One can find many Doak's in the records of Boston and vicinity. The trick is to try to connect them all. We will give it a try on these pages starting with the arrival of Robert and Margaret in Boston on November 3, 1718.
Ahh, Boston!! In many ways, the cradle of American immigration and certainly the cradle of the Doak Family in America. Little has been published about the impact of Boston on the Doak Line. All the emphasis has been on the Doak's that magically appeared in Virginia and the Southeastern states of North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. with occasional vague references to Doak's in Pennsylvania. On this page, we will try to highlight the importance of early Boston to the Doak line in America and how the Doak's of this city tie into the Doak's later found in the American interior and on the western frontier.
According to a history of the First Church of Boston, the town of Boston was first occupied by a white man named Mr. William Blaxton. The location of Boston at that time was across the river from Charlestown, a town established by English Colonists under Winthrop in June 1630. The small settlement was governed by Thomas Dudly and its members were hard pressed to remain alive as they were ill prepared to begin life in America. They had been led to believe that they would be met in America with Plenty. The opposite was true and if not for a rescue ship sent to Ireland for provisions, they would all have perished. But in March of 1631, the provisions arrived and they were saved. It is interesting to note that Boston was chosen as the place for the new church because of a fresh water spring reported to the governor by Mr. Blaxton. Soon most of the people of Charlestown moved to Boston and in Aug. of 1632 the construction of the Church was started. The location was the South Side of State Street in Boston. So one could say that Boston originated with a Church in 1632. It is reported that the body of the church consisted of but 60 or 70 male members and that they constituted the bulk of the entire population of Boston. Such was the size of that town in 1632.` The name Boston, by the way, comes from Saint Botolph's Town, England. It would be 86 more years before the Doak's arrived in the American town of Boston.
Fifty five years later in 1769, a wandering and eccentric book seller by the name of John Dunton, describes Boston as follows:
"Boston is a Metropolis (the largest town), not only in this Colony, but in the whole country. It is built on the South West side of a bay large enough for the anchorage of 500 Sail of Ships. Situated upon a Peninsula about four miles in compass, almost square, and inviron'd with the Sea, having one small isthmus, which gives access to other towns by land on the south. The town hath two hills of equal height on the frontire part thereof, next to the sea; The one well fortified on the superficies with some Artillery mounted, commanding any Ship as she sails into the Harbour within the Bay: The other Hill hath a very strong Battery, built with whole timber, and filled with earth. At the descent of the hill, in the extreamest part thereof, betwixt these two strong arms, lies a large cove or bay, on which the chiefest part of the town is built. To the North west is a high Mountain that over-tops all, with its three little rising hills on the summit, called tramount. This is furnished with a beacon and Great Guns: from hence you may overlook all the island in the bay, and descry such ships as are upon the coast. The houses are for the most part raised on the sea banks, and wharfed out with great industry and cost: many of them standing upon Piles, close together on each side the streets, as in London, and furnished with many fair shops; where all sorts of commodities are sold. Their streets are many and large, paved with pebbles; the materials of the houses are brick, stone, lime, handsomely contrived, and when any new houses are built, they are made conformable to our new building in London since the fire... they have three fair and large Meeting houses or Churches, commodiously built in several parts of the town, which yet are hardly sufficient to receive the inhabitants, and strangers that come in from all parts."
Boston was the largest seaport in America for the early years of the 1700's. It was a power in ship building and in seafaring commerce. It traded with the rest of the world in goods of all kinds with many of the goods it traded, made right in Boston. The business of helping people reach American soil was a big business in Boston and many families became wealthy in businesses catering to that enterprise. If you were a tradesman, or a merchant, or a professional such as a teacher, a preacher, a lawyer or a physician, you were welcome in Boston. It was a small place, tightly controlled by the town government, so everyone in town was known, and everyone carried his/her own weight or they were told in no uncertain terms to move on. Farmers were welcome and needed in America, and were encouraged to come to America through Boston. But they were not encourage to stay in Boston and were told to move on to the American interior where they could find the land that they needed for their farms. As a case in point, in November of 1718, at least two ships arrived in port with 115 or more passengers each. Figuring an average of 4 people per family would mean that there were about 30 Heads of Families on each ship. This is just an estimate and could be wrong, but to make a point, let us say this could be true. The Boston Records Commission records show that 30 men from one ship and 21 from the 2nd ship were "warned out" and asked to take their families and leave Boston immediately. ALL of them were farmers. No people with other occupations were warned out. One could say with some accuracy that almost the entire passenger load of both ships was warned out of Boston in that month. It might also be accurate to say that almost all the immigrants to Boston in November of 1718 were immediately asked to leave Boston and not tarry in the city - this because they were in the business of farming. So it was a quirk of fate, that the original Doak immigrants did not stay and make their life in Boston, but were forced by circumstance to move on into the interior of America to make their living. And of course while these early Doak families were not welcome in Boston, they certainly were welcome on the frontier of America. They were just what the frontier needed - hard working, talented farmers.
Boston was a contrast in ideals. It was a God fearing community with many churches and religions. And yet it was a wicked place because it was open to the world and all the riff raff that was anywhere could come to Boston. And they did. There was crime and there were strict rules that were often broken. Strong punishment was handed out by the authorities when needed. Public whippings of both male and female offenders were commonly applied.
We believe that there were possibly one or two Doaks on the "Elizabeth" that were not farmers, but that had a trade and because of that, were welcome to stay in Boston and make a living. While we don't have proof of a connection between the Boston Doaks and the family on the "Elizabeth" we do know something of the Doak citizens that were in the City during the 1700's. As mentioned before on this Web Site, there were virtually no government records in this country unless one got into trouble or owned land. The Churches were the main record keepers, and even their work was spotty. The church members did not consistently let their church know what was going on. For instance, James and Martha Doak had 8 children and only one of them had a birth record recorded at The First Church of Boston.
There were four churches that figure prominently in providing Doak records for us. The First Church of Boston, founded 1632, Trinity Church, South Church, and King's Chapel. James and Martha Doak, had their son Robert Baptized at First Church in May of 1727, a year after their marriage at the same church. James would have had to travel from Londonderry to Boston to do that - a distance of about 40 miles each way. This was long way to travel in 1727, especially if with a baby. We think it is much more likely that James had a brother (William) that lived in Boston and he and Martha stayed with them, possibly even going there to deliver the baby (their first child). That distance probably even explains why none of the other children show up in the Boston Church records. As each year went by, it became more practical to have their children in their new growing Londonderry community.
So what do the Boston records show about Doak's in Boston? Here is a list of facts:
The name Doak shows up as Doke, Doaks and Doag. There are other references to Doak's in other places that are not listed here, such as Lynn, Marblehead, Dracut, Suffolk, and Newtonville. As can be seen on the map below, all these places were close enough to Boston to be considered part of the Boston Doak community.
The one name that pops out frequently is William. The William and Lydia shown as the parents of James (Item 28 above), had a large family and the names of the children follow the typical Doak pattern for descendents of Robert of 1718. The dates seem consistent with a 1718 arrival. So I am taking a giant leap of faith and am putting William (of William and Lydia 1726) in my records as a son of Robert, who was with him on the Elizabeth and somehow ended up in Boston as a resident.