Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 333] an esteemed resident of Mahoning township, who for many years past has occupied a prominent position among the well-to-do tillers of the soil of Lawrence Co., Pa., was born in Franklin township, Allegheny Co., Pa., on the 21st day of October, 1848. He is a son of John and Eliza (Wilkins) Douglas, and a grandson of William and Martha (Crawford) Douglas.

The grandparents of the subject of our history were both born in Scotland. Not many years after their union, they immigrated to America, where the thrifty habits of their native land, which they possessed in abundance, stood them in good stead. They reached the age of seventy-five and ninety-five years respectively, and founded a family that has ever since wielded much influence in this part of the State. John Douglas, the father of David E. Douglas, was a man of learning and of indomitable will. He was born in Allegheny County, in 1822, and died at New Castle, Lawrence County, Aug. 14, 1889. Being naturally of a studious bent, his parents humored him with superior educational advantages, so that when it became time for him to go to work to support himself, he took naturally to school-teaching. Instructing the youth in those days was not the plain sailing that it is now. It was quite the proper thing for a school-room full of children to be as unruly as an equal number of colts, and the teacher who aimed to instruct usually had a goodly amount of "breaking in" to do before he could commence on the three "R's." Mr. Douglas proved to be very proficient in both departments of the educational system of that day. Such a reputation did he acquire for good governrnent as well as good teaching, that he was often sought after to subdue and instruct some school which had run away with some less efficient master. No school, no matter how turbulent and unruly it had been, ever tried more than once to get the better of Mr. Douglas. He came into Lawrence County in 1870, and at times followed the carpenter's trade. He retired from active labors some time before his death, which occurred Aug. 14, 1889. In politics, Mr. Douglas was a Republican of no uncertain or wavering type, while in religious matters he was a Presbyterian, as is also his entire family. Eliza (Wilkins) Douglas, the wife of John Douglas, was a native of Sewickley township, Allegheny County, and was born in 1822, a daughter of David and Anna (Aikens) Wilkins, both Scotch people. There were eight children in the family of our subject's parents, as follows: an infant, who died young; David E., the subject of this biography; Mary E., the wife of John W. Brothers, an engineer on the Pennsylvania R. R..; John Harvey, who is employed by the P. & L. E. R. R.; James A., a conductor on the Ft. Wayne line; Martha; Joseph L., a brakeman on the Erie R. R.; and Effie.

David E. Douglas learned the carpenter's trade when a young man, and followed it until 1877, the last five years of that period being spent in New Castle. In 1877, he abruptly took up farming, and has since continued in that line. In 1881, he purchased the A. Kelso farm in Mahoning township, and a little later on added to it a piece of land adjoining, making altogether a property of eighty-seven acres extent. In time he tore down the old buildings and built up new ones, so that now he has as fine and conveniently an arranged set of buildings as any farmer in Lawrence County. Orchards have been constantly set out and tended carefully, and improvements of all-kinds have gone on no matter what the season was, until the estate has become the equal of any in this part of the Keystone State.

Mr. Douglas married, as his first wife, Eliza Patton, daughter of John Patton. She was born Oct. 24, 1845, and died March 5, 1890, leaving two children—Anna J., born Aug. 23, 1879, and Jesse E., born Oct. 14, 1883. A few years after the death of his first wife, Mr. Douglas contracted a second marriage with Mrs. Mary J. Matthews, who was a daughter of John Patton, and a sister of his first wife. Mr. Douglas in politics is an active and sturdy Republican; he has always been a prime mover in the affairs of the party, and on several occasions has been elected by his fellow-citizens to responsible offices. He was retained for three consecutive years in the position of township supervisor, and performed the duties of that office faithfully and well, with a due regard to the rights and wishes of the taxpayers. He is a member of the United Presbyterian Church, among the adherents of which organization Mr. Douglas numbers many of his warmest friends.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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