The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Myself and others are interested in William Douglass (born 1610 in ?, died 1682 in New London,CT) and confirming his birthplace.  Tradition has it as Scotland but recent work by Betsey Howe suggests that it William's family came from Easton Maudit, Northamptonshire. Much of my information comes from a book put together in 1879 (Douglas, Charles Henry James, A collection of family records, Providence: E.L. Freeman & Co., 1879.)  Other information we have is summarized below:


DEACON WILLIAM DOUGLAS, the immigrant ancestor, was b. 9th August, 1610,doubtless in Scotland ; m. probably about 1636, Ann MATTLE, dau. of Thomas MATTLE of Ringstead, England. In 1640, with his wife Ann and two children, Ann and Robert, William DOUGLAS went to New England. Tradition says that they landed at Cape Ann. They settled first in Gloucester, but removed within [p.1 88] the year to Boston, where he is first mentioned in the Boston records on 31st June, 1640 , when he was made a Freeman. Here moved shortly to Ipswich where he was entitled to a share of the public land, 28th February, 1641. There he remained for about four years,returning to Boston in 1645. He was a cooper by trade and on 1st May,1646, there is record of his purchasing from Walter MERRY and Thomas ANCHOR, a dwelling house, shop and land. Later he went to New London, Connecticut, and obtained considerable property through purchase and grants from the town. One of his farms was inherited by his son William and has remained in the hands of descendants for over two centuries. In 1662-1663 he was appointed one of the Appraisers of Property for the town of New London. The land for a new church was purchased from him and the graveyard still remains on that place. He and Mr. WILLERBY were appointed to deliver provisions to Commissary TRACY at Norwich during King Philip's War. His education for the times was liberal. He held many important offices in the town at different times. He was Deputy to the General Court in 1672 and once or twice later. In May, 1670, his wife, then sixty years old made a journey to Boston to establish her claim as heir to her father's property. She d. in New London in 1685 and William DOUGLAS himself d. there on 26th July, 1682
-per Colonial families of the United States of America
(as quoted in Descendants of Robert Douglas, (Link updated 19 August 2014)


I look forward to compiling information here to sort out what everyone knows and hopefully resolve this roadblock once and for all.

See also this discussion:

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It seems strange that Capt Samuel should have a brother with the same birth and death dates..?

This Samuel's siblings were, if I have it correct, Hepsibah, Mary, Phinebas and Joseph.

William, first of all congrats on the site being rehosted. secondly..  I am just checking my mail before my evening shift.. give me a couple hours and i will look at the geo cities website and or the one you mentioned as well as some other sites and confer with some experts on here and then will get back to you. michael.

Douglas - could you please check the link to angelfire?

the link to angelfire no longer works.. try here

The correct link as of 9 Jul 2013 is

Thanks to Michael P. McCann for providing the updated correct link!

I am brand new to this board but am a descendant of this WIlliam Douglass. I use the double "s" only because it was the prevalent spelling in my line down to my Grandmother. Also, I have read that Stephen A. Douglas of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, also a descendant of this William Douglass, dropped the second "s" when he became involved in Illinois politics.

I have had success in breaking down brick walls by questioning even the most widespread "facts" about an ancestor. For example, I haven't seen an exact date for the marriage of William to Anne Mattle of Ringstead, which probably means no one has found a parish register or transcript record. Has anyone looked? I believe what is known about Anne Mattle comes from the fact that she proved she was an heir to Thomas Mattle of Ringstead when the family lived in New London. Is it possible that Anne Mattle was a second wife of WIlliam, met and married in New England?

We think WIlliam first settled in Gloucester and we know he ended up in New London. There was a group of other settlers that followed the same path. These were the followers of Rev. Richard Blynman who came to Gloucester in abt. 1640 from Cheshire. This party has been called the Welsh Party, but only because Blynman himself was Welsh. Most of the members of the party were from Cheshire. A member of this party was William Hough, whom William Douglass bought property from when he arrived in New London, and whose daughter Abiah Hough married Douglass' son William (Jr.) in New London. Could William Douglass also have been a member of the Blynman party? We should look for him around Chester in Cheshire where others of the party came from.

By coincidence, my grandfather, William Washington Hough married my grandmother, Nancy Maria Douglass, in upstate NY in 1875. You can find them, as well as my father, Clinton Wallace Hough, in the Charles Henry James Douglas 1879 book. The line from my grandmother back to the immigrant William Douglas is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate as presented in that book.

I am unfamiliar with the work of Betsey Howe, can you help me find it? Also, there might be immediate answers to some of the questions I have posed above, and I would welcome them. If I embark on this search, it means a lot of time and expense. Just completed a similar search, successfully, for the origins of my William Hough immigrant ancestor, which meant a lot of time in front of a microfilm machine. Any of that which can be avoided is good!

Bill Hough
Hi Bill, my name is Julie

I like your questions :-)

Betsey's email address is:
Julie, Since my posting I have been in regular touch with Betsey. We have been doing a lot of work with transcribed Boston and Ipswich records and think there may have been more than one William Douglas in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1640s and 50s. Not that it will make any difference to where our William came from in the old country, or where or when he arrived in MBC, but some of the records attributed to our William in 200 years worth of genealogies might belong to another William, and make it easier to sort out where our guy lived from 1641 to 1659.

By the way, I have no idea where the "tradition" that he settled first in Gloucester came from, other than possibly one of the William Douglases was in Ipswich in 1642, which might indicate he landed close by on Cape Ann rather than in Boston harbor. There are no Gloucester records that I can find that say anything about a William Douglas. I have looked at the Cheshire records that are available on-line and didn't find any William Douglas, but not sure I used all the spelling variations. I think the work that Betsey is doing indicates they probably came from the vicinity of London, and therefore would not have been with the Blynman party. So I think I have talked my way out of the thoughts I had when I wrote the above post.

Bill Hough

I should comment that after much investigation by Betsy and myself, the Boston and Ipswich records probably belong to only one man.  The dates on the records indicate he probably went back and forth, in other words, there are no conflicting time spans when he was in both places.  So the 200 years worth of genealogies that assume there was only one are probably correct.

Bill Hough


I was excited when I saw this post and you named Nancy Maria Douglass as your Grandmother.  I am a descendant of her sister Arathusa.  I have Hough-Douglass family photo taken in Boonville  about 1906 which includes your grandparents Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Hough, and I think your father Clinton Wallace Hough with is wife Cora Belle.  It also has some of your aunts and uncles and your grandmother's brother Dr. James Wallace Douglass and his wife and family.  If you are interested in a digital copy, let me know.  I also have a photo of just the three siblings Nancy, Arathusa and James taken about 1908.  I also have a Thomas Pratt and Eliza Douglass family photo taken 1866, which has their children, including your grandma.


You have it right.  My father's first wife was Cora Belle Shattuck, called "Jane".  I would love to have digital copies of the three photos you mention.  My mother was sensitive to pictures of Dad's earlier life, and not many (none) got passed down.  So while I have visited Boonville a number of times, I have never seen the photos you speak of.  I have looked for a paternal line Douglass descendant from this period for possible Y-chromosome DNA tests, but without success.  Even looked up the Boonville historian, but he couldn't help.  How are you related to the Thomas Pratt and Eliza Stevens Douglass family?  Do you know anything about Eliza?  I think I finally sorted out who she was, but have only some evidence that her ancestors were German immigrants and no real proof.  

We live in Seattle.  Tell me about yourself, and what I might help you with in regard to this family.  I have done a lot of research about the descendants of the immigrant to MBC and Connecticut. William Douglass.

Regards, Bill Hough


Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

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