By Carol Mowdy Bond
“Here’s the story of a lovely lady.” And how Jan Brady’s great-grandfather was an entrepreneur and businessman, who was instrumental in establishing both Yukon’s Best Flour Mill and Dobry Flour Mills.
As a girl, Eve Plumb played Jan Brady in “The Brady Bunch,” a popular television sitcom that ran for five seasons from 1969 to 1974. In fact, you can still catch reruns right here in Canadian County.
Fast forward to today, and Plumb said, “I am still working as an actress and painter, and I have started PlumbGoods, a home goods company online.” And truth be told, Plumb has a direct tie to some of Yukon’s original entrepreneurs and historic structures.
Although Yukon was founded in 1891 by two drovers on the Chisholm Trail, the demographics of the area dramatically changed by the turn of the century. Between 1898 and 1902, a large Czechoslovakian population began gravitating to Yukon. Called Bohemians at the time, that population mushroomed. And that’s where Eve Plumb’s story begins.
EVE PLUMB’S DOBRY AND KROUTIL ANCESTRY
Plumb’s great-grandfather was Anton F. “A.F.” Dobry who was born in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia. A.F. Dobry married Mary Ann Kroutil who was also born in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia. Mary Ann Kroutil’s siblings were Frank Kroutil, John Kroutil, Joseph Kroutil, Thomas Kroutil and Robert Kroutil. At the very least, four of Mary Ann Kroutil Dobry’s brothers were involved in establishing and/or running the Yukon Mill and Grain Company.
Mary Ann Kroutil Dobry and husband A. F. Dobry left Nebraska and arrived in Oklahoma Territory just after the 1889 Land Run for the Unassigned Lands, which included part of Canadian County. They homesteaded a farm between Yukon and El Reno. Their five children were Vernie Dobry Kostka, Joseph Dobry, Mary Dobry, John Dobry, and Theophile A. Dobry who was actress Eve Plumb’s grandfather.
John Kroutil was born in 1875 in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia, near Prague. John Kroutil, and his brother Frank Kroutil and their parents, emigrated from Bohemia in 1881. They first settled in Nebraska, and relocated to an El Reno farm in Oklahoma Territory somewhere between 1890 and 1895.
In 1902 or 1903, John Kroutil and his brother Frank L.Kroutil, and their brother-in-law A. F. Dobry, purchased a small coal business that also handled some wheat and corn. In so doing, they acquired a small grain elevator and mill that were built in 1893. They took what existed and morphed it into the Yukon Mill and Grain Company, which became the largest flour plant in the state and the southwest United States. By the 1930s, the mill had the capacity to produce 2,000 barrels of flour per day. They shipped their flour across the U.S. and abroad. Records show that besides John Kroutil and Frank Kroutil, their siblings Thomas Kroutil and Robert Kroutil were also involved in the flour milling business. John Kroutil became president of the mill, with Frank Kroutil as the vice president.
In 1933, A.F. Dobry and his wife Mary Ann Kroutil Dobry sold their share in the Yukon Mill and Grain Company to the Kroutil family. With their sons and daughter, they then built their six-story masonry structure Dobry Flour Mills in Yukon. The Dobry Mills structure has an address of 221 W. Main Street, and is still located on the north side of Main Street or Route 66. The flour mill continued in operation until 1972, when it was sold to Mid-Continent. The structure sits beside the railroad tracks, but apparently is no longer in use.
The Dobry sons included Joseph “Joe” Dobry who was married to Ethel Dobry. Joe Dobry was the only child, of Mary Kroutil Dobry and A.F. Dobry, to live out his life and raise his family in Canadian County. Another son, Theophile A. Dobry, was actress Eve Plumb’s grandfather, and Plumb was always told his name was T.D.
Theophile A. Dobry married Flora Aileen Thurmond Tague, and their children included Flora June “June” Dobry Plumb, and Theora Joy Dobry Collins.
Benjamin Neely “Neely” Plumb was a jazz saxophonist and clarinetist. As well, Neely Plumb was an arranger, conductor, and respected record producer in the Los Angeles, California, music industry. He is credited with the music for such legendary movies as “The Sound of Music,” “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly,” and such popular musical groups as The Carpenters, and Jefferson Airplane.
Neely Plumb married Flora June “June” Dobry, and the two were the parents of actress Eve Plumb, who was born in California.
EVE PLUMB’S YUKON COUSINS
If your head isn’t spinning yet, this story takes another interesting turn. To refresh your memory, Frank L. Kroutil and his brother John Kroutil and their brother-in-law A.F. Dobry founded the Yukon Mill and Grain Company.
Frank L. Kroutil married Mary Borek. Their children were Raymond B. Kroutil and Norman Frank Kroutil. Raymond B. Kroutil married Dorothy Gertrude “Gertrude” Frerking, and their children were Carolyn Kroutil, Connie Kroutil, and Kathryn Kroutil who married Clarence Wright. The children of Kathryn Kroutil Wright and Clarence Wright are Yukon’s Ray Wright, Randy Wright, and Carolyn Wright Henthorn.