Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

Nathaniel Dodge[1]

Male 1759 - 1852  (93 years)

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  • Name Nathaniel Dodge 
    Born 1759  , Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Interesting life story, pioneer 
    Land 1800  Waterloo Township - Beasley's Old Survey Lot 02, Waterloo County, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Nathaniel Dodge, 114 acres from Beasley in Lot No. 2, Beasley's Old Survey, August 6th, 1800, recorded February 16th, 1801. This farm was located on the west bank of the Grand River below Blair and is now part of the Wilks estate. Dodge is the traditional first squatter in the County of Waterloo.

      Preston purchased the remaining portion of Lot No. 2, B.O.S. consisting of 114 acres from Beasley on August 11th, 1800. Mr. Preston appeared to remain in the district but a short time for in 1807 he disposed of his property to Dodge.

      Waterloo Historical Society Annual Volume 1934 - THE HISTORY OF WATERLOO TOWNSHIP UP TO 1825 I. C. Bricker, Phm. B., Elora, pg 81
    Land 1831  Waterloo Township - Beasley's Old Survey Lot 02, Waterloo County, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    • Nathaniel Dodge, BOS2, Acres 228 Acres, Cultivated 60, # of Men 3, # of Boys 1, # of Women 2 , Girls 1 , Total People 7, 1 Story Frame, 1 Family, # of Horses 1, # of Oxen 2, # of Cows 3, # of Cattle 2, Value 95
    Rsrch. Note
    • ID: I285 Name: Nathaniel Dodge Sex: M Birth: MAR 1762 in Mendon, Massachusetts Death: ABT 1851 in Waterloo County, Ontario Note:
      Information from the New England Historical Genealogy Society's website says that Nathaniel, son of Caleb, was baptized March 28, 1762 in Brookfield, MA. Norman Dodge of the Dodge Family Association says that Nathaniel was actually born in Mendon, though son Owen's death certificate says simply Boston.

      Information in the 1998 Edition of Dodge Genealogy substantially came from a letter descendant Virginia Birt received from the National Archives, a copy of which is in Nathaniel's Revolutionary War Pension File. It says that Nathaniel, age 13, in 1775 entered the service as a waiter to his father, a Lieutenant, returned home, Belchertown, MA and was stationed at Roxbury, MA, served in Capt. Benjamin Bonney's Co., Col. Brewer's Mass Reg in an expedition to Ticonderoga and after two months was put in the Marine service returning home in Jan 1777, again enlisted in the Fall of 1778 as Pvt., Capt Fairfield's Mass Co., stationed near Boston; Oct 1779 enlisted under Col Sparhawk in Elizabethtown, NJ; enlisted Jun 1780, as Pvt in Capt Asa Coburn's Co, Col Brook's 7th Mass Reg stationed in Tappan & Hacksensack, guarding Major John Andre and saw that officer hanged. (Note: Major John Andre is the officer who persuaded Benedict Arnold to commit treason.) In 1799 he was employed in a mill in Manlius, Herkimer Co., N.Y. (now Onondaga County) where he deposed that all his service papers burned. In 1800 he moved to Canada, near what is now Kitchener, Ontario. He was the first known white settler in the twp of Waterloo, where he remained and became a prominent citizen of the community.

      The article lists his children as Harriet, Samuel, Lessor, Nathaniel, and Owen. On Owen Dodge's 1912 death certificate in Kent County, Michigan Death Records, Nathaniel Dodge, born Massachusetts, is listed as his father and Polly Hover, born Pennsylvania, is listed as his mother. This information is the same as that in the published lineage of Virginia Nancy Birt, member of the Daughters of the Pilgrims, who was a descendant of Owen Dodge and Mary Levagood.


      Declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832

      State of New York
      Genesee County

      On this sixth day of December 1837 personally appeared before the Court of General Sessions for said county in ----- being a Court of Record, Nathaniel Dodge, a resident of the town of Pembroke in the county of Genesee and State of New York aged 75 years,who being first duly sworn, according to law, doth on his oath make the following Declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the provision made by the Act of Congress passed June 7, 1832--That in the year 1775 he lived in Belchertown, Massachusetts and in that year when he was but thirteen years old, he went as waiter to his father who was a Lieutenant to Roxbury, immediately after the battle of Bunker Hill and was with his father as such waiter during the term of -----months when he returned home. That at this time he had very nearly attained his full growth which is of more than middling size and that he could lift with his hands alone a barrel of cider and put it into the back of a cart.

      That in the month of June 1776 but the precise time he cannot recollect, he enlisted for six months in the Massachusetts Line of militia into a Company commanded by Capt. Bonney of Chesterfield, Mass. in Col. Brewer's Regiment, he thinks, and Lieut. Col. Carlton--that one Holbert was one of the Lieutenants of the Company--That he went and was stationed at Ticonderoga--That after serving about two months in the Company he was put into the Marine service and remained a guard in the galley, Gates, until some time in January 1777 when he was discharged and sent home--That he served at this time nine months.

      That in the latter part of the summer or forefront of the fall of 1778, but the precise time he cannot recollect, he enlisted for three months in the Mass. Line under Capt. Fairfield and Lieut. Foster and went to Boston and was stationed on Dorchester Heights and served there three months, when he was discharged and went home. That he served as waiter to Capt Fairfield.

      That in the month of October 1779 but the precise day he cannot recollect, he enlisted at the Springfield, Mass. for three months, that he cannot recollect the name of the Captain, that his Col was Sparrowhawk (?), that the militia was called out and ordered to Albany. That he went there and remained there two months and was there discharged and went home before his time expired for which he was called out and the plan of an expedition to New York was given him.

      That sometime in the month of June 1780 he re-enlisted in the Regular Service for six months under Capt. Asa Coburn. Elijah Day and Buffendon (?) were Lieutenants and in Col Brooks 7th Mass Regiment--that Col Alden, who commanded the Regiment was killed at Cherry Valley--that he went directly to West Point and remained there some time and then crossed to Kings Ferry and then into the English Neighborhood and at Tappan--That before leaving West Point he was put into Motts Regiment and under General LaFayette--hat he was stationed most of the time during this service at Tappan and Hackensack in that neighborhood--that he was placed at Guard over Andre a number of times and saw him hung--that he was never in any battle of any importance but was in a number of skirmishes. That in his tour in the service he served three months longer than his enlistment making his whole tour of service at this time nine months--That the regiment to which he belonged was out on command and that he could not be discharged till he was relieved--that he was discharged in January 1781 and received a written discharge and then went home.

      That he received a written discharge once before at least and that he kept both of his written discharges until the year 1799 when they were burnt up with his other papers in a mill in which he was at work in Manlius, NY--that he has no documentary evidence of his service and knows of no living person who can ---his services except Ebenezer Chapman of Hebron, Washington Co., NY and Elijah Barnes of Manheim(?) in the county of Herkimer NY whose affidavits are hereto attached.

      He hereby relinquishes any claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and he declares that his name is not on the pension roll of any agency in any state.

      Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid in open court. Nathaniel Dodge.

      "Historical Sketch of the County of Waterloo" found in the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana stated on page 8 that in the history of Galt and North Dumfries that "Miller made the purchase in 1802....and proceeded with the construction of a mill on the east side of the river, slightly above the business portion of the present town. For the task of building the mill, Miller engaged the party referred to on a previous page as 'Old Dodge', who was a squatter in the present Township of Waterloo when the pioneers came in, and a millwright by trade."

      Listings of land records for Waterloo Township show Nathaniel Dodge as owning 114 acres in 1800. The 1807 land listings show his property as being in Lot 2 of Beasley's Old Survey, near the Grand River.

      Record keeping began about 1800 with the coming of the pioneers and the purchase of the German Company Tract for settlement land for the Mennonites. Nathaniel was well before.

      An 1824 census of Waterloo on microfilm at the Allen County Library showed 7 residents of the Nathaniel Doge (sic) household--3 boys and l adult male, as well as 2 girls and 1 adult female. No Levegood family lived there at that time.

      The 1825 census showed 3 boys, l adult male and 1 adult female for a total household of 5. Three doors away was Peter Levegood with 4 boys, 1 adult male, l daughter, and 1 adult female for a total of 7.

      The 1826 census showed the Nathaniel Dodge household with a total of 3 boys, l adult male, 2 girls, and 1 adult female for a total of 6. The Peter Levegood household remained a total of 7.

      The 1828 census showed the Peter Levegood household with only 2 members, both male. The Nathaniel Dodge household now had l adult male, l adult female, and 3 minor males.

      "Waterloo Wills", found at the Clayton Library in Houston, TX lists the will of Nathaniel Dodge, carpenter of N. Dumfries. Beneficiary was Owen Dodge, son, of Gaines, Michigan.

      "Waterloo County Churches Pre-1900" shows Nathaniel Dodge buried in the Old Blair Memorial Cemetery on Old Mill Road in North Dumfries Township, space WW4501. His wife Polly is not listed as being buried there or in any other Waterloo cemetery.
    Occupation 1852  North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [2
    Eby ID Number Waterloo-59495P 
    Died Sep 1852  North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I59495  Generations
    Last Modified 22 Apr 2021 

    Family Polly Hoover,   b. Abt 1790, , Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1852, North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 61 years) 
     1. Harriet Dodge,   b. 1807, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1877  (Age > 71 years)
     2. Nathaniel Dodge,   b. 23 Mar 1810, Of, Blair, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Jan 1833, , Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 22 years)
     3. Owen Dodge,   b. 23 May 1818, North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Jul 1912, Bowne Township, Kent Co., Michigan Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 94 years)
    Last Modified 23 Apr 2021 
    Family ID F15437  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 

      Commuters, cyclists and hikers along Blair Road and its adjacent Grand Trunk Tail can't miss the giant Bur Oak that extends its massive branches high above the floodplain. This is the largest Bur Oak in Waterloo Region according to the 1991 Honour Roll Tree Inventory undertaken by members of the Kitchener-Waterloo Field Naturalists. On this same floodplain, before 1800, fur trapper and squatter Nathaniel Dodge built a log cabin and became one of the first Europeans to settle on what was later known as Cruickston land. The 1851 census of North Dumfries lists Nathaniel Dodge as carpenter, aged 92. "Old Dodge" as he was known in the area, was a millwright by trade and a fur trapper by circumstance. Whatever his profession or land status, he was remembered with kindness in the journals of Galt's founder William Dickson who recalled a hearty welcome and overnight stay with Dodge and his family in 1816 when he, Absalom Shade and a guide found themselves without lodgings late one evening as they reconnoitred the north boundary of the Dickson block. Cruickston hospitality had begun!

      (notes from Our Todays and Yesterdays by Andrew W. Taylor, 1970).


      Early settlement of Galt commenced in 1802, when Alexander Miller of Niagara commissioned squatter Nathaniel Dodge to construct a grist mill near the confluence of Mill Creek and the Grand River. This mill, located near present-day Ainslie Street South north of Warnock Street, was operated by a Mr. Maas until circa 1812. Miller lost his title to the lands when he chose to fight for the Americans rather than the Crown (Dilse 1981: 19).

      An Archaelogical Perpective of an Historical Overview of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, Scarlett E. Janusas, (Regional Municipality of Waterloo Planning and Development Department, Archaeology Division: 1988)


      Nathaniel was Pennsylvania by birth and probably arrived in the area in the early 1790's. He was originally a millwright by trade, but earned his livelyhood as a trapper and fur trader along the Grand River. He is reported to have purchased a 100 acres of land from Richard Beasley, but has been described as a squatter. He is reported to have been buried in an Indian Burial Ground along the Grand River near Blair.

      Cambridge Mosaic , Jim Quantrell, 1998, City of Cambridge [abbreviated snippet from original text in book]



      In 1816, the future town site of Galt was surveyed for William Dickson (1769-1846), a prosperous lawyer from Niagara who had acquired Block 1 from a Niagara merchant named Thomas Clark. Dickson engaged Absalom Shade, "a young shrewd, energetic and pushing Pennsylvanian" as his agent for the new settlement. Shade, who was a carpenter by trade, set up a rough log dwelling where he set up the first store in the future village site. A decayed grist mill, said to have been built here for Alexander Miller by a squatter named Nathaniel Dodge in 1802, was repaired by Shade and set into operation (Dilse, Paul. 1981 A Remarkable Heritage: Programmes and Policies for Heritage Conservation in Cambridge, Ontario. Cambridge: Heritage Cambridge. 1981: 19) Other scholars state that Shade "built" this mill in 1818 (Mika, Nick and Helma. 1977 Places in Ontario. Their Name Origins and History Part I: A-E. Belleville: Mika Publishing Co.: 332). "When it became fully known that he could give good titles, settlements commenced pretty rapidly in the Township of Dumfries. The first settlers were Scotch from New York, but after some years settlers came direct from Scotland" (Sherry, Lee and Gordon A. Ambrose (ed). 1997 Mennonite Immigration to Waterloo County. The Moyer Journal Attributed to Samuel S. Moyer 1849-1941. Waterloo-Wellington Branch OGS.: 23).

      HERITAGE MASTER PLAN, The Corporation of the City of Cambridge 15 Sep 2008


      They were soon mounted and on their way again, fol-lowing the Indian trail up the same side of the river. As sunset drew near, they sighted a clearing about three miles up the stream, the curling smoke arising from which gave them a thrill of pleasure. It indicated the existence of some human habitation, however humble, and helped to solve what was fast becoming a perplexing question-how they were going to find shelter for the night.

      After some difficulty they succeeded in fording the river, when they found the clearance belonged to an ad-venturous settler named Nathaniel Dodge, a Pennsylvanian by birth, who had located on the flats forming part of what is now known as Cruickston Park. He heartily welcomed them, and "old Dodge," as he was long afterwards called, found in future years that he had lost nothing by keeping the tired travellers, and treating them to the best of the humble fare which he possessed.

      Reminiscences of the Early History of Galt and the Settlement of Dumfries in the Province of Ontario, by James Young, 1880 Toronto: Hunter, Rose

  • Sources 
    1. [S565] Vit - Michigan - Death Registration.

    2. [S233] Census - ON, Waterloo, North Dumfries - 1852, Div 3 Pg 55.
      Nathaniel Dodge Carpenter Pennsylvania Lutheran 92

    3. [S1583] Assessment Roll - ON, Waterloo, Waterloo Township - 1831.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1759 - , Pennsylvania, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsLand - 1800 - Waterloo Township - Beasley's Old Survey Lot 02, Waterloo County, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsLand - 1831 - Waterloo Township - Beasley's Old Survey Lot 02, Waterloo County, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - carpenter - 1852 - North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Sep 1852 - North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - North Dumfries Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth