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Famous Natives of Adair Co.: Col. Ebenezer Lafayette Dohoney

By Mike Watson

When death called Eben[ezer] L. Dohoney on the evening of March 29, [1919] he took from life here to life hereafter a great intellect which had for more than eighty-six years animated the body of a man who measured up to every standard of citizenship--one who loved his God, his fellow man, his country and his family. Born in Adair County, Kentucky, October 13, 1832, of Colonial stock men and women who before the Revolution came from England, Ireland and Scotland to Virginia, where they might order their lives without the behests of kings and whose descendants went over the mountains into the fertile valleys of Kentucky, the advance guards of Pioneers who laid the foundation for our great inland empire.

Eben Dohoney spent his youthful years on his father's farm, getting such education as was then available in the new country. Later he taught the country school and afterwards completed his education in Columbia College and the Louisville Law School. He was admitted to the Kentucky bar, but deciding that greater opportunity lay in the great west he came in 1859 to this state [Texas] and having friends here in the families of the Williams, Ryan, Long and other Kentucky families who had preceded him, he settled in Paris.

Even then the cloud was gathering from which sprang the lightning that for four years split apart the north and south, and believing that the Union formed by the fathers was one for all time he stood for the maintenance of that Union, speaking against secession and having the satisfaction of seeing Lamar county vote against it.

When Texas spoke, however, and aligned herself with the other southern states, he went with her and organized a company, which entered the service of the Confederacy. In 1862 his health became too impaired for work in the field and he was [an] invalid [at] home, where for the remainder of the war he served the government in a civil capacity. Soon after returning home he married Miss Mary, daughter of Dr. A.S. Johnson, and for nearly fifty years they lived their lives together, rearing a family whose members are living examples of the influence of such parents.

Under the federal administration of affairs in Texas, Capt. Dohoney was appointed district attorney, his office having jurisdiction over a large part of northeast Texas. Following this, he was elected to the state senate in 1872 and took a part in the legislation that finally brought Texas back under her own government. He was elected a member of the convention which framed the constitution under which Texas made her [new] growth, and wrote and urged the section under which so many Texas counties banished liquor from their homes.

He was instrumental also in shaping the sections providing for our great public school system, and he always believed that only an educated people were the really free people. Retiring from public life as far as office was concerned, Capt. Dohoney did not lose interest the public affairs.

He practiced law and devoted some time to his farming interests, but above and beyond all he was an advocate of the common peoples' welfare. Finding himself hampered by the hard and fast tenets of the Democratic party, he cut loose from his affiliations there and from time to time aligned himself with those organizations which were trying to bring about reforms along economic lines. Often laughed at as a dreamer, or fanatic, he lived to see many of his then-called theories put into practice, and to see in some degree their benefit. His most ardent wish was for national prohibition and woman's suffrage, but like Moses of old who was permitted to view the Promised Land from a distance, he lived to see but the beginning of these two great forces in our national life. At his own expense, Capt. Dohoney brought Miss Frances Willard to Texas nearly forty years ago, and entertained her in his home while she urged the cessation of the liquor traffic. This was but one of his many personal accomplishments for the general good in the doing of which he was continually engaged.

Of his brothers and sisters only one survives, Miss Kate Dohoney, who lives with relatives in Alabama. His children are Mesdames E.B. Norment and C.I. Broad, of Paris, and W.P. Wood of Providence, RI, Judge A.P. Dohoney of the 62[nd] district court, E.L. Dohoney, Jr., chief clerk department of education at Austin, R.H. Dohoney, a merchant and farmer at Direct, [TX], Frank J. Dohoney, a merchant of Paris, and W.B. Dohoney, in business at Amarillo, all men and women prominently connected with the social and business life of their homes and with the privilege of recalling to memory a father who was a man among men, honest, fearless, always for the right, here and hereafter."

He is buried next to Mary Johnson Dohoney at Evergreen Cemetery, Block J-04SW-04, Paris, Lamar County, Texas.

Ebenezer Lafayette Dohoney was born in Adair County, Kentucky and was a son of Peyton Dohoney and Mary Hindman. He married Mary L. Johnson, daughter of Dr. A.S. Johnson of Paris, Texas on 7 October 1862 as recorded in Lamar County, Texas marriage records. Their children were born and reared at Paris, Lamar County, Texas. See: Obituary from The Paris News, Paris, Texas, 31 March 1919.

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