The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

John Douglas, Provost Marshall General of Grenada

A tale of two Johns.

In 'The House of Commons 1790-1820' By Roland G. Thorne, History of Parliament Trust (Great Britain) an assumption is made that it was John Douglas of Grantham, an MP, who became Provost Marshall of Grenada in 1836, and died there in 1838.

However, following an enquiry drawing my attention to evidence on a gravestone in Kelton graveyard, I am now convinced that Thorne got it wrong.

The MP was an interesting character. He was gambling man, and fled to Sweden to escape his creditors. He was a descendant of Alexander Douglas of Reath - one of our mystery men, who is discussed elsewhere here.

The Provost Marshall General is another mystery man - we don't know his ancestry either. This john Douglas was Acting Clerk of Council, Acting Provost Marshall General and appointed Provost Marshall General of Grenada on 3rd April 1835. But we don't know what qualifications he had to get there.  It seems his grandfather, John,  was a labourer and his father, Robert, an inn keeper in Castle Douglas.

If you know more about either families, please get in touch.


Views: 545

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of The Douglas Archives to add comments!

Join The Douglas Archives

Comment by Bob Henry on October 23, 2011 at 14:14

Don't worry about the apologies and confusion, Julia, I've been researching the Douglas families for years and often find myself more confused now than I was when I started!

Yes, brother John is a mystery but who knows what may turn up. As for Celilia, or is it Cecelia, I'm going for a coffee!!!!

Comment by julia kilfoyle on October 23, 2011 at 11:37

Apologies for the delayed response. And apolgies for making 2 plus 2 equal 6!

I hadn't paid too much attention to the spelling of Cecilia. I had jumped to the conclusion that there was only one Cecilia, because of an artical that I had found on-line. The artical referred to Cecilia as being the last survivor of the Tontine scheme. All the details about her family fitted in exactly with those on the D.A. about Cecilia of Orbiston. The only additional information, was that the artical said that William Douglas, Merchant in Glasgow, bought one of her shares.

As this fitted in with Sir Williams will - William bought a £50 share for Cecilia daughter of John, a Merchant in Glasgow, I thought this must be one and the same person. However, now I'm not so sure, and think I may have been guilty of jumping to conclusions.

I couldn't remember what the artical was called, so I re -googled 'Cecilia Douglas Tontine'. This time I discovered a different artical. This artical repeated all the information I had previously read, BUT suggested that the William Douglas who bought the share for Cecilia was 'probably' her grandfather.

So, there could well be two Cecilias each with a share in the coffee house....

I'm really sorry for adding to the confusion about this already confusing family. Every new discovery only poses even more questions.

I still don't understand why the John in the will is not mentioned as a brother, if he is a brother.

I am now really intrigued to know what did become of the 'missing' brother John.



Comment by Bob Henry on September 29, 2011 at 19:51

With the aid of a magnifying glass and with the benefit of a second opinion on my somewhat faded and difficult to read handwritten copy of the will (phew!), John's daughter could well be Cecilia and not Cecelia, as I had previously deciphered and posted. So my apologies to you both if this has been a misleading factor.

I can only remain uncertain if John and Cecilia were related to Sir William, given that there is no mentioned of kin. My understanding is that anyone could be nominated under the Tontine scheme so are we, because of my deciphering error, now considering only one Cecilia?  I think so.

You found, Julia, that John's daughter, Cecilia, married Gilbert Douglas which would now mean that the 1837 'Mort Cloth' I referred to in my posting of Sept. 8 is not at all relevant. 

All very confusing but where is John, who is mentioned as a brother in Sir William's will.........?


Comment by julia kilfoyle on September 25, 2011 at 14:35

I don't think there was a Cecilia of Castle Douglas, (at least not one I'm aware of). The Cecilia mentoned in the will of Sir William of CD, was described as the daughter of John a Glasgow Merchant. Bob has noted that Sir William unusually did not describe his relationship to John or Cecilia, suggesting that they might not have been kin.

Everything that I have read about Cecilia of Orbiston, describes her father as John a Glasgow Merchant.

Here on the Douglas Archives Cecilia of Orbiston is noted to be last survivor of the original nominees on the Tontine buildings, two shares being dependant on her life.

The artical I read also said this, noting that a William Douglas was one of the people nominating her.

As Sir William's will says that he purchased a share for a Cecilia daughter of John, I can't help but think this must be the same Cecilia. The shares were purchased in 1781/1782, so this would have been before Cecilia married. The only bit that doesn't quite add up, is that Sir Williams will is of 1809, by which time Cecilia had married, yet she is still referred to as Miss.

This doesn't help establish what the connection is between Cecilia and Sir William, but does seem to suggest that she wasn't his neice.

Unless I've got entirely the wrong end of the stick, which is quite probable!! If so, please feel free to put me straight!

Comment by William Douglas on September 25, 2011 at 13:09

I have 6 Cecilias in my database, so I do not think it that unusual a name.

I cannot find a connection between Cecilia of Orbiston and the Cecelia of Castle Douglas.  The former was presented to Queen Victoria. I do not see the latter moving in those circles.

The difference in spelling Cecilia/Cecelia may be accurate.

Comment by julia kilfoyle on September 25, 2011 at 12:31

I've just googled 'Cecilia Douglas Torontine Coffee House', and come up with the following: Cecilia had two shares the coffee house,bought for her, at £50 each, the first by Alexander McCaul, Glasgow Merchant and the second by William Douglas, Glasgow Merchant. It says Cecilia was the last survivor of the scheme, she died in 1862 aged 91. Miss Cecilia Douglas was the daughter of John Douglas, Glasgow Merchant and sister of Sir Neil. She later became Mrs Gilbert Douglas of Orbiston.

So... does this mean Cecilia wasn't the neice of Sir William? And who was the Cecilia Douglas who died in 1837?

William - thanks for the old photo and history of the Douglas Arms, in your earlier posting.

Comment by Bob Henry on September 10, 2011 at 14:45

Yes, could well be the same Cecelia as I would not have thought there were all that many of the same name in those times.  The only thing which continues to nag at me is the fact that John and Cecelia were not mentioned as being kin in the will, while the others were.  Maybe just an oversight, of course.  Sorry, I had forgotten about the article in the D.A. which I had read in the past but, as usual, had forgotten about. 

When next in C.D., I will include a photo of Sir Will's coat of arms, which I recall forms part of the burgh sign. This will likely be in a couple of weeks time as I am off hunting for salmon in Aberdeenshire for three days, then I will be in our capital for three days, hunting for! 

Comment by William Douglas on September 10, 2011 at 0:19

Maybe Cecelia Douglas, daughter of Mr John Douglas (below) is the same as the one mentioned in the article on Orbiston/Douglas Park here in the Douglas Archives?

I have been trying to sort that family's connections with the Douglases of Leith for sometime, but had not made a connection with Castle Douglas before. Umm.

Comment by William Douglas on September 10, 2011 at 0:03
Bob, I was looking for a photograph of the sign, with Sir William's coat of arms.  I am already in trouble with the copyright owner of the one image that I could find, so if you were able to take one, that would be good, please.
Comment by Bob Henry on September 9, 2011 at 21:13

Excellent historic photograph and piece of history, William. The inn has somewhat changed since then and now returns round the corner but it still retains it's character and remains a popular watering hole. I will pick-up a photo when next passing together with one of the Kings Arms, for interest here.

I'm not sure that I can say anything safely these days, Julia, given some of my recent postings!! If you Google 'John Douglas, Merchant, Glasgow', you will see some interesting material on various Douglas families and, interestingly, the name Cecelia appears but whether she can be tied-in in any way to the Cecelia and John mentioned in Sir Will's will, would probably involve quite a bit of sleuthing.

Pleased that you are finding new and interesting information.

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?

© 2023   Created by William Douglas.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service