Benjamin Garland Dodd
From the Mountain Eagle, January 25, 1928:
B.G. Dodd Purchases Manchester Cash Store. B.G. Dodd has purchased the Manchester Cash Store from Jones and Screws and will continue the business at the same place. Ben Dodd is not a novice in the mercantile business, having been associated with his brother, W.V. Dodd, in that line of business at Manchester and elsewhere. His friends are glad to see Ben behind the counter again; they have confidence in him as a man who will give his customers a square deal every time. He will conduct a general mercantile business. Jones and Screws, who are good, straight business men, have purchased J.R. Kilgore's store in north Jasper.
From the Haleyville Advertiser, July 31, 1953:
"Curbstone Comment by Smitty." Dodd Arrested! Rep. Ben Dodd was speeding toward Montgomery the other day, trying to get there in time for the opening of the Legislature that day. A highway patrolman hailed him and proceeded to bless him out for speeding. After listening to the patrolman, Mr. Dodd then asked him if he had ever read "Section so-and-so, paragraph so-and-so" of the state constitution. The patrolman gave a negative answer. "How in the world did you ever get your job?" Mr. Dodd said, carrying his joke to the limit. After he had the patrolman sweating for a spell, he then invited him to look at the front of his car, where a tag identified him as a member of the Legislature and therefore immune from arrest for speeding to his work. "I'm not saying it's a good law," Mr. Dodd said. "But it's the law." He made the patrolman happy, however, by reporting the incident to a Montgomery paper. In that article he praised the patrolman for being alert and stopping him.
From the Haleyville Advertiser, March 16, 1954:
Ben Dodd Seeking Reelection in May. Seeking reelection as representative from Winston County is Ben G. Dodd, who is one of three candidates for this post in the Republican Primary of May 4th.
Mr. Dodd was born February 17, 1893 on Byler Road, six miles south of Lynn. He attended high school at the Eldridge Baptist Academy and studied bookkeeping and commercial law at Draughon's Business College in Nashville.
He was postmaster at Manchester, Ala. for several years and has been a minister for 35 years. He served in the State Legislature from 1950 until the present.
"In representing the people of Winston County," Mr. Dodd said, "I am indeed proud of the accomplishments made. Many laws have been passed for our county that I am indeed proud of. I have received both flowers and stones. I take them all as a bouquet, and I have no ill will against anyone.
"There is naught that can be said that will ever stop me from working for our county. Your support, your prayers, and your backing has held me up, and I shall never forget my many friends in Winston County.
"Many presents have been presented me, of which I am indeed grateful. But I am happy to say that I have never presented a charge to anyone for any favor I have given them.
"Many good things can yet be done for our county but above all things, let us hold what we have."
From the Advertiser, April 30, 1954:
Ben G. Dodd Wants You to Know the Whole Truth.
To Every Citizen of Winston County:
I want to give you a correct report of what I did while serving you as your REPRESENTATIVE the past four years.
1. I passed an act abolishing the Fine and Forfeiture Law which pays all summons to court with the cash instead of a warrant on the county.
2. I set up a law by passing an act which gave us a County Court, which has greatly increased the funds in our treasury.
3. I sponsored both bills for the teachers pay raise and led the fight for their last one.
4. I placed every official in our county in line with the same pay of all other small counties in the state, which required many bills to do this work.
5. I succeeded in passing a bill having the State of Alabama to pay our Superintendent of Education the same as all others in the small counties of the state.
6. I sponsored a bill to appropriate $500,000 which passed both Houses and which gives the old age and the needy a 20% raise which they are now drawing.
7. I tried to pass a bill at both sessions of the Legislature for the benefit of the old age and both bills were killed in the Committee.
8. I succeeded in getting the $468,750 which had been taken from the welfare appropriation so as to help the needy.
9. I passed a bill giving our county seat, Double Springs, a bank.
10. I tried at both sessions of the Legislature by sponsoring a bill to give our soldiers a bonus.
11. With the help of others, it looks like we are going to get a Government Hospital in our county. All the papers are signed and gone in and because of this County Court we now have the funds to match the government money in doing this.
12. I passed a bill giving us a Secret Jury Venire in our county. So no one will know who is summoned as jurors until court convenes.
13. I passed a Constitutional Amendment, which will be voted on in November, giving Haleyville and Double Springs the right after election to build factory buildings which will give work to our girls and boys and keep them at home.
14. I helped sponsor a bill, which was passed, having the inmates of our state penitentiary making useful things for our state and giving them employment.
15. I succeeded in getting the Nauvoo-Haleyville Road a state road and paved with no expense to our county.
16. I succeeded in getting the Cheatham Highway through Winston County built, which is now completed and without cost to our county.
17. With the help of the Mayor of Haleyville, Mr. Albright, we succeeded in getting the underpass connecting Marion and Winston County, which is costing us nothing.
18. Friends, I succeeded in getting a law passed to elect our Highway Board members four years from now. I tried with seven bills which passed the House but were killed by our Senator, to elect them NOW. The pie hunters don't like this, but I want them all to know I am still their friend and if they can get elected to this post it will cost them nothing. It will give an opportunity to all our citizens to qualify and make the race for this post.
Friends, I haven't the money to publish and tell you about all the 47 state and county bills I helped sponsor and pass, and I hope you will know the truth, for it shall make you free, and without your help and cooperation none of this could have been achieved.
If you think a good job has been done and you want me to go back, I promise you only one thing and that is to do my best.
Please read St. John 10:31.
Ben G. Dodd
In mid-1957, the Advertiser paper people were swamped with stories of hoop snakes. Trying to print something different in the June 14th issue, they turned to Ben Dodd. "Snakes to Poetry…" Being out of hoop snake stories, we turned to Ben G. Dodd, the poet laureate of this section of Winston. He came up with a touching poem on the plight of merchants who can't get their bottles back. Seriously, this is a big problem with merchants, and Mr. Dodd's poem, "Bring 'Em Back," is not intended to be funny.
There are many folks who never think
When they go to the store and buy a drink,
They put it in a paper sack
And never bring the bottle back.
They always pay what they owe.
They're always nice and kind to all you know.
But what I tell you is a fact,
They seldom bring your bottles back.
They'll accommodate you any way
And you can depend on what they say.
But in their yard, oh what a stack,
Of bottles that they won't take back.
Dear neighbor, won't you kindly think
When you go to the store, take home a drink,
Don't put that empty on a rack
And never take that bottle back.
So, please, dear friend, be nice and think
That the merchant loses on every drink.
This is no joke, but a simple fact,
If you fail to bring the bottle back.
It's the little things that are worthwhile,
That lift us up and make us smile.
Let's all stay on the honest track,
And always take those bottles back.
From the Advertiser, October 6, 1961:
"Uncle Ben Dodd One of 'Free State's' Most Colorful Persons." Benjamin Garland Dodd, known throughout Winston County as "Uncle Ben" is one of the most colorful characters who ever walked across the hills and hollows of the "Free State."
Postmaster (in Manchester, Ala.), coal miner, state legislature, minister, county sheriff, business man, and debater par excellence - these are some of the milestones in the historic career of "Uncle Ben" Dodd. Mr. Dodd was born in 1893. His parents were Garrett and Rebecca Dodd, pioneer Winston settlers, and his birthplace was the Dodd homestead on the famous Byler Road about a mile from the Walker County line. He attended the Eldridge Baptist Academy in Walker County and Draughon's Business College in Nashville. His first job was in a mine near Kansas, Ala. where he…"dug coal for $1.50 a day and worked from can 'til can't." It was in a mine accident that he suffered a broken back in 1921, and after his injury, he worked as a meat cutter for Galloway Coal Co. in Carbon Hill and moved back to Winston County in 1923.
At the age of 27, "Uncle Ben" was ordained a Missionary Baptist minister and served many churches until his retirement recently. He still fills appointments occasionally. In 1950 he was elected as Winston County Representative to the state legislature and was the only Republican at the Capitol. His first resolution (which was unanimously adopted) was to have Bibles placed in both the Senate and House. Some of the bills he introduced during his four-year term of office were: provisions for warrants to be issued to build factories in Haleyville and Double Springs, a law to abolish warrants, a secret jury venire bill (recently killed), a bill providing for the state to take over the highway from Haleyville to Jasper and from Wolf's Store into Cullman via the National Forest, a law which would have State Highway Board members elected (killed), a bill providing for a bank at Double Springs.
"Uncle Ben" was instrumental in getting many miles of roads built in Winston County from 1950 to 1954. He was on the interim committee which was responsible for ironing out the differences between Senate and House bills. He met with Governor Gordon Persons in a number of occasions and helped the administration accomplish several of its objectives. Appointed sheriff of Winston County in 1954 following the death of Roy Posey, Mr. Dodd served in the post eight months.
The Dodd children are: Bobby (in business with his father), Don (a student at the University of Alabama), and Mrs. Dorothy Rose of Jasper. Still active, still in good health, generally speaking, Mr. Dodd owns and operates an automotive accessory and tire store at Forkville, about five miles east of Haleyville. "Uncle Ben" refused to comment about his future political plans, but there was a noticeable twinkle in his eye as he spoke. At 68 years of age he is still one of Winston County's most colorful citizens.