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First Name: William

Last Name: Dodd

Birthplace: Bloomfield, NJ, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Bigelow

Date of Birth: 21 April 1811

Date of Death: 23 August 1862

Rank: Captain

Years Served:
William Bigelow Dodd

•  Indian Wars (1775 - 1924) intermittent


William Bigelow Dodd
Captain, U.S. Army

William Bigelow Dodd was born on 21 April 1811 in Bloomfield, NJ.

In the spring of 1853, Captain Dodd made a claim of 160 acres, founding a town site he named Rock Bend; the town's name was changed to St. Peter in 1855. In 1854, Captain Dodd went back East and returned to St. Peter with his new wife, Harriet Newell. In 1854, the first church service was conducted at the Dodd home. Captain Dodd donated land for the construction of the first Episcopal church, named after Mrs. Dodd's home church in New York City, Church of the Holy Communion.

Captain Dodd was known as a military man, he fought in the battle of Spirit Lake, IA in 1850. In 1854, The War Department commissioned Captain Dodd to oversee the construction of a new military road from Fort Atkinson, IA to Fort Snelling in Mendota, near St. Paul, MN. The road is known as the Dodd Road. He was promised payment by Congress, but was never paid.

In 1862, the Dakota Indians had not been paid what was promised to them in the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. The Dakota Conflict started in Cottonwood County and ended with the hanging of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, MN. New Ulm was attacked and Captain Dodd headed a group of St. Peter men to help defend that city. On 23 August 1862, Captain Dodd and others were behind the lines when he saw what he thought were reinforcements, and went out to meet them. Instead, he received his death wound - three balls near his heart; his horse was also killed.

Captain Dodd was helped to a nearby shelter, where he died a few minutes later. He was briefly buried in New Ulm.


Captain Dodd was married previously and had two children by his first wife. His son, John Van Ingen Dodd, served as a legislator from St. Paul.

Death and Burial

Captain William Bigelow Dodd was killed on 23 August 1862 in New Ulm, MN. In November 1862, his body was re-buried in St. Peter with high military honors on the grounds of the Church of the Holy Communion.

He was later joined by his wife and two children. The present stone church was built in 1869 and dedicated in 1870. The Dodd graves are the only ones located near St. Peter's main business district.


Honoree ID: 2429   Created by: MHOH




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