Eugene Whitefield Dabbs: Heritage I

Eugene Whitefield Dabbs
The history of the Dabbs family (perhaps spelled “Dobbs”) has been passed down in stories from one generation to another. We believe the first ancestor to arrive in this country emigrated from England to Maryland, and was a descendent of Sir Richard Dabbs, Lord Mayor of London. 

We are told that he was not very well received, since he was not a Catholic and may have been a preacher of a different faith. From there, he and his family moved to Virginia, where he had two sons. One son settled in Henrico County (Richmond) and then Halifax County (southern Virginia bordering North Carolina). To date, there is no confirmation of these stories. While court records in Virginia make a reference to a Robert Dabbs in York County in 1670, and then in Henrico County in 1679, and to a Richard Dabbs in Lower Norfolk County in 1687, we have not been able to make a direct link to the Eugene Whitefield Dabbs family.

Around 1746 to 1747, and perhaps due to failing health, Joseph Dabbs began to sell his property holdings in Goochland County, and moved his family south to Lunenburg County, to a section that eventually became Charlotte County, Virginia. In late 1748 or early 1749, Joseph Dabbs died, leaving a wife, Nancy, and a number of young children. The administration of the estate of Joseph Dabbs was concluded in 1754, and can be found in Lunenburg County, Will Book 1, 1746-1762, beginning on page 172. Although recorded in a Will Book, these court records indicate that Joseph Dabbs died without a will, which caused his property to pass in share to his widow and children. Of note, his estate included at least seven slaves.

What we know about the children of Joseph Dabbs, Sr.

By 1754, Nancy Hoggett Dabbs had remarried to a man named James Webb. James and Nancy, along with her daughters and youngest son, Joseph, moved to Wake County (Raleigh) North Carolina, and then to Anson County (Wadesboro), North Carolina, which borders South Carolina. Court records provide the following information about the children. 

  • William Dabbs remained in Charlotte County, Virginia. He died in 1804, and his estate administration can be found in Will Book 2, page 297. 
  • Eleanor Dabbs died an infant.
  • In 1760, Mary Dabbs married Patrick Boggan (1731-1816), an immigrant from Ireland, in Anson County, and died in that county in 1816. They had at least one child, Mary Boggan (1763-1830), who married John May (1756-1819). A deed involving the transfer of ownership of several slaves owned by William Dabbs (received from his deceased sister, Eleanor and who had been received from the estate of her father, Joseph Dabbs) to Mary Dabbs Boggan has been used to verify the lineage of William, Mary and Eleanor as Joseph Dabbs’ children. (Deed Book B2, page 342, Anson County, recorded November 13, 1790).
  • Richard Dabbs remained and became a prosperous and prominent citizen of Charlotte County, Virginia. After the death of his first wife (name unknown), he married Anna Hanna. Richard died in 1809, and his will, proven in Charlotte County in September 1809 (Will Book 3, page 11 , Charlotte County), contains bequests to a number of children, including sons Joseph (the eldest), George, Richard, William, Josiah, and James; and daughters Polly Dabbs Lumpkin, Nancy Dabbs Gill, Sally Vaughn, and Elizabeth Dabbs Mitchell (wife of William Mitchell).
  • The third child from this family, Richard Dabbs, Jr., entered the Baptist ministry, establishing and leading several churches in Charlotte County. He was eventually called to serve as pastor of the first Baptist Church of Nashville, Tennessee, overseeing the building of that church and serving as its pastor until his death in 1825. Many Dabbs descendants from this family can now be found in Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas. In 1923, a letter found at fern Park addressed to Eugene Whitefield Dabbs from E.C. Dargan in Nashville, Tennessee, indicated that Mr. Dargan had spoken with a Dr. Dabbs, a descendent of Richard Dabbs, and had visited the old family home, which still incorporated the original log cabin of the Rev. Richard Dabbs, five miles outside of Nashville.
Below is the Eugene Whitefield Dabbs family line (Click to Enlarge).
(Click the "Back" button on your browser to return)

The first ancestor of Eugene Whitefield Dabbs that we can confirm is Joseph Dabbs, who was born around 1700 to 1705. He was the great-great grandfather of Eugene Whitefield Dabbs. He settled in Goochland County, Virginia, Saint James Parish. In 1728, Goochland County was a portion of Henrico County, and is located roughly 30 miles due west of Richmond. Deed records reflect that Joseph Dabbs was a significant land owner in Goochland County. He married Nancy Hoggett, daughter of Anthony Hoggett, on July 1, 1733. Joseph and Nancy had several children between 1737 and 1746, including William, Mary, Eleanor, Richard, Anne and Joseph. The Eugene Whitefield Dabbs lineage continues through the youngest son, Joseph.