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Narrative of Mr. John Dodge during his Captivity at Detroit   By:

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THE DODGE NARRATIVE, 1780 FACSIMILE REPRINT

Sixty three copies printed sixty being for sale

NARRATIVE OF MR. JOHN DODGE DURING HIS CAPTIVITY AT DETROIT

REPRODUCED IN FACSIMILE FROM THE SECOND EDITION OF 1780

WITH AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE BY CLARENCE MONROE BURTON

[Illustration]

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA THE TORCH PRESS NINETEEN HUNDRED NINE

THE DODGE NARRATIVE

The narrative of John Dodge is one of the records of frontier life during the period of the American Revolution that displays the intense feeling of hatred and unfairness evinced by the British soldiers to the American rebels. It was written and published during the time of the greatest excitement in the West the scene of the Narrative and is historically valuable because of being contemporary with the events in question.

It was considered of great importance at the time of its first appearance, having been at once reprinted in England[1] and passed through at least three editions in America.[2]

In other writings published in England in 1779, appear the first public notice of the cruelties and gross irregularities in the administration of justice in Detroit under the rule of Lieutenant Governor Henry Hamilton, and the presentment of Hamilton by the grand jury of Montreal for murder in the execution of a Frenchman convicted of stealing. From the Narrative were taken the charges made against Hamilton, when he was a prisoner in Williamsburg, in consequence of which he was confined in irons and barely escaped a more serious, and perhaps even a capital punishment.[3] But little at the present time can be ascertained of Dodge. He was born in Connecticut, July 12, 1751, and was the son of John Dodge and his wife, Lydia Rogers.[4] John Dodge, the father, was a Baptist minister by profession and a blacksmith by trade. His son John was one of a numerous family of children. His brother Israel, who was with him in the West, was nine years his junior, having been born September 3, 1760. Before John had reached his nineteenth year he had wandered into the northern part of the Ohio district and had entered into business as a trader in Sandusky. He was familiar with the Indian language used in his neighborhood and frequently acted as interpreter.

Many of the events of his life from this time, are contained in his Narrative and it is needless to repeat them here, but mention might be made of other acts of his and records pertaining to him, of which he makes no mention. On the fourth day of April, 1776, Dodge, with William Tucker, purchased a house and lot in Detroit, from Joseph Poupard Lafleur, for 3,000 livres, and a few days later Tucker agreed to repay Dodge whatever sums he had paid for this house if Dodge "went down the country," as he then contemplated.[5] Dodge did not go "down the country," but remained in Detroit and sold his interest in the land to William Tucker July 6, 1777. In this deed Dodge is described as "a trader of Detroit," and it is stated that he bought the house and lot of Lafleur June 7, 1774.[6] His Narrative does not agree with the records in all cases, for he says he was confined in jail from January to July, 1776, in daily expectation of death, while the records show that he purchased this house and lot during this period. The story of the rescue of a prisoner from the Indians, related in his Narrative, is contained in the report of the Virginia Council of June 16, 1779. Sometimes at liberty, engaged in trading, and sometimes confined in jail as a rebel, he remained in Detroit and Mackinac till May, 1778, when he was sent down to Quebec, at which place he arrived on the first day of June... Continue reading book >>




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