Doan Campsite


Collage showing a gun, portrait of Ben Franklin, and a book

The Doan Gang and the American Revolution

In 2026, the United States of America commemorates the 250th anniversary of its founding in 1776. Americans have used such moments of commemoration to reexamine the complex history of the nation’s creation. Some of this revolutionary history may be familiar, including the decision to take up arms against Great Britain. But this choice was far from universal. This exhibition explores the conflicted loyalties at the heart of the American Revolution.
In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and beyond, the nation’s founding included voices of dissent. Neighbors fought neighbors. Others struggled for daily order in the midst of chaos. Conflict continued long after the war ended. The Doan Gang—one of the Revolution’s fiercest opponents—sprang from the turmoil in Bucks County. As outlaws, they targeted the Revolutionary movement with robberies and home invasions. They accomplished their deeds by force and arms, and left behind a substantial legacy.

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The Doan Gang Outlaws

November 16, 1775

Joseph Doan, Jr. escapes from Phillip Hinkle, constable of Plumstead Township. First known evidence of law-breaking by a Doan family member in the Revolutionary Era.

February 19, 1778

Loyalist raid on the Bird-in-Hand Tavern in Newtown. Doan Gang member Joseph Tomlinson is named as an active participant.

July 30, 1778

Local Revolutionary George Wall, Jr. lists Moses, Aaron, and Mahlon Doan as suspected traitors.

October 14, 1781

Doans commit their first known theft, robbing local tax collector Job Barton of Buckingham Township.

October 22, 1781

The Doan Gang robs the Bucks County Treasury and Treasurer’s house in Newtown. 

June - August 1782

Doan Gang member Jesse Vickers is captured and confesses Gang activity to interrogator William McCalla.

August 1782

Israel Doan, Jr. accused of harboring horse thieves and passing counterfeit money. He is jailed in Newtown.

October 17, 1782

Gang member John Tomlinson is hanged in Newtown for robbery.

November 30, 1782

Joseph Doan, Sr. is labeled an “attainted traitor,” and his Plumstead farm is seized and sold.


The Doan Gang is connected to twelve home invasion robberies in Bucks County. Gang member Mahlon Doan is captured, imprisoned, and later disappears. 

July 26, 1783

Published proclamation names Doan Gang members and offers reward for their capture.

August 26, 1783

Shoot-out at Halsey’s Cabin.  Moses Doan is captured and killed. Abraham and Levy Doan escape.

From 1784 - 1787

Aaron Doan is captured, imprisoned, and later pardoned by Benjamin Franklin, President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania.

September 24, 1788

Abraham and Levy Doan are captured and hanged in Philadelphia under the direction of Benjamin Franklin. 

The American Revolution

February 10, 1763

End of the Seven Years War between France and Great Britain.  France surrenders all of her North American colonies to Britain.

March 1765 – June 1767

Series of acts passed by the British Parliament imposing taxes on various products including newspapers, legal documents, paint, and tea.

March 5, 1770

The Boston Massacre. A riot and street fight leads to British troops firing on a mob, leaving five dead.

December 16, 1773

The Boston Tea Party. Opposed to the tax on tea, demonstrators board a vessel in Boston Harbor and destroy a shipment of tea.

April 19, 1775

The Battles of Lexington and Concord take place outside of Boston. 

November 7, 1775

Virginia’s royal governor, Lord Dunmore, issues a proclamation offering freedom to enslaved men who join the British cause. Tens of thousands seek their freedom behind British lines.

July 4, 1776

American colonies declare their independence from Britain.

December 25, 1776

George Washington crosses the Delaware River to attack the Hessian garrison at Trenton.

September 26, 1777 - June 18, 1778

British occupy Philadelphia while George Washington and his troops shelter at Valley Forge.

May 1, 1778

The Battle of Crooked Billet (today’s Hatboro), began in Montgomery County and ended in Bucks County.

October 19, 1781

British General Lord Cornwallis surrenders his army at Yorktown, Virginia.

January 1782

The evacuation of Loyalists from the United States begins. Most seek refuge in Canada. 

In The Fall of 1783

The Treaty of Paris is signed. British troops leave New York, ending their occupation.

October 1784

Treaty of Fort Stanwix signed, establishing peace between the new American government and former British allies, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Treaty cedes vast tracks of western territory from the Haudenosaunee to the United States.

June 21, 1788

New United States Constitution formally ratified.