When I received the writing prompt for this week, Landed, I considered taking it in several various directions, I do have some British ancestors that were considered Landed Gentry, as well as owners of large amounts of land in early Colonial Maryland. I also have many stories I could share about my ancestors landing in America, including at least three Mayflower Pilgrim ancestors, including Edward Doty. But I decided to go in a different direction, as in landing a blow, inflicting (landing) a wound on another person via hand, sword, or dagger, etc. This invited a clear path to write about my contentious and often quarrelsome paternal ancestor Edward Doty who not only landed on Plymouth Rock but also landed many a punch and even a dagger blow! The Edward Doty Society calls him fractious.
Little is known of Edward’s life prior to boarding the Mayflower. His parentage is unproven and all we truly know of his origins is that he was English and of London, England. He traveled on The Mayflower as an apprentice – indentured servant – of Londoner, Stephen Hopkins. Hopkins was making his second journey to the New World as he had served about ten years prior under Capt. John Smith at Jamestown, Virginia Colony. We know that Edward was at least 20 years old on November 11, 1620, when he signed the Mayflower Compact. In August 1643, his name appears on the list of men, ages 16-60, able to bear arms, so he wasn’t born before 1583. Most sources believe he was a young man at the time of the Mayflower voyage from England to America, so probably not born much before 1599. The passenger lists indicate he was “of London” but it’s not known if this was his place of birth in England. (1 & 2)
Interesting genealogical side note: I am a descendant of Edward Doty on my paternal side, I am also a descendant of the above-mentioned Stephen Hopkins on my maternal side. Other Mayflower passengers that I descend from include Stephen Hopkins’ daughter Constance Hopkins Snow, and his second wife Elizabeth Fisher.
A bit about Stephen Hopkins:
Stephen Hopkins, Edward’s master, himself was a colorful figure. Historians believe that he was the same Stephen Hopkins who was aboard the Sea Venture in 1609, when it shipwrecked in Bermuda enroute to the new Virginia colony. (William Shakespeare based the plot of his 1610-11 play, The Tempest, at least partly on this event.) Thereafter, Hopkins eventually arrived and settled in Virginia. However, by 1617 he was summoned back to England by the death of his wife and the plight of his children, all of whom he had left behind. (3)
Hopkins remarried in Whitechapel, London, England to Elizabeth Fisher, and in 1620 he boarded the Mayflower with his pregnant second wife, small children, and two servants. He just could not stay away from the New World, it seems. Their son, Oceanus, was born during the voyage. Hopkins was a tanner by trade and a some-times leader of the Colony. Among other roles, he sat on the Board of Assistants until 1636. However, thereafter he became an innkeeper and from time to time he ran afoul of the law in connection with his sale of liquor. (3)
The Dueling Edwards:
Another indentured servant in the household of Stephen Hopkins was Edward Leister. On the 18th of June 1621, the two Edwards, fellow indentured servants Edward Doty and Edward Leister, fought the first (and only) duel in the Plymouth Colony. A challenge of single combat with sword and dagger. Both were wounded, the one in the hand, the other in the thigh. Historians have speculated that it was fought over one of Hopkins’ daughters. They were adjudged by the whole Plymouth company to be punished by having their head and feet tied together for twenty-four hours, without meat or drink. But within an hour of the punishment being inflicted, their master Stephen Hopkins took pity upon them, and their “great pains” and he made a “humble request, upon promise of a better carriage” and they were released by the governor. (3, 4, 5, & 6)
But Edward Doty did not always make good on that promise of “a better carriage.” He did not like to pay his servants, he just let his cattle kind of wander around, he got into fights, and is found in the Plymouth Court records numerous times!
To say that Edward was notably a contentious man would be correct.
The post-1632 records of the Plymouth Court, which has no existing records prior to that year, has twenty-three cases over the 20 years between January 1632 and October 1651 that involve Edward Doty. The records include suits/countersuits, and charges such as fraud, slander, fighting, assault, debt, trespass, theft, etc. These included five counts of assault, three of them against George Clarke, 20 years his junior. (5, 6, 7, & 8)
On 2 January 1632/3, Edward Doty was sued by three different people: John Washburn, Joseph Rogers, and William Bennett. It all appears to have been a disagreement about a trade of some hogs; John Washburn’s case was thrown out; Joseph Rogers was awarded four bushels of corn. In William Bennett’s case, Edward Doty was found guilty of slander, and fined 50 shillings. (9)
Two years later, on 24th of March 1633/4, Edward Doty was fined 9 shillings and 11 pence for drawing blood in a fight with Josias Cooke. (9)
On 28 March 1634, Edward Doty won a suit against Francis Sprague. (7)
On 7 March 1636/7, Edward Doty was found guilty of a “deceitful bargain” over a lot of land and restored the lot to George Clarke. The controversy continued when George Clarke won damages and costs from Doty on 2 October 1637, Clarke charging him with denying liberty to hold land for the term he had taken it. Things escalated, for that same day Clarke also charged Doty for assault and battery, and Doty was further fined. (7)
Doty was sued in less sanguinary encounters between 1638 and 1651 with Richard Derby, John Shaw, widow Bridget Fuller and John Holmes over debt and trespass, and lost them all. On 7 December 1641, he successfully sued James Luxford for trespass. (7)
On 1 February 1641/2, Thomas Symons charged “Edward Dotey” with carelessly allowing cattle put in his hands to “break into men’s com” endangering the cattle and other property, and Doty was ordered to put his cattle in a “keep”. (7)
He also sued his own father-in-law, Thurston Clarke, over money. But although Doty appeared before the court numerous times, he was never punished for criminal activities beyond small fines. So even though he was charged with fighting and was sued by many persons for fraudulent trading and goods sales, almost all were civil cases and were not of a criminal nature. And other than his duel in 1621, he never received any physical punishment that was commonly given for crimes such as theft, serious assault and adultery. He was quite fortunate in this regard as typical punishments at that time included whipping, branding, banishment and the stocks. (5, 6, & 8)
Even with his periodic court cases, in which he accepted the outcome of all such actions, Edward Doty lived a normal life as a freeman, paying his taxes and all his debts. He periodically received land grants from court as with other residents and received other property rights and benefits from being classed as a “first comer.” (5 & 8)
Records do not show that Edward Doty ever served on any juries or held any political office nor was ever appointed to any governmental committees, which was unusual for a Purchaser and early freeman. The only recorded instance of his involvement in anything of a community nature was from a town meeting of February 10, 1643, when he was assigned with George Clarke, John Shaw, Francis Billington and others to build a wolf trap in the town of Plain Dealing.” In March 1657 he was midway down the list of “those that have interest and proprieties in the town’s land at Punckateeset over against Rhode Island”. (5, 6, 7, & 8)
On the August 1643 Able to Bear Arms (ATBA) List “Males that are able to bear Armes”, his name appears as “Edward Dotey”. (6 & 8)
Fellow Mayflower Pilgrim William Bradford, and Governor of the Plymouth Colony, mentioned that Edward had a first wife, but said nothing more about her. Historians surmise that she might have arrived in the Colony in about 1630, married Edward soon thereafter, and died in an epidemic in 1633. No record of any children of this marriage ever has been found. (3 & 6)
He married Faith Clarke on January 9, 1635. Faith was the daughter of Thurston (Tristram) and Faith Clarke, having arrived on the ship “Francis” in 1634.
From the Plymouth Colony Records, Vol. 1, page 32: “January 6, 1634. Edward Doten and Fayth Clarke wer maried.”
Since several of Doty’s court cases involved Thurston and George Clarke, it would appear that some of his legal situations, including fights, were the result of in-law domestic problems. Bradford stated that Doty “by a second wife hath seven children, and both he and they are living.” They later had two more children. (8, 10, & 11)
Edward Doty made out his will on May 20, 1655, calling himself “sicke and yet by the mercye of God in perfect memory.” His will was witnessed by John Howland, John Cooke, James Hurst, and William Hoskins. Doty signed his will with a mark. This was how he signed all his property deeds as he never learned to write. (6 & 8)
Doty died on August 23, 1655, in Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay Colony and was buried at Burial Hill Cemetery where there is a memorial stone (pictured above) for him.
After Edward Doty’s death, his widow Faith married John Philips on March 14, 1666/7 as his second wife. She moved to Marshfield and died there December 21, 1675. She was buried at Winslow Cemetery in Marshfield, Massachusetts. (6, 8, & 10)
Famous descendants of Mayflower Pilgrim Edward Doty and wife Faith Clarke:
Eliphalet Remington, founder of the Remington Arms Company; Lavinia Warren, Dwarf Circus Performer; Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President; Actress Raquel Welch; Bill Weld, 68th Governor of Massachusetts; Actress Tuesday Weld; Actor Dick Van Dyke; Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett; Actress Jordana Brewster; and Actor Orsen Bean.
My direct line from Mayflower Pilgrim Edward Doty:
- Edward Doty and Faith Clarke.
- Samuel Doty and Jane Harmon.
- Edward Doty and Sarah Davis.
- John Doty and Mary ____ (Her full maiden name is thought to be Mary (Martjie) Schermerhorn).
- Jeremiah Doty and Sarah B. ___.
- Samuel Doty/Doughty and Mary Ann “Polly” Lamb.
- Rev. John M. Doughty and Jane McGuire.
- Maguire/McGuire Doughty and Mary Ann Gooden.
- John Lewis Doughty and Cynthia Ann Barrett.
- Mary Adalaide “Mame” Doughty and James Francis Fay (my great-grandparents).
Our Doughty line is accepted by The Mayflower Society.
To learn more about my Lamb ancestors visit my blog post My Quaker Lamb and Moore Ancestors in Virginia and North Carolina. Later Doty/Doughty Primitive Baptists in Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.
To learn more about my McGuire ancestors visit my blog post My McGuire/Maguire Ancestors from Fermanagh, No. Ireland and McElliogott Parish – near Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. In Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana in USA.
To learn more about my Gooden ancestors visit my blog post Urquhart – Some of my Scottish Ancestors. And Related English Watts and Goodwin/Gooden Lines.
To learn more about my Irish Fahey/Fahy (Fay) ancestors visit my blog posts 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 48: Strength. My Irish Ancestor Daniel Wolfetone Fahey (Fay) from County Galway, Ireland and 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 1. Foundations. Fahy/ Fahey Ancestors.
- Johnson, Caleb H. (2006). The Mayflower and Her passengers. Indiana: Xlibris. p. 132.
- Edward Doty My Mayflower Ancestor – Nancy Lee Jackson Brister, WordPress.
- Pilgrim Edward Doty Society – A Family History Society. Edward Doty & Kin. WordPress.
- Edward Leister and Edward Doty, Biography of Edward Leister. mayflower.americanancestors.org
- Caleb H. Johnson, The Mayflower and her passengers (Indiana: Xlibris Corp., 2006), pp. 132–133.
- Eugene Aubrey Stratton. Plymouth Colony: Its History and People, 1620–1691 (Salt Lake City: Ancestry Publishing, 1986), p. 264, pp. 283–284 p. 285, p. 336 & pp. 439–440.
- Amercian Ancestors. Biography of Edward Doty. mayflower.americanancestors.org
- Edward Doty. Wikipedia.org
- MILLER/DERSCHEID Family Tree. Edward Doty.
- “A genealogical profile of Edward Doty: A collaboration of Plimoth Plantation and New England Historic Genealogical Society”
- Bradfords’s History of Plymouth Plantation, p. 414.
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That is quite the account of Edward Doty’s life. I wonder if a Y-DNA test of one of your Doughty male family members would help identify Edward’s parentage. Or, at least his closest surname lineages. Thanks for sharing.
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