This morning, as I steeled myself to watch my son’s back recede into the maze of airport security this weekend, I felt a tug from the past. ”Remember,” she said, “he is going on an adventure, following his dream and his loyalties, to become the man he needs to be. At least he enters into a world of safety and civility, with a university’s throbbing pulse. He won’t be put deliberately into harm’s way. You are lucky.”
Sarah Jane Rowlett Dodson must have felt awash with anxiety and sadness as she watched her son’s back recede down toward Dodson’s Corners, Virginia. Greene left home to pursue his adventure as a soldier for the Confederate States of America. He didn’t get the chance to become a man.
It is going to be much easier to ponder this mother’s goodbye than to say mine. So my next few posts will be a bit of productive coping.
My proof that Greene Dodson actually existed and fought in The War Between The States begins with my Grandmother Strickland’s family history, “Some Genealogical Facts of the Strickland-Sayles Family”, compiled and written by Florette Sayles Strickland, March 1976.
James Dodson and Sarah Jane Rowlett, united in marriage 18–, in Mecklenburg Co. Virginia. Born to this union: Greene, Virginia, Harvey, Henry, Dora, Molly, Adlaide, Rebecca Eulelia (Lillie), born Aug. 15, 1856, Edward (Ed), and William Rowlett (Bud). ….Greene, the oldest son, was killed while serving in the Confederade (sic) Army near Petersburg, Va. shortly before the War ended. He had left school to join up, tho (sic) he was under age.
The 1860 Federal Census provides further evidence. Listed among the residents of Regiment 22, Mecklenburg County, Virginia are Dodson, James (45), Sarah (35), William (13), Eugenia (10), Harvey(8), Maria (6), Mary (5), Lilly (3), Usebia (2).
Because my grandmother referred to the eldest son as Greene I have concluded that Sarah Jane’s boy was named William Greene, after James’ mother, Mary Greene. The search among Confederate Soldier records included all the possible variations: William, Wm., William G., W. G., Greene, William Greene Dodson. After falling down the proverbial rabbit hole, I found the muster cards provided some confusing results.
Next: The Confederate Citizens’ Papers yield an important clue.
Map of Mecklenburg Co., Va. Surveyed under the direction of A.H. Campbell Capt. P.A.C.S. in Ch’ge Topl. Dept. [by] H.M. Graves Lt. Engrs. Sept. 1864.