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The William Hodge Family

(about 1777 - 1871)


The William Hodge family emigrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio about 1840.  They were farmers.  We know practically nothing about William’s life in his early years.  We don’t know where his Hodge line may have originated.  It seems most likely that they may have come from the British Isles since many Hodge lines have been traced back to Scotland, England, and Wales.

The death record for William Hodge, parent of Samuel Hodge, gives his death as February 20, 1871.  It lists his place of birth as being Maryland.   However, Federal Census records show him to have been born in Pennsylvania.  The name of William's wife is unknown.  She and William had 5 children, one of whom was Samuel Hodge (abt  1817 - February 11, 1896), the author’s great, great, great grandfather.  The names of the other four children were Martha, Mary, William R., and Phebe Hodge.  The only available data on these children are contained in the Hodge family tree on this site.

It appears that the name of the parent of William Hodge, parent of Samuel Hodge, may also have been named William Hodge.  The evidence for this comes from court records that are discussed below.  To keep the story straight I will refer to William Hodge, parent of William Hodge, as William Hodge, Sr.  I will refer to William Hodge, parent of Samuel Hodge, as William Hodge, Jr.

From the deed records in the Monroe County courthouse, on October 8, 1844 William Hodge, Jr., parent of Samuel, bought from Joseph McCoy 80 acres situated in Range 6, Township 4, Section 28.  The description of the parcel is given as, eastern 1/2 of Southeastern quarter.  The deed is located in Deed Book, Volume 8, page 6.  This property is situated in Bethel Township on Pleasant Ridge.  It is perhaps equidistant between Graysville and Sycamore Valley and almost directly across the road from the Pleasant Ridge Church of Christ. 

What little we know about William Hodge, Jr., parent of Samuel Hodge, comes from land and tax records and from legal documents relating to a lawsuit.  It appears that William, parent of Samuel, had a brother named James Hodge. The land records show that on February 10, 1838, James Hodge bought a 1+ acre lot near Malaga, Ohio from William G. Shankland.  Malaga is 8 miles north of Woodsfield on State Route 800.  From William Hodges's farm, Woodsfield, Ohio was 16 miles north-northeast making a trip between the James Hodge and William Hodge, Jr.'s properties a total of 24 miles.

The following is from the records of the Monroe County, Civil Court.  They are excerpts from a series of law suits held in the Civil Courts of Monroe County, Ohio.  They began with Peter Waddle, plaintiff, suing William Hodge, defendant for the price of a mare.  I believe the defendent to be William Hodge, Sr. because as will be seen later in the story, this William Hodge appears to be the parent of James Hodge who lived in Malaga, and most likely the parent of William Hodge, Jr., parent of Samuel Hodge.  According to the records from the Civil Court and other available records, the story goes like this.

In 1847 when this saga began, William Hodge, Sr. was likely about 90 years old and it appears that by then his son, William Hodge, Jr., was around 70 years old and that Samuel, who was 27 years old, was the primary operator on his father's, William Hodge, Jr.’s farm.  According to the records, on March 5, 1847 William Hodge, Sr. (whom we will call Bill Hodge for convenience) borrowed a mare from Peter Waddle.  The purpose for borrowing the mare was to make a trip from near Graysville to Malaga, most likely to visit his son, Jim.  Presumably, he made the trip without incident but shortly after the returned trip, the mare became sick.  In less than a month, on April 1, 1847, the mare died.  Peter held Bill Hodge responsible for the mare but Bill felt the fate of the mare was not his fault.  No doubt there were some words between the two men but no agreement as to who or what was responsible.  But, Peter was out a mare and he felt he should be compensated for her.

With no resolution in sight, on April 14, 1847 Peter Waddle brought a legal complaint against Bill Hodge, Sr. On April 24, 1847 at 12:00 o'clock the parties to the dispute appeared in the office of the Thomas Miller, Justice of Peace for Bethel Township.  Peter filed a bill of particulars that included compensation for the horse plus damages; a bill that came to a total of $90.  But, there was to be no resolution with each man feeling that he was in the right.  The outcome of this hearing was that Bill Hodge, Sr. demanded and was granted a trial by jury.

The trial date was set for May 1, 1847.  The jury included Henry Winland, Robert Martin, Jacob Miller, Sen. William Holden, Frances Miller and Jack Miller, Jr.  The defendant, William Hodge, Sr., called 15 witnesses.  These included Robert Gatchel, Jonathan Conner, John L. Henthorn, John Enlow, Matthew Scott, Thomas Fisher, William Hodge (I assume this to be William Hodge, Jr.), James Hodge (I assume this to be William Hodge, Sr.’s son), Martha Hodge, Elisabeth Enlow, Samuel Fisher, James Enlow, James Thomson, John Moray, and Samuel Hodge (I assume this to be the son of William Hodge, Jr.).  Considering the number of witnesses it must have been a lengthy trial over a mare.  In the end, Bill Hodge, Sr. lost.  Bill was judged to owe Peter Waddle $60 for the mare plus costs of $34.70 ½ cents.

It would be interesting to be able to know more of the details of the position of Bill Hodge, Sr., but, alas, such details have been lost in time.  For, even though he had been found to be the loser by a jury, Bill obviously still felt that he was in the right.  He decided to appeal the decision to the Court of Common Pleas.  This retrial or review of the case appears to have been scheduled for the June term of 1848.

Having been found liable by the first trial, the court apparently found cause to question whether Bill Hodge would pay if he were found guilty the second time (or perhaps more correctly stated: if the court of appeals upheld the Civil Court’s decision).  So, as a condition of the appeal, Bill Hodge, Sr. had to appear before the Justice of Peace, Thomas Miller, and post a bond of $250 bond.  Of course, with each maneuver the legal costs in the case continued to rise.  Bill Hodge purchased a $250 bond from a bondsman, Jonathan Conner.  Co-signing with him for security was James Hodge, his son. 

The next action was precipitated by Peter Waddle in the October 1852 term of Common Pleas Court.  On November 1, 1852 Peter Waddle caused the bondsman, Jonathan Conner to pay the sum of $111.97 plus cost, for a total of $122.60.  In this action William Hodge, Sr. is reported to have died and that his estate was insolvent.  James Hodge who had co-signed the bond with William Hodge, Sr., paid nothing of the $122.60 bill. 

Bondsmen do not like to pay bonds and Jonathan Conner was no exception.  In May 1860, Jonathan Conner filed suit to compel the heirs of James Hodge, deceased, to make a deed to Peter Mann for a lot near the town of Malaga and compel said Peter Mann to pay over the purchase money for said lot to the plaintiff, Jonathan Conner.

You guessed it.  According to the court records related to the May 1860 lawsuit by Jonathan Conner to recover his $122.60 or some part thereof, James Hodge son of William Hodge, Sr., had died.  I subsequently found James Hodge’s tomb stone in Malaga which indicates that he died October 29, 1851.*  What apparently happened was that Jonathan Conner never stopped trying to collect his $122.60 from the estate of James Hodge, the cosigner of William Hodge, Sr.'s bond. 

But, you will recall (from above) that James Hodge had bought an acre or so of land in 1838 near Malaga from one William G Shankland.  Being a good bondsman, Jonathan Conner found out about the lot.  The records show that one of James Hodge’s heirs sold this acre of land to a Peter Mann for $120.  Peter Mann made improvements on this land and began paying taxes on it but he withheld paying the $120 purchase price until he could be provided a clear deed.  This never happened.  After James Hodge died his heirs could never get together to provide the clear deed.  James Hodge's heirs included William Hodge (still another William Hodge), Kenworthy Hodge, John Hodge, Robert Hodge, Joseph Hodge, Margaret (Hodge) and her husband Moses Starr, and Martha Hodge.  But the family had dispersed.  William had moved to Maryland; John and Robert still lived in Monroe County, Ohio; Joseph lived in Noble County, Ohio; Margaret and Moses Starr as well as Margaret's sister, Martha Hodge, lived in Guernsey County, Ohio; and Kenworthy lived in California.

Jonathan Conner saw the agreed-upon price of $120 for the 1 acre lot of James Hodge as his ticket to getting at least part of his $122.60 back.  So, to accomplish his ends, Mr. Conner sued the heirs of James Hodge and Peter Mann as mentioned above.  The sheriff was commanded by the court to notify the heirs of James Hodge that they were being sued by Jonathan Conner in the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County and that unless they answered by the 23 of June 1860, the petition in said case as against them will be taken as true and judgment rendered accordingly.

Peter Mann's answer to the court was that he was ready to pay the $120 as soon as he could get a clear deed for the land.  He claimed that he had bought the lot from Robert Hodge on March 14, 1856 as an agent of the heirs.  The case was resolved by all the heirs, except Robert, missing the response deadline of 23 June 1860.  James was free to prepare a deed for Peter Mann.  Peter Mann in turn paid the Court the $120 for the lot.  The Court took its cut from the $120 and paid the rest to Jonathan Conner.

And so it appears that after a period of 13 years the case of the dead mare finally came to a close. 

*        A search of the two old cemeteries in Malaga, Ohio turned up a gravestone for James Hodge and his wife Agnes.  James Hodge died on October 29, 1851 at the age of 73

Two assumptions had to be made to allow the several pieces of the above saga to fit together.  They need to be mentioned here as qualifiers so that future researchers will not assume their accuracy without understanding that they are assumptions.  The first is the assumption that William Hodge (abt 1777 – 1871) and James Hodge (abt 1778 – 1851) are brothers.  This assumption is based on the circumstance that William and James appear to have come to Monroe County from Pennsylvania about the same time (around 1838 to 1840), their calculated dates of birth show them being born within a year or two of each other, and the senior William Hodge, known to be the father of James, appeared to be traveling between Pleasant Ridge and Malaga, the places of residence of William, Jr. and James, respectively.  The second assumption is that William Hodge, Sr. was about 20 years old when James Hodge was born.  This is only a guess to estimate the age of William, Sr.  It is known that William, Sr. was father of James Hodge.  We know the date of death of James Hodge, October 29, 1851, and his age at death, 73, and can calculate his approximate date of birth.  By assuming that his father, William Hodge, Sr. may have been about 20 years old when James was born, we can estimate that he could have been born around 1857.  With this estimate and his approximate date of death, i.e., prior to November 1852, we can estimate that he was about 95 years old when he died.  This would have made him close to 90 years old when he borrowed the horse from Peter Waddle.  With these two unproven, but supported by circumstances, assumptions, the elements of the saga appear to fit nicely.


 This report provided by Richard Harrington -- e-mail:  Richard Harrington


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