Monday, October 11, 2010

Amanuensis Monday: Family Letters, Part Four

Sparta Tenn
Aug 11, 1932
My Dear Mrs. Gibson,

Your letter of August 6 is very interesting to me.  It seems very probable that we have a common ancestor, though some of the dates and facts given in your letter are bit hard to reconcile with the records, partly traditions which I have.  I am a descendant from Robert Alexander Doran who settled in Hampshire County Va. in 1742 or 43.  He came from County Donegal, Ireland, in 1741 and lived for a year or two in New Jersey near Englishtown.  Not liking life there, he came to Va. and settled in Hampshire Co. now West Va.  There he reared a family and died there.  His wife, according to the record I have, was Sarah Elizabeth Reed.  To this union was born among others William and Alexander.  I mention Alexander because this is the one in whom you are interested.  I am a decendant from William.  This Alexander was born about 1760-5.  At 14 or 15 he entered the Revolutionary army under general washington as a teamster, drawing a munitions wagon.  He was cited for bravery under fire was personally commended by Washington.  After the war closed he was an overseer of part of the fairfax estates and after Washington's death he came into posession of part of the land.  Robert Alexander Doran was a man about 50 when the war started and served on Washingtons staff; it is easy to see how his son should attract the attention of the General.

Alexander married Elizabeth daughter of John Lowry.  Ther children were William, Joseph, John, James, Peter, Elizabeth, Alexander.  Joseph settled at Sedan Va. and reared a family and afterwards moved to Ohio.  John settled at Blacklick, Ohio where some of his descendants still live.  James also went to Ohio but I know nothing of him.  Peter never married.  Elizabeth married Joseph Caleb Smith and reared a family in Va. where many of her descendants still live.  Alexander was drowned in north River when he was just a young man not married.  William married Hannah Guard and rered a large family some of whom went to Ohio while Dave & Sam went to Cloud County Kansas.  I know nothing further about the children Alexander and I suppose you would not be interested in the family of William.  I might tell you however, that William also Served through the Revolution and was given a grant of land.  1,000 acres in the Cherokee nation in what is now Overton County Tenn.  He reared a family of twelve and two daughters Mary and Elizabeth.  Mary married firs a man named Carter after whom Carter County Tenn. was named.  He died leaving one son and later she married a man named Lawry Silas and Ambrose.  twins the youngest children of William Doran were the first to use steam in industry west of the mountains.  My father, Marrion, was the oldest son of Silas and will be 93 next birth day.  He is living now in retirement.  He was a doctor by profession and was also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, the ancestral church of the Dorans.

A few years ago I spent five weeks in Ireland and while there I saw Sir Henry Doran who ownes the large ancestral estate of the Dorans in Donegal.  He was at that time a member of the Irish senate and one of the most influential men in Ireland.  You probably know that the house of Doran is one of the oldest of irish nobility.  The Dorans reigned in Donegal when there were petty kings in Ireland, in the eighth century.  While I was in Ireland I was shown much respect every where as soon as my name was known.  At Belfast at the assembly where I spoke the clerk told me that nothing had happened in Ireland in more than a thousand years in which the Dorans had not had part.  The reigning Earl in Donegal at the time of the Reformation was the first to sign the Irish Covenant in his blood since which time Dorans have been Presbyterian, except for a few strays in this country who have joined other churches.

It sees very improbable that the name Doran has any connection with Drogheada.  It is a common in all the Gallic lands, in Ireland, Scotland, North Emgland, France, and even in the Gallic parts of Spain.  But our family is Irish.

I trust I have given you some information that will be helpful to you.

Paul E. Doran

Personally, I think we have two different Alexander's being mixed up with one another... too many names etc just don't match up.  My Alexander did marry Elizabeth Lowry, but his parents were James Doran and Margaret Gordon and they stayed in Washington Co., Virginia untill they moved to Johnson Co., Tennessee.  Different parents, different kids... different Alexanders. 

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