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William Douglas of Leith






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William Douglas of Leith was the son of Robert Douglas of Cruixton (b. 31 Apr 1667) and Rachael McFarlane (b. Abt 1667).


Little is known about William Douglas (b. 3 December 1696) beyond the fact he came from Leith and that he was a merchant.


A good deal more is known about his wife, Katherine (1695-1785c), James Dunlop and Lilias Campbell, dau of Robert Campbell and Katherine Napier. In 1634, her great-grandfather, John Dunlop, a merchant burgess of Glasgow, son of James Dunlop, and great-grandmother, Elizabeth, purchased "the town and lands of Garnkirk," near Stewarton, Ayrshire, and the name of Garnkirk was thereafter linked with the Dunlop family, for John, a rich man, who besides being a merchant appears to have been also a banker, built the original mansion house of Garnkirk. He died in March 1662.

Katherine's grandfather, James, married Elizabeth, daughter of James Roberton, the future Lord Bedlay, and advocate; and Katherine's father, also named James, was their eldest son. Katherine's mother, Lilias Campbell, was the mother of sixteen children by the time she was 34 when she died, in 1709, not surprisingly in childbirth. Katherine, born in 1695 and therefore only 14 when her mother died, was the fifth child and second daughter to live to adulthood. She was to have a very long life, dying aged over 90.

Apparently only three children were born of her marriage to William Douglas, the merchant of Leith, and one of these was John Douglas.  If true, then William Douglas was killed at Culloden in 1746.


Another son, Robert, is described as 'of Port Glasgow', and may have been involved in the sugar trade.


But also:
William Douglas, Merchant of Leith

Born 30 May 1759 - Cockpen, Midlothian, Scotland
Baptized 10 June 1759 - Cockpen, Midlothian, Scotland
Deceased 11 July 1814 - Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland , age at death: 55 years old
Buried - Canongate church yard, Edinburgh, Scotland

Parents: William Douglas 1737- and Mary Kerr, 1733-

Spouses and children
Married 28 October 1775, Leith, Lothian, Scotland, to Stewartina Catherina Carmichael /1756-1793 (Parents : Stewart Carmichael, . of Bonnington, Lanarkshire, Scotland ?1717-/1780 & Catherine Keith ?1730-) (see note) with
Catherine Douglas ca 1776-
Robert Douglas ca 1780-
Isabella Douglas, Resident of Edinburgh St Stephen, Midlothian, Scotland ca 1781-1857
William Douglas ca 1783-1842
Stewart Douglas 1785-1817
Archibald Douglas, Major ?1787-


Some little inaccuracies as to the Family and Representatives of Bishop Keith, having appeared in the Preface and Biographical Sketch prefixed to the First Volume of his History, as republished in 1844, under the auspices of the Spottiswoode Society, I beg to supply you, from an authentic source, with more correct information ; simply adding that, when the First Volume appeared, there was no opportunity of testing the accuracy of the statements then made to the Editor, by reference to any of the Bishop's descendants. What follows, therefore, will be received in connexion with the statements in Vol. 1st. pp. viii. xi. lvii. lviii. lxxv. xc.

" The Bishop married a lady named Isabel Cameron, daughter of the Rev. John Cameron, by whom he had two daughters. One of these died unmarried ; the other, named Katherine, was married to Mr Stewart Carmichael of Leith.

The offspring of this marriage was a daughter, Katharina Stewartina, and a son who died young. The former became the first wife of Mr William Douglas, Merchant, Leith, and left issue by him, William (who died unmarried) Stewart, Archibald, and four daughters. The direct representation of the Bishop's Family, therefore, rests with the descendants of the late Mr Stewart Douglas ; who left five sons, the eldest of whom, William Douglas, Esq. of Liverpool, the great-great-grandson of the Bishop, is likewise nearest of kin, through his grandmother, to Colonel Robert Keith, of the 2d Regiment of Foot Guards — who was, up to his death in 1780, acknowledged as the nearest male representative of George, tenth Earl Marischal, who died two years before him, namely, in 1778.

" Taking it for granted then, that, with the death of Keith of Northfield, referred to in the statement by John Riddell, Esq. in p. lxxxix, the male representatives of the Family became extinct, the representation in the female line belongs, in the first place, to the direct descendants of Keith of Northfield; or failing them, to the direct descendants or nearest heirs of Colonel Robert Keith, who are manifestly much nearer, in point of propinquity, to the last male representative who would have inherited the title and property, than the Family of Lady Clementina Elphinstone can be.

" In reference to a statement made at p. Ixxv, it may be remarked, that the fact of the title and estates of Kintore devolving on the heirs-female of George, tenth Earl Marischal, goes no farther than to point out the representatives of the Kintore Family, which, by the terms of the charter, were allowed to pass through the female line. The title and estates of Marischal were restricted to male descendants ; and would, therefore, as has been before observed, have devolved on Colonel Robert Keith, as the nearest male heir.

" By giving insertion to the foregoing statement, for the accuracy of which I am of course responsible, — You will much oblige, Rev. Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
A. J. Douglas.
Mathon, Malvern,
8th December 1849.


And also:

•  2nd January 1821, At Montrose, died in the 76th year of her age, Mrs Mary Gairdner, relict of William Douglas, Esq. merchant. Leith.



1. This William Douglas of Leith is not to be confused with the Dr William Douglas, MD, also of Leith, whose daughter, Lydia married Andrew Snape Hamond, and whose son, Andrew Snape Douglas, became a Royal Navy Captain.

2.  William, son of William Douglas, a merchant in Leith, settled in St Petersburg before 1813.

3.  Robert Douglas of Ardrossan, (1759- 1847), a grandson of William Douglas of Leith, had a fleet of sailing ships  importing tobacco from Virginia and visited West Indies regularly, One of his brothers was resident there  and Sir James Douglas, Gov. of Vancouver 1858  ( a cousin ) was born  in Demerara  British Guiana 5.6.1803 , his mother was a Miss Richie, a Creole lady of Demerara. Robert's brother Colin lived for some time at Demerara  while he was conducting his business there. 


See also:

  • Douglases involved in the sugar trade
  • Robert Douglas of Leith


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