Back in 2000, I received a phone call from Thomas Edson (not Edison, as he was careful to point out) Doughten, a fascinating and delightful gentleman from Toledo, Ohio. He had gotten my name from a lady who had been doing research in New Jersey on the Hillmans, another family that has some connection to the Sailers through the Sparks. Cousin Thomas had been solving genealogical puzzles for many years, and he shared some of his information with me. He was still working on the assembly of the bulk of his work. I will set down here the essential facts that I now have about the Doughtens, including the information that I learned from my new-found cousin. Here is the basic information:
The first Doughten (pronounced Dowten, rhyming with cow-pen) who joined my Strawbridge/Sailer family tree was Priscilla Sparks Doughten of New Jersey, who lived from about 1808 to 1888. She married my great-great-grandfather Joseph Sailer, who lived from 1809 to 1883. That Joseph Sailer was a successful newspaper editor who moved from his native Gloucester County, New Jersey, to Philadelphia. So, using myself as a frame of reference, Priscilla Sparks Doughten became my great-great-grandmother, Priscilla Sparks Sailer. Her mother was Ann Harrison “Nancy” Sparks; her father was Isaac Doughten, who lived from 1778 to 1866 and was a well-known storekeeper and blacksmith at Westville, New Jersey. Some of that information already was known to me, but the earlier generations were completely shrouded in the fog of genealogical obscurity, which was partly lifted by Cousin Thomas.
The father of Isaac Doughten was William Doughten, who lived from about 1744 to 1824 and died in Delaware. His wife was Mary Shivers. Thus, with that new information, I (and those situated similarly to me on the family tree) now can boast of the new (to me) ancestral line of Shivers.
Finally, the father of William was Stephen Doughten, the immigrant ancestor of this line. He emigrated from England to Philadelphia as a young man in 1730. He came from Danbury, about fifty miles north of London, in Essex. He became involved in the iron and forge industry in southeastern Pennsylvania. Perhaps the most remarkable fact I learned was that Cousin Thomas managed to discover documentation covering forty years of Stephen’s work history, which allowed him to achieve a remarkably detailed understanding of my five-times-great grandfather. Stephen married Anna Stott in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in January 1737, and, with this information, I know of another family line, the maiden name of my five-times-great grandmother. Stephen’s father was John Doughton (with an “O”), born in England about 1675; John’s father was Thomas, born about 1650. Little else is known of them at this point.