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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.

John Doyle and John Dyal and Revolutionary Records

This is the first half of the information presented by Stella Shamo at the John D. Lee reunion held September 2007.

Searching for information about John Doyle has been very confusing. There were at least 5 John Doyles who served in the Revolutionary War. Separating the John Doyles and their service has been difficult. An example of the confusion is illustrated by the information given by Rev. Edgar Woods in his book, History of Albemarle County in Virginia. Pages 52 and 53 give information about Dennis Doyle and his son, John Doyle, who served in the Revolution.

Woods, Rev. Edgar. History of Albemarle County in Virginia. 1901.(53)

This is an example of combining together information on at least two John Doyles who served in the military during the Revolutionary War. The information that refers to the John Doyle, ancestor of John D. Lee is:

"as in that year (1760) was born within its limits, John Doyle who was in all probability a son of Dennis. At the age of eighteen, John accompanied the march of General George Rogers Clark into the North West Territory. Returning to Albemarle he joined the army and served to the close of the Revolution."

The rest of the information pertains to one or two other John Doyles.

Stella knew that Illinois was part of the Northwest Territory and many of the records for the area are in Indiana. Stella wrote to the Indiana State Library regarding military records. She received a letter back telling her that they didn't have the staff to do the research she needed. But they made an exception to her request because they had recently celebrated the bicentennial of George Rogers Clark capture of Vincennes in Indiana.

Bottom part of the letter Stella received from the Indiana State Library

According to materials submitted to the library by Lt. Col. John A. Doyle of Cincinnati, Ohio, it appeared that there were two John Doyles who served with George Rogers Clark and Col. Doyle had separated them out.

"One signed his name John Dyal, but persons referred to him as Doyal. He was born in Winchester County, Virginia in 1762 and died in Lewis County, Kentucky in December 1845. This person appears to have been more involved in Clark's Kentucky campaign."

"The Doyle that settled in Illinois was probably born on the Doyle's Branch of Moorman's River in Albemarle County, Virginia. His father was Dennis Doyle who was an extensive land owner."

After receiving this information Stella wrote to Lt. Col. John A. Doyle. She was so disappointed to learn that Lt. Col. Doyle had died two weeks before receiving her letter!!

The person who responded to her letter was Dean A. Doyal of Virginia. He was an avid Doyle genealogist who volunteered at the Newport News Family History Center, although not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had done a lot of research on Doyles and the derivatives of the Doyle name, and published a Doyle newsletter. It was through corresponding with him that Stella was able to separate the military records of John Doyle of Illinois and Dean Doyal's ancestor, John Dyal/Doyal of Kentucky. She received the following information from Dean Doyal about his ancestor. This information came from pension application records.

  • John Dyal was born in 1762 in Frederick Co. VA
  • He was the son of Edward Dyal, Jr.
  • He served with George Rogers Clark, mostly in Kentucky.
  • He served with Capts. Benjamin Whaley, Benjamin Fields, and Capt. Haynes.
  • He became a Major.
  • He married Christina Davis and had eight children.
  • He died in 1845 in Mason (later Lewis) Co. Kentucky.
  • He received a pension for his services.

Stella also sent a letter to the Virginia State Library requesting military information on John D. Lee's grandfather, John Doyle. She received two certificates of service, one showing that John Doyle served as a private in Captain Mark Thomas' Company in the Illinois Regiment. Capt. Mark Thomas recruited soldiers from Albemarle County and was one of the captains under Col. George Rogers Clark's command.

The second certificate showed John Doyle's service in the Virginia Continental Line.

Pension applications are a valuable resource of information, but John Doyle, John D. Lee's grandfather died before he could apply for a pension. His wife preceded him in death so she didn't apply for the pension either. After John D. Lee was a grown man, he and Charlotte applied for a pension on behalf of John Doyle, but his petition never left the committee. Through research done by Stella Shamo and Renee Durfee we have been able to piece together the following information on John Doyle:

  • John Doyle was born in 1760 in Albemarle Co., VA.
  • He was the son of Dennis Doyle, Jr.
  • He served with George Rogers Clark mostly in the Illinois area.
  • He served with Capt. Mark Thomas and the Virginia Continental Line.
  • He was a private.
  • He married Chloe Smith.
  • He died 1819 in Randolph Co. Illinois.
  • He did not receive a pension.
  • He did receive a bounty land warrant for 200 acres which he sold in April 1792 to Francis Graves.
Through the help of Lt. Col. John A. Doyle and Dean A. Doyal and Stella's research we have been able to clarify John D. Lee's grandfather's involvement in the military, which helps identify who he was and where he was more clearly.

These are two of John Doyle's records from the National Archive now found on microfilm at the FHL. Both show service in Clark's regiment serving in Illinois.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

John D. Lee and DNA

John D. Lee's paternal ancestry has been particularly difficult to sort out. There has been much speculation as to his lineage. The only known ancestor on the Lee line was his father, Ralph Lee. John D. Lee had very little information about his father and his Lee relatives and believed he was related to Robert E. Lee. Recently, Dr. Terry Lee, a descendant of Aggatha Ann, has been DNA tested and has also enlisted a researcher, Daniela Moneta, to help solve the problem. In addition to research she has been finding Lee men to be DNA tested.

The DNA testing has to be done on the male line. For example, my brothers are descendants of John D. Lee, but their paternal line is Smith. They would not match the Lee DNA, but would match Smith DNA. For the DNA test to work, men have to be found with the Lee last name. The tests will not match up if a child was adopted or if there was some “hanky-panky” among the females of the family.

John D. Lee and Robert E. Lee - DNA

There have been over 165 submissions to a LEE DNA study. Among those are descendants and cousins of General Robert E. Lee.

In addition to Dr. Terry Lee, another male descendant from a different wife of John D. Lee's has submitted his DNA to another study and Terry and he are excellent matches to each other.

According to information on the Lee DNA website, Y-chromosome DNA matches less than about 88% are considered to indicate no kinship via a common Lee male ancestor over the past genealogical interval of about twenty five generations. There have been over 165 Lee men who have submitted their DNA for this study and the descendants of Ralph Lee and John D. Lee have a less than 70% match with any of them. One of the sponsors asked the question if we were really Lees!

So far John D. Lee’s descendants are not a good match with any other Lees in the study, including descendants of Robert E. Lee.

John D. Lee and Josiah Lee - DNA

One theory as to Ralph Lee’s ancestry has been a Josiah Lee b. abt. 1740. Josiah listed three children in his will: Sarah, Josiah Jr., and Keziah. This family looked good because Ralph Lee was an apprentice in Maryland, and this family came from Maryland. Ralph would be born about two years younger than Keziah. Also, interestingly enough, Josiah Jr.'s descendants claimed to be related to John D. Lee.

A descendant of Josiah Jr. could not figure out how his ancestor and John D. Lee could be related. He asked two of his Lee cousins to be DNA tested. The researcher could not be tested because he came through a female line and and the test has to be entirely through the male line. The results on both DNA test have come back with the following results:

The two descendants of Josiah Lee have a 97.7% match with each other.

According to the Lee Project manager, John D. Lee’s descendants,

have DNA results way out of range for any kinship to the above descendants of Josiah Lee. The match percentage is in the lower 20 percentile range. Further support to this conclusion is via a close match (better than 90%) of this Josiah Lee descendant to two other Lee DNA Genealogy Project participants. The earliest proven ancestor for these two Lee males is: David Lee born 1765 Cumberland Co., MD died 1848, Switzerland Co., IN

Because the descendants of Josiah's DNA matches the other Lees in the study so well, it is apparent that they are Lees, with no “mistakes” or adoptions on their line.

But it does prove that Ralph’s ancestry is not through Josiah Lee b. abt. 1740.

We will have to continue our search for our Lee ancestry.

To see more information about John D. Lee and Josiah Lee DNA studies, copy and paste this address into your address bar:

If you are interested in keeping an eye on the DNA tests here is one of the websites:

The descendant of John D. Lee is listed as T108037 a descendant of Ralph Lee.