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  • ID: I19587
  • Name: William DOUGLAS
  • Sex: M
  • Title: Deacon
  • Birth: 09 AUG 1610 in Ringstead, England
  • Event: Removed 1660 to New London, CT
  • Baptism: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Burial: old church cemetery, New London, CT
  • Death: 26 JUL 1682 in New London, New London, CT 1
  • Note:
    The exact date of William Douglas' arrival in America is unknown but is thought to be in the year 1640. Tradition says the group landed at Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Cape Ann Lane, the street first settled in New London, Connecticut where William subsequently moved, is said to have received its name from him. William and his family settled first at Gloucester, Massachusetts in present Essex County, on the Atlantic Coast. During the same year, he removed to Boston where the town records show he was allowed on 31 Aug, 1640 to become a townsman, he "behaving himself as becometh a Christian man." But he did not remain long, moving the next year to Ispwich, where he was entitled to a share of public land on 28 Feb, 16411. He remained there for 4 years, returning to Boston by 1645.

    William Douglas was a cooper in Boston, and on 1 May, 1646, he purchased a house and shop from Walter Merry and Thomas Anchor. On 12 March, 1647 he also bought a small house adjoining the other purchase in which there was a tenant living. Two years later, on 20 June, 1648, William sold a part of his
    house lot, 56 3/4 perches, to Henry Browne of Limehouse. It was described as having 31 feet fronting on the sea and about 5 rods on the street. In Dec of 1659, he made another purchase, the house of New Street owned by William Hough of New London, Connecticut. The Connecticut settlement had begun in
    1633 by Massachusetts colonists who wished to leave the intolerant religious attitudes and to seek new opportunities in the abundant Connecticut valley; New London was created by 1660, located on the Long Island Sound.

    In that year, William moved to New London, which would become his home and that of his descendants for several generations. His family now included a second son, William, their last child and three daughters. He bought a house on the side of the "meeting-house" hill, and the town granted him a tract
    "by the waterside on the bank." In payment for services to the town, he was also granted two farms, the first of 60 acres, three miles west of the town plot with a brook running through. This farm, inherited by his son William, has remained with a direct male descendant for over two centuries. The house
    was described by an historian in 1865 as "being ancient, with heavy overhead timbers propped by rude posts probably belonging to the first dwelling built, which was before 1670."

    William Douglas and Cary Latham were appointed in the winter of 1662-63 as appraisers of property for the town of New London, with their subsequent appraisals delivered t the General Court at Hartford, Connecticut. However, on 11 March 1663, the Court rejected these appraisals, without specific reason, but because "they have not attended any rule of Righteousness in their works, but have acted very corruptly therein and therefore do order the Treasurer that he send forth his warrant to ye Constable at New London to levy four pounds upon the estate of Cary Latham and two pounds upon Mr. Douglas as a fine for their corrupt and deceitful acting therein." The townspeople thought this was too severe so, at the town meeting held on 31 March, it was resolved that, "Whereas Cary Latham and Mr. Douglas are by the Court fined for not fully presenting the town list for 1662, the town sees cause to petition the Court as a grievance, not finding wherein they have failed, except in some few houses." This petition was successful, for on 14 May, 1663, the Court remitted their fines.

    William Douglas continued to be active in civic and church affairs, being elected in 1676 one of the first two deacons the New London Congregational Church. He and other members were involved in procuring a minister, William travelling to Boston to secure the services of Simon Bradstreet; for this service the town added 20 acres to his farm. Upon the minister's arrival, the town bought a house for him from William until a parsonage could be built. This land, together with that upon which the parsonage was built, was by vote reserved for the use of the ministry forever, never to be sold. Today, on this land is the first burial ground of New London and this is where Deacon William Douglas is interred.

    While serving as the town clerk, on 15 August, 1667, William was chosen to hold the box of contributions to be offered to Rev. Bradstreet and William Nichols for their advice concerning the contents. At that time the Congregational Church was the established church of the Connecticut Colony,
    and all landowners were taxed for the support of the church and ministry, as well as for the common defense and town expenses.

    Another farm of 100 acres was granted to William on 9 December, 1667; it lay towards the head of the Jordan Brook, about four miles from town on the northeast side of the swamp called Cranberry Meadow, with the Indian path from Mohegan to Nayhanic running across the farm. His son, Robert, inherited
    this farm which was also in possession in 1879 of the family through direct male descendants.

    When King Phillip's War broke out in 1875, it was necessary for the colonists to take measures for their safety. At a council at Hartford on May 19, 1676, Daniel Witherrel and William Douglas were elected to be commissioner to the Army at New London, to oversee the provisions, arms, ammunitions and other necessities of war, and to keep a true account of their transactions. The next month, the council ordered Mr. Witherall and William to send to Norwich, Connecticut, for delivery to the Commissary, 700
    breads, a barrel of pork, 50 Lbs. Of tobacco, 10 bushels of peas, and 50 bushels of Indian corn, together with powder and bullets, all of which was to be at Norwich the following Monday night.

    Over the years, William served as Townsman, "recorder and moderator", "sender and packer", and was on several committees. In 1672, and twice afterward, he was chosen deputy to the General Court at Hartford. It is apparent that he was one of the most prominent members of New London and continued with his church activities until his death. The diary of the Rev. Simon Bradstreet, preserved through the years, has the following entry:
    "1682, June 26, Mr. William Douglas, one of ye Deacons of this Church, dyed in ye 72 years of his age. He was an able Christian & this poor church will much want him."

    In May, 1670, his wife, then sixty years old made a journey to Boston and appeared before Governor Bellingham to establish her claim as heir to her father's property in England. James Johnson and the widow Elizabeth Meares, then of Boston, but formerly of Little Broughton, Northamptonshire, testified that they had known her and her family in England and that she was the daughter of Thomas, and sister of Robert Maple, of Ringstead. She was proved legal heir to both.

    Father: Robert DOUGLAS b: 08 JUN 1588 in Scotland

    Marriage 1 Ann MABLE b: 1610 in Ringstead, England
    • Married: ABT 1636 in England 2
    1. Has Children Ann DOUGLAS b: 1637 in Scotland
    2. Has No Children Robert Douglas b: 1639 in Scotland
    3. Has No Children Elizabeth Douglas b: 26 AUG 1641 in Ipswich, MaBayColony
    4. Has No Children Sarah Douglas b: 08 APR 1643 in Ipswich, MaBayColony
    5. Has No Children William Douglas b: 01 APR 1645 in Boston, MaBayColony

    1. Title: Death record
      Source Medium: Manuscript

      Page: VR of New London
    2. Author: Clarence Almon Torrey
      Title: Torrey's New England Marriages Prior to 1700
      Publication: Name: New England Marriages Prior to 1700 published on CD-ROM by NEHGS in 2002; Location: personal files of Alfred Rose;
      Source Medium: Other

      an excellent index with original source annotations

      Text: DOUGLAS, William (1610-1682) & Ann MATTLE/MATLAT?/ MOLTEY?/MABLE? (1610-1685); in Eng, abt. 1636; Gloucester/Boston/New London {Reg. 31:166, 85:144; LBDF&P (1913) 56; Andover Anc. 22; Call (1908) 20; Woodstock 3:303; Winthrop-Babcock 172; Booth (1910) 67; Miner Anc. 98-99; Noyes-Gilman 290; Gary 35; Gen Mag. 2:284; Chandler 16; Davis-Bancroft 72; Bowen 176-8; Goodrich 105}
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