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
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.