William Domine Douglas (1732 - 1807)

CT, United States

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Nicknames: "Domini"
Place of Burial: CT, United States
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Belfast, Antrim, Ireland
Death: Died in Shoreham, Addison, Vermont, United States
Managed by: Margaret, (C)
Last Updated:

About William Domine Douglas

Dominie Douglass, the common ancestor of all the Douglass families names in the foregoing register, was born at or near Belfast in Ireland, 2 May 1732. His parents were of Scotch decent and undoubtedly belonged to higher class of society as Dominie well remembered that his father was a man of some distinction; had horses and servants and kept up an expensive establishment. But both his parents died when Dominie was only six or seven years old leaving him to care of an elder brother who was then an adult, who for motives unknown whether good or bad cannot now be known, placed Dominie board a merchant vessel when he was about eight years old, providing him extremely well with clothing suitable for a gentleman’s child.

The captain of the vessel made much of him. They sailed to Holland and thence to America--Rhode Island at Providence near which the captain left Dominie with orders to have him kept at school until the captain should return, providing for his support and schooling for several months. But the captain never return nor did Dominie ever hear from him or of his Irish relation afterwards. In those days a voyage to Europe was a great undertaking and an intercourse by letters or otherwise was a great undertaking.

The lad was kept at school for some time after the funds left were exhausted. When no claim being made for him nor anything heard from the captain or his other friends, little Dominie was bound apprentice by the town authorities to a farmer by the name of Wheaton in Seabank, Massachusetts.

In this family he grew up to manhood after which he served several campaigns as a volunteer in the Old French War. Returning at the close of the war from the northern frontier, he stooped at New Milford, Connecticut where he became acquainted with Mary Warner whom he married May 5, 1760. This Mary Warner was a good and most amiable grandmother. She was the daughter of John Warner of New Milford, then deceased, and of Sarah, his wife. She was born at New Milford December 10, 1743. Her father died eleven days after her birth. Her mother remained a widow and died when Mary was about thirteen or fourteen years old.

Dominie and Mary settled on a farm three or four miles south of the present village of New Milford Church where they remained about 26 years, (though, I believe, not quite all that time on that farm.) there, all their child were born.

Grandfather Douglass served a number of campaigns as a militia ,man in the Revolutionary War. (Dominie Douglass served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain John St. John’s Company, 5th Connecticut Regiment commanded by Colonel Philip B. Bradley. He enlisted July 1, 1780 and was discharged December 27, 1780. (This was copied from records of the War Department, Washington D.C.)

In the course of that war he lost nearly all his property by selling his land for Continental bills which soon depreciated to almost nothing. I saw some of those old bills in his old pocketbook. When I (Laura Hubble Dobell) was a child in 1785 or’86, they moved with most of their children to Shoreham, Vermont where Grandfather Douglass purchased a new farm of wild land and with the aid if his sons, cleared it up. On this farm he reminded, with a short exception, until his death at the age of seventy-five on 4th of April, 1807.

Grandmother Douglass married a second husband, David Cutting, of Orville, the Grandfather of Azariah Cutting Flaggso long known as a comptroller of the state of New York, with whom she lived until her decease 1 March 1819. Her second husband, survived her many years and died December 31, 1833 at the age of ninety-one years of age. Dominie and Mary lie side by side in the small burying ground in the south part of Shoreham, Vermont. A double stone marks the place of their repose. Inscribed on the stone are these words -- “In memory of Dominie who died April 4, 1807, Age 75 years and Mary, Wife of Dominie Douglass and afterwards Wife of David Cutting, Died March 1, 1819, age 75 years. The Righteous Shall Be Had In Everlasting Remembrance” (Copied off by Mrs. Laura Dobell)

-------------------- aka William, Domina, Dominie, Dominia, Douglas

WARNING: The parentage and ancestry of Domini Douglass has been brought into question by DNA evidence as of a new study in 2007-2008. It may be that Domini is not the son of George as previously thought. We will await further evidence as it becomes available.

DESCENDANT OF CHARLEMAGNE, ALFRED THE GREAT, WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, HENRY I, EMPRESS MATILDA, HENRY II, KING JOHN, HENRY III, EDWARD I, EDWARD II, EDWARD III, JOHN OF GAUNT, SIR WILLIAM MARSHALL, STRONGBOW DE CLARE, AND LADY GODIVA

DESCENDANT OF ROBERT THE BRUCE, ROBERT II, SIR WILLIAM "BRAVEHEART" WALLACE, MALCOLM III, DAVID I, WILLIAM THE LION, THE ANCIENT KINGS OF SCOTLAND, LADY MACBETH, AND SOMERLED LORD OF THE ISLES

DESCENDANT OF KING BRIAN BORU OF IRELAND, LLEWELYN THE GREAT OF WALES, KING LOUIS VII OF FRANCE AND ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE

GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER OF EDUCATOR JOHN DEWEY

DISTANT RELATION OF PRINCESS DIANA SPENCER AND HER SONS PRINCES WILLIAM AND HENRY WINDSOR, AND FIRST LADY DOLLEY MADISON

REVOLUTIONARY WAR VETERAN

FRENCH & INDIAN WAR VETERAN

A BIOGRAPHY OF DOMINI DOUGLASS, by Larry Overmire (5G Grandson):

There is a great deal of mystery surrounding Domini's origins, but the story goes as follows: Domini (aka William) was born in or near Belfast, Ireland, toward the end of his father George's life and brought up it is believed on one of his Irish estates. William Cutter in his The Genealogical and Family History of Western New York (1912) claims his mother was Frances Adderley, but dates for Frances's birth conflict, and some contend she would have been too old to have been the mother. Therefore, it has been suggested that Domini was an illegitimate son of his father by an unknown mistress. In any case, his father and mother having both died, Domini was placed in the care of his elder half-brothers. William Cutter comments: "when William [Domini] was only about six years of age, his older brothers, for some unknown reason, desired to rid themselves of his presence, and to profit by his absence. It is believed that this desire was very likely due to the wish to deprive him of his share of the inheritance of the Adderly estates in England, which were extensive and rich. His brothers were successful in this, and through the early death of the second brother [Robert] the whole Adderly inheritance came to the eldest brother James." Whatever the reason, shortly after his father's death in 1738, six-year-old Domini was provided with clothes befitting the son of a gentleman and placed on a ship bound for Holland and thence to America. The Captain was given a large sum of money to see that the boy was provided for. On arrival in Providence, Rhode Island, he placed Domini in a school with appropriate funds to pay for his keeping. Cutter asserts that "an intermittent correspondence was kept up with the brothers," but eventually "the funds became exhausted and the letters from home ceased." Domini was on his own and had to fend for himself. The town authorities bound him as an apprentice to a farmer named Wheaton in Seekonk, Massachusetts. He grew up with this family, and upon reaching manhood, volunteered for service in the military. He is listed several times in the rolls of the French and Indian War. In 1756, he served as a private in Capt. John Wood's 8th Company, 4th Regiment, and is listed as "Sick at fort Edw." In 1759, he served as a private in the 10th Company of Col. David Wooster's Third Regiment of Connecticut Levy. In 1761 and 1762, he was in Capt. Archable McNeal's Company. On returning from the war, he stopped in New Milford, Connecticut where he met and soon married Mary Warner. The couple established a farm a few miles south of New Milford Church and would raise eleven children together. On July 1, 1780, at the age of 48, Domini again enlisted for service, this time in the Revolutionary War, as a private in Captain John St. John's Company of the 5th Connecticut Regiment commanded by Colonel Philip B. Bradley. He was discharged later that year on December 27. But during the course of the war, Domini lost nearly all his property, having sold his land for Continental bills which depreciated to almost nothing. In about 1785, he purchased some land in Shoreham, Vermont, cleared it with the help of his sons, and established a new farm and homestead. There he remained until his death in 1807 at the age of 75. He and Mary are buried next to each other in the center of the Ames-Wright Cemetery in Shoreham. Their stone reads, 'In memory of Domini who died April 4, 1807, Age 75 years and Mary, Wife of Domini Douglass and afterwards Wife of David Cutting, Died March 1, 1819, age 75 years. The Righteous Shall Be Had In Everlasting Remembrance.'

THE MYSTERY OF THE NAME "DOMINI" by Larry Overmire:

It is not clear where Domini got his name. Scottish records show a son William who died young, but no Domini. American records refer to him as Domini (along with various alternative spellings), except for Cutter who calls him both Domini and William. Descendant Dwight Douglass, U.S. Secretary to the 21st Earl of Morton, has one theory: "It is my 'contention' that the Mother in Ireland named the baby 'Dominie,' being Irish and Catholic. George, being Scottish and being perhaps, Protestant, named him 'William.' James, knowing of the situation with his half-brother--told the ship captain his name was 'Dominie.' He then reported to the proper authorities that 'William' died. With James' position as the 14th Earl of Morton and very wealthy, no one would have questioned his statement." It may also be that Domini was a name the boy acquired while in America. In any case, the truth is not now known.

THE MYSTERY OF DOMINI'S MOTHER, by Larry Overmire:

William Cutter states that Domini was the son of George Douglas and Frances Adderley, but Frances's birthdate of 1664 shown here would make her 68 years old at the time of Domini's birth. Other sources on the Internet show later dates for her birth. Her son James, sources show, was born between 1702 and 1709, and some show son Robert as born in 1709 or 1711. These dates would make her at least 38 years old when she had James and 45 when she had Robert. Certainly, this would suggest that the 1664 date for Frances's birth may well be inaccurate as one would think Frances would have had children well before her middle-aged years. George's birth is shown as 1662. Frances was his second wife. It was not uncommon for men of his age to take a much younger bride, and George, childless at the time, must have wanted heirs from this marriage. Assuming then that Frances was about 18 when she had James, that would put her birthdate at about 1684-1791, 22-29 years younger than George, and make her about 41-48 years old when she had Domini in 1732. In that case, she would have been into her forties, an unlikely, though not impossible, age for giving birth to Domini. And if Frances were several years older than 18 when she had her first child, the likelihood she would have given birth to Domini becomes even more remote. It has been suggested therefore, but not proven, that Domini was the illegitimate child of George and a mistress, perhaps an Irish mistress. More research is definitely needed, especially to confirm the dates of birth for the various individuals involved.

THE DOUGLAS HERITAGE, by Larry Overmire:

The Douglas clan is one of the most prominent in all of Scottish history. Scotland Magazine noted, "It is said that if the name of Douglas were removed from Scottish history there would be few stories left for the telling. They belong to legend as much as to history. Whatever they did was dramatic and usually memorable and were Scotland's outstanding representatives in the Age of Chivalry. Obviously, if the Douglases had not existed it would have been necessary for Sir Walter Scott to invent them." Dominie Douglass descends from the Earls of Morton and the branch of the family known as the Black Douglases. Their Douglas Castle was called "Castle Dangerous" by Sir Walter Scott for it was a focal point of activity for the Scottish rebels led by William "Braveheart" Wallace and Robert the Bruce in their quest for independence. One of the most notable of the clan, Sir James the 6th Lord Douglas was called "The Black Douglas" by the English and "Good Sir James" by the Scots. A close friend of Robert the Bruce, he fought at Bannockburn and carried the dead king's heart to the Holy Land, hurling it at the enemy as he fell in battle. The Douglas coat of arms carries the heart of Robert the Bruce to this day. Another Douglas relation, Archibald the 4th Earl, fought for Hotspur Percy against King Henry IV at the Battle of Shrewsbury, a story immortalized by William Shakespeare in his play, HENRY IV, PART ONE. Archibald "Bell the Cat" 5th Earl Angus was a great great grandson of King Robert III of Scotland. He became High Chancellor of Scotland in the reign of James IV. His grandson Archibald 6th Earl of Angus married Henry VIII's sister Margaret, the widow of King James IV of Scotland. Bonnie Prince Charlie is one of their descendants. The 6th Earl Angus's daughter Margaret was the mother-in-law of Mary Queen of Scots and the grandmother of King James I of England. In more recent times, John Sholto Douglas Marquess of Queensberry formulated the rules that govern modern boxing (1865).

THE 1790 CENSUS (FIRST U.S. CENSUS)

He appears as "Domini Douglass" in the 1790 census for Shoreham, Addison Co, VT.

PRIMARY SOURCES:

There are two main sources that document Domini's story and both are in close agreement in the details. The first is a family record handed down by Laura Hubble Dobell, granddaughter of Domini and Mary, and the second is William Cutter's The Genealogical and Family History of Western New York, 1912, pp. 466, 468-9. The Scots Peerage makes note only of the son William Douglas as having died young. The brothers apparently covered up their unscrupulous misdeed quite well. Descendant Dwight Douglass conjectures that they may even have told the sea captain that the lad's name was Domini and perhaps that is how he got the name.

Domini and Mary are buried in the center of the Ames-Wright Community Cemetery in Shoreham. On Domini's tombstone, the first name is spelled "Domini" and the surname is spelled "Douglass."

----------------------

FROM CONNECTICUT SOLDIERS, FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, 1755-62:

Given Name: Domini

Surname: Douglass

Page #: 157

Regiment: Fourth

REGT.COMMAND: Ward, Andrew Col.

Company: Eighth

CO.COMMAND: Wood, John Capt.

Comments: Muster Roll.

Given Name: Dominey

Surname: Douglass

Page #: 161

LOCATION: Connecticut

Regiment: Third

REGT.COMMAND: Wooster, David Colonel & Captain

Company: Tenth

CO.COMMAND: Whitney, Tarball Captain

From: N Milford

CAMPAIGN YEAR: 1759

SOURCE LIST: Muster Roll

Given Name: Domini

Surname: Douglass

Page #: 339

LOCATION: Connecticut

Regiment: Second

REGT.COMMAND: Whiting, Nathan Colonel & Captain

Company: Ninth

CO.COMMAND: McNiel, Archibald Captain

CAMPAIGN YEAR: 1762

SOURCE LIST: Pay-roll

Notes on this website are authored by Larry Overmire, unless noted otherwise. Permission of the author is required to reproduce elsewhere.

Sources:

1) Douglass Family Records of Laura Hubble Dobell, courtesy of Sherry Campbell

2) Records of the War Dept., Washington D.C.

3) Niswender Ancestry, 24 Nov 2003

http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=niswen der&id=I3846

4) Bonnie J. Wernex Database

http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET &db=b12j34w&id=I9033

5) David & Elijah Cutting Old Testament Bible, Published by Mathew Carey with date of August 19, 1805, Wyandot County Museum donated by a Mr. Finkle, courtesy of Bonnie J. Wernex

6) Faith Evjen Database

http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET &db=faythandgus&id=I0001

7) Hamish Maclaren Database

http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET &db=maclaren&id=I31847

8) Maureen Dilley Database, 15 Nov 2002

http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET &db=maureendilley&id=I04239

9) Mary Beth Wheeler Database, 30 Nov 2003

http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET &db=mbwheeler&id=I55161

10) Early Connecticut Marriages as found on Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800, Book III, by Rev. Frederic W. Bailey, New Haven, CT: 1896-1906; reprinted Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968 pg. 113

11) Broderbund Family Archive CD-Rom #397, Marriage Index: Connecticut, 1635-1860, FHL film #1516559

12) Douglass Family files of Dwight Douglass, U.S. Secretary to the 21st Earl of Morton

13) The Genealogical and Family History of Western New York, compiled under the editorial supervision of William Richard Cutter, secretary and historian of NEHGS, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, NY, 1912, p. 466, 468-9.

14) Two Centuries of New Milford, Connecticut, editorial department of the Grafton Press, NEHGS, p.32.

15) Rolls of Connecticut Men in the French and Indian War, 1755-1762, Vol. 1, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, 1903.

16) B. J. Wernex Database

http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET &db=b12j34w&id=I6779

17) PHOTO OF DOMINIE DOUGLASS AND MARY WARNER'S TOMBSTONES, courtesy of Niswender Descendants and Ancestry, by David Niswender, 2004

http://www.freewebz.com/niswender/Dominie.html

18) 1790 census, Shoreham, Addison Co, VT, Roll M637_12, Page 14, Image 0217

19) Connecticut Men in the Revolutionary War, Ancestry.com

20) Connecticut Soldiers, French and Indian War, 1755-62, Ancestry.com

21) U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783, Ancestry.com

22) Douglas yDNA project, Family Tree DNA, 2007-2008

http://www.familytreedna.com:80/public/Douglas/

view all 16

Domini Douglas's Timeline

1732
May 2, 1732
Belfast, Antrim, Ireland
1760
May 5, 1760
Age 28
New Milford, Litchfield, CT
1761
October 3, 1761
Age 29
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA
1763
October 9, 1763
Age 31
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA
1764
1764
Age 31
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA
1766
1766
Age 33
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA
1769
1769
Age 36
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA
1772
February 18, 1772
Age 39
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA
1774
February 6, 1774
Age 41
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA
1777
November 20, 1777
Age 45
New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut, USA