He is probably best known early on for taking part in the first sword fight in the New World. Edward Leister, a fellow servant of Mr. Hopkins, and Edward Doty fought a little duel in which both were wounded. Their punishment was to be tied neck to heels for twenty-four hours, but their master, Hopkins, pleaded for their release and it was accomplished after only an hour. Edward Doty was one of the men who volunteered to go out into a shallop with nine other men for an exploration of the coast and a search for a good site for their settlement, after they first landed near the Massachusetts coast. I think "Adventurer" was a very appropriate title for our Edward Doty.
I read not too long ago the book, Plymouth Colony, Its History and People, 1620 - 1691, and I kept a list of the court cases and scrabbles that Edward had with his neighbors and the list made several pages! He must have had a little temper. The reasons ranged from land disputes to "breaking the peace" to cheating and slandering. In March 1633, he fought and drew blood from Josiah Cook and had to pay cook 3 shillings and 4 pence for it.
When Edward first arrived with Stephen Hopkins and his family, it is thought that Doty was toward the end of his indenture. Neither Stephen nor Edward had made the trip to New England in the search for religious freedom. In fact, Hopkins was one of the dissenters in the group and probably one of the reasons that the Mayflower Compact had to be formed - to set some guidelines for the group. When Samoset first visited the colony, he stayed with the Hopkins family, so it follows that Edward would have met him, too.
|(Edward's signature is in the 4th column, second to last)|
Eventually, Edward owned land and had servants of his own, such as John Smith who bound himself as an apprentice to Doty for ten years. It is suggested in Bradford's telling that Edward Doty had a first wife, but no one has determined who that was or what happened to her. It is on record that he married Faith Clarke and with her had seven children: Edward, John, Thomas, Samuel, Desire, Elizabeth, Isaac (our ancestor), Joseph and Mary.
Edward died before his wife, Faith, and his will has survived, dated 20 May 1655, in which he leaves some parcels of land to his sons when they each reach 21 and if they die before that, the shares would go to his wife. "And unto my loveing wife, I give and bequeath my house and lands and meddows within the precincts of New Plymouth, together with all Chattles and moveables that are my proper goods, onley Debts and engagements to bee paied."
Edward is probably buried on Burial Hill and since the wooden grave markers are long gone, a memorial stone has been placed there.
Faith, Edward's widow, married John Phillips on 14 March 1666. It is interesting that they had a sort of written prenuptial agreement in that the children of each would remain under the control of the natural parent only and that Faith could dispose of her own property as she saw fit. If Phillips should predecease her, she would have a life interest in 1/3 of his real and personal property. (Plymouth Church Records 4:763.164) I think that sounds so modern!
Quite a few years ago, we visited Plimouth Plantation and the Stephen Hopkins house where a very talented fellow played the part of Edward Doty (Dotey, Doten, Doughten, etc.) He never fell out of character despite our questions.
I can't wait to go back again, as I see now we missed some areas like Pilgrim Hall and Burial Hill that I would like to visit.
One can read about Edward Doty at any of these sites. Some of the books are online and searchable for "Edward Doty."
The Plimouth Plantation
The Doty-Doten Family, page 12+
Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
Signers of the Mayflower Compact by A.A.Haxtun, p. 80
and many more. A Google Search will keep you busy for days!