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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.


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.


Written by Michael S. Doran

May 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Article from Winter 1997 American Quilter magazine features quilt from Rebecca Doran

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Linking Logs by Wanda Mallow in the Winter 1997 issue of American Quilter magazine.


Wanda Mallow was a descendant of Phoebe Ann Doran Holler.

Mallow, Wanda Lee
February 02, 2005
Wanda Lee Mallow, nee Pettigrew, of Fox Lake, IL, formerly of Palatine and Colorado, dear wife of Richard C. Mallow; beloved mother of Nancy Ann (Craig) Miller of LaGrange, Kenneth Richard (Kathleen) Mallow of Palatine and Paul Kevin (Sharon) Mallow of Minnesota; devoted grandmother of eight; great-grandmother of 10; fond brother of Lawrence Curtis (Jeanne) Pettigrew of California, Keith Glenn Pettigrew of Colorado and the late Willa Lee and the late Marilyn Pettigrew. Retired Vice President of Palatine National Bank, also formerly of State of Illinois Credit Union and Union Bell Credit Union. Memorial Services 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005 at the the K.K. Hamsher Funeral Home, 12 N. Pistakee Lake Rd., Fox Lake (The Chapel on the Lake, 1 blk W. of Rt. 12, 1/2 blk N. of Grand Ave.). Friends may attend from 12 noon thru time of Services. Memorials for the Wanda Mallow Memorial Fund for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 651 W. Washington Blvd., Suite 400, Chicago, IL 60661. Information 847-587-2100 .


Written by Michael S. Doran

May 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Obituary of Mary Rebecca Maxwell Doran

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The Lyons Republican
November 5, 1897


DORAN, – At the home of her daughter, in Pioneer township, on Tuesday, November 2, 1897, at 2 o’clock p. m. Grandma Doran, aged 96 years.

The deceased has been poorly for the past year or two but previous to that time she enjoyed good health and was able to read a newspaper without the use of spectacles.

She was probably the oldest person in Rice county and leaves a large circle of friends to mourn her loss.  She has been a resident of that section for the past 15 years.

The funeral services were held at the M. E. church at Chase at 2 o’clock p. m. Wednesday.


Obituary provided by the wonderful people at the Lyons Public Library

Written by Michael S. Doran

May 7, 2011 at 12:16 pm

James and Rebecca Maxwell Doran Came to America in 1850 by Robert W. Monier

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James and Rebecca Maxwell Doran

Came to America in 1850

The people that came to Marshall County in the early and mid 1800’s were a strong willed people.  Rebecca Maxwell was one such person.  She was born in County Tyrone, Ireland in 1801.  Her parents had lived in Scotland, and we believed were Presbyterians.  They did not want to worship as the king of England wanted them to, and that is why they left Scotland.  They may have been given a tract of land near Fredericton, New Brunswick in Canada to get them out of Great Britain.  This was done to many that objected to the English crown.

In New Brunswick Rebecca married a young man named James Doran who also came from Ireland as the Maxwells had to Fredericton with his parents about the same time.  A story has been handed down of Rebecca walking three miles in the wintertime, carrying a baby on her back, to attend a Presbyterian Church in New Brunswick.

At the ages of 45 and 48 James and Rebecca with their ten children made a journey to Boston, Massachusetts to see James’ brother, also we believe to find a better living for the family.  In Boston they lived in a house owned by a Mr. Howe.  Mr. Howe was an inventor and a big business man, having an interest in a pork packing plant in Lacon, Illinois.  James also became acquainted with Jabez Fisher.  He owned land in Marshall County.  Jabez Fisher and his brothers also had opened a newer, larger pork packing plant in Lacon.  These plants butchered hogs, cured the meat, packed it in barrels of salt and shipped it to Boston and Cincinnati, Ohio.  Mr. Howe and Mr. Fisher both encouraged James and Rebecca to go to Illinois.  Marshall County, Illinois was the place to raise a family.  The prairies were waiting for the plow; the land of opportunity.

In October, 1850, the Doran family with ten children and two aunts arrived in Lacon, Illinois.  In the mid 1920’s Willmina Doran Monier, the second from the youngest of the children wrote a story of her life.  (Willmina Monier Hogg has this story.)  She tells of the boat trip on the Great Lakes, the storms, and coming down the Illinois-Michigan Canal on a barge pulled by horses on a tow path on each side.  The family lived that winter in a two room house in Lacon.  As soon as they arrived her older brothers began working in Fisher Brothers pork packing plant.  The next spring the family moved to the Oak Glade Farm in Sec. 6 Steuben Township that was owned by Jabez Fisher.

In 1856 James and Rebecca bought their first farm consisting of 80 acres in Sec. 11 La Prairie township.  And the 1860 census list their real estate value at $6600, personal property at $400.

The Civil War was on, and this family that wanted freedom and an opportunity for themselves also thought all people should have freedom.  The six sons enlisted in the great struggle.  One day a letter came to the Doran home from Chattanooga, Tennessee, that Andrew had been wounded.  A few days later a second letter bringing news his arm had been amputated.  James set out to bring his son home, but on arrival at Chattanooga he was told that Andrew had died and was buried in the military cemetery.  With a few personal items he returned home to share his sad heart with the rest of the family.

The Doran descendants still have the letters from the other brothers as they heard of Andrew’s death, and how it embittered them against the South as they faced the dangers of war.

The war ending, Congress passed the Homestead Act (giving free land to those that would settle it.)  Horace Greeley was saying to west young man, go west.  The five remaining sons began going west, first to Missouri, then Kansas and western Iowa.  Three of the daughters married and they and their husbands followed, but Willmina married William Monier, and in 1867 bought the Oak Glade Farm from Jabez Fisher and spent the rest of their married life there.  Now sixth generation children of James and Rebecca live on the Oak Glade Farm.

In 1885 James and Rebecca now 80 years of age, still had a wanderlust.  They journeyed to Missouri to visit one son, then on to Chase, Kansas in Rice Co. to make their final home.  On their stop in Kahoka, Missouri, dressed in their Sunday best they had their pictures taken in a studio.  The descendants cherish copies of this picture.  At the ages of 90 and 96 James and Rebecca were laid to rest in a cemetery on the Kansas prairie a mile east of Chase, Kansas.

In the summer of 1910 the Doran children and descendants that were still living met for a two day family reunion on a farm Irwin, Iowa; sixty-five in all attended.  Willmina and Robert Doran came from Illinois, others came from Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.  The men slept in the barn, the women in the house.  The local newspaper carried a front page story of the happy time they had.  Also the newspaper says many chickens met the frying pan in those two days.

One by one James and Rebecca’s children were laid to rest after a long and full life.  Their birth date and year of death are as follows:

1829.1919 Mary Jane Doran Dunlap, buried near Irwin, Iowa
1831.1897 John Doran, buried in Nodaway Cc., Missouri
1833.1911 Edward Doran, buried in Topeka, Kansas
1835.1933 William Doran, buried in Oklahoma
1837.1933 Margaret Doran Brewster, buried in Alta Vista, Iowa
1839.1923 Thomas Doran, buried in Isabelle, Kansas
1841.1932 Willmina Doran Monier, buried in Saratoga Township Marshall Co., Illinois
1844.1864 Andrew Doran, buried in Chattanooga, Tennessee
1844.1914 Robert Doran, buried in Henry, Il. Marshall Co.
1847.1915 Phoebe Ann Doran Holler, buried in Protection, Kansas

The average age of the nine children that died of natural causes was 82 years, pretty good as most of their life was in the nineteenth century.

In August of 1988, 170 descendants of James and Rebecca met for a two day reunion in a very spacious building in Buffalo, Oklahoma.  Many of these people had never met before and the thought that kept running throughout the minds of those gathered were that James and Rebecca must have been a strong-hearted, courageous people to make the journey they did and clothe and raise their children.

James and Rebecca crossed an ocean in a sailing vessel taking 28 days, then after marriage hand in had crossed half a continent with ten children.  What did they leave when they passed from this life?  Not much as their last will and testament shows as it was probated in Rice County, Kansas, but they left many descendants that contributed a great deal in building and making the United States what it is today.  Six sons fought in a war to make all men free, one making the supreme sacrifice.

We would like to call you attention to one.  His name is Kenneth M. Endicott.  He was born in 1916 on a farm in eastern Colorado.  He graduated from a small high school in Canon City, Colorado at the age of 15.  He enrolled in the University of Colorado and graduated from the University’s medical school at the age of 21.  He began working with the National Institute of Health at Bethesda, Maryland.  He was President Nixon’s first appointment to the National Cancer Institute, was director from 1960-1969.  During those years he helped develop the chemotherapy program that revolutionized cancer treatment throughout the world.  He also helped establish the institute’s cancer virus program which led to the discovery of the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  In his memorial service in 1987 the director of the National Institute of Health had this to say about him.  “This nation owes a great debt to Dr. Endicott for his accomplishments in many areas of the health field; increased support of basic research; expansion and development of many programs in cancer research.”

Two others that we want to mention are Bruce and Brian Doran, great, great, great grandsons of James and Rebecca – 6th generations.  They live in Boston, Mass., back where it all started.  Their company’s name is Doran Instruments, Inc. and they manufacture instruments used in examining the human eye.

What did James and Rebecca leave?  Some men and women that we are very proud of.

      Robert W. Monier
      Sparland, Il.

Written by Michael S. Doran

January 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Children of James Doran and Mary Rebecca Maxwell Doran

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1 James Doran b: 6 FEB 1806 d: 24 OCT 1893
+ Mary Rebecca Maxwell b: 13 JUL 1801 d: 1 NOV 1897

2 Mary Jane Doran b: 13 JUL 1829 d: 12 DEC 1919
2 John Doran b: 19 MAR 1830 d: 9 MAR 1897
2 Edward James Doran b: 3 FEB 1833 d: 3 MAY 1911
2 William Doran b: 8 MAY 1835 d: 1913
2 Margaret Doran b: 26 MAR 1837 d: 23 OCT 1933
2 Thomas Alexander Doran b: 22 APR 1839 d: 4 MAY 1923
2 Willmina Doran b: 5 JUL 1841 d: 24 MAY 1932
2 Robert Doran b: 7 MAR 1844 d: 25 FEB 1926
2 Andrew Doran b: 7 MAR 1844 d: 26 AUG 1864
2 Phoebe Ann Doran b: 22 FEB 1847 d: 4 MAR 1915

Headstone of James Doran and Mary Rebecca Maxwell Doran

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Birth: 6 FEB 1806 in County Down, Ulster, Ireland
Death: 24 OCT 1893 in Chase, Rice County, Kansas, USA
Burial: Springdale Cemetery, Rice County, Kansas, USA

James Doran – Find A Grave Memorial


Birth: 13 JUL 1801 in Strabane, County Tyrone, Ulster, Ireland
Death: 1 NOV 1897 in Chase, Rice County, Kansas, USA
Burial: Springdale Cemetery, Rice County, Kansas, USA

Mary Rebecca Maxwell Doran – Find A Grave Memorial

Written by Michael S. Doran

September 26, 2010 at 12:07 am

Letter dated May 21, 1865 from Edward James Doran to parents James and Rebecca Doran

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 Camp Shneman, S.C.
 May 21, 1865

Dear Parents,

 It is useless for me to make excuses for remaining so long from home and not writing to you, but ask for forgiveness for not doing it.  I received a letter from Ella and Aunt last night informing me that you had got home from your visit to the East so I hasten to write to you after so long neglecting to do so.  I did not once forget the happy days that I have spent at home or those that are near and dear to me but have ever hoped and anxiously waited until I could come home as I could wish for I could not bear the thought of going home and commencing to work to recover what I lost in the west with nothing to commence with when I come in from the Rocky Mountains.

 I started for home but the war was just commencing and I enlisted and been in the service nearly four years.  My time will be out in March 1866.  If God spares me until then I will come home for I cannot feel any happiness from my children.  God bless them, they will think they have a cruel father to neglect them so long but I have done what I thought was for the best and I have saved all I could while I have been in the service for them.  It is over five years since I left for the mountains and in all that time I have seldom slept in a house.  I have lived in the open air.  My health has been good nearly all the time.  I got a letter from William a few days ago.  He is well.  I think he will be home this summer.  I will come home next fall if I can get a furlough.

 I have never had one yet since I enlisted.  I have seen some hard times and have often wondered how I escaped with my life when my comrades was falling around me.  On the battlefield I had my horse shot from under me at the battle of Prairie Grove and was taken prisoner.  The rebs had me fifteen days.

 We furnished our own horses in our Regt, the 7th MO. Cav. Vols. 

 I had two shot and more out three while in that Regt.  So I did not make much on horses.  We was allowed $12 per month for our horses.

 Well I will tell you all about myself when I come home.  I have been in nearly every state and territory in the union and Ill. is the state for me.  Forgive me for not writing and write me all the news of your visit.  I hope you enjoyed it and had a pleasant trip.  Give my love to all the folks.  Do not forget Grandmother.

 Tell Frank and Eddie I will come home as soon as I can.  And I will get them a little horse to ride.  O how I would love to see them and my little Ella.  I was in hopes that I was the only one of the boys in the Army for it is a hard place and five years will tell on a man’s constitution being so much exposed.  But for Brother Andrew we will never meet again in this world.

 I sometimes wish I could have taken his place for I have many times went into battle little caring whether I ever came out again or not and often wondered how I escaped.  But I feel happier now since I have heard from home and when my time is out I will settle down in Ill. and try and content myself.  I must close.

 God bless you all.  Remember me and forgive me for past.  Write soon your affectionate but unworthy Son.

E. J. Doran  (Edward)

Written by Michael S. Doran

September 9, 2010 at 12:03 am