The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Gelston Castle is a limestone mansion near Jordonville, New York. The mansion, possibly a replica of a castle called Gelston in Scotland, was built between 1834 and 1836 by Harriet Douglas Crugar.

When she died, she left the castle to her niece, Fanny Monroe (1824-1906), the grandniece of President James Monroe. Fanny Monroe left the castle to her son Douglas Robinson who married Corrine Roosevelt, the sister of president Theodore Roosevelt. Reputedly, three presidents, James Monroe, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt who were related to the family visited the castle. The last owner was the noted Russian Cellist Mstislav Rostropovitch who purchased the property in 1979.

Harriet Douglas was the daughter of George Douglas and Margaret, daughter of Captain Peter Corne.

Sir William Douglas, 1st Baronet of Castle Douglas built Gelston Castle in Scotland. Is there a connection?

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Comment by Bob Henry on December 10, 2010 at 21:21

An incredible saga and so very informative. I new the family were well minted but.........!!  All the main players were there that appear on the chart in R.C.Reid's book. Good sleuthing.

Comment by Bob Henry on December 9, 2010 at 0:15
Just picked this up and have not had time to read it but will a.s.a.p. Looks very interesting on skimming through!
Comment by William Douglas on December 8, 2010 at 18:34
I have just come across an interesting court case between Henry Cruger and William and George Douglas.

See here>>>
Comment by Bob Henry on December 4, 2010 at 22:41
Very interesting! Thank you for this.
Comment by William Douglas on December 4, 2010 at 21:26
Here is one reference, though it names Gelston as 'Douglas Castle':
Comment by Bob Henry on December 4, 2010 at 20:29
Thank you for your message and reference with most interesting content. Also of interest is your reference to the early naming of Gelston Castle, of which I had not previously been aware, and I wonder if you would be prepared to disclose your source?
Comment by William Douglas on December 3, 2010 at 20:12

I did not know of the book "Douglas of Castle Douglas", by R.C.Reid of Mouswald Place. I will now look out for it. Thank you.

Somewhere else here, I said that there is no Castle Douglas in Castle Douglas. However, I learnt in the last few days that Sir William renamed Gelston Castle as Castle Douglas. It then reverted back to its former name.

I have in the passed few hours sent you a private message on the Corrie/Corne matter.

I think this reference gives a good answer:

Comment by Bob Henry on December 2, 2010 at 21:52
I'm not sure if you may have received my comment on the above querying the accuracy of the surname of the wife of George Douglas where this appears as "Corne" as opposed to my belief it should be "Corrie". (Typo?)
In my comment, I promised to look-up my source and can now advise this is from the book of "Douglas of Castle Douglas", by R.C.Reid of Mouswald Place, of whom I am sure you will recognise. A note refers to the article having been: "Reprinted from the Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History Society - 25th. March, 1921". The following is transcribed from part of his section on the pedigree of Sir William Douglas of Gelston Castle, founder of the town of Castle Douglas, which is a relatively short distance from the Castle. While the typed article does not specifically mention the name "Corrie", his attached pedigree chart certainly does.
The extract commences:-
"Much of the evidence for this pedigree is derived from a letter, dated 6th March, 1831, from Mrs. Susan B. Terrell [wife of William Terrell, only son of Margaret Douglas] to Harriet Douglas, third daughter of George Douglas of New York, the brother of Sir William Douglas:-
My Dear Harriet,
I most sincerely regret that your letter of 21st September, 1826, was never answered. It grew entirely out of my not having any certain data to go upon; also waiting to receive a letter written by Parson Douglas [the Rev. William Douglas, second son of George Douglas and nephew of Sir William], which your letter stated had been sent to me, and which your sister Margaret said should be sent by private conveyance, which letter I never received......... Since 22nd December, 1830, I have been much engaged in looking over old books. I have a distinct recollection of having seen written in the margin of some old book, by my husband's grandfather [the Rev. William Douglas of Virginia, U.S.A., born 3rd August, 1708, uncle of Sir William Douglas. "My husband" was Mr. Terrell, son of Margaret Douglas, by her second marriage], wherein something was said about the Duke of Douglas that "he is my noble relation," also that he "visited the Duke of Hamilton the last time he was in Scotland," and writes in like manner of him. Now, my dear Harriot, your uncles's [probably Sir William Douglas] library was a very extensive one, and has been divided in seven parts, scattered in various directions....... I have, however, extracted for you from the old records what you will find on the first part of the enclosed sheet [chart], and should certainly send the Douglas History [History of House and Race of Douglas, by David Hume of Godscroft] if I thought it would reach you in time to be of service to you....... Mr Terrell and myself will be very happy to see you at Music Hall on your return to America. I assure you Mr Terrell is interested and much attached to his cousin Harriet, and would do much to serve her. We regret and deeply sympathise with you and your late bereavement. With kind remembrance to Margaret [Harriet's elder sister].
I remain, sincerely yours,
Susan B. Terrell."
Exhausted now but looking forward to receiving you thoughts.

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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