This photo hung in my parents' home for as long as I can remember. Its last place of honor was in my mother's bedroom. Even though she never knew her grandfather, she had great respect for him and her grandmother. George Washington Doty, father of Dorothy Doty Ordway, was born in a log home that was on the homestead of his parents in Raisinville Township, Monroe County, Michigan. George made his appearance in the midst of a Michigan winter, on January 15, 1848.
For George's parents, Joseph and Sarah True Doty, it was their fifth child and third son. George would live his entire life on this farm as one of the more well-known farmers of the area. He would also become a stalwart worker in the church and his community.
In the 1850 census of Raisinville, Monroe County, Michigan, little George W., at 2 years old, was surrounded by his family: father Joseph, 45; mother Sally, 36; and siblings, Emeline, 10; Sarah, 7; William T., 5; and Charles 3. With them, lived an Irish farm hand, John McGuire, who was 29.
The 1860 census showed the addition of sister, Hellen, who would be the last child in the family.
In 1864, brother Charles was old enough to join up with the Union Army and that's what he did. He was young and ready to fight, and soon was sent south. He did not return. It must have been heartbreaking for the family to lose this young boy who was only 17 or 18 at his enlistment. George W. was approximately a year younger than Charles, so it would have been an especially hard blow for him. This photo shows George at around 16 years old circa 1864.
George continued to work on the family farm as the 1870 census indicates. In that census, only George and Hellen are left at home and both are referred to as "servants," - in this case, it just means they were laborers on the home place. On the June 1874 list of teachers in Monroe County, George was listed as a teacher at the Raisinville School. One source said he taught several terms, and I'm sure he was needed more and more on the farm as his parents aged.
On November 5, 1874, George W. Doty married Alice S. Newcomer. Alice was a neighborhood girl, growing up right down the road from George. Mom's cousin, Don, wrote once in a letter that the family lore said George and Alice eloped, ladder to the window and all. According to the marriage record, George was 26 and Alice only 17.
George's mother died in July 1874, and so it is thought the couple moved in with George's father, Joseph. According to cousin Don, this was hard on young Alice, as Joseph was difficult to handle and sometimes he hit the spirits, making him harder to control. About a year later, George and his brother, William, acquired the farm from their father.
Joseph died in 1878, and by 1880 George and Alice welcomed their first child, Susan Bertia. Three years later, a sister arrived - Ada A. (Alice?) This photo, probably taken circa 1886, shows George and Alice, with Susan in the back and little Ada in front.
Seven years later, in 1890, Guy J. joined the family, followed quickly by Harry Russel, thirteen months later.
This photo is nicely labeled, showing Guy on the left, Ada in back, Susie on the right and little Harry in front. I would estimate this photo as taken 1893-1894.
When Alice was 37, her youngest son, George Lewis, was born in 1895, followed by her youngest daughter, Dorothy Elizabeth in 1899 when she was 42.
In this photo, taken around 1905 or 1906, I would guess, the whole family gathered. Back Row, L to R: Harry, Susie, Guy, Ada and Front Row, L to R: George Jr, George W., Dorothy, Alice
Unfortunately, George's health began to decline and he died on March 4, 1910, leaving all of the children at home except for Susie who had married by that time. The official cause of death was Bright's disease which was an all-purpose term at the time for anything related to kidney failure, usually accompanied by edema and high blood pressure. It could have been related to the heart or diabetes, but that was not determined. In those days, the only treatments available were laxatives and diuretics and diagnoses were not very specific.
George was well thought of in his community as evidenced by the obituaries that followed in the local papers.
The first appeared on March 17, 1910 in the Record-Commercial, Monroe, Michigan:
"George Washington Doty, 62 years old, a prominent farmer and Sunday school worker of Raisinville township, died Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock at his home, death being due to a complication of troubles. A widow and six children survive him. Funeral services will be held Thursday afternoon at 1:00 from the house, thence at the Evangelical church at Raisinville; interment at Lasalle."
The Monroe Democrat followed the next day, March 18, 1910, with this notice:
"Mr. George Washington Doty, a well known and well liked man throughout the county, died at his home up the river at three o'clock on Monday afternoon. He had been ailing for eight years and had reached the age of 62 years, 8 months and 2 days. Born in Raisinville township, January 15, 1848, on the farm where he has resided and died. Mr. Doty took a prominent part in civic and church affairs of his community, was a member of the Evangelical church for 26 years and in that society, having been Sunday school superintendent for 12 years, president of the County Sunday School Association for the same length of time, also class leader for several years and a trustee of the church at the time of his death. Mr. Doty proved himself a noble Christian character the whole of his life and showed remarkable fortitude in the suffering accompanying his last illness. His wife, who was Miss Alice Newcomer and to who he was married on November 5th, 1874, mourns him with their six children, Mrs. William Kemmerling, of Monroe; Misses Ada A. and Dorothy E., and sons Harry R., Guy, George. There are also two grandchildren, a brother, Mr. T. Doty of Raisinville, and a sister, Mrs. W. H. McIntire, of Eldorado, Kan. The funeral was held on Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the East Raisinville church attended by a large number of followers."
The next week, the Record-Commercial printed a lengthy obituary, dated March 24, 1910, accompanied by the first photo shown in this post:
"Death has again laid claim to another prominent Monroe County man in the person of George Washington Doty who was born in Raisinville township, Jan. 15, 1848 and died at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon, Monday, March 14, 1910, sixty-two years old. Mr. Doty has resided on the same farm all his life. His parents, Joseph and Sarah Doty, came to Raisinville township from Albany Co., N.Y., in 1839, he having purchased the farm of 133 acres Jan. 18, 1837, which comprised all of P.C. 533, the original farm being over 4 miles long and for which he paid $900. Part of this claim has remained in the Doty family for over 73 years.
The Doty line extends back to the good old Puritan stock. George Doty had inherited many of the sturdy traits of these early pioneers and up to about eight years ago scarcely knew a sick day. Since that time, however, his health has gradually given way and what relief could be given was only temporary. In his younger days he taught school for several terms till his whole time was required on the farm.
He was a man of excellent habits, an exemplary Christian and citizen. He united with the East Raisinville Ev. church over 26 years ago and during that time has held almost every office that the church could bestow. He was superintendent of the Sunday school for six years and his deep interest and success in S.S. work brought him before the county to such an extent that he was elected President of the Monroe County Sunday School Association, which office he faithfully discharged for twelve years. He was urged to continue when the last convention was held in Monroe last fall, but owing to the condition of his health, was compelled to decline.
He was united in marriage Nov. 5, 1874, to Alice Newcomer, who survives him with their six children: Mrs. W. L. Kemmerling of Monroe; Ada A., Guy J., Harry R., George L. and Dorothy E., at home. Also two grandchildren, one brother, Wm. T. Doty of Raisinville, and one sister, Mrs. W. H. McIntyre, of ElDorado, Kas. One brother and two sisters have preceded him. The funeral was held Thursday, March 17, at 2 p.m. at the East Raisinville Ev. church and conducted by his pastor, Rev. G. Knechtel, of Ida. The large concourse of people which attended the last sad rites testified of his far-reaching friendship. Interment in the Woodland cemetery, Monroe."
And, finally, the Evangelical-Messenger, which was a weekly newspaper published by the Evangelical Association, published this obituary on April 13, 1910:
"George Washington Doty was born in Monroe Co., Mich., Jan. 15, 1848, and died March 14, 1910. He was united in marraige with Alice Newcomer, in 1874, who with their six children, survives him. As a convert, he united with our church at East Raisinville over 26 years ago. He held various offices, being especially prominent in Sunday school work. He was president of Monroe County Sunday School Association. He was an earnest Christian. G. Knechtel."
G. Knechtel, who submitted this article, was George's pastor. The Ev. Church eventually merged with the United Brethern in Christ and was known as the E.U.B. The E.U.B. eventually merged with the Methodist church and became the United Methodist denomination.
From these, I can surmise that grandmother Dorothy Doty was brought up in the church and during her youth, her father experienced poor health. The trauma of losing her father at the age of ten would have been difficult to endure.