An American Family History

John 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.
It was common for bequests to include wearing apparel.

John Douglas was born about 1709 in Charles County, Maryland. He was the son of Captain Benjamin Douglas and Elizabeth Land. He swore in court that he was 45 years old in 1754.

On September 10, 1722, his father had the brand mark of a gray mare recorded for him. Thomas Hole gave John the mare. The mark was ulu on the near buttock.

He married Eleanor Howard about 1734 in Charles County, Maryland. She was born after 1715. She was the daughter of Captain John Howard and Rebecca Brooke.

Eleanor and John's children probably included:
John Douglas, Jr. (1734, married Frances Barnes daughter of Godshall Barnes),
Richard Land Douglas (1735),
Rebecca Douglas (1739, probably married Thomas Hussey Luckett),
Anne Douglas (1740),
Benjamin Douglas (1745),
Elizabeth Douglas (1748),
Eleanor Douglas, and
Joanna Douglas (1757).

Eleanor was mentioned in her father, Captain John Howard's, will which was signed on February 2, 1742 in Charles County. She inherited personal property.

In 1744 they resided at Blythswood in Charles County. It was on the main road from Piccowaxen Church. He inherited it from his father about 1749.

In 1752 John Douglas's seating number in the William and Mary Parish was 16.

In 1769, her mother left her and her sister her wearing apparel. On July 26, 1769 John Douglass sold Blythswood to Theophilus Yates for 205£.

Eleanor died about 1769 in Charles County.

John appeared on the census of 1778 at East Hundred, Port Tobacco in Charles County. John, Jr. died in 1778.

He signed his will on March 29, 1779 at Causens Manor in Charles County. He left his land at Causens Manor and Wathen's Adventure to his oldest surviving son, Richard Land Douglas. He passed on enslaved people to his other children and divided the remainder of the estate among all his children.

He died in 1780 in Charles County.

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.

Piccowaxen Creek is just south of Morgantown, Maryland. It has been spelled as Pickawaxon, Pickiawaxen, Pickwixon, Pyckywaxen and Pykawaxon in Douglas family documents.

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.

The American Revolution was ended in 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed.




Charles County Land Record Book O#3, 1765-1770;
Page 322. Jan 7, 1768 from John Wathen of CC, planter, to Thomas Contee of CC.

Ignatius Wathen, decd, by his will dated May 1, 1757, bequeathed to his son, John Wathen, one part of a parcel of land whereon he did live, commonly called Wathens Adventure, the lines of sd Wathen's part he, sd Ignatius, did mark and show to Charles Douglass, and sd Douglass has shown the same to us,

Now this deed witnesses that sd John Wathen, for 80 £ and for divers other good causes, sells to sd Thomas Contee all that tract of land in CC called Wathens Adventure, bounded by the road that leads to Portobacco, the land of Ignatius Causeen formerly now in the possession of Gerrard Causeen, containing about 80 acres.
Signed - John (+ his mark) Wathen.
Wit - Geo: Dent, Josias Hawkins. Susanna Wathen, widow of Ignatius Wathen afd and mother to the afd John Wathen, relinquished her right of dower. Heneretta, wife of sd John Wathen,relinquished her right of dower.
Recorded Jan 25, 1768.


Charles County Liber L#2, Page 46.

At the request of Benja. Doughlass, the following brand mark was recorded on Sep 10, 1722, it being the brand mark of a gray mare given to Jno Doughlass, son of sd Benja. by Thos Hole and viz. ulu on the near buttock.

Cattle were vital to a household and an important legacy.
Unweaned cattle are calves.
Female cattle are heifers and cows (had a calf).
Male cattle are steers (castrated) and bulls.
are trained draft animals and are often castrated adult male cattle.


The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay and is about 405 miles long.

Charles County Land Record Book O#3, 1765-1770; Page 589.

Jul 26, 1769 from John Douglass Sr of Charles County, planter, to Theophilus Yates of Charles County,

for 205£, a tract of land in Charles County called Blithwood, lying on the north side of Potomack River near Pickawaxion, bounded by land formerly belonging to John Jenkins, containing about 100 acres.
Signed - John Douglass.
Wit - John Winter, Geo Dent.
Recorded Jul 27, 1769.

Piccowaxen Parish, Maryland was on Cobb Neck between the Wicomico and Potomac Rivers. It has been spelled as Pickawaxon, Pickiawaxen, Pickwaten, Pickwixon, Pykawaxen in Douglas family records. Christ Church Wayside was built there in 1692.The parish became William and Mary Parish.

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 Will Book AF-7, 1777-1782; Page 506.

John Douglass his Will, Jul 18, 1780.
I, John Douglass of Charles County, am weak and in a low condition.
First, I want my just debts paid.
To my son Richard Land Douglass - all the land I now live on, it being part of Causeens Mannor, together with a tract of land I bought of Leonard Wathen, called Wathens Adventure. If he dies without male heirs, then I give the afd lands to my son Benjamin Douglass.
To my son Richard Land Douglass - 1 Mulatto boy called Jack. To my son Benjamin Douglass - 1 Negro woman called Henny, and 1 Negro child named Nan.
To my son Benjamin Douglass, and my 3 daughters, Elizabeth Douglass, Eleanor Douglass, and Joanna Douglass - the following Negroes, to wit, Bob, Catey, Sall, Priss, Roger, Saml, Nat, Cate, and Linda, and their increase, to be equally divided among them.
To my 5 children, Richard Land Douglass, Benjamin Douglass, Elizabeth Douglass, Eleanor Douglass, and Joanna Douglass - the rest of my estate shall be equally divided among them.
Executor: Richard Land Douglass.
Signed Mar 29, 1779 - John Douglass,
Wit - Theos Yates, Thos Hungerford, James (X his mark) Philips.
Probated on Jul 18, 1780 by Richard Land Douglass
and witnesses Yates and Hungerford.

American colonists continued to use British monetary units, namely the pound, shilling and pence for which £1 (or li) equalled 20s and 1s equalled 12d. In 1792 the dollar was established as the basic unit of currency.
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©Roberta Tuller 2023
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