Oliver E. Dobson
OLIVER E. DOBSON is now serving his second term as sheriff of Seward County. He has had more than the ordinary share of experiences as an early settler, a land owner and farm developer in different localities of Western Kansas and is a citizen of Seward County whose record commanded unequivocal confidence and esteem.
Mr. Dobson has spent almost all his life in Kansas. He was born in Winnebago County, Illinois, June 1, 1868, and his parents left that section of Northern Illinois and journeyed overland to Bourbon County, Kansas, in the same year as his birth. Accompaning the Dobsons were the Thayers, Woodcocks, Andersons and others, who established homes near Bronson and were among the pioneers in that part of Southeastern Kansas.
James Dobson, father of Sheriff Dobson, was born in Lincolnshire, England, and he did not live long after the removal of the family to Bronson, Kansas. He married at Troy, New York, Emily Barker, who was also a native of Lincolnshire, England. She married for her second husband Robert T. Anderson, an old neighbor in Kansas, and she died at the home of her daughter in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in February, 1915. Her children by her marriage to James Dobson were: Mrs. Mary Rhodes, of Las Animas, Colorado; Mrs. Emily Pratt, of Lewis, Kansas; Mrs. Laura Gould, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Oliver E.
Oliver E. Dobson after the death of his father grew up in a home of somewhat straitened circumstances, and responsibilities of helping his mother early devolved upon his youthful shoulders. He remained a factor at the home farm until the age of eighteen, then moved out to Sedgwick County, Kansas, and at Goddard joined his sister Laura. There he worked as a farm laborer for a time, and spent five years at Goddard. Mr. Dobson never had opportunity to get a better education than that afforded by the common schools. From Goddard he moved on farther west to Macksville in Stafford County, where he first went to farming for himself. His equipment for that purpose consisted of a team of horses and a few implements, and the land he cultivated was rented. In 1891 and 1892 he had two good crops. The next four years were lean years, in fact a complete failure so far as the produce of the fields were concerned. When those four years had passed into history Mr. Dobson found himself $700 in debt, but he persisted and resolutely turned the plow into the land the next season, and from 1897 there was an upward trend to his fortunes. Having acquired a small balance in cash he went to Edwards County and paid $1,000 for 400 acres of land on the Arkansas River northwest of Kinsley. He soon sold this at a profit, and his next purchase was south of Lewis, a half section which he occupied and farmed for two years with fair success, closing out by another profitable sale and doubling his investment. This was followed by the purchase of another farm at Spearville, on which he spent five years as an active farmer, and during that time made a good living and saw his land increase in value 200 per cent. It was after the sale of his Spearville property that he made his final and probably his permanent move to Seward County, and in this county he bought land northwest of Liberal, paying $2,300 a quarter. At that price of course it was improved land, being the old Joe Fuese ranch. Mr. Dobson at once took possession and was busily engaged as a grain raiser and stock man there until he was elected sheriff of the county.
Politically Mr. Dobson came to manhood as a republican. His first presidential vote was cast for Benjamin Harrison in 1892. Soon afterward he became interested in union labor and acted with the populist party until that organization ceased to function and his trend of thought then brought him naturally into the democratic ranks and he was elected sheriff on that ticket. Seward County's political complexion is somewhat republican, but Mr. Dobson was chosen by a majority of sixty-eight votes the first term and was given an unanimous election the second term. He succeeded Homer H. Edison as sheriff. During his two terms the county has been the scene of almost unbroken peace and order, a reflection of the high quality of the citizenship who live within the limits of the county. There has been only one conviction for a penal offense, and it has been the disagreeable duty of Mr. Dobson to escort only one person to the State Prison at Lansing.
In Stafford County, Kansas, November 10, 1891, Mr. Dobson married Miss Ida E. Brown, who was born in Macoupin County, Ililnois,[sic] June 12, 1873, daughter of John C. and Martha (Easley) Brown, her parents having been early time settlers at Goddard, Kansas. The children of the Brown family were: Frank, deceased; Roy, who lives in the State of Washington; Cora, wife of L. R. Henderson, living at Mutual, Oklahoma; Curtis, living in Texas; Orrin, in Oklahoma; and Mrs. Dobson. Mr. and Mrs. Dobson have an interesting family, named Ollie Elden, Maud Edna and Grace Gladys. The son Ollie E. is now with the aviation corps of the United States army in Europe, his assignment being with the Sixty-Third Aero Squadron. The daughter Maud is still in the family home at Liberal, while Grace G. is the wife of Francis Franklin, of Arkalon, Kansas.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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