Early Douglas Settlers in Georgia

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The earliest Europeans in North America, the Spanish, never established any permanent settlements within the region that would become Georgia, as they did in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Their only attempt to do so, during a naval expedition led by Lúcas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526, lasted only six weeks.

By the mid-1600s English settlers from South Carolina made forays across the Savannah River and into northeast Georgia, engaging first in a thriving slave trade of Indians and later in the even more lucrative deerskin trade, which continued well beyond the British colonization of Georgia.

In 1732, King George II issued Georgia’s first official charter. Georgia’s Trustees held their organizational meeting and elected John Percival, Earl of Egmont, as president. They decided that the new colony’s first settlement would be located on the Savannah River and would be named Savannah. James Oglethorpe and 114 colonists subsequently departed England aboard the Anne.

The main money-making crops in colonial Georgia were tobacco, indigo and rice, all of which required intensive manual labour. Indentured servitude became one of the solutions to the need for labourers. The poor of England and other nations could arrange for passage to Georgia by signing a contract of indenture to a master for a number of years, usually four to seven. While some indentured servants received fair treatment, others had cruel masters who demanded hard physical labour, fed their servants insufficiently and beat them for any number of infractions. As indentured servants, women experienced rape by their masters or others. As punishment for becoming pregnant, their labour terms were extended.

Early Douglas settlers

In about 1740, a number of 'malcontents' signed a declaration complaining to the English government about the conditions in the colony, among them a D. Douglas(1)

Robert Douglas, Sr. and Robert, Jr. migrated to Georgia sometime between 1765 and 1769 from Halifax County North Carolina, to seek new land opportunities then becoming available in St. George's Parish (present-day Burke County). Robert first appears in Georgia in 1770 as evidenced on a land grand request in St. George's parish. The property in question was a 100 acre tract located next to John Sharp. The property was granted on October 6, 1772. Notably, Robert's sister, Elizabeth Douglas Ward, also resided near this property. War, Robert Douglas, Sr. and Robert Douglas, Jr. were joined by Edward Douglas, son of Robert, Sr., and brother of Robert, Jr. in Burke County, Georgia. Edward had remained in North Carolina during the Revolution, and later migrated to Georgia to be with his family. Together, both Roberts and Edward migrated to Montgomery County, Georgia, where Robert Douglas, Sr. and Edward signed a petition to Georgia Governor Jerrid Arwen in 1797

For more on the above family, see: The Georgia Douglases

abt 1740 Malcontents D. Douglas (x2) Probably one of these is David Douglas
1743 Headright granted D. Douglas
1751 First Assembly met in Savannah David Douglas
1765-1772 Headrights granted in  St George's, Burke and Jefferson parshes Daniel Douglas
1774 Public officers Jno. Douglas
  Protesters R. Douglas & Jas. Douglas
  Headrights granted in St John's, Liberty and St David's parishes James Douglas & Andrew Douglas
  Headrights granted in  St George's, Burke and Jefferson parshes Robert Douglas
1776/1777 Headrights granted in  St Matthew's, Effingham and St Philip's parshes H. Douglas & Jas. Douglas
1778? Legislature member for St. David's Sam'l Douglas
1782 'denounced' Samuel Douglas, John Douglas & James Douglas
1783-1784 Headrights granted in Wilkes County Geo. Douglas & Wm. Douglas
  Headrights granted in Washington County Geo. Douglas, Wm. Douglas, Alex Douglas & Alex Douglas
1785-1789 Headrights granted in St Paul's and Richmond parishes David Douglas
1787-1789 Headrights granted in  St George's, Burke and Jefferson parshes Fred Douglas, James Douglas & Ed Douglas
bef 1800 Received a land grant in Jefferson County David Douglas (possibly from Northern Ireland)
abt 1812 Early settler in Emanuel County Wm. Douglas
???? Soldiers of the Line Alex Douglas, Jno. Douglas & Geo. Douglas

William A. Douglas (son of Thomas Douglass) died in Gordon County, Georgia in 1844; his wife, Elizabeth Martin, born 1773, also died in Gordon County, Georgia in December 1859.

1.  D. Douglas appears twice in my copy of the transcription; father and son?. Elsewhere he is recorded as David Douglas.

See also:
 Douglas, Georgia
•  Douglas County, Georgia (Wikipedia)




Sources for this article include:

•  The Georgia Douglases

Further reading:
•  Immigrants to colonial Georgia for the background

Any contributions will be gratefully accepted

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Last modified: Thursday, 16 January 2020