EWD: Life I

John Quincy Dabbs and Euphrasia Hoole had two sons: Eugene Whitefield Dabbs, born April 15,1864; and his brother, James Hoole Dabbs, born in 1865.

Eugene’s first name was probably after his mother’s brother, Eugene Samuel Hoole, who moved to Eufaula, Alabama, and became a doctor. One reference gives 1856 as his year of death; however, reference is made in his brother Stin’s obituary that he had one brother living in Alabama who died in 1901.

Eugene’s middle name, Whitefield, was in honor of George Whitefield, a traveling evangelist whose religious views were part of the Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s. This evangelist traveled throughout eastern portions of the United States during the late 1700s and early 1800s and was renowned for his oratory skills. The name is pronounced as Whit-field and not White-field. In later spellings the “e” was sometimes eliminated to coincide with the pronunciation. Since it has become a common name within the Dabbs family, it is not unusual to see it spelled both ways. Eugene’s brother, James Hoole Dabbs, was named after his grandfather Hoole. James died at the age of 20 and never had any children.

John Quincy Adams died in 1880, and his second son, James, died five years later. A marker that jointly bears the names of James Hoole Dabbs and John Quincy Adams Dabbs with their years of birth and death can be found in the cemetery of the Darlington first Presbyterian Church. The inscription for the elder reads “Mark the perfect man; and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace.” For the younger it reads “Safe in the arms of Jesus.” Due to the fact that Euphrasia had very little money at the time of her husband’s and son’s deaths, it would be safe to guess that Eugene Whitefield Dabbs had the marker placed in the cemetery in memory of his father and brother at a later date.

Notes written by E.W. Dabbs the day after his mother’s death on July 16, 1919, detail a life until her mid-fifties that was harsh and challenging. He describes his mother as a devout Presbyterian and a member of the Darlington Presbyterian Church. He mentions that the family, regardless of having a limited income, religiously gave 20 to 25 percent of their earnings to their respective churches, the Presbyterian Church in Darlington and Black Creek Baptist Church.

In a will written by Eugene Whitefield Dabbs prior to the death of his second wife, Eugene leaves a scholarship to Thornwell Orphanage in memory of his mother and brother, who were members of The First Presbyterian Church in Darlington, and then a matching scholarship to Connie Maxwell Orphanage in memory of his father and Aunt Hannah, who were members of Black Creek Baptist Church. He does not specify which church he, himself, was a member of as a young man; however, we do know that, after his father’s death and their move to the Privateer Section of South Carolina, E.W. Dabbs and his mother became members of the Wedgefield Presbyterian Church.