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The Dobyns family on the move
Dobyns Chronicals
Ever Westward by Shirley McLain
 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: October 12, 2010      Views: 1212
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I changed my name from Texasgal to Okiegal since I'm no longer living in Texas.

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The Dobyns family in Virginia migrated west landing in Texas and then on to Oklahoma. This is a partly fictional story about my line of the Dobyns family.

My name is Charlie Dobyns. I'm an old man now, but stay young at heart. I'm want to tell you a story of pioneer travels, hardship, and how the family pulled together through all the trials and tribulations faced along the way.

My Grandpa was born in Montgomery Country Virginia November 30, 1765 Samuel and Winifred Dobyns. No one knew why Grandma Winifred named my Grandpa, Dangerfield Dobyns. He never had a middle name. They said, he got his unusual name because of all the fighting that went on around their farm, or it could've been the name of a family member in England. He never did like his name, but eventually he became known as Dan Dobyns.

Virginia was Grandpa Dan's home until he was almost ten years old. It seems a war with England was on the horizon because of England overtaxing the colonies. My Grandpa Samuel and Grandma Winifred packed up what belongings they had in two wagons with their eight kids, and headed west. Using those two wagons they drove and walked across the mountains into Tennessee. They settled on two sections of land right on the Cumberland River.

Since Dan was the youngest, of seven brothers and sisters, he said there were to many Ma's and Pa's around him. Every one of his brothers and sisters bossed him around and took care of him until he got large enough to start working.

The girls helped Winifred, in taking care of the cooking, cleaning, gardening and sometimes plowing. All the girl things that has to be done around a working farm, which to them was anything they were told to do. Dan and his brothers, did the outside work, plowing, feeding and any additional Grandma Winifred wanted done. Hard work was a way of life for the family. They had to work hard to survive.

In 1775, Tennessee was still a wild place, with Indians all around. Daniel Boone only opened a path into Tennessee a short time before Samuel and his family arrived there. The Wilderness Trail was the road they traveled on. Samuel said, "If Daniel Boone can do it, then so can I." It was told, the road wasn't I decent condition. You could walk it easy enough, but it was hard work to get the wagons through.

*As white settlers poured across the mountains, the Cherokee tried to compensate themselves with territory taken by fighting with a neighboring tribe. This time their intended target, was the Chickasaw, but this was a mistake. Anyone who tried to get something from the Chickasaw regretted it, if he survived. After eleven years of intermittent conflict ended with a major defeat at Chickasaw Oldfields (1769), the Cherokee gave up and began to explore the possibility of new alliances to resist the whites. Both the Cherokee and Creek attended the 1770 and 1771 meetings with the Ohio tribes at Sciota but did not participate in Lord Dunnmore's War (1773-74) because the disputed land was not theirs. On the eve of the American Revolution, the British government scrambled to satisfy the colonists and negotiate treaties with the Cherokee ceding land already taken from them by white settlers. To this end, all means, including outright bribery and extortion, were to be employed Lochaber Treaty (1770); and the Augusta Treaty (1773) ceding 2 million acres in Georgia to pay for debts to white traders. For the same reasons as the Iroquois relinquishment of Ohio in 1768, the Cherokee tried to protect their homeland from white settlement by selling property they did not actually control. In the Watonga Treaty (1774) and the Overhill Cherokee treaty (Sycamore Shoals) (1775), they sold all of eastern and central Kentucky to the Transylvania Land Company (Henderson Purchase).

Even though, these agreements were a clear violation of existing British law, they were used later to defend the American takeover of the region. The Shawnee also claimed these lands but, of course, no one asked them. With the Iroquois selling the Shawnee lands north of the Ohio, and the Cherokee selling the Shawnee lands south, where could they go? Not surprisingly, the Shawnee stayed and fought the Americans for 40 years. Both the Cherokee and Iroquois were fully aware of the problem they were creating. After he had signed the bill of sale, a Cherokee chief allegedly took Daniel Boone aside to say, "We have sold you much fine land, but I am afraid you will have trouble if you try to live there."

Not all the Cherokee honored these agreements. There was always some kind of political stuff, or fighting going on back in those days, when the country was new. The Indians were fighting each other or fighting the white man. It doesn't look like Great-Grandpa Samuel could run fast enough to get ahead of it. I can't honestly say much has changed.

Samuel and his family, fought Indians, drought and protected the land from crooks. There was always people coming from the East to try and take what little money, or land the family had. Samuel made peace with the local Indians, and persuaded them to help protect the property. In turn, he supplied the village with food to help see them through the winter.

Samuel died from an accident when Dan was sixteen years old. The story goes; he and one of my Great-uncles, were out in the woods cutting trees for a new smokehouse. Since Samuel could not move quickly due to his arthritis, he could not get out of the way of a big tree. It fell in the wrong direction and landed right on top of him. I think Pa said, Dan was forty-three years old. Don't you know that was a difficult time for Winifred and her eight kids? They buried Dan by the large water oak tree just south of the house. Winifred could look out the kitchen window and see Dan whenever she wanted to. I can just imagine she spent a lot of time looking out that window.

They continued to have a happy life. All the boys hunted, as well as worked the fields. They made it good until Pa's older brother, William, died a couple of years later by a wild boar. Obviously those wild hogs can be mighty mean, and tear a man apart with those tusks.

All Dan's brothers stayed right there on that farm, and worked it until Winifred died in 1795. She was only fifty-five years old, but Pa said, she looked a lot older. She had a tough life having eight children, and then caring for them until they were up big enough to take care of her. I never knew how my pa could know what she looked like, but he told me his Pa was all the time telling him stories about his life.

Two of the son's stayed on at the farm after Grandma died. Everyone else just scattered and started making their own way in life. At the end of 1795, my Pa headed for Indiana. He had heard it was plentiful land, and a man could make himself a respectable living. He thought Indiana would be what he has always wanted, so he headed north.

He ended up settling on the White River near the Delaware Indian village of Strawbridge. It is located in the east-central part of Indiana, near Muncie. He got him a section of land and began farming. It wasn't long before he decided it was time for him to start a family of his own. He had a three-room cabin built, and everything was ready. He knew just the girl he was going to marry to. He had met her at the trading post a couple of times. Dangerfield told my pa, she was the prettiest girl he had ever laid eyes on. She had bright green eyes and coal-black hair, that hung to her waist when let it down. Her name was Eve Barger.

Clearly she agreed to marry him, because she was my Grandma Eve. I never got to meet her; she passed on before I was born. Anyway, her and grandpa got married November 3, 1795. Like his father, my Pa had seven siblings. Life just repeated itself, the boys helped do the farming, and the girls helped keep house, cook and sew.

In 1818, my Grandpa Dan decided he had seen enough of Indiana, and moved his family to Grayson County Texas. They got a farm right on the Red River. That is where my Pa, Kennerly was born in 1820. He lived his whole life on that Red River farm land.

I said he lived there his whole life, but that's not entirely true. After Grandpa Dan had died in 1845, and his Mama died in 1850, he went back to Indiana for a while to meet relatives they had there. He even married in 1854. I know I have brothers and sisters there, but I never met them. It seems my Pa, and the woman couldn't get along, so he headed back to Texas and the farm. He even brought a woman back with him who turned out to be my mother, Eliza. Pa and Ma married in 1872 and then proceeded to produce me, Charles Kenly Dobyns. In 1878, my brother David was born, and then in 1884 my sister, Viola came into the world.

Why they spaced us kids so far apart, I didn't find out until later. It seems my ma had a several babies who died after they were born. No one actually knew the cause; they said it was God's will. As Ma was Cherokee Indian, she did have some different ways about her, but she was a Christian. I think Pa said she was Church of Christ, so I think that made us Church of Christ also.

Ma was extremely strict on us boys. I can't tell you the number of times she has warmed our backside with Pa's belt or washed our mouth's out with soap, for saying a curse word. It seemed Pa could get away with it but me and my brother sure couldn't.

Since Viola was so small, David and I had to help Ma with house chores, as well as Pa out in the field. Most of the time, I was the one in the field and David would take care of the chores around the house. He may have been small, but he sure was strong. I guess we were all strong, from cutting wood, pulling water from the well and just general hard work.

It seemed like Ma was always making clothes, and cooking even though I know she did several other chores, as well. She taught Viola how to make butter early. Ma let her move the dasher up and down in the churn for as long as she could. I think Ma was helping Viola develop muscles like us boys. Sometimes Ma would have Viola go out to the wood shack and pick up small pieces of wood for kindling. That sturdy old wood cook stove used lots of wood.

In the summertime, Ma would get up early and get the rest of us up, and build a fire outside to cook, so we wouldn't have such a hot house. She would usually cook enough at one time to keep us fed all-day. I can still taste those biscuits made in the Dutch oven. We always had fresh honey or molasses to eat with our biscuits.

Times were good then, or so I thought. It is strange what kids think they know, but don't know anything at all. I was to learn a lot in the next couple of years.


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Author Notes
This is a work of fiction with truth spattered throughout. The family and dates are real as well as the areas where they lived.
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