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Biography of James Dodwell

James Dodwell. The career of James Dodwell, pioneer harnessmaker of Butler County and a well known resident of the county seat, El Dorado, is one considerably apart from the ordinary and of unusual interest. In its unfolding it had invaded various fields of endeavor and the occupations of war and peace, and through it Mr. Dodwell had worked out an admirable destiny and had established his right to be numbered among the self-made men who have attained success in spite of the most discouraging circumstances. James Dodwell was born in the City of New York, in 1845, and, having been left an orphan when an infant, was reared in the home of the Children’s Aid Society. In the fall of 1856 he was sent to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and placed in the home of Mrs. Caroline Hawley, where his lot was that too often experienced by orphaned children. Few, if any, kindnesses came his way, hardly any advantages, and no education, for he was not allowed to attend school with the other children. In fact he only attended school for three months in his entire life. Mr. Dodwell almost welcomed the outbreak of the Civil war, when he was about sixteen years of age, for it renewed his aspirations and awakened new hopes and gave him a chance to break away from his sordid surroundings. Enlisting in the army was considered quite an ordeal for most men and youths at that time, but young Dodwell hailed with delight an opportunity to escape from his unpleasant home and irksome duties, and to serve under duly organized and appreciative authority. Accordingly, in...

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