Douglass Family

Submitted by Peggy Bone Colella
ã 1998

The Douglass family took a prominent part in the early day affairs of Sumner County. Edward Douglass, Sr. was a man of education and said to have been a lawyer, though he never practiced law. He was one of the first magistrates of Sumner County. Prior to July, 1796, the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions were held in different places, at Edward Douglass' place in 1788 and 1790, and at the Ezekial Douglass place in 1793-1796. The first term of court held under the organization of the State of Tennessee was in July, 1796, and Edward Douglass, (Jr.) and James Douglass were among those commissioned as justices by John Sevier, the first Governor of the State. Both James and Edward (Jr.) served terms as Sheriff of Sumner County. Edward (Jr.) also served a term as a State Senator. Edward Douglass, Sr. died 2 Feb. 1795, Cage's Bend, Sumner Co., TN.

History books say Edward Douglass was a Colonel during the Revolution. Some researchers, however, say he was not a Colonel but only a Private. The confusion may come from the fact that there was an Edward Douglass in Northampton Co., VA, referred to in the will of Ann Southey Harmar Littleton, in 1656, as Lt. Col. Edward Douglass. This Edward and his wife Isabella had a son Edward who is believed to have be either the father or grandfather of the Edward Douglass b. 1713. There is also a conflict of information on where Edward (b.1713) was born. Most likely correct is that he was born 10 Mar. 1713 in Virginia. In a "SKETCH OF THE DOUGLASS FAMILY", written in 1839 by James Douglass, son of Edward and Sarah (George) Douglass, James says that his father had said "he had but one own brother, John Douglass" and that their father died when they were young. Nothing has been found on this John Douglass, but he is said to have had 8 sons.

Edward Douglass married Sarah George, probably in 1740 or 1741. There is another conflict here. That Sarah was a George appears definite since the sketch by her son James, says she was a George, that she was born in 1711 and that he believed she had 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Researchers have had that she was the daughter of John George, b. 1704 VA d. 1784 VA, and his wife Mary/Millicent Jordan. This is definitely not correct for a couple of reasons, the main one being John could not have had a child at the age of 7 years. Also John George's family is well documented and he had 5 daughters and 3 sons. It is possible Sarah was the daughter of an earlier John George, but which one?!. (I'm working on this and would appreciate any input.)

Thomas Claybourne Douglass, a grandson of Edward, relates in his biography of the Douglass family that, "Shortly after my papa and mother moved, Grandpa Douglass and Grandma, with all their children, followed ... and settled the place that we all knew as the Uncle Reuben Douglass place on West Station Camp Creek." The same biography says, "that father (James Douglass) and mother moved to Tennessee in the year 1788 or '89." Thus, we see that, at least the sons Reuben and James preceded their father and mother to Sumner County, which was then a part of the territory of North Carolina, later to become the county of the State of Tennessee.

William Blount was Territorial Governor of the United States of America south of the River Ohio. He called a Constitutional Convention to be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, on 11 Jan. 1796. It is recorded that among other delegates present, there was Andrew Jackson from Davidson Co. and Edward Douglass, Jr. and W. Douglass from Sumner Co.

Edward and Sarah George Douglass had 9 children: (This family has been well researched and published, so I will only give a couple of generations here. I do have more information on some of the families.

  1. John Douglass killed by Indians during the Revolution, while on a mission to them from Col. Anthony Bledsoe. The site, on Moccasin Creek about 10 miles northwest of Abington, VA, is marked by the State of Virginia and known as Douglass Wayside.

  2. William Douglass b. 1755 NC d. 3 Aug. 1814 m. 6 June 1776 Orange, NC, Margaret (Peggy) Stroud. They had 7 children:
    1. John Douglass m. Miss Gregory
    2. Jesse Douglass
    3. Elizabeth Douglass m. Matthew Scoby
    4. Sally Douglass m. James Mays - not mentioned in her father's will, probably died before.
    5. Polly Douglass m. Abner Donent
    6. James Douglass m. 28 Nov. 1811 Nancy Dobson
    7. Alfred M. Douglass b. 23 Feb. 1791 d. 28 June 1822 m. 26 Apr. 1817 Cherry Ferrell

  3. Elizabeth Douglass b. 1754 d. 1792 age 38 m. 1768 Maj. William Cage b. 1745 VA d. 12 Mar. 1811 age 66. Will dated 15 May 1810 mentions wife Elizabeth. She was his 3rd wife. He m.2. Ann Hall Morgan d. Nov. 1800 age 38. His 3rd wife was Elizabeth Hale Stevenson. According to Jay Guy Cisco's book Historic Sumner County, Tennessee, William Cage had a number of children; dates only found on those who died and were buried in Sumner County.
    1. Priscilla Cage m. William Hale
    2. Wilson Cage m. 29 Feb. 1796 Mary Dalton Note: Cisco gives her name as Dillard, "Sumner Co. Marriage Records" by Porch show Dalton.
    3. Reuben Cage b. 22 Jan. 1772 d. 30 June 1853 m. 7 Jan. 1800 Polly Morgan
    4. William Cage, Jr. b. 29 June 1774 m. 12 Mar. 1806 Fanny Street
    5. Sarah (Sally) Cage b. 29 June 1774 (twin of above) d. 23 Aug. 1841 m. 22 Nov. 1791 Jack Carr b. 1773 SC d. 31 Dec. 1858
    6. James W. Cage
    7. Edward Cage m. Elizabeth Jarrett
    8. John Cage m. Thankful Morgan
    9. Loften Cage m. 19 Sept. 1805, Sumner Co., Nabury (Naomi) Gillespie of Smith Co.
    10. Jesse Cage b. 27 July 1785 d. 8 Aug. 1846 m. 19 Apr. 1807 Polly Gillespie b. 30 Dec. 1786 d. 24 Mar. 1858
    11. Betsy Cage
    12. Patsey Cage m. 13 Nov. 1816, Sumner Co., Thomas Morton
    13. Richmond Cage
    14. Albert Cage
    15. Harry Cage
    16. Robert Cage

  4. Elmore Douglass b. 16 Jan. 1753, d. Smith Co., TN, m. Elizabeth (Betsy) Blakemore d/o Capt. John Blakemore. They had 12 children, dates from James Edwards of Bakersfield, CA.
    1. John W. Douglass b. 13 Nov. 1777
    2. Celia Douglass b. 4 Dec. 1779 m. Rev. John Page
    3. Sally Douglass b. 21 Feb. 1782 m. 21 May 1800 Isaac Hooks
    4. Nancy Douglass b. 26 Mar. 1784 m. Moses Pinkton
    5. Elizabeth Douglass b. 13 Jan. 1786 m. George Cooper
    6. Edward Douglass b. 26 June 1791 - went to Missouri m. Dicy Green of KY
    7. Dr. Elmore Douglass, Jr. b. 4 Mar. 1798
    8. Burchett Douglass b. 16 Oct. 1793 m. Patsy McGee
    9. Ila (maybe should be Ira) Douglass m.1. Elizabeth Harris m.2. Sarah Martin
    10. Ennis Douglass b. 13 Feb. 1796 m. Matilda Corley
    11. Delia Douglass b. 1 Feb. 1801 m. Elias R. Brooks
    12. Asa Blakemore Douglass b. 10 Feb. 1803 m. Fanny Barksdale

  5. Ezekiel Douglass b. 1755 m. Mary Gibson. They had 6 children.
    1. John Douglass
    2. James Douglass
    3. Sally Douglass
    4. George Douglass
    5. Robert Gibson Douglass
    6. Temperence Douglass

  6. Sarah (Sally) Douglass b. 20 Mar. 1759 d. 11 May 1829 1779 Thomas Blakemore b. 26 July 1759 VA d. 21 May 1832 TN. They had 15 children: NOTE: Dates were given to me. Some may not be correct as there are 6 months or less between births.
    1. William Blakemore b. 2 Dec. 1781
    2. Reuben M. Blakemore b. 22 Oct. 1785 m. Betsy Bentley
    3. John D. Blakemore b. 15 Jan. 1787 m. Victoria Rankin
    4. Tourblen Lee Blakemore b. 11 Aug. 1788
    5. James A. Blakemore b. 10 Nov. 1789 m. Martha Patsy Taylor
    6. Ann Blakemore b. 8 Mar. 1790 m. Joseph Taylor
    7. Coena Blakemore b. 8 Nov. 1792 m. John Black
    8. Edward Blakemore b. 13 May 1793 m. Sophia J. Murray
    9. Matilda Blakemore b. 25 Oct. 1796 m. John or Henry Hart
    10. Lee Cage Blakemore b. 1 June 1800 (or 11 Nov. 1801) d. 4 Aug. 1882 m. Charlotte Johnson - They moved to Arkansas.
    11. Wesley Blakemore b. 11 Nov. 1803 m. Katherine Prudence (Kitty) Neely
    12. George Douglass Blakemore b. 16 June 1804 m. Patsey Hannah
    13. Albert G. Blakemore b. 16 May 1806
    14. Elizabeth Blakemore m. William Dickerson
    15. Fielding or Fielden Blakemore 1808 d. 27 Jan. 1833 m. Rebecca Johnson

  7. Edward Douglass, Jr. b. 1745, will dated 16 Jan. 1825, proved May 1825 Wilson Co., TN m. Elizabeth Howard. Children, according to his will:
    1. William Howard Douglass b. Oct. 1782 will 2 June 1833 m. Sallie Edwards
    2. Harvey Lightfoot Douglass m.1. Priscilla Shelby m.2. Z. Alcorn m.3. J. Crabb
    3. Patsey S. Douglass m. John Hall
    4. Delia Douglass m. Edward Douglass
    5. Dr. Elmore Douglass 1795 m.1. Eliza Fulton m.2. Eliza Houston
    6. Norval Douglass m. Priscilla Cage
    7. Eliza G. Douglass b. 29 July 1805 d. 22 Jan. 1840 m. Charles Grandison Sanders - they went to Canton, Mass.

  8. Reuben Douglass b. 6 Apr. 1763 in Virginia, d. 25 Aug. 1832, buried in the old Douglass cemetery, m. 23 Jan. 1791 in Sumner Co., Elizabeth Edwards, daughter of William and Sarah (Sally) Edwards. (See Edwards Family) Elizabeth b. 25 June 1774 d. 9 Feb. 1838. Reuben and Elizabeth Douglass had 11 children:
    1. William L. Douglass b. 21 Sept. 1792 d. 18 Mar. 1866 m.1. 13 June 1820 Eliza Watkins m.2. Lucy Grimm
    2. Sophia Douglass b. 28 July 1794 d. 25 Jan. 1872 m. Charles Watkins
    3. Peggy Douglass b. 25 Dec. 1796 d. 30 Aug. 1828 m. Lewis Green
    4. Evalina Aurille Douglass b. 23 Jan. 1799 d. 4 Apr. 1855 m. 6 Oct. 1821 William Franklin
    5. Sally Douglass b. 18 Nov. 1800
    6. Malissa Douglass b. 21 Nov. 1801 d. 22 June 1833
    7. Bennett Douglass b. 27 Apr. 1804 d. 7 Jan. 1868
    8. Patsy Alexander Douglass b. 18 Mar. 1806 d. 24 June 1883 m. Mr. Partee
    9. William Richard Douglass b. 24 June 1808 d. 5 Apr. 1829
    10. Emma Douglass b. 21 Aug. 1810 d. 10 Dec. 1881, buried in the old Douglass cemetery on Station Camp Creek, m. 22 Mar. 1831 Sumner Co., William Fulton Sanders Clark (See Clark Family)
    11. Betsy (Elizabeth) Douglass b. 29 Aug. 1812 d. 28 Mar. 1884

  9. James Douglass b. 15 Mar. 1762 d. 29 Mar. 1851 m. Jan. 1790 in Sumner Co., Catherine Collier. They had 11 children:
    1. Alfred Hire Douglass b. 1 Nov. 1790 d. 7 Sept. 1835 Sumner Co. m.1. Louisa Scurlock m.2. Rebecca Fulton
    2. Matilda Golden Douglass b. 28 Oct. 1792 d. 23 Sept. 1860 Sumner Co. m.1. Joel Parrish m.2. Jacob Cook
    3. Edward Lucas Douglass m. Delia Douglass
    4. Isaac Collier Douglass b. 20 July 1797 d. 18 Jan. 1851 Sumner Co., m. 1 June 1820 Eliza Baker (See Isaac Baker Family)
    5. James Sewell Douglass b. 30 Jan. 1800 Sumner Co. m. Lucy Scurlock, sister of Louisa above.
    6. Harry Clinton Douglass b. 26 Oct. 1802 Sumner Co. d. possibly Texas m. 18 Dec. 1828, Sumner Co., Elizabeth Elliott
    7. Young Norval Douglass b. 11 Mar. 1805 d. 1865 Sumner Co. m.1. Beneta Rawlings m.2. D. Green
    8. Robert George Douglass b. 7 Jan. 1808 d. 27 Sept. 1844 Sumner Co. m. 20 May 1830 Sumner Co., Elizabeth Blythe
    9. William Cage Douglass b. 25 May 1810 Sumner Co. m. Lucy Seawell
    10. Thomas Claiborne Douglass b. 26 May 1813 Sumner Co. m. Francess A. Cantrell
    11. Louisa Frances Douglass b. 27 Oct. 1816 d. 12 May 1846 Sumner Co. m. George W. Allen

Bits and Pieces

From - EARLY HISTORY OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE by Edward Albright, 1909

The old house out on Big Station Camp Creek was originally a Fort built sometime early in 1783 by Elmore Douglass, James Franklin, Charles Carter, James M. Cain and others, as protection from bands of Indians who were harassing and killing these pioneers.

By an act of the North Carolina legislature, Sumner County was established in 1786, named for General Jethro Sumner, a brave officer in the War of the Revolution. It is said the first court held in Sumner County was in the barnyard of this Fort, home of Col. Edward Douglass of the War of the Revolution. Col. Douglass was a prominent figure in the affairs of the early settlement. He came from Scotland to Farquhar Co., Virginia. In 1740, he married Sarah Gorge (George). He gained great renown as an Indian fighter. From himself and his sons are descended a long line of honored citizens of Sumner County. Two of his sons, James and Edward, having participated in the writing of the Constitution of Tennessee.

This old house, believed the oldest in Tennessee, is kept in good condition and is a home. It was an Inn for a time, and finally came to some members of the Douglass family. After some repairs, the old fort became the home of William Fulton Sanders Clark and Emma Douglass Clark where was reared a large family. Their four sons, Reuben, Charles, David and Ned (Edward) were in the Confederate Army. Only Charles came back. The Clark Chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy, Gallatin, is named for these four men.

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