The Doty Inheritance goes back to the Mayflower, or so legend has it. In a delightful piece of fiction titled the "Wickedest Pilgrim" which gently lampoons those early settlers who sailed in the Mayflower, the author mentions a certain bondsman named Doty who was a proud and impatient man. He was so impatient that he jumped over the side of the ship and swam ashore instead of waiting for the long boat to land him in Plymouth Rock.
Thus we have the main ingredient of our Doty inheritance – Pride and Impatience. It was like a mighty river, fed and diluted by the other streams (inheritance from spouses) that emptied into it. For some the P & I were diluted, for some it was strengthened, for some the P & I helped them on to bigger and better lives. For some it meant the sheer grit to accept what they had and were it with pride. Rightly used P & I can be a good thing.
To start with the earliest tales that occurred along the West
Bank of the Fox River a little south of Fort Howard paper Mill.
(This is now part of
probably near where the Railroad Museum now stands).
There in a log cabin lived the senior Doty's.
This was the 1800 and the Civil War loomed over the country.
Even in the back woods area, the stir of the events could be
felt and the three sons of this doughty couple went off to serve
The sons were John, Wesley and Joseph.
John's wife had died and his daughters, Lucy and Josephine,
came to live with their grandparents.
Here the pride of the Doty's is shown, because theirs was not a one room cabin, such as you visit with awe and wonder how people managed to live and love and raise families in these crowded confines. This cabin probably had a loft and definitely a lean-to because there is a legend about this lean-to.
Lucy was the oldest child and when the adults had to go to Fort Howard to buy necessities, sell their products and transact other business, she was left in charge. On one such occasion, when Lucy was in charge of the younger children, suddenly a file of Indians was spied coming through the woods. In those days, Indians usually meant trouble. So, Lucy, with quiet but terrible speed, gathered the small fry together and locked them all, including herself, into the lean-to. Even the tiniest child knew that they needed to keep absolutely silent and all they could hear was the beating of their own hearts. On the side of the partition, they could hear the Indians come into the house, curiously fingering and looking at everything, eating all the available food and finally leaving. Evidently, too, the home had a full larder for the Indians were satisfied and left as they come, slipping silently into the woods. Lucy was sixteen when this happened.
There was no Church of England on the West Side of the river and trip across the Mighty Fox was a treacherous trip. I have a hunch the Doty's did not attend church very often.
The Civil War ended and the all three sons returned home. Wesley married Nell and lived in Fort Howard on Maple Street. They had two daughters.
Joseph had a small farm in Flintville. They had three daughters all of whom did interesting things. Falvia never married but became an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor in a day when women did not do such things. Edna married a Mr. Evert but was widowed at a young age with young children to raise, so she became a teacher. She taught till she was 65, then moved to Chicago and took a job at Marshal Fields and gave her age as 55 and retired again at "65". She then came back to Green Bay to live out her remaining years. The third daughter, Jenny, married a Mr. Rice and also became a school teacher and moved to California. There is no further information on her life.
John never seemed to settle down here after the Civil War. He would come to see his daughters from time to time and then leave again. Public Education was not good at that time and he did see that they got a good education at a private school. So Josephine and Lucy were raised by their grandparents.
Josephine married a real westerner, John Dwight Woodruff, and while he is an in-law ancestor, his history is exciting enough to include it in this record. He was a scout for General Custer and had many hair-raising experiences. The most exciting was a time when the whole company was wiped out. Dwight, a scout, was not with the main body of the troops and so managed to reach a stream, lie on the bottom and breath through a hollow reed until the danger was past. He was a cattleman and fluctuated from millionaire to pauper and back again. He was politician in the raw new state of Wyoming and went to Washington to represent his state. So in the Capitol Building in Cheyenne, there is a plaque and his picture in the rotunda with the other pioneers. His name is connected with names that are familiar to those who know the history of the Northwest. He was the first white man to build a home in the Big Horn Basin.
As for Lucy, she married Charles Henry Jeffcott. Charles and his mother Sarah A Richardson Jeffcott came from Birmingham England to Fish Creek. How or why they ended up in Fish Creek is lost in the annals of history. Sarah was a doughty woman bringing more strength and determination to the Doty line. We think the A stood for Anne, but there is no documentation of this. However the real story of her life is told in the spires of the Episcopal Church in Fish Creek and in the words of Door County Historian, H.R. Holand who wrote:
"Mrs. Griswold and Mrs. Jeffcott, with the help of friends from the East, purchased an unfinished dwelling of a fisherman and had it remodeled for a church… They built better than they knew, for the Chapel has a suggestion of peaceful sanctity that many costly temples fail to achieve.
"And indeed it was too peaceful for the roistering growing young village of Fish Creek and the Chapel was soon not used, as a livelier sect moved into the Village" (In this book he spells Jeffcott as Jeffcutt.)
However the Chapel has been tended by the faithful few and is even yet a shrine of sanctity.
(This Chapel is still a Shrine that is used faithfully every summer. It has not had much remodeling done. It does not have indoor plumbing and there is no heating system. Two changes are electric lights and the pews now have backs on them.)
Sarah died in 1898 and is buried in Mengelberg Cemetery which is located in a quiet spot in Peninsula State Park in Door County just outside of Fish Creek. It is a very lovely unassuming marker.
How Lucy met Charles is also lost in the annals of history, but meet they did and were married. Charles was a quiet man and not much is known about him. His daughter described him as a gentle man with blue eyes. They began their married life in Green Bay and then moved to Chambers Island which is just off the shores of Fish Creek in Door County in the Bay of Green Bay. He was born in Birmingham England and died in Green Bay Wisconsin in April of 1901. Lucy Amelia Doty was born in Port Huron Michigan and died in Green Bay in April of 1929. Both are buried in Fort Howard Cemetery in Green Bay.
Charles and Lucy had five children:
Frank Nelson Jeffcott, William Doty Jeffcott, Edith Josephine Jeffcott, Clara Anne Jeffcott, Chester Dwight Jeffcott and Mabel Louise Jeffcott. All of the these children had interesting lives.
Frank was born in Green Bay on March 13,1875. Frank was a quiet man with a quiet sense of humor and a lot patience. His sister Clara Anne often told of her PIE. It was while their mother was laid up with blood poisoning and she had to take over the house. She made an apple pie, but did not know that apples baked down to almost nothing, so when she took it out of the oven, it was flat. Frank smiled and said, "It must be one of those Christian Science Pies, you have to have faith".
Frank lost a leg while they lived on Chambers Island. It was a bone disease and the doctor amputated it. His mother refused to have the other one amputated when the doctor felt it was the only way to treat it. She fought with all the know how she had to save it and she did. He never did have an artificial leg and instead choose to use a crutch. He married Olive Watt and they had three children, Oliver, Robert and Ruth. He worked for Booth Fisheries in Green Bay and was very successful at it and was able to retire early and moved his family to Fairhope, Alabama. The weather was warmer there and was easier on him than the ice and snow with his one leg. He died in Alabama in 1961.
One of his sons, Oliver, did move back to Green Bay and married Helen. They had two children: Kathy and Robert (Rob). (Kathy still lives in Green Bay with her family, Rob moved to Canada, was married, had one daughter). Robert never married and Ruth was a librarian who married later in life.
William Doty Jeffcott is the mystery man of the family. He was born in Fish Creek in March of 1876 and is probably buried somewhere out West. Mable Louise declared that she had seen his grave on their trip out West. He left home at the age of 16. He went West to seek his fortune and worked for a awhile for his Uncle Dwight Woodruff. He married a Canadian girl. He had one time planned to come back to Wisconsin to visit but never showed up and was never heard from again. That was the year of the terrible flu epidemic and the thought is that he caught the flu and did not survive.
Edith was born August 25,1881 in Fish Creek. She was a beautiful girl with auburn brown hair, who carried herself with pride. She learned short hand and typing and worked in an office at a time when women were just starting this type of work. She met Wilbur McKean, an architect. They fell in love, married, moved to the Chicago area. Edith and Wilbur had seven children: Lyman, Eleanor, Donald, Ralph, George, James and Genevive. Both Edith and Wilbur died in the Chicago area and are buried there.
Clara Anne was born June 2, 1883 on Chambers Island in Door County. She was very short in stature and had a timid side to her, but you knew she was there and did not even think about not listening and obeying. She met and married Niels Ferslev in Green Bay on August 25, 1905.
They had four children: Leon, Marjorie Clara, Beatrice Vivian and Helen Lucy. Niels had a very successful life and the details of their life are in the Ferslev family history. Just some highlights of the children are noted here.
Leon died at age five and is buried in Fort Howard Cemetery.
Marjorie is next, being born on August 25,1909. She met and married Robert Larson on June 6,1942. They had three children: Carol Anne who married Donald Grady on February 13,1965 and they had three children: William, Catherine and Beth; Priscilla Marjorie who married John C Frick on June 23, 1966 and they have two children: Gregory and Stephanie; and Jean Roberta who married Paul Michael and they have one daughter, Debra. She and Bob spend their first years of marriage in Ephriam in Door County and then moved to Green Bay where they spend the majority of their married life. The latter years were spend in Black Creek living with their daughter Carol Anne and her family. Marjorie died in January of 1990 and Bob followed the following year in August. They are both buried in The Memorial Gardens in Green Bay.
Beatrice is next, being born on May 29, 1915 in Green Bay. She met and married Alton Cardinal who she had known for years at church. They were married on October 12, 1946 in Green Bay. They had three children: Phyllis Ruth, David Ralph and Peter Bruce. Phyllis and David died in 1955 as a result of polio within about 10 days of each other. Peter lives in Green Bay and is a very talented computer person among other things. Bea and Alton lived their entire married live in Green Bay until a year ago at which time they moved to the Rennaisance Assisted Living Center in De Pere.
Helen is the youngest daughter. She never married and devoted her life to teaching. She had many interesting events in her life and has traveled all over the world. She has held both state and national offices in the educations system.
(There is much more detail on the Ferslev girls in the Ferslev Family History section.)
Chester Dwight Jeffcott is the next Jeffcott child. He was born March 8,1887 in Fish creek, Wisconsin and died December 28,1090 and is also buried in Fort Howard Cemetery in Green Bay. He joined the navy, intending to make a career of "seeing the world". He did get into many countries but somewhere he contracted TB and because of his illness was given an honorable discharge and came home to die at the very young age of 22.
Mabel Louise Jeffcott was the youngest Jeffcott child. She was born April 15,1891 in Green Bay. She met and married Lawrence Dent who she met when he worked for her brother in law Niels Ferslev. They moved to Milwaukee where they spent their entire married life.
Mabel and Larry had two daughters: Beverly and Bonnie. Beverly married Eugene Mutter and they had three children: Jerry, Jeanne, and Jim. All but Jim live in the Milwaukee area. Gene died in June of 2000 and is buried in the Milwaukee area. Bonnie married Max Grass and they had three children: Lori, Sherry and John, all of whom live in the Milwaukee area. Bonnie died in 2003 and is also buried in the Milwaukee area. Mabel and Larry have both died and are buried in the Milwaukee area.
An interesting family note about Aunt Mabel is that she was very short, I do not think that she was even 5 feet. Each year it was a rite of passage at the family reunions to see who of the children in the extended family was taller than Aunt Mabel.
As you probably noticed that Frank, the oldest was born in Green Bay and the moved to Fish Creek and Chambers Island, an Emerald Island as seen from Door County shores, but neither place was a good place to bring up children. As Lucy Jeffcott said, Fish Creek was a roistering village of fisherman. Chambers Island brought only disaster to the family. It was on Chambers Island that Frank was stricken with the disease that took his leg. Lucy Jeffcott not only saved his other leg but helped him to accept his handicap and not feel sorry for himself. Then a fire burned the family out completely. With nothing, they returned to the mainland and eventually found their way back to Green Bay.
And now to tell you a little about Lucy Amelia Doty who was the heart and core of this family of individualists. Physically she was tall and broad shouldered. She moved with grace, erect, head held high and feet firmly planted in the direction in which she planned to go. Her hair was rich, long and white of the softness that made the fingers itch to touch it, but the dignity of her carriage kept straying little fingers off of it. It was kept white with regular shampoos and bluing in the water – so even in those pre-beauty parlor days, women knew how to keep their hair beautiful.
Two ornaments were as much apart of her dress as the dress that she wore. One was the garnet pin, star shaped and worn at the neck. The other was the gray comb with the flashing brilliance that held her straying locks firmly in place. (The garnet pin is still in existence today.)
Her pride translated in courage, so that when she was widowed, she turned to private nursing as a means of supporting herself and Mabel. In some ways, she was ahead of her time in this field. For example she advocated water massage for paralyzed limbs, which later was used by the Florence Kinney Institute. She was an earthy person. Not in the sense that she enjoyed lower forms of humor or gossip, but that her clear, far seeing eyes had seen and recognized all the evil and scum of humanity. She accepted it with calmness and wisdom, but never let down the bars of rectitude for herself or her family. She followed the high road, and not even our dolls were allowed to lie around in the state of undress if she was around.
In the homes of the Ferslevs and McKeans were little blue pitchers, souvenirs of Wyoming. They came when Lucy and Mabel went West to visit Aunt Joy and Uncle Dwight. Here in Wisconsin, we were quite civilized at that time. Trains ran on time, bridges had been built across the Fox River and Fort Howard and Green Bay were growing cities. But out West – Uncle Dwight met them with a buck board and then the snorting iron monster frightened the horses so they ran away. Lucy and Mabel had to sit in the hot sun on the buck board waiting for the horses to be rounded up. Along came a group of Indians. As this was still the wild west, it was a frightening experience for two white woman without protection of any kind. Fortunately the leader was not really too interested, but Lucy was a person to command attention wherever she went. So he greeted her courteously and then still courteously asked "How many Moons?" Lucy told him her age and he walked away.
Another example of Lucy's ability to handle situations was when their dog, Jack, bit a policeman. Jack was a fine dog and well behaved, but that day the boys were playing ball. The ball went over the fence and so did Jack, just as the policeman came along. In the fight to get the ball, somehow Jack got hold of the policeman and tore his pants. Lucy Jeffcott mended the pants and talked the policeman out of any other penalties. Mabel stated that her mother loved good music, good reading, and was up on everything.
See the Ferslev inheritance section for more on Niels and Clara's family history.
Written by Carol Anne Grady
based on an earlier history by her mother, Marjorie Larson.
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