Ogdensburg city historian creates video about historic businessman Harry Dodd
OGDENSBURG — City historian Julie Madlin has created a new video about a historic and well-liked businessman.
Harry Dodd was born in Smith Falls, Ontario in 1878, son of Henry and Lida Wright Dodd. When he was a baby the family settled in Adams, NY for two years, then moved to Ogdensburg. Mr. Dodd married Agnes Gedbaw in 1901 and they had four children. He followed in his father’s footsteps becoming a shoemaker for the state hospital and operating a small shop on the side, which was located at 112 River St. Many citizens of Ogdensburg visited the shop for not only shoe repairs, but to listen to Mr. Dodd’s music and poems. The shop was tiny, but the atmosphere was warm and welcoming.After his first wife died in 1945, he married Alta Bailey in 1955. She predeceased him in 1965.
Mr. Dodd was a student of the famous banjoist Alfred Farland, who was a Canadian born musician who always wore a tuxedo when performing. Mr. McFarland was well known for performing classical pieces on the banjo. Mr. Dodd played at many local venues such as the old Opera House. He also played minstrel shows, which were very popular in the area and the March of Dimes radio fund.
In 1968 Mr. Dodd attended a concert by Pete Seegar, noted folk artist. After the concert Mr. Dodd played his 5 string banjo and recited poems he had written. Seegar was impressed by his playing, calling him the “last of the old time folk poets”.
Mr. Dodd was known for his kindness toward others. For example, he allowed those in need to sleep in his shop and repaired shoes for little to no money for people who were down on their luck. While he was a talented musician, his treatment of those less fortunate was probably his greatest gift.
To watch the video, click here.