Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Dorothy Dabney Kehoe

Dorothy Dabney Kehoe was a remarkable Covington area resident who was involved in a variety of activities, from the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 to local theater productions. Though she was born in Ocean Springs, Miss., Kehoe's family moved to Covington in the mid-1920's and lived at Mulberry Grove. As she grew up, she expressed an interest in directing little theater. As time went on she became involved in public relations consulting, and for a while did public relations for the primate research center and later for St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

Here are some pictures of her in a special costume she designed for a Baton Rouge event. Click on the images to make them larger.
Kehoe's father was renowned newspaper editor Thomas Ewing Dabney and as a result her writing skills developed at an early age. She used those writing skills with expertise to promote business and theatrical ventures all of her life. She served as a technical writer on many projects and was active with the Covington Community Concerts Association, was a director of plays at Playmakers, and was active in putting together exhibits at the St. Tammany Art Association. One exhibit showcasing Mardi Gras jewelry in 1986 was especially popular. In May of 1952, she appeared in the play "The Male Animal" in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 In 1994, Vera Haik wrote about Kehoe in her Times-Picayune Senior Circuit column.



 After living in Covington for twenty years, she moved to West Branch, Iowa. According to the Times Picayune obituary, she died at the age of 82 years on August 31, 1997, at Manor Care Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in West Branch, Iowa. 

Dorothy Dabney Kehoe 

Her grandfather Dr. Thomas S. Dabney Jr. and father Thomas Ewing Dabney were quite famous in their own right. According to excerpts from the Ocean Springs, Miss., archives posted on the internet by Ray L. Bellande:

Dr. Thomas S. Dabney Jr.

Dr. Thomas S. Dabney, Dorothy's grandfather, was born in 1851 and died in 1923. He became known worldwide as an authority on tropical diseases. Dr. T.S. Dabney and Miss Ewing had married in 1884 and were residents of Magazine Street in New Orleans. Dr. Dabney was a member of the Orleans Parish Medical Society from 1880-1882 and 1893-1915, and was president of that organization in 1900.

The family moved to Ocean Springs, Miss., for retirement as well as recuperation from a bout with the virulent yellow fever that he had contracted while Secretary of the American Legation in San Salvador. 

Dr. Dabney had attended Tulane University at New Orleans.  In the 1870s, while a medical student, he left school briefly to assist in a yellow fever outbreak near Brookhaven, Mississippi.  While in the field, Dabney found an herb that was being utilized by Native Americans camped in the vicinity. 

From this plant, Dr. Dabney developed an efficacious treatment for dropsy.  He also achieved international acclaim when he diagnosed the first human case of anthrax.  In 1898, Dabney reported the first case of hookworm in Louisiana.

Dr. T.S. Dabney passed on December 28, 1923, at New Orleans.   
Thomas Ewing Dabney

Dr. Dabney's son Thomas Ewing Dabney was born in 1885. He married an English lady, Winifred Hilda Michaels  of London in 1907 and Dorothy Kehoe was one of their several children.  At Ocean Springs, T.E. Dabney became known as a dynamic entrepreneur and promoter of the town.  He ventured into dairy farming; vending Aetna Dynamite, as well as using this high explosive to clear land of tree stumps; and publishing.

Boscobel Dairy (1912-1914)

T.E. Dabney’s first venture into local capitalism was the Boscobel Dairy.  It and his pecan orchard were situated at “The Field”, the Dabney twenty-acre tract. Mr. Dabney was reputed have had one of the finest herds in the State.  He catered to the upper class families as he charged $12 per quart for his high quality milk.  

When T.E. Dabney decided to get into the newspaper business, he sold the dairy to Charles Snyder (1877-1963) in December 1914.  The deal included nine cows, cream separator, utensils, and good will.
The Ocean Springs News

In November 1914, Thomas E. Dabney acquired The Ocean Springs News from Albert Enos Lee (1874-1936).  In mid-July 1916, Dabney suspended production of The Ocean Springs News.  He had gone to Pensacola, Florida in April and secured a position with The Pensacola Journal.  

T.E. Dabney during his short tenure at Ocean Springs also published a promotional pamphlet, "Ocean Springs: The Land Where Dreams Come True (1915)", which emphasized the agricultural and recreational opportunity of the town and environs.  

Dabney joined the staff of The Times Picayune in 1933, and had a marvelous career as an author, lecturer, adventurer, and expert on Shakespeare.  Dabney penned, Tropic Intrigue; One Hundred Great Years: The Story of The Times Picayune From Its Beginning To 1940; and The Man Who Bought The Waldorf: The Life of Conrad N. Hilton. He also wrote a book on The Industrial Canal in New Orleans. 
He lived in New Mexico for several years, even being elected to the state legislature while he was there. 

Thomas E. Dabney died at a nursing home in Covington, Louisiana, on April 22, 1973.  The news coverage of his death was extensive, focusing on his newspaper work but also spotlighting his many other accomplishments, book publications and historical research. 
Click on image above to read Thomas E. Dabney's life story
Dabney Archives

Nearly 1200 items from Thomas Ewing Dabney in the period 1911 to 1969 are archived in the Tulane University Manuscripts Department at New Orleans.  


See also:

WARB Memories 

One Hundred Great Years