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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

John Doyle Ancestry

This is the second half of the presentation given by Stella Shamo at the John D. Lee reunion in September 2007. The first half is under the blog title John Doyle and John Dyal and Revolutionary Records.

John Doyle (John D. Lee's grandfather)
The latest research shows that our John Doyle was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. Albemarle is in the middle of Virginia at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, adjoining the Shenandoah Valley. Charlottesville, where Thomas Jefferson lived during the same time period, is Albemarle's county seat.

John Doyle was born on the Doyle's branch of the Moorman River, probably in or near Doylesville. The Moorman River runs close to the borders of Rockingham and Augusta Counties.

John Doyle's father was Dennis Doyle, Jr. and his grandfather was Dennis Doyle, Sr.

Dennis Doyle, Sr. (John Doyle's grandfather, John D. Lee's 2-gr grandfather) In researching the Doyle line, Stella has discovered that Dennis Doyle, Sr. was born in Dublin, Ireland about 1700. He came to America before 1731 and married Elizabeth Cunningham in Boston, Massachusetts in 1731. We know very little about Dennis Sr. from the time he was married until he came to Albemarle in the late 1730's or early1740's. The earliest we have record of his being in Albemarle is 1741. Dennis Sr. died around 1760, probably in Albemarle. The date and place of his wife's death is unknown.

Between 1741 and the time of his death, Dennis Doyle, Sr. amassed more than 11,000 acres of property along the Moorman River and on both sides of the Doyle's Branch. He raised tobacco on his plantations. In fact, barges used to come up Doyle's Branch to pick up the tobacco to take it to Richmond to be processed. Stella visited this area three years ago (2004) with her niece. Two hundred plus years later, it isn't possible to get a boat up the creek. The little branch is no longer usable for navigation.

Dennis Jr. and Sr. lived in St. Anne's Parish of Albemarle County. Regardless of religious affiliation a person had to join the state church of Virginia, the Episcopalian Church. People paid taxes to the church. Those who belong to a church other than Episcopalian, like the Doyles who were Catholic, had to pay double taxes.

Some people who had to pay double taxes rebelled and set fire to the Episcopalian churches, destroying many records. In addition, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War were heavily fought in the Albemarle area and again, records were destroyed. So it has been difficult to obtain information about the Doyle family in the Albemarle area.

Dennis Doyle, Jr. (John Doyle's father, John D. Lee's great grandfather)
Dennis Jr. was born in 1732, possibly in Boston, Massachusetts, where his parents were married. The earliest records we have found of the Doyles in Albemarle County, Virginia are in 1741. Dennis Jr would be about 9 years old when he arrived in Albemarle. Dennis Jr. married Katherine. Her last name is still unknown.

Dennis Doyle, Jr. and Katherine, moved from Albemarle County to Stafford County, Virginia between 1786 and 1787. Stafford is north and east of Albemarle County. It borders on the Chesapeake Bay across from southern Maryland. Dennis Jr. died in Stafford County in 1795. His Wife, Katherine preceded him in death in 1794. They both were buried in the Brent Family Catholic Cemetery.

Brent Catholic Cemetery (Burial place of Dennis Doyle Jr. and his wife Katherine) The Brent Catholic Cemetery is a small cemetery with an eight-foot fence around it with barbed wire around the top and double-wide steel gates. The land around the cemetery is privately owned, but the road leading from the street and the cemetery are both owned by the Catholic Church. This is the oldest cemetery in the area. Most of the burials are Brent family members with a few Catholic clergy. Because Dennis and Katherine are buried in the Brent Catholic cemetery there is a strong possibility that Katherine is a Brent.

Below are some of the pictures Stella Shamo took of the cemetery when she visited there. You can click on any of the images to make them bigger.

This is a picture of the small outdoor chapel in the Brent Cemetery where religious services are held.

The tombstone of Dennis Jr. and Katherine Doyle is just to the right of the front entrance as seen in the picture below.

This is the tombstone of Dennis Jr. and Katherine Doyle. The yellow paint was sprayed by vandals.

Dennis Jr. and Katherine's tombstone is very large. You can tell by comparing it's size to Stella.

Some of the tombstones in Brent Cemetery were chipped so badly the inscriptions were barely readable. But the writing on the two Doyle tombstones near the front entrance is very beautiful. Because of their excellent condition, Stella wondered if the Doyle tombstones weren't new stones, except for the writing is in the old style with "f's" replacing "s's" and "also" is spelled "allso". The tombstone adjacent to Dennis Jr. and Katherine, to the right in this picture, is Rettfon or Rettson Doyle, relationship unknown. Because of the age given on the tombstone, he could be a brother of Dennis Sr.

Inscription on tombstone:

In Memory of
Katherine Doyle wife of
Dennis Doyle who departed
From this life 25 Oct 1794
In the 62 year of her life
Allso to the memory of
Dennis Doyle husband to
The above said Katherine
Who departed this life
June 30, 1795 Age 63

Although Katherine died first, the fact that she is named first could also be an indication that she is the one related to the Brent family. There are several Katherines in the Brent family, but we have not yet made the connection between Katherine Doyle and the Brent family.

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