woodmen of America, while his wife is a member of the Rebekah degree and the Degree of Honor. Both have filled chairs in their local lodges. Mr. Dodson is also an active church worker, and is a deacon in the Baptist Church at Sallisaw. October 12, 1902, at Winslow, Arkansas, he married Miss Elnora Kennedy. Mrs. Dodson was born April 2, 1885, a daughter of C. C. and Rowena (Marbut) Kennedy. Her brother and two sisters were named Walter, Lavada and Ethel. Mr. Dodson has the following children: Aubrev Kenneth, born March 3, 1905; John Haskell who died March 23, 1910, at the age of three years; Lawton Powers, born December 23, 1909; Lois Dana; and Joseph Curtis Dodson.