One House’s Story: The Dodd Family

The Dodd House on Fair Avenue NE in New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2014. (Source:

This house’s origin story is tied to another New Philadelphia building’s history through its owner and his nearly 40 years of business in Tuscarawas County.

A note about addresses: House numbers and street names often change over time.

The Reverend James H. Dodd (1833-1891) relocated his family from Pennsylvania to Port Washington, Ohio in the 1870s to serve as the Superintendent of the public school there. By the time that he, his wife Katherine Gabriel (1840-1915), and their six children were recorded as living in Port Washington on the 1880 census he had moved on to preaching full-time. Among those children was the couple’s oldest son, Overton L. Dodd (1866-1946). Reverend Dodd eventually became the preacher for a church in New Philadelphia before his death in 1891.

Overton attended school in Port Washington, likely under the watchful eye of his father, but moved to New Philadelphia when he finished school. He was working in the mercantile business and he travelled frequently for his work. During his travels he met young Mina C. Arthur (1871-1888) and the couple were married in the spring of 1888. The marriage was short because, in the fall of 1888, Mina contracted typhoid fever and died at the age of 17. She was buried, under her maiden name, in the Dodd family plot in Fair Street Cemetery.

  • The Dodd family recorded on the 1880 census for Port Washington, Ohio. (Source:
  • Overton Dodd's first marriage, to Mina Arthur, recorded in the Hancock County, Ohio records, May 1888. (Source:
  • Overton Dodd's second marriage, to Martha Mitchener, recorded in the Perry County, Ohio records, November 1893. (Source:
  • Mina Arthur Dodd's headstone in the Dodd family plot at Fair Street Cemetery, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2012. (Source:

Overton continued to work for a handful of different merchants over the next five years or so, and travelled across the state and neighboring states for them. He eventually settled down in New Philadelphia as the principal clerk for the Smith Denison Country Store on North Broadway. Shortly after, he married Martha Mitchener (1870-1935) of the well known and respect Mitchener family. In time, Overton Dodd and some local partners, took over the operation of the store and the name changed to the Denison-Dodd-Bowers Company and they moved their store and clothing manufactory to 132 East High Street.

The store on East High, like many businesses, had its ups and downs but Overton’s marriage into the Mitchener family and the death of his father in 1891 provided him with the means to weather the down years. The store’s name changed again around 1904 to The Hoffman Company, with Overton Dodd as the manager and company treasurer. It was about this time that Overton decided to build a home on the first block of East Fair Street, just east of the Gribble Mansion. The home was a large brick residence in the style of the popular Colonial Revival style with an imposing chimney stack, large columned front porch, stone window sills and headers, hipped roof with dormers, and a symmetrical façade.

  • Advertisement for The Denison-Dodd-Bowers Company that appeared in the 1903 New Philadelphia City Directory. (Source:
  • Advertisement for The Hoffman Company that appeared in the 1905 New Philadelphia newspaper. (Source:
  • Advertisement for Dodd's store that appeared in the 1921 New Philadelphia City Directory. (Source:
  • The location of the stores operated by Overton Dodd on East High Street, New Philadelphia on the 1914 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map. (Source:
  • The Dodd store's current appearance, 2023. (Source:
  • The Dodd House depicted on the 1910 Sanborne Fire Insurance Map for New Philadelphia, Ohio. (Source:

Overton’s in-laws initially moved into the new house with the Dodd family, now also including two sons, and were recorded on the 1910 census before they moved west to California. Overton continued to serve as the manager of the Hoffman Store for several more years before the store’s final name change to Dodd’s the late 1910s, still located in the building at 132 East High Street. During his long mercantile career, Overton Dodd also played an active role in local civic organizations. He continued to operate the store until shortly after the death of his wife Martha in 1935; retiring from the business in 1936.

After the death of his wife, Overton Dodd lived in the home on East Fair for a couple of more years before deciding to join one of his sons living in Ames, Iowa at the time. That son was a engineering professor and Overton would live with this son, and his family, for the remaining several years of his life. After Overton Dodd’s death in the summer of 1946, his remains returned to New Philadelphia to be buried in the Dodd family plot in Fair Street Cemetery. The Dodd House still stands on Fair Avenue NE, as does the Dodd Store on East High Street, in New Philadelphia.

  • Overton and Martha Dodd headstone in Dodd family plot at Fair Street Cemetery, New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2012. (Source:
  • The Dodd House on Fair Avenue NE in New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2014. (Source:
  • The Dodd House on Fair Avenue NE in New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2014. (Source:
  • The Dodd House on Fair Avenue NE in New Philadelphia, Ohio, 2014. (Source:
  • Overhead view of the Dodd House from the Tuscarawas County Auditor's Map, 2022. (Source:

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2023.


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