Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wooster Ferdinand Dodge (1841-1914)

                                                      Portrait from "The Leominster Book: Illustrated", 1901.

   A two-term member of the Massachusetts General Court during the early 20th century, Wooster Ferdinand Dodge was a lifelong resident of Leominster, Massachusetts. A descendant of an old established Massachusetts family, Wooster F. Dodge was born on March 28, 1841, a son of Stephen (1808-1855) and Elvira Foster Dodge (1811-1900). A student in the common schools of Leominster, Dodge was an enlistee in the First Massachusetts Infantry Band in May 1861 and served until his discharge in August of 1862.  Dodge would later reenlist as a member of Co. H. of the 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery and served with this regiment until the close of the hostilities. He married first in 1867 to Emma Renew Brown (1847-1874), who died several years after their marriage. Two children would be born to their union, Flora Elvira (1868-1946) and Fred Lyman (1870-1872). A decade later Dodge would remarry to Sibelle Eunice Carter (1846-1931) who would survive her husband upon his death in 1914.
   Upon his return home to Leominster Wooster Dodge became employed by the Jewett Allen Piano Case Company. He would continue in this line of work in Andover, Massachusetts and would return to Leominster sometime later to go into business for himself, being the proprietor of a steam laundry in the early 1870s. Sometime later Dodge would sell this business and join as a partner in his family's paper box manufacturing business (the E.F. Dodge and Co.) in 1874. He is recorded as having "enlarged the capacity of the box factory and has succeeded admirably in business" and continued to be connected with the company through the remainder of his life.
  An active Mason in Leominster, Wooster Dodge was also affiliated with a number of other fraternal groups in the city, including the local chapter of the G.A.R., the Odd Fellows lodge, the Wachuset Tribe of Red Men and the Columbia Lodge of the Knights of Pythias. Dodge entered city politics in the mid 189os when he was elected as a member of the Board of Selectman for Leominster, serving in that capacity from 1895-1900. He would serve the board as clerk for a period of three years and in his last year in office held the board chairmanship

                                             Portrait from the 1902 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators.

    In November 1901 the citizens of Leominster elected Wooster F. Dodge to be their representative in the Massachusetts General Court. A Republican, Dodge defeated Democratic nominee F. I. Pierson by a vote of 884 to 565 and took his seat at the beginning of the 1902 session. He would serve on the house committees on Railroads during this term and was reelected to the house the following year, holding a seat on the committees on Liquor Laws and Railroads
  Dodge's second term concluded in 1903 and he died in Leominster on December 23, 1914 at age 73. He was survived by both his daughter Flora and his second wife. Both Dodge and his family were interred at the Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster.

From the 1903 Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators.

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