from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
PastAndPresentOfMahaskaCo.,IA by Manoah Hedge(James P. Dodds) - PROFESSOR JAMES P. DODDS, James P. Dodds, serving for the fourth term as county superintendent of schools of Ma- haska county, was born in Crawford county, Ohio. His father, John Dodds, was born in Pennsylvania and comes of Irish ancestry. The paternal grandfather, James Dodds, came from Ireland to the United States at an early day. John Dodds arrived in Iowa about 1861, locat- ing in Oskaloosa, where he spent the winter and in the spring bought a farm in Adams town- ship, where he carried on general agricultural pursuits until 1880. In the meantime, having acquired a handsome competence that made him a man of affluence, he then retired from active business life and once more took up his abode in Oskaloosa, where he is now living in his eighty-sixth year. He attends the Methodist Episcopal church and has membership rela- tions with the Masonic fraternity, while in his political views he is a republican. His worth and ability being recognized by his party and his fellow citizens, he was called to represent his district in the general assembly to fill a va- cancy. He also held township offices and his influence has been a potent factor for good and progress in the community. He was in early life a teacher, following that profession for a number of years and some of his children were among his pupils at different times. A man of excellent business ability, his agricultural in- terests were so capably controlled that he ac- cumulated over five hundred acres of land. He married Miss Letta Bobo, who was born in Vin- ton, Ohio, and died in April, 1896, in her sev- entieth year. She was of a French and German lineage and a daughter of Ezekiel Bobo, who was a farmer. Both he and his wife died in Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. John Dodds became the parents of eight children, as follows: James P.; William E., a practicing physician of Rich- land, Iowa; Sarah E., the wife of Paul Chancy, a merchant, dealing in electrical goods in Kan- sas City, Missouri; Esther Virginia, the wife of Joseph Larimer, an engineer of the Iowa Central Railroad, making his home in Oska- loosa; John C., who is employed by the Santa Fe Railroad Company at Omaha, Nebraska; Mary F., living in Oskaloosa; Carrie L., the widow of Herbert Gamble, at one time superin- tendent of the Oskaloosa Water Works, his fa- ther having built the plant; and Lida L., who is head stenographer of a prominent stock broker in New York city. James P: Dodds was reared upon a farm and attended the district schools, after which he en- tered the Iowa Wesleyan University in 1875, pursuing the work of a scientific course for one term. Later he spent two years in Oskaloosa College and was graduated from the State Normal School in June, 1888, with the degree of Bachelor of Science. In the meantime he had engaged in teaching and after devoting some time to educational work in the country schools he became a teacher in the graded schools of Richland, Iowa, spending one year as principal there. He next became principal of the schools at Farmington, Iowa, and in 1885 was made principal of the high school at Sigourney, where he remained for two years. He afterward entered the State Normal School and in 1888-89 was superintendent of schools at Brooklyn, Iowa. There he gave such good satisfaction that he was offered the position for another year, but he received a more advanta- geous offer from Sigourney, the people desir- ng that he become superintendent of schools of that place. He accepted and under his guidance the schools made satisfactory and ra- pid progress during the four years of his incum- bency in office. In 1893 he resigned and pur- chased the Horton Head Light, a newspaper at Horton, Kansas, which he published for a year, when he sold out and returned to Oskaloosa, embarking in the grocery business, in which he continued for a year. He then sold his store and in 1896-7 was superintendent of schools at Grundy Center, Iowa. On the expiration of that period he came again to Oskaloosa and was elected principal of the fifth ward school, acting in that capacity for a little more than a year. In 199 he was elected county superin- tendent of schools and is now serving the fourth term in that position. Under his guidance the standard of the schools has been raised and their proficiency augmented. In 1884, Professor Dodds was married to Miss Clara Simpson, who was born in Sigour- ney, Iowa, a daughter of Judge and Ezekiel S. and Ellen (McCann) Sampson, the latter of English and Irish ancestry. Judge Sampson was one of the able men of his day. He sat upon the bench in the sixth judicial district for twelve years. being one of the strong and ca- pable members of the bar, who have left the im- press of their individuality upon the judicial history of the state. He also represented the sixth district in congress for three terms and was an active working member of the house, being deeply interested in many of its construct- ive measures. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Dodds have been born two sons: James Harold, who was born December 7, 1890, in Sigourney; and Ed- win Clair, born in Sigourney, January 17, 1893. Mr. and Mrs. Dodda are members of the First Presbyterian church, in which he has served as elder. He is now one of the church trustees and is teacher of the Bible class in the Sunday-school. He is a republican in his po- litical views and has been an earnest student of the great questions affecting the welfare of state and nation. He holds a teacher's state life di- ploma and is one of the organizers, a director and the secretary of the Oskaloosa Chautauqua Association. He is also the author of a note- book for teachers' institutes. His labors in be- half of public education have been far-reaching and beneficial, making him one of the best known educators in Iowa. He is a gentleman of broad humanitarian principles and high scholarly attainments and moreover is imbued with a spirit of sympathy that has won him the respect and confidence of his fellowmen.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy