THE REV. BENJAMIN DOGGETT

(Emigrant Ancestor)

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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.
Children (Doggett):

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 Benjamin’s birth.

Benjamin’s 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 seacoast town.

From records of St. John’s 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. John’s 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. Benjamin’s 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. John’s 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. Benjamin’s uncles, Thomas and Richard, had attended St. John’s and Emmanuel Colleges, respectively, as pensioners (full tuition payers) and his cousin William, son of Thomas Doggett, had attended Queen’s 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. Benjamin’s mother’s brother, Geoffrey Langley, had received his Master of Arts degree at Christ’s 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. Benjamin’s 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 Jane’s 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. Benjamin’s 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 Benjamin’s 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 Benjamin’s 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 Benjamin’s 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. Mary’s 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. Mary’s Whitechapel, with Benjamin as minister of both parishes. Some time after Benjamin’s 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 Washington’s grandfather, were the leading members of the St. Mary’s 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 and pigs.

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 of will.

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 Benjamin’s 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 Benjamin’s wife’s family or may have been institutionalized.

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 Benjamin’s plantation.

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. Mary’s 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 case.

An inventory and appraisal of the Rev. Benjamin’s 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 of inventory.

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.

100 BENJAMIN 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 (Doggett):

	(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
1w		Margaret
1x		Jane
170		Richard				m.	Ann Ascough
	(children of marriage to Mary)
180		Thomas			d. 1775	m.	Bathsheba
1z		Winifret
190		Reuben			d. 1772	m.	Hannah

For details and descendants, see separate page.

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.
Children (Doggett):

310		George			d. 1759	m.	Ann Chattin
320		Apphia			d. 1789	m.	Robert Boatman
330		Ann
340		Bushrod			d. 1791	m. 1737	Anne Stripling

For details and descendants, see separate page.

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 unknown.
Children (Doggett):

510		William			d. 1772	m.
						m.	Johanna Wale
520		(child)
530		(child)
0540		Elmore			d. 1781	m.	Lucy Haydon
						m. 1779	Mary Ann Hammonds
550		Jane
560		Benjamin	b. 1717	d. 1760	m.	Anne Emberson

For details and descendants, see separate page.

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Updated 8/1/2007

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