March 15, 2012

Grandmother's Brothers - The Youngest, Dr. George

 George Lewis Doty, born January 28, 1895 at the Doty homestead, was named first after his father, George W., and secondly, I would guess, after his mother's only brother, Lewis.  George would have been just fifteen when his father died, but he stayed in school, graduated from high school and went on to college.  He spent his whole life as a scholar, educator, and traveler. 

George graduated from Albion College, Albion, Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in 1916 and then through another scholarship, attended the University of Illinois for graduate work.  The alumni record from that institution noted that George worked in the library in 1917 while working on his graduate degree in Romance Languages.

As the U.S. was headed into World War I, George filled out his draft registration form on the same day as his brothers in June 1917.  He gave his address as Monroe and his occupation as student and salesman for the Keystone View Company of Meadsville, PA. (The Keystone Company was a distributor of stereoscopic photos for the viewers available at the time.)  On the form, George described himself as single, of medium height and slender build with brown eyes and black hair.

This photo, labeled by my mother, noted that George was an ambulance driver in World War I.  His obituary does not state that.  His obituary stated that he was sent to Camp McClellan, Anniston, Alabama for library work with the American Expeditionary Forces. I can't find any record of service for him in the A.E.F., although he appears in uniform here.  More research will need to be done on this.

In following George's life, it was a matter of using passports and ship manifests to follow him around the world because he could not be found using census records 1920 - 1930.  He must have been out of the country during the times of enumerations.  He was a man constantly on the move with different educational positions and travels around the world, making it very challenging to follow his path.

George applied for his first passport on March 10, 1919 at the age of 24. He noted on the form that he was going to France and Britain for Y.M.C.A. work and that he was still a student.  An accompanying letter, on stationery from the Board of Education of Monroe, Michigan, stated that he was sent for service with the A.E.F.troops by the War Work Council for one year.

He arrived back in New York City on August 12, 1919. 
He applied for his next passport on May 4, 1923 when he was a professor at Meadville, PA at Allegheny College.  On this document, he stated that he planned to be abroad not more than six months and he listed the following countries as his destinations: France, Spain, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, England, Great Britain. 
From his obituary and other sources, we know that he studied overseas at Oxford, England and the University of Florence, Italy.  He published his thesis for his PhD in 1925 on the poet and playwright, Juan de Zabaleta, and his work El dia de fiesta por la manana, a 402 page document still available at some university libraries.

A passenger manifest from the Aquitania, sailing from Southhampton, England, does list him returning to New York City in September 1923.  It would make sense that he would return to his teaching duties in the fall after spending a long summer abroad.

My mother had told me once that George Lewis was divorced and I did find an ex-wife was listed on his funeral record.  Sure enough, I found George with a wife in a city directory for Bloomington and Normal, Illinois in 1924:
Doty, Constance F., a teacher at Normal high sch, residence 307 Highland Ave. and George L (Constance), a teacher at the same address.  Then a look at the History of McLean County, Illinois, published in 1924, gave another clue. It noted that Constance, the daughter of Wilbert Ferguson, professor of modern languages at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, married George L. Doty, professor of romance languages at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa.  I don't think George and Constance Ferguson were married long.  In fact, by the 1930 census, she was living back with her parents at the age of 38 and single and she had taken back her maiden name. 

Added note: The University of Illinois Library School Alumni Newsletter of June 1926, No. 7, had this note on page 6:
"George L. Doty, '16-'17, writes that he received his Ph.D. at Illinois in 1925 and is now Assistant Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Louisville.  He is taking another party to Europe this summer."

On September 6, 1926, George, at the age of 31, appeared on the ship manifest for the Leviathan which docked in New York City after departing from Southhampton, England.  On this, he gave his status as Single and his address as 405 Oak Street, Louisville, Kentucky.

His obituary stated that he took the position as Head of the Graduate Program in Languages at the University of Southern California in 1929 and stayed in that position for seven years. (1936)

On July 1, 1929, George's name appeared on the manifest for the ship Alabama Mahu which left Yokohama, Japan on June 19th and pulled into the port of Seattle on July 1st.  A notation on the manifest says, "PP 48 Seoul, China" and I'm not sure if that means his passport was checked there or what. 
On June 2, 1934, he appeared on a ship's manifest, which noted he arrived in Seattle from Seoul, China. On August 26, 1934, he left Balboa, C Z (Canal Zone, Panama) on the ship, Santa Elena, and arrived back in Los Angeles on September 3, 1934. On this manifest, his address was given as 3049 Royal Street, Los Angeles, California. 
A final appearance on a ship's manifest found George on a ship from Cherbourg, France, arriving in New York City on August 27, 1935.  This time, his address was given as 130 H Palisader Ave, 15th St., Philadelphia, PA. 

His obituary stated that he taught high school in 1936 in Santa Monica, California, so apparently, he moved back there, retiring in 1939 to go on archeological adventures in Central and South America.  In 1939, he visited in Monroe, Michigan with his family.  My grandmother and mother were probably there for this rare visit from their brother/ uncle.  Again in the summer of 1941, he came for several months, leaving July 10 for an extended trip around the U.S. and Canada.
In 1941, I found a possible border crossing record for George, coming back from Mexico into Laredo.  His brother confirmed that George had just returned from Mexico before he died on October 24, 1941 in San Francisco.  After an autopsy, which indicated a blocked artery, the body was put on a train on October 27 in the early morning, arriving back home in Monroe on the morning of October 30.

Monroe Evening News, Monroe, Michigan, October 27, 1941
Former Monroe County Resident Was Noted Educator and Archaeologist.
Relatives and friends here were shocked to learn of the death Friday in San Francisco of Dr. George L. Doty, 46, of Santa Monica, California.  Death was caused by coronary occlusion.  A noted educator, research worker, writer and traveler, Dr. Doty was born on the George W. Doty homestead on the North Custer road, Raisinville township, on January 28, 1895, attended the Grape district school, and was graduated from Monroe High School in 1912, winning a scholarship at Albion College.  He was a brother of Guy J. Doty, Raisinville township supervisor, and former Sheriff Harry R. Doty, and twice recently visited friends and relatives in Monroe.
Upon graduation with an A. B. degree from Albion College in 1916, George Doty won a scholarship at the University of Illinois, where he received his master's degree and doctorate in ancient and romance languages.  He served in the camp library service at Anniston, Alabama and in Europe with the Y.M.C.A. during the World War, after which he traveled and studied extensively in Europe.  Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Doty taught at Irvington, New Jersey; Meadville, Pennsylvania; Lake Forest, Illinois; and two years at Louisville College, Louisville, Kentucky.  At that time he won a scholarship conferred by the Italian government at the University of Florence, Italy.  At the completion of his studies there, he conducted research work and studied at Oxford, England, after which he went on an extended tour of the world.  He spent considerable time in Asia, India, and northern Africa.
In 1929, Mr. Doty accepted a position as head of the graduate language department at the University of Southern California, a connection he maintained for seven years.  Later he taught at a Santa Monica, California, high school.  Dr. Doty, in 1939, for reasons of health and desire to do intensive research work, retired and took up research, travel and writing.  He accompanied several expeditions in Central and South America in the interests of archaeology.  An authority on archaeology and prehistoric languages, Dr. Doty wrote and published several books.
Dr. Doty visited here in 1939 and again for two months this past summer, leaving here on July 10 to go to Cleveland, Meadville, Pennsylvania, Niagara Falls, Montreal and Quebec, Canada.  He visited in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, returning to the Pacific Coast.  He was visiting friends in San Francisco when he died.
Specializing in travel for 15 years, Dr. Doty expressed the opinion last May while in Monroe that he feared the present war would curb his touring for a long while to come.  He had been in every continent except Australia and in every state of the union except North Dakota.
Dr. Doty was the son of George W. and Alice Newcomer Doty, and besides his brothers, Guy and Harry, is survived by a sister, Mrs. Dorothy Ordway of Malinta, Ohio."
(Funeral details omitted; burial in Woodland Cemetery.)

Three brothers gone - first George L. at 46 in October 1941, then Harry on April 2, 1942 at 50, then Guy at 54 in October 1944.


  1. FYI, if he was Leviathan which docked in New York City on Sept 6th, he came in from Southampton OR Cherbourg (the Paris stop). All the forms say Cherbourg but they would have stopped in Southampton as well.