Francis Macnamara Doan

Francis “Frank” Macnamara Doan was born on September 4, 1842, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Job Parker Doan and Laura Presbury. His father was a Connecticut-born merchant and self-described “Gentleman” who owned at least $65,000 in property. The family owned two slaves in 1830, but they either sold them or set them free by 1840, and they chose to employ Irish and African American servanats for the rest of the antebellum era.

In the mid-1850s, the family moved to Philadelphia, where they purchased a “substantial mansion” on a ten-acre, “beautifully shaded” property. Frank attended school in Philadelphia before enrolling at the University of Virginia in 1859. He studied chemistry, mathematics, and modern languages, but he withdrew from UVA before the session ended, on May 24, 1860. He enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania that fall and remained until 1862. 

The family returned to Missouri in 1863, and on March 11 Doan enlisted in the Union navy. His brother Thomas was serving as acting assistant paymaster aboard the USS Lexington, and Frank served as his clerk. The Lexington, a “timberclad” gunboat, spent the spring patrolling the Mississippi River, and in June it joined the assault against Vicksburg, Mississippi. In addition to his duties as a clerk, Doan took “charge of the shell magazine, or acted as aide to the captain” during action. His health, however, quickly deteriorated. He suffered from malarial chills and fever during the siege of Vicksburg, and his health never fully recovered. He resigned on August 31, 1863, and discharged at Cairo, Illinois. 

In August 1864, Doan settled in Audrain County, Missouri, where he became a farmer and livestock raiser. He was an “invalid for a long time after leaving the service,” suffering from lingering symptoms of malaria, dyspepsia, and bladder trouble. He married Lucretia Van Bibber on October 11, 1865, and their son Job Parker Doan was born a year later, on October 13, 1866.

The family moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1874, and Doan began working in the real estate and insurance business. He eventually became the superintendent of the Jacksonville Lighting Company. He served as a vestryman at Trinity Church and belonged to the Wyoming Club, composed of the “leading professional and business men” in Jacksonville. They moved to Miami, Florida, in the early 1900s and maintained a summer home in Monteagle, Tennessee. 

Lucretia died at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan on September 12, 1910. Doan married Helen Sawyer the following year, on October 7, 1911, in Chicago, Illinois. He died in Miami on April 25, 1928.

Image: Francis M. Doan (Courtesy of Robert Maynard)


Helen S. Doan to Commissioner E. W. Morgan, June 7, 1928

Name:Doan, Francis Macnamara
Alternative names:
  • Doan, Frank (alternative name)
  • Sailor
  • UVA (Union)
U.S.S. Lexington
Branch of service:Navy
Enlistment1863-03-11St. Louis, MO
Muster Out1863-08-31Cairo, ILDischarged for Disability
Residence at UVA:Germantown, PA
UVA Begin Year:1859
UVA End Year:1860
Residence at enlistment:Germantown, PA
Rank In:Paymaster's Clerk
Rank Out:Paymaster's Clerk
Highest rank achieved:Paymaster's Clerk
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Doan, Francis MacnamaraDoan, Francis Macnamara50756application-invalid
Doan, Francis Macnamaranoneapplication-minor
Doan, Francis Macnamaranoneapplication-parent
Doan, Francis Macnamaranoneapplication-widow
Doan, Francis MacnamaraDoan, Francis Macnamara36056certificate-invalid
Birth date:1842-09-04
Birth date certainty:Certain
Birth place:St. Louis, MO
Death date:1928-04-25
Death place:Miami, FL
Causes of death:
Occupations:Engineer, Clerk, Student
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Doan, Francis Macnamaraparent ofDoan, Job Parker
Doan, Helen S.wife ofDoan, Francis Macnamara
Doan, Lucretiawife ofDoan, Francis Macnamara

Pension records for Frank M. Doan, RG 15, National Archives and Records Administration; United States Census, 1910 and 1920 accessed through; UVA Student Catalogue, Jefferson's University: Early Life; Navy Survivor’s Certificate, accessed through; Biographical Catalogue of the Matriculates of the College Together with Lists of the Members of the College Faculty and the Trustees, Officers and Recipients of Honorary Degrees, 1749-1893 (1894); Delta Phi Catalogue [of the members of the fraternity] 1827-1907 (1907); The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 20, 1863; St. Louis Globe-Democrat, December 18, 1892, November 29, 1901; The Miami News, April 29, 1909.