Connecting Joel Doore of Atkinson, ME to James Dore of Athens, ME

Due to a lack of written records, the parents of my known ancestor, Joel Doore, who moved to the Dover-Foxcroft area in 1811, have not been positively established.

Laura Mabel Doore Warren (“Aunt Lottie” 1865 – 1966 – great granddaughter of Joel Doore) provided a record of the family of Joel Doore, a handwritten manuscript (circa 1938) in the files of the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

Aunt Lottie relates the Doore family tradition of Joel’s ancestry, lists Joel's brothers and sisters, and descendants. The tradition of the Doore family origin as related by Aunt Lottie is:

“Two brothers John and Stephen Dore came from England. The date of their arrival, place of settlement, and the names of their wives are unknown.
Stephen's children: Isaiah, Joel, Stephen, Nathaniel (father of Rev. True Doore), Dudley, Serles, Martha and Betsy.”

I have come into the possession of genealogical notes by Erma B. Doore (1893 - 1931) and see the above account repeated, giving the diary of George W. Doore (Joel's grandson 1851 - 1907) as the source.

Miriam Dorr Cobb (1901 – 1993, second great granddaughter of Joel Doore) tells that:
“Evelyn Doore Jones had been selected by the 'Doore Neighborhood' relatives after the death of Cyrus H. Dorr, her beloved uncle, in 1964, to continue his research on the background of the Maine Doore, Door, Dore, Dorr Family, and so had inherited his collection of genealogical information of 35 years with which to start.”

Miriam recounts Evelyn’s work and has added sources from her family records, and her own extensive research in “Genealogical History of the Dore, Door, Doore, and Dorr Family” (Copies in the Maine State Library, Augusta, and the Maine Historical Society, Portland)

Miriam gives Stephen Hussey as Hannah Hussey’s father – He would have been maternal grandfather to Joel and Hannah’s children – thus a logical source for the Grandfather Stephen in the “Doore tradition” as related by Aunt Lottie.

Alternately, Joel and his older (about 8 years) brother Stephen were living in Harmony, ME (1810 census), and it is not unlikely that these families were close while carving out a foothold in the wilderness. It is not unlikely that Joel’s children may have seen Stephen as a father figure to their father.

The geographical migration of the name Door (and its variants) is a strong indicator of close family ties between centers of population. The family name is sufficiently rare in surviving records to show distinct localities of settlement. Early records begin with Richard Door living in and around Portsmouth, New Hampshire (bought land in 1669), his son Philip moved (after 1739) a short distance north to Dover, New Hampshire. Richard’s grandson Philip moved to Rochester and then (1750+/-) just across the Salmon Falls River to Lebanon, Maine. Great grandson James moved (sold his farm in1779) from Lebanon to the next town north Shapleigh, Maine (that portion is now Acton, Maine, very close to Milton Mills, NH) and then (1800) on to the Athens/Harmony area in central Maine with several of his children, his sister Phebe and probably his brother Joseph and their families. In the Census of 1810 we find Joel Dore in Harmony (note that while Dore and Doore are found in the 1810 Census, the Door’s recorded in the surviving fragment of the Harmony Town Record are spelled Doore until some time after 1820, when they are changed to Dore). Family tradition relates that Joel moved from Harmony to Dover, Maine (later Dover-Foxcroft) in 1811 and later settling in the next town over in Atkinson, Maine. Joel’s grave is found in the Hart/Sweet Cemetery in Atkinson.

Most probably, the parents of Joel Doore can be inferred from the following facts:
1.Evelyn Doore Jones and Miriam Dorr Cobb confirmed the marriage of James Door to Hannah Hussey on August 3, 1769, in Lebanon, Maine, by Rev. Isaac Hasey. And in addition, according to Rev. Hasey's Diary, Hannah, wife of James Door, was “Churched” on December 27, 1772. In those days, when a baby was born, the mother was prayed for, or “Churched” on the following Sunday by the minister.
The birth of Stephen Doore is given in the Town Record of Harmony, ME (found in the Maine State Archives), as December 25, 1772, Lebanon, Maine. As the only Door child recorded born in Lebanon on or around that time, this is good evidence that Stephen was the son of James and Hannah.
The Harmony Town Record states that Stephen named a son Joel Allen Dore (b: Jan 27, 1830).
Stephen is listed as a brother of Joel, and that would seem to place James and Hannah as parents of the group of children given by Aunt Lottie, although no further record of Hannah's Churching has been found.
James and Hannah lived in Athens, Maine, the next town to Harmony, the town in which several of Door children had settled, and find their gravestones kept in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Athens. James’ death date and age recorded on the gravestone corresponds with the birth date recorded in the Rochester, NH Town Record for Philip Door's son James.

2.In the Town Record of Harmony, ME, Nathaniel Doore (Joel’s listed brother) named a daughter Hannah and a son Searles. Miriam Dorr Cobb discovered that Hannah (Evans) (Field) Hussey, grandmother of Hannah (Hussey) Door, (wife of James) had a sister Patience who married one Samuel Searles, a name which was carried on as the name of another son of James, and has since been carried down in several of the later generations of these Door families.

3.James Door appears in the 1790 Census in Shapleigh, ME as one of seven Door heads of household (Joel would have been about 10 and thus not listed by name). James is the only one with a family large enough (five sons and three daughters) to furnish the number of Joel’s siblings given by Aunt Lottie. No Stephen Door appears anywhere in the 1790 census.
The Shapleigh Town Record of Joel and Hannah’s marriage includes the notation “both of this town”. Elder Tozier Lord (husband of Phoebe Door, James sister - Joel’s uncle) performed the ceremony. Tozier Lord and Phoebe Door also later moved to the Athens / Harmony area.

4.In the Town Record of Harmony, ME, Isaiah Doore (Joel’s listed brother), named three sons James (presumably the first two died young). This strongly suggests a close relationship with James.

5.Nehemiah Davis married James and Hannah’s daughter Phoebe (Joel’s listed sister), they then named their first son James Dore Davis and their first daughter Hannah Davis. Joel Doore and Hannah in turn named their first son Nehemiah Davis Doore and named their first daughter Phoebe, they also named a son James and a daughter Hannah.

While none of these relationships can be said to positively establish Joel Door/Doore as the son of James Door/Dore, there is clearly a convincing likelihood established.

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Comment by Timothy Lunney on March 30, 2011 at 9:58am

I have Dore's in my family tree. There is a detailed genealogy for the Dore's that you mentioned at:

Comment by James H. Doore on March 30, 2011 at 2:20pm

Thanks for the link to Chris Dorr's tree.  He has done a remarkable job of documenting his work - my own work is woefully lacking in that regard.  I suppose that is the difference between a genealogy and a family history...

Is your Dore connection through your Stevens line to Abijah Stevens and Frances Dore?  I'd like to add your connections to my listings.

Have you looked at the RootsWeb WorldConnect files?  I believe I have more connections than Chris in my "Joel Doore" file - do a search for Richard Door with spouse Tamson and look at their descendants.

Have you seen the new FamilySearch Records Search site, it is remarkable.

Comment by Donna Goodwin on December 11, 2014 at 6:42pm

James,  I have been looking everywhere (except here) for Nathaniel's father.  Father of Rev. Trueworthy Dore.  So, Stephen is the FATHER of Nathaniel?  I have seen a James listed, but no one has given documentation. 

I have finally proven that Thomas J Dore , son of Trueworthy is my greatgrandfather - Good ole DNA.

Best regards,

Donna Goodwin

Comment by James H. Doore on December 13, 2014 at 7:52pm

I'm sorry that I don't have a source for my information about Nathaniel's father - but because I have a specific date of birth and Trueworthy was born in Harmony (17 Nov 1781), I suspect that Nathaniel had a page in the Harmony Town Vital Records.  I believe that the Harmony VR were transcribed from family records after the fact (by some years), unfortunately the Shapleigh (now Acton) records were created the same way, after many of our Door/Doore/Dore family had moved on upstate Maine.

Family tradition in my branch gives Stephen as my GGGG grandfather - father of Joel Doore - but my research and the work of several others makes me believe that it was James not Stephen.  Our tradition also gives our Joel Doore's siblings as Phebe, Stephen, Dudley, Samuel, Betsy, Nathaniel, Martha, and Isaiah.

There seems to be agreement that these are are all siblings but there is no proof.  James Door moved from Lebanon to Shapleigh about 1780 (among the first settlers), they were Free Will Baptists and they left Shapleigh about 1800 when the Congregational Church was established (and started keeping records of births, deaths, & marriages).  Note that records before 1800 in Shapleigh gave the family name as Door and the records in Harmony used Doore until sometime after 1820 when the handwriting changes and Dore is used.  My Joel Doore left Harmony in 1811 (and so has no page in Harmony VR) and kept the Doore variation.

Note that where Joel settled in the south of Atkinson is not all that far from your Nathaniel in Garland.  I see your Nathaniel is buried in  the Hathaway Cemetery in Garland.

There is microfilm of the Harmony Town Vital Records available, which is where I believe I found Nathaniel's birthdate, there may be other clues for you there.  

Unfortunately James Dore and Hannah Hussey settled in Athens (adjacent to Harmony) where the Town Records were lost in a fire, so there is not much to be found there.  None of the family researchers have been able to find any trace at all of a Stephen Door/Doore/Dore that might fit the family tradition as Joel and Nathaniel's father.  I am highly confidant that you and I are related through James Door/Dore and Hannah Hussey.  I plan to try DNA testing soon.

Good luck with your research, Jim Doore


Comment by James H. Doore on December 13, 2014 at 7:57pm

Sorry, it is Nathaniel's birth date that is 17 Nov 1781.

Comment by Donna Goodwin on December 14, 2014 at 9:09am

Hi James.

Phew thank you for the update.  After the last message I really worked on Stephen and found him in two census' but things seemed off. I do have a cousin who does the genealogy for the Libby Family Assoc.  and he sent me about everything he has for the Doores'.  It seems he was helping one of our Libby cousins is also researching his Shapleigh Doore line.  I will be corresponding with him soon.  I will let you know what I find out from him and if there is a way to email you what I have been sent I would send them to you.


Again, thank you for the quick response.


Comment by Donna Goodwin on December 26, 2014 at 1:25pm


Well you have all of my intrigue fired up once again.  In a search unrelated to the Husseys, I found our one Hannah Evans Fields Hussey in my book on the Hodgdons/Hodsdens.  It jumped off the page at me.  Her mothers husband (1st) being married to Isreal Hodsdon. 




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