- Born: 1649, Rappahannock Co., Virginia
- Marriage: Ann Elmore in 1678 in North Farnham Parish, Virginia
- Died: 6 Feb 1705, North Farnham Parish, Richmond Co., Virginia at age 56
Charles Dodson lived in an area about 60 miles northeast of what is now the city of Richmond, near the Rappahannock River. Many Dotson family histories actually begin their genealogies with Charles, as he's the first proven ancestor in this family. As there is no record of his birth to Jesse, nor is there any documentation of a Charles Dodson arriving in Virginia by ship, so he fits neatly into either family history scenario. (One database in Salt Lake City shows that Charles Dodson, Sr. was the son of Jesse who came from England, with Judith Hagger. Another lists the same mother, but the father's name is Thomas Dodson, b. 1620 in Wakefield, Yorkshire, England. Take your pick.)
The problem is that the Colony was growing so fast that it was practically impossible to keep faithful records. New immigrants arrived in Virginia in boatloads, almost every month in the year. By the year 1700, there were more than 80,000 persons living in the tidewater region of Virginia, when there had been only a handful in the day of John Dods. Between the influx of new immigrants, and official records stored in Richmond, being destroyed by fire, much of the genealogical work has to be left to family histories and church records.
Until 1686, the Episcopal Church was the State church in Virginia. All children, regardless of religious affiliation, were required to be baptized by the minister of the church, like the parish that the Dodsons lived near in North Farnham. Dates of birth and names of their parents were recorded in parish registers. The same information was taken of marriages and burials. The church records are preserved, and are available in the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia.
These records do not reveal the origins of Charles. But the fact of the matter is that Charles himself makes an impressive start to any genealogy. He was by all reports a successful, industrious, remarkably well-respected frontiersman. Fortunately, the records do show that between 1678 and 1680, Charles married a woman named Ann (last name unknown, but it was probably either Elmore or Dotson, b: 1654) in Rappahannock County.
Charles made a lease in Old Rappahannock County on July 8 1680. Rappahannock County became extinct in 1692, being divided into Essex and Richmond Counties. Charles owned land in both counties but resided in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, where he became a large land owner. Records show that from 1680 he was busy acqiuring land which he and his sons proceeded to improve. He witnessed various documents for his neighbors and was named as executor of wills on several occasions indicating that he was trusted and held in high essteam by his neighbors. In the will of John Lincoln, dictated Dec 18, 1686, the comment is made in the affidavit of witnesses that the maker of the will "would have no other but Charles Dodson as his executor although several insisted that he should name his wife as executor."
Charles left a will dated Jan 11, 1703 in which his wife Ann and his 8 children were named. He bequeathed to his wife and his daughters, Anne and Elizabeth Dodson,"moveable estate." To each of his sons he gave a tract of land with the restriction that the land not be sold out of the Dodson name 'except that one brother selleth to another and if no male heir appeareth by none of my sons that then my daughters may inherit the land." This provision caused some problems for those of his sons who later wanted to sell out and leave the area. Several, upon decided to leave, sold to brothers; one leased his land to another man "for three natural lifetimes."
Charles married Ann Elmore in 1678 in North Farnham Parish, Virginia. (Ann Elmore was born in 1654 in Richmond, Virginia and died on 1 Aug 1715 in Richmond Co., Virginia.)