Biography of The Rev. Francis Doughty
Francis Doughty was the son of an elder Francis Doughtie, merchant of Bristol, who retired from business and lived as a country gentleman at Oldbury, some 15 miles from Bristol. When the father died in 1634, the younger Francis was pastor of Old Sodbury, a few miles from Oldbury, and had a wife, Bridgett, and 3 children...Francis, Elias and Mary. Drawn into the fast growing puritan movement, the vicar, in 1636, came under the notice of the Anglican Church authorities and seems to have lost his pulpit in consequence. Soon afterward, in 1638, he went to New England where Puritanism was the force to be reckoned with. For a time he lived at Dorchester, near Boston, where the boat from England had disembarked. In 1639 another child, Enoch, was added to the family.
In 1639 or 1640 the ex-vicar became pastor of the newly settled town of Taunton, but his tenure was short. He fell into controversy with the extremists of his congregation over the matter of baptism, on which subject he held more liberal views than did the leaders of the New England brand of puritan thought. As a result, he was removed from his pastorate in 1641.
From Taunton, the Doughty family went to Rhode Island for a time and here the minister took part in organizing a new colonizing project, the purpose of which was to establish an English-speaking settlement on western Long Island, in the Dutch colony of New Netherlands. In the spring of 1642, the group obtained a land grant for Mespat in the modern Borough of Brooklyn. Here a new town was started and Rev. Doughty became the local pastor. Hardly was the settlement well under way when, in 1643, an Indian uprising drove the settlers away, and the Doughty family fled to Manhattan for safety. At the Dutch capital, the minister found new friends, for there were many English residents among the Dutch. With the consent of the Dutch ministers these English organized a separate congregation, making Francis their pastor. In the Dutch colony of New Netherlands, the only church organization recognized was that of the Reformed church of the Netherlands. This English congregation was a unit of that body, met in the Dutch church building and its pastor drew his support from collections taken in his own and in the Dutch congregations.
The stay of the Doughty household in Manhattan lasted from 1643 to 1646, with the English church being organized around 1644. In October 1645, Mary Doughty was married to Adrian Vanderdonck, a rising lawyer and politician of the colonial city. Vanderdonck was interested in colonization, and in the spring of 1646, started a new settlement at what is now Yonkers, taking his bride into the wilderness. In the same year, the Rev. Doughty went back to Mespat and took up again the work of establishing a settlement. He was so successful in this that his former partners, in 1647, sued him in the colonial court for a share in the property. The question seems to have been as to whether or not the partners' rights had lapsed by their abandonment of the effort in 1643. The court decided that their rights were still good, and when Doughty threatened to appeal his case to the Dutch authorities in Europe, the colonial court fined him and issued a jail sentence of 24 hours as a warning against such action. Their persuasion seems to have been successful.
A few miles from Mespat, the new English speaking settlement of Flushing was organized in the spring of 1647, with Doughty being chosen pastor of the new town. According to one authority, his pastorate began this same year. It lasted until 1654, when he sued his congregation for arrears of salary, which had been provided for by contract and not been paid to him.
In connection with his pastorate at Flushing, there has evolved the modern myth to the effect that Doughty was an early minister of the present-day Presbyterian Church. In England he had been an Anglican pastor, and in New England, he had, of necessity, been a Congregationalist. In New Netherlands he was minister of the Reformed Church of the Netherlands, a Presbyterian form of organization. In 1657 an ecclesiastical report on the condition of the colonial church was sent from Manhattan to Amsterdam, and the writers mentioned Doughty and another minister as having English-speaking congregations. Seeking words to explain that these ministers had affiliated with the established Reformed church, instead of clinging to the congregational policy of New England, the authors of the report stated that the pastors were Presbyterian. The modern misconception of his statement seems to have started with O'Callaghan, the historian of New Netherlands.
The year of 1655 brought great change to the lives of the Doughtys. Mary Doughty, now Vanderdonck, became a widow in about June of this year, and in September, the Indians drove the settlers off the Vanderdonck plantation at Yonkers. About this time, Reverend Doughty sailed for Virginia, and theory has it that daughter Mary joined him after losing her property. They may have sailed together, but were both out of the Dutch colony by August 1656. Whether or not the wife of Rev. Doughty was still alive at this time is not known. The older boys, Francis and Elias, were now farmers on Long Island, where they remained and became prominent citizens in after years. Enoch, the youngest child, went with his father to Virginia.
Francis is next heard of as pastor of Hungars parish on the Eastern Shore of Accomack County, Virginia. The Virginian church had been strictly Anglican up to 1652, when the colony submitted to parlimental authority. After that date the several parishes were left to go their own ways without interference by legislative acts of reform. Doughty came here, probably, in a modified Anglicanism, having no surplice or Book of Common Prayer, but otherwise very much what it had been prior to 1652. Of his pastorate at Hungars, very little is recorded. It is mentioned that in 1655, he instigated a witchcraft prosecution, and in 1656 was favorably mentioned in the will of a parishioner. In June of 1657, he was married again, to Ann Graves, who had the distinction of marrying 3 successive rectors of Hungar’s parish. Ann and her sister, Verlinda, were the daughters of Capt. Thomas Graves, one of the original adventurers of the Jamestown Colony, and had both been born in Accomack county, Va. Verlinda was married to the Governor of Maryland, and this fact gives rise to the misconception that the maiden name of Bridgett Doughty, the 1st wife of Frances, was Stone. Gov. Stone was known to refer to Frances as his brother-in-law, and someone seeing this thought it must mean that Bridgett and the Governor were brother and sister, making her Bridgett Stone. In reality, the wives of Francis and the Governor were the sisters, Ann and Verlinda.
Ann Graves married, before July 10, 1637, the Rev. William Cotton, who, on that date patented land in right of his wife Ann Graves. Rev. Cotton, whose mother resided at Bunbury, Cheshire, England was the first minister of Hungars parish, the first formally organized church on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. He left a will of August 1640, naming "Brethrin-n law Capt. William Stone" and another as overseers of his estate. Ann then married, by 1642, the Rev. Nathaniel Eaton, who came to Virginia from Massachusetts, where, in 1638, he had become the first master of the school that later became Harvard University. He had been born England in 1609, and came to Massachusetts in 1638. His father had been a clergyman in England, and his brother was the respected first Governor of the New Haven Colony. Governor Winthrop of New York mentions in his journal that Eaton, after he went to Virginia, was a "drunken preacher". In 1642, he assigned land at Hungars Creek due him by right of intermarriage with the ""widdowe and relict of William Cotton, Clerke", (often a misspelling for the word cleric). By 1646 Eaton had left the colony, deserting his wife, and returned to England, where he lived privately until the restoration of King Charles II. Conforming to the ceremonies of the Church of England, he was fixed at Biddlefield, where he became a bitter persecutor of the Dissenters, and died in prison for debt. In June of 1657 Ann married the Reverend Doughty, rector of Hungars, but moved with him to Charles County, Maryland by 1660. The earliest reference to the presence of Rev. Doughty in Charles County is found in a bill of debt, a paper that in those days performed the function of the modern promissory note. The bill shows that in June 1660, the minister promised to pay George Short acertain amount of tobacco either at Pickawaxen in Charles County or at Potomac, on the Virginia side. About January or February of 1661, a Captain William Battin, who kept a store at Pickawaxen, summoned Mr. Doughty to county court, but the matter was adjusted and the case never came to trial.
Meanwhile, Francis had organized a church and was officiating as pastor. The earliest evidence of this is the suit of Joan Mitchell, filed in the summer of 1661, which called for trial in the court session of September. Earlier references show that Joan Mitchell had for some time been under popular suspicion of witchcraft, an allegation she stoutly denied. At this particular time the imputation had again been raised and, in self-defense, she brought suit against four persons, alleging slander. Her petition in the case shows that shefelt that Mr. Doughty was shielding her enemies. "Whereas your poor petitioner is most shamfully used and her good name taken away from her she dowth desire that she may be righted and that shee may be searched by able women whether she bee such a person or no which those persons say I am and if I bee found to bee such a one I may bee punished by law or els to bee cleared by proclimation and that the worshipfull bench would take it into ther serious consideration how that I am abused and my good name taken from mee withoud disart and I most humbly desire your worships that I may have the law against them and I your poore petitioner shall bee bound to pray for you and yours. I desire YT Mr. Francis Doughty may bring those persons to light that have raised these scandalous reports of mee for hee says that I aslluted a woman at church and her teeth fell acking as if shee had bin mad and I desired him to tell mee who had raysed this report of mee and hee would not and so from one to another my good name is taken away that I cannot bee at quiet for them for it is allther delight and table talke how to doe mee a mischief being a poore distressed widow but my trust is in God that he will plead my case for mee and will never suffer the poor and innocent to perish by the hands of ther enemes for of a sunday as I was going to church with too of Capt. Fendalls folks Mr. Walker hurled stones at me as I was going a long and so hid hemself again which for any thing that I know his master might set him on to mischiefe mee and hee himself wrongs mee by word and I your petioioner shall be ever bound to pray for you."
The suit of Joan Mitchell against the minister went no further than the complaint. The trial was postponed to the November court and at that session the case was formally dismissed because neither party appeared.
Another case that came before the September, 1661 court had some reference to ministerial work of Mr. Doughty. Eleanor Empson, widow of William Empson, was about to be married to John Morris. The pastor was to have performed the marriage ceremony, but he received a note forbidding the banns. Mrs. Empson brought suit against the supposed author of the note, alleging defamation, and called Enoch Doughty as her witness. Says the court record: "Mr. Enoch Doughty aged 22 years or thereabouts swore and examined in open court sayeth that he saw a note sent by Richard Watson to his father Mr. Francis Doughty to forbid the banns of matrimonie betweene Elenor Emmpson and any other person for that she was his wife before God this to the best of this depanants knowledge to bee the substance of the noat and further sayeth not." The supposed author of the note came into court and stated that, being a blind man, he had to trust in the fairness of others in the writing of his messages, and that he disclaimed any interest in the widow's matrimonial affairs.
There is nothing in the court records to indicate clearly the denominational character of Mr. Doughty's church. When the minister came from Virginia to Maryland, the English republic was still under under Cromwell’s rule, and Anglican worship was illegal. On May 5, 1660, the republican period ended with the reinstatement of the monarchy and parliament's order that henceforth all writs should be issued in the name of King Charles. With that act, the followers of the old worship services were free to return to some form of Anglicanism. Such was the situation when the Charles County church was formed, and, in all probability, the church was modeled after the modified Anglicanism of Virginia. It is at least certain that it adopted the vestry form of government so familiar in the Anglican system. But, by April 22nd, church papers show that Doughty had left the parish.
Mary Doughty Vanderonck remained in Maryland, after the departure of her father. She apparently had come to Virginia either with or soon after her father, and found a home in Charles County. Here, she acquired repute as a healer of the sick, for which service she demanded good fees, and sometimes, when her patients were reluctant to pay their bill, she took them to county court for due settlement of her claims. Beginning on April 22, 1662, the court records accord her the new name of Mrs. O'Neal after her recent marriage to Hugh O'Neal, planter and active man of the county.
To Enoch Doughty now fell the task of guarding his fathers interests in Maryland, and from the absent minister came a letter of attorney, prolix with legal verbiage, bearing the date of June 4, 1662, and beginning thus: "Know all men by thees presant that I Francis Doughtie now minister of Rappahonnock county in Virginia doe authorise immpower and intrust my dearly loving sone Enock Doughtie of Charles countie in the Province of Mariland my trew and lawfull atturney....." It may be noted that one of the 3 subscribing witnesses of this document was John Washington, one of the original Washington emigrants from England, and the ancestor of George Washington.
Francis then removed himself to the parishes of Sittingbourn and Farnham that lay on each side of the Rappahannock River at the lower end of Old Rappahannock County. 1665 listed The Reverend Doughty listed in church papers as the Minister of both parishes. The following item is found recorded in the Old Rappahannock county court papers: "We whose names are hereunder written being vestrymen for the parish of Sittingbourne and Farnham do here unanimously agree for the future maintenance of Mr. Francis Doughty the next two ensuing years and it is agreed upon as followeth: that Mr. Francis Doughty shall receive yearly of each parish above sd. Sixty pounds sterling to be paid in tobacco according to act of Assembly the said tobacco to be paid in caske without salery or other charge to the afore said Mr. Doughty revoking and disannullingal former orders bargaines and contracts whatsoever made by and between the said Mr. Francis Doughty and both or either the respective vestrys of the parishes aforesaid to the true performance of which the said Mr. Doughty and the vestry of both parishes have hereunto set their hands this 3rd day of November, 1665."
The Reverend Doughty was popular with a large part of his congregation, but stirred others to great anger. Regardless, he must have been a vital person, for in the 5 years that he was there, he organized and revived the church work. In Sittingbourn Parish, he planned, bought land for, and erected churches, one near Cabin Point and one at the mouth of Occupacia Creek. He also built a church at Piscataway, and a church on the north side. At Farnham Parish, to which he gave half his time, he organized the vestry. While popular with the people, Francis was repeatedly unseated, either because of the control of the church by the state, or because of the vagaries of his own personality. He was accused of censuring his parishioners conduct, and of refusing to administer the sacrament of communion on Easter Sunday. For this he was tried, his accusers being not only vestrymen, but also justices of the court. This charge made it impossible for Francis to not be convicted. This trial aroused much interest, and grew largely out of the quarrel over whether he should be paid in sterling or in tobacco. It preceded by more than a hundred years the famous "Parson's case", which has been made famous by the fiery eloquence of Patrick Henry. At the outcome of the trial, Francis was "put out" as minister of the parish.
After this, and coupled with his rising disillusion with Virginia, he wrote a deed of intent, in which he made provisions for the upkeep of his wife, Anne, "in consideration of the good will, affection and love that I bear unto" her. He remarked that she did not wish to "bid farewell to her more dear and beloved children", and so wished to remain in Va. With this action , The Reverend Francis Doughty disappeared from the pages of history, his final destination and place of death unknown.
The wallpaper for this page is the "Glebe", which may be the original home that Francis shared with Anne Graves Cotton Eaton Doughty, at Hungar's Parish, in Accomack Co. The building is very old, but it is not known if it is the original or not.
This is Hungar's Parish Church
This is the original courthouse in Accomack Co, Va, which is now used as a county museum. Accomack has the oldest courthouse still in existance in the United States. The museum contains a paper thin linen garment, worn by the "first rectors of Hungar's Parish", but there is not actual date for the robe, so it is unknown if Francis wore it or not.