Alexander Andre Doherty


Alexander Andre Doherty came to America from Londonderry, Ireland in 1830.  He was born on February 18, 1812. He married Mary Elizabeth Van Buren.  Their children included Joseph Alex Andre; Nancy Ann, Alice Cornelia, Louisa Jane, Albert Burton, George Brinton McClellan, Thomas Francis Meager, Evelyn (died at the age of three or four).

His children had numerous children. I am descended from one of his sons, Albert Burton.  Albert Burton married Rosetta May Rossman (1863-1934).  Their children included William, Wallace (died very young), Frank, Fred, a baby who died before being named, Albert Burton (called “A.B.)  Minnie Rose (called Bird), Gerald (died at age 2) and Fanny Geraldine.  Geraldine’s married name was Twigg. Her son, Lynn Twigg, made it to Alaska a few years before I did in 1974.  I believe he worked as a guide out of Anchorage or Fairbanks. Coincidentally, I worked a few years for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Juneau.

Albert Burton’s son, Frank Burton Doherty, was my grandfather.  Frank Burton Doherty was born on March 5, 1886 in South Boardman, Michigan.  He died on July 19, 1945. He married Edna Nason.  They had three children: Frank Burton Doherty, Jr., (1920); my father, Eugene Nason Doherty (1922) and Judith Doherty (1931).  Judith was born prematurely and only lived for a few months.

I met Aunt Bird when I was a little girl, when my parents traveled to Michigan to participate in a big Doherty family gathering on a farm. Aunt Bird was warm and friendly, a slightly built woman, dressed in those soft, faded house dresses women wore decades ago.  My parents stayed in touch with her for many years after our 1956 Michigan trip.  Aunt Bird was born on January 19, 1895. She was married to a man named Karey Barber. 

Aunt Bird’s daughter, Mildred, (married to Bill Stanley), stayed in touch with my parents through the 1980s and her letters are a source of family news and genealogy. She was born in 1911 and lived in Fife Lake, Michigan.  Mom and Dad traveled to Fife Lake to see her in 1972. In an October 29, 1972 letter to my parents, Aunt Mildred talked about their visit and also wrote a short description of the “Doherty Family History.”  Here is what she said:

“Alex Andre Doherty was born Feb. 18, 1812 in Londonderry, County Cork, Ireland. Came to America in 1830 with one brother James, and a sister Mary.”

“There was an accident with the boat after they left Ireland and they had to turn back. One sister, Alice, who started with them was frightened, and wouldn’t come with them. They were several weeks on the ocean, due to storms, and finally landed at Great Barrington, Massachusetts.”

“He worked there cutting marble for several years, met and married Mary Elizabeth Van Buren of Great Barrington. She was born March 31, 1831. She was 14 or 15 years old when they married.”

“They later moved to a farm in Lapeer County, Michigan, two miles west of Metamora, where they resided close to 50 years.”

“To this union eight children were born.  1. Joseph Alex Andre 2. Nancy Ann (Gillette) 3. Alice Cornelia (Baker) 4. Louisa Jane (Boman) 5. Albert Burton 6. George Brinton McClellan (named by Thomas Caley, Kaley or Kalley, a friend of Alex Andre & born at the same place in Ireland) 7. Thomas Francis Meager 8. Evelyn (died at age of 3 or 4 yrs.)”

“Mary Elizabeth was the daughter of Wm. Van Buren and Nancy Ann Gassette Van Buren. Born at Great Barrington. She had two brothers Daniel and Levi, and two sisters Angelina and Ellen.”

“The two sisters also moved to Michigan and had farms near the Doherty farm.”

“James Doherty brother of Alex Andre married Angeline, sister to Mary Elizabeth.  Their children were Charles, James, John, Emily Isabel and Jennie. “

“Ellen married Alanson Conant.”

“Alex Andre’s sister Mary lived in Boston, Mass.  Her first husband was Tom McGovern and they had a daughter Mary and a son Thomas.  Her second husband’s name was Ryan. We know no more of this branch of the family.”

I have no information on why Alex Andre Doherty and his brother and sister left Ireland for America. The Great Hunger was 15 years away—perhaps they had an intuition that things were going to get very bad and left. I What became of their sister, Alice, who chose to remain in Ireland? Why did Alex Andre, James, Mary Elizabeth and Angeline leave Great Barrington, Massachusetts for northern Michigan? In the 1830s land was  pretty cheap in Michigan; and the couples were probably part of the “Michigan Fever” land rush. If they had farms in Michigan, then they probably learned farming in Ireland.

Dohertys and Rossmans are scattered all over now, but at least some still live in Kalkaska County, Michigan.  I’m looking forward to a visit to Fife Lake in a year or two, and connecting with distant relatives old and new.



1 Comment

  • Thank YOU Karen for sharing this with me!!! Wonderful history/genealogy!!
    Hope you are doing well Cousin! 🙂
    Sandi Siler

By Karen