Monday, September 20, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: Family Letters, Part One

Empora Kan
Feb 19, 1936

My Dear Mrs. Shupe;

It is a pleasure to have a letter of inquiry from some one we can help.  I have a good many from people with questions that I know nothing about.

According to the record of the children of Alexander Doran sent to me many years ago by Clynton Elmer Smith of Elizabethton, Tenn. also a descendant.  Robert Lowery Doran was one of his sons.  Here is the list as he sent it.  (the interpolations are mine)
(1)  James born Jan 1, 1782 unmarried
(2)  Margaret B. 1783 married James Keys
(3)  Elizabeth B. July 22, 1785 m. Caleb Smith and lived in and near Elizabethton (my Great Grandparents)
(4)  Robert Lowery B. July 19, 1786 m. Betsy Lowery
(5)  Nancy Gordon B. Sept. 17, 1789 m. Ezekiel Smith
(6)  Jannett B. Sept. 11, 1791 m. John Ward
(7) William B. July 25, 1793 m. Elizabeth Wilson
(8)  Rebecca B. Sept. 9, 1796 m. Richard Donnelly (I have correspondence with Mrs. Lou Hendreickson of Elizabethton a decendant of this line)
(9)  John Lowery B. May 26, 1799 not married
(Both Dorans and Lowrys were strict Presbyterians)

Alexander Doran was the son of James Doran, both of them served in the Revolution.  If you are interested in the D.A.R., my first D.A.R. paper is through the service of Alexander.

They settled in Washington county Virginia, evidently not far from Abington, at a place called Wolf Hill.  However, I believe that was an early name of the site Abington.  James took 268 acres of land on wolf creek in 1774, and Alexander took 105 acres at the head of Cane Brake Springs Iron Mountain probably in the same year.  Both of them served Kings Mountain in 1776.

James took part in an expedition against the Cherokee Indians.

Alexander also served in the war of 1812.  was major.  I have been told, but I have no definate information.  It could be obtained I think for I understood that Mrs. Hendreickson was a member of the daughters of 1812 through his service.

Some relatives say that the Dorans came to Virginia from pennsylvania but others think they been in Virginia for several generations in the eastern part.  Alexander is said to have been born 1760 and he died in 1815, I believe, or 1814.  According to my records he was born June 2, 1760.  He married about 1780.  Elizabeth Lowry B. April 28, 1761.  According to my notes of James Doran's will, his wife was Margaret and Alexander the only other heir named.  I took these notes hastily and must check on them when I get back to Topeka sometime for I see I have the will dated Nov. 7, 1799 and probated Dec. 17, 1779.  I have found additional data which states that James Doran's children were Peggy, William, James and Alexander.  I believe 1799 is correct probably for the year, for I have several notes on James later than 1779.  One reference gives his wifes name as Mary but that might be used for Margaret, I should think.

I have a copy of the will of John Lowry, and not long ago one of decendants wrote me that he is the son of William Lowry.

A new book of records has been published recently.  I found it in Topeka last fall.  That is where I found James Doran references.  I had no time to look for Lowry references but hope to do that the next time I am there.  You speak of having someone in Abington looking for records.  I hope it isn't L. P. Summers, he has been a lawyer there and published the history of south west Virginia and lately the book of records mentioned above, Annals of South West Virginia.  Years ago when I was trying to trace the families I wrote to him.  He told me that he would look for records for me if I would send him a fee (a large one for me to pay).  I sent it never dreaming he would not prove dependable.  I waited a year or so and wrote him.  He replied saying that he had merely neglected it and would attend to it later.  I waited another year or so and wrote him again.  The time he replied stating and told him so, but was never able to get anything of any kind from him.  I was thouroughly exasperated but didn't know what to do and had to let it go as a disagreable experience.  I surely hope that you fare better.

If you have access to the Annals of South West Virginia, I believe you can find all you need perhaps about all there is on record.  I have a history of Southwest Virginia but it is not so many records it has more history.  If you want to prove on James Doran in the D.A.R. I can send necessary references, I have not yet, although I hope to some day when I have time to get the necessary papers ready for D.A.R. service for Alexander refer to the history of South West Virginia by L.P. Summers p857.  My national number is 152,530 -- he has a number of descendants in the organization.  A marker was put for him on or near his grave by the Mountain City Chapter D.A.R.  About 1800 he removed with his family to what is Johnson Co. Tenn -- and he is buried near Shoun or Shouns.  The D.A.R. magazine for June 1937 gives a brief account  of the ceremonies and a picture of the monument.  If there is anything else I can do for you write me again.  I have been registrar of our D.A.R here for 11 years but intend to out this spring.  My typewriter is out of order and my writing is so poor especially I hurry.  I have been so busy and have neglected correspondence and now I have so much to try to get off my mind.  I shall hope to hear again.

     Lulu Purdy Gibson

Do you have data of connection with Cambell Hamilton Gordon and Russell families?  These names were used among descendants.

     Lula Gibson


  1. Love these old letters! This one is especially interesting to me because of the locations in VA & TN. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I'll be posting more of them each Monday until I run out. One of the things I find fascinating (other than the fact that my ancestors were doing their genealogy!) is the differences in research techniques compared to now. She had to go to Topeka to find Annals of Southwest Virginia. I found it online and got to scour through it in the comfort of my own home.