Outlaws: Is anyone interested in the Doan(e)s of Bucks County PA?

+4 votes

My husband is a descendant of the Doan(e)s of Bucks Co. PA. They were a group of brothers (and a cousin thrown in) who were Tories rebelling against the rebel Patriots. They became notorious, stealing horses from the patriots and tax collectors, as they defended the British. Somewhere along the way they lost the moral indignation and became a 'gang'. (So the story seems.) 

They stole from the Pennsylvania Treasury in Bucks County. (No one has ever found the treasure.)  They tried to sabotage George Washington. They had feats of strength! They jumped of cliffs! This all sounds like a TV series, doesn't it? 

While the leader of the Doan(e) gang, Mahlon Doane, was killed in a shoot out, a couple of of other brothers and a cousin were executed. Another brother reportedly cut off his heels to escape his shackles and was never seen again, with rumors of escape to England. And, finally, my husband's gggg grandfather, a final brother, after escaping from jail, fled to Canada. 

Last night I came across a letter written by my husband's gggg grandfather from jail, where the first sentence began:

"I am in a distressed situation for I am sentenced to die...."

Now that's an opening sentence!! 


WikiTree profile: Joseph Doane
in The Tree House by Nancy Reid G2G3 (3.9k points)
Cousin here.

Nancy Marilla --> George Arthur --> William --> Titus Jr --> Titus Sr --> Elijah--> Daniel Jr --> Daniel Sr --> John I
I am trying to see what involvement my ancestor had with the Doanes. He was a Moore from Sadsbury, PA, and also a Quaker. Supposedly he was involved with the Doan gang, and to avoid imprisonment his family fled to Canada. Is there any info that names accomplices with the gang?

5 Answers

+3 votes
Wow! An amazing story. Tell us more!!!
by Bart Triesch G2G6 Pilot (253k points)

Hmmm...there's so much more.

Joseph (referred to everywhere as Joseph Jr, as the father of the Doane gang boys was also named Joseph) seemed an unlikely gang member as he was actually quite considerate of others. He was a teacher. After his escape from jail he didn't flee directly to Canada; instead he fled to New Jersey, where he taught under an assumed name. One day he overheard someone at a bar saying that they would love to catch a Doane brother to collect the reward. Joseph immediately packed up his things and left NJ. 

On his way to Canada, he stopped back in Bucks Co. PA, perhaps not the brightest thing to do but I believe his parents were still there so he likely wanted to say goodbye and tell them where he was headed. Someone recognized him and tried to capture him. They got in a scuffle and Joseph drew his knife and cut his attacker in the neck. He was concerned about the wounded attacker, so he tied a cloth around his neck and pointed out a house where he should go and get help.

Off he went to Canada, where he taught for a little while before he petitioned for, and as a British loyalist, was awarded, a large plot of land that he could farm.

Fast forward to the War of 1812. Those damn Americans cheeky wink invaded the Niagara region. Joseph, while no spring chicken by that point, was a known vocal opponent of the Americans and posed a threat as an agitator. So, the Americans arrested him and he spent 18 months as a POW in Greenbush NY.


+2 votes
FYI:  Mayflower passenger Stephen Hopkins (Hopkins-373) is Joseph  Doane's 4th great grandfather.
by Lisa Dwyer G2G6 Mach 3 (33.2k points)
+2 votes
I’m just looking at possible areas of interest re. Wikitree. I’m still in the process of transition from guest to member. I’m by no means a specialist but have been working on my fm tree thru Ancestry for a number of yrs.  

Of interest to u however, is my location. I live in Doylestown PA, and my office is next to the Bucks Co. Courthouse.  I’ve not done any genealogical research there but could probably arrange to do so. I noted in the letter u referred to that Newtown was mentioned.  Doylestown is about 15 mi from Newtown if information is also located there.

I’m originally from AR but have been here for the last 25 years.  It’s been interesting to discover some of my ancestors buried in this area on their journey South.

If I can help let me know  

Linda Young
by Linda Young G2G Rookie (260 points)
That's very kind of you Linda! I might end up taking advantage of that offer at some point.

Welcome to Wikitree!
+1 vote

Several of the Doane/ Doan lineage were of the Quaker religion which was considered to be non-conformist due to principles of refusing to take any oath of allegiance. One of my favorite stories was that of John Doan a prosperous Quaker store owner that came from Bucks Co. during the war of 1812. An English Officer, hearing that John Doan had a huge amount of flour to sell came to him and inquired about it.  John asked the officer if he had the money to pay the war-escalated price for it.  The officer replied why certainly and I shall pay the highest market value for it.  John replied thee should go elsewhere and buy the flour for what I have to sell is for those who haven't the money to pay the war prices. (Doane Family p. 229)

by David Wilson G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
It seemed to run in the family.

Daniel Doane (b. 1666), the Doane Gang's great grandfather, wasn't a conformist either.

He was disowned by the Quakers for his 'investigating spirit;, in particular his interest in astrology and the planets.
+1 vote
On my phone right now so hard to cut and paste link to the source (I think it is on a freespace page on WikiTree) but check out the source History of Bucks County by Jordan, page 131 for another (similar) account.
by Anonymous Nagel G2G6 Mach 3 (31.0k points)

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