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James L. Hailey

DODGE, TEXAS (Walker County). Dodge, on Farm Road 405 a mile north of U.S. Highway 190 and ten miles east of Huntsville in eastern Walker County, was founded in 1872 on land granted to the Houston and Great Northern Railroad by William H. Parmer (Palmer); settlers had begun farming the land as early as 1825. Martin Parmer, William's father, signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. Other area pioneers included W. H. Baker, John Roark, Ed Farris, Haden Watts, and Ishom Green Webb. In 1853 several additional families moved to the area from Cincinnati to escape a yellow fever epidemic. Among the new arrivals were James Gillaspie and Rev. William D. Shockley, who established a Methodist church known as Shockley's Chapel.

After the Civil War the H&GN Railroad, constructed by the Phelps-Dodge Company, arrived in Walker County. A depot named Dodge Station was established and a town laid out in 1872. The town took its name from the construction company, although local legend has it that the name Dodge was chosen to indicate that the company "dodged" laying its tracks through Huntsville. In the 1870s the community had a Masonic lodge, a hotel, a vacant store, a school, and two general stores. When the post office was established in 1881 Dodge Station became Dodge, and the first postmaster was Russell Roark. By the mid-1890s the population was 150; by 1914 it was 500. The community prospered, adding two churches, a bank, cotton gins, two additional general stores, and two drugstores. The town was seriously damaged by a fire in 1924 and a second one the following year.

From 1901 until 1936 Dodge served as a junction for the Trinity Valley Southern and IGN railroads, which served the lumber industry in the region. Dodge had three businesses, two churches, two schools, and numerous scattered dwellings in 1936. However, the Great Depression years witnessed the phasing out of the lumber industry throughout the area, and the community began to falter. Several fires destroyed buildings over the next few years, and they were not rebuilt. In 1943 the town had a population of 150 and three businesses. In 1990 Dodge had two businesses, a church, a post office, and an estimated population of 150. The population remained the same in 2000.

D'Anne McAdams Crews, ed., Huntsville and Walker County, Texas: A Bicentennial History (Huntsville, Texas: Sam Houston State University, 1976). Houston Chronicle, February 1, 1982. Walker County Genealogical Society and Walker County Historical Commission, Walker County (Dallas, 1986).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, James L. Hailey, "DODGE, TX (WALKER COUNTY)," accessed May 29, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hld29.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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