17 Dodsons and a Ship

Ship Virginia

This was an exciting discovery — the ship’s manifest from the ship Virginia. It was sent to me by a Dodson cousin, Jan Briggs McGowan, who I connected with recently over Ancestry.ca and our common ancestors.

My grandmother’s history said that the Dodsons came over, 17 in number on The Virginia, on July 3, 1841. I suspected that she had the name wrong. After all, there must have been hundreds of ships over the ages named Virginia. Turns out she was right. (I think it might have been 1842 … since the ship was brand new and registered in October 1841. Or maybe its first voyage was before it was registered? I don’t know … it’s the right name, the right family and approximately the right date, so everything else about the story is consistent)

And her story of 17 of my ancestors coming over in one shipload was also right. She actually says it was 17 Dodsons and Parrs that came over together.

Jan sent me the names of the Dodson/Parrs on the manifest. It turns out that this was a very tightly intertwined family tree. Three Dodson siblings married three Parr siblings. The families must have been very close. My imagination starts spinning. Did their parents betroth their children to each other when they were born? Or did they live next door to each other and the kids had such a good time playing with each other that they decided to do it for the rest of their lives? A charming story whatever the truth is.

So here are the names of the shipload of Parr/Dodsons: (I counted 18 .. maybe one of them was born on board ship). Can you imagine 6-8 weeks on a ship with 12 children???!!

Jan’s line — Richard Bates RB Parr and his wife Mary [Dodson] and their children Richard, Mary Ann, Rose, Priscilla, John & George

Mary’s brother Wm Dodson Jr and his wife Elizabeth [Parr, sister of RB] and their children Susannah, Eliza and John (not sure if he was bn England – maybe he was born on board ship)

My line: Mary’s brother George Dodson his wife Esther [Parr, sister of RB] and their children John, George and Richard Elisha

As for the good ship Virginia:

The U.S. ship VIRGINIA, 649 tons, was built at Nobleboro, Maine, in 1839, and registered at the port of New York on 1 October 1841. In 1845, James Eaton, master, she was advertised as sailing in J. Elwell’s line of coastal packets between New York and New Orleans, and in 1848, Benjamin Salisbury, master, she was advertised as sailing in Nesmith & Walsh’s packet line between New York and Liverpool.

And as my grandmother wrote, the Virginia did go down in a storm. Not until ten years after the Dodsons/Parrs had arrived in the New World. So there’s a big grain of truth even though the specifics weren’t accurate.


Posted on February 12, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This site is such a great read. My great grandparents lived in Rochester Twp. I would love to purchase the info you have…….Keep up the great work……..I am a genea addict and helped many along the way…….it is so interesting……the older generations endured so much….loosing many children and dying young themselves…..They are truly an inspiration to us all What a great example to us all….The communities were close and truly cared and helped on another……

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