The Erman and Susie Dotson Golden Horseshoe Fund was established by the children of the late Mr. and Mrs. Dotson: James M. Dotson, Wilma Dotson Malone, Mildred Dotson Bransford, Erman Ray Dotson, Jr., and Harold W. Dotson. As part of the Foundation's Ritchie County affilite, the purpose of this permanent charitable fund is to support the Golden Horseshoe Program in Ritchie County Schools. The Golden Horseshoe test, administered by the West Virginia State Department of Education, measures students' knowledge of West Virginia's history, geology, geography, natural resources, and industry.
Erman Ray Dotson was a native of Ritchie County born in Toll Gate on August 15, 1889. Mr. Dotson attended Bethany College, Glenville Normal, and Salem College. Erman taught in elementary schools for forty-two years, Thirty-five of which were in the Ellenboro/Petroleum areas.
Susie Dotson was born on June 9, 1892, in Wetzel County, and she attended West Liberty College, Bethany College, and West Virginia University. She taught six terms of elementary school in Wetzel County and one in Ritchie County in Ellenboro.
Erman and Susie met at Bethany College and they were married on April 3, 1918 in Wheeling, WV, shortly before Erman went into the Army. After Erman's return from France in 1919, they moved to Ellenboro. In 1920, they moved to Petroleum, where they resided for the rest of their lives. Both Mr. and Mrs. Dotson were particularly interested in the West Virginia Golden Horseshoe Program. In the summer of 1967,both Mr. and Mrs. Dotson passed away.
The decision to create this fund was led by James Dotson, of Danville, California, after his retirement from the General Electric Company where he was employed for 30 years as an engineer/manager in their silicone and nuclear energy business. According to James, he and his siblings decided to establish the fund both to honor the memory of their parents and to enrich the Golden Horseshoe Program. Three of the five Dotson children were Golden Horseshoe pin winners in Ritchie County.