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Submitted by: Renée Cone Pero (

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Joseph E. Dodson was born about the year of 1871-72 in Boone County, Arkansas. He was born after the Civil War when Abraham Lincoln ordered Arkansas to raise up an army and while the women of Lead Hill and Sugar Loaf busied themselves on a late night sewing bee to produce a large version of the southern "Stars and Stripes". There were only two homes left standing in the Lead Hill area after the Civil War which neither were of our ancestors and even braver were the folks that stayed to rebuild and re-establish their farms, towns and communities. The entire area of Arkansas had been ravished by the acts of the men in blue yet the strength of those whom were left seemed to be faithful to God and family and the land. Many of the families rebuilt while others gathered what they had left and moved yet further west to a fresh start. All of the suffering and the hard work of the hands of our forefathers were not wasted in that it gave freedom for future generations and those of the large families of the Dodson's and their connections. With this, Joseph, was able to roam the hills and the rivers and water beds of Boone and Marion Counties to enjoy trapping, hunting and fishing with his duties on the farm without immediate fear of another great war in the land.

Joseph E. Dodson's parents were (Sheriff) James A. Dodson and Margaret Baker. They were married 13 April 1871 in Boone County, Arkansas. James A. Dodson was born 31 December 1852 at Yellville in Marion County, Arkansas to Col. Eli Dodson and Rhoda Caroline Cantrell. Eli Dodson was born 22 May 1828 White County, Tenn. and he died 26 Feb 1921 at the age of 97 years in Yellville, Marion County, Arkansas. His parents were Eli Dodson b. 1798 Virginia and Mary Goad. Eli was adopted by his uncle, Alexander Goad at the age of two and a half as both his parents died. Eli was a Lawyer and a Judge and settled in the Harrison area of Boone County Arkansas in his older years. Rhoda Caroline Cantrell was born 1827 in Marion County, Arkansas to Abner Cantrell and Mary Nelson Maxey b. 12 January 1803. Rhoda married Eli Dodson on 14 May 1847 at Aurora, Madison County, Arkasnas. They had twelve children . Rhoda was called from this life on 14 April 1870 at Yellville, Marion County, Arkansas and is buried next to her husband, Eli Dodson on the Dodson Farm at Dodson Cemetery. Eli Dodson was also married two other times after the death of Rhoda. He married Mary E. Hastings b. 1832 in White County, Tennessee on 30 July 1870 with no issue then her death in February of 1871 at Marion County, Arkansas. She is buried at The Old Wood Cemetery in Yellville, Arkansas. Eli Dodson then married Rhoda's sister, Mary Catherine Cantrell to have nine more children. Mary Catherine Cantrell was born in 1835 at Madison County, Arkansas. She died in 1899 at Madison County, Arkansas and is buried next to Eli at the Dodson Farm.

By 1893, Joseph E. Dodson, was promised to marry a young lady (unknown name) but chose to marry Hanna Berthenia Williams instead. The marriage was against his parents wishes and it is not known as to the reason in the discouragement of the marriage unless they felt that Joseph had broken a promise to the other young lady. Hanna Berthenia Williams was born on 27 February 1872 in Boone County, Arkansas to Mary Smith, Roberts, Williams and Mr. ? Williams. ( then last married Edward M. Bailey). William Roberts was killed in a shooting accident when he went hunting with his father in law, John Jackson Smith. It is not known as to the first name of Hanna's father although there is a 'Williams' that owned land adjoining Mary, Smith, Roberts at Boone County, Arkansas. Mary married Mr. ? Williams after the 1870 Census of Boone County, Arkansas and he passed away before 1880 so little is known of Mr. Williams. Mary had distant cousins with the name of Williams who married the Haggards so it is suspected that he was another cousin. Mary Smith was born 1835 Hamilton County, Tennessee and married in 1855 at Bellefonte Boone County, Arkansas to her first cousin, William Smith Roberts b. 24 April 1835 at Hamilton County, Tennessee. Mary Smith's father was John Jackson Smith III b. 1813 Bedford County, Tennessee d. 1867 Bellefonte, Boone County, Arkansas during the Civil War. He is buried at the New Hope Cemetery in Boone County. Mary's mother was Jane M. Roberts (aka Mary Jane) b. 1815 in Hamilton County, Tennessee.

About 1894, Joseph E. Dodson and Hanna Berthenia Williams, Dodson lost an infant son to chicken pox. His name was possibly Claudie or Stevie with the information that my grandmother supplied to me. It is not known as to the burial place of this child. A short time after the death, Joseph and Hanna Dodson left Boone County, Arkansas by wagon to move to Wilburton, Oklahoma. While on the trail their wagon burned and they lost all their possessions which included their Family Bible. On July 17, 1896 at Wilburton Oklahoma I.T. , Maggie Lucinda Dodson, was born to Joseph and Hanna. Maggie was their only child. The family was settled at Wilburton, Oklahoma when about 1897-98, Joseph, went to Ft. Worth, Texas to work a cattle drive to move 300 head of cattle with seven other young men. It is not known whether the cattle were being driven up the Chisholm Trail or being moved to a ranch or feeding ground but the first night was spent at Turner Falls, Oklahoma in a boxed canyon. One of the young men went to town for supplies and while he was gone, the Miller Gang came down from the caves and killed all of the men and when the young man returned he found them dead then to bury all seven men in this boxed canyon. The lone survivor rode to tell Hanna the sad news of her husbands death as Joseph had been the only married man with the cattle drive. The Miller Gang was eventually caught for yet another killing while there had been approximately 38 killings that year in this area of Oklahoma. They were arrested, jailed and then taken out to be hung in a barn without supervision of the law at Ada, Oklahoma in 1909. (story and pictures included). *It is with great satisfaction that I feel justice has been served.

After the death of Joseph E. Dodson, his widow, Hanna Berthenia Williams, Dodson and her small daughter , Maggie Lucinda Dodson, went to Foster, Oklahoma where Hanna worked as a helper on a ranch to cook and care for an invalid son of the ranch owner. It is believed that the name of the ranch was the Wilkerson Ranch as my grandmother recalled. While Hanna Berthenia Dodson was employed at this ranch she met William Asbury Tarrant, a traveling salesman who later became a Minister of the Gospel. He made and sold his own health potions. Hanna Berthenia Williams Dodson, Tarrant married William Asbury Tarrant on April 15, 1900 Foster, Oklahoma and had other children who were Annie, William (Bill), Lonnie and Marie Tarrant of whom all are deceased to date except Marie.

On several occasions, Hanna Tarrant and Maggie Dodson visited the burial site of Joseph E. Dodson at Turner Falls, Oklahoma as well as future generations. To this present day there is no marker to indicate the burial place of Joseph E. Dodson and the other young men at a boxed canyon near the falls.

Maggie Lucinda Dodson married William Fletcher Parsons on February 28, 1913 at Foster, Oklahoma by Frank Murray, Minister of the Gospel. Hanna Tarrant didn't want Maggie to marry so young as Maggie was only seventeen years of age and had a promising career as a teacher where she attended school at Hart. Maggie Dodson had her mind set to marry so on a February morning she left for school wearing five dresses with equal amounts of underclothing and sent word by her step siblings to give her mother Hanna word that she would not be coming home. Driving a carriage and with minister, Fletcher came to Hart School and stole Maggie Dodson away. They stopped on the trail in front of Johnny Baker's Store and married there. The marriage document was filed at Pauls Valley, Garvin County, Oklahoma.

Hanna then sent her husband, W.A. Tarrant out on the trail to try and locate Fletcher and Maggie but by the time that Mr. Tarrant reached Johnny Baker's Store, Fletcher and Maggie were already married and on their way to Royal, Oklahoma where Fletcher worked on a farm. Maggie had told that she was 18 years of age when in fact she was only seventeen so that she would be able to marry. Maggie worked hard during her lifetime to raise a large family of eleven children and raised nine to adulthood and has many descendants.

Through the years I was able to have learning experiences in the basic ways of life and other important skills in watching my grandmother piece quilts and sew with the old treadmill sewing machine. Much of her cooking was prepared by scratch then set out on the old butcher block table for feast. I especially remember the war cakes, blueberrie cobbler and the homemade biscuits that she would prepare. Most of her work was completed by a kerosene lantern before the days that electricity came in and many times I saw her move from room to room with the kerosene lantern to be able to see and also witnessed her drawing up water from the well. Maggie was full of old time stories and many of those were a part of our nations history in the fact that she was born when Grover Cleveland, our 24th President was in office and once lived in a dug out in her early childhood in Oklahoma and then the fact that she was able to view the first automoblies. She also lived through the Great Depression where she emphasized the lack of employment and when sugar was valued as gold. While living in Oklahoma, Maggie and Fletcher took in a young couple for the night; the couple slept well, were fed and went on their way the next morning. It was not until later that Maggie and Fletcher learned that the couple were the ever famous Bonnie and Clyde. We were able to experience her laughter and joy and then her sadness in the loss of three of her children in death. She said that loosing a child was very difficult but it was even more difficult to loose an older child whom you have loved and nourished for years. Maggie started dipping snuff at the age of three after a sample of her grandmother, Mary Smith, Roberts, Williams snuff bottle when Mary came for a visit. It was a joy to hear my grandmother, Maggie, play the piano which she had learned as a young girl at the church where her step father, W.A. Tarrant, preached. She also played a juice harp and was able to master the art of playing spoons. Her joyful outlook on life and her love for the Lord took her to the lengthy life and age of 95 years. It was Maggie's desire that she know her family of Dodson's but that wish was never fulfilled on this earth. Maggie was a very pleasing person and it would have been my greatest wish that she had known all of you.

Hanna Berthenia Williams, Dodson Tarrant died December of 1920 at the age of 66 years 6 months at the Oklahoma University Hospital following a lengthy illness. Maggie was living in Arkansas at the time of her mother's death and was unable to attend the funeral of her mother due to the Red River flooding and water over the land. Maggie honored her mother Hanna Berthenia Williams, Dodson, Tarrant in fond memory that she was able to share with the family and was able to share the life and death of Joseph E. Dodson in that their rememberance would forever go forward through the generations.

William Fletcher Parsons, the husband of Maggie, died July 14, 1967 on Maggie's birthday. Maggie Lucinda Dodson, Parsons lived to the age of 95 years and passed away on November 7, 1991. They are both buried at Longview , Texas at the Lakeview Cemetery, Gregg County in loving memory.

Written by Judy Moore, Falcon; grandaughter of William Fletcher and Maggie Lucinda Dodson, Parsons and the great grandaughter of Joseph E. Dodson and Hanna Berthenia Williams, Dodson this first day of March, 2002.

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