Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 290
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
Josephus Dorr, who follows farming in Rice county, is numbered among the honored veterans of the Civil war, and upon the field of battle he manifested his loyalty to the cause of the Union, battling earnestly for its support, that the alliance of states might not be destroyed. He was born in Athens county, Ohio, December 1, 1840, and the common schools provided him his educational privileges. The ancestry of the family can be traced back to three brothers who came from England to America and settled in Massachusetts, where they engaged in farming. Berrick Dorr, the great-grandfather of our subject, was a descendant of one of these brothers. His son, William Dorr, was the grandfather of our subject and the founder of the family in Ohio, for emigrating westward he settled in Athens county, that state, at a very early day. By occupation he was a farmer and upon the family homestead he reared his children, six in number, namely: Matthew, Joseph, Edward, Lucy, Fanny and Ann. Of this number Edward was a Methodist minister.
Matthew Dorr, the father of our subject, was reared in Ohio, where he remained throughout his entire life, his death occurring on the 22nd of March, 1882, when he had attained the age of seventy-five years. He engaged in the tilling of the soil and lived the life of a plain, honest farmer, and being respected for his fidelity to duty and his allegiance to his family. His wife still survives him and is yet living in the old home in Ohio, at the ripe old age of eighty-eight years. Their children were: Josephus; Adeline, who died in early girlhood; Edward, who served in the late rebellion and is now in Nebraska; Charles, who is living in Ohio; Leander, who is located on the old family homestead; and Mrs Elizabeth Poston.
In his parentsí home Josephus Dorr remained throughout the period of childhood and youth and assisted in the farm work, but after the inauguration of the war he could not content himself to follow the plow when his country needed the aid of her loyal sons, and therefore on the 5th of December, 1861, he enlisted in Company K, Sixty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which regiment was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee, with General William Sherman in command. He remained at the front until the close of the war and was a loyal and faithful defender of the Union. He was only five days at home during his entire service, and never received a furlough, but was detailed on special duty, and while in that capacity, being near home, he embraced the opportunity of visiting his relatives. He saw hard service and never shrank from duty, no matter how difficult the service required of him. When his first term of enlistment had expired he received an honorable discharge and then veteranized, thus serving until the close of the war. He participated in many important battles, including the engagement at New Madrid; Island No. 10; the first and second battles of Corinth, the regiment losing forty-five per cent of its men in the second engagement; the battles of Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, Decatur, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Savannah, Georgia; Pocotaligo, South Carolina; Black River Bridge, Bentonville and many other skirmishes. The regiment was always to be seen in the midst of the fray, ready to march against the enemy. Many of its members were cut off by rebel bullets and were laid to rest beneath the southern soil. Mr Dorr marched with Sherman to the sea and was near Bentonville when Lee surrendered. He afterward went with his command to Washington, where he took part in the grand review, a most notable occasion, being the most brilliant military pageant ever seen upon the continent. He was afterward sent to Louisville, Kentucky, where he was mustered out and then transported to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where he received an honorable discharge and was paid off July 8, 1865. He was never taken prisoner and received only slight wounds, yet was always faithful to his duty, whether upon the firing line or picket line.
With a most creditable military record Mr Dorr returned to his fatherís home, where he made a pleasant visit, but the same year went to Iowa, where he was employed as a farm hand. Later he purchased some raw land and improved a farm. This he afterward sold in order to turn his attention to merchandising, and subsequently he disposed of his store and went to Nebraska, where he engaged in the same line of business until 1868, at which time he returned to Iowa. In Mills county, in the latter state, he married Miss Nancy E Lookabill, a lady of intelligence and culture, who was born in Putnam county, Indiana, March 28, 1845, being a daughter of Jacob and Mary A (Wilson) Lookabill, natives of North Carolina and Kentucky, respectively. They were married in Indiana and in 1847 he and his wife went to Iowa, locating in Wapello county. There the father secured a land warrant which he located, and improved a farm, which he later sold, going thence to Mills county, Iowa, where he developed another farm, upon which he spent his remaining days. He died in 1865, having survived his wife some time. They had three children: Nancy E, now Mrs Dorr; Sarilda, the deceased wife of J Moore, a soldier of the Civil war; and Cynthia, the wife of J Smith. The father had been previously married and the children of that union were: Christopher, who was a Union soldier; David; Samuel; Jane, the wife of William Anderson; and Elizabeth, the wife of J Adkins. The home of Mr and Mrs Dorr has been blessed with three sons: William, a railroad agent, who was born June 8, 1869; Walter J, born August 4, 1870, and now operating the home farm; and Edmond T, who was born March 26, 1872, and is also following farming.
After his marriage Mr Dorr remained in Mills county, Iowa, until 1879, when he removed to Kansas, settling in Rice county. Here he purchased two hundred and forty acres of raw prairie land from the railroad company. It is located in Mitchell township and is yet his place of abode. He brought with him to the county two two-horse teams and his household goods, and thus he had everything with which to begin life in the Sunflower state. He first erected a small house and engaged in breaking prairie, after which he took up his farm work in earnest, and his place has been self-sustaining ever since. When he came here all farming was carried on on a small scale and much was said about failures, but undaunted by this he worked on with unfaltering purpose and strong energy, and although some years crops have proved a failure, he has always had enough to support the family, and many years his labors have been crowned with success and brought to him a rich financial reward. He carried on general farming and stock-raising, and altogether his career has been a successful one. He today owns a half section of valuable land, all under fence and highly cultivated. He has remodeled and enlarged the house and now has a commodious and attractive residence, in the rear of which stand good barns and outbuildings, and an orchard and grove add to the value and attractive appearance of the farm, which is pleasantly and conveniently situated two miles north of Mitchell. Prosperity has crowned his endeavors and he is now one of the prominent citizens of his community. He is both widely and favorable known and commands the confidence and respect of all. Politically he is independent, supporting the men whom he thinks best fitted for office, regardless of party affiliations. He has filled many township offices, including that of township trustee, and no obligation or trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed. Both he and his wife are consistent and devoted members of the Methodist church in Mitchell, doing what they can to support and advance the cause of Christianity. In social circles they have made many friends and well deserve mention in this volume.