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John Douglas of South Africa






Which John Douglas, married to Susannah Foord at George, South Africa, on 12 November 1820?

According to SAG (presumably from the work by De Villiers and Pama) John Douglas died on 26 October 1830 at the age of 32 years and 10 days. This implies that he was born on 16 October 1798 and not on 16 October 1790 as is recorder in SAG. The fact that the date of death, as well as his age is recorded, make this look like information from a Death Notice. So far I have been unable to locate this particular Death Notice.

There is a Death Notice for another John Douglas, who was born in Murrayshire, Scotland in 1799 and who died in Grahamstown, South Africa on 12 July 1859. According to the Death Notice this John Douglas died as a bachelor and had no children.

Then there was a third John Douglas, born in 1816, who arrived in Natal as a member of the Natal Settlers in December 1838 (from his own papers) and who died near Pietermaritzburg on 24 April 1849. He was married to Augusta Rebecca Mandy on 28 January 1847.

It is recorded that a John Douglas arrived as a member of the Moodie Settlers in 1817. Captain Moodie recorded the home address (parents' address) as Byers Close, High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, and his age as 18 years. A simple calculation indicates that he could have been born in either 1798 or 1799 to be 18 years old when the Moodie Settlers arrived in Cape Town in the second half of 1817. These settlers settled in the Swellendam and George districts of South Africa.

It is also recorded that a John Douglas arrived as a member of the Tait Settlers (forerunners of the 1820 British Settlers), in either 1818 or 1820. Peter Tait brought two small parties of settlers from Britain to South Africa, the first in 1818 and the second in 1820. These Settlers settled in the District of George, South Africa. I do not know with which of the two parties John Douglas arrived.

Was it the Moodie Settler or the Tait Settler that got married to Susan Ford? John Douglas, the Natal Settler, would appear to be out of the equation. Of the remaining two, one married Susan Ford and the other died as a bachelor in Grahamstown. One originates from Edinburgh, Scotland (the Moodie Settler) and the other from Murrayshire, Scotland (the Bachelor).

It appears as if Peter Philip, in his book, British Residents at the Cape 1759 - 1819, had the above mentioned three Douglasses mixed up when he recorded that John Douglas, Moodie Settler, got married to Susan Ford on 4 August 1822, and that he was sent to Maritzburg as a prisoner in 1842 (The Marriage Register entry for Susan Douglas shows the correct date is 12 November 1820, George).

Apparently a John Douglas and a Susannah Ford travelled on the same ship to South Africa as members of the Tait group of Settlers, but this is not proof that it was these two that got married in George in 1820. Susan's Death Notice shows she was sixty years old when she died in 1870. This implies that she was born in 1810 and was 10 years old when she and John Douglas got married! Nothing seems to be clear and correct in this saga. Her Death Notice lists the same children as SAG, and gives her place of birth as Scotland.


From research by Ferdie Jansen

Murrayshire is presumably Morayshire


In 1819 another Scotch gentleman, Mr. Peter Tait, endeavoured to follow Mr. Moodie's plan of introducing settlers ; but he was not so fortunate, as it was
not till April, 1820, that he sent out sixteen men, three women, and six children : viz., Andrew Marshall, Robert Robson, Edward Wake, George Harvey, Henry
Aitchison, Thomas Hill, John Douglas, James Donaldson, James Stevenson, James Grier, Joseph McDougall, James Foord, George Ogilvie, Isaac Tait, his wife and four children, William Tait (aged fourteen yearsj, William Foord, his wife and two children, and Margaret Harvey


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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022