There are currently 133 descendents of Maude McBride and Eugene Whitefield Dabbs, with at least one more expected before the end of 2011. Of those, 119 are living today. That’s impressive when one remembers that James McBride died at age 23 having had only two children and of those two children, only Maude McBride Dabbs had children of her own. An even more important observation is that 79 of the descendents are currently 35 years old or younger, which implies that our numbers will increase significantly over the next 25 years. If you add spouses there are an additional 42 people directly connected to this family as of this date.
Occupations range from teaching in all levels of education to banking, medicine, law and law enforcement, insurance, government, public service, and private small business ownership. We have three engineers, one interior designer, a conference planner, one director of the local cultural center and one physicist. One member works full time with a not-for-profit food bank, although several others would contend they also work not-for-profit. Billy Dabbs, the oldest living member of the family, is the only one who still farms: not-for-profit. An unusual number have their pilot licenses or have careers in the air industry. Several have musical talents that they have used to the betterment of their local communities. One is retired CIA. We only have one politician, although most of us know how to run the country better than anyone currently in office (no matter who's currently in office) and will tell you so in a heartbeat. Several have held public positions such as serving as commissioners or on boards of education. We are a very civic-minded family. Politically we run the spectrum and it’s our favorite topic of debate. We do have several political activists who are willing to stand in picket lines and go to jail if needed. We have two experts in homeopathic healing and a few cousins who do things we don’t really understand, but we are very sure it’s very important. Most are also husbands and wives and mothers and fathers, occasionally sooner than we might consider advisable. We are all computer-savvy and there is at least one computer and one e-mail address in every home. Eighty-nine percent of those 20 or older are either in college or have completed a college degree. While the majority remains in the southeastern USA, others currently live as far away as Japan, Canada, London, Peru, Hawaii, Idaho, Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, New York and California which are all foreign countries, as far as most of us are concerned.
We have only one minister in the family which may account for the fact that Presbyterians (“The Frozen
Chosen”) believe in predestination, so we know that already we are predestined to be saved. Most have remained under the wing of the Presbyterian Church, especially as it relates to Salem Black River Presbyterian Church. Better known as this is where many still come to be baptized, married and buried. Whether venturing out into the unstill waters of Mormonism, Quakerism, Judaism, Buddhism, atheism, or Meher Baba, the vast majority still look for safe haven in the final resting place of their ancestors. It appears to have meaning to lie within the sanctuary of one’s own tribe. Brick Church,
Annually, the one event when the family still gathers together is Thanksgiving. Traditionally, each of the Eugene W. Dabbs’ children shared in dividing up the holiday celebrations between their homes. Christmas was celebrated at the family home of Eugene W. Dabbs and Mother Sudie. Thanksgiving was at EW Dabbs, Jr., and Stella’s. Easter was at James and Edith’s, and New Year’s celebrations were at Sophie and Elizabeth’s with the memorable bowl of eggnog with more than just a touch of bourbon and rum.
As years went by and the family size increased, Thanksgiving became the only event for the extended family. As more and more people began to attend on a regular basis, it has become an extendedweekend of family reunions,story-telling, golf, and a great meal provided by everyone who comes. More than eighty relatives attend. We look forward to many more of those to come.
Where are they now,
The flowers that yesterday
So gaily gave their sweetness
To the air?
Vanished in time,
In space perhaps they still
Sweeten eternal summer
With some perfume rare.
- Sophie McBride Dabbs