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Thursday, September 9, 2010





Grandparents will be in bright blue

In Canandaigua, New York, through research, we were able to determine the arrival of the first family that would spearhead the union of John and Florence. This family was John and Saphrona Akins who eventually had six children, all having a direct influence in the raising of Florence Bates.
The second family to arrive would be Francis and Nancy McCormick, master ice harvesters. They arrived around 1850 from
Sacketts Harbor by way of Rochester, New York.
As you read from the beginning of this family history, circumstances came together miraculously.  We are the descendants of John and Florence and all the other Grandparents listed back as far as 1200.  All these people contributed to our birth and survival and that makes us unique to the tapestry of life. 
They are now gone to the other side but we have reason to believe they are cheering us on to do what is right, be responsible, decent people with our goal to spend eternity with them in heaven. 

John and Florence were both born in 1864, John in January and Florence in May.  Their paths crossed in school and they would have been in the same grade.  Exactly when John A. picked Florence to be his girl is unknown but it would have had to be before they were 16. 
                                 Florence Bates Doyle at 13   
According to Hazel Cloyes, daughter of Nellie Bradfield Cloyes, our Aikin/Bradfield Family historian, Florence was the belle of Canandaigua.  She was an accomplished musician having learned how to play the banjo and piano very well.  Her Uncle John Aikin (note: John changed spelling to Aiken) was noted for his expertise in playing the banjo and had many virtuosos study under him. He is the one who taught the instrument to Florence.  Aunt Gertrude gave the banjo that belonged to Great Uncle John Aiken to Florence after John died in 1904. Wouldn't you love to know what happened to that treasure? It is lost in antiquity.  Another talent Florence had was her ability to do the cakewalk. For those of you younger than I, the Cakewalk dance was developed from a "Prize Walk" done in the days of slavery, generally at get-togethers on plantations in the South. Thereafter it was performed in minstrel shows, exclusively by men until the 1890s. The young people picked it up and incorporated it into their regular dance routines. 

She often complained to her Aunt Libby and Aunt Nellie that she was very unhappy living with John and Gertrude. It is reported that they were very strict and gave her little freedom.  What freedom she had, she stole.  A plus for living with them was that Gertrude was a beautiful seamstress and made gorgeous dresses for Florence.  It is reported that the color salmon was her accent color and it brought out her beautiful brown eyes.
We never heard our Grandmother play the banjo or the piano.  She became quite deaf early on in the marriage and it became progressively worse so that we would have to yell, loud, for her to understand what we were saying.  None of her children learned to play the Banjo. My father, John G. was the only one of his siblings that played the piano well. I remember her always sitting at a small cottage table in the kitchen where she could keep track of the ebb and flow of the family. You could hear the conversations in the kitchen throughout the house because everyone was speaking in loud voices so Grandma could be a part of the group.  Lib and I picked up on all the family gossip and would review it when we went to bed that evening.  Uncle Bob, being the youngest did not come into the conversation until he started dating and then Grandma had plenty to say about the girls he would bring home. He was her baby and no girl was good enough.  Aunt Betty won his heart, they were married and had many children. Now back to the story.
When it became apparent that Florence and John were a couple, they were forbidden to see each other.  It was not unusual for mid teens to date and marry early so the age was factored into the mix by both families.  What the objections were by the Aikins, Bradfields and Bates are as follows: John A. was an Irish Catholic, the family lived on the wrong side of Main Street, the Irish were not considered very smart or capable of academic achievements therefore John would always be a common laborer or at best a fireman.  Irish Catholics were held in disdain and there was a blatant segregation imposed upon them among the 'gentry'. 
Meanwhile, The Doyles and McCormicks objected to their dating because they wanted John to find a nice Catholic girl. They did not associate with the Protestant elite and Great Uncle John certainly was in that class. He was a presbyter in the Presbyterian Church and a high degree Mason.  He had already picked two young up and coming men for Florence.  One was being groomed to be President of a local Bank, and the other was a Dental Surgeon who eventually became Chief of Dental Surgery at Strong Memorial Medical School. So, Florence and John A. had their marching orders and that would be in the opposite direction.  Nancy McCormick also put her two cents in letting John know she did not want to lose her "non Catholic" customers. With Nancy, family was very important but then business was business and she was not ready to end the ice business or the barge traffic or being pier mistress although she was aging and considering her options for selling out and moving to Rochester with her son William and family.

As Mrs. Fennick told my brother Leo and I in 1974, the rebel couple met in secret and of course fell in love. John does not show up on the 1900 census with Owen and Emma and family.  We do know he went to Rochester for a while, probably lived with his brother Frank who was a fireman by now.  In all likelihood, he checked out the requirements for applying for a job with the Rochester Fire Department and also the Rochester Police Department.  He returned to Canandaigua had many jobs was quite able to take care of himself. In 1900, John A. was 16 years old. He observed the protestant work ethic and put it into practice.  An example was his ability to be friendly and helpful even in very trying situations.  People liked him right away, especially the business men.  John was full of life and made many friends with the help of his Irish humor and a bit of the blarney thrown in. He was also shrewd in his business dealings.  No job was too menial.  He could convert it into something special, making it look like the job was just a step below the President of the Company. He learned early that being nice to everyone always paid off in the future. He was a twin and his twin James died in early infancy but I have observed that when this happens, the twin remaining on earth receives a double portion of everything such as talent, good looks, ability and success.  Once you met John A., you never forgot him because he made you feel so very special. I was often stopped by strangers who wanted me to know how much they loved John A. This happened up to 1954.  These people were from a wide variety of the work force in downtown Rochester.  

In late September, 1901, Florence found out she was pregnant.  According to Mrs. Fennick it was the talk of the town which made the problem even worse. Then the lines were drawn by both families. They wanted nothing to do with either one of them.  Mrs. Fennick's sister, Miss Hogan, was a close friend of John and Florence.  She ran into the Hogan house, according to Mrs Fennick, crying uncontrollably. She told the family that no one in the village would marry them and the families stopped talking to them.  Hazel's mother Nellie (Florence's Aunt Nellie Bradfield Cloyes), the only relative to come to aid of the couple, and Mrs. Fennick and her sister met to look into the available options. Aunt Nellie remembered trying to elope when she was 16 but was caught and prevented from marrying the man she loved. This is why she came to the aid of the troubled couple.  A Justice of the Peace was found, his name was J. Wallace Webb and he solemnized the marriage. It was on October 24, 1901. For the next few months there was plenty of gossip especially when Great Uncle John Aiken was admitted to the Rochester State Hospital where he died 4 years later.  The abuse from his father and the devastation he felt over losing his Ward took its toll on him, God rest his soul. Gertrude did keep in touch with Florence.  We believe Gertrude made the dress Florence is wearing in the picture of her at the opening of this Chapter.

John and Florence were married and took up residence in Canandaigua.  John worked hard at many jobs always networking towards a goal he had since he was very young.  That goal was to be a detective.  His second goal was to have the marriage blessed in the Catholic Church.  When this happened we do not know since many records were destroyed in a fire at the Church Office. We do know that they were married at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Canandaigua according to many family members and I would guess it was just before Uncle Arlington was born in 1902 or soon after.  They remained in Canandaigua until after the birth of  Uncle Ken in 1904, their second child.  John was thrilled to have two healthy sons. By this time, both sides of the Main Street wanted to spend time with their new relatives.  It is said that Aunt Mary Aikins had a say in naming the children as they were born.  The past animosity was put behind the families and forgiveness reigned.

John A.'s great grandson, John G. Doyle III, published a book GENERATIONS OF SUCCESS...CORPORATE HISTORY OF THE DOYLE GROUP, INC...1914 TO 1994. The following history are excerpts from this book.

"When still in my kindergarten 
 days, I got hold of detective stories
 and studied them as hard as a
 youngster knows how.
I was determined two be as
capable in the detective line
as the heroes of those books always were ..."
                              written by John A. Doyle

During the years of 1890 and 1900, it is important to note that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories of Sherlock Holmes were published in a famous magazine, THE STRAND, and became immensely popular with Americans.  John A. would definitely have had access to these stories and especially the books written by Sir Arthur.  But the man who most impressed and influenced him, was without a doubt, one of Arthur's teachers, Dr. Joseph Bell. The good doctor was a master at observation, logic, deduction, and diagnosis. All these qualities were later to be found in the persona of the celebrated detective Sherlock Holmes. Through medical school Arthur was chosen to be Dr. Bell's lab clerk.  It was during this time that Arthur became intriqued with the ability to use forensic science in the Medical Field and applied this knowlege to his short stories which of course are now classics.

Another talent that John A. picked up early was the ability to network.  He was able to carry this talent into his adult life and became very well known and liked among the Rochester gentry considering he was an Irish Catholic from a small provincial town. Remember, his in-laws saw him as nothing more than a common laborer. Those that lived long enough had to rescind their opinions.

And so we continue......

Their first home in Rochester was at 34 Almeroth Street in 1910. This date was taken from the 1910 census.  They no doubt lived on Almeroth Street for at least five years. With John and Flo were Arlington and Ken.  The next one to be born was John Gordon (my father) in 1907. Please note we do not know where they lived prior to 1910. The last address was in Canandaigua, New York. We believe the twin boys were born some time in this period but so far we have not been able to verify proof of twin birth except for verbal stories.  After moving to 31 Sycamore Street circa 1914, John and Florence with  sons and a daughter Dorothy, settled down To help you keep track of the births and deaths, here is the list to help.  Some information is missing like month of birth, marriages and grandchildren.  If you send me information that will help fill in the blanks, I will be happy to insert them and thank you for your help.

John, at age 19, with only an eighth grade education, worked as a deliveryman and meat cutter for the Burkhalter market on Front Street. In 1908, after John Gordon was born he passed the police examination and was assigned to the position of patrolman for the Rochester Police Department.

His brother Frank was already established in the Rochester Fire Department and that, no doubt helped John A. to receive consideration for the Police Department. 

He did very well at solving crimes and soon gained a reputation for being an Ace Detective. His will to get ahead led him swiftly through the ranks and within three years, John A. was promoted to the Detective Division where his boyhood dream was becoming a reality. By this time it was 1911 and John was 27 years old.  His Captain was William H. Whaley.  They became kindred spirits and both possessed extraordinary abilities to solve crimes.

John had a way to make everyone feel exceptional and I never heard of one person who did not like him. During the 40's and 50's I was often stopped on Main Street or in the Department Stores by strangers telling me their story of knowing my Grandfather and what a marvelous person he was.  In particular there was an elevator operator that stopped me as we approached my floor and related a story of how "Mr. Doyle" as he respectfully called him, had helped him financially and obtained that job for him.  He knew I had to be a Doyle because the resemblance was so great.   

John A. and his brother Frank had their pictures taken in uniform in 1908. John A. is on the left and Uncle Frank is on the right. John A. looks like his father Owen and Frank looks like his mother Emma McCormick Doyle.

Meanwhile back on Sycamore, John Gordon was born in 1907 and in 1909 Dorothy was born.  Dorothy lived until she was three years of age and she died in 1912. We do not know who was born in this three year time period, we do know from hand me down stories that twins were born but did not live. As yet we have not found the birth notice of the twins being born. It may have been a miscarriage. Uncle Leo was born in 1913.  The family was growing and John and Florence made plans to expand their dream for themselves and the five children. They would soon move into a newer, bigger house on Mount Vernon Avenue.
  John Albert Doyle, Rochester Police Department

John Albert and Florence Doyle

John and Flo 1901 in their first house in Canandaigua.  Arlington has been born,

Since the last posting of this Doyle family history, I, unfortunately experienced the worst case scenario...the total crash and loss of my computer and its contents including the accumulation of family pictures.  It has taken a year to retrieve at least some of them from Margie Frazer and other relatives.  What happened created an impossibility to blog until many of the issues were resolved.  So, here I am, December 10, 2013 with a new beginning.  My blog editor was taken down because there was no activity and Google may have thought of everything but they did not think to notify me and give me an opportunity to get back into the Doyle Dining Room
With this said, let's continue with the John A. Family History.
Our last entry brought us up to the birth of Leo in 1913. With four sons, it was time to have some daughters. This was also the time for John A. to be honing his skills as the most renowned Detective to ever work for the Rochester Police Department.  John was transfered to the Detective Division under the watchful eye of Chief Detective Whaley.


Arlington T.       Born: 5/24/1902  Died: 11/20/1970

Kenneth V.         Born: 6/1/1905   Died:1/18/1968

John Gordon      Born:  6/18/1907  Died: 9/18/1966

Marie Dorothy: born on July 26, 1909 and baptized on August 15, 1909 by Father Connor at Blessed Sacrament Church. Dorothy died April 9, 1912  Death notice: Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) ·  Wed, Apr 10, 1912 ·  Page 13.  We do not know the cause of death but we do know there were two epidemics at the time and all the Doyle Children were in the hospital.  The epidemics were Whooping Cough and Scarlet Fever.

Leo W. Doyle   Born: 3/12/1912  Died: 3/4/1935
      Baptized: 4/19/1912 in a private ceremony
      Formal Baptism: Blessed Sacrament  Church 6/27/12
      Godparent: Arlington Doyle, age 11, and Francis Murphy

Marjorie A.   Born:  4/26/1913  Died:  2/25/1982

Florence R.   Born: 6/13/1915   Died:  7/22/1991
 (nicknamed Honey) 

Rosemary T.         Born: 10/30/1918   Died: 1/31/1992

William Joseph  Born: 4/25/1917  Died: 4/5/1918
       Baptized: 5/20/1917 by Fr. Conner
       Godparents: Arlington Doyle, age 16 and Mary Huck

Rosemary T.         Born: 10/30/1918   Died: 1/31/1992


 Marian Dorothy

Robert E.     Born: 11/19/1921  Died: 6/5/1976

                              May they all Rest in Peace with The Sacred Heart


  1. Great cliff hanger ... can't wait for the next installment!

  2. My grandmother was Marion Doyle, his daughter. I have read many detective stories of the early days of Doyle.