26 April 2012

The Infamous Tory Doanes

From the book, Stagecoach And Tavern Days :

Among those who allied themselves on the side of the King was a family of notorious scoundrels, five brothers named Doane [Moses, Joseph, Aaron, Levi and Mahlon].

The story of the Doanes is both tragic and romantic. They were sons of respectable Quaker parents of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and during the Revolutionary War became celebrated for their evil deeds. They were all men of remarkable physical development, tall, strong, athletic, and all fine horsemen.

Before the war they were of good reputation, and it is said proposed to remain neutral; but the Doanes were not permitted to take a middle course, and soon enrolled themselves as Tories, which at once engendered a bitter feeling between them and their Whig neighbors. They began their career of infamy by robbing and plundering in the neighborhood, gradually extending their field of operations into neighboring counties.

Sabine’s Loyalists gives the names of three* other Doanes—kinsmen who were allied with the five brothers in their evil deeds. Their place in historical books and history comes to them through their services to the British officers during the war. In a dingy chap-book entitled Annals of the Revolution, or a History of the Doanes, full credit is assigned to Moses Doane for giving information to General Howe**, and planning with him the stratagem which led to the victories of the British on Long Island. The Edge Hill skirmish, laid out by Doane and agreed to by Howe and Lord Cornwallis, was to be an important move of the British. The move was lost by the prompt and brave action of Mrs. Lydia Darrach, who overheard the plot and carried news of it to Washington. In the terrible massacre at Wyoming the Doanes took prominent part.  *Rachel Doane in Sabine's; **Dubbed "Eagle Spy" as a result

The close of the war seemed but to increase their career of crime. Each brother had a sled drawn by four horses. There was heavy snow and a long season of sleighing in 1782, and they fairly raided the entire state, robbing again and again on the highway. At last an act was passed by the General Assembly of Pennsylvania “to encourage the speedy apprehending and bringing to justice of divers Robbers, Burglars, and Felons,” naming the Doanes, and offering a large reward for their capture and a gift of £150 to any person injured in helping to arrest them, or £300 to the family of such a helper should he be killed while aiding the cause of justice.

Joseph Doane was finally secured in prison. He broke jail, however, and escaped to New Jersey, where, like many another thief and rogue of his day, he found occupation as a school-teacher. He then fled to Canada, and died peacefully at an advanced age.

Two brothers, Abraham and Mahlon, were hanged in Philadelphia.

Moses, the leader of the outlaws, had the most tragic end. He was the most cruel and powerful of them all; of famous athletic powers, it was said he could run and jump over a Conestoga wagon. In the latter part of the summer of 1783, the Doanes went to the house of one Halsey who lived on Gallows Run, and asked for something to eat, and Halsey sent his son to a neighboring mill to get flour for them. The boy told that the Doanes were at his father’s house, and the miller sent the word to a vendue in the neighborhood. A party of fourteen armed and mounted men promptly started to capture them. The house was surrounded. On approaching the men saw through the clinks of the logs the Doanes eating at table, with their guns standing near. William Hart opened the door and commanded them to surrender, but they seized their arms and fired. Hart seized Moses Doane, threw him down, and secured him. Then Robert Gibson rushed into the cabin and shot Doane in the breast, killing him instantly. Colonel Hart sent the body of the dead outlaw to his unhappy father, who was also tried for sheltering the robbers, and burnt in the hand and imprisoned.

My Doane line ended with Rebecca (John2, John1) who married Elisha Paine.  The Doane brothers' lineage: Joseph 5 Israel 4 Daniel 3 Daniel 2 John1.

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