Saturday, October 07, 2006



Guardian Auction to Settle 1869 Estate of Samuel G. Dodge
By Robert A. Doyle, CAI, ISA, CES, CAGA

50th President of the National Auctioneers Association
Principal Auctioneer/Appraiser Absolute Auction & Realty, Inc.


Robert A. Doyle

CAI, ISA, CES, CAGA

Studying early original historical papers always provides unique insights regarding the way people lived, conducted business and -- in this case -- handled the affairs of a family member that died.

Early documents and ephemera witness the progression of “actions” by individuals, clarify legal entitlements and provide a clear paper trail regarding transfer of ownership.

The mid-19th century ephemera pertaining to the Dodge family, includes several ancestral photographs identifying key members of the Dodge family mentioned in an accompanying will, executrix papers, probate documents, deed recordings, letters and auction broadside. Together, they provide valuable information that allows us to better understand what transpired at the time resulting in the 1869 “Guardian’s Sale” of real estate to settle the estate of Samuel G. Dodge.

Guardian Auction FlyerIllustrated on this page is an 1869 “Guardian’s Sale” broadside advertising an auction held on Thursday Dec. 2, 1869 of real estate to settle the estate of Samuel G. Dodge, “late of Bennington.” The auction was to be held at 1 o’clock P.M. The Auctioneer was Eben Bass and it was by order of the Guardian, Lucinda S. Dodge as “guardian of the minor heirs.” Lucinda was selling the right and interest of the heirs. She was offering “three undivided sixth parts therof.”

The property consisted of “about 90 acres suitably divided into mowing tillage and woodland. The farm is productive, and has on it a choice variety of grafted fruit consisting of apples, pears, plumbs, and grapes. At the same time the remaining three sixths will be sold, thus giving the purchaser a good title to the whole. Sale on the premises. Terms at the sale.”

Avoiding the free lunch
Who was Lucinda Dodge? Why did she offer the “undivided sixth parts” and then the remainder? Note that the start time of 1 P.M. eliminated the need for the typical “free lunch at noon.” Also note that no “terms” were announced on the broadside allowing for flexibility at the time of the auction for qualifying bidders and financing.

Lucinda DodgeAccording to a State of New Hampshire document signed by probate judge Daniel Crass on January 30th, 1863 Lucinda Dodge was the wife of the deceased and the mother of the three minors. The document officially appoints Lucinda as executrix for Samuel G. Dodge as per the request of Samuel in his handwritten, one-page will which the judge attached to the executrix’ appointment.

The will was very simple having three stipulations. First it directs the executrix to pay for “all just debts and funeral charges.” Second, “I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Lucinda S. Dodge all my personal property for which she is to support my children so far as she is able until they are eighteen years old, she having their labor. Thirdly, I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Lucinda S. Dodge the use of all my real estate for homestead for herself and children for using her natural life, and I do hereby appoint my wife Lucinda S. Dodge sole Executrix of this my last will and testament.” The will was dated 1862.

The same judge, Daniel Crass of the Probate Court, appointed Lucinda as guardian over her three daughters, Moriah A. Dodge, Nellie H. Dodge and Jeanie G. Dodge in a document dated January 29, 1869. All three girls were considered minors, as they were less then 14 years old. These “Guardian’s Letters” along with her Executrix responsibilities placed Lucinda Dodge in the decision making role for the estate settlement of her late husband, Samuel.

According to a hand-written quitclaim deed dated October 19, 1869, Lucinda Dodge purchase land out of the estate from two family members, Charles Dodge of Iowa and Samuel A. Dodge of New Hampshire. She paid $130 for this land with buildings. Review of the records of the Office of Register of Deeds in Hillsborough County, NH confirms the purchase. Lucinda now held 100% interest in the “Homestead.”

Auction of real estate
The following month, the auction was conducted on the real estate without buildings. Records reveal that the successful bidder, Benjamin D. Felch purchased the undivided 3/6 of 85 acres for $905. He also purchased the land auctioned for the benefit of the heirs for $195. Lucinda held a mortgage for $800 on the sale, which was paid off when Felch sold the land to the “Peterboro & Hillsboro Railroad on May 29, 1877.

Dodge Family CrestAs a side note, the Dodge family history is documented in a book dated 1879. It gives a fantastic account of the Dodge Family from as early as the 1300s in England, including their “Coat of Arms.”

The book commemorated the 250th anniversary of the Dodge family in America. They started in America with the landing of William Dodge on June 29, 1629 with the first settlers to “Naumkeag” to be settled as Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts. William Dodge crossed the Atlantic from England to “New England” on the “Talbot,” one of five ships in the English fleet (this included the “Mayflower”). The Dodge family has a fabulously documented history in America. The author of the book was Robert Dodge of New York City. It was published by E.S. Dodge Printing Company, 95 Chambers St. New York in 1879 and was for the benefit of the “Genealogical Fund.”

By 1879 the Dodge family had spread to all corners of the United States and boasted officers serving in various branches of the American Military in every conflict from the American Revolution through the Civil War.

A quick check of the NAA Membership Directory witnesses two Auctioneers with the last name “Dodge.” One of the oldest American families, the Dodge family, utilized the Auction Method of Marketing over 135 years ago and today we have Auctioneers from the Dodge family promoting the Auction Method of Marketing in America.


2006-08-25

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