EWD: Heritage IV

John Quincy Adams Dabbs
Son of Samuel Dabbs Father of Eugene Whitefield Dabbs

Eugene Whitefield Dabbs was born in Darlington County, South Carolina, on April 15, 1864. His parents were John Quincy Adams Dabbs and Elizabeth Euphrasia Hoole. John Quincy Adams Dabbs settled in the Black Creek Community in Dovesville, Darlington County, perhaps on the tract of land referenced earlier that was owned by his father, Samuel. 

John Quincy was a farmer and a member of the Black Creek Baptist Church. Records from that church prior to the Civil War are reported to contain numerous oratories given by John Quincy Adams Dabbs in support of slavery. Of note, the members of the Dabbs family both past and present have always been known for their strong opinions on a variety of controversial subjects, which they are willing to share at a moment’s notice with anyone who will listen.

John Quincy Adams Dabbs married late, at the age of 37. He was very good friends with Axalla John Hoole and, in correspondence between them, Axalla asks John Quincy to check regularly on the welfare of his mother, brothers and sisters while he is in Kansas. John Quincy does better than that. He marries Axalla’s sister, Euphrasia Hoole (May 20, 1826 – July 15,1919).

In the Kansas Historical Quarterly, Vol. 3 , #2 , there is a series of letters that Lt. Col. A.J. Hoole wrote regarding “A Southerner’s Viewpoint of the Kansas Situation.” He left Darlington with his wife, Elizabeth (Betsie) G. Brunson, on his wedding day, March 20, 1856, to go to Kansas to try to help with the efforts to defeat the Abolitionists. He was a strong supporter of states’ rights, and firmly believed that Kansas should be allowed to become a slave-holding state. He writes to his good friend, John Quincy Adams Dabbs, on June 15, 1856:

“I have made only $51 since I have been here and I fear that I shall be hardly able to make money enough to keep soul and body together while I stay in this Territory, but here I am resolved to remain until the difficulties are settled. This would be a great country for one who wishes for nothing except to have a plenty to eat, but it don’t suit me at all. The fertility of the soil does not compensate one for other inconveniences. I saw some of the finest wheat yesterday that I ever saw; it has just headed out and about as high as my shoulder. If you could see the quantity of nice rich milk which one of the most ordinary cows give here you would never bragg [sic] on your little cow. One of my neighbors has a small, trifling looking cow that gives over a peck of milk at one milking and I believe they always leave half for the calf. We can get as much milk and butter as we want for the trouble of going about 150 yards. This is truly a great place to live so far as eating is concerned."

“We live in a very small uncomfortable little loghouse but it is about on par with the rest of the houses in this territory. Betsie and I get on finely, she is a pretty good cook but not so good as you as she has had but little practice, but she is improving every day. Cooking is about all that she does and that is no small task as I have such an appetite since I came here. . . Tell your dear Mother that I am trying to reform my evil ways but old Satan has still a strong hold upon me. - AJH”

On September 6, 1856, he writes a moving letter to “my ever dear friend, Quince... who has always been as a brother to me."

“I was almost in one [a skirmish] so near that I drew sight on a man several times, but was commanded not to shoot by my Capt. who was behind me. This was on the 5th just when Lane came to attack Lecompton. I have always thought that I would be very much agitated under such circumstances, but I was surprised at myself. I was much less excited than if I were going to shoot a beef. My company was posted in the edge of a ravine as skirmishes came
almost in common gunshot, it was near enough for the rifles we had. An account of this you will see in The Flag. What I commenced to tell you was my feelings. When I was taking aim at the man before me, and expecting every minute on the word fire, I was cool enough to commune with myself in this way. Now, if I hit that fellow I will be sending a poor soul, perhaps unprepared, to Eternity. I hate to do it, but it can’t be helped. If I don’t kill him, he may kill me, but I did not feel the least apprehensive of being killed myself. I thought, however, if I am killed, May God have mercy on my soul. As it was, neither shot. Lane drew off his men.
I saw the man that I had been aiming at march away and I felt glad that I escaped having to shoot at him.”

Axalla John Hoole returned to Darlington on December 5, 1857, with his wife and children, Ada Constantia, William Brunson, and Axalla John Hoole, II. He was initially the captain of the Darlington, South Carolina, Riflemen and then Lt. Col. of the Eighth South Carolina Volunteer Regiment Kershaw’s Brigade. In D. Augustus Dickert’s History of Kershaw’s Brigade, tribute is paid to Axalla John Hoole for his bravery and leadership abilities. Included is a beautiful letter he wrote to his wife, Betsie, two days before he died. He died on Sept. 20, 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga. He is buried at the Brunson graveyard near Darlington. It is said that his wife struggled considerably following his death, and carried a pistol with her daily as she worked as a seamstress. A monument to Axalla has been put in place at the Grove Hill Cemetery near Darlington, where many of the Hooles are also buried.

John Quincy Adams Dabbs was a member of the Pee Dee Artillery and served during the Civil War in the 2nd Company C, Manigualt’s Battalion South Carolina Artillery. Later, he served in other battalions headed by Pegram, Walker & Manly.

In 1912, J.W. Brunson, a civil engineer (possible brother of Betsie Brunson Hoole), writes from Florence to Euphrasia
about the memories of “your old house near the mineral springs, Zella and Stin [Zella was short for Axalla], and his chickens and the horse which stepped when told....[Stin was reported to have been quite the horse-trainer]. Of the pitcher stained by the minerals in the water.”

He talks of firing side-by-side with John Q. [sic] in Fredericksburg and how he thought they would both die for sure. He takes great pleasure in the fact that he assisted to get the cross which John Quincy Dabbs so gallantly and respectfully wore. Euphrasia’s youngest brother, Stanislaus (Uncle Stin), would also receive the cross indicating courage and honor during the war. It now hangs in Fern Park in Martha Dabbs Greenway’s kitchen.