Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The elusive William Dobbs, son of Lodowick Dobbs

Several different William Dobbs/Dabbs have been attached to William Dobbs, son of Lodowick Dobbs, but I have qualms with most of them.

William is listed in his father's will (Pendleton County, South Carolina, 1814) as one of his six youngest children. By all accounts, it appears the children listed in the will were listed in the order of their birth. He lists his "six youngest children" as Lewis, Dosia, Lodowick, Stephen, William, and James. From Census records we can prove Lewis was born about 1800, Dosia about 1801/1802, Lodowick about 1802/1803, and Stephen about 1804. James Gibson Dobbs is shown to have been born in 1808. This means William, who was born between Stephen and James, was born between 1804 and 1808.

1. The William DABBS found in Cobb County, GA in 1850 and 1860 fits the age of the William we are looking for, but as has been previously established, the DABBS family is an unrelated family to ours and not just a Census mis-transcription. This William really was a Dabbs, not a Dobbs, so this is not our William.

2. The William DOBBS who married Catherine Covington in Franklin County, GA in 1810 and whose family later moved to Marion County, Arkansas cannot work because he would not get married when he was only 3 to 6 years old. The William Dobbs who married Catherine Covington is simply too old to be Lodowick's William. While this tree, http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=stanbevers&id=I26251 (Bevers, Hadaway, Wheeler & Griggs Families), has mostly great information on it, this is one area where information they've put together has been spread around the internet and is unlikely to be true. Further, as one of Lodowick's "six youngest children", I find it unlikely he would have moved to Georgia by 1810 before his father's death in South Carolina in 1814 while still under the age of 10.

A deed concerning this William Dobbs and a Susannah Covington in Franklin County, GA in 1810 has been used as further "proof" of this being the William who was the son of Lodowick:

Source: The GA Genealogical Mag. April, 1969, pg 114:
Nov. 28, 1810, pg. 113-114 Franklin Co. GA
Abstract: " Be it remembered.... Susannah Covington and William Dobbs have this day mutually agreed on a division of the tract of land of Broad River adjoining John Covington's fence", the said Dobbs to have the lower part down the river, and Susannah to have the upper part during her lifetime. Witnesses: Marksfield H. Payne, Silas Dobbs. "The Act o f Susannah Covington done and agreed to in presence of her husband Thomas Covington, Sr., and by his mutual consent and such a his wish. Instrument is signed also by Thos. Covington, Sr. same date. Recorded Dec. 3, 1810."

Posted here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Dobbs_Genealogy/message/379

Since a "Silas Dobbs" was the witness to this deed, many believe this to be Lodowick's son Silas and therefore "proof" of being this being Lodowick's son, William. However, Lodowick's son Silas was born in 1794, meaning he would only be 16 years old at the time this document was recorded in 1810, and therefore he would be too young to be a legal witness. This is almost cetrainly the Silas Dobbs who was born about 1770, who is likely Lodowick's brother or 1st cousin (according to DNA tests, they were related). The William who married Catherine Covington, based on this deed, is more likely a son of Silas (or even John; he could be a brother of Silas and Lodowick since we don't actually know how old he was).

Note: This was also most likely the William Dobbs found in Muscogee County, GA in the 1830 Census.

3. Lastly there is a William Dobbs who was born about 1806 in SC living in Cass County, GA in the 1850 Census. He is obviously the best candidate to be Lodowick's son William, but unfortunately there is so little information on him that it's hard to be certain. In 1850 he is living in close proximity to Peter Dobbs, which has led many to attach him to that family, but geographic proximity in a single Census is hardly solid proof. In fact, in the 1840 Census Peter is living near several Dobbs men who appear to be his sons--but a William is not among them. This William appears to be the William in the 1830 Census in Franklin County, GA. I make this assertion because if this were the above William Dobbs who married Catherine Covington, then he would have a 5-9 or 10-15 year old Calloway C. Dobbs in his household for this Census, but the only male in this household other than William is a male under 5, who is likely Martin Dobbs who was born about 1829.

Peter Dobbs is also living in Franklin County at this time, but they are not in significant proximity besides being in the same county. The Dobbses William is closest to are Lott, Balaam, and Morton, the latter of those two being sons of Lott. As Balaam named a son "Perry", and William did as well, this along with the families' proximity in the 1830 Census lead me to conclude what the aforementioned Bevers, Hadaway, Wheeler & Griggs Families tree has, which is that "this" William was most likely a son of Lott, rather than Peter or Lodowick. I am still willing to leave open the possibility that this is Lodowick's William, or even that he could be Peter's son, but as far as my records are concerned, I will be attaching him to Lott.

So in conclusion, where is "our" William, son of Lodowick? I don't know, but I don't believe he is any of the three above mentioned William's. In the "Dobbs Family History" book by Mary Margaret Dobbs (McCaslin) Ward, she states only that William moved to Texas prior to the Civil War and mentions nothing else. I have found no record of a William Dobbs born in South Carolina in Texas records, so as it stands, I have not seen any certain record of William Dobbs, son of Lodowick, after his mention in his father's will. Perhaps he died young or he went by a name other than William which is why he has not been tracked down, but I have written this today in hopes some researchers may come across it and be cautioned not to attach the three above William Dobbs/Dabbs's to their trees as Lodowick's son William, because I don't believe that any of them are his son.

Three related notes for researchers of the family of Lodowick Dobbs:

1. Lodowick did NOT have a son named Joshua or Joseph or Josiah. At one point there was a mis-transcription of Lodowick's will in which some thought he named a son "Joshua" or "Josiah" or "Joseph", but if one looks closely, it says "Jesse". Jesse is a confirmed son of Lodowick; there was no Joshua, Josiah, or Joseph. Lodowick names FIFTEEN children in his will, not SIXTEEN. The myth of "Joshua" has been spread for decades and generations and it is time for it to end. Even the aforementioned "Dobbs Family History" by Mary Margaret Dobbs (McCaslin) Ward further gives out this myth, but if one would simply look closely enough at the will, they will see it says "Jesse", it is just a little blurry. There was no Joshua, so I really hope someday people will begin to leave out this fictional child from their trees.

2. Lodowick was not named Lodowick Adams Dobbs. He had a grandson named Lodowick Adams Dobbs, but that was not his name. No record anywhere has ever given him the middle name Adams or even the middle initial of "A". Look anywhere you want and you will not find one. Someone a long time ago made the error of giving Lodowick the middle name Adams probably just because it was his grandson's middle name, but this is nothing but an error. It is not true. Please encourage fellow Dobbs researchers to remove the middle name "Adams" from the Lodowick Dobbs who married Sarah Adams and died in 1814 in Pendelton County, South Carolina.

3. It is also spread around the internet that Lodowick was a son of Fortune/Fortunatus Dobbs, but I came across an e-mail that has been shared on the Bevers, Hadaway, Wheeler & Griggs Families Tree that has further convinced me that Lodowick was the son of John, not Fortune/Fortunatus. That e-mail can be read here: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=stanbevers&id=I61051 or on the Dobbs Genealogy Discussion Group message board on Yahoo. It states:

31 Aug 2009:

I suppose I have been doing Dobbs research longer than anyone else in the family covering the past 47 years. Of the four major Dobbs researchers prior to 1970, I was friend and correspondent with three of them. The one I did not meet was Dr. Carey Dobbs, a chemistry professor at Delta State College in the Mississippi Delta. He may have begun doing research in the late 1920's and had published his findings by the late 1930's. He was a descendant of Lodowick Dobbs through his son, Rev. Silas Dobbs, a Baptist minister who eventually settled in Choctaw Co., MS.

Carey Dobbs developed a theory that Fortunatus Dobbs moved into SC from NC and was the father of all the other Southern Dobbs who are found in early census records. But I and David Smith of Wheaton, IL, also a descendant of Lodowick Dobbs through his son, Lodowick Jr., began to seriously examine and challenge Carey Dobbs theory back in the 1970's. We noted that Lodowick has never showed up in the same county as Fortunatus at any time. We started tracking Lodowick in the late 1770's or early 1780's in NC with a John Dobbs. And I eventually proposed a new theory by 1980 that Lodowick was the son of John Dobbs rather than Fortunatus. And no piece of evidence has led me away from that theory in the past 29 years.

John and Lodowick were neighbors of the Cleveland family in Wilkes Co., NC through about 1785 and then both families moved to near the SC - GA line about that time. John received a grant on the Savannah River in Pendleton District, SC but moved across the river to Wilkes Co., GA around December of 1786 and remained there until his death around 1795 in Elbert Co., GA, which was taken from Wilkes County in 1790. Young Dobbs males who began paying taxes on Cedar Creek in Elbert County were Josiah Dobbs, Silas Dobbs, Lott Dobbs, and Peter Dobbs. Josiah died in Elbert around 1810, but the other three eventually moved to Franklin Co., GA.

My interest in the family comes from the fact that I descend from Lott Dobbs through his third son, Burrell Dobbs, who moved to Cherokee Co., GA and remained there until his death around 1870. Over the years I have also developed the theory that Lodowick was the oldest son of John and that Josiah, Silas, Lott, and Peter were all younger brothers of Lodowick. A few years after Lodowick Dobbs died in Pendleton Dist., SC, his widow, Sarah Dobbs, came over to settle in Franklin County, GA on the same creek where Silas, Lott, and Peter Dobbs lived - Hunter Creek. And there Lodowick Jr. married one of Peter Dobbs' daughters. As you may have noticed, marrying first cousins was a fairly common thing back then.

Now I think we have enough documentation to support the fact that Fortunatus Dobbs and Nathaniel Dobbs, were related to John Dobbs, father of Lodowick, Josiah, Silas, Lott, and Peter. And we are hoping that DNA testing will provide the support that we are all looking for. I am sure others have better credentials than I do, but I know no one else who has been thoroughly involved with Dobbs history for 47 years. I have taught genealogy in one venue or another at the University of Alabama since 1973 and have worked as a Professional Genealogist since 1978. I served ten years as President of the Tuscaloosa, AL Genealogical Society and have published five family histories. I have seen the Dobbs genealogy as a major challenge through the years and am aware that the best genealogists make mistakes. I am also aware that DNA has no family names written in the genetic code. But with the use of DNA testing and really good research, I believe we may be able to solve some of the problems that we have explored for many years.

R. L. Guffin
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404
(205) 366-8956
rguffin@stillman. edu
So please, take all of these notes and information into account when you're researching Lodowick Dobbs. If anyone has any questions, comments, or additions, feel free to e-mail me or comment on this post.

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