William H. Douglas (1833-1896) and Ellen Russell (1843-1916)


William H. Douglas was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Ellen Russell was born in Newport, Rhode Island.  They married in Monroe County, Indiana, in 1862, and died in Monroe County.


William's parents: unknown

Ellen's parents: James Russell (1812-1885) and Margaret Fitzpatrick (1817-1892)


Children of William and Ellen:

  • Mary Cathrine Douglas (1863-1866)
  • James Russell Douglas (1864-1949) married Rosa Belle Jones (1872-1971)
  • John Wallace Douglas (1866-1955) married Mary L. Greene (1863-1948)
  • Anna Irene Douglas (1871-1959) married Alfred Augustus Rice (1872-1942)
  • Margaret Douglas (1873-1962) married Walter H. Jones (1871-1943)
  • William H. Douglas, Jr. (1876-1908) married Elizabeth Florence Wright (1875-1941)
  • Alice Douglas (1878-1906) married William Ezra Mercer (1876-1963)
  • George Boam Douglas (1881-1956) married Avah Grace Wright (1886-1963)


US Census records:

  • 1860, Perry Township, Monroe County, Indiana; Ellen is listed in the household of her parents.
  • 1870, Perry Township, Monroe County, Indiana; William, Ellen, and three children in the household along with Ellen's parents; William's occupation is stone mason.
  • 1880, Perry Township, Monroe County, Indiana; William, Ellen, and six children in the household; William's occupation is farmer.
  • 1900, Perry Township, Monroe County, Indiana; Ellen is listed along with her daughter Alice's family; Ellen's occupation is farmer.
  • 1910, Perry Township, Monroe County, Indiana; Ellen is listed; her occupation is farmer.


William was of Scottish ancestry and may have been born in Scotland.  He moved to Monroe County in 1861.  On June 10, 1862, he enlisted as a Private in the 54th Indiana Infantry (Company A) of the Union Army during the Civil War.  From June 20, 1862 to August 17, 1862, his unit was stationed at Camp Morton in Indianapolis where they guarded Confederate prisoners.  From August 17, 1862 to September 10, 1862, his unit guarded railroad bridges near Shepherdsville, Kentucky.  On September 10, 1862, his unit was mustered out and he returned home to Monroe County.  Two months later, he married Ellen.


William's physical appearance is described on Civil War pension forms.  His height is listed as 5'4" to 5'5-1/2" and weight between 117 and 120 pounds.  He had a fair complexion, dark hair, and blue eyes.  He had partial loss of hearing in both ears in his later years.


William died on May 29, 1896, at the age of 63.  A document dated June 13, 1896, entitled "Affidavit of Civil Surgeon or Physician," reads as follows: "I have been acquainted with him for the last ten years and have been his family physician since 1887 and know that said William H. Douglas was suffering from disease of lungs and I treated him during his last sickness for tubercular consumption.  From said disease he died May 29, 1896...  I have been practicing medicine for sixteen years."  The document is signed Nathan L. Rice, M.D.  So Nathan became the Douglas family doctor in 1887.  William's daughter Anna married Nathan's son Alfred in 1890.


William's obituary in the Bloomington Telephone, June 2, 1896: "Death of William H. Douglas.  William H. Douglass, living 7 miles southwest of Bloomington, and one of the best known citizens of that section of the county, died Friday night, after three weeks' illness with pneumonia.  He was 63 years old, and though not connected with any church, he was a man of high standing in the community and beloved by all because of his universal kindness and good will to all.  Mr. Douglass was a prominent Mason and leaves a wife and 7 children to mourn his death.  He has been a resident of this county for over 20 years."

Circa 1900 photo of Douglas house at 5721 S. Victor Pike, southwest of Bloomington near Clear Creek.  The young woman on the left is believed to be Alice Douglas Mercer and the older woman on the right is believed to be Ellen Russell Douglas.
Ellen's obituary in the Bloomington Telephone, September 5, 1916: "Death of Mrs. Ellen Douglas at Age of 73.  Mrs. Ellen Douglas, aged 73, died at her home south of Clear Creek Sunday night after a two weeks illness from a carbuncle on her neck.  Mrs. Douglas was well known in the south part of the county having been a resident in that section since 1850.  Born in Rhode Island in 1843, she came to the Clear Creek neighborhood when only 7 years old.  In 1861 she was united by marriage to William Douglas, deceased, to which union were born 7 children – James R., John W., George B., all residents of this county, Mrs. Gus Rice of Detroit, and Mrs. Walter Jones, wife of Sheriff Jones of this city, and two children are dead.  Mrs. Douglass was a life long member of the Christian church at Clear Creek, and was always prominent in church work; and much beloved and respected.  The funeral arrangements are not yet made."
William and Ellen are buried in the Spencer Addition of the Rose Hill Cemetery, West 4th Street and Elm, Bloomington, Indiana, next to the graves of their son George, and Ellen's parents, James and Margaret Russell.