Michael S. Doran's Family History Blog

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Biographical Sketch of Mary Rebecca Maxwell Doran

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The following is copied from a newspaper article which was published October 3, 1895.

OLDEST PERSON IN RICE COUNTY

A brief sketch of Mrs. James Doran, of Chase, who reached the age of 94 –

Mrs. James Doran, who resides with her daughter, Mrs. J. M. Holler in Chase, is 94 years, 2 months and 20 days old.

Mary Rebecca Maxwell, was born July 13, 1801, near Strabane, Tyrone County Ireland. There she spent her early childhood, getting a meager education at a little country school near her home. Her father dies when she was thirteen, and her mother a year later, which left her to battle with the world for herself.

She came to America in 1825, settling in New Brunswick, where she lived until 1849. Here she was married to James Doran, with whom she lived for sixty-five years, he having died in Chase in December, 1893 at the age of 90 years.

She joined the Presbyterian church at the age of fourteen, remaining a member for ten years, when she joined the Free-will Baptists, and after twenty years in this church, joined the Methodist church, of which she is a member at present.

While Mr. and Mrs. Doran lived in New Brunswick they were twenty-five miles from the nearest post-office, and when the trip was made for the mail they either walked or paddled a canoe, or perhaps skated in winter. For every letter received they had to pay fifty cents postage.

Mrs. Doran used to walk six miles to church through snow, carrying a child in her arms.

They next moved to Boston, where they lived two years, when they came west to Sparland, Marshall county, Illinois. In 1885 they came to Rice County Kansas.

Mrs. Doran is the mother of ten children, six sons and four daughters all of whim are living except one son, who fell in battle in the rebellion. Four of her sons served in the Union Army. She has twenty-six grandchildren, and fifty-six great-grandchildren. Her mother bore thirteen children, while her father had born to him twenty-two.

Mrs. Doran is well preserved and intelligent, and although somewhat deaf reads or sows without the ade of spectacles. She has pieced fifty-seven quilts since coming to Kansas, nearly all of which have been presented to her grand-children.

The accompanying engraving is from a photograph taken at 81, but a very fair representation of her appearance.

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Written by Michael S. Doran

May 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

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