On these pages you will find Biographies of some of the earliest our Doak Clan members.
Robert Doak. (Arrived at Boston, November 3, 1718)
Not too much documentation exists on Robert so we will do some guessing in this narrative. We estimate that he was born about 1674 in or around Londonderry, Ireland. The exact town is not known, but could have been Buncrana or Ballymena. His parents and ancestors probably moved to Ireland in 1609 from Scotland as part of England's plan to replace the native Irish in Northern Ireland with Protestant farmers from other areas of the Kingdom. When King James was dethroned by William of Orange in 1689, James brought his Catholic army to the Gates of Londonderry and demanded its surrender. The City refused and for 105 days, James fired Cannon and Mortar shells over the walls into the city. It is entirely possible that Robert Doak (16 years old at the time) was inside the walls of the city during the siege of 1689. Thousands of people were killed and famine and disease were rampant.
Robert left Londonderry for the American colonies probably in Sept. of 1718. He is according to family lore reported to have been one of seven brothers that eventually left Ireland during that time. He took with him his two sons James and John and his wife Margaret. We think, but can't prove, that 4 of his brothers (James, Samuel, John, and David) were also aboard, and maybe his mother. His parents are reported to be Samuel Doak and Widow Doak.
Note as of 8/29/02. One researcher has suggested that Robert and Margaret had many more children with them other than John and James. To have only two in the family would be very uncharacteristic for a Scotch/Irish family. So other children might have been Samuel, Thankful, David, William and Robert and Lydia.
Roberts' occupation was a Weaver of Flax.
Robert was one of 19 pioneers that, as a group, went 75 miles or so from Boston to an area of New Hampshire where 19 plots of 60 acres each had been set aside for them. Robert had one plot and his sons shared another. We believe it was the custom to give 1/2 plots to single or widowed individuals. In 1720 the land has been cleared and named Nutfield. (The name was reportedly chosen because of the large number of Nut trees that they found there). The land was used for farming and Robert, by 1724 owned many plots of land totaling several hundred acres in the Town (now called Londonderry after their native city of Londonderry, Ireland).
In 1722, Robert accused his son of beating him. The local Church council DID NOT find that to be true, although they DID chastise James for giving his father "the lie" and advised James to show his parents (plural) more respect. It looks like things THEN were not much different then than they are NOW, regarding the raising of children! It is my belief that this incident was symptomatic of a poor relationship between Robert and his son James. This relationship led Robert and his wife Margaret to sell their land in Londonderry in 1725 to non-family buyers and to then join their other son John at Donegal, Pennsylvania. There is also a remote possibility that they returned to Ireland.
It has been my belief that Robert and Margaret went south to Donegal, Pennsylvania to be with their other son John who was probably not married at the time. And that they may have died in the south and are buried somewhere in Pennsylvania. The only document that I have found to substantiate this notion is a Tax List from Donegal in 1726 showing John Doak and mother" as the tax payers. This would indicate she died after 1726, probably at the farm in Pennsylvania. Robert the father, is not on the tax list, so he probably died between 1725 when he sold his land, and 1726 when the Tax List was published. The mothers name was not mentioned.
We have no death or burial records for him or his wife.
James Doak. James was the oldest son of Robert. He was born about 1691 in Ireland and came with his father, Robert, to America in 1718. He was a farmer and also did frequent trading of land in the Londonderry, N.H. area. In 1726 he went to Boston and married Martha (Rankin) Sterling. this was Martha's second marriage. He and Martha had at least 4 children (including Robert, James and John) and spent their entire lives in Londonderry, N.H. living on their farm. It is my belief that he and his father did not see eye to eye to the point of physical violence between them (See Robert Doak above).
John Doak. John was the second son of Robert Doak at Londonderry, N.H.. We know he sold his 30 acre jointly owned land in Londonderry in 1724 to his brother James. He was in residence in Donegal, Pennsylvania at the time of the sale. I have not researched John Doak myself, but am relying on the outstanding work done by Helen Odum Harrell in her book "James Stuart and Mary Matthews of Wilcox County, Alabama". "Part Four: Immigrant John Doak, Sr. and Mary Wilson" is chock full of well documented details on the descendents of this John Doak. I differ from Helen's conclusions on this John Doak only in one respect - She seems uncertain about his parentage and does not reach the conclusion that I feel is certain - that her John Doak Sr. IS the John Doak of Londonderry, N.H..
We have been assuming that John married the Mary Wilson of Londonderry, daughter of Londonderry land owner Elizabeth Wilson and daughter of James Wilson also one of the original plot owners. I now think that it is not probable that THIS Mary Wilson was John wife and the mother of the children born to him from 1740 on at Tinkling Springs, Virginia. She would have been too old and why would she have waited from 1724 when John left Londonderry until 1740 when he stared fathering children in Augusta County? The Mary Wilson of Londonderry does, however, have have a very interesting historical story. Read the wonderful story of "Ocean Mary", her daughter.
I did a quick check and found FOUR Mary Wilson's married at Boston from 1724 until 1732. The Mary Wilson of Londonderry was probably one of them. Read the very interesting story of her daughter, Mary here.