There is no documentation of Richard's immigration to Massachusetts. Joseph T. Dodge, in his family genealogy, says "the fact that William Dodge came to Salem nine years earlier than Richard...implies a greater degree of enterprise, if not ability, than was shown by the act of following where another had led the way. Hence, William has sometimes been called the father of all the Dodges." It isn't known what particular circumstances may have led the brothers to emigrate from England. To suppose a lack of character is pointlessly subjective. Also, evidence points to William returning to England and not coming back until about 1636. Richard was received as an inhabitant of Salem on 29 October 1638, strongly suggesting he came over in that year. At the same time he requested "accomodation," in response to which he was given a 10 acre lot on 12 November.(1) On 26 November 1638 he and his brother William were given half shares of "four score" (80) acres at the eastern end of the Conant, Balch and Woodbury farms, as well as 12 acres of meadowland. Richard was given another 40 acres on 1 December 1641. Joseph T. Dodge said, without explanation, that he lived with his brother William before settling in Wenham. Given that Richard was granted land soon after he was admitted to the town, evidently enough land to "accomodate" the needs of his family, why would he not have lived on his own? The Dodge grants were in what is now North Beverly, and in Richard's case, he lived practically on the border between Beverly and Wenham. It's likely he never "moved to Wenham." He was received into the Salem church on 5 March 1643(/1644?).(2) He was sworn a freeman at Salem on 30 April 1646.(3) When the community of Bass River was founded, Richard was among those who petitioned for it. He was among the founders of the church there (now Beverly) in 1667.(4) His will mentions a brother Michael in England. This, along with the correspondence of other family names and chronology between the Somerset and Salem Dodges, leaves no doubt that they are the same. His children Sarah and Richard were supposedly baptized on 3 July 1645. No record of this has been found. It would be reasonable given that Richard joined the Salem church the previous year, and it was commonplace for families to baptized children in groups after they joined a church.
children of Richard and Edith (Brayne) Dodge:
Richard, bap. 1628, East Coker, died young
Margery, bap. 7 September 1630, East Coker, bur. 2 February 1630/1631
John bap. 29 December 1631, East Coker
Mary bap. 19 April 1635, East Coker
Richard, b. abt 1641/1642 (d. 13 Apr 1705, age 63, from gravestone)
Joseph b. abt 1651 (d. 10 Aug 1716, aged about 65, from a town and a church record)
sources for vital records: Richard's death is recorded in Vital Records of Beverly, Massachusetts: To the End of the Year 1849, Vol. II (Marriages and Deaths) (Topsfield, MA:1907), p. 242, "Richard, Sr." There are numerous unsupported references to a year and place. The marriage of Richard of Middle Chinnock and Edith of Stoke sub Hamdon was found by Robin Bush in the parish records of Stoke sub Hamdon ("Search for the Passengers of the Mary and John," 25:25). Edith's surname apparently is obscured, but begins with "Bra." This is supposed to be Brayne, given that there was an Edith Brayne baptized in Stoke on 17 May 1608, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth. Further circumstantial evidence leaves little doubt that this couple is the same Richard and Edith who lived in Massachusetts.
1. Essex County Quarterly Court (ECHQ), from the Salem town records, 9:74-76.
2. Records of the First Church of Salem, p. 12.
3. ECHQ, 1:96.
4. Ibid, 8:4-5.
all text and photographs © 1998-2007 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted