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Away back in the early days of this country, a number of Scotch Presbyterians settled in the mountains of what is now Kentucky and N. Carolina, and the Dobyns' were with them. My grandfather, William Dobyns and his wife, who was Mary Hicks (Irish) and her brother Alfred Hicks left Kentucky and settled in Amite County, Mississippi about 1830. Later on, Alfred Hicks moved to Texas and accumulated quite a lot of land near Corsicana. He died there, and having no family, his heirs in Mississippi were notified to come and claim the land. I saw the old letter once, but no one went to claim the land.

My father, Albert Gallatin Dobyns (named for Albert Gallatin Brown, a man of some note in the early U.S. Government) was born Aug 20, 1832 and he had two sisters and two brothers; James and Orrin, both killed in the war between the states. One of his sisters, Emma, married Pollard Butler (I remember "Aunt Emmy" as we called her) and their son, Robert Stanton Butler was sheriff of our county (Franklin) for twelve years. The other sister (I can't remember her name) married a Myers. I never saw any of them.

My father was a lieutenant in company K, 33rd Mississippi regiment during the war. His regiment was part of the Army of Tennessee, and was commanded by Gen. J.E.B. (Jeb) Stewart, who was a noted cavalry leader, though my father was in the infantry. He was in several big battles, including Missionary Ridge, but was never wounded. He was confined to the hospital in Atlanta because of dysentery, the scourge of the half starved soldiers, but he and a buddy ran away and went back to their regiment. Said they would have starved sure enough if they had stayed in the hospital. I have a furlough, issued to him shortly before the war ended.

Grandfather died when my father was only a few years old, next to the youngest child, and his mother a few years later. So he grew up an orphan and got but little schooling. My mother taught him most of his book learning after they were married. However, he was a great reader, and by the time I could remember, no one suspected that he was not reasonably well educated. When he first reached manhood, he acted as plantation manager (they called them "overseers" in those days) for some of the big slave owners until he went into the army.

He was a man of powerful physique, 6' 1" without shoes on, 180 pounds stripped, could and did do more work than any negro he bossed (after the war), black hair and blue eyes, showing the Irish, though his features were Scotch, not overly religious, though he was a member and good supporter of the church, rigidly honest and had no patience with anyone who would lie or cheat. Everyone who knew him had implicit confidence in his integrity, and he had a temper, wow!

My mother was Mary Jane Anderson, born May 1, 1840 (the night the stars fell). The Andersons were Scotch also, and those who first came to this country settled in South Carolina, around where the town of that name now is located. There was an "Anderson Clan" in Scotland, some members of which were notable people, the record says.

Her father was John Calvin Anderson (more Scotch Presbyterians) and as a youth was bound out to learn the hatter's trade. Every boy in those days, however wealthy his parents, had to learn a trade at which he could support himself, if need be. But this was too slow for young John C., so he ran away and came to Mississippi. Along about 1815 he married Mary Parsons, whose parents descended from some of the English who settled Georgia under Gen. Oglethorpe. I have a hand made pen-picture of them, made soon after they were married, which was before the days of modern photography. He had black hair and blue eyes and a profile strikingly like Napoleon Bonapart. She was tall, slender, brown hair and blue eyes. My sister, Addie, resembled her very much. They had a large family, of which my mother was next to the youngest. John C. was killed accidentally when he was about 45, his wife living to be 80. The Parson's were Baptists, so I suppose that is why we are until now.

Father and Mother were married in 1860 (I'm not sure about that being correct) and their first child, Fenlon Cannon, was born in '61, after the outbreak of the war. Mother taught school during the war. Her family had considerable land and 18 slaves. She had never done any sort of work. Every girl had a slave maid who was only too glad to serve them, even to combing their hair and dressing them. That was the custom with slave owners in the Old South. But, after the war, they moved to Franklin County, lived in a log cabin for a year or so until they could build a house, and, for a while, she did all the house work, washing, etc. Dad bought more land as fast as he could pay for it, worked in the field in the day time and chopped down trees and split rails by firelight at night. Some of the old neighbors have told me of hearing him mauling rails as late as 11 o'clock at night. He was a good farmer and usually had the best crops and the best live stock of anyone in the community. By the time I could remember, he was able to hire the hard work done, and took it rather easy from then on.

Fenlon was said to be a studious child and began studying to be a doctor when he was 10, reading books loaned him by the neighborhood family doctor. He attended Louisville Medical College and at Tulane in New Orleans. I only remember seeing him one time, when he graduated and came home for a few days before going to Arkansas to begin his practice. He settled at Tripp Station, near Arkansas City. The Arkansas Examining Board said he passed the finest examination of any young doctor ever to come before them. There was an epidemic of typhoid fever that year, and he was one of the victims. He is buried in the Mount Holly cemetery, about 4 miles out from McGehee. Since I have been traveling, I have stopped at his grave and looked at the nice marble monument Dad had erected on it a number of times.

The second child was Marietta, born shortly after the war and died when about a year old. Dad fought around Marietta, GA when Sherman was marching through, and liked the little town and the name, hence gave it to his first daughter.

Rosetta was the third. She was born in 1866. Mother said Dad still wanted to have an "Etta", so he named this one Rosetta. She was all Dobyns, and of course Dad was awfully proud of her. All the rest of us looked more like the Andersons. She was good as gold, very religious, a great church worker. She married Oliver Claughton in 1896, after Mother died. Oliver had three boys by his first wife, who already had three boys and a girl by her first husband, Griff Claughton, Oliver's older brother. We all felt rather badly about Sister (as I always called her) marrying this older widower, but she loved him and he loved her and they seemed very happy together. Their first child was Mary Elizabeth, called May, who was much like her mother. May married A.B. Chadwick and they had three girls and a boy. He died in 1936 and May still lives in Greenville, Miss.

Next they had twins, boy and girl, Albert and Alma Lucille. Albert and his mother both died within a few days after the birth and Alma was taken to be reared by sister Addie, who had married some years previously to Etta, and had two sons of her own. Alma married Rourke Godbold, a neighbor boy, and they had one son. Later they were divorced and Alma married Dr. Myers at Greybull, Wyoming, where they still live and have one daughter.

The fourth in our family was Adelaide, born in 1868 (in April, I think) and from my first remembrance she was the gayest, livest member of the family, had lots of friends and admirers, both girls and boys. Never very religiously inclined, but there never was a purer, cleaner finer girl, nor one more loyal to her family. I am sure that Mother and Dad never fully appreciated or understood her, and that she was not as happy as she should have been. She was a great pal of brother Will, who was nearest her age, but she was also the kindest one of the family to me and I think that I understood and appreciated her more than anyone else did. As a girl, her first love was Will Sessions, the handsome "black sheep" of an old, broken down, aristocratic family. Not hard to understand the attraction there for a teen age girl, full of life and romantic dreams. But I don't think she ever seriously considered marrying him. On March 22, 1893 (I admit that I am somewhat confused about the year) she was married to G.O. Cole, and I never saw a better suited couple.

Addie's first child was named Beuford Smitha, after Will (William Beuford) Smitha, who had married Addie's best friend, Neely Aldridge, and he was also a good friend of Ol (as we called Beauford's daddy). I don't need to tell you any more about him, I mean Beuford, except that he was one of the best boys I ever knew, even counting his little outbursts of temper, which reminded us of his grandpa Dobyns. I am sure that he inherited a lot of good traits from the old man as well as from his father.

Their next child was named Albert, after our father. He died in infancy.

The third was William Carroll, the William from brother Will and Carroll because Addie thought that was such a "pretty name". Imagine giving a boy a pretty name. No wonder he changed it, or rather uses the other name, and is known as "Bill" to his friends in Chicago. Carroll, or Bill if you like, was a good a lovable kid, but not as bright and studious nor as dependable as his older brother, whom he more or less idolizes. After World War I, he went to Chicago, where he married Genevieve Grimes, a widow with a daughter, and they have one afflicted son. Genevieve is a good woman, of that big city, Swedish type, which we may not understand very well, and Carroll has made a good, hard working, dependable man.

Next in our family was William Orrin, born Sept 15, 1873, named for Mother's favorite brother and Dad's younger brother, who was killed in the battle of Shiloh. Will was a tall, handsome chap, looked like the Andersons but had more of the temperament of his father and was more or less the pet and pride of the family. He married Malia Davis, daughter of one of Mother's best friends. They had one son who died in infancy. He was a conductor on the Y&MV Railroad and was killed in an accident in the winter of 1905-1906. Malie died several years later.

Next and last was the writer, named Albert Emmett, born Dec 17, 1876. We had a near neighbor named Calvin Emmett McMillan, but his father called him "Pony", and from that he was nicknamed Pone. Brother Will, thinking Mr. Pone was such a fine fellow, begged Mother to name me after him, so she compromised by naming me Albert after my father and Emmett after Mr. Pone. I never liked the name Emmett, so when I went on the road I used the other name and now almost everyone calls me Al, which suits me fine.

On March 22, 1905 I was married to Elizabeth Adeline (known as Bessie) Bradley, of Old Fort, N.C., and after nearly 40 years together, I still think she is the finest person I have ever known.

We have three sons, Albert Gallatin, named after my father, Phillip Bradley, and Robert Bruce. Our first child was a girl, born dead. Albert was born March 22nd, (our anniversary) 1908, has never been very strong, though not sickly, and has never married. He is now in Cincinnati, Ohio, with the Wright Airplane Motor plant. I believe he is called Cashier, anyway he pays off the mechanical employees and checks the money in and out to those who run the cafeterias to feed the employees while on the job.

Philip is with the Farm Security Administration, which has also been removed from Washington to Cincinnati, and Al lives with him and his family. I believe that Phil's title is Senior Adviser in Fund Accounting. In addition to some routine office work, he visits the large branches like Indianapolis, Denver, Dallas, etc. and keeps them lined up on proper procedures, checks their accounts, etc. He worked nearly four years in a furniture store in Washington while he took the night course in Benjamin Franklin University and graduated in business law and higher accounting.

Phil married Glenda Henderson of Little Rock, and they have two fine husky sons, Philip Jr., born in Little Rock, October 16, 1935, and Albert Henderson, born in Washington D.C., October 16, 1941, both having the same birth day, so it looks like the name Dobyns will be carried on.

Bruce was born May 17, 1913, has been in Chicago for several years and for the last three years was secretary to the president of the Masonite Corp. He went into the army May 1, 1942, enlisting in one of the Ordinance Maintenance regiments they were forming there. He was in camps at Sutton, N.C., Indio, Calif, Monterey, Calif, and last a Flora, Miss. He is now overseas, probably in England, where they are preparing for the big fight. He is not married, but I think he will when and if he gets home safe. He is staff sergeant, which he says is as high in the army as he wants to go, as he can save money on that job. He is the thrifty one of the family.

And that is all I can think of to say about the Dobyns clan, except maybe, to say that I am still on the road (though not traveling much right now) selling two good factory furniture lines, doing very nicely and enjoying the work more than anything I ever did, and my good wife and I are both enjoying good health.

[Best guess from internal evidence is that this was written about 1944, when the writer was about 67. KWD]
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