Doyle Family Story

Sarah Doyle, Crayon portrait. 1880's

SARAH DOYLE is my maternal GreatGreat-Grandmother. She was born about 1840 in Virginia. According to the family story,  She was the daughter of  an Cherokee Indian woman and a white Englishman, with the surname Cooper. Sarah, along with her parents and siblings were slaves to the LEE family in Pittsylvania County Virginia. She had six children, rumored to have been fathered by Robert LEE. Her children were; Paris, Emmerson, Mildred, Eliza, Peter and Mary Elizabeth. I've always heard of them referred to as the "White Children" It is said that she married an African-American man after the war and had her last child Mattie born in 1879. He adopted her children and they all took the name Doyle.

Sarah lived on the LEE plantation in the "Corner of the yard" in a red brick house built especially for her. She was brought to the plantation as a child. Her parents and grandparents were brought there sometime later to be with her. She attended Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Pittsylvania Co.

After the death of her daughter Mildred and her husband Osborn Anderson, who both died very young. Sarah took in her  her grandchildren, Samuel and Bertia. It is said that Sarah stayed on the LEE farm with her grandchildren for years after the civil war and slavery had ended. After the Old lady "Mrs. LEE" died Sarah,  moved to a house on the farm of her brother, who had an new house and an old house. Sarah lived on the farm in the old house until her death. Sarah is buried on the DOYLE family cemetery in Gretna, Virginia.

I have heard this story all my life. When many of the family members were given this picture years ago and the story of Sarah along with it.

Sarah is shown in the 1870 and 1880 U.S. federal census living on the plantation/Farm of Burwell Lee. in Pittsylvania co, Va. It appears that he may have been Sarah's owner.

Sarah, continues to live on in all of us.


  1. I find it interesting comparing the families living in England and those in countries such as America at the same dates in history but so very different. Thank you

  2. Denise, I think I might be a descendant of John Doyle and Julia Shank, the woman who was living with him in 1850.

    They apparently never married. Can you tell me your user name on GedMatch so I can look for you in my results? Thanks! Terri


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