Submitted by: Lynne Roberts
Email address:

COL Caleb Dorsey

Excerpts of the file sent by Ms. Roberts:

     "During the last half of the 19th Century, two men named Caleb Dorsey lived within about 30 miles of each other during the same time period one in Tuolumne County, and the other in Stanislaus County. Most researchers, attempting to gather information about a Caleb Dorsey in California, assumed that the two men were one in the same, and the research concerning them was largely confusing and frequently inaccurate. It was further complicated because they were second cousins, with many identical family members. (See attached relationship chart.) Following is a very abbreviated account of their lives, which started in close proximity, diverged sharply, and reconnected at the end."

     "Meanwhile, in 1833, while the future Sonora Attorney Caleb Dorsey was attending primary school in Rockville, MD, in Ellicott City, a few miles away, another Caleb Dorsey was born in Baltimore County, MD the fourth son of Edward Worthington and Eleanor (Brown) Dorsey. This Caleb was also a great grandson of Thomas Beale Dorsey. In 1834, Edward Dorsey put his property in Patapsco Falls, Baltimore County, MD up for sale and migrated with his young family to Pike County, MO. He soon acquired significant land holdings and became a successful farmer. His family grew, eventually consisting of eleven children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. In the 1850 Census, enumerated on August 1, in Cuivre, Pike County, MO, the Edward Worthington Dorsey family lists four children still in the house. The two eldest sons of Edward and Eleanor Dorsey, Thomas Beale and John Worthington Dorsey, were noted in the census as having gone, "To the mines." Caleb, now 16, is listed as a farmer and not attending school."

     "In July 1862, Colonel Caleb Dorsey was part of a general exchange from the Federal prison at Fort Warren, MA. Immediately upon his return to Missouri in August 1862 he rejoined the Confederate service, and was later assigned as a recruiter again." ... "On June 25, 1865, he wrote his sister, Lou Eleanor Dorsey, that he was crossing into Mexico, because he couldn't return to Missouri. Whether that was because of conduct during the war or because of his convictions or perhaps an unwillingness to sign an oath of allegiance is unknown."


     "There were many instances when the two men, who were both actively involved in state politics, attended the same Democratic Party activities and conventions, and surely knew each other well. The chief physician at the Stockton Insane Asylum, Dr. Samuel W. R. Langdon, married Edwa Dorsey, the sister of Col. Dorsey. Both Caleb Dorseys, the attorney and the colonel, were appointed as directors of the Asylum, Col. Dorsey in 1876 and Atty. Dorsey in 1885 shortly before his death. After his death in 1885, a petition for Letters of Administration was submitted by his wife, Esther Marie McNabb Dorsey, because her husband, the lawyer, ironically died intestate. The sureties for the bond were "Caleb Dorsey and Thomas Beale Dorsey of Stanislaus County." Attending his funeral, and later the funerals of his wife and children, were Dorsey relatives, Dorseys, Langdons and Ewings, mostly from Stockton. It is clear that there was an ongoing close and friendly relationship that developed and held strong over the years. When Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Caleb and Esther, died in 1935, her funeral was attended by her Dorsey extended family from Oakdale and Stockton, including all three of the children of Thomas Beale Dorsey."

This document is full of wonderful, historical and genealogical information.

The Two Calebs

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Family Group Sheet



2010 Rhonda Stolte Darnell, Pike County MOGenWeb and various submitters