Compiled by Linda Cunningham Fluharty.


Companies I &C, 6 Reg’t West Virginia Cavalry
[Image from “Dear Esther” by Ralph Haas, 1991]

      Nathan Cleaver Dobbs, born 24 Feb 1840, was the son of George Dobbs, a schoolteacher, and Maria Kemp, of Washington County, Pa. George Dobbs was the son of Augier (also Aungier, Angier, Anger) and Jane Dobbs, both born in Ireland.

      In addition to Nathan C., other known children of George and Maria Dobbs are: Aungier, born 26 Aug 1822; Edith Anna, born Oct 1838 and Asa.

      Maria (Kemp) Dobbs died before 1850. In the census that year, Nathan C. was listed at West Pike Run, Washington County, Pa., with Quakers, Nathan and Sarah Cleaver. Nathan C. was obviously the namesake of Mr. Cleaver.

      Aungier Dobbs, the brother of Nathan, married Esther Smith on 4 Jul 1847 and they remained in Washington County. Aungier’s sister, Edith A., 12, was living with them in 1850.

      Brother, Asa Dobbs, is said to have left Pennsylvania.

      By 1860, George Dobbs, Nathan’s widowed father, had taken a second wife, Sarah. They moved to Marshall County, W. Va., where George’s brother, Aungier, lived with his wife, Margaret Porter. Aungier’s second wife was Marcy Pierce.

      At the outset of the Civil War, Nathan’s brother, Aungier, enlisted in Ringgold’s Cavalry, the 22nd Regiment Pennsylvania Cavalry. He frequently wrote letters to his wife and family and the letters served as the basis for the book, Dear Esther, by Ralph Haas, 1991.

      Nathan C. Dobbs, age 21, enlisted in Company “I” 3rd W. Va. Infantry on 9 Aug 1861. In January 1864, the 3rd Infantry was designated the 6th W. Va. Cavalry; Nathan reenlisted on 27 Mar 1864 and was transferred to Company “C.” He was discharged 17 Jul 1865.

      Edith A. Dobbs married Civil War veteran, Thomas Marple, in Wheeling, W. Va. on 25 Oct 1865. Thomas, from Marshall County, W. Va., was a corporal in Company “C” 12th W. Va. Infantry. With their three children, they made their home on French Creek in Pleasants County, W. Va.

      On 17 Oct 1868, Nathan C. Dobbs married Margaret (Anderson) Harvey in Allegheny City, Allegheny County, Pa. She was the widow of Civil War soldier, John Harvey, whom she had married 13 Nov 1854 in Canton, Stark County, Ohio. John was believed killed on 3 May 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia, while serving in Company “C” 57th Pennsylvania Infantry.

      Margaret Harvey had three children from her first marriage: James Anderson, b. 28 Mar 1856; Margaret Jane, b. 20 Sep 1858; and David Campbell, b. 13 Sep 1860.

      Nathan and Margaret “Maggie” lived in Allegheny City and had two children: George, born about 1869 and Oliva (or Olivia), born about 1873. The family is found in the census records of Allegheny County in 1870 and 1880.

      At the time of the 1910 Census, Nathan C. Dobbs was a resident of the National Soldiers’ Home in Washington, Tennessee. In 1920, he was at the Central Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Jefferson Township, Montgomery County, Ohio.

      In May 1922, Nathan attended the gathering of West Virginia Grand Army of the Republic members at Moundsville, Marshall County, West Virginia.


1922 State G.A.R. Reunion, Moundsville, West Virginia
[Image owned by Linda Fluharty.]

Pleasants County Leader March 18, 1927

Provided by Gerald Bills.

      Nathan C. Dobbs, a veteran of the Civil War was born in West Browns, Pa. in 1840, departed this life at the home of W. S. Marple his nephew on French Creek, March 3rd, 1927, age 87 years and five days. Death was due to complications of disease incident to old age. He was married to Margaret Harvey in 1865, in this union were borned one son and one daughter, Oliva Gay Dobbs, who resides in Detroit, Mich., their son, Geo. preceded them to the Great Beyond in early childhood,also his wife died at early life.
      Funeral services were conducted by Rev. Archer and the remains were laid to rest in the Marple Cemetery, there to await the resurrection day.
      He was held in high esteem by all who knew him.


Dedication of Civil War Gravestone - May 3, 2006
Attendees: John Bills, Martha Baker, Walter Carpenter, Gerald Bills, Marquerite Howard

      As stated in his obituary, Nathan C. Dobbs was buried at the Marple Cemetery, Pleasants County, West Virginia. However, no gravestone was found. In April 2006, a government marker was ordered and in just a few weeks, the gravestone was received by the Ingram Funeral Home in St. Marys.

     Through the efforts of Gerald E. Bills, his brother, John R. Bills, and his cousin, Harold Bills, the gravestone was put into place. The Marple Cemetery is located on the property of Harold Bills.

     A dedication and memorial ceremony was held at the Marple Cemetery on May 3, 2006, with John Bills, Martha Baker, Walter Carpenter (President of the Pleasants County Historical Society), Gerald Bills, Marquerite Howard and Ms. Randa Gregg of the St. Marys Oracle in attendance.

     Marguerite Howard provided the following account of the ceremony:

      "Mr. Bills had the stone covered with a white plastic bag, and had put small flags alongside each gravestone there. I had taken a flag and hung it on the top of the back fence so we would have it to turn to during the playing of the National Anthem.
     Mr. Bills asked me to start the Anthem, then would I remove the cover on the stone while it played. As I did this, Ms. Gregg was taking pictures.
     When the Anthem finished, Mr. Carpenter said a prayer, and talked a little about the Civil War and what the soldiers went through. Following this, Mr. Bills announced I would play Taps, and then we would visit, talk a lot; and take many pictures.
     I told them I would like to say a couple things, and began by saying "Nathan Dobbs has been in this cemetery for 79 years, but anyone who has been here never knew that because there was no marker for him. This has been corrected now because of the efforts of Mr. Bills, his brother John and cousin Harold Bills; and to quote an email I received from Linda Fluharty yesterday; "Mr. Bills and his associates have done a wonderful thing for this West Virginia soldier." I then thanked them again, and the next hour was spent with talking and taking many more pictures."

     Not attending the ceremony were Harold Bills, owner of the Marple Cemetery property, and Katie Bills, wife of project leader, Gerald Bills.


Harold Bills, Owner of Marple Cemetery Property


Katie (Mrs. Gerald) Bills, Project Supporter


Gerald Bills - Introduction - (Gerald Bills)
Martha Baker & niece, Marguerite Howard - (Gerald Bills)
Walter Carpenter, John Bills, Gerald Bills - (Gerald Bills)
Gerald Bills w/ Oracle Reporter, Randa Gregg - (Marguerite Howard)
Gerald Bills - Introduction - (Marguerite Howard)