At least 81 web sites claim that the second wife of John Barrows was Deborah Doty. Usually without any citation or reasoning. The second wife of John Barrows was certainly a Deborah as evidenced by his will [Plymouth County Probate 1:133]. After reviewing all the primary documents for this family, it took me about two hours or so to figure out who she really was. No, I'm not going to tell you (yet).
But in order to formulate a good article, I needed to chase down where the Doty myth began. I spent today doing that. It was exhausting and I still can't tell you where or who started this. I was most concerned to see what reasoning was behind the bogus identification. The first good treatment of the Barrows family was by the Rev. Lucien Moore Robinson at The Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder 7(1893):134-145, 198-206. He doesn't include it. Neither did the editor of the Genealogical Column of the Boston Evening Transcript on 30 August 1934 (#8711). William Prescott Greenlaw studied the family and he didn't include it in his manuscript notes (1922). It also doesn't appear in Torrey's New England Marriages, which indexed all sources up to 1960-62. It does appear in Barrows Collection by Frank E. Barrows (the author, 1985). This work is poorly cited and the sources used are invariably secondary sources. Even a brief rundown of the sources included provided no clue.
In any case, it could be one of two things. George4 (George3 Robert2 John1) Barrows did marry a Desire Doty at Plymouth on 23 August 1722 (Plymouth VRs, p. 93). I've seen generational confusion with names before. Or, someone possibly noted that Robert Barrows and Edward Doty were both granted six acres of meadow each on 13 October 1667 (Plymouth Town Records I:91). However, it should be noted that being granted land at the same time does not indicate relationship, and it was Robert2 not John1. However, Robert's wife Ruth Bonum and Edward Doty's wife Sarah Faunce were first cousins [both had mothers who were sisters].
It's a mystery how this came to be.