An American Family History

Benjamin Douglas and Elizabeth Land

Charles County, Maryland
“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

Charles County is in south central Maryland and was created in 1658. The first settlers were mainly English tobacco planters, their indentured servants and enslaved people. Many of of the settlers were Roman Catholic. The county, as originally laid out, also included parts of present day Calvert, Prince George's and St. Mary's Counties.

It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

Many young healthy people died in colonial Maryland due to outbreaks of malaria and yellow fever.

Captain Benjamin Douglas and Elizabeth Land married about 1707. They lived in Charles County, Maryland where they owned Blythswood Manor.

Benjamin Douglas was born about 1707.

John Douglas was born about 1709.

Charles Douglas was born in 1714.

In 1714 Benjamin sold his share in Cold Spring Manor to Francis Collier.

A letter dated March 24, 1717/18 from Thomas Pallin to Walter Story mentioned that Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Douglas were bound for Jamaica, then Liverpool, and then Virginia.

Mary Douglas Wilson was born about 1718.

Joseph Douglas was born about 1721.

Penelope Douglas was born about 1724.

Sarah Douglas Stone was born in 1727.

Thomas Douglas

Jesse Douglas was born in 1733.

John Douglas married in 1734 in Charles County. Mary Douglas married in 1740 in Charles County.

In 1738 George Thomas made him the guardian of his son, Benjamin.

Benjamin and Elizabeth both died about 1749.

He died before February 13, 1749/50 at Causine's Manor [also known as Causin's Manor or Mount Air], Charles County, Maryland. Causine's Manor was originally 1,000 acres granted to Nicholas Causine It was in Port Tobacco Lower Hundred, five miles from the town of Portobacco.

Benjamin's estate was probated on October 13, 1749. His wife, Elizabeth. was the executrix. She received her dower right of one third the estate. He left his son, John, Blythswood and he left his son, Benjamin, part of Causine's Manor with the stipulation that his wife, Elizabeth, could use the land while she remained a widow. He passed on to his daughter, Penelope, an enslaved woman named, Jane. The remainder of the estate went to his children.

The tax list of 1783 shows that Richard Land Douglas was taxed for 157 acres of Causine's Manor.

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.

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).

Blythswood Manor (Blithwood, Blythwood) was surveyed on May 10, 1667 for John Douglas (b. 1636). It was a 100 acre plantation on the north side of the Potomac River in the Piccowaxon area. Blythswood may have been the name of the family manor house in Scotland. Inherited by his son, Robert Douglas then by Benjamin Douglas (b. 1685) then his son, John Douglas (1709) who sold it in 1769.

The first European settlements in Maryland were made in 1634 when English settlers created a permanent colony.
Maryland was established with religious freedom for Catholics. The colonial economy was based on tobacco cultivated by Africans who had been enslaved.
Guardianship is when a court gives an adult custody of a child and/or the responsibility of managing the child's property. Before women could own property, guardians were appointed for their minor children if their husband died.



Charles County is in south central Maryland and was created in 1658. The first settlers were mainly English tobacco planters, their indentured servants and enslaved people. Many of of the settlers were Roman Catholic. The county, as originally laid out, also included parts of present day Calvert, Prince George's and St. Mary's Counties.

Prince George's Land Records 1739-1743 - Liber Y - Page 282.
May 11, 1741 from Francis Collier of Prince George, planter, son and heir of Charles Collier of Prince George, decd, which sd Charles Collier was heir at law to Francis Collier of Prince George, Gent., his uncle, decd, to James Edmonston of Prince George, Gent.

Whereas by deed dated Mar 27, 1714 between Benjamin Dowglass of Charles County, planter, grandson & heir at law of John Dowglass, late of the same county, Gent., of the one part,

and the sd Francis Collier (the uncle of the sd Charles Collier, which sd Charles Collier was father to the now Francis Collier, party to these presents),

by which deed it was recited that whereas the sd John Dowglass, in his lifetime, was seized of a parcel of land lying in the Freshes of Patuxent River in Prince George called Cold Spring Manor, containing 1050 acres

& by his will dated Dec 14, 1678, devised to his son, John Dowglass, father to the sd Benjamin, 550 acres of land, being part of Cold Spring Manor, when he arrived at age 21, with all the privileges belonging to the Lord of a Manor and to his heirs,

which parcel of 550 acres the sd John Dowglass, father of the sd Benjamin Dowglass, by his Prince George deed, sold to sd Francis Collier,

and whereas likewise, by Prince George deed dated May 27, 1701 between Joseph Dowglass of Charles County, Gent., of the one part, and the afd Francis Collier decd of the other part, sd Joseph Dowglass sold to sd Francis Collier, part of a tract of land containing 1050 acres of land called Cold Spring Manor,

formerly granted to Capt Josias Fendall, bounded by a parcel of land that John Dowglass sold to sd Collier standing on the brow of a hill between the two branches of Fendalls Fresh, containing 100 acres.

Now this deed witnesses that the sd Francis Collier, party to these presents, for 30 £, sells to sd James Edmonston, all the sd tract of land containing 550 acres, and all that other tract of land containing 100 acres.

Signed - Francis Collier.
Wit - Thos Dawson, James Kendall, Thos Owen, Jno Hawkins Jr.
Received of Mr. James Edmonston (by the hands of Mr. John Hawkins Jr), the alienation fine.
Recorded May 20, 1741

A gentleman had no title, but descended from an aristocratic family, was of the landed gentry, and had a coat of arms.
The Patuxent River in Maryland drains into the Chesapeake Bay. It marks the boundary between Montgomery, Prince George's, Charles and St. Mary's counties on the west and Howard, Anne Arundel, and Calvert counties on the east.

Estate inventories give us a glance into the home life of Colonial Americans.
Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2023
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