DOBSON, Gen. John R.,-James and Hannah Dobson, of the Society of Friends, emigrated from London, England, in 1750, and settled in Pennsylvania. Their son, John R. Dobson, married Sarah A., daughter of John and Mary (Haybisen) Richesson; the former an emigrant, in 1756, from Manchester, England, and the latter born in the State of German parents. To John R. and Sarah A. Dobson was born in Cumberland County, Dec. 6, 1818, John Richesson Dobson. He received a common-school education, and at the age of sixteen was apprenticed to the iron business. In 1848 he entered upon the duties of superintendent in the Phoenix Iron-Works. In December, 1848, he married S. A. Slackhouse, born in February, 1828, in Dover, N. J., and their family now consists of one son and two daughters. In 1858 he was burgess of the borough of Phoenixville. In 1860 served as school director.
In 1861, at the call of the President, he recruited a company, and on the 19th of april offered its services to Governor Curtin, and was succeeded in the iron-works by his brother, Joseph Dobson. His company was accepted and mustered into service, and known as Co G, First Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. He served with his company in the Army of the Potomac until the battle of Gettysburg, where, in the charge on Little Round Top, Capt. Dobson was so severely wounded that he was rendered unable to resume active duties in the field. For his bravery on that occasion he received from the War Department a major's commission. In 1864, at the expiration of his three years' service, he was mustered out with his regiment, and returned to Phoenixville to resume the duties which he had left to enter the army.
In 1866 he was elected school director, and served as secretary of the board. In 1867 an effort was made to erect a monument in Morris Cemetery to the memory of those who had fallen in defense of the nation, in which he took a prominent part, serving as president of the organization. In 1869 he was appointed postmaster of Phoenixville.
In 1870 he was commissioned by Governor Geary as captain of Reeves Rifle Company, and in 1871, by same, as major-general of the Third Division National Guard of Pennsylvania, and bore a conspicuous part in the dedication of the soldiers' monument in Phoenixville. In 1873 was reappointed postmaster, and the next year resigned his position in the iron-works to perform the duties of this office, and was again succeeded in the former by his brother. In 1876 he was reappointed by Governor Hartranft major-general of the Tenth Division National Guard of Pennsylvania. In 1877, at the outbreak of the riot in Pittsburgh, by order of the governor, he assembled his division at Malvern Station, on the Pennsylvania Railroad, and moved with Governor Hartranft to Pittsburgh.
After a week's stay in Pittsburgh, the Tenth Division was relieved from further duty and returned home. In 1878, by act of the Legislature, the National Guard of Pennsylvania was reorganized by consolidating the existing ten divisions into one division, thus terminating the commissions of field and staff officers.
He most bravely and loyally aided the government in the war in defense of
the Union and for the suppression of the Rebellion.