Dorchester Illustration no. 2342 Doherty Brothers
At the Dorchester Historical Society, we are in the process of a year-long project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. Using a collection of photographs we have of WWI Dorchester residents, we will be featuring servicemen in a number of short biographies throughout the year. At the culmination of the project, we hope to produce an online exhibit which highlights these men and their service to our country.
Our next biography features: 3 Doherty Brothers: John A., Gerald M., and Francis R. Doherty
Gerald is on the left in the illustration and John is on the right.
These brothers are cousins to Tristram Campbell whose biography was previously written and the family asked if we might do a biography on the Doherty brothers. They kindly shared some family information.
The Doherty brothers were born to parents Daniel Francis Doherty and Augusta Bridget Williams, both born in Boston. John Andrew was born September 4, 1894, Gerald Michael was born February 25, 1896 and Francis Raphael was born June 25, 1898 all on Forest Street, Boston. The father was listed as a merchant, a foreman and then a coal and wood dealer.
In the 1900 census, there is an elder brother, Daniel F. Jr., a younger sister, Mary and a servant Maggie Connolly from Ireland. They were still living at 58 Forest Street. The father was a coal dealer and he owned the home.
By the 1910 census, 4 more siblings had been born; James, Augusta, Theodore and Joseph, the youngest, who died at age 2. The family was living at 16 Mather Street and the father is listed as a foreman in the coal business.
John Andrew graduated from Boston Latin School and then Harvard College in 1916. There he was a quarterback (Jack) on the football team and member of the Hasty Pudding Club. On June 5, 1917, at age 22, he registered for the draft. He was living on Mather Street. His occupation was listed as a Draughtsman for Stone & Webster Engineering Corp. on Milk Street, Boston. As an exemption he claimed a probable appointment as engineer with the Sanitary Department, Mass Health Department (a position he actually did hold for 3 weeks). He was listed as single and he was tall and slender with blue eyes and reddish hair. He entered Officer’s Training Camp in Plattsburg, New York in August 1917; was commissioned 1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army, November 27; sailed to France January 12, 1918 as casual; assigned to Company L, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, March 25 and was sadly killed in action on July 18 1918 near Soissons, France during the Second Battle of the Marne. He had also been engaged in defensive sectors at Cantigny, Noyon-Montdidier, Ansauville and Chateau-Thierry. He is buried in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Seringes-et-Nesles, France. The playground on Dorchester Avenue at Fields Corner (Town Field) was named for John A. Doherty in September1920 and is now called the “Doherty-Gibson Playground” although there is no plaque or signage at this this time. (Gibson is the name of the street that runs from the field to Adams Street.)
Gerald Michael, having graduated from Dorchester High School about 1912 or 1914, joined the Navy at 21 years old on May 28, 1917 at the Navy Yard, U.S.N.R.F. (United States Naval Reserve Forces). He served as a bugler (Jerry the Bugler) at the District Enrolling Office, Boston and the Cadet School, Boston, from June 4, 1917 to November 27, 1917, then with the Naval Aviation Detachment, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, through December 24, 1918. He was the Admiral’s bugler and he played in the Navy band. He was honorably discharged on May 27, 1921 on the expiration of his enrollment.
On September 12, 1918, Francis Raphael, 20 years old, living at 16 Mather Street, registered for the draft at the local exemption board, Division 20, 164 Ashmont Street, Dorchester. He is described as medium height and build with brown eyes and hair. He is listed as a shipfitter’s helper at Bethlehem Shipbuilding Victory Plant, Squantum. (Bethlehem Steel operated an emergency facility at Squantum Point to build destroyers during WW1.) His nearest relative is listed as his father, Daniel F., 200 Freeport Street, The Doherty Coal Company, Dorchester, Mass. There is no record of him actually called to active service.
On December 24, 1919, their mother, Augusta, having been ill, died at age 52, and was buried in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline. And in 1920, the father was still living at 16 Mather Street with his 7 children and their servant. He was a dealer in the retail coal business, Daniel Jr., a collector in the coal business and Gerald, a clerk in the coal business.
By 1926, Gerald was married to Doris R. Taylor and they are living at 13 Victory Avenue, E. Milton and he is in the insurance business. In 1930, Gerald and Doris have 4 sons and a maid. The eldest son is named John Andrew after his uncle who died in WW1. Gerald M. Jr. (Freddy), Paul and Eugene followed. They are still living on Victory Avenue, Quincy/E. Milton and Gerald M. is an insurance broker.
In 1930, Francis R. is still living at 16 Mather Street with his father and 3 younger siblings. The father is still a coal merchant and Francis R. is a municipal teacher. The father owned the home and a radio set. Later that year, on October 22, 1930, the father, Daniel F., age 69, diedand was buried with his wife in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline, where he was a member of the board.
In 1940, Gerald and his family are living on Laudholm Road, Newton, and there are now 5 children and a servant. The youngest son, Bernard, was born in 1931. Gerald’s brother, Francis, is living on Park Street, Dorchester, with his 2 younger sisters, a lodger and the family’s long-time servant, Margaret Connolly. Francis was a gardener for the Cemetery Association.
Francis is found in WWII Army enlistment records, October 12, 1942. His education level is listed as four years of college (Boston College) and his occupation as gardener and grounds keeper for parks, cemeteries etc. He was single with dependents.
Gerald registered for the draft in 1942 at age 46. His employer was Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Co., 89 Broad Street, Boston and his next of kin was Mrs. Doris R. Doherty, 22 Laudholm Road, Newton. By the time Gerald had retired at age 60, he had been in the insurance business for more than 50 years and had been manager of the Continental American Life Insurance Co. and later Equitable Life Assurance Co., both of Boston. Before his retirement in 1969, he was a broker specializing in group insurance. He was a member of the Million Dollar Round Table of Group Insurance and belonged to the Clover Club of Boston and the Cross Cup Pishon American Legion Post.
Gerald died after a long illness, at age 78, on July 26, 1974 in a Framingham Nursing Home, with his last residence listed as Woodridge Road in Wayland, MA. He was survived by his wife, 4 sons, 3 brothers, 2 sisters, 19 grandchildren and a great-grandchild. A mass was celebrated at St. Anne’s Church in Wayland and he was buried at Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline. Sadly, his son, Gerald M. Jr. died suddenly earlier in the month, July 5, 1974, in Falmouth while swimming. He is also buried at Holyhood Cemetery.
Francis (Frank) died, at age 78, on November 18, 1976. His occupation was listed as custodian of St. Mark’s Church. He was a Charter Member of St. Marks’s Holy Name Society. His funeral was from St. Mark’s Church, Dorchester (John Mulry Funeral Home, 2 King St. at Dorchester Ave.) and he was buried at Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline. He was survived by 4 of his siblings (2 sisters and 2 brothers).
Do you know more about the Doherty Brothers? We would love to hear from you! All material has been researched by volunteers at the Dorchester Historical Society, so please let us know if we got something wrong or you think a piece of the story is missing!
American Battle Monuments Commission, www.abmc.gov
Army Enlistment Records, WWII; FamilySearch.org
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Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe; Memoirs of the Harvard Dead in the War Against Germany, Vol 3
Obituary/Death Notices; Boston Globe, July 27, 1974 and November 19, 1976
Park Naming Request/Declaration; City Archives, West Roxbury, MA
Service Records; The Adjutant General ‘s Office, Archives-Museum Branch, Concord, MA
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