September 8, 2012

The First Doty Here - Edward

So much has been written of Edward Doty, the servant of Stephen Hopkins and a Londoner, it is thought, who traveled on that first Mayflower voyage in 1620.  Generally, he is described as a pretty aggressive, pugnacious fellow who doesn't shy from a good fight or a little controversy.

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!


  1. Enjoy reading the information on Edward Doty. I am also a descendant of Edward Doty. However, my lineage follows his son Samuel. I wonder how many descendants there are now from Edward and Faith. Thank you again.

  2. I, too, am a descendant of Edward Doty. My line is Isaac, Samuel, Charles, Samuel. Abner, Laura Jane Doty Married to Heman Lamb Hazen. she was my GG grandmother. Thanks for posting all the info. So interesting!! Have you done the DNA?? I am in the process!!

  3. I am also a descendant of Edward my line is Samuel, Samuel, Moses, Mercy. Mercy married Reuben Compton. Their daughter Margaret married Levi Coon then their daughter Mary married John Coddington. Their son Bartholomew married Christiana had daughter Christiana who married Charles Wood Jr. Their daughter Grace Wood married Howard Crosby had daughter Norma who is my great grandmother! Its so fascinating!

  4. I am also a descendant of Edward through his son Edward,to Mary to Martha and we tie into other Mayflower descendant lines. I am just studying family history to pass on the information to my Great Nephew and Great Nieces.

  5. I too am a descendent of Edward Doty. Thank you for sharing...

  6. Edward Doty is mine (and your) direct ancestor. I'm doing research on him for a school project and it really surprised me when so many links popped up when I googled him.

  7. I have two direct lines to Edward Doty:

    First - Edward Doty - Desire Doty m. William Sherman - Ebenezer Sherman - Ebenezer Sherman - Elisha Sherman - Ebenezer Sherman - Elisha Sherman - Harvey Hatch Sherman (my 3rd great grandfather)

    Second - Edward Doty - John Doty (Douty) - Elisha Doten - Edward Doten - Thomas Doty - Paul Doty - Eliza Dudley Doty (m. Harvey Hatch Sherman)

    Thank you for your post.

  8. I am also a descendant from his son Samuel's line. My relationship goes from Edward-Samuel-Benjamin-Benjamin II-Benjamin III- Mary Doty (m. Nathan Everett)- Jacob Doty Everett-Jasper Everett- Alzada Everett (m. Frank Stockler) - Margaret Stockler who was my maternal grandmother. I am fascinated by all of the lineage and links to "family" through Edward!!

  9. I too am a descendent,....
    12th generation.

    Edward Planter Doty
    Samuel Doty
    Edward Doty
    John Elkanah Watson Doty
    Jeremy Jeremiah Doty
    Samuel Doty
    Joseph L. Doty
    Daniel M. Doty
    James Daniel Doty
    Malinda Saphronia Doty (Madison) ---- My Great Grandmother & Daughter of James
    Alma Madison (Simpson)-----(Daughter of Malinda)
    Shirley Simpson (Fuller)------(Daughter of Alma)
    Me...Doug Fuller (Son of Shirley Fuller)

  10. Thank you, Dianne, for presenting all this info on Edward Doty. I'd heard bits and pieces but you put it all together so well.

    I, too, am descended from him through Isaac. After Isaac, it's Jacob, Joseph, Rebecca, Marian/Miriam Stafford, Nancy Stafford Nichols, Mary Beatrice Porter, Helen Marion Robey, Robey Wentworth Harned, Margaret Harned, and then me -- Melanie Wright Tripp

    I'd be particularly interested in coming in to contact with anyone related to Mary Beatrice Porter and/or Helen Marion Robey. My email is

  11. We are an 11th generation ancestor from Edward Doty through his son Samuel. I am amazed at all the information I am finding! Sure proud to be an American & to have such significant ties to the start of the United States of America! - Angela

  12. Edward is my 10x Great Grandfather on my Great Grandfathers's Great Grandmothers side through Samuel-Daniel- David- Charles- Valentine

  13. Just found out Edward is my 8th great grandfather. Desire my 7th great grandmother.