October 15, 1956
Transcribed By Pamela Vick
* CAL’S COLUMN *
The following has been sent to the editor of the Times relative to an old log house erected in 1812 by Thomas Gregory Douglass.
Thirteen miles out of Little Rock on the Hot Springs highway is the home of Thomas Douglass, built originally in 1812 by his grandfather, Thomas Gregory Douglass. A few years ago it was covered with lumber and at a glance belies its age.
The old house was built of logs. It is two stories high, with two rooms and a hall on each floor. The boards used in its construction, about 30 inches wide and about an inch thick, were cut by hand from large pine and cypress trees. The nails, hand made at a blacksmith shop, are square and only one side of the head is flagged.
Thomas Gregory Douglass, who built the house, was a descendent of the famous “black” Douglass clan of near Dundee, Scotland, so called because of the dark hair and light complexion of the members. These Scotland Douglasses were known for their ability as warriors. Mr. Douglass remembers that as a boy he heard the story of one ancestor, John Douglass, who distinguished himself in battle, causing an enemy king to remark: “Behold that swarthy man: with him I would have this war won.”
Several members of the Douglass family came to the United States and settled in New York. Mr. Douglass’ great-grandfather moved on to Tennessee, settling at the site of the present city of Nashville.
It was here that Thomas Gregory Douglass was born. In 1811 he went to the trading post of New Madrid, Mo. He was there at the time of the big earthquake that year. A short time later he traded his horse and a few belonging to an Indian for a canoe and returned to Tennessee, to remain only a short time before starting out at the head of an expedition that came to Arkansas. The party camped one night on a bend in the Arkansas River just below Little Rock. The members of the party were impressed at the sight of a large eagle’s nest. They had traveled all day in a circle. The place was called Eagle’s Nest Bend, and is still known by that name.
The expedition crossed the Arkansas River at Little Rock at what is now the foot of Rock Street. About 13 miles out of Little Rock, Mr. Douglass was impressed with the scenery and the soil and decided to remain and make his home. He homesteaded three tracts of land, one at a time. The present owner has patents signed by President Madison, Monroe and John Quincy Adams. Several years ago he sold one of the tracts of land and had recorded for the first time a patent signed by President Adams in 1829.
My grandfather, says the present Mr. Douglass, died at his home in 1835.
(Editor’s Note. From Cisco’s Historic Sumner County, we glean the following about the connection between the Smith County Gregory family, to which the author belongs; and the family above referred to.) From the Cisco account we learn the following:
The Douglass family has been prominent in Sumner County since 1785, when Edward Douglass, with all his children, settled on Station Camp Creek, a few miles north of Gallatin. He was born in Fauquier County, Virginia; married about 1740, Sarah George. He was a commissioned officer in the War for Independence, and a man of education, and a lawyer, though he had never practiced law. He, when called upon, gave legal advice to his friends and neighbors without fee or reward, always counseling them not to go into the courts. He was one of the first magistrates of Sumner County, and was active in all public affairs. His home was near Salem Camp Ground, on lands still in possession of his descendants.
Colonel Edward Douglass and Sarah (George) Douglass had children--John Douglass, killed by Indians while on a mission to them from Colonel Anthony Bledsoe; William Douglass, married Peggy Stroud; Elizabeth Douglass, married William Cage; Elmore Douglass, married Betsy Blakemore; Ezekiel Douglass, married May Gibson; Sally Douglass, married Elizabeth Edwards; James Douglass, married Catherine Collier.
William Douglass, son of Colonel Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married Peggy Stroud. Had children--John Douglass, married a Gregory; moved to Arkansas; Jesse Douglass, drowned; Elizabeth Douglass, married Matthew Scoby; moved to Ark.; Sally Douglass, married James Mays, no information. Polly Douglass, married Abner Donet, married a Dobson, no information. Alfred M. Douglass, married Cherry Ferrell.
Elizabeth Douglass, daughter of Col. Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married William Cage. (See genealogy of the Cage family).
Elmore Douglass, son of Col. Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married Betsy Blakemore. Had children--John Douglass; Celia Douglass, married John Pages; Sally Douglass, married Isaac Hooks; Nancy Douglass, married Moses Pincton; Elizabeth Douglass, married a Cooper; Edward Douglass, married a Green, went to Mississippi; Elmore Douglass, Jr.; Burchet Douglass, married Patsy McGee; Ily Douglass, married a Harris; Eunis Douglass, married a Harris; Asa Douglass, married Fannie Barksdale; Delia Douglass, married a Brooks.
Ezekiel Douglass, son of Col. Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married Mary Gibson. Had children--John Douglass, married Polly Kellum, moved to Arkansas; James Douglass, married Rina Hunt; Sally Douglass, married a Joselin; George Douglass, married Mrs. White; Robert G. Douglass; Tempy Douglass.
Sally Douglass, daughter of Col. Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married Thomas Blakemore. Had children--James Blakemore, married Patsey Taylor; William Blakemore; John Blakemore, married a Rankin; Reuben Blakemore, married a Bentley; Tourbin Blakemore; Edward Blakemore, married a Murray; George Blakemore; Lee Blakemore, married Charlotte Johnson; Wesley Blakemore, married Kitty Neely; Albert Blakemore; Elizabeth Blakemore, married William Dickerson; Coena Blakemore, married John Black; Ann blakemore, married a Taylor; Matilda Blakemore, married Henry Hart; Fielding Blakemore, married Rebecca Johnson.
Edward Douglass, Jr., son of Col. Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married Elizabeth Howard. Had children--William Howard Douglass, married Sallie Edwards; Harry Lightfoot Douglass, married first, P. Shelby, second, Z. Allcorn; third, J. Crabb; Patsey S. Douglass, married John Hall; Delia Douglass, married Edward Douglass; Elmore Douglass, married first, Eliza Fulton; second, Eliza Houston; Norval Douglass, married Priscilla Cage; Eliza G. Douglass, married C. Grandison Sanders.
Reuben Douglass, son of Colonel Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married Elizabeth Edwards. Had children--Willie J. Douglass, married, first, Eliza Watkins; second, Lucy Grimm; Sophia Douglass, married Charles Watkins; Peggy Douglass, married Lewis Green; Evalina Douglass, married William Franklin; Malissa Douglass, married a Partee, moved to West Tennessee; Emma Douglass, married William Clark.
James Douglass, son of Colonel Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, married Catherine Collier. Had children--Alfred H. Douglass, married first, Lucy Bennett; second, Rebecca Fulton; Matilda G. Douglass, married first, J. Cook; second, Joel Parrish; Edward L. Douglass, married Delia Douglass; Isaac C. Douglass, married Eliza Baker; James S. Douglass, married Luck Scarlock; Harry C. Douglass, married Elizabeth Elliot; Young N. Douglass, married B. Rawlings; Robert G. Douglass, married Elizabeth Blythe; William C. Douglass, married Lucy Seawell; Thomas C. Douglass, married Frances Cantrell; Louisa F. Douglass, married G. W. Allen.
John Douglass, son of William and Peggy (Shroud) Douglass, married a Gregory and moved to Pulaski County, Arkansas. Had children--Thomas Douglass.
In the will of the writer’s great-great-great-grandfather, Thomas Gregory, final settlement of which was made on Feb. 22, 1827, at Carthage, in our adjoining county of Smith, we learn the following: That each heir’s part of the estate of Thomas Gregory, born about 1725 was $1,539.29. Each primary heir and his or her name follows: Thomas B. Douglass, son of William and Peggy Stroud Douglass, whose mother was the former Sina Gregory; Isaac George, who married another daughter, Elizabeth Gregory; Bry Gregory, born in 1784, who was our own great-great-grandfather, and died in 1847; Abraham Gregory, no further information; William Gregory and Harden Gregory, the two last named being executors of the will which was made in 1817 or 1818. Five persons received one share of the inheritance. They were Richard Brown, Bazerl (Brasill?) Burch, Thomas Davis for A. J. Gregory, Gabriel Gregory and Thomas (Big Tom) Gregory. These were the sons and sons-in-law of one of Thomas Gregory’s sons, Thomas by name, who died before his father. This Thomas Gregory who preceded his father in death, was one of the writer’s great-great-grandfathers. This came about by “Big Tom” Gregory having married his own cousin. Thomas Gregory, who died before his father, married Phoebe Hawkins in Virginia in 1787. She was a relative of Alvin Hawkins who was governor of Tennessee from 1881 to 1883. We have a list of most of the descendants of Bry Gregory, William Gregory and “Big Tom’, but we are sorry that we know next to nothing of Abraham Gregory or Harden Gregory. We are sorry that we do not have any record of the descendants of Richard Brown, Bazerl Burch, A. J. Gregory or Gabriel Gregory. It is interesting to note that in the will of Thomas Gregory, indications are that Thomas Douglass, the son of Sina Gregory, had no brothers or sisters, for the will says that in event of his death before his grandfather, Thomas Gregory, the other heirs were to have his part. That Thomas B. Douglass had no brothers or sisters is evident from Cisco’s history, also.
Our records show the name to have been Thomas B. Douglass, but the letter from Arkansas calls him Thomas Gregory Douglass. We have given the name as it appears at Carthage in the year 1827, as Thomas B. Douglass. However, Sisco gives the name of John Douglass with no initial or middle name. But we are sure that Sisco’s account is accurate and so are the old Court records. Sina Gregory, mother of John Douglass, was a sister of our great-great-grandfather, Bry Gregory. Our father’s mother was Sina Gregory. According to our records, our grandmother, Sina was a grand-niece of the Sina Gregory, who married John Douglass. Our grandmother, Sina Gregory, who married Stephen Calvin Gregory, whose name the writer bears, was born in 1833, and died in 1905.
We appreciate very highly the information sent to us from the Arkansas Historical Commission and we would be glad to return the favor if possible.