An American Family History

Captain Benjamin Douglas

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,
and, under a just God cannot retain it."
― Abraham Lincoln
Alternate spellings of Douglas: Dougals, Doughlass, Douglace, Douglass, Dougless, Douglasse, Dowglas, Dowglass, Duglas, Duglass
Maryland was established with religious freedom for Catholics. The colonial economy was based on tobacco cultivated by Africans who had been enslaved.

Captain Benjamin Douglas was born about 1685 in Charles County, Maryland. His parents were John Douglas and Catherine Heard. He swore in court that he was 50 years old in 1737, He was a planter in southern Maryland.

He married Elizabeth Land about 1707. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on Benjamin and Elizabeth Douglas.

In 1714, he and his brother, Joseph, were named in their brother-in-law, Charles Brandt's, will as his nearest relative.

In 1716 he witnessed the will of Elizabeth Howard. Elizabeth was his sister's, sister-in-law.

In 1734 he witnessed the will of his sister's, brother-in-law, William Stevens Howard.

He signed his will on May 11, 1743.

John Douglas (1636) bought Cold Spring Manor on May 10, 1677 from Josias Fendall for 22,000 pounds of tobacco. It consisted of a home on 1,050 acres on the west side of the Patuxent River in Mt. Calvert Hundred (now part of Patuxent Hundred) in Prince George's County, Maryland. The manor came with all rights of "Lord of the Manor."

500 acres was inherited by his John's son John Douglas (1664) who left it to his son, Benjamin Douglas (1685) who sold part in 1705. The residue of Cold Spring was inherited by John's younger sons, Joseph Douglas (1675) and Charles Douglas (1678).

Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.
Old Style Calendar
Before 1752 the year began on Lady Day, March 25th,. Dates between January 1st and March 24th were at the end of the year. Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are used to indicate whether the year has been adjusted. Often both dates are used.

Planter is an archaic term for a settler. Plantation was a method of colonization where settlers were "planted" abroad. A plantation is also the kind of large farm that was the economical basis of many American Colonies and owners of these farms were also called planters.

Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.



Charles County Maryland Circuit Court Records, Liber H#2, Page 482
27 Feb 1721; Recorded at request of Col. Walter Story, Gent.:
24 Mar 1717/18;
Letter to Mr. Story announcing safe arrival at Liverpoole of his tobacco; mentions goods with Mr. Edden, Mr. Lusting being under sail; mentions Thomas Harris, Mr. Hanson, and Benjamin Douglas and wife; now bound for Jamaica, then Liverpoole, then Virginia;
Your Affectionate Friend,
Tho. Pallin

A gentleman had no title, but descended from an aristocratic family, was of the landed gentry, and had a coat of arms.



George Thomas, Chas. Co.,
pr. 22 Dec. 1738...
Son George & residuary heir & ex., son Benj., to care of Capt. Benjamin Douglas to age 21


Abstracts of Maryland Wills Liber 27 1748-1750

11 May 1743
Dougless, Benjamine
, Charles Co.
To son John Dougless, Blithwood, the land where he lives.
To son Benjamine Dougless, the part of Causeens Maner where I live, but my wife is to have use of sd land for her widhood.
To dau Penellope Dougless, negro girl Jane.
To wife and extrx. (not named) ⅓  my p.e. and the rest equ. div. among my chldn: Benjamin Dougless, Charles Dougless, Mary Wilson, Sarah Dougless, Joseph Dougless, Penellope Dougless, Thomas Dougless and Jess Dougless.
Witn: Thos. Thompson, John Causeen, Aaron Goodrick.
13 Oct 1749, sworn to by all 3 wit. in presence of John Douglass, hir at law.

In contracts and pleadings usually people and things mentioned before are designated by the term said (sd ) for clarity. Aforesaid (afd, afsd, aforesd ) means it was already mentioned.
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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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