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Anson Greene Phelps Dodge Jr.

by Carey C. Giudici

Dodge was scion of a wealthy family that operated lumber mills on Gascoigne Bluff after the Civil War. During a visit to his father in the late 1870s, he was so struck by the ruined beauty of Frederica's Christ Church that he decided to stay and rebuild it.

Along with the church, Dodge fell in love with his first cousin Ellen. After their marriage in 1880 the couple set off on what was to be a three-year honeymoon journey around the world. It was cut short in India when Ellen died of cholera. The grief-stricken husband brought her embalmed body home in an ebony casket and had it buried under the old church's altar.

With a sizable inheritance and support from his civic-minded family, the frugal Dodge now devoted his life to church activities. He remarried, and his second wife Anna Gould Dodge gave birth to a son. At the age of three their son also died tragically after falling from a carriage.

Dodge not only restored Christ Church as a memorial to his first wife, becoming its rector after taking holy orders. He also established a Boys' Home on St. Simons in memory of his son, along with the Georgia Mission Society and India's first Episcopal cathedral. He was only 39 years old at the time of his death in 1898.

Anson Dodge Jr.'s life story inspired author Eugenia Price to write Beloved Invader, the first of her fourteen popular novels based on Golden Isles history.

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