Solano County

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Brantley Wells Dobbins, district attorney in and for the county of Solano, state of California, and for years one of the well known lawyers of this county, with offices at Fairfield, is a native son of Solano county and his interests ever have centered here, though he was for some years engaged in the practice of law in San Francisco. Mr. Dobbins was born on a pioneer ranch in the Vacaville settlement on March 17, 1879, and is a son of Oscar P. and Mary R. (Wells) Dobbins, both members of pioneer families in this section of California and the latter of whom is still living. She was born in Iowa, daughter of Caleb Wells and wife, and was but a child when in 1861 the family came overland to California, Vallejo being their objective. A year later Caleb Wells established his home on a ranch in the Vacaville neighborhood and there he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives, useful and influential pioneers of that district. They were Virginians, born in Tyler county, in that section of the Old Dominion now comprised within the boundaries of the state of West Virginia, and in 1848, following their marriage, had become pioneers of the then new state of Iowa, where they remained until their departure for California in 1861.

The late Oscar P. Dobbins, in his generation one of the best known lawyers in this section of California and a man of large influence here, who died in 1893 while serving as district attorney in and for Solano county, an office he had held by successive reelections since 1884, was a member of one of the real pioneer families here. He was born in the Vacaville settlement in 1854 and was a son of Dr. W. J. and Eliza (Hunt) Dobbins, who had effected a settlement there as early as in 1851, the Dobbinses thus having become numbered among the earliest of the permanent settlers of what now is Solano county. Dr. W. J. Dobbins was a Kentuckian by birth and his wife was a native of North Carolina who, with her parents, had become a resident of Missouri, in which state she married Dr. Dobbins, who had become a young medical practitioner there. Not long after their marriage they came to California, crossing the plains, and in 1850 located at Sacramento. In the next year they established their home in the Vacaville settlement, where Dr. Dobbins became not only one of the pioneer physicians of this region but where he also developed a good piece of farm property and was a strong factor in the labors of creating there proper social and economic conditions in the days when orderly settlements were being established in this section of the state. Oscar P. Dobbins grew up there at Vacaville, gave his attention to the study of law, was admitted to the bar and in 1884, when but thirty years of age, was elected district attorney, a position in which he was retained until 1892. His death followed in 1893. Before his admission to the bar he was in the stock business at Vacaville on his own account.

Reared at Fairfield, Brantley W. Dobbins finished his local schooling in the Aringo Union high school, supplemented this by two years at Santa Clara College and then entered the Hastings College of Law at San Francisco, from which institution he was graduated in 1903, and was admitted to the bar. For ten years after leaving college Mr. Dobbins was engaged in the insurance business, manager of the northern California branch of the American Surety Company of New York, with local offices at San Francisco, a position he occupied until his resignation in1913 to engage in the practice of law at San Francisco. Three years later he returned to Solano county and was here engaged in general practice, with offices at Fairfield, until his election in 1922 to the office of district attorney, which office he now is occupying, with headquarters in the courthouse at Fairfield.

In 1910, at Berkeley, Brantley W. Dobbins was united in marriage to Miss Pearl Johnston and they have one child, a daughter, Virginia Ruth Dobbins. Mrs. Dobbins is a native daughter of California, born in Humboldt county, daughter of R. C. and Clara (Runyon) Johnston, and was reared at San Diego, this state, and at Seattle, Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Dobbins are republicans and take a proper interest in the civic affairs of the community as well as in its general social and cultural activities. Mr. Dobbins is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is also affiliated with the Knights of Pythias.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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