Eugene Whitefield Dabbs, Jr.

The oldest son of Eugene Whitefield Dabbs was named in honor of his father.  Being 14 years of age at the time of his mother’s death, Eugene Dabbs, Jr., was sent to Donaldson Military Academy in Fayetteville, NC, and then to The Citadel where he graduated in 1914.  He served as president of the cadets Young Men’s Christian Association and also of the Calhopean Literary Society and held the rank of Captain of the Company B Cadet Corps.  In a letter  on October 4, 1914, written to Sudie Furman Dabbs while her husband, Eugene, was down in Charleston at his son’s graduation, Dabbs writes, “Capt. John Moore told me he regarded Eugene as the finest man in the Citadel and Capt. Gaston said without a doubt he was the finest military  man in the corps.” Upon leaving, his Cadet Corps presented him with a beautiful ornamental sword that was given to Edward Rees Dabbs, the only grandchild to also graduate from The Citadel, and then by Rees to a great grand-son, John Rhys Bevan. 
The Citadel was a bastion of pride for the Dabbs Family and service to one’s country would be considered of foremost importance.  When your country calls, you go.  There would be little margin for compromise on that point.  During the years of Vietnam in the 60’s and 70’s one of his grandchildren asked what their grandfather would have thought of those who found moral grounds to protest the war.  "Not much," was the answer.  The country came first, and one did not question the requirements made by your country.  "After all, your grandfather sent four of his sons to fight in WWII and one did not return."
Eugene Dabbs, Jr., was commissioned a lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve Corps and assigned to the 81st Division, 324th Infantry, stationed at Camp Jackson.  He was sent overseas with that division and participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive.  Following the Armistice, he was attached to the Army of Occupation in Germany.  He later returned to the United States and honorably mustered out of the military service in September 1919.
For a couple of years after he graduated from the Citadel, Eugene Dabbs, Jr., returned home to work on the farm.  During a brief time, he lived in the home on Highway 527 and his Aunt Julia Warren helped out with housekeeping and cooking for him.  It was during this time that he met his wife, Stella Glascock from Rock Hill, South Carolina.  Billy Dabbs maintains that his father said he got married in order to get Aunt Julia out of the house.  Evidently, Aunt Julia's wedding gift to Eugene and Stella was a large sack of hard biscuits to see them through while Stella learned to cook.  Stella immediate threw them all out.
Miss Glascock spelled her name with only one "s" because she thought it looked better that way.  On her birth certificate it is spelled Glasscock.  Her firsst name was Addie, but she hated it and never, ever used it.  I include it only because it's such a great trivial pursuit question, since few people know it.  Stella came to the Baker School wesst of Mayesville at a very young age of 16 or 17 to be a teacher there.  She was the daughter of Margaret Lourine Hayes Glasscock (known to her family as Lula, or "Miss Lou") and Alexander Kohath Glasscock.    She had a step-sister, Eula, and a step-brother, Bud, by her father's first marriage, and one sister and one brother:  Uncle Loraine (Aunt Grace's husband) and Aunt Lucile.  (Celeste Prince was the only child of Loraine and Grace and stayed in close contact with the family.  Her  husband was Phil Prince, noted for his devotion and money-raising capabilities for Clemson University.)
Stella was devoted to her mother, but critical of her father, of whom she seldom spoke.  She made reference on occasion to a drinking problem within the family.   Never one to present to the pubic anything that wasn't favorable about the family, she would disapprove of the meniton of such a problem in the family history.  Her children do recall one of her brothers arriving drunk at their house one evening and telling Stella he didn't have any place to spend the night.  She responded that he STILL didn't have any place to spend the night since she had no intentions of letting him in the front door. Her sister-in-law, Aunt Grace, did confirm years after Stella's death that her father drank considerably and could become quite mean-spirited when he did.  A reference was made to him throwing a pot of hot soup across the kitchen one evening.  During that same conversation, however, Aunt Grace defended this flaw due to the unusual number of still that were located in the community and the lack of other local entertainment.  "Just what else was a man to do?"  Aunt Grace went on to say that Stella and her father did not get along well and there was the implication that her mother, Miss Lou, thought it best to get Stella out of the house at a young age.

While teaching, Stella boarded with a family by the name of Bell.  Her second year there, another young woman joined her as a teacher in what was a two room country school house.  The second teacher also lived with the Bells.  While a fine woman, evidently Mrs. Bell was not much on housekeeping.  The young women decided they’d do more of their own cooking and cleaning.   It is told that one night a lizard (or other possible night creature) ran over Stella while she was sleeping and it upset her tremendously.  Mrs. Bell contacted the Coopers in Mayesville and asked that the two young ladies be invited down to the Salem Community for a weekend get-away.  A small party was planned for them by the Coopers and it was here that Stella Glascock met Eugene Dabbs, Jr.    They were married in 1916.   Eugene Dabbs, Jr., had been seeing Miss Anna Workman up until this time.  Miss Workman later moved with her family to Darlington but never married.  Stella Dabbs commented once that it was a good thing Anna Workman hadn’t married Eugene. “Miss Anna just wasn’t cut out for all of the work required by any woman who marries a Dabbs.”
 Eugene Dabbs, Jr., was young and handsome.  He dabbled at farming and married before the start of WW I and then left as a lieutenant with the 81st Division.  During the time that he was gone, Stella and her first child, EW Dabbs, III, moved into the family home now called Fern Park with Eugene’s parents, Mother Sudie and Eugene Whitefield Dabbs, along with her sister-in-law, Jessie, who had married James M. Dabbs.  Everyday Stella would walk through the woods and cross Highway 527 to teach at the Salem Schoolhouse that sat between the store and the house she would eventually call home.  She felt sorry for Jessie who was left behind to mind children all day and indeed, the tension between Jessie and Mother Sudie grew, despite the fact that Mother Sudie and Father Dabbs tried hard to accommodate their sons’ wives.   They had even given the young women their bedroom so that they would have more space.  But Mother Sudie ran a strict household, and it was never questioned that she was in charge.
   Stella, once remarked that she remembered traveling up with Eugene, Jr., and their baby to see him sail off to occupied Germany while she stood on the pier crying as he left.  That ole goat,” she said.  “You know he had the time of his life in Germany.”  He lived with a German family while he was there and he loved it.”  For years after that the family had an annual exchange of letters and small gifts between themselves and the German family.  They evidently loved Eugene also.
Eugene Dabbs, Jr., was a gregarious soul with a wonderful laugh and a joie de vivre that existed despite tough financial times.  He never missed a political rally nor a funeral.  Ill suited for farming, Eugene would have probably done better in law, education, or perhaps a career in the military where his former troops had highly praised his skills. But the family farm is where he remained after a brief dabble in politics serving as a State Legislator from 1923-1924 and 1927-1928 then turning his attentions elsewhere after a disappointing defeat in 1928.  “The Lord will provide,” he’d tell his wife, Stella, as they struggled to meet monthly bills.  “He did provide,” she’d respond.  “He provided ME.”
His father, who use to be constantly advertising for an overseer for different sections of his business through the market bulletins (not the best place to get dependable help) liked to tell the story of going to look for his overseer one day when he didn’t show up for work and finding him sitting on the porch of his cabin with a rifle in hand.
“Why aren’t you at work today,” Mr. Dabbs asked.
“Can’t come.  I got to kill three people first,” was the reply.
“Who you plannin’ to kill?”
“Well, sir.  I got to kill Nat Fortune cus he lies all the time.” 
“That he does,”  agreed Eugene Dabbs.  “Who else you gonna kill?”
 “Got to kill Monroe cus he steals.”
 “That he does,” agreed Eugene Dabbs a second time.  “Now who else you plannin’ to kill?”
“Got to kill your son, Mr. EW Dabbs, Jr.”
“Why you gonna kill my son?”
“Well, sir.  He walks around actin’ like he’s worth a million dollars, and he ain’t worth a damn.”
Both father and son told that story with relish and EW Dabbs, Jr., laughed louder than anyone.

EW Dabbs, Jr,. as a State Legislator

   Eugene, Jr., was a dresser.  He enjoyed being around people.  He never met a stranger. He sought out companionship and he loved to travel. This appears to be a common trait in many Dabbs men, their delightful affability for making friends and enjoying good company. Nothing beats a good humored debate that matches wit and embellishes the details. It was not uncommon for the Eugene Dabbs, Jr., family to stop in the middle of a trip to track down a “Dabbs” in a strange community to see if there was a family connection.  This seldom met with Stella’s approval since she was not always impressed with the social standing they found among many of these Dabbses.    One time on a trip they passed an old dilapidated store that had “Dabbs Store” written across the front and Eugene  pulled in to inquire.   Stella absolutely refused to let him get out of the car.  She said she would not what to be related to anyone that would own such an impoverished looking place.  With great disappointment, Eugene drove on.
There was many times Eugene, Jr.,  borrowed money for a family vacation.  It would vex Stella to no end since they were always behind in bills, but  Louise  recalls, “He got his vacations, and his life insurance paid for them in the end.  If he’d waited until he had the money, he never would have gone anywhere.”
Eugene Dabbs, Jr.,  returned from WWI to the Crossroads where he and Stella  moved into the first home on Highway 527 that his mother and father had lived in and began raising a family of six children:  Eugene Whitefield Dabbs, III,  (1917-2005),  Richard Furman  Dabbs (1920-1942), William Alexander (Billy) Dabbs (1922), Margaret Louise Dabbs (1925), Thomas (Tommy) McBride  Dabbs (1927), and Joseph (Joe) Samuel Dabbs (1933).     They worked at farming, but they did not prosper.     
 Eugene made a poor calculation at the beginning of his farming career and borrowed $20,000 to buy cows.  Shortly thereafter the cows got into some arsenic that was used around the farm in a concoction of arsenic/molasses to fight boll weevils on cotton.  The arsenic was stored under the shed and had salt in it.   The cows licked it and they all died.  That debt hung over their heads until after Eugene’s death.
Times were hard for everyone.  Shoes were expensive.  Children, including the Dabbs children, went barefoot to school.  Weekly, travelers walked the road in front of the house carrying their possessions with them and looking for work or food.  Billy Dabbs recalls saying to his father that he wanted to be like the travelers and be on the road going places and looking for adventure.  “You don’t know how close you are to doing just that, my son,” was his father’s reply.
Mother Sudie was obviously concerned about the family also.  She deeded a track of land that she had inherited in the Privateer Community near Shaw Field to Eugene and Stella’s second son, Furman.  They were behind in their mortgage payments.  In the event that they would lose their home she figured the family would have some place to go.  In later life, Stella would reveal that the bank had actually presented the family with a foreclosure notice.  That same week President Franklin D. Roosevelt placed a moratorium on all home foreclosures and Eugene and Stella and their children were allowed to remain in their home.  Eugene was a loyal supporter of FDR from that day on.
Stella, ultimately, was the entrepreneur.  It was she who began seeking other sources of income to support the family.  In their one-story four room home, they boarded two teachers along with the children.  Going to the farmers market in Sumter, Stella started taking bread and flowers to sell and quickly found that her flowers sold far better than her bread.  Over a period of time she continued to develop, first a side yard and then several acres of outdoor and indoor shrubbery and plants.  In addition to their 140 acres of farming land that grew cotton, corn and tobacco, Stella and Eugene were now operating Oak Lawn Nurseries where they raised ornamental plants and shrubs, bulbs and cut flowers for market.
A love-apple business was developed.  Building on her love of plants and her creative adventures in hybrid and cross-pollination she spent 11 years developing a thornless Love Apple that was given the botanical name Solamum intedrifolium.   A decorative plant that had a long stem with small orange tomato shaped bulbs, a market was established in Philadelphia where they would ship weekly crates of love apples for the florists of the northeast.  The plant traveled well and the decorative balls lasted for weeks.  Daily the farm hands and children would cut the stalks of love apples from the bushes and then strip away the thorns and leaves.  Wooden slat crates were made in the back yard under the oak trees and the love apples were wrapped loosely in brown paper and rubber bands and then carried to the train station.  The family averaged about $4,000 annually from the love apple business, which was more than what the rest of the family operation brought in all together.  It became a sizeable portion of their income.
It was this landscaping ability that befriended Eugene and Stella with Mr.& Mrs. Howard Hadden from Kingstree.  What started as a business relationship, (the landscaping of the home built by these New Yorkers settling in the Kingstree area) became a friendship between the two couples.  When Eugene and Stella began discussing an addition to their one-story four room house in 1936, the architect, Howard Hadden, encouraged them to allow him to design it.   Hadden made them agree that should they decide to go with his design, they would not change one single thing.  It was in this way that the one story-four-room home on Highway 527, later known as Whitefield, was turned into the beautiful six-column, white southern home that exists today.  Accompanied by Stella's constant attention to the yard and landscaping, the first home of Eugene Whitefield Dabbs and Maude McBride is today one of the most beautiful homes at the Crossroads.
Stella Glascock Dabbs as ayoung woman

Margaret Lourine Hayes Glasscock
Stella's mother, "Miss Lou"
Stella, a widow for forty years
became a legend in her own time.
At Stella’s death the house was left to her children.  Her daughter, Louise and son-in-law, John M. Bevan, bought the home from the brothers. Remodeling was done primarily to the bathrooms and the kitchen.  A sleeping porch on the back of the house was closed in and the downstairs bedroom was expanded onto that porch adding a bathroom and closet space.  The side porch was also extended.
In 1989 Hurricane Hugo tore through the Crossroads leaving massive damage to all of the Dabbs homes and destroying thousands of trees.  Twenty years later the houses have since been repaired and new trees and shrubs are growing, but it is a different look at the Crossroads than in the mid 1900’s.  Where there were once homes nestled within forests of cathedral pines covered in Spanish Moss and the ground layered in pine straw there is now grass surrounding homes with 20 year old pines finally beginning to again provide shade in the summer time.  Where air-conditioning was once unheard of, it is now a necessity.
Whitfield, as it stands today, twenty years after Hurricane Hugo destroyed thousands of the trees and shrubs.