April 1, 2016
The Dodge family settled in North America in 1629. In the 1830s, Ezekiel Dodge travelled from Massachusetts to Michigan, where he repaired boat engines. Ezekiel and his wife Anna, had two daughters and eleven sons, including Daniel Rugg Dodge. Eventually Daniel took over the business, building and repairing marine engines. Daniel had two children with his first wife, and after she died, married Maria Duval Casto, and had three children: Della in 1863, John Francis in 1864, and Horace in 1868.
The Dodge Brothers were skilled machinists from a long background of handymen. John Francis Dodge was born October 25, 1864 and Horace Elgin Dodge born May 17, 1868 was two of the three children of Daniel Rug and Maria Casto Dodge. Delphine Dodge was the third child. They went to public schools, but learned the machinist's trade from their father, who ran a shop, specializing in internal combustion engines for marine use. The inseparable brothers built the first bicycle in Niles. They left the quiet town in southwest Michigan; in 1886, stopped briefly in Battle Creek and Port Huron, Michigan, and then worked steadily at the Murphy Boiler Works in Detroit until 1894. They moved across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario, where they became machinists for the Canadian Typograph Company and soon began their first project to manufacture precision metal products.
While the brothers were busy building a firm business, their personal lives were equally busy. John was the first to marry in 1892, taking Ivy Hawkins as his wife. Soon after their marriage they had three children: Winifred, born in March, 1894, followed by Isabel Cleves in February, 1896, and John Duval in August, 1898. Meanwhile, Horace had married Christina Anna Thomson in July, 1896 (she was later to drop her first name). The Horace Dodges had two children: Delphine Ione born in January, 1899, and Horace, Jr. born in August,...