Dole Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Dole Meaning
surname Dole came from France but spread to both Germany and
England. The root is the Old French dole, meaning “hurtful,” from which
comes the English word doleful. It was
a descriptive name for someone who appeared troubled or anxious

Dole Resources on

Dole Ancestry

French Dole numbers are not large, around 2,000, and seem to be mainly
concentrated in the Franche-Comte region of the Jura. The town of
Dole was the
capital of Franche-Comte until Louis XIV captured the area.

England. The Dole name is fairly
rare in England. The 1881 census showed
only 330 Doles and these were widely spread.
Gloucestershire provided the first Dole arrival in America. But there were only 11 Doles recorded in
Gloucestershire in 1881. The small village
of Great Little Marsden near Nelson in Lancashire contained more Doles. The preferred spelling in the west country,
particularly in Wiltshire, seems to have been Doel.

America. The forebear of
most Doles in America is reckoned to have been Richard Dole from Ringworthy in Gloucestershire who
came to Newbury,
Massachusetts as an apprentice clerk in 1639 and later developed his
business there as a leather craftsman.

One line through
Enoch Dole settled in Littleton in the 1740’s.
His son Amos was among the minute-men who responded to the
alarm in 1775 and was a sergeant during the Revolutionary War. Afterwards he moved to Maine.
There was another Dole line that settled in
Shelburne, Massachusetts.

Nathaniel Dole of the same Dole line, born in 1739 in Newport, was the
father of eight children, a number of whom also moved to Maine:

  • one
    was Daniel Dole the silversmith
  • another
    Ebenezer Dole, an early anti-slavery activist and
  • a
    third, the youngest, was
    Wigglesworth Dole, a cabinet-maker who was to be the patriarch of the

Dole, a missionary who came to Hawaii in 1840, was the first of the Dole line in Hawaii that
became so
influential there – politically through Sanford Dole, the first
governor of Hawaii in 1900, and commercially through James Dole and his pineapples.
The family history was recounted in Susan Dole Cole’s 2014 book Dole Family History.

A second Dole line
began with John Dole the Quaker who married Mary Williams in Jericho,
Island in 1688. He may have been related
to the immigrant Richard Dole, but there is no linkage known. John and Mary later moved to a Quaker
settlement in New Jersey. Some
descendants headed west to Ohio in the 1830’s and then to Kansas in the
1890’s. Bob Dole was
the US Senator for Kansas
from 1961 to 1996.

Dole name, however, has remained on Long Island. Around
the time of the Civil War, John Dole
began to dismantle derelict ships on Huntington beach to recover their
hardware. Reportedly Cornelius
Vanderbilt’s famous yacht, The North Star, met its demise on
Beach. More recently, a Dole family has
been operating a heating oil service out of Huntington since the 1970’s.


Dole Miscellany

Richard Dole, the First Dole in America.  Ringworthy near
Bristol in Gloucestershire had been the residence of his grandfather,
Dole, and his father William had inherited the homestead there.  Afterwards William, then living in Thornbury,
indentured young Richard to John Lowle, a glover of Bristol (who later
gave his
name to the town of Lowell in Massachusetts).

When the brothers John and Richard
Lowell and their father Percival came to Massachusetts on the Jonathan in 1639, they brought young
Richard Dole, aged just 17, with them as a clerk.  The
Lowell family settled in Newbury and
Richard Dole continued as a clerk in their employ for a time.

After his service
with the Lowells, Richard entered into great activity and enterprise
and built
his own business.  Being a leather
craftsman, he primarily made jerkins and boots for early settlers.  He married his first wife Hannah Rolfe in
1647 and they raised ten children.  He
died in 1705 at the age of 83 and was buried in the Old Burial Ground

Reader Feedback: Doels in Wiltshire.  My mother’s family are Doels of High Wycome, Buckinghamshire. Their forebearers were from Wiltshire.  These Doels were originally Flemish weavers who had emigrated to England, but not from the Dole region in Franche-Comte, France.  The small town named Doel was located outside Antwerp. Its remnants were supposedly in danger of demolition a few years ago due to the expansion of the port of Antwerp, so I do not know if it is still in existence.

One other brief addendum.  I remember a number of years ago one of my Doel aunts had consulted one of the heraldry or genealogy companies, She later sent me a copy of their “report” which suggested that the Doel name was a derivation from the Irish name Doyle.  While I suppose that could be a possibility for some Doels or Doles. Family history and other sources supported the Flemish origins.

Jeff Ryan (

The Dole Silversmiths.  Daniel Noyes Dole was the
first of the Dole silversmiths.  He had a
shop in Newbury, Massachusetts around the year 1800, but it was
burned out in the great fire of 1811.  He
then moved to a shop on Water Street in Wiscasset, Maine.

was particularly
clever in the manufacture of silverware and spoons, noted for their
graceful handles, and well-turned bowls tapering to a artistic point.  He hired a watchmaker to do repairing while
he devoted himself to silversmithing.  He
was known to be very exact in his habits so much so that people set
clocks by his movements about town.  He
died in Hallowell, Maine in 1841.

son Ebenezer carried on his father’s
work.  He worked as a silversmith and
engraver from 1825 to 1880 (when he was 75) from a shop on Front Street
Hallowell.   He would advertise
watches, clocks, jewelry, silver spoons, and spectacles.

The Dole Line in Hawaii

Dole (1779-1845), married Elizabeth

– Daniel Dole (1808-1878), the missionary to Hawaii, married Emily
— George Hathaway Dole (1842-1912), married Clara Rowell.
— Sanford
Ballard Dole (1844-1926), the first territorial governor of Hawaii in

– Rev.
Nathan Dole (1811-1855), married Caroline Fletcher.
— Rev. Charles Fletcher Dole
(1845-1927), Boston minister, married Frances Drummond.
— James Drummond Dole
(1877-1958), the pineapple king who started the Dole Food Co.
— Nathan Haskell
Dole (1852-1935), a Boston and New York writer and translator.

– Isaiah Dole
(1819-1892), married Elizabeth Pearson.
— Edmund Pearson Dole (1850-1928),
served as the first Attorney General of Hawaii

James Dole and the Pineapple.  The pineapple is believed to have originated in the verdant lowlands of Paraguay. It was carried aboard 15th and 16th
century trade
ships.  Christopher Columbus brought
pineapples home from his travels in the New World.
George Washington even grew them in his Mount
Vernon hothouse.

John Kidwell is credited with founding Hawaii’s
pineapple industry.  In the 1880’s he
imported and tested a number of varieties and selected Smooth Cayenne
for its
cylindrical form and uniform texture.
But it was James Dole, after whom the Dole Plantation was named,
pioneered the industry and became popularly known as the “Pineapple

was able to corner the
pineapple market and turn it into one single mighty industry.   First, he invested in a new machine that
could peel and core thirty-five pineapples every minute (before this
each pineapple had to be peeled and cored by hand).
Second, he purchased the island of Lanai and
developed it into a vast pineapple plantation.
It became the largest plantation in the world with over 20,000
devoted exclusively to growing pineapples.

large mechanized
production and importing large numbers of foreign workers who were paid
indentured servitude levels, Dole managed to reduce the price of his
to such a level that it drove every other producer out of the business.  With this vast pineapple acreage at the
company’s disposal, Lanai produced over seventy-five percent of the
pineapple crop,

because pineapples take two years to grow to maturity,
the Great Depression of the 1930’s and the resulting decrease in demand
Dole’s company to lose money.  James Dole
was removed from its management in 1932.

Bob Dole, Hometown Boy from Kansas.  The Dole family had been living in the small town of
Russell, Kansas since the 1890’s and Bob Dole was born there in the family home
in 1923.

formative years were the Depression years which severely impacted
Kansas and its residents.  Dole’s father
earned money by running a small creamery.
As a boy Bob Dole worked as a soda jerk at the local drug store.  When times became tough the Dole family moved
into the basement of their home and rented out the upper floors to
oil workers to raise money.

Dole was molded at this time by a strict,
perfectionist mother, a hard-working, wisecracking father, and a sparse
existence made harsher by the Depression and the Dust Bowl.  Even when he became the long-serving US
Senator for Kansas and afterwards, he would still return to Russell to
sleep in
what was his parents’ bedroom in the red-brick house at the corner of
11th and

was very much as they left it, with black rag dolls warming the floor
and a stark white quilt stretched taut across the brass bed.  His mother’s spice bottles were lined up on
the kitchen counter.  Her oversized
rotary telephone, outdated 30 years ago, sat on a table in the middle
of the
long, narrow living room.  Her sense of
order continued to permeate this small corner house.

up “hardscrabble”
as he liked to put it, taught Dole about regular people and their
problems, he
said during a recent interview.

got along fine in our family, but you know
we didn’t have all this,” Dole said, motioning outward with his left
arm, the
one he’s used since getting shot up in the war. “So, I think it’s sort
of, you
get a little closer look at reality.”

roots, Dole continued, help him to “know
about people – whether they’ve got a disability, whether it’s a farm
whether it’s a veteran’s problem. And I know they’re real, I know the
real because I know the people.”


Dole Names

  • Daniel Dole
    was the Protestant
    missionary who first brought the Dole name to Hawaii in 1840. 
  • James Dole, known as the
    “Pineapple King,'” was the man that developed the pineapple industry in Hawaii and began what became the Dole Food Company. 
  • Bob Dole was the US Senator for Kansas from 1961 to 1996 and a Presidential candidate in 1996.

Select Dole Numbers Today

  • 300 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 1,200 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 700 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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