Williams, Michigan: Kalamazoo County Ghost Town
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Dobbin families in Williams

Two Dobbin brothers, Peter and his younger brother James, were natives of Ireland. An 1873 plat map shows "P & J Dobbin" having the 80 acres along the railroad tracks in Williams on the south side, adjacent to the 80 acres of Chester Williams. Sometime between 1873 and 1890, the brothers sold their property and moved south of EF Avenue.



1890 plat map image

The 1890 plat map shows the adjacent properties of James and Peter Dobbin south of Williams


Here's how their families appeared in the 1880 federal census:


Peter Dobbin  age:36  Birthplace:IRE  Occupation:Farmer
Mary J. Dobbin  age:25  Birthplace:MI
Elisabeth Dobbin  age:6  Birthplace:MI
Francis Dobbin  age:1  Birthplace:MI


James Dobbin  age:34  Birthplace:IRE  Occupation:Farmer
Mary A. Dobbin  age:22  Birthplace:MI
Elisabeth M. Dobbin  age:1  Birthplace:MI


According to Florence Finkey's book about Alamo Township history, the first brickyard to be established on the clay soils near Williams was that of Peter Dobbin.

The brickyard was started about 1880 on the rear of Peter's farm. About 1888, Peter built a brick house for his family with his "slop bricks" on the property and it still stands, although it's been modified since. A day's work in the brickyard might yield 7500 bricks.



Dobbin house photo

The Peter Dobbin brick house (date unknown)
Source: Alamo Township Museum



Here's how their families appeared in the 1910 federal census:


Peter Dobbin  age:66  Birthplace:IRE  Occupation:Farmer on Home Farm
Mary Dobbin  age:55  Birthplace:MI
Elizabeth A. Dobbin  age:36  Birthplace:MI  Occupation:Clerk and Saleswoman
William H. Dobbin  age:20  Birthplace:MI  Occupation:Farm Laborer on Home Farm


Frank Dobbin  age:30  Birthplace:MI  Occupation:Merchant at Rural Store
Blanch L. Dobbin  age:30  Birthplace:MI
Gladys Dobbin  age:7  Birthplace:MI
Bernhard Dobbin  age:4  Birthplace:MI


Photo of Lizzie Dobbin holding Bernhard

Photo of Peter's daughter, Lizzie holding Frank's son, Bernhard



Note that Peter's son, Frank has married and started his own family. I find no sign of the James Dobbin family near Williams in the 1910 census.


If you have anything you'd like to see added to this webpage, please contact me (Tom) at: williamsmichigan @ earthlink.net.  Questions and comments are also welcome!

This website was last updated on May 14, 2008.