Francis Doughty (clergyman)

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Francis Doughty (1616 – c. 1670) was an English-American Presbyterian minister.

Doughty was born in Bristol, and was ordained as a priest in the Church of England by William Piers.[1] He served the parishes of Boxwell, Leighterton and Rangeworthy in Gloucestershire.[2] In 1635 he got in trouble by referring to Charles I as "Charles by common election and general consent King of England".[3]

Doughty decided to emigrate to America, going first to Massachusetts, where he probably arrived in 1638.[4] He pastored churches in Taunton and Cohasset, but was persecuted on account of his beliefs regarding infant baptism.[5] He had preached that all children of baptized parents were children of Abraham, and therefore ought to be baptized as well.[6]

Doughty then moved to Long Island, where in 1642, Director of New Netherland Willem Kieft granted him and his associates a large tract of land at Maspeth, "with power to erect a church, and to exercise the Reformed Christian religion which they profess."[7] The following year, however, war with Indians forced him to relocate to New Amsterdam, where he pastored a church in Flushing for five years.[5] He came into conflict with Kieft, and Captain John Underhill ordered his church doors to be shut.[7] Doughty migrated again, and pastored churches in Northampton County, Virginia, Charles County, Maryland, and Rappahannock County, Virginia.[2] In Virginia he became known for "troublesome but unsuccessful witch-hunting proclivities".[1]

William Gray Dixon calls Doughty the "Apostle of Presbyterianism in America", and suggests that his character "seems to have well befitted his name.[5]


  1. ^ a b Bell, James B. (2013). Empire, Religion and Revolution in Early Virginia, 1607–1786. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 90. ISBN 9781137327925. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b Dorman, John Frederick (2004). Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5: Families G-P. Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 134. ISBN 9780806317632. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  3. ^ Parker, Henry Ainsworth (1906). "The Reverend Francis Doughty". Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Volume 10. p. 262. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  4. ^ Parker, "Reverend Francis Doughty," p. 261.
  5. ^ a b c Dixon, William Gray (1930). The Romance of the Catholic Presbyterian Church. p. 233.
  6. ^ Lechford, Thomas (1642). "Plain Dealing, or Newes from New-England". Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 23. p. 96. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Rev. Francis Doughty". Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. 5 (3): 290. 1898. JSTOR 4242057 – via JSTOR. (Registration required (help)).

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