GALLIPOLIS — Doris Witter Bland, a certified genealogist from Fairfield, Illinois, recently donated a copy of her book “Dawson By the Dozens” to Bossard Memorial Library in Gallipolis.
“Dawson By the Dozens” is a 773 page history and genealogy of the five Dawson brothers who settled in Virginia, living mainly in Albermarle, Amherst, and Nelson counties. The book spans over 300 years, 14 generations, and covers almost 4,000 Dawson cousins, in addition to 4,200 collateral family members and allied people.
From Virginia, the Dawson family has spread throughout the country, including to Gallia County. This connection can be traced through Martin T. Dawson, born in Virginia circa 1760-1770, and his wife, Mildred “Milley” Cox, who migrated to Gallia County and whose descendants stayed in the area.
Included in the book’s in-depth discussion of the Dawson line, is information about another Martin Dawson who was a financial advisor to President Thomas Jefferson from whom Jefferson borrowed money. This Martin Dawson, on his death, freed his slaves many years prior to the Civil War, and Dawson’s Row at the University of Virginia was named after this man due to his large donations to the university.
Almost every occupation is listed among the descendants of the original Dawson brothers: planters, doctors, lawyers, beauticians, orchardists, musicians, coal miners, factory workers, store keepers, many preachers and farmers, and even a movie producer. Dawson descendants have followed the gold rush to California, they have been pioneer school teachers and there were Dawsons who worked on the railroads and early road system as America expanded. In addition, Dawsons have served in United States Armed Forces during every war from the Revolutionary War to those still serving today.
The author, Doris Witter Bland, was born February 2, 1934. She is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, married to Dennis Cropper. She began genealogical research in 1969 and continues this research to the present day. She has published 23 books, including 15 books of genealogical reference pertaining to Wayne County, Illinois, and five books of family genealogies: Witter, Sutton, Perigo, Newman, and Dawson.
Doris was the 157th person to become a Certified Genealogist when national certification for genealogists began in the 1970s.
She is currently working on two more genealogies, one of which is about the Shewmake family.
An active person, Doris plays the piano for her church, dances with her husband two nights a week, and has taken an active part in many organizations on local and state levels. She did research in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio in December 1980.
“Dawson By the Dozens” includes over 30 pages of pictures and 65 pages of index. The book uses the National Genealogical Society Register system. “Dawson By the Dozens” may be viewed in Bossard Memorial Library’s Genealogy and Local History section.
For more information on Bossard Memorial Library or its collection, call (740) 446-7323 or visit the library at 7 Spruce Street, Gallipolis, Ohio.
Article submitted by staff at the Bossard Memorial Library.