Chapter 6, Page 64
The Name Dabney
A generally non-accepted accounting is that the name Dabney is of French-Hugenot derivation: the original form being d'Aubigne. This has arisen from the desire of many Americans to associate their ancestory with nobility. This has caused confusion in working out the Virginia Dabney family lines. At one time, George and John Dabney, brothers of Nancy Dabney Overstreet, John's wife, were considered Hugenots and a family member became a member of the Manskin-Hugenot Society. This line has since been closed.
The Virginia Dabneys, at best, are the of the English aristocracy not nobility of the Norman Conquest. Most likely, they may have been of good English yeoman stock and the present family name coming from Danbury. It could well be that the name Dabney did have a French origin, but should not be so considered for the Virginia family.
Of more importance to the Hall - Overstreet descendants is the place of the Dabney family in early Virginia history and the relationship with Patrick Henry of American Revolution fame. They were important people!
Patrick Henry's father married Sarah Winston Syme, a widow. Sarah was of the Virginia provincial aristocracy. Not only was her father Isaac Winston, a prominent merchant; her mother, Mary Dabney, was considered a member of one of the most prominent families in the Old Dominion. They were extensive land holders in the area that eventually became Hanover county.
Patrick Henry's prominence in that area grew from his connections with the Dabney's. The Hanover Dabney's furnished outstanding military leadership in the Revolutionary War. Through the Carr family, the inter-relationships of the Dabney's brought them into the orbit of Thomas Jefferson and later that of Henry Clay.
The positions of the Winstons and the Dabneys in Hanover county as leading families, were to give Patrick's career as a professional, politician and government official the social prestige and influence that would lead him to prominence. These families were characterized as being prolific and enterprising as a clan, not debilitated by wealth or leisure. They were possibly of the same group that produced Winston Churchill. +
+ Nancy Dabney Overstreet's family background is discussed in the preceeding pages of this chapter of The Grandfathers.