Where in the world is Lorenzo Dodge?

+6 votes
Hey all!

 I'm on a mission to find out what happened to my 2nd great grand uncle, Lorenzo Dodge.

He was born on the 4th of Feb 1854 in Unity, Maine to Harrison Dodge and Martha Woodbridge Webb. The family eventually settled in Dunn County, Wisconsin.

The last time we see Lorenzo is in the 1870 census where he's living with his parents. According to family legend Lorenzo went out to Rapid City, South Dakota. Then he just disappeared. No one heard from him or saw him again. It's said that he was officially listed as missing in South Dakota in 1880 (so far I haven't found documentation verifying this).

The story of the Dodge who went "out west" and disappeared has stuck with me since I was a kid. I've always wanted to find out what happened to him. If anyone can help try to find out what happened to him, I'd love for you to join me in this mission.
WikiTree profile: Lorenzo Dodge
in Genealogy Help by Chandra Garrow G2G6 Mach 5 (52.4k points)

Looks like Dave has found a good lead below. Worth exploring the Dakota Territory records to see what else may be found.

The Richland County Historical Society info is here.

Just a note that there is a L A Dodge in the 1885 territorial census for Morrison, Minnesota whose birth is estimated 1853/54 in Wisconsin. This isn't a huge distance from Richland County of Dakota Territory (very SE corner of the state) where the 1883 land record is found. I have not yet found any additional record of him in Richland County.
Some searchable records in ND which may not be found elsewhere: https://www.history.nd.gov/archives/vitalrecords.html

1 Answer

+7 votes
The General Land Office Records show a Lorenzo Dodge getting a patent for 160 acres in Richland County, North Dakota on May 15 1883

See https://glorecords.blm.gov/details/patent/default.aspx?accession=ND0370__.132&docClass=STA&sid=lucuk2cw.ofs
by Dave Rutherford G2G6 Mach 7 (70.8k points)
Thanks Dave! This is a good lead!

Alison Andrus (North Dakota Project, among others) has sent the following update info:

I followed up on the BLM record for Lorenzo Dodge. 
That is definitely the right guy. He purchased 
the land at 131N, 51W, Sec. 21. His brother, 
Artimus W. Dodge purchased Sec. 29 in the same 
township (Liberty Township) a month later 
on Jun. 20, 1883. Since these were cash 
purchases, they were not required to live 
on the land. This seems to be the case 
since they are not listed on the 1885 
Census for Dakota Territory.
There is a notice of foreclosure with an 
ad for a mortgage sale in the local newspaper 
for Lorenzo Dodge's land that can be seen 
here (second paragraph down on the far right); https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84024779/1891-04-30/ed-1/seq-8/#date1=1789&index=7&rows=20&words=Dodge+Lorenzo&searchType=basic&sequence=0&state=&date2=1963&proxtext=lorenzo+dodge&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=1
Evidently, Lorenzo was making payments before 
the foreclosure in 1891 or legal action would 
have been taken sooner. Since he doesn't 
appear to have actually lived there, he was 
probably using it as an investment or renting it out.
The 1897 plat map for Liberty Township, Richland 
County, shows both those sections owned by other families.
The Richland County history makes no mention of 
anyone with the surname Dodge. I checked the 
death index for North Dakota and he isn't listed 
unless he died before the index was started in 1893. 
He doesn't have a grave marker in ND, SD or MN.
I followed up on the L.A. Dodge that was found 
in MN, but that proved to be another man.
No leads on this guy. I can see why he 
is a family mystery.

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