JAMES B. DODDS, a general merchant and prominent citizen of Wyman, this county, was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., March 7, 1841, and is a son of Joseph and Mary (Boal) Dodds, who were natives of Ireland. At the age of eleven the father emigrated to America, locating in Pennsylvania, where he became acquainted with and wedded Mary Boal. Remaining in that State until 1855, he then removed with his family to Iowa, and in 1857 located in Louisa County, where he purchased 200 acres of land on section 28, Elm Grove Township, which was then in a wild, uncultivated state. He immediately began its development, and made his home upon that farm until his death, which occurred in 1884. He was a man who took great interest in the religious growth and welfare of the community, was a consistent Christian gentleman, and a devoted member of the Covenanter Church. In his death the county lost one of its best and most worthy citizens, the family a kind and loving husband and father. Mr. and Mrs. Dodds were the parents of seven children: Archie, a resident farmer of Colorado; Eliza, wife of A. M. Hill, of Colorado; James, who died in infancy; James, our subject, being the second of the family of that name; George, who is employed as a teacher in the Elliott Business College of Burlington; and William, who is living upon the old homestead in Elm Grove Township. Mrs. Dodds, the mother of these children, died in 1886. She also was a devoted member of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and a most estimable lady.
Our subject was educated in the common schools of Louisa County, after which he followed farming until the breaking out of the great Rebellion, when he enlisted in Company C, 11th Iowa Infantry, for three years’ service. He participated in the battle of Shiloh, was with Sherman on the march to the sea, engaged in the battle of Corinth, and was with the gallant 11th Iowa through all of its long marches for three years, during which time he was ever found at his post ready for any duty devolving upon him as a soldier. He was honorably discharged from the service in the fall of 1864, after which he returned to his home, and again turned his attention to farming.
In the month of February, 1866, Mr. Dodds led to the marriage altar Miss Matilda Stewart, who was born in Pennsylvania, and is a daughter of Matthew Stewart, also a native of the Keystone State. To them have been born four children: Mary M., Calvin S., and two who died in infancy. After eight years of happy married life, in February. 1874, Mrs. Dodds passed away. She was a devoted member of the Covenanter Church, and a lady beloved by all who knew her. After the death of his wife Mr. Dodds sold his interest in the old home, and went to Columbus City, where he engaged in clerking for eight years in a general merchandise store. In 1883 he removed to Wyman, where he established himself in business, carrying a full stock of general merchandise valued at 15,000. His fair, honest dealing, combined with an earnest desire to please his customers, has won the confidence of the community, and his trade is constantly increasing, Mr. Dodds is one of the leading citizens of Louisa County, Iowa, has done all in his power to advance its social and educational interests, and is an active worker in the church.
SOURCE: Portrait and Biographical Album of Louisa County, Iowa, Acme Publishing Co., Chicago Illinois, 1889, p. 502-3