Alexander Dodds 2239
- Born: Abt 1781, Scotland
- Marriage: Sarah Smith
- Died: 29 Aug 1843, Perth, Lanark County, Ontario aged about 62 2301
Extract from "The Generations of the Dodds Family in Canada", compiled by Dorothy Dodds Perth and arranged by Helen M. Dodds Hamilton. distributed in 1950.
Notes on the Dodds Family, by Dorothy Dodds.
During the winter of 1830, Alexander Dodds had, no doubt, heard much about the Scottish people who were leaving their homeland to venture an existence in the New Land being developed across the sea - Canada - and in his own mind thought of making such a move with his family. To make such an important decision required serious consideration and we can well imagine how he and his wife Sarah, after the day's work was over and the four "bairnies cuddled doon", sat by their hearthside in the long winter evenings and planned the ground work for a move which for us, their descendants, has shaped our destinies.
Their Scottish home was situated in Berwickshire, near Berwick-on-Tweed so close to the Border that, it has been said, it was possible to stand with one foot in England and one in Scotland at a place on their farm. They must have attended church across the Border for the Removal Certificate (Illustration No. 1), was dated Coldstream, Northern England, in May, 1831. This was not a printed form but was hand-written throughout in fine penmanship and now, in a perfect state of preservation, is in the possession of my father, Mr. Norman Dodds. It was given to him by Mrs. James Armour, grand-daughter of the Rev. William Bell, Presbyterian minister of the first church in Perth, which dates from 1817.
To realize what the transfer of household goods meant at that time, we have only to think of the sailing vessels of one hundred and nineteen years ago, with their slow speed and small capacity, to appreciate what an arduous undertaking was theirs. In this modern age, we, contemplating such a move, would sell all but a few possessions, have our breakfast, board a plane, and before nightfall be in Canada. During the months required to make the crossing another member was added to the family.
With nothing ahead but doubts, all family treasures were included in the freight and formed the only link with the homeland that the new farm home had. One of these links is the old grandfather clock (Illustration No. 2), passed on from the youngest son to the youngest son of each generation; and for this reason it is now in our home, taking its place almost as one of the family, still keeping perfect time and with its bold vibrant ring striking away the hours of the our time as it did those of our forefathers. Just how many years it has been going cannot be determined as no date can be found on its works. We know, however, that it arrived in Canada 119 years ago and, as stories are handed down with such possessions, the one connected with it is that it was not new when it came into the family in Scotland, showing that there are many more years be added to its age other than those it has spent in the Dodds family.
It cannot be definitely stated where our forefathers landed, but in all probability, like others of their time, they would have reached Brockville and proceeded from there by a road to Perth. This town would be fairly established by 1831, having been built as a military settlement in 1816. Within five miles of Perth, on the Scotch Line, is located the farm where they settled (Illustration No. 3), and which is still owned and enjoyed by a Dodds. Ralph Dodds, son of Thomas Dodds, resided there until his death in December of 1950. His son Ralph and family are still living there.
In the Old Cemetery at Perth may be seen the tombstone (Illustration No. 4) erected at the graves of Alexander and Sarah Dodds; and in Elmwood Cemetery, Perth, and in the Scotch Line Cemetery, rest the remains of seven of their children, the other two being buried elsewhere.
Many buildings that stood in view of these early settlers as they approached Perth, their new home, still stand in the town to-day, permanently built of stone as sturdy as the characters of those courageous people from whom we have descended. May we not use the work "descended" carelessly, but rather may it serve as a challenge to each generation reminding them never to descend from the faith and high principles from which our forefathers derived their determination and their strength.
Alexander married Sarah Smith. (Sarah Smith was born about 1794 in England 2302 and died in 1875 in Perth, Lanark County, Ontario 2303.)