I am also a descendant of Richard P. Doshier through the following line:
1. Richard P. Doshier/Julia Young
2. Thomas Harrison Doshier/Naoma Logan
3. Joseph Steven Doshier/Ada Branson
4. Glaston Liss Doshier/Myrtle Irene Burnell
5. Darrell Rucker/Patricia Doshier
I put together the following on Thomas Harrison Doshier that touches on our understanding of the Richard Doshier story of moving to California.
Thomas Harrison Doshier was born 1849 in Sebastion County Arkansas. Not much is known about his early years other than the family having a tough time during the civil war years according to family history.
Thomas’s father, Richard P. Doshier had gone to California around the beginning of the gold rush but later returned to Arkansas with the intention of bringing his wife Julia and the rest of the children with him to California. Family legend notes that they were on the way to a seaport when they needed to cross a big river by ferry. Julia Doshier was afraid to cross and Richard P. Doshier got very angry and returned her and the children to Sebastion County. He subsequently left for California with his 2 oldest sons never to be heard from again.
The next significant known event in Thomas Doshier’s life is his marriage on April 25, 1869 to Naoma Virginia Logan (b. September 12, 1847 in Georgia). They lived in Sebastion County Arkansas until 1884 and then, according to Peck’s “The Proud History of Leflore County” they moved to Tarby Prairie, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory in 1885. Naoma is believed to have been part Choctaw Indian although no documentation to substantiate this has been found.
Thomas and Naoma Doshier had the following children:
Mary Ada Doshier b. 1872
Joseph Steven Doshier b. August 10, 1873
Montycello Doshier b. 1878
Arthur G. Doshier b. October 13, 1880
Della Doshier b. January 27, 1884
They also adopted a son, W.D. “Dora” Doshier b. May 18, 1894.
Over the years, various family members always spoke of some mysterious criminal background associated with Thomas Doshier. Most of the family members preferred not to talk about it – the usual reply to any questions was “just let it be”. Other family members would joke that the Doshier’s were not always the pillars of the community. Those that did choose to speak of this mysterious past referred to rumors of Thomas Doshier murdering a ferry operator because he did not want to pay the fee for crossing a river. These family members suggested that this was the reason that Thomas moved into Indian Territory and changed the spelling of the Doshier name from the original Dozier.
After researching this legend, I believe that the truth is quite a bit different from legend. I think that the ferry murder story is an embellishment of the Richard P. Doshier incident with Julia refusing to cross. As far as the nature of Thomas Doshier’s true criminal past, fact is much different than fiction.
As noted by Peck’s book and various permits taken out by Thomas Doshier to reside in Indian Territory, we know that he entered what is now Leflore County Oklahoma in 1884. Searches of the National Archives provided copies of a criminal case for a “Thomas Dozier” that resulted in a conviction for the crime of “Larceny in the Indian Country” in 1889 by Judge Isaac Parker. Thomas was sentenced to serve a year of imprisonment at the Ohio State Penitentiary.
His entry into Indian Territory predates his crime so his reasons for moving into Indian Territory appear unrelated. As far as the legends pertaining to the change of spelling for the Doshier name, I think that illiteracy is the true reason. The court documents list him as Thomas Dozier and Thomas Doser. When he signed his papers, he only signed with the mark “X”. Review of subsequent census records note that Thomas Doshier could neither read nor write. As a result, various documents use a variety of spellings for the Doshier name.
An interesting side note to the criminal case file is the 2 codefendants that are also listed on the case. This includes a James Dozier and a Samuel Dozier. Thomas did have a half brother named James Bird Doshier so this is a possible fit. Samuel Dozier is a big mystery – I have not seen any clues as to who he might be. The court records do not indicate that James and Samuel Dozier were convicted of any crimes. As far as I can determine, there were no other Doshier’s living in Western Arkansas/Indian Territory so I can only presume this is the Thomas Doshier of the Richard P. Doshier line.
If this was Richard P. Doshier’s son, he led a pretty normal life after is run-in with the law. He moved from Tarby Prairie to Shady Point sometime during the 1890’s. His wife Naoma died in 1910 and he died in 1922. Thomas Doshier and his sons became fairly prominent landowners in the Leflore County area. A number of Thomas Doshier’s descendants still own some of the original Doshier properties located in the Shady Point area.
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