Henry Dodge

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Henry Dodge
United States Senator
from Wisconsin
In office
June 8, 1848 – March 4, 1857
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by James R. Doolittle
4th Governor of Wisconsin Territory
In office
April 8, 1845 – June 23, 1848
Appointed by James Polk
Preceded by Nathaniel P. Tallmadge
Succeeded by John Catlin [note 1]
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin Territory's at-large district
In office
March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1845
Preceded by James D. Doty
Succeeded by Morgan L. Martin
1st Governor of Wisconsin Territory
In office
April 30, 1836 – September 13, 1841
Appointed by Andrew Jackson
Preceded by (none)
Succeeded by James Duane Doty
Personal details
Born (1782-10-12)October 12, 1782
Vincennes, Indiana
Died June 19, 1867(1867-06-19) (aged 84)
Burlington, Iowa
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Christiana McDonald Dodge
Profession Politician, Soldier
Military service
Service/branch Missouri Militia
Michigan Territory Militia
United States Army
Rank Major General (Militia)
Colonel (Army)
Battles/wars War of 1812
Black Hawk War
Dodge and the Miamis from a mural in the Missouri State Capitol

Henry Dodge (October 12, 1782 – June 19, 1867) was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, Territorial Governor of Wisconsin and a veteran of the Black Hawk War. His son was Augustus C. Dodge with whom he served in the U.S. Senate, the first, and so far only, father-son pair to serve concurrently. Henry Dodge was the half brother of Lewis F. Linn. James Clarke, the Governor of Iowa Territory, was the son-in-law of Henry Dodge.[2]

Early life[edit]

Although Dodge was born in Vincennes, Indiana, he was raised a Kentuckian. Circumstance drove him to Spanish Missouri at an early age, where he rejoined his father Israel and an uncle. He dabbled in salt boiling and lead digging, and served as deputy sheriff of Ste. Genevieve County under his father. In 1800, he married Christiana McDonald.


War of 1812[edit]

In the War of 1812, Dodge enlisted as a captain in the Missouri State Volunteers. He was part of a mounted company. He finished the war as a major general of the Missouri militia. His crowning achievement was saving about 150 Miami Indians from certain massacre after their raid on the Boone's Lick settlement in the summer of 1814.

Dodge emigrated with his large family and slaves inherited from his father to the U.S. Mineral District in early July 1827. He served as a commander of militia during the Red Bird uprising of that year, and in October settled a large tract in present day downtown Dodgeville, known then as "Dodge's Camp." He worked a large claim until around 1830, when he moved several miles south in a beautiful forested area known still as "Dodge's Grove." Here he began building what would become a large two-story frame house for his ever growing extended family.

Black Hawk War[edit]

Dodge rose to prominence during the Black Hawk War of 1832. As colonel of the western Michigan Territory militia, Dodge brought a credible fighting force into being in a very short time. More than fifteen forts, fortified homes and blockhouses sprang up almost overnight. From these forts, Dodge and the mounted volunteers, with four companies of Territorial militia and one of Illinois mounted rangers, took to the field as the "Michigan Mounted Volunteers." Dodge and his men saw action at the battles of Horseshoe Bend, Wisconsin Heights, and Bad Axe. In June 1832, he accepted a commission as Major (United States) of the Battalion of Mounted Rangers, commissioned by an Act of Congress.

The ranger experiment lasted a year, and then, in 1833, was replaced by the United States Regiment of Dragoons. Dodge served as colonel; one of his captains was Nathan Boone, Daniel Boone's youngest son. The United States Regiment of Dragoons was the first mounted Regular Army unit in United States Army history.

In the summer of 1834, Colonel Dodge engaged on First Dragoon Expedition and made successful contact with the Comanches. He was a renowned Indian fighter, most noted for his 1835 peace mission commissioned by President Andrew Jackson, who had called out the U.S. Dragoons to assist.

Territorial Governor[edit]

Dodge was the first Territorial Governor of Wisconsin Territory from 1836–1841 and again from 1845 – 1848, an area which encompassed (before July 4, 1838, when Iowa became a territory) what became the states of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. In between this two terms as Governor, Dodge was elected as a non-voting Democratic Delegate to the Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1841 – March 3, 1845) representing Wisconsin Territory's At-large congressional district.

He declined the opportunity to have his name put forward for the Presidency of the United States at the 1844 Democratic National Convention. He was loyal to Martin Van Buren and both men opposed the annexation of Texas. Despite their efforts, James K. Polk, the Democrat who favored annexation, became President.

Upon Wisconsin being admitted to the Union, Dodge was elected one of its first two senators. He served two terms. He turned down the appointment of Territorial Governor of Washington from Franklin Pierce in 1857.[3]


Dodge died in 1867 in Burlington, Iowa. He is interred at the Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington.[4]


In 1948, Iowa County presented a 160-acre (0.6 km2) estate to the State of Wisconsin which eventually was named Governor Dodge State Park. Over the years, this park has grown to include 5,270 acres (21 km2) in the area Henry Dodge once called his home.

Dodge County, Wisconsin was named after Dodge.[5] Dodge County, Minnesota and Henry County, Iowa[6] were also named after Dodge.

Fort Clark, the U.S. Army post built near the present-day location of Fort Dodge, Iowa, was renamed for Senator Dodge around 1850. [7]


  1. ^ The History of Racine and Kenosha Counties, Wisconsin. Racine County, Wisconsin: Western Historical Company. 1879. pp. 54–56. Retrieved January 24, 2008. 
  2. ^ http://politicalgraveyard.com/families/10430.html
  3. ^ Dodge, Henry 1782 - 1867
  4. ^ "Henry Dodge". Find A Grave. Retrieved July 20, 2012. 
  5. ^ Dodge County, Wisconsin - About Dodge County
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 155. 
  7. ^ Gue, Benjamin (1903). History of Iowa from the earliest times to the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Volume 1. New York: The Century History Company. p. 267. Retrieved May 28, 2011. 
  1. ^ When the State of Wisconsin was formed, part of Wisconsin Territory was not included in the state. This portion likely became unorganized territory; however, the Wisconsin territorial government continued to function there until the land was assigned to Minnesota Territory on March 3, 1849. Henry Dodge ceased to be territorial governor when he took his seat as a U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin on June 23, 1848. In the absence of a governor, John Catlin, as Secretary of Wisconsin Territory, acted as governor until the organization of Minnesota Territory.[1]

External links[edit]

Political offices
New creation
Formation of Wisconsin Territory
Governor of Wisconsin Territory
April 30, 1836 – September 13, 1841
Succeeded by
James Doty
Preceded by
Nathaniel P. Tallmadge
Governor of Wisconsin Territory
April 8, 1845 – June 23, 1848
Succeeded by
Nelson Dewey
as Governor of Wisconsin
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James D. Doty
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin Territory's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1841 – March 4, 1845
Succeeded by
Morgan L. Martin
United States Senate
Preceded by
Wisconsin admitted to the Union
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Wisconsin
June 8, 1848 – March 4, 1857
Served alongside: Isaac P. Walker and Charles Durkee
Succeeded by
James R. Doolittle
Honorary titles
Preceded by
William Wilkins
Oldest living U.S. Senator
June 23, 1865 – June 19, 1867
Succeeded by
Wilson Lumpkin