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Q: who invented the doughnut? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: who invented the doughnut?
Category: Family and Home > Food and Cooking
Asked by: timespacette-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 15 Oct 2004 19:54 PDT
Expires: 14 Nov 2004 18:54 PST
Question ID: 415564
We have a family story, possibly a myth, that an ancestor of ours
invented the doughnut. This person lived in New England, possibly
around Boston. Name could be Gould or Gregory. Any clues?
Subject: Re: who invented the doughnut?
Answered By: sparky4ca-ga on 15 Oct 2004 20:28 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
What a cool question!

I'm a bit skeptical of:

I think Mr. breakfast probably has it pretty accurate:
"...There is a very popular half-truth in doughnut lore centered on a
very real sea captain and his mother. In 1847, Elizabeth Gregory was
known in her New England circle to make a very fine olykoek. Her
secret was to add a hint of nutmeg and fill the center with hazelnuts
or walnuts. She even had a special name for her creation --

Another reference to a sea-captain named Crockett gregory, only a
slightly different first name:

Captain Gregory again:
"Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory was the inventor of the donut with a
hole in the middle"

more of captain Gregory:

Who knew? kripy Kreme's been aroundsince 1937. i never heard of them
till about 4 years ago.

Even Krispy Kreme mentions hanson Gregory, so it must be true.

Food Reference also mentions Mr. Gregory:

My conclusion:
True or not, a great many references are made to the Gregory family's
involvement in inventing doughnuts. I would suggest you being tracing
your family tree. Perhaps you will find the concrete evidence linking
you, Captain Gregory, and doughnuts!


Search strategy:
doughnut history
timespacette-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
thank you!  that's great!  I've already done my family tree and it is
the Captain Gregory that's mentioned.  Thanks.

Subject: Re: who invented the doughnut?
From: dublinerma-ga on 06 Apr 2005 19:43 PDT
Coincidently came across you posting. My son was at soccer practice in
Snug Harbor (Quincy, MA) today. At the edge of the field, next to the
bay, lies an old graveyard with the graves from mariners who lived in
the Mariner's Snug Harbor Home in Quincy, MA from the mid 1800s to the
mid 1900s. One of the most prominent headstones is that of Capt.
Hanson Gregory, the stone states he is recognized by the National
Assoc. of American Bakers as the inventor of the doughnut. He was born
in Camden, ME. died and was buried in Quincy, MA in 1921.
Subject: Re: who invented the doughnut?
From: timespacette-ga on 06 Apr 2005 22:27 PDT
hi dublinerma,

thanks for this tip!
someday I would love to do a genealogy tour of the east (I live in
Washington state) and I would love to have the specific address of
this graveyard. Would you mind posting it?
this is what I love about the internet . . .

thanks again,

Subject: Re: who invented the doughnut?
From: mainesail-ga on 15 Apr 2005 14:20 PDT
I am a descendent of Captain Hanson Gregory who farmed in and fished
from Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine in the late 1800s. A granite stone and
bronze plaque commorating him stands on the Old County Road (Maine
Route 90) in Rockport at the site of the Gregory farm. The story is
true, although the details of the how and why are buried in myth. In
my family, we understood it that as captain of his fishing schooners,
the men who were crew and worked nets were served fried dough with
coffee during their long shifts on deck. A wet, slippery decked
pitching sailing vessel doesn't bode well for food staying put on
cooking pans, so Gregory jammed the dough cakes over wooden pins and
the spokes of the ship's wheel. The cook aboard began making the cakes
with the hole already in them, and then served the holes as a treat at
suppertime. That's the story passed down in my family. How much is
truth and how much is charming myth is anyone's guess, but Gregory
has, indeed, been credited with this singular invention which has
spawned an entire industry and created great wealth for the donut
kinds of America! (The last time I checked, the bronze marker appears
to have been moved during a parking lot project of the small church
that now occupies the land where the farmhouse once stood.
Subject: Re: who invented the doughnut?
From: mainesail-ga on 15 Apr 2005 14:24 PDT
Incidentally, I am charmed to learn that Hanson Gregory's headstone is
in Quincy. Years ago, I am told, that when Dunkin Donuts decided to
celebrate the "inventor" of the true American donut, they reported
Hanson Gregory as being buried in the Mount Auburn Cemetary just
outside Boston. Knowing that he may have lived out his final years in
the Mariner's Snug Harbor Home in Quincy is fitting. I do know that he
"came off the water" (the term used to mark the time when a fisherman
would no longer go to sea) before the turn of the 20th Century.

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