About this Famous Person
William E. DODGE
New York businessman, referred to as one of the "Merchant Princes" of Wall Street in the years leading up to the American Civil War
Source : Tim DOWLING
Dodge was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the second son of David Low Dodge, founder of the New York Peace Society, and his wife Sarah Cleveland. His married Melissa Phelps (1809–1903), the daughter of Anson Greene Phelps and Olivia Egleston. The couple had seven sons. In 1833, Dodge and his father-in-law founded the mining firm Phelps, Dodge and Company, one of Americas largest mining companies.
Dodge is the namesake of Dodge County, Georgia. A consortium of businessmen led by Dodge purchased large tracts of timberland in this area following the Civil War. The Dodge Land Company laid claim to over 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land through questionable land deeds. The consortium's ownership of these lands led to land wars which resulted in nearly fifty years of court cases. Dodge was the essence of what Southerners refer to as Carpetbaggers.
Dodge and his associates built the Macon and Brunswick Railroad, connecting Macon to what was then a remote area of the state. Dodge County was formed in 1870 and Eastman, the county seat, was established at the railroad's Station Number 13. Dodge visited the area only once, to dedicate a two-story courthouse that he donated to the county. Dodge's sons later administered the timber businesses in this area.
Dodge was active in the post-Civil War Indian reform movement. He joined Peter Cooper in organizing the privately funded United States Indian Commission in 1868 and helped institute Ulysses S. Grant's Peace Policy toward the Indians. In 1869, Dodge toured Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) and Kansas as a member of the government-sponsored Board of Indian Commissioners. He met and discussed U.S. Indian policy with representatives of the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Kiowa. Dodge lobbied for the prosecution of the U.S. cavalry commanders responsible for the 1870 Marias Massacre in Montana, which left 173 Blackfeet dead. Dodge unsuccessfully campaigned to establish a cabinet level department for Indian Affairs. He also used his influence in Washington on behalf of Indian educational programs and the General Allotment Act of 1887. A monument to William E. Dodge stands on the North side of Bryant Park.
Dodge was a founding member of the Board of Trustees for the Syrian Protestant College, later renamed the American University of Beirut. As Treasurer, he laid the cornerstone of College Hall, the first building on the present campus in Ras Beirut, on December 7, 1871.
His eldest son, William Earl Dodge, Jr., assumed control of the Phelps Dodge company after his death.
- Category Industrialist, Businessman