An American Family History

John Douglas, Jr.

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.

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

John Douglas, Jr. was born before March 4, 1664 in Charles County, Maryland. His parents were Colonel John Douglas and Sarah Bonner.

When he was an infant he inherited Beach Neck in Charles County from William and Bridget Heard. Beach Neck's title was later disputed. William and Bridget were his future parents-in-law.

In 1679, when his father died, the will provided that he inherit part of Cold Spring Manor when he was 21 years old. He sold part of his share of Cold Spring Manor to Francis Collier.

The four acre Douglas Delight was surveyed on July 16, 1679 for John Douglas. It was patented in 1681 by John Douglas.

He married Catherine Heard. Their children and life together are described in detail in the section on John and Catherine Heard.

On August 16, 1710 an indenture from James Gould, planter, to Josias Cuttance, schoolmaster; for 1,500# tobacco; a parcel called Douglas Delight.

John died in his early 40s.

Beach Neck (Locust Grove, Beech Neck) was a plantation in Charles County, Maryland taken up by William Heard in 1644 and left to his wife Bridget Yowkins. In 1655 Bridget left half her property to her sister and half to her grandson, John Douglas, Jr. John sold to it to Philip Lynes and in 1697, Philip Lynes leased it to John Ward. The title to the property was later disputed.
Children of Colonel John Douglas and Sarah Bonner:
  • John Douglas
  • Robert Douglas
  • Sarah Douglas Gifford Barnes
  • Elizabeth Douglas Brandt Howard Thompson
  • Joseph Douglas
  • Charles Douglas
  • 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).

    Tobacco is a native American herb that is cultivated for its leaves which are prepared for smoking, chewing or snuff. In parts of colonial America, it was used as money. Tobacco plantations in the colonial south fueled the need for enslaving people.


    A society's legal system reveals much about it. A broad spectrum of behavior was considered criminal in Colonial Maryland and punishment was harsh.

    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 1,050 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

    Prince George's County, Maryland was created in 1696 from portions of Charles, and Calvert Counties. It was divided into six districts called hundreds: Mattapany, Patuxant, Collington, Mount Calvert, Piscattoway, and New Scotland. A part the county became Frederick County in 1748.
    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.

    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.

    A gentleman had no title, but descended from an aristocratic family, was of the landed gentry, and had a coat of arms.
    The first European settlements in Maryland were made in 1634 when English settlers created a permanent colony.

    Colonial Maryland used the headright system to encourage settlement. Land was granted to anyone who would pay fthe transportation costs of a laborer.

    Seals were used to authenticate documents and men were expected to have a personal die. Records in deed books are copies and signatures are usually in the clerk’s handwriting. The clerk drew a circle around the word “seal” to indicate that the original document was sealed.

    Chancery Court Proceedings, 1679

    An Inquisition Indented and taken at Pickawaxen in Charles County this Sixteenth day of July in the fourth year of the Dominion of the Rt Honble Charles absolute Lord and Propry of the Provinces of maryland & Avalon Lord Baron of Baltemore &c and in the year of our Lord one thousand Six hundred Seventy and nine

    before Henry Adams and Ignatius Caussen Gentln

    By virtue of a Commission in the nature of a writt of mandamus [is an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly fulfill their official duties or correct an abuse of discretion] to them directed and to this Inquisition annexed

    to Enquire after the Death of William Heard late of Charles County deceased

    by the Oaths of Henry Bonner, William Hinsey, John Harvey Thomas Gibson Robert
    Inglesby, William Ward, Thomas Craxstone Arthur Turner, Edmund Dennis, Thomas Wakefield, George Newman & Joseph Bullett Jurors

    upon their Oaths

    Says that the Sd Willm Heard dyed Seized of at the time of his Death as of ffee in the County of Charles upon the day of wch he dyed (viz) the fourth day of January one thousand Six hundred Sixty four of one thousand acres of Land Lying Scituate & being at the head of Portobacco Creek in the County of Charles County Comonly known and Called by the name of Beech neck

    though not Patented in the life time of the Sd William Heard,

    but by assignments of Severall warrants from Humphrey Warren late of this County deced to the Said William Heard in his life time

    doth appear to us to Remain upon Record in the Secretarys office of this Province for the Said one thousand acres of Land as by Patent Granted unto Coll. John Douglas late of this County deceased the Exr of Bridgett Heard the Relict of the Said William Heard for the use of the Legatees exprest in the will of the Said Bridgett,

    By the Rt Honble the Lord Propry of Maryland

    according to his Grant under the broad Seale of this Province bearing date the two and twentieth day of September in the four and Thirtieth year of the Dominion of the Right Honble Caecilius of happy memory

    and in the year of our Lord one thousand Six hundred Sixty and five

    as by the Said Grant Recourse being thereunto had it doth & may more at Large appear To be holden of his Lord ship's mannor of Zachiah in free and Common Soccage [socage - land held by a tenant who rendered certain honorable and nonservile duties to his lord] by fealty only for all manner of Services Yeilding

    and paying therefore yearly at the two most usuall feasts in the year vit at the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary & at the feast of St Michael the Archangell by Even & Equall portions the Rent of Twenty Shillings Sterling in Silver or Gold

    And we the Said Jurors Say that the Said one thousand acres of Land in all profits and issues thereof is worth five hundred pounds of Tobacco p annum

    and further we the Said Jurors Say that the sd one thousand acres (p. 243 fol. 297) of Land hath been Occupied and possessed by the Said John Douglas by virtue of the aforesaid Grant as Executor of Bridgett Heard for the use of the Legattees menconed in the will of the Bridgett Heard

    & that the Said John Douglas hath Received the profits & issues thereof untill about November last past, and hath paid his Lordships Rents for the Said one thousand acres of Land untill that time

    and Since, thence and now the Said one thousand acres of Land is in the possession of the Honble Collo Benjamin Rozer, But by what means we the Jurors aforesaid are altogether Ignorant

    And further we the Said Jurors Say that John Douglas Junr the Son of the afd John Douglas deceased is the Sole Surviveing Legatee of the Sd Bridgett Heard according to the best information we can gett, therefore we the Said Jurors do find that the Said John Douglas is the true and Lawfull heir to the Said one thousand acres of Land no other Legattee appearing to us to be Liveing and that the Said John Douglas is fifteen years of age,

    And We the Jurors aforesd (fol. 298) further Say that we find not William Heard aforesd possessed within his life any more Lands,

    In Testimony whereof as well the Commissionrs as the Jurors as aforesaid to these prsent Indentures have Set their hands and Seals the day and year first above Written
    William [sic] Adames (sealed)

    Ignatius Causeene sealed
    Henry Bonner sealed
    Thomas Craxton sealed
    Willm Hinsey sealed
    Arthur Turner sealed
    John Harvey sealed
    Edw.d Dennis sealed
    Thomas Gibson sealed
    Thos Wakefield sealed
    Robert Inglesby sealed
    George Newman sealed
    William Ward sealed
    Joseph Bullett sealed

    Lord Baltimore, Cecil Calvert (1605 -1675), 2nd Baron Baltimore was the first governor of Maryland.
    Phillip Calvert (1626–1682), was the 5th governor from 1660 to1665.
    Charles Calvert (1637 – 1715), 3rd Baron Baltimore inherited the colony in 1675.


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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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