Fonds PR-1428 - James Douglas family fonds

Journal of a journey from Fort Vancouver to York Factory Journal of a journey from Fort Vancouver to York Factory and back [transcript] Synopsis of Columbia affairs Expense book Governor’s messages on the Opening and Prorogation of the House of Assembly [Vancouver Island] Martha Douglas journal of a trip to Europe A Guide to Family Devotion (Douglas family bible) Miscellaneous notes and clipping book Miscellaneous notes and clipping book Miscellaneous notes and clipping book Clipping book Letters to Martha Observations on the Oregon Treaty, 1846 Household correspondence Letter to I.W. Powell regarding reserves Letter of condolence to Lady Douglas Private Account Journal James Douglas death certificate Commission appointing James Douglas governor of the Colony of British Columbia, 1858

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James Douglas family fonds

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  • textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the fonds.

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  • 1827-1900 (Creation)
    Douglas family (James Douglas)

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65 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

The Douglas family consisted of Sir James Douglas (1803-1877), Lady Amelia Douglas (1812-1890), and their children.

James Douglas came to Canada as a fur trader for the North West Company in 1819 when he was 16 years old. When the North West Company merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in 1821, Douglas managed to continue his trading vocation with the HBC. In 1828 he married Amelia Connolly who was the daughter of a Cree woman and William Connolly, a Chief Factor for the HBC. James and Amelia would have 13 children together, though only six would survive past childhood.

The family lived in Fort Vancouver (now Vancouver, Washington) before Douglas became responsible for the creation of Fort Victoria in 1843. His new responsibilities eventually brought the whole Douglas family to Vancouver Island. They remained in Victoria as Douglas became Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island in 1851, and Governor of the Colony of British Columbia in 1858.

Amelia Douglas (née Connolly) was a part Cree woman who married James Douglas when she was 16. While in 1828 their marriage was considered legitimate, it wasn’t officially registered until 1838.

James Douglas stepped down from his position as Governor in 1864, and around that same time he was also knighted with 2nd level of the Order of the Bath. This gave him and his wife the titles of Sir and Lady and it raised the families’ overall social standing.

The Douglas children who survived past childhood included: James, Jane, Cecilia, Agnes, Alice and Martha. James married Mary Elliot in 1877, and passed away in 1883. Jane married A.G. Dallas, Cecilia married Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, Agnes married Arthur T. Bushby, Alice married Charles Good (divorced in 1878) and Martha married Dennis Harris. James Douglas passed away in 1877, Amelia Douglas passed away in 1890, and their youngest daughter, Martha, passed away in 1933.

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The fonds consists of notebooks, letterbooks, account books, and the death certificate of James Douglas. Fonds includes several diaries kept by James Douglas and one diary kept by Martha Douglas, various official papers to do with the governing of the west coast, correspondence between members of the Douglas family, household calling cards, a book owned by Cecilia Douglas, and Lady Amelia Douglas’ bible.

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General note

Archives code(s): B/20; B/40; B/90; A/B/40/D75; A/E/C86/D74; MS-0678; MS-0776; MS-1112; MS-2164

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Accession number(s): 74A-445

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Some material in the series could be considered as part of Governor Douglas' records rather than the Douglas family fonds.

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