County of Trigg, Kentucky – Historical and Biographical by Perrin, 1884
John C. Dabney was born January 14, 1852, in Cadiz. He is the second of five children born to Albert S. and Pamelia (Middleton) Dabney. His father was born in Louisa County, Virginia, and emigrated to Trigg County when about fourteen years of age; he was a highly cultivated Christian gentleman, a member of the Christian Church and one of the purest and best men that ever lived; he was exceedingly popular, and filled with marked ability and credit, for about sixteen years, the office of County Clerk; he died in Cadiz in 1860, in his thirty-sixth year. His mother was the eldest daughter of the late John Middleton of Shelby County, Kentucky. She was a lady of superior intelligence and culture, and also possessed rare business qualifications. She is said, by those best acquainted with her, to have been the brightest scholar of her classes. She obtained a profound knowledge of the classics, and as a Latin scholar had but few equals and no superior. She was a faithful and devoted mother, an earnest and conscientious Christian, a member of the church of her husband and brought up her children – three sons and a daughter – “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” She had the consolation of knowing and seeing her children profess Christ before she was called to her sweet reward; this estimable lady died in December, 1875. Our subject received his primary education while working on the farm and helping to support his widowed mother and family, and studied night and day at home under the instruction and tutelage of his mother, and later attended the schools in Cadiz, where he won prizes for his studious habits, scholarship and gentlemanly deportment. In 1869 he left Cadiz and went to the Kentucky University at Lexington. There we find him a lad about seventeen years of age, hard at work; studious, industrious, faithful and punctual in all his school duties, and as a reward for his thorough, faithful work, he was promoted to a Captaincy in the Second Session and had charge of the Military Department, and also received the appointment to West Point from the university as having the highest and best standing in his classes, but he declined to accept this high honor, and continued at the university as a student for two years longer, holding the position of Captain and noted for his competency and strict military discipline. He was also engaged as tutor in the university by which means he was able to finish his education. Having completed his literary course in June, 1873, he went to teaching school and studying law; he taught one year longer at Lexington and then took a course of law lectures at Kentucky University, and then returned to Cadiz and took charge of the high school, which position he ably filled as Principal for about eight years. In 1876 he was admitted to practice law in the courts of the state, since which time he has been actively engaged in the practice of his profession (even while teaching), and we predict for him a bright future. In August, 1883, he was elected County Attorney, which office he now honorably fills, and is said to be one of the most active, energetic and competent officers Trigg has had. He is a member of the Board of School Examiners, and also connected with the Society of Chosen Friends. Captain Dabney was married June 14, 1876, to Miss Mattie, second daughter of J. W. Chappell, of Cadiz. Three bright children gladden their home. Captain Dabney and wife are both devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. He has been Sunday School Superintendent for the past six years.