Joshua E. Dodge (1854-1921)
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1898-1910)
"It fell to his lot to write the opinions in some of the most important decisions handed down by our Supreme Court, and his clear reasoning and literary eloquence did much to make this Supreme Court of Wisconsin respected and illustrious throughout the nation." - Samuel M. Field, Dodge's memorial service (1921)
Joshua Eric Dodge was born October 25, 1854, in West Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was educated at Westford Academy in Massachusetts and later graduated from Iowa College in Grinnell, Iowa. Dodge graduated from Boston University Law School in 1877.
Dodge came to Wisconsin and practiced law in Racine for 15 years. He was a member of the state Assembly from 1891 to 1892. A year later, he was appointed to the Board of Commissioners for the Promotion of Uniformity of Legislation in the United States.
In September 1893, President Grover Cleveland appointed Dodge assistant U.S. attorney general. When the Cleveland administration left Washington, D.C., in 1897, Dodge returned to Milwaukee and practiced law.
After Justice Silas U. Pinney resigned from the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1898, Dodge was appointed to fill the vacancy. His opinions are found in 43 volumes of the Wisconsin Reports. His experience as a legislator added insight to the Supreme Court during a period marked by sweeping changes in statutory law.
Dodge was characterized by Samuel M. Field as a "gentleman of the old school." "He was a great teacher, patient, and always willing to explain his viewpoint and conclusions to the young lawyer who might seek his counsel," said Field at Dodge's memorial service.
Dodge retired from the Supreme Court after 12 years and resumed his law practice in Milwaukee. He was single and had no children.
He died May 2, 1921.