Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 209] residing at No. 156 Green Street, New Castle, and employed by the P. & L. E. R. R., was born in Sewickley township, Allegheny Co., Pa., Oct. 19, 1852. He is a son of John and Eliza (Wilkins) Douglas, the latter a native of Sewickley township, where she was born about the year 1822, and a daughter of David and Anna (Aikens) Wilkins, natives of Scotland. Our subject's father was born in Allegheny County in 1822, and died in New Castle Aug. 14, 1889. In early life he was a proficient teacher, with a peculiar fitness for governing unruly youths, having managed some of the schools that had a pretty bad reputation for their treatment of previous masters, for it was a time when the older boys attended school more for the purpose of annoying the teacher than for any learning they might acquire, or any good they might imbibe from the general atmosphere of the school-room. One of the worst schools, that it ever became his lot to subdue was one that had thrown out every teacher that had undertaken the herculean task of enforcing order, and had ruled the schoolhouse for many terms, he settled on the second day. On the opening day, the pupils were given all the chance in the world to show who was the leader in meanness, and then on the folowing day this leading spirit was called out before the whole school on the first offense, and given such a thrashing that neither he nor any other pupil ever gave any further annoyance that term. He was a great student and reader with an unusually retentive memory. In middle life, he followed the carpenter's trade, retiring from active life some years before his death on Aug. 14, 1889. He was a member of the Second Presbyterian Church, as is his widow and all of the children. He was a Republican in politics. Our subject's grandparents on the father's side were William and Martha (Crawford) Douglas, who attained the ages of seventy-five and ninety-five years respectively. They were natives of Scotland, and possessed the sturdy qualities of that hardy race; the grandfather followed pursuits of an agricultural nature after coming to America. To our subject's parents were born eight children, as follows: an infant, who died very young; David F.; Mary E., the wife of John W. Brothers, an engineer on the Pennsylvania R. R.; John Harvey, our subject; James A., a conductor on the Ft. Wayne R. R.; Martha, a dressmaker; Joseph L., a brakeman of the Erie R. R.; and Effie. The three youngest of the family live with their mother at her residence on West Falls Street.
Our subject continued to live in his native county until he was eighteen years of age, and attended the district schools there and in New Castle, whither he moved in 1870, till his twenty-first year. At the age of twenty-one he began railroad life as a brakeman on the Beaver Valley R. R., and was employed in that capacity until 1889, except occasional work that he did in the planing mills in the years 1875 and 1876. In 1889, he became yard conductor of New Castle, a position he held until a fit of sickness laid him low in the summer of 1895. Upon reporting for duty again after a full recovery, he found a new superintendent in charge, who was not disposed to give him his old position again. Indignant at such injustice, his friends secured for him a lucrative position on the P. & L. E. R. R., by which he has been employed since October, 1895.
Mr. Douglas was married in New Castle, in 1883, to Mary J. Robinson, a native of that city, and a daughter of R. Paisley Robinson, who with his wife Jane (Davies) Robinson was a native of Lawrence County. Jane Davies was a daughter of Robert and Jane Davies, who were natives of bonny Scotland, as was George Robinson, the paternal grandfather of Mrs. Douglas. To the parents of Mrs. Douglas were born seven children: Robert, deceased; George, deceased; Mary Jane, our subject's wife; Annie (Harris); William Stewart Robinson, baggagemaster on the P. & W. R. R.; Lizzie A., deceased; and one who died in infancy. The union of our subject and wife has been blessed with four children: Austin Earl and Ethel, now in the public schools; Robert, who lived but a few days after birth, and an infant daughter born Oct. 4, 1897. Both Mr. and Mrs. Douglas are members of Central Presbyterian Church. In politics, Mr. Douglas is a Republican, and in his social relations is a member of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, and Fidelis Lodge, No. 460, Knights of Pythias, to which organization he has belonged since June 22, 1882. During its existence, he was a member of the Senior Order of American Mechanics. Mr. Douglas has a comfortable home at No. 156 Green Street, where he enjoys the society of his family and immediate friends around his own fireside.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 12 May 2001