Born in Lacy, Arkansas, on June 29, 1860, Alexander
L. Douglass grew up on his stepfather's farm in Fannin County, Texas.
Apparently he didn't like farm labor much. In 1887, the Denison City Directory
listed him as a partner with W. H. Parham in Parham & Douglass "groceries,
produce and feed" at 304 West Main Street. This was two doors west of the
State National Bank. The elegant building next door at 302 West Main had been
built in 1884. However, the directory indicated that Alex resided at Kingston,
Texas, a few miles northwest of Greenville.
Advertisement, Parham & Douglass
1887 Denison City Directory
On March 1, 1888, Alex married Julia Slack in Hunt
County. She was part of a large family headed by her stepfather, William W.
McCombs. Alex and Julia had two children—Lois D. Douglass (1889–1954) and
William Claude Douglass (1892–1926). These children grew up in Denison. Julia
died in childbirth on March 31, 1899, and her third child, the infant daughter
Gladys, lived only two months. Both were buried in Greenville, Hunt County.
Soon after their marriage, by 1891, Alex and Julia
were living in Denison, where Alex was operating his own grocery and feed store
at 600 South Armstrong Avenue, corner of Nelson Street. The family lived nearby
at 1000 West Shepherd Street at the corner of Chandler Avenue.
Five years later, in 1896, the Denison City
Directory listed Alex as a clerk at Mastin & Hobson, grocers, at 201 West
Munson Street. The owners were Albert P. Mastin and Aaron B. Hobson. Alex and
Julia continued to live at 1000 West Shepherd.
After Julia's death, Alex changed professions. The
1900 Census listed Alex as a "dry good man." About this time he
joined Samuel Porter Clark in forming Clark & Douglass, "merchant
tailors, men's furnishers, hats," at 229 West Main. About this time, too,
Alex moved from Shepherd Street to 1000 West Chestnut Street. A "merchant
tailor" was "a tailor who keeps and sells
materials for the garments which he makes." 229 West Main was part of the First National
Bank/Ford Building, constructed in the fall of 1891. In 1901 it housed the
National Bank of Denison, making it a good place for an ambitious men's
Douglass was located in this building in 1901, just to the right of the
awnings on the ground floor.
This was the First National Bank Building, located at 231 West Main
Street at corner of Rusk Avenue.
It was built in 1891. Also called Ford Building, after the bank
president at the time of construction.
Eventually it housed the Citizens National Bank.
Source of photo: "Art Work of Grayson County" (1895), fig. 11.1.
& Douglass, Tailors and Furnishers."
Frank M., comp. Industrial Denison. [N.p.]: Means-Moore Co., [ca.
1909]. Page 96a.
Perhaps the location did not work out well. The 1905
City Directory had both Alex and the partnership of Clark & Loving listed
as merchant tailors at the same address, 221 West Main Street.
Also in 1905, Alex remarried. His marriage to Nora
A. Bobcock took place in Platt, Missouri, on August 6, 1905.
Until 1910, Alex continued to work in Denison. Around
1907, Samuel P. Clark left Denison and moved to Dallas. The 1907 City Directory
listed Alex in a clothing business, Douglass Brothers, in partnership with his
brother, Walter E. Douglass, four years younger, at 211 West Main.
after that, Alex alone was running Alex L. Douglass Clothing at that address.
He and Nora were living at 625 West Main.
Two records exist for Alex in the 1910 Census, one
in Denison and one in Dallas. They were made two days apart. The Dallas record lists
Alex as "manager, clothing house." The Denison record indicates that
he is a "merchant, clothing." Perhaps he was in transition and had
houses in both cities. Soon (1914) he was living in Dallas with his daughter
Lola and her husband, Carlos Johanning. Carlos had learned telephone repair
working for the MK&T Railroad in Denison for years, but now he was in
maintenance with the telephone company in Dallas. Alex reported no occupation
after 1910, except for the 1920 Census, when he stated that he was a farmer. By
then his wife Nora had died.
In 1925, the Johanning household, including Alex, was
back in Denison. The group lived at 526 West Gandy, then with several other
families at 920 West Bond. Alex passed away on December 23, 1945, in Dallas. He
was buried in McWright Cemetery in Greenville, along with his first wife Julia,
the infant Gladys, and son W. Claude, who had died in 1926.