Dodge, Leonard - Erie County

LEONARD DODGE occupies a distinctive place among Buffalo men of business. Local history can show few citizens who in equal degree with Mr. Dodge have united the care of large personal interests with the maintenance of a high standard of public spirit.

The ancestors of the American branch of the Dodge family were among the early settlers of Rhode Island and Connecticut. John Dodge was born in 1644, in Northern England. In 1667, with his brothers, Israel and Truxton, he emigrated to this country, and settled in Rhode Island. He died in 1729. His children were: John, Jr., and David Britain, of whom the latter was born in 1691 and died in 1764. Jonathan Dodge, son of David Britain, was born at Block Island, R. I., in 1721, and died in 1794. Jonathan Dodge, Jr., son of the preceding, was 'born in 1747, in Colchester, Conn., and died in 1794. Alvan Dodge, son of Jonathan Dodge, Jr., was born in Colchester, Conn., May 8, 1782. He removed to Warren, Herkimer County, N. Y. He married Mary Blount, by whom lie had six children: Sarah, Cemantha, Alma, Alvin Leonard, Jonathan Wayne, and Mary Eliza. The family became residents of Lowville, Lewis County, N. Y., and from there in 1810, Mr. Dodge removed to Buffalo. He prospered in farming, and became an extensive land owner. He held many civic offices in Buffalo and Black Rock, and was appointed Magistrate of the County of Niagara. He died in January, 1846.

Jonathan Wayne Dodge, son of Alvan Dodge, was born November 9, 1812. He was educated in the schools of Buffalo, and as a young man was a teacher in one of the first high schools in that section. He inherited a part of his father's land holdings, and was a farmer in Lancaster and Clarence. In 1864 he purchased a grist mill in Williamsville, where he settled in 1870, and where he died in November, 1889. Mr. Dodge was a Democrat and held many offices in the town of Clarence. In 1846 he was Supervisor of Lancaster.

March 29, 1838, Mr. Dodge married Charlotte Hull of Tonawanda, who was born in Canada October 3, 1817. Their children were: Alma, born March 8, 1839; Alvan, born June 1, 1840; Leonard, born May 18, 1844; Henry Wright, born November 30, 1850, and Martha Eliza, born March 13, 1855. While the family were living in Clarence, Mrs. Dodge died. February 26, 1865, Mr. Dodge married his second wife, Marie A. Strickler, daughter of Jacob and Catherine H. (Correll) Strickler of Clarence. The issue of this union was one son, J. Arthur C. Dodge, who was born April 2, 1871.

Leonard Dodge was educated in the public schools, at Clarence Academy and the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, N. Y. After leaving school he learned the milling business in the old Erie Mills at Black Rock, where he remained four years. In 1864 he went to Williamsville and engaged in milling, continuing until his mill was burned in 1894. In 1872 Mr. Dodge removed to Buffalo, where he engaged in the wholesale provision trade, carrying on this business and his Williamsville milling enterprise. In 1885 he relinquished his provision business to devote himself to grain and elevating interests. In 1886 the Frontier Elevator was built by a stock company of which Mr. Dodge became Secretary, Treasurer and General Manager, offices which he has held continuously ever since, and in 1907 he was elected President of the Western Elevating Association. Since 1896 he has served as trustee of the Western Elevating Association. Since 1896 he has served as trustee of the Western Savings Bank, and has been its Vice President since 1901. He is one of the charter members of the Commonwealth Trust Company, of which he was for several years a trustee.

Mr. Dodge's connection with the Buffalo Board of Trade began in 1864. As a member of the old Merchants' Exchange he did such valuable work that when, in 1903, that body became the Chamber of Commerce, he was elected its first President. In the movement for improving the canals he was one of the most efficient workers, and it was during Mr. Dodge's term of office that the act for the improvement of the canal system was passed. As a member of the Charter Revision Commission, he gave many months of gratuitous service for the benefit of the City of Buffalo.

A life-long Democrat, Mr. Dodge has with one exception never accepted any political office. In 1869 he was elected Supervisor of the town of Amherst, and served four years, being Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 1871.

Mr. Dodge is a 32d degree Mason. Since 1865 he has been a member of Hiram Lodge, and he is also affiliated with Buffalo Chapter, No. 71, Royal Arch Masons; Buffalo Council, R. & S. M.; Lake Erie Commandery, Knights Templar; Buffalo Consistory, and Ismailia Temple. For many years he has been a member of the Young Men's Association.

May 5th, 1869, Mr. Dodge married Emily P. Hotchkiss, daughter of Hiram Hotchkiss of Buffalo. Mrs. Dodge died December 31, 1872, leaving one daughter, Mamre E., who married Charles H. Bailey of Buffalo, and whose children are: Leonard H., and Mamre. September 20, 1876, Mr. Dodge again married, his second wife being Emilie P., daughter of the late Col. Richard Flach of Buffalo.

SOURCE: Memorial and Family History of Erie County New York; Volume I