Grenville Mellen Dodge was born in Putnamville, Massachsetts, to Sylvanus and Julia Theresa Phillips Dodge. From the time of his birth until he was 13 years old, Dodge moved frequently while his father tried various occupations.
In 1851, Grenville graduated from Norwich University with a degree in civil engineering.
On May 28, 1854, Dodge married Ruth Anne Brown. He took his bride to Nebraska Territory, where the couple tried homesteading on his Elkhorn River claim. Relentless Indian attacks on settlers caused them to move to Omaha by the fall. Their daughter Lettie was born there in 1855. Their second daughter, Eleanor, whom they called Ella, was born in 1858.
|Ruth Anne Brown Dodge|
Before the financial panic of 1857, from which he suffered no great losses, Dodge and his partner founded the Council Bluffs Savings Bank. Dodge lobbied the Iowa Legislature to promote the railroad, which would run on his land. Dodge would go on to make a fortune speculating on real estate along other railroad routes he surveyed. Another Dodge venture in Council Bluffs was a general store.
|Battle of Pea Ridge|
|Thomas Clark Durant|
|William Sherman with staff during Atlanta Campaign|
|Battle of Ezra Church|
|Dodge in Union Uniform|
|Grenville Dodge and Exploration Party|
Dodge's job on the railroad was to plan the route and devise solutions to any obstacles encountered. Dodge had been hired by Herbert M. "Hub" Hoxie, a former Lincoln appointee and winner of the contract to build the first 250 miles of the Union Pacific Railroad. Hoxie assigned the contract to investor Thomas Clark "Doc" Durant, who was later prosecuted for attempts to manipulate the route to suit his land-holdings. This brought him into vicious conflict with Dodge and Hoxie. Eventually Durant imposed a consulting engineer named Silas Seymour to spy and interfere with Dodge's decisions.
|Dodge at right center shaking hands with Samuel Montague|
at the Golden Spike Ceremony, Promontory Point, Utah, May 10, 1869
|Grenville M. Dodge House|
Dodge retired in Council Bluffs in 1907.
Dodge died at Council Bluffs on January 3, 1916, at the age of 84.
|Ruth Anne Dodge|
|"Black Angel", Ruth Anne Dodge Memorial|
This story prompted Ruth Anne's daughters, Anne Dodge and Eleanor Dodge Pusey, to commission a solid bronze statue, in memory of their mother. It was created in 1917 by Daniel Chester French, who was responsible for the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.