in Bucks County
The Life and Times of the
According to an Act passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1783 the Doans were “robbers, felons, burglars and traitors” to the American cause whose reign of terror throughout Bucks County had to cease. To Major John Andre, the director of the British Intelligence Service under General Howe, Moses Doan was the “Eagle Spy” whose efforts had resulted in the defeat of Washington’s army on Long Island. To the Doans many friends and supporters, they were Revolutionary era Robin Hoods who covered vast areas from Baltimore to Easton and from Long Island to Lancaster in their quest to lighten rich Whigs of their burden of wealth. Unfortunately, unlike Robin Hood, the Doans seldom gave their spoils to the poor, yet unlike their characterization in the Proclamation of 1783, they were not simply ruthless outlaws. At times they exhibited moments of striking compassion, humility and an unfailing sense of humor although their capacity for violence grew as they prospered and finally brought their downfall. The truth concerning the Doans lies somewhere between the two extremes of their legend and like all people who become larger than life, the truth has not always been easy to find.
The Doan family first came to America in 1629 and branches of it sprang up throughout Cape Cod, Massachusetts.