JOSEPH DODSON represents the grain trade at Shipman and also deals in flour and feed. He is a native of Boonville, Cooper County, Mo., and was born October 17, 1840. His parents, Eli Dodson and Mary M. Williams, were native of Ohio and Illinois, and were married in this State, but later lived on a farm in Missouri. They removed from Cooper to Cass County and there the father turned his attention to mercantile pursuits. In 1856 they came back to this State, settled at Woodburn, this county, and there Mr. Dodson carried on a general store some fifteen years. During that time he built a flouring mill and operated the same. When he retired from business he removed to Shipman, where his wife died in 1875, at the age of sixty-six years. He subsequently resided with a son at Medora, and died there in 1876, having passed the seventy-first milestone on life's journey.
The parental family included ten sons and daughters, but four crossed the river of death before they had become adults. William died in Chicago in 1874; Emily married James R. Ament and died in Litchfield; Isaac is living at Lebanon, Mo.; Joseph will be mentioned at greater length in the accompanying paragraphs; James E. is a resident of Warrensburg; Francis M. lives in Carlinville.
During the boyhood of our subject the common schools in Missouri were not conspicuous for an extended course of study, nor were the buildings in which they were held attractive or even comfortable. The sessions were chiefly during the winter. The school houses were built of logs and the opening left by removing one answered for a window. The benches were of slabs without any support for the backs of the pupils, but the brain was expected to work just as well as if the body were not tired. Mr. Dodson gained such knowledge as he could under the circumstances, and being of a practical nature he learned the use of that which he studied. His boyhood was passed on the farm and during his youth he was a clerk in stores.
Having come to this State with his parents Mr. Dodson has been connected with the business interests of Central Illinois since he grew to manhood. When he became of age he associated with his brother William in the milling business in Woodburn and Shipman, and the partnership continued until 1877. The next year he established his present business and in the years that have passed he has built up a good trade and prospered in basket and store. He has one of the largest and best residences in the town and is considered one of the men of substance and business honor.
December 18, 1867, Mr. Dodson was married to Miss Mary M., daughter of Richard P. and Catharine (Roberts) Harris. This estimable lady was born in Morgan County in September, 1842. Her happy union has been blest by the birth of six children named respectively Edwin A., Fanny C., Abigail E., Eva A., Rosa M. and Bertha V. Mrs. Dodson is the eldest child of her parents and her brothers and sisters who grew to maturity are Melinda E., Emily P., Sarah J., Maria C., Abigail C., Sophia, Newton D. and Minnie L. Her father was born April 8, 1821, and her mother December 10 of the same year, and both came with their parents from Tennessee to this State in their childhood. Their homes were in Morgan County, and their marriage was solemnized at Jacksonville, October 5, 1841. Mr. Harris died December 10, 1865, and his widow passed away May 26, 1866. In religion they were Methodists and in politics Mr. Harris was a Democrat. His occupation was farming.
Mr. Dodson is identified with the Masonic order and the Knights of Honor. He was formerly a Democrat, but is now connected with the Prohibition party. For fifteen years he served as School Director and is now a member of the Town Council. His religious home is in the Christian Church, in which he has good standing and a reputation that extends beyond the borders of that religious body.