Monday, March 14, 2011

Irish Roots? John and Sarah Doyle

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day this week, I wanted to highlight Mary Ann’s parents, George and Sarah Doyle.  Doyle has got to be Irish, right?  That is something yet to be determined but I am working on.  I am hopeful that I will find the ties that connect me to Ireland! 

This past week I had the chance to contact the Kansas Historical Society   They provide the service of looking obituaries up for a small fee.  Since I had located death certificates for John and Sarah on I was able to give them exact death dates.  John S. Doyle was born August 6, 1808 somewhere in Connecticut.  He died 7 March 1895 in Lancaster, Kansas.  This is the obituary provided to me by the Kansas Historical Society which came from the Daily Globe and was dated March 11, 1895.

The funeral of the late J. S. Doyle, at Lancaster yesterday, was one of the very largest in the history of the county.  The deceased was an old settler of Kansas. He built the very first house of Seneca.

I have to admit I was hoping for more clues into this man’s life.  Just three short sentences.  I'm kind of sad knowing that I know so little about someone who was well known and loved in his community.  The last sentence was interesting too.  He built the very first house in Seneca.  So I googled that and this is what I found:

The first house built in Seneca was erected in the fall of 1857; it was a double log house, with a wide hall through the centre, or rather, two houses connected with a wall of logs at the rear. It was built by John S. Doyle for Finley Lappin, who immediately occupied one end of it for a hotel, while Downing & Stewart opened a grocery store in the other end. The hotel portion of the building also served as the office of register of deeds, Samuel Lappin holding that position. One end of the structure was afterward used as a dwelling; the other end as a shoe shop and carpenter shop successively. It passed from Samuel Lappin to Albert Clark, finally returning to its former owner, who demolished it to make room for what is now known as the city drug store.
information from William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas

Another source tells me that he was one of the first settlers in Nemaha county.  Here is what it says:

 Transcribed from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.

Nemaha County, the third west from the Missouri river in the northern tier, was one of the original 33 counties created by the first territorial legislature in 1855, and one of the 19 counties to be organized in that year. It is bounded on the north by the State of Nebraska; on the east by Brown county; on the south by Jackson and Pottawatomie counties, and on the west by Marshall county.
It is claimed by some historians that Nemaha was included in the region visited by Coronado and that he reached its northern boundary in Aug., 1851, but it is probable that the first expedition to cross the county was in 1842 when Fremont made his journey across the continent. His route entered the county on the east line, south of the present town of Sabetha, extended northwest to Baker's ford, turned south, passing near the place where Seneca now stands, thence northwest again and crossed the county line near the present village of Clear Creek. This road was used by the Mormons in the early '40s and by the California gold-seekers in 1849, later becoming the military road used by the government troops moving westward.
Nemaha county took its name from the river, which in Indian language means "no papoose," indicating the malarious character of the climate at that time. The earliest settlement was made in 1854, when W. W. Moore located near Baker's ford, 9 miles north of where Seneca now stands. In the same year, Walter D. Beeles, Greenberry Key, Thomas, John C. and Jacob B. Newton settled in the same vicinity. John O'Laughlin took a claim on Turkey creek and B. F. Hicks in Capioma township. The settlers in 1855 were James McCallister, William Barnes, Samuel Magill and Robert Rea, in Capioma township; David Locknane, in Granada township; James Thompson, John S. Doyle, Cyrus Dolman, Elias B. Newton, H. H. Lanham and wife, S. M. Lanham and Joseph Lanham, in Richmond township; William M. Berry and L. J. McGown, in Valley township; Horace M. Newton, in Richmond township; William Harris, on the creek that bears his name; Hiram Burger, George Frederick and George Goppelt, on Turkey creek. Along with these last named came a negro by the name of Moses FatIey, who took a claim which he sold the next year to Edward McCaffery for $200. He bought his own freedom, the freedom of his wife, his sister and two of her children. C. Minger and wife settled in Washington township, and Reuben Wolfley in Wetmore township.
These early claims were taken without warrant, as there were no facilities for entry and no place at which payment could be made to the government. The earliest payments were made in 1857. Preëmptions were made up to 1860 at the land office at Kickapoo, where entries were made for the district of which Nemaha county was a part. The settlement and development of the county having begun during the time when the pro-slavery element had the upper-hand in Kansas, most of the early towns started at that time do not now exist, having given away to free-state towns before 1860. Among those to disappear were Central City, laid out in 1855 by William Dodge, for Thomas Newton and sons and H. H. Lanham, which had the first postoffice in the county; Pacific City; Lincoln, the dream of J. E. Hawkes; Ash Point; Urbana, the first town in the county; Wheatland and Richmond. The last was started in 1855 by Cyrus Dolman, a pro-slavery man and a member of the territorial legislature. Richmond was made the county seat by legislative enactment at the time of the organization of Nemaha county. The town company was given a right to enter by preëmption any quantity of land up to 1,000 acres, lay off the same into lots and sell it. Richmond was 3 miles north of the present town of Seneca.

So now I’m not so sad because I have some more clues into the adventures of this man.  I know that he was born in Connecticut and that some of his children were born in Pennsylvania and others were born in Illinois.  They ended up moving to Kansas and were some of the first settlers there.  I can only imagine that this was a huge adventure full of hard work much like the times of Laura Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie.  I would love to have a journal from one of these ancestors but for now I will settle for the three sentences in the Daily Globe!

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