Ed Dobbins, City Councilman Picher, Oklahoma 1946

Yesterday we took a look at Mayor L. VOYLES. Today we’ll look at Ed DOBBINS- one of the men who was sworn in as a newly elected official to City Council in May, 1946.
Edward Martin DOBBINS was born 13 January 1877 in Gilman, Iroquois, Illinois to Patrick and Katherine BERRY DOBBINS. Ed had an older brother, Timothy D. DOBBINS. Katherine reported in 1900 that she had 6 children but only 2 were living. Records show the two living children to be Ed and Timothy. Patrick immigrated to the US from Ireland and Katherine (also spelled Cathrine and Catharine) was listed both as being born in Illinois and in Ireland on the 1880 census record.

The DOBBINS family was living in Iroquois County, Illinois, in 1880. By 1900, the family (Patrick, Katherine, and Ed) was living in Galena, Cherokee, Kansas. I was unable to locate Timothy in 1900. He is undoubtedly listed as a boarder, lodger, or hired man but where he was is not known. Timothy’s wife, Mary E. HAINES DOBBINS, and their son John David, were living with Mary’s parents in Webb City, Jasper, Missouri.

In 1910, both Ed and Timothy D. were living in Jasper County, Missouri, with their parents along with the now-widowed Timothy’s sons- John and Albert. Since the Dobbins family was interviewed on the 2nd or 3rd of May, 1910, Ed was still single. His wedding to Lilly M. WRIGHT WATSON happened a little over a month after the census date, on 20 June 1910 in Carthage, Jasper, Missouri. In 1910 prior to marrying Ed, Lilly was a widow raising three children- Ben, Dempsey, and Georgia WATSON- from her marriage to George W. WATSON. On 24 August 1910, just a couple of months after Ed’s wedding, his mother, Katherine Jane BERRY DOBBINS, passed away in Missouri. (http://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1910/1910_00024249.PDF) Her husband Patrick was the informant for the death certificate and stated that Katherine was born in Illinois and that her parents- David Berry and Kate Condon- were both born in Ireland.

On 12 September 1918, Ed completed his WWI Draft Registration Card. At that time, he stated his birthdate as 13 January 1877. He was working as a blacksmith at Fort Worth Mining Company in Douthat, Ottawa, Oklahoma. His nearest relative is Mrs. Lillie Dobbins. He is described as having blue eyes and brown hair and is of medium height and medium build. He was 41 years old.
In 1920, Ed, Lilly, and Georgia were living in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. Ben and Dempsey WATSON are not listed as living with the family in 1920.

Ed’s brother, Timothy, died 6 October 1921 in Missouri. (http://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1921/1921_00028876.PDF) Ed was the informant for the death certificate. Timothy’s middle initial is “B” on his death certificate. In 1921, Ed lived in Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma, according to information on the death certificate.

I found no information to indicate what Ed might have been doing or where he lived between 1921 and 1942. On 25 April 1942 however, Ed completed the WWII Draft Registration Card. He gives his birthdate as 13 January 1878. He is described as being 5’10, weighing 170 pounds, a light complexion, blue eyes and gray hair. He was 64 years old at the time he completed his draft card. Ed was unemployed and living at 429 South Vantage Street, Picher, Ottawa, Oklahoma. He listed Gillman, Illinois, as his birthplace. His contact person on the card was Ernie WOODS who lived at 440 South Treece Street, Picher, Oklahoma. Today, Treece Street stretches between 4th and 5th streets in Picher and Vantage Street is one block West of Treece Street. Both streets lie to the West of Highway 69 in Picher.

Then, in May of 1946 we find Ed listed in the newspaper article that was transcribed in yesterday’s blog entry. We find him being sworn in at the May City Council meeting in Picher after becoming an elected official to the Council. It was, no doubt, an exciting time for him. Son of an Irish immigrant father and first-generation-American mother; having lost almost all of his family by this time; having worked as a mine laborer (1900), short order lunch cook at a restaurant (1910), and blacksmith (1918 and 1920); at the age of 66 he now finds himself in a position to influence events in his town.

Sadly, I don’t know anything more about Ed- whether he had children of his own, what happened during his time as a City Councilman, or his life after 1946 other than that his nephew, John David, died in 1956 in Missouri. (http://www.sos.mo.gov/images/archives/deathcerts/1956/1956_00013691.PDF). I am not even certain that Ed was alive in 1956. But I know that in his later years, he did have at least one bright moment when his peers showed their support for him by electing him to City Council.

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