Son of Joseph Dodd and Phoebe Leonard, Calvin Riggs Dodd was born in Morven Township, Marion County, Ohio. His mother died before he was five years old, shortly after the birth of her fourth child. In the 1840s Joseph Dodd and his children moved to Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois.
As a young man (before 1852) while living in Illinois, Calvin Riggs Dodd invented the American-style windmill. He made a working table-top model which he displayed at the fair. Because he had not thought of getting a patent, he was never credited with his invention. Anyone with a tin-snips who could do pipe-fitting could make one of these windmills, and soon they began to pop up all over the countryside - first in Illinois and then across the American mid-west.
Around 1852 Joseph Dodd and his son Calvin Riggs Dodd moved to Little Paint Creek in Iowa, just a few miles south of Harpers Ferry. There in 1859 Calvin Riggs Dodd married widow Sarah Ann (Welliver) Rinehart, who had six children from her Rinehart marriage.
The first child of Calvin and Sarah Dodd, Julia Ann Dodd, was born a short time before Calvin left to serve in the Civil War, serving as a Private in the 27th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company B. When he returned in the spring of 1865, his daughter had no memories of him. Calvin and Sarah had three sons born after the Civil War: Rufus, Leonard and Wylie. Rufus died from appendicitis at the age of 14.
In the fall of 1873, Calvin Riggs Dodd moved his family to Nebraska. They traveled in a white-top schooner, and settled in Harlan County near Turkey Creek. After Sarah died in 1888, Calvin married widow Esther (Fowler) Skiles. After Esther died in 1897, Calvin went to live with his daughter and son-in-law, Julia and William Henry Stratton who were living near Arabia, Cherry County, Nebraska. When Julia and the children moved to Missouri in 1900, Calvin went with them, purchasing the adjoining farm in Oakmound, Missouri. When they left Missouri, Calvin stayed with his sons for a few years, then stayed with Julia in Beaver City, Nebraska until his death in 1914.
Religion: 1850 Brethren Baptist
1830, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885, 1900 Census; marriage record; military/pension summary, accessed via www.FamilySearch.org. Burial record accessed via www.FindAGrave.com.
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