My Doble ancestors moved to the Colonies sometime in the early to mid-1700s. This is my longest known line in the US.

The earliest I know of is Joseph Doble, a native of Bucks Co., Penn., of English descent. While quite a young man, was married in his native county, two sons being the fruits of that union. His wife dying, he left his children with his mother, and went to Botetourt Co., Va., where he married Barbara Estes, of that county and State, to whom were born five children – William A., and Ursula being the only survivors, for former of whom was born August 25, 1798. [1] I have found a listing for this couple in’s “Marriages – Virginia to 1800” which is for Louisa Co, not Botetourt Co. He is buried in Doblestown on the Old Michigan road on the Banks of Big Sugar Creek (Shelby Co, IN) according to Frank Doble (his great-grandson, through Henry).

William A. Doble grew up [in Boone Co., KY], and in 1821, was married to Catherine Huffman, who was born in that county Sept 1, 1801, of German origin; eight children were born to them, five of whom are living [Nellie, Emily, Dorinda, Elizabeth, John, Abner, Henry, Ann]. His parents and grandparents came to Shelby Co., Ind., in 1828, settling in Moral Township, where Joseph Doble died in 1834; his widow dying in 1852. Henry’s mother died July 11, 1833, and his father was again married, July 1, 1834, in this county, to Miss Margaret J. Nickel, daughter of Robert and Mary Nickel, natives of Lancaster Co., Penn., of Scotch and Irish descent, who moved to Nicholas Co., Ky., where Mrs. Doble was born Jan 27, 1802. In 1826, her parents came to Shelby Co., Ind., settling in Jackson Township, where her mother died in 1829; her father moving to Hendricks Township and dying there in 1836. By her marriage, four children were born to her, three of whom survive. William A. Doble owned a large amount of land, and at an early day laid out a town on his farm [Doblestown], on Sugar Creek, which grew for a time, but has long since ceased to exist. In 1845, he moved with his family to Shelbyville, for the purpose of giving his children an education. [1] [My grandmother always said the A. stood for Ashton.]

Henry Doble (born in Shelby Co., Ind., Sept 18, 1831) in 1850, went as brakeman, and in a few months took charge of an engine, then spent two years as an engineer, and in August 1855, gave up railroading as an occupation. In 1857, he returned [to Shelby Co.] and engaged in the livery business, which he followed but a short time. He was married in Shelby Co., March 28, 1858, to Miss Mary A. Tull, daughter of Joseph and Hester Tull, natives of Maryland. Mrs. Doble was born in Bracken Co., KY. He engaged in merchandising and grain dealing, in partnership with William McClure, in which he remained until 1860, when he was elected on the Democratic ticket, Sheriff of Shelby Co., and re-elected in 1852. He engaged in the agricultural implement business, which he carried on successfully until March, 1879, then entered into partnership with Dr. Owen R. Williams, in the hardware trade, in which he is now engaged. Aug. 24, 1880, Dr. Williams sold his entire interesst to J.G. Deprez, and the firm is now Doble & Deprez. Mr. Doble, for the past six years has been an active working member of the Shelbyville Fire Department, and President of the same for the last three years. He is a firm Democrat, and a Knight Templar. He is considered one of the best business men of Shelbyville. [1]

John Doble (born in Shelby Co., IN, Feb 7, 1828, died in San Francisco, CA??) He was not enumerated in the 1850 census (traveling to California), but is found in the1860 Census in Amador County, Township #3, Age 32, serving as a Justice of the Peace. John Doble’s Journal and Letters from the Mines: Mokelumne Hill, Jackson, Volcano and San Francisco was edited by Charles L. Camp and originally published by The Old West Publishing Company, Denver, CO in 1963. It was reissued in 1999 by Volcano Press. It tells some fascinating tales about daily life in the mines, and even includes his grocery list with prices! John sent many letters to Elizabeth E. Lucas (his cousin) in Ohio between June 1860 and August 1865. Some question if he returned to Indiana after 1865. He apparently never married nor had children. He is not found in the 1870 Census in California. I have not yet searched the Indiana census.

Abner Doble (born in Shelby Co., IN, June 25, 1829, died Dec 22, 1904 in Berkeley, Alameda Co, CA) went to Dayton, Ohio when 15 years old as an apprentice to a blacksmith. He returned to Indiana 2 years later, and with his brother John, traveled to San Francisco from November 1849 until their arrival on 25 June 1850, on the “Rowena” from NY around Cape Horn. He worked as a smith for a short time in San Francisco, and then went to Humboldt Bay as a lumberman. He returned to San Francisco, as journeyman blacksmith to Thomas Nelson. He became a partner in early 1852. [2,3]

Abner returned east to marry in Ohio County, West Virginia. After their March 1856 wedding, he and his wife, Margaret Bushfield McFarland, departing 5 Apr 1856 “Illinois” to Panama, then “John L Stephens” to SF, arriving 1 May 1856. [3]

Nelson & Doble was celebrated as being the first and best manufacturer of miners’ and blacksmiths’ tools on the Pacific Coast. They were also the first manufacturers of drays and street cars in San Francisco. In 1863 Doble was granted a franchise by the City and County of San Francisco, to operate the Folsom Street and Fort Point Railroad and Tunnel Company. In addition, he was granted permission to dig a tunnel from Broadway through Russian Hill. He never exercised this option. In fact, the tunnel wasn’t to be built for another 80 years. In the 1864 City Directory, in addition to his partnership, he was a School Director 12th District, and was dwelling on the North side of Presidio Road at Pierce. The partnership ended 24Apr1877, for unknown reasons (did Nelson die?). [2] Doble is also listed in the Historical Abstract of San Francisco which indicates he was on the Board of Education from July 19, 1864 to the end of 1865. In 1869-79 he was vice president of the Fulton Iron Works. [7]
By 1880 he was listed as the Successor Nelson & Doble, Agent Thomas Firth & Sons (Sheffield, England), providing cast steel and steel tools, and horse shoer. His residence was 1315 Gough Street. In addition, the Doble foundry made waterwheels for the mountain streams and wheels for San Francisco’s streetcars. [4]

His tax assessment for 1882/83: Merchandise 14,650, Machinery 2,500, Fixtures 450, Solvent Credits 1,779, Solvent Credits/Money 816, Furniture 300, Piano 200, Horse 75, Wagon 75. By 1889-90 Abner Doble was dropping his assessed worth a bit: Merchandise 6,135, Consigned Goods 3,700, Machinery 3,200, Fixtures 100, Solvent Credits 13,280, Horse 75, Vehicle 75, Furniture 500, Piano 100 [4]

The 1892 City Directory: Abner Doble & Co, importer, dealer, manufacturer iron, steel, metal, tools and English Steel.
Abner Doble, vice president, American Bank and Trust, residence 1316 Gough.
Hubert McF Doble, vice president Abner Doble Co., residence Ross Valley, Marin County [I suspect this may actually be elder son Robert]
William A. Doble, superintendant Abner Doble Co., residence Alameda, Alameda County [this is his younger son, William Ashton Doble] [4]

Injured 3/15/1897, he was in progressive financial difficulties within three months. “It is believed by his friends that his present mental trouble is the result of the injuries he sustained at that time. The accident happened on the morning of March 15th. Doble, who resides with the family of his son-in-law, Francis Ferrier, at the corner of Fulton street and Durant avenue, in the town of Berkeley, was at Dwight-way station on his way to his business in this city [when he was struck by the train]…. Mrs. Doble, when seen in her home in Berkeley last evening, said: ‘It is true Mr. Doble is sometimes unconscious of his surroundings, but at other times he is lucid and able to reason and converse intelligently. He is, I believe, suffering from the effects of the accident at Dwight way. It is my opinion that he is slowly recovering, but there are things we can never be certain about.'”[5] By November, the headline read “CREDITORS OF DOBLE ARE COMBINING” and went on to note that “Transfers of Property Will Be Attached. Spaulding, the Saw Manufacturer, Is Also Involved. The Question of Doble’s Competency to be Ventilated in the Courts.” The text noted that “Abner Doble’s big iron business is now known as The Abner Doble Company, and Doble himself has assigned all of his interest to his sons, Robert McF. and William A. Doble. It is this assignment that the creditors purpose to attack. The business is worth about $200,000, while Doble’s obligations, it is believed, will not amount to half that amount, so if the assignment can be set aside there will be sufficient funds to satisfy all who have claims against him.” [6]

The collection of personal Doble materials can be found at the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley.
William’s son, named Abner for his grandfather, is the inventor of the Doble Steam Car.

Elizabeth Margaret Doble was Abner and Margaret’s eldest child, born May 20, 1857 in San Francisco. She was a graduate of Mills Seminary, with the class of 1876 and was one of the organizers and first president of Mills Club of Alameda County. She was a member of the First Congregational Church and of the Ebell Club of Oakland. She was a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, belonging to the Minerva Parlor in San Francisco. She was a member of the Committee on Charter during the First Annual Session of the Grand Parlor of NDGW in July 1887.
Lizzie was married November 20, 1888 to Francis Ferrier, of Ontario, Canada. They lived briefly in Wilmington, Los Angeles Co., CA, and then returned to Berkeley, Alameda Co, CA between April of 1890 and October of 1892. They had three daughters, Francis Alice Ferrier (April 1890), Elizabeth Erskine Ferrier (October 1892) and Delphine Margaret Ferrier (September 1894). She lived in their house on Fulton Street until shortly before her death in June 1929. She was survived by her brother William, sister Mary, and her daughters.


A. B.

A. Margaret Bushfield McFarland Doble with her eldest child, Elizabeth Margaret Doble
B. The four Doble children: Elizabeth (to the right), Mary (bottom), Robert (we think to the left) and William (we think top)

[1] from the Illustrated Historical Atlas of Shelby County, Indiana 1880
[2] Phelps, Alonzo, “Contemporary Biography of California’s Representative Men.” 1882, vol 2, page 318.
[3] from the CAIF information provided by Charles Clarke Smith, Jr. (his great-grandson)
[4] San Francisco City Directories, provided by Su Jacobson
[5] San Francisco C/E, June 25, 1897
[6] The Evening Post, Thursday, November 4, 1897
[7] Shuck, Oscar T., “Historical Abstract of San Francisco” Unknown printing details (after March 1897).



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