My father, Orville Clyde Dotson (now age 88) wrote the following story a few years ago.Extrmemly fanciful, and probably completely untrue, but maybe we can start our own Dotson legend!
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Surnames have developed in many ways such as occupations, bird or animal names,regions and coats of arms.Even signs of the Zodiac,symbols of the time of birth, have been converted to surnames.The name Lion could be derived from the lion symbol for Leo; the name Miller from one who grinds corn; Walker from one who walks and words that describe a person such as Short.
With the custom of dedication of male children, there also arose the use of the mother's family name for children. This may have been because it was sometimes easier to identify the mother of child than the father.This custom apparently started in England, but was also used in American Indian tribes at the time of the discovery of the New World.Mother's maiden names are used for legal records in Latin America and other countries.
Now, for how our Dotson name came into being:
During the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian,the Roman Empire encompassed what is now Europe as well as lands circling the Mediterranean Sea. But during his reign,Christians faced their darkest hours of the Dark Ages.
For two decades the Romans had been intent on eradicating this new religion Christianity from the civilized world. Christians were subjected to every form of torture and brutality by Romans. Many were slain in sporting events scheduled to entertain the Romans.
Somewhere in the northern part of what is now the United Kingdom, a devout Christian virgin, Dorothea, was convicted in the mockery of a court.The death sentence had already been passed, and the court session was held to entertain the public before Dorothea was beheaded.
During the pseudo-trial, Theosophilus, the judge's secretary, taunted Dorothea by saying, "When you get to this Paradise you are going to, send me a basket of apples,my favorite fruit, and roses, my favorite flowers."
Dorothea's execution took place on what is now February 6th.
Theosophilus and his friends continued to enjoy the feast and merry-making when suddenly, a woman dressed in white and wearing a veil appeared in their midst. She was carrying a basket of apples and roses!
"This," she said as she presented the basket to Theosophilus, "is from Saint Dorothea in Paradise."
The martyred Dorothea became a beloved saint of the people. In subsequent years, the name Dorothea was changed into many forms, but the most common became the diminutive and pet name "Dot". It was easy to spell and the literacy level of the people was low.
At the same time, many Christian mothers believed that the second coming of the Messiah was imminent.Mothers of male children hoped that their child might be the chosen one if they gave him the name of son of a special saint.If not the Messiah, their child would still have divine protection.
As years went by, dedicated sons of Dorothea became know as Dot's sons, and eventually the two words were combined and the name Dotson was created.
(Well, it's an interesting story.The original name really seems to have been English and was originally Dodson -- there are many records in the 1600's of this name in England.Quite often even in America, the spellings of Dotson/Dodson were interchangeable on census and other records Once, and only once, in a writeup about KY Dodsons, I found a version that said that the Dodson name was English and the Dotson name was Danish!Put that version with my father's story.)