John Doris

John Doris - 1929-04-29

John Doris was born in Pennsylvania around 1906 to Joseph Doris Sr. and his wife Mary. His mother’s name was reported as Mary in the 1910 Census and as Emma in later records.

The 1910 Census shows the Doris family at 546 Randolph Street in Philadelphia. Of the six children born to the family, five were living, James, 10, Joseph Jr., 9; Frank, 6; John 4, and George, who was 11 months old at the time of the census.

The Census gives Joseph Doris’ occupation as “special police” and states that he worked in theatres. Joseph Doris Sr. passed away in February of 1917.

The four of the Doris boys got into trouble as youths, and in the case of Joseph Jr., Frank and John, serious trouble. On December 19, 1918 Joseph Doris Jr. was wounded in a gun battle with Philadelphia police.

Frank Doris was involved in a shooting in 1922, and in 1926 took part in a bank robbery where a Philadelphia policeman was shot and killed. For this offense he and three other members of the gang that robbed the bank were executed in 1927. The gang went to their deaths refusing to give up the name of the man who escaped. John Doris, who had a long record in Philadelphia, began coming over to Camden when his mother and younger brother moved to 132 York Street in the late 1920s. In April of 1929 he got into a fight with a local gangster, Joe O’Connor aka Joseph Connors. John Doris shot and seriously wounded O’Connnor. Even though O’Connor refused to testify against him, John Doris was convicted and given a ten year prison sentence.

John Doris was serving his sentence at Trenton State Prison when he was stabbed on April 10, 1930. Mortally wounded, he too refused to name his assailant, and no one was ever charged with his murder.

Younger brother George, who also had a police record in Philadelphia, was arrested on robbery charges in Camden in June of 1930. Both George and his mother were using the surname McGovern when they moved to Camden, this may have been his mother’s maiden name.


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