Search billions of records on

Portrait and Biographical Album

Chatman Brothers 1889
Pages,  515, 516


Dorman B. Douglass

                Dorman B. Douglass stands in the front rank of the enlightened, enterprising agriculturists, who are active in supporting the immense farming and stock raising interests of Vermilion County.  He owns one of the largest and finest improved farms in all Catlin Township, beautifully located on section 2, where he has a very pretty home, rendered still more attractive by the number of shade and fruit trees with which he has adorned the grounds.

                Our subject comes of worthy New England ancestry on the father’s side, and of good Pennsylvania stock on the maternal side of the house.   His father, Cyrus Douglass, was born in Vermont, and his mother was a native of Tioga County, Pa.  They were married about three miles north of Danville, in this county, and settled soon after about three miles and a half south of that city, where they lived for a long term of years, being very early pioneers of that township.  In 1865, they retired to Fairmount to spent their last years free from the cares and labors that had beset their early life, whereby they had won a competence.   She did not long survive the removal from her old home, where her married life had passed so pleasantly and peacefully, but Dec. 15, 1866, closed her eyes to the scenes of earth.   The father lived fourteen years longer, and then, Dec. 20, 1880, he was summoned to the life beyond the grave.  He had served under Capt. Morgan L. Payne in the Indian War of 1831-32.  He and his wife were the parents of thirteen children, nine sons and four daughters of all of whom lived to grow up, with the exception of one son, who was injured and died when about nine years old.

                Our subject was the second child of the family in order of birth, and was born in Danville Township, Oct. 11, 1827.  He was reared to man’s estate in the place of his nativity in the pioneer home of his birth.  He gleaned his education in the primitive schools of the early days, was bred to a farmer’s life on the old homestead, and always given his attention to agricultural pursuits.  He remained under the parental roof till 1851, and then, buoyed with the hopes and ambitions of an energetic young manhood, he took his departure from scenes of his boyhood and youth, and crossed the continent to Oregon to see something of the world and to better his prospects in life if he could.  He stayed in Oregon but a short time, and then made his way to California, where he remained some time engaged in mining.  In October, 1853, he gathered together his gains, having a great desire to see his old home once more after experiencing the rough life of a miner for two years, and embarked on a vessel that took him by the Nicaragua route and thence made his way by New York City to Illinois and Vermilion County.  On his return he resumed farming, and followed that peaceful vocation some years.   But life in the wild west still held a fascination for him, and in the summer of 1864 he made another trip toward the setting sun, journeying across the plains to Idaho and Montana.  That time he was gone from here about two and a half years, and was variously em0ployed as a miner and at different occupations.  Since his second return from the far West Mr. Douglass has been engaged continuously in farming, and has met with more than ordinary success in that pursuit.   He owns 410 acres of a choice land as is to be found in this part of Vermilion County, has it under perfect cultivation, has erected good buildings, including a substantial, well-appointed residence, and made other valuable improvements.

                The marriage of our subject with Miss Anna Downing, a noble, true-hearted woman, who has devoted her life to the interests of her husband and children, took place in Danville Township, their union being solemnized in the month of September, 1855.   Mrs. Douglass is the daughter of Ellis and Louisa (Hathaway) Downing, natives respectively of Virginia and Kentucky, and now deceased.  Her parents began their married life in Kentucky, and from there went later in life to Indiana, and were pioneers of Logansport, where he died.  The mother afterward came to Catlin Township, and made her home here till death.  Four children were born of her marriage, two sons and two daughters, Mrs. Douglass being the eldest of the family.  She was born near Washington, in Mason County, KY., Dec 25, 1825.  She is the mother of five children, as follows:  Samuel; Eliza, the wife of George W. Cook; Allen ho married Maggie Byerley, Belle B., the wife of Charles Lucas, and George W.

                Mr. Douglas is a man whose frank geniality, tact and readiness to oblige, have won him many fast friends, and with his wife, who is of an amiable charitable disposition, he stands high in the social circles of this community.  He is a man of wide and varied experience and information, a good conversationalist and is accordingly a pleasing companion.  He is a good financier, and also an able manager, having his affairs under good control; he possesses in a large degree those characteristics without which success in life is unattainable.  He has mingled somewhat in the public life of the township, has proved an efficient school officer, and has held some of the minor offices with credit to himself, and to the benefit of the community.  He is an esteemed member of the Catlin Lodge, No. 285, A. F. & A. M.  He is a loyal and faithful citizen, having the best interests of his country at heart, and is in his politics a pronounced Democrat of the Jacksonian type.

                Elsewhere in this volume the reader will notice a portrait of Mr. Douglass, and beside it is fittingly placed that of his wife, who has been at his side a faithful companion for more than thirty years.