Manuscript Collection

Dobkins, William Devol, Photograph Collection, ca. 1879-1968, (R1279)

92 images

This collection contains ninety-two photographs, consisting primarily of contact prints from the original glass-plate negatives.  Of these, at least eighty are attributed to William Devol "Will" Dobkins.  The majority of these images were shot between 1892 and 1920.  They show outdoor views of life in and around Crawford County, Missouri.  The collection includes portraits of families and their homes, school or church groups outside of community buildings, individuals riding horses or mules, farm scenes showing animal-drawn and steam-powered equipment, threshing, wagons with jerkline team hitches, charcoal production, and the Cherry Valley Railroad and Mine.  A few images are studio shots.

William Devol Dobkins was born in 1879 on Courtois Creek near Berryman, Missouri in Crawford County.  He was one of six children born to Joshua "Bud" and Anna Goad Dobkins.  In 1884, Will's father died and his mother remarried his late father's cousin, John Wesley Lambert.  When his mother and stepfather moved to Oklahoma, Will and his other siblings stayed in Missouri to be raised by relatives. Will, along with his step-brother Otto Lambert, were raised by his father's cousin, "Uncle" Charley Dobkins, who lived on Huzzah Creek.

When Will was about twelve years old, he became interested in cameras and photography.  He began experimenting and making photographs with any equipment he could find.  At about that same time, he also decided to enter the Christian ministry.  He started preaching around age 18, speaking at local churches and filling in for local pastors.

Will married Emma Ora Gregory, daughter of Winfield Scott and Susan Jane Compton Gregory on 22 October 1899.  To this marriage were born six children -- Charles Winfield, Theodore Earnest, Mamie Leyla Opal, Pansey (Patricia) Elizabeth, William Arthur, and Marvin Richard. The family settled on Lost Creek, with Will working at Neely Downard's sawmill.  He also preached in Crawford, Iron, Reynolds and Shannon counties.  With his photography equipment and Bible packed, Will's two-week circuit would begin at Palmer, Missouri, where the outgoing mail started, and on to Belgrade and back, in varying routes.  Along the way, he did carpentry work, took photographs, conducted church meetings, performed marriages and funerals, and picked up mail.  When he returned home, he would process the photos he had taken and deliver them on his next circuit.  His photography helped supplement his income, since preaching paid very little.

Will and Ora followed several other families from the area in 1908, relocating to Stroud, Oklahoma to raise cotton.  He continued his ministry and photography there, as well as operating a cotton farm.  By 1918, Will and his family left Oklahoma for St. Louis, Missouri, where he did carpentry work and preached at the Salvation Army.  Tiring of city life, they returned to Crawford County in 1926, and purchased a farm at Berryman, Missouri.  In 1944, with their children gone, Will and Ora moved into a home built by Will in the valley near Steelville.  Ora passed away in 1963.  Will continued to preach on occasions and lived there until his death in 1968 at age 89.

Will's collection of glass-plate negatives was stored in an old outbuilding when he moved to Steelville in 1944.  In the early 1990s, the negatives were salvaged by his grandson, J. L. Dobkins, and offered to WHMC-Rolla for copying.  At that time, there were no identifications for the images.  Later, granddaughter and family genealogist, Beth Dobkins Garrison worked with WHMC-Rolla to provide further information. The identifications and descriptions provided for these images are due to her efforts.  She also loaned over a dozen more images to the collection to append the Dobkins family story.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Western Historical Manuscript Collection in 1993 featured a special exhibition of images from the Dobkins collection at the Curtis Laws Wilson Library on the campus of Missouri University of Science and Technology (then, University of Missouri-Rolla).  The original glass plate negatives were retained by the J. L. Dobkins family; other original images are retained by Beth Dobkins Garrison.

Photocopies from this collection may be used only for private study, scholarship, or research purposes.  All other uses require the explicit permission of the State Historical Society of Missouri and require a completed and signed "Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit, or Broadcast" form.


r555     1 December 1992                    J. L. Dobkins                           loaned for copying     
r1512   15 December 2010                  Beth Dobkins Garrison            loaned for copying

Photograph Inventory
No. Description
dob 01 Rear, L to R: Joshua Sanders, Etta Dobkins Sanders.  Front, L to R: Joshua Franklin Dobkins (brother of Will Dobkins), possibly Alfred Garrison or Otto Lambert, Lenna Lee Sanders, James Herkley Sanders, unknown girl.
dob 02 L to R: Laura Lambert, Earl Lambert (3), Anna Goad Dobkins Lambert (mother of Will Dobkins), unknown woman, John Wesley Lambert, John's father John Chambers Lambert, and John's only sibling, Augustus (Gus), who worked as a muleskinner at the Cherry Valley Mine.
dob 03 Jemima Dobkins Willis (aunt of Will Dobkins) and husband, Richard Willis on front porch of house.
dob 04 Unidentified school with group of children.
dob 05 Unidentified school with group of children.
dob 06 Unidentified school with group of children.
dob 07 Unidentified school with group of children.
dob 08 Hawkins Bank School with group of children.  Hawkins Bank was an iron ore mining area, and a railroad spur was built to it in 1878-79, from the Salem-to-Cuba branch of the railroad (built by St. Louis & Little Rock Railroad).
dob 09 Unidentified school/church with group of people.  Possibly the old Shirley (Missouri) School House, which was also used as a church. [Same building as in #45]
dob 10 Unidentified school with group of children.
dob 11 Unidentified people in a hack, or horse-drawn wagon.
dob 12 Unidentified location, cows in field.
dob 13 Group of people, mostly unidentified. Seated, L to R:  Possibly John Halbert, Lorenzo Harold Gregory (later the brother-in-law of Will Dobkins), and rest unidentified.  Back row, L to R: Lou Gregory (married Cap Skaggs), possibly Gertie Halbert (wife of John Halbert), unidentified girl, and possibly Zella Wymer Gregory (married to Lorenzo) and rest unidentified. [Man in center of front row is in #28.]
dob 14 Hawkins Bank School with group of children, 12 Oct 1895.
dob 15 Old Jimmy Huitt place on Highway 8, L to R: Sarah & John Dobkins, and James (John's brother) & wife, Mary Staples Dobkins. Upper porch is unidentified. [same house as in #38]
dob 16 Unidentified people making hay.
dob 17 Unidentified landscape.
dob 18 Dr. W(alter?) Parker, on main street in Berryman, Mo.  The dog, Grandpa Will said, went along to chase snakes from the roads and lanes, to guard the buggy, and he also was trained to take the reins and move the horses to graze if a house call was of an extended time.
dob 19 Unidentified people in front of house. [same people as #20]
dob 20 Unidentified people in front of house. [same people as #19]
dob 21 Unidentified people with pump organ on porch of house.
dob 22 Unidentified people in front of house.
dob 23 Unidentified men on horses/mules on the old dirt road that went through Berryman/Osage—now Highway 8.
dob 24 Couple on the far right: William E. Compton and wife, Gemima Lewis, a Cherokee woman.  Gemima and William were the parents of Susan Jane Compton, who married Winfield Scott Gregory – they were the parents of Ora Mae, who became Will Dobkins wife.  Others are unidentified.
dob 25 Unidentified people in front of house.
dob 26 Possibly the canning plant at Huzzah, Mo. Locally grown tomatoes were canned and sold. It is unknown whether they were sold locally or shipped elsewhere.  The enterprise didn't survive long.
dob 27 Unidentified girls with Crown pump organ outdoors.
dob 28 Unidentified people in front of house, possibly the Wymer family.  If correct, Zella, who married Lorenzo Harold Gregory, would be 3rd from left.  Midgie & Dimple were sisters of Zella but are unidentified. [man 4th from left is also in #13.]
dob 29 Unidentified people in front of house.
dob 30 Unidentified people in front of house.
dob 31 Raymond Parker Gregory, son of Winfield Scott and Susan Jane Compton Gregory riding a mule on the old dirt road which went through Berryman/Osage—now Highway 8. Later Raymond became a brother-in-law of Will Dobkins. He died December 1, 1911, at age 18 years and 8 months, and is buried in the Lea Cemetery, Leasburg, Mo., where his parents are also buried. 
dob 32 Unidentified man on mule.
dob 33 Front center, next to the children, are Winfield Scott Gregory and his wife, Susan Jane Compton Gregory.  The woman in the back row, far right, with the dark dress and large lace collar is their daughter, Anna Jemima, sister of Mrs. Will Dobkins.  [Note man in center with wooden leg. This is same house with some of the same people that are in #51.]
dob 34 Unidentified men and women standing and riding horses/mules. This is the old dirt road which went through Berryman/Osage—now Highway 8.
dob 35 Unidentified people.
dob 36 Sanders Family group photo, L to R: Frank Dobkins (brother of Will), who was raised by their sister, Etta Dobkins Sanders; John W. Dobkins; unknown Sanders; Joshua Sanders and Etta Dobkins Sanders, with James Herkley "Herk" Sanders and Milas "Sam" Sanders; Lenna Sanders (in front); others are unidentified.  "Herk" was a master fiddler who made wild turkey calls and was also a chef.  "Sam" played the guitar.
dob 37 Unidentified people in front of house.
dob 38 William Green Gregory family, L to R, back row: William Gregory, daughters Louetta and Parthenia Gregory, his wife Ellen Bell Smith Gregory, and son, William Evertte Gregory.  (names of some of the children in the front row are Jessie May, Edward Clark, Levi Harrison and Hallie Eunice but individual identities are not known.  [same house as in #38; same family as in #40]         
dob 39 Sanders Family group photo: Back row, 4th and 5th  from left are Etta Dobkins Sanders and Joshua Sanders, sister and brother-in-law to Will Dobkins. Children in front of fence are Will's siblings, L to R: Earnest Dobkins, Leora Dobkins and Frank Dobkins. 
dob 40 William Green Gregory family, L to R, back row: William Gregory, daughters Louetta and Parthenia Gregory, wife Ellen Bell Smith Gregory, and son William Evertte Gregory.  (names of some of the children in the front row are Jessie May, Edward Clark, Levi Harrison and Hallie Eunice but individual identities are not known.)  [same family as in #38]
dob 41 Studio portrait of unidentified people.
dob 42 Three unidentified men on horses, possibly Henry Farrar on far left.
dob 43 Unidentified people with steam tractor and other equipment in wooded field possibly making hay.
dob 44 Unidentified people in front of house with fence.
dob 45 Unidentified school/church with group of people.  Possibly the old Shirley (Missouri) School House, which was also used as a church.[Same building as in #09]
dob 46 Unidentified group of children in front of unknown school.  In the back row, fourth from right in the light-colored dress, is Ora Gregory, who later became Mrs. Will Dobkins. 
dob 47 Unidentified horse and wagon.
dob 48 Unidentified group of children in front of unknown school.  Ora Gregory, who later became Mrs. Will Dobkins, is wearing the light-colored dress and is standing on the right side of the photo behind the little girl in the front row that is wearing the large cross around her neck. [Same school and some of the same children as in # 46]
dob 49 Unidentified threshing crew with horses/mules, wagons, and steam-powered tractor and separator.
dob 50 Possibly the Chazelle Brothers' farm house on Highway 8 near Shirley, Missouri.  People on porch and in front of house with Appaloosa horse are unidentified.
dob 51 Seated in front: Dick Gregory and wife Lula, his mother-in-law, and his children. Second row starting 6th from left: Hiram Vance, his wife Molly (daughter of Winfield Scott), Winfield Scott Gregory, and his wife Susan, William Greene Gregory, 2 unidentified women, Ora Gregory, unidentified man, Anna Jemima Gregory, and unidentified man. In the back row on the porch, standing on the far right is Edward Franklin Gregory, son of Winfield & Susan. Dick Gregory was an uncle of Will Dobkins' wife, Ora Gregory, and was born in 1864.  He died in 1937, and is buried at Berryman, Missouri.  Winfield Gregory served in the Civil War (Co. E, 50th Missouri Infantry) near Potosi.  He was 16 when he enlisted on 14 Feb 1864. [This is same house with some of the same people that are in #33.]
dob 52 Unidentified people in front of house and unidentified man in background doorway.
dob 53 Unidentified group of men with horses/mules and wagons.
dob 54 Cherry Valley Railroad mine train with three unidentified men.  Man standing in back on the train coupling is possibly William Gregory.  The Cherry Valley Railroad was built in 1877, and went from Steelville and the Midland community to the Cherry Valley mine.
dob 55 Unknown farm house, buildings and landscape.
dob 56 Alfred Cook (on right) and unidentified man in front of log cabin.  Cook married Effie Coleman and had several children. His father, Riley P. Cook, was twice-married and had over a dozen children.  Riley P. Cook was a Justice of the Peace in Crawford County, and performed the marriage ceremony of Will Dobkins' sister Etta, to Joshua Sanders, her first husband, at Berryman.
dob 57 William Gregory with team of mules and wagon loaded with lumber. An early settler of Crawford County, he was an uncle of Ora Gregory, who married Will Dobkins.   This type of hitch was known as a 'jerkline' team, since the harness was set up to be worked (or jerked) with an attached rein or 'line.'
dob 58 Unidentified group of men with a 'jerkline' team of mules pulling a large steam boiler on wheels.
dob 59 Unidentified group of people with steam tractor, wagons and horses/mules.
dob 60 Unidentified group of men working at Cherry Valley Mine.  This is Pit #1 which was a 'dry pit'; Pit #2 was a 'wet pit', or filled with water, and was just down the hill from Pit #1.  It was mined by hand with shovels and picks until 1928-29, when mechanical shovels were brought in. This mine covered nearly 9 acres, and produced iron pyrite. 
dob 61 Unidentified men with wagons and horses/mules making hay.
dob 62 Portrait of three unidentified men with their rifles and hunting dogs.  Man in center is possibly Earnest Albert Dobkins, brother of Will Dobkins.
dob 63 Sisters Parthenia and Lou Gregory, daughters of William Green and Ellen Bell Smith Gregory, posing with their Queen pump organ outdoors.
dob 64 Unidentified group of people in front of house and sitting on fence.
dob 65 Unidentified group with mule-drawn hay cutting equipment.  Person driving the mules is possibly Susan Gregory (Will Dobkins mother-in-law).   
dob 66 Group of men working in field.  Second from left is Abe Jamison, one of the only families of African-Americans living in Crawford County.  He had several descendents, some part white, who continued to live in the county, and owned property there.  One of the most loved of those descendents was Harry Jamison, who is still remembered fondly by today's county residents.
dob 67 Unidentified men working at unknown charcoal or coke production business. Many of these businesses were on local farms, such as my great-grandfather's farm. They burned local hickory and oak wood which was cut into charcoal and hauled to the Midland mine furnaces to process ore. Some even made its way to the Sligo and Scotia mines.
dob 68 Man with mule-drawn wagon, possibly Gus Lambert who was a muleskinner for the mines, or one of the  Davis family, for which Davisville, Missouri, was named.
dob 69 Group of people in front of barn with ox-drawn wagon and several mules/horses. "Miss Effie" Staples, the midwife for Crawford County, is on the horse. She delivered many children, though never having any of her own.  At an advanced age, she was still midwife for the Berryman/Huzzah area.
dob 70 Unidentified men with mule-drawn lumber wagon.
dob 71 Group of men playing baseball in front of the store in Butts, Mo.  A weekly game was played there on Sundays in season.  Players were chosen at random if no established team held together during the season. The store in Butts is no longer standing.
dob 72 Man on horse, possibly one of the Davis family of men.
dob 73 Man on horse, Raymond Parker Gregory, on the old dirt road which went through Berryman/Osage—now  Highway 8.
dob 74 Cain Whitecotton, blacksmith in Berryman, Mo. was born in 1848, and lived to be over 100.  The Whitecottons were two of the first settling families in Crawford County. They emigrated from Virginia by wagon.  Cain had the first smithy in Berryman. When the business waned with the loss of the industries there, he moved his smithy business to Steelville. He married Anna Lea, and his children were Laura (who married into the Bass family of Steelville), Ben, Anna, Champ, William, Hazel, and Beth.  Anna married one of the Gregory men.
dob 75 Portrait of unidentified woman.
dob 76 Portrait of unidentified soldier wearing a cavalry shell coat.
dob 77 Portrait of soldier Milton Franklin Murphy.  [identification from Missouri State Genealogical Association Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Winter 1994), 'Escape from Andersonville Prison.']
dob 78 Group in front of house in Oklahoma, circa 1916. L to R: Will Dobkins, William Arthur Avery (in wagon, front), Theodore Ernest Dobkins (in wagon, back), Mamie Leyla Opal Dobkins (behind wagon) and Pansey Elizabeth Dobkins. Will preached and share-cropped there briefly before returning to Missouri.  
dob 79 Group of people in front of house, 1900. L to R: unidentified on horseback (possibly Cain Farris), Earnest Albert Dobkins, Sarah (Sally) Walton Dobkins, Frank Dobkins, Will Dobkins, Otto Lambert, Lenna Lee Sanders, Etta Mae Dobkins Sanders, Joshua Sanders holding James Herkley (Herk), Joshua Sanders' brother (with bicycle).   
dob 80 Portrait of Leora Dobkins Gibson (Will's sister).  At a very young age, she married John Gibson, who was of Cherokee descent.  She later served as a lady's maid and nanny and was on the Titanic when it sank. Because she had children in her care, she was taken into one of the lifeboats.  You can find her name (Mrs. L. Gibson) on "lifeboat 6" list from the Titanic as a survivor. 
dob 81 Reverend Will Dobkins & wife with their first daughter, Opal.
dob 82 Portrait of Sarah Thompson Dobkins (b. 1812; d. 1890), Will Dobkins grandmother.
dob 83 Portrait of Susan Jane Compton Gregory (Will Dobkins mother-in-law).  She married Winfield Scott Gregory when she was 15 and he was 23.  He passed away in 1919 and Susan lived until 1932. Her mother, Gemima Lewis, was full-blooded Cherokee and was married to William E. Compton. 
dob 84 Portrait of Anna Gemima Gregory, daughter of Susan Jane Compton and Winfield Scott Gregory, and sister-in-law to Will Dobkins.  She died at the young age of 16 or 17 during one of the epidemics of the day.
dob 85 Arlis and Ernest Hanson on horses in the snow.  They were neighbors of Will Dobkins and worked at the same mill with him.
dob 86 Marvin Dobkins (far right), son of Will & Ora Mae Dobkins, with unidentified woman and child posing with a train engine in St. Louis, c. 1920.
dob 87 Portrait of young Hallie Parker, daughter of one of the two Dr. Parkers in the Berryman area. 
dob 88 Charles Winfield Dobkins, first child and son of Will & Ora Dobkins, born July 9, 1900.  He died in 1904 of cerebro-spinal meningitis and is buried at the Courtois Baptist Church in Crawford County, Mo.  His father Will often preached at this church. The land for this church was donated by Will's grandparents, John & Sarah Thompson Dobkins.
dob 89 John & Sarah Thompson Dobkins, Will Dobkins' grandparents (from family tin type).
dob 90 Joshua Dobkins, father of Will Dobkins (from family tin type).
dob 91 Reverend Will Dobkins, age 20, at ordination.
dob 92 Will Dobkins, photo used for his obituary, ca. 1968.

Index Cards

Berryman (Mo.)
Butts (Mo.)
Charcoal industry—Missouri—History
Charcoal kilns—Missouri—History
Cherry Valley Mine (Crawford County, Mo.)
Cherry Valley Railroad (Mo.)
Crawford County (Mo.)
Dent County (Mo.)
Dobkins family—Genealogy
Dobkins, Ora Mae Gregory [Will's wife]
Dobkins, William Devol, 1879-1968
Farm life—Missouri
Gregory family—Genealogy
Hawkins Bank School (Dent County, Mo.)
Huzzah (Mo.)
Iron mines and mining—Missouri—Crawford County
Missouri—Description and travel
Osage (Mo.)
Photograph collections—Missouri
Rural clergy—Missouri—Crawford County
Sanders family—Genealogy
Schools—Missouri—Crawford County
Schools—Missouri—Dent County
Shirley (Mo.)
Steelville (Mo.)
Washington County (Mo.)