Title and statement of responsibility area
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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- Douglas family (James Douglas)
Physical description area
65 cm of textual records
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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.
Scope and content
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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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
Accession number(s): 74A-445
Some material in the series could be considered as part of Governor Douglas' records rather than the Douglas family fonds.