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Native American History of Dodge County, Georgia

Dodge County is located in south-central Georgia. It is named after William E. Dodge (1805– 1883) – a New York capitalist, congressman, abolitionist, carpetbagger, philanthropist and Native American advocate. Its county seat is Eastman. The existence of Dodge County is the direct result of a group of investors, led by Dodge, accumulating over 300,000 acres in south central Georgia during the early days of Reconstruction. Deeds to the properties were often obtained through illegalities made possible by martial law in a defeated land. After Dodge’s death, law suits pertaining to the land acquisitions, continued for over fifty years. Dodge used his influence on the Reconstruction state government in Atlanta to convert his property holdings into a new county in 1870. He also obtained a franchise to construct a railroad from Macon, GA to Brunswick, GA through his fiefdom. William Dodge played a very important role in the Indian reforms of the 1870s. He was co-founder of the United States Indian Commission and lobbied for many years to create a separate cabinet level Department of Indian Affairs. Ironically, his seizure of properties along the Ocmulgee River with unclear titles or delinquent property taxes, forced many Creek Indian families off lands they had lived on since the early 1700s. Dodge’s consortium used a Trail of Tears Era law in Georgia which forbade Indians from owning real estate or testifying in court on their own behalf. The Dodge County sheriff was controlled by the consortium so the Creek families had no options when Sheriff’s deputies showed up to evict them. Much of Dodge County’s western boundary is defined by the Ocmulgee River....

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