Ilion Doty Family - Father's Day Tribute

Famous Strawberry Farm 1909 and Golf Course

June - July 2020

By Aileen Carney Sweeney

June 2020 - Ilion Doty Strawberry Farm

Doty - Father's Day Tribute

For those of you who love strawberries, you will know that June is strawberry time in New York. June is also the month when we celebrate Father's Day. While you are enjoying that delicious strawberry shortcake or are busy making jam, take a trip back in time when the Ilion Doty family ruled the NY State strawberry business. They also passed on the family business from father to son, generation after generation, as it morphed from strawberries, to a dairy farm and to a golf course.

Doty Strawberries

In the June 24, 1909 edition of the Ilion Citizen, the headline story was "Scenes on the Doty Berry Farm." - Source pdf file is here Illion NY Citizen 1909-1910 - 0137.pdf on

The Doty strawberry farm consisted of 50 acres of strawberries that yielded 184,000 quarts in 1908. The article stated that the E. L Doty & Son were "... easily the largest berry growers in New York State.


June 2020 - Elvert L. Doty

Elvert. L Doty

Elvert L. Doty, (1850-1919) was the son of Abner and Caroline (Harrington) Doty. Elvert began his strawberry business in 1865. Although he had other crops, eventually he concentrated on the growing and harvesting of strawberries. Howard L. Doty, joined his father in the strawberry harvesting business. Elvert was married to Gracia Howard of Cedarville. Elvert passed away in 1919.


June 2020 - Howard L. Doty

Howard L. Doty

Howard L. Doty graduated from Ilion Morgan Street School in 1894. His commencement oration topic was "The Necessity of Physical Training in Our Schools." His speech "...advocated the establishment of a gymnasium in connections with every public school." His topic foreshadowed the family's future business, Doty's Golf Course. He married Addie Walrath in Ilion on March 26, 1901. He died on August 24, 1955. He left two daughters, Mrs. Dorothy Wheeler, Newport and Mrs. Jean Relyea, Norwich; one son, Elverton Doty of Ilion.


June 1909 - Harvesting Berries

The Doty business employed over 200 pickers, from dusk to dawn, to harvest the crop.

"The quality of the 'Ilion berries' is well known; they are of course later on the market than the southern berries but they vastly surpass the Southern berries in flavor and quality; they are unapproached in these regards and the Ilion berries are wanted by all the best artists in the delicate preparation of preserves."

"The Ilion berry business is one of our notable industries; those who have not been to 'Berry Croft' the Doty farm, do not know how big a thing Ilion has."

"Hundreds have visited the berry fields during the last few days and the scene is worth the labor it involves. Once seeing gives and appreciation of the acreage; acre after acre; field after field; great plants in row after row loaded with the ripe and maturing fruit one stands in the midst of a sea of fruit and thinks with astonishment of the fact that he really thought that his little berry 'patch' quite an affair."


June 2020 - Doty Homestead - Guy Corriero
Image courtesy Ilion Public Library - Guy Corriero artist

Elverton Doty IHS 1922

Elverton Doty also lived at the Doty family homestead that was built by his grandfather. He was born June 18, 1904. He was a graduate of Ilion schools in 1922. He was the father of Lawrence 'Pete' and David Doty. His wife, Helen (Decker) Doty was very active in the Ilion Historical Club, Garden Club and other civic organizations. Elverton was a member of the Ilion Masonic Club. He passed away on July 5, 1989 at the age of 85. For those of us who played along the perimeter of Doty's Golf Course as children, this was the "Old Man Doty" of our childhood lore... childhood wild imaginations of golf cart chases and rumored salt pellet ammunition come to mind. Elverton opened Doty's Golf Course in May of 1931 with his father Howard Doty.

1930s - Doty's Golf Course

Early in the 1930s, the strawberry fields, which were not forever, were transformed into The Doty Golf Course. The 9-hole, family owned golf course has been in operation for almost 90 years. A dairy farm was also operated on the family homestead by Elverton Doty.

June 2020 - Pete Doty
IHS 1946 Graduate - Lawrence 'Pete Doty

Lawrence 'Pete' Doty IHS 1946 and David Doty IHS 1947

Lawrence 'Pete' Doty, IHS 1946, passed away on Tuesday July 23, 2013 where he lived, at the Doty family homestead that was built by his grandfather. Pete was born on March 21, 1928 in Utica, the son of the late Elverton and Helen (Decker) Doty. He was a graduate of Ilion schools and attended Cornell University. Following in his father's footsteps Pete owned and operated Doty's Golf Course and Doty's Dairy in Ilion. Pete was survived by his wife JoAnn, four daughters and a son: Deborah Doty White of Grainger IN, Donna Doty of Stuart FL, Karen Doty-Clark and her husband Steven of Ilion, Stephen and his wife Debora of Ilion and Anita Doty-Forney and her husband Kenneth of Honeoye Falls NY.

David A. Doty, IHS 1947, passed away on April 5, 2017. David was born in Ilion, on February 11, 1930, to Elverton and Helen Decker Doty. Dave grew up in Ilion in the Doty Homestead on Barringer Road and was a proud descendant of Edward Doty, a Mayflower passenger and signer of the Mayflower Compact. He was a graduate of Ilion schools and attended St. Lawrence University and graduated from Hamilton College. He later earned two Master's degrees. In 1958, he returned to live in Ilion and had a long and fulfilling teaching career in the Science Department at Mohawk Central High School An experienced golfer who loved the sport, Dave got the Holy Grail of golf, a hole in one at age 80. David was survived by his wife, Dorothy Moore Doty (IHS 1948) and his five children with his wife Suzanne Scoones Mike-Mayer, a son, David Doty (IHS 1973) and his wife, Linda (Burnside) Doty (IHS 1973), of Clay, NY; his daughter, (Mary) Jane Doty Fischer (IHS 1975) and her husband, Richard Fischer, of Highlands Ranch, CO; a son, John Doty (IHS 1976) and his wife, Lendel (Davis) Doty (IHS 1975) of Dayton, OH; a son, Phillip Doty (IHS 1977) and his wife, Beth (Carrig) Doty of Jacksonville, FL; a son, Erik Doty (IHS 1979). Dave is also survived by Dorothy’s daughter with her first husband, Bert Warner (IHS 1948) Pamela Warner Rosenthal (IHS 1972) and her husband, Glenn Rosenthal, of Vienna, VA.


Steve Doty IHS 1974

June 2020 - Steve Doty
IHS 1974 Graduate - Stephen Doty

Doty's Golf Course

Pete Doty managed and operated the golf course with his father, Elverton. Steve Doty joined his father, Pete, in the family business. Doty's Golf Course features 2,820 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 35. The course rating is 33.2 and it has a slope rating of 104 on Rye grass. Designed by Chet Winsborough, the Doty's golf course opened in 1931. You can follow Doty's Golf Course on Facebook.


June 2020 - Doty Golf Course
Image courtesty Doty Golf Course


June 2020 - Doty's Golf Course 1974

1974 Varsity Golf Team
Seated - Calvin Southwick, John Doty
Standing - Tom Bowes, Larry Thibault, Steve Doty

For 155 years, the Doty family has prospered on the family homestead on Barringer Road in Ilion. Most family members graduated from Ilion High School; some went off in the world to pursue their careers and others stayed in Ilion. Those fathers that passed the business on to the next generation would be happy to know that it still continues to honor the Doty name.


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