Pages 168-169, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




DR. A. L. DORNBERGH.—Time has all but annihilated the pioneers of Kansas. The passing of years has thinned their ranks until there is only here and there one. In Allen county they are so rare as to become an object, almost, of curiosity. To have spent more than forty years in Kansas seems, at first thought, an improbability. Two score of years takes us so far out onto the frontier that it seems scarcely the abode of the white man. Yet it was and A. L. Dornbergh was among the number. He came here from Lockport, New York, as a young miller in 1859, remained in Humboldt a short time and having secured a claim near Humboldt proceded to build a house and moved thereon. His family consisted of self, wife and two sons and stepson H. D. Smith. It was, with every expectation of turning the claim into a farm that he took possession of it, but in this he was disappointed, for in 1860 came the drouth, then 1861 ushered in the war which stopped all improvements. He entered the service as First Lieutenant of the Allen County Guards. This company with those of Woodson and Wilson counties was organized in the southern division and


was called the 7th Regiment. Dr. Dornbergh was made Captain of his company September 3d, 1861. February 2nd, 1864, he received a commission with the rank of Major and Aid-de-camp on Major-General John B. Scott's staff. He was out almost from the beginning of hostilities till the end of the contest. He served on the border between Missouri and Kansas and saw and participated in much of the hard field work of the west. After the war Dr. Dornbergh was elected Probate Judge of Allen county where he served three terms consecutively of two years each, John Francis being his deputy. Retiring he devoted himself to the cultivation and improvement of his claim. He proceeded to plant forty acres of it to fruit and had about the first bearing orchard on the prairie. His fruit was the best quality and was appreciated by his neighbors and friends toward whom he showed a spirit of liberality.

Dr. Dornbergh was a homeopathist, practicing in his own family before coming to Kansas, and when he took up the practice in this State, soon gained by his success and faithfulness such a large business that everything else was given up to that field of usefulness. Having spent nearly thirty-five years in medicine he retired from its general practice.

When Dr. Dornbergh settled in Allen county Indians were roaming over the county, settlers were scattered here and there along the streams, Humboldt was the county seat, and Iola, the successor to Cofachique, was only a place in name. In those days the Doctor's well was on a sled in the yard and as the Indians came by they helped themselves to the contents of the barrel so long as there was any, without the permission of its owner.

Dr. Dornbergh was born in Caledonia, Livingston county, New York, December 7, 1826. His father, John Dornbergh, was born near Albany, New York, in 1799 and died at Rochester, N. Y. in 1844. His wife, Sabra S. Oldfield, was born in 1806 and died in 1876. She was the mother of five children.

Dr. Dornbergh was married in 1854 at Clifton, Monroe county, New York, to Sarah A. Smith, widow of W. H. Smith. Two children have been born to them, viz: Harmon Lewis, born in 1855, died in 1878; John Cheever, born 1860, and who is a prominent farmer of Humboldt township, Allen county, Kansas. The latter is married to Nettle M., daughter of E. N. Wert, of Humboldt, and has five children.

Dr. Dornbergh was reared a Democrat. His father was an uncompromising one and taught the faith to his children, but our subject departed from it when he grew up and was well known for his political convictions during the early days of Allen county. In fraternal matters he is a Mason and an Odd Fellow.

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