REV. BENJAMIN DOGGETT
BENJAMIN DOGGETT, son of William and Anne
(Langley) Doggett; b. October 1636 (chr. 28 Oct), Ipswich,
Suffolk, England; d. 1682 or 1683, Lancaster Co., VA; m. 21 Sep
1664, Hadleigh, Suffolk, Mrs. JANE GARRARD.
100 Benjamin b. 1665 d. 1723 m. Betty
m. 1712 Mrs. Mary Threlkeld
200 Jane b. 1667
00x William b. 1668 d. 1668
00y John b. 1670 d.y.
300 Richard b. 1672 d. 1721 m. Elizabeth Bushrod
400 Anne b. 1674
500 William b. 1676 d. 1716 m. Elizabeth
The baptism of Benjamin Doggett is recorded in the
Register of St. Mary-le-Tower Church in Ipswich, Suffolk, as
follows: "Beniamine, sonne of William Doggett was Baptised
the 28th of October 1636." Benjamin was the youngest of six
children of William and Anne Doggett whose baptisms are recorded
in the Register, and his father William signed the Register as
churchwarden in the year of Benjamins birth.
Benjamins father was a merchant in Ipswich, Suffolk,
engaged in the selling of woolen and other common fabrics, and
his mother was the daughter of Geoffrey Langley, a grocer and
alderman of Colchester, Essex, a city not far from Ipswich, and
his wife, Ann Carter, of Walton-on-the Naze, a nearby Essex
From records of St. Johns College and the University of
Cambridge, we know that Benjamin attended a private school in
Westminster (now a part of London) with a Mr. Crouch as
headmaster. He was admitted to St. Johns College,
University of Cambridge, on 27 Jan 1654/5, and matriculated at
the University on 7 April 1655. His name is recorded as
"Benj. Dodggett" which may indicate the pronunciation
of the Doggett surname used by him, although later documents use
the spelling "Doggett" or "Dogget," except in
one instance where the name is spelled "Daggott." He
was admitted to the college as a sizar, which meant that he did
not pay full tuition for his education, but served as a servant
to an upperclassman who, in turn, acted as tutor and surety for
the behavior of the sizar. Benjamins tutor was William
Twyne, son of Anthony Twyne of Walton, Surrey, who was a
candidate for the degree of Bachelor of Divinity, which he
received in 1660. Rev. Twyne undoubtedly played an important part
in the early education of Benjamin as an Anglican minister.
On 3 November 1657, Benjamin was admitted as a
"Scholar," being one of two such rerpresenting Suffolk
County, as the county of his birth. A Scholar was a junior member
of the college corporate society, ranking below the Headmaster
and the Fellows. A Scholar received what is now called a
"scholarship" which paid all his tuition and expenses.
The records of St. John's College show that his scholarship was
from the main College foundation. It seems then that his
sizarship terminated after two years. It may well be that he had
a sizar of his own to help with his household duties in exchange
for tutoring the sizar, although we do not have any evidence to
support such a conclusion.
In December 1658, Benjamin received the degree of
Bachelor of Arts from the University. Benjamin continued his
studies for the ministry at St. Johns and received the
degree of Master of Arts on 16 Mar 1661/62. Benjamin affixed his
signature to the oath required by the University, which may be
the only actual signature of Benjamin presently in existence.
This signature clearly spells his surname as "Doggett."
The Registers of Seniority recorded in University records show
that Benjamin was an average student, ranking slightly below the
middle of the graduates for both the Bachelor of Arts and Master
of Arts degrees. Benjamins uncles, Thomas and Richard, had
attended St. Johns and Emmanuel Colleges, respectively, as
pensioners (full tuition payers) and his cousin William, son of
Thomas Doggett, had attended Queens College at Cambridge as
sizar, but it does not appear that his father or any of his
brothers attended college, but rather pursued careers as
merchants. Benjamins mothers brother, Geoffrey
Langley, had received his Master of Arts degree at Christs
College at Cambridge in 1623, and was rector of the church of
Stoke St. Mary, in Ipswich, from 1623 to 1626.
Following receipt of his Master of Arts degree, Benjamin was
ordained as an Anglican minister, and was appointed as curate of
a church in the small village of Stoke-by-Clare in west Suffolk.
Benjamins cousin, William Doggett, had been appointed as
vicar of that church in 1661, and was therefore entitled to
receive the "living" from the parish, but apparently
did not desire to act as the resident minister. William then
apparently arranged for Benjamin to act as curate in his stead.
Benjamin did not stay long in Stoke-by-Clare, and by 1664 was
acting as curate and schoomaster of the much larger church in
Hadleigh, Suffolk, where he continued as minister until
emigrating to Virginia in 1669.
On 21 Sep 1664, the Rev. Benjamin was married in Hadleigh to a
young widow, Jane Garrard. The identity of Janes first
husband and parents are uncertain, although the death of a
Charles Garrard is recorded in the Hadleigh parish register as
occurring 10 Apr 1664. Benjamins first child, his son
Benjamin, was born in Hadleigh the following year, in 1665. Three
more children were born in Hadleigh, according to entries in the
parish register. These were his daughter Jane, born in 1667, his
son William, baptised 19 Nov 1668, and his son John, baptised 3
Mar 1669/70. Of these four children, William died as an infant,
as his burial is recorded in the parish register on 24 Nov 1668.
Sometime before January 1669/70, Benjamin left Hadleigh and
emigrated to the colony of Virginia. He had received the
appointment of the Bishop of London to be the minister of Trinity
parish in Lancaster County. We do not know the reason for his
decision to emigrate, but things were not easy for the clergy in
England at that time, following the rule of Cromwell and the
restoration of the monarchy. Benjamin did not have permanent
tenure at Hadleigh, but was only a curate for the Dean of
Bocking, who had the living as rector of the parish. From a power
of attorney recorded in Lancaster County records, we know that
Benjamins brother, Richard, an Ipswich merchant, traded
with Lancaster County merchants, and had perhaps learned from
them that there was an opening for a minister in that county, and
made Benjamin aware of the opportunity. In any event, the
decision was made. It appears that Benjamins wife Jane did
not accompany him to America, but came later, as she was
expecting son John who was born in England in March 1669/70. We
do know from Benjamins will that for reasons unknown his
daughter Jane was left behind in England, perhaps for medical
reasons. Although his son John predeceased the Rev. Benjamin, it
seems probable that he died in Virginia, as his death is not
recorded in the Hadleigh parish register. We are certain only
that his wife and son Benjamin emigrated to Virginia.
Soon after his arrival in Lancaster County and commencement of
his ministry at Christ Church, the Rev. Benjamin founded a second
church in the western part of the county which was named St.
Marys White Chapel Church, and he served as minister of
both churches. We assume that he preached in the two churches on
alternate weeks and that vestrymen acted as lay readers in his
absence. Because the churches in Virginia were under the
jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, the episcopal authority was
not as strong as in England, and the vestries exercised more
power and control over the clergy. As a minister only obtained
permanent tenure by recommendation of the vestry and appointment
of the governor, the vestry could retain control by failing to
present the minister for appointment. However, Benjamin
apparently made a good impression on the vestry and the
congregations, as in 1670 he was presented to the governor of the
colony for appointment as minister of the two churches of Trinity
Parish. Soon thereafter the parish was divided into two separate
parishes of Christ Church and St. Marys Whitechapel, with
Benjamin as minister of both parishes. Some time after
Benjamins death, the two original wooden churches were torn
down and new brick churches were erected. Much of the cost of the
new Christ Church building was contributed by the very wealthy
Carter family, and the Ball family, including George
Washingtons grandfather, were the leading members of the
St. Marys Whitechapel congregation.
Three more children were born to Benjamin and Jane in Virginia.
The parish register of Christ Church has been lost, so we do not
know the exact dates of the births of the children. We believe
that their son Richard was born about 1672 and that their
daughter Anne was born about 1674. The youngest child, William,
was born about 1676. As mentioned, the son John, born in England,
predeceased Benjamin, but as his death is not recorded in the
Hadleigh parish register, he may have accompanied his parents to
Virginia and died there.
In 1680, Benjamin purchased a 350 acre plantation from George
Flowers, with a mortgage to Robert Griggs. In addition to his
income, paid in tobacco, from the two parishes, Benjamin farmed
this land and other land in Christ Church parish, using hired or
indentured servants, raising tobacco and corn, along with cattle
Benjamin died in Lancaster County in 1682 or 1683, leaving a will
of record dated 14 Mar 1681/2. The will was probated in Lancaster
County in January 1682/3. See transcript
The will divides the 350 acre plantation between his three sons,
Benjamin, Richard and William, with Benjamin receiving 150 acres
and the two younger sons receiving 100 acres each. His wife Jane
was given the use of the land until remarriage. His daughter Anne
was given personal property, to be given in two equal annual
installments, provided she did not marry before reaching age 18.
As she had to be nearly 18 at the time the will was drawn, this
would not seem to have been a serious problem for her.
The reference in the will to Benjamins daughter Jane is
intriguing. "I give unto my daughter Jane Doggett in England
twenty shillings and no more because she hath been detained from
me and is surely provided for." We can speculate from this
that Benjamin was not happy with the fact that Jane had not come
to America with the family. Perhaps she had physical or mental
infirmities that made it unwise for her to attempt to make the
arduous trip to America, and she may have been kept by
Benjamins wifes family or may have been
Benjamin also provided in his will for payment of his debts to
George Flowers and to Robert Griggs, primarily out of tobacco,
but also out of the sale of planks sawed out of timber on the
plantation, and of the sale of pipe staves. Pipe staves were used
to make pipes or casks of wood in which tobacco was shipped to
England, and may have been hewn from timber on Benjamins
Benjamin had accumulated a library for use in performing his
ministerial duties, and otherwise. Apparently there was not a
good market for these books in Virginia, and Benjamin directed
that the books be appraised, that a "great chest" be
bought, and the books be packed up and sent to England to be
sold. The money realized from the sale was to be used to help pay
the debt to Robert Griggs, and if there was any surplus, the
money was to be used by his widow to buy a mourning ring with the
inscription "Follow Me." The purchase of mourning rings
bearing memorial inscriptions was a popular custom at the time,
and the rings could be quite valuable. The two executors were
given 20 shillings to purchase mourning rings also.
Benjamin directed that he be buried beneath the chancel in St.
Marys Whitechapel church. As it is believed that the
present church was built a hundred yards or so from the original
location, we do not know whether his remains were reinterred when
the new church was built, but we would hope that this was the
An inventory and appraisal of the Rev. Benjamins estate was
made the following September and recorded in Lancaster County
records. It is interesting that the appraisal was not made by the
appraisers named in the will but by four neighbors and
substantial citizens: Nicholas George, Stephen Chilton, Thomas
Tomson, and John Davis. The inventory of the personal property
had an appraised value of 11,610 pounds of tobacco (not including
the cattle, which for some unexplained reason were not
appraised), and consisted primarily of household goods of little
value. The most valuable items listed were "one Trunck of
Bookes," appraised at 2000 pounds of tobacco, and three
horses, appraised at 2700 pounds of tobacco. The inventory does
not reflect ownership of any slaves, but does include two
indentured servants, a man having 27 days to serve and a woman
having two months to serve. See transcript
County records of Lancaster County and adjoining Northumberland
County contain numerous documents pertaining to the Rev.
Benjamin. The earliest document, a power of attorney witnessed by
Benjamin, is dated 28 Jan 1669/70 and was recorded in Lancaster
County on 1 February. This document places Benjamin's emigration
to Virginia at some time prior to 28 January. Many of the other
recorded documents involve suits on notes, usually payable in
tobacco, on behalf or or against Benjamin. Some of the suits were
decided in favor of him and some against him. One
suit raises an interesting question for which we do not have
an answer. In November 1677, an action was commenced by Capt.
Richard Taylor, attorney of Richard Doggett, against Benjamin
Doggett. We must assume that the Richard Doggett in question was
the brother of Benjamin in England. We do not know whether
this was a "friendly" suit or whether real differences
existed between the brothers.
In many of the documents of record, Benjamin is referred to by
the honorific title of "Mr." The use of that title was
restricted to members of the gentry who did not use their
military ranks, who were not members of the knighthood, or who
were entitled to bear coats of arms and used the designation
"Esq." or "Armiger." It was essentially
equivalent to the designation "gentleman." Free
citizens of somewhat lesser social standing were usually referred
to by their occupations, such as "planter,"
"merchant," "carpenter," and the like.
Although Benjamin's very modest economic circumstances would not
place him in the gentry class, his profession and education
entitled him to be called "Mr. Doggett." The use of
that honorific title was not used by the person himself, but by
third persons. In documents executed by Benjamin, such as his
will, he refers to himself simply as "minister."
One type of offense which frequently came to the attention of the
justices of the County Court, acting in their capacities as
criminal magistrates, was the matter of verbal or physical abuse
of a citizen, and particularly abuse of a member of the gentry by
a person of lesser social standing. Rev. Benjamin was the victim
in three cases of record in Lancaster County. The first, in
September 1672, is somewhat unusual. In that case, a man named
William Hughs, who seems to have been an indentured servant of
Mr. Edward Carter, took a "servant maid" belonging to
Benjamin from Benjamin's house. It does not appear that the lady
involved objected to being "taken," and it would seem
that she became part of Carter's household, probably as the wife
of Hughs. In any event, Benjamin sued Hughs and, perhaps as the
result of a settlement with Carter, he was awarded judgment for
2800 lbs. of tobacco, to be paid by Carter and Hughs. This would
indicate that Carter probably took over the indenture for the
"servant maid" and paid Benjamin the value of the
contract. In the same proceeding, Hughs was found guilty of
abusing Benjamin "by words." According to the court
order, Hughes apologized to Benjamin and asked his forgiveness.
Benjamin accepted the apology and withdrew his complaint but
Hughes was ordered to pay costs.
The second case was in September 1674, when the court found that
one Stephen Wills "did abuse Benjamin Doggett,
minister." Wills was sentenced to be placed in the stocks
until he was sober and then to receive 30 lashes.
The third case, in 1682, involved one Thomas Herbert, an
indentured servant of Benjamin. Herbert was convicted of
"lifting up his hande against his saide Master," and
was ordered "for his contempt forthwith to receive twenty
Lashes on his bare backe well laide on, the Sheriff to see the
same executed." Offenses by indentured servants against
their gentlemen masters were not tolerated and were punished
severely by the justices. Whether Herbert was the
"manservant having 27 days to serve" listed in the
inventory of Benjamin's probate estate is uncertain, but it may
well be the case.
Lancaster County records also include two petitions by Benjamin,
one in 1672/3 and the other in 1680, for permission to bring a
Indian into his household. Permission was granted in each case,
on condition that a bond be posted guaranteeing the behavior of
the native. We do not know the circumstances involved, but we can
assume that furnishing labor for the plantation was involved, and
perhaps the Rev. Benjamin had found natives interested in being
taught the Christian faith.
Soon after the death of the Rev. Benjamin, his widow, Jane,
married for the third time. Her new husband was John Boatman.
John was apparently not popular with his stepchildren, and when
young Benjamin became of age he sued Boatman in county court for
taking advantage of Richard by putting him to work in the fields
and not providing adequate support for him. The court ordered an
accounting to be made by Boatman and restitution to be made to
him. We can imagine that relations continued to be strained, as
county court records
200 JANE DOGGETT; b. 1667,
Hadleigh, Co. Suffolk, England. Remained in England when parents
emigrated to Virginia.
400 ANNE DOGGETT; b. abt. 1674, Lancaster Co.,
VA. Living at death of father. No other information.
DOGGETT, son of Rev. Benjamin and Jane Doggett; b. 1665,
Hadleigh, Co. Suffolk, England; d. 1723, Lancaster Co., VA; m(1) BETTY
(surname unknown); m(2) abt 1711, Lancaster Co., VA, Mrs.
MARY THRELKELD, widow of Christopher Threlkeld, d. abt
1737, Lancaster Co., VA.
(children of marriage to Betty)
110 Benjamin m. Mary
130 Elizabeth m. Philip Frond
140 Hannah m. 1718 Thomas Yerby
150 Ann m. George Reeves
160 William d. 1751
170 Richard m. Ann Ascough
(children of marriage to Mary)
180 Thomas d. 1775 m. Bathsheba
190 Reuben d. 1772 m. Hannah
For details and descendants, see separate
300 RICHARD DOGGETT,
son of Rev. Benjamin and Mary Doggett; b. Lancaster Co., VA; b.
abt. 1672, Lancaster Co., VA; d. 1721, Lancaster Co., VA; m. ELIZABETH
BUSHROD, dau. of Richard and Apphia (Hughes) Bushrod.
Elizabeth m(2) abt 1726, Charles Chilton.
310 George d. 1759 m. Ann Chattin
320 Apphia d. 1789 m. Robert Boatman
340 Bushrod d. 1791 m. 1737 Anne Stripling
For details and descendants, see separate
500 WILLIAM DOGGETT,
son of Rev. Benjamin and Jane Doggett; b. abt. 1676, Lancaster
Co., VA; d. 1716/7, Lancaster Co., VA. Married, but wife's name
510 William d. 1772 m.
m. Johanna Wale
0540 Elmore d. 1781 m. Lucy Haydon
m. 1779 Mary Ann Hammonds
560 Benjamin b. 1717 d. 1760 m. Anne Emberson
For details and descendants, see separate
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