(note: I am not a relation)
Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA) - July 14, 1989
Deceased Name: CLAIRE M. DOBBIN, 100, DAUGHTER OF CIVIL WAR GENERAL AND HERO
Claire M. Dobbin, 100, the daughter of Gen. St. Clair Augustin Mulholland, a Civil War hero who received the Medal of Honor, died yesterday at her home in Conshohocken. She was born in West Philadelphia and had lived in Conshohocken for the last 50 years.
Mrs. Dobbin grew up among Civil War veterans and deeply admired her father, a Union general who was wounded in four battles and who served after the war as Philadelphia's police chief.
"She spoke of him always with a great deal of love and respect," said her daughter, Genevieve. "She was very proud of him and tried to interest us in the war."
In an interview in 1986, Mrs. Dobbin remembered her father taking her to battlefields where he had fought, such as Gettysburg and Fredericksburg, and recalled the aging Civil War veterans gathering each year at the family's home in Philadelphia to mark Memorial Day.
"He was a kind and gentle man," she said during the interview. " . . . You couldn't imagine him fighting."
Genevieve Dobbin said her mother "had a good life" that included some traveling when she was a young girl. "She went to Europe when she was 17 or 18 years old with her father and mother and a sister," she said. "They came into the port of Naples when Vesuvius was erupting."
Mrs. Dobbin graduated from St. Leonard's Academy, a now-defunct Roman Catholic school on Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia, and continued her education at a school of arts in the city.
After her schooling, she taught first- and fifth-grade classes at St. Francis de Sales Elementary School in West Philadelphia. Mrs. Dobbin also spent time reading to people who were homebound.
She left teaching after two years at the school and in 1917 married George F. Dobbin, a contractor. The couple raised nine children and lived in the 1000 block of South 42d Street until about 1935, when they moved to Conshohocken. George Dobbin died in 1941.
Mrs. Dobbin was an avid reader who enjoyed all kinds of books, from history and biographies to fiction and mysteries.
"She read all her life," her daughter said. "At the end, when she lost her sight, she depended on the Philadelphia Library for the Blind and
Physically Handicapped to send her books on records and on tapes."
Mrs. Dobbin also would think back to her childhood days and memories of a horse-drawn-carriage trip to Fredericksburg in 1899, when her father described a desperate charge he led against the Confederates.
"I don't know why he took us there," she said during an interview. "I don't think he ever forgot - all the bloodshed that was there, the men that had died."
Mrs. Dobbin's home was filled with memories of her father - a 2 1/2-foot bronze statue of the general in full uniform, an oil painting of him and watercolor landscapes he painted. Mulholland died in 1910.
"I became very much impressed with the man, himself, very proud of his history," she said. "He was a good man, always doing something for someone."
Genevieve Dobbin said yesterday that her mother had inherited her grandfather's good nature. "She was like him in many ways, kind and gentle, always willing and able to give what she had to anybody else in need."
Mrs. Dobbin also is survived by two other daughters, Rosemary Murphy and Patricia; two sons, John and Donald; nine grandchildren, and two great- grandchildren.
Services will be private. Mrs. Dobbin asked that her body be donated for medical research to the Humanities Gift Registry.
Copyright (c) 1989 The Philadelphia Inquirer
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