James E. Douglass

JAMES E. DOUGLASS, of West Newton, Westmoreland count-, Pennsylvania, organizer of the Douglass Raugh Coal and Coke Company, was born January 8. 1851. in Elizabeth township, Allegheny county, son of John J. and Mary S. (Patterson) Douglass. He is one of the six surviving children of a family of twelve, the others being: Robert P., superintendent of the Eliza furnace of the Jones and Laughlin steel works for more than twenty-five years, now retired; Thomas P., of Pittsburg, with the Jones and Laughlin steel works; Margaret, wife of James H. McCune, Birmingham, Alabama; John S., M. D., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Elijah R., superintendent of the coke works at Connellsville.

The paternal grandfather, Thomas Douglass, came from Adams county, while yet a young man, buying a farm near Mt. Vernon church, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was survived by a large family of children, only one of whom is still living, Maria, the wife of T. W. Weddell, resident on a farm near McKeesport, she at the age of ninety-two and he at the age of ninety-three.

John J. Douglass, son of Thomas Douglass, was born January 13, 1811, in Elizabeth township, Allegheny county, near Buena Vista, within three miles of where he spent the last fifty-four years of his life. He learned the trade of cooper in early life, but followed it only a short time. In 1838 he bought land at Douglass and moved there, and two years later purchased a grist mill which he operated for many years. During the war, in which his sons were fighting for the Union, it burned to the ground, at the time when his insurance had just expired, and he was compelled to buy flour for the family supply when that commodity was selling at eighteen dollars a barrel. He was a staunch Republican in politics, but never a bigoted partisan, and for twenty years was justice of the peace, a fact which gained for him the appellation of Squire Douglass, a name which clung to him long after he had retired from the office. During the greater part of his life he was a member of the United Presbyterian church, but four Years prior to his death joined the Presbyterian church and was an honored elder at the time of his death. His generous disposition, often imposed upon but never narrowed, reduced his worldly possessions but gained him a respect and admiration that made him greatly mourned when his death occurred, September 14, 1894.

The maternal grandfather, John R. Patterson, was born in 1774. He came to Westmoreland county from the eastern part of Pennsylvania in an early day of the county's history, and settled in Rostraver township on a farm where lie resided up to within four or five Years of his death. During those four or five years he lived at West Newton, where he died in 1886. at the age of ninety-five. His wife, Mary (Orr) Patterson, born in 1791, died in 1853. Their daughter. the mother of James E. Douglass, was born at Rostraver, Westmoreland county, April 4, 1817, died August 26, 1871.

James E. Douglass grew up and was educated in the place of his birth, attending public schools. At the age of twenty years he left the farm and learned the trade of carpenter, at which he worked for ten Years. In 1883 lie engaged in the mercantile business at Douglass, and was identified with same for twenty one years. During a portion of this time he was postmaster and ticket and express agent for the P. and L. E. Railroad. In 1904 he sold his business to the Federal Supply Company, and removed to West Newton. He organized the Douglass Coal Company in 1892, and was one of the well known coal operators of this state until 1899, when he sold the mines to the Pittsburg Coal Company: he retained the residence properties, numbering some fourteen houses. He organized the Douglass Raugh Coal and Coke Company, in 1904. acquiring four thousand acres of land with valuable coal veins in Clarksburg, West Virginia. They have a seven foot vein of Pittsburg coal. In addition to these interests he owns sixty-one valuable building lots in McKeesport, was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of West Newton, and the Hazelwood bank of Pittsburg, and two other well known banks, and is one of the promoters of the West Newton and Webster street railway line, which will shortly be in operation. He is a Republican, and is one of the leading citizens of West Newton. He is a member of Dallas Lodge, No. 508, F. and A. M., of Pittsburg; Zernbable Chapter, No. 162, R. A. M., of Pittsburg; Pennsylvania Consistory and Syria Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., of Pittsburg. Mr. Douglass married, October 3, 1889, Lizzie May Nicholls, of Elizabeth township. Their children are: Harry Stantley, born June 24, 1890; David R., April 20, 1892; Margaret M., June 29, 1895; and James Gordon, May 8, 1898.  

Source: Page(s) 259-261, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed August 2008 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)

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