Benjamin Douglas

Benjamin Douglas (1816-1894) was the son of William Douglas, of Northford, Connecticut  , USA.

A young man one inquired of Daniel Webster whether he thought it advisable for him to adopt the law as a profession. Webster replied: "There's always room in the upper story." In the great race of life there are few who ever climb to the upper story, and where one outstrips his thousands of competitors we naturally inquire whether the elements that have conduced to his success are hereditary or acquired. Hon Benjamin Douglas inherited those remarkable traits of character which may be traced back through several generations to his Scotch ancestry. The Douglas coat of arms is: "Argent, a man's heart; Gules, ensigned with an imperial crown proper; on a chief Auzer, three stars of the first." The motto "Jamais Arriere" (never behind). This is the secret of Mr. Douglas' success. The distinguishing elements of his character are an indomitable will, perseverance, and a firm trust in an all wise Providence that

"Shapes our ends Rough how them as we will."

Mr. Douglas was born at Northford, Conn., April 3rd 1816. His father was a farmer whose ancestors were among the earliest settlers of New England. His grandfather was Colonel William Douglas of a New Haven regiment, an officer in the Revolution. The only educational advantages enjoyed by the younger Douglas were a few months' attendance at the district school during winter, the remainder of the time being spent on the farm. In 1832, when he was but 16 years of age, he apprenticed himself to a machinist in Middletown. In 1839, he joined his brother William, who was previously one of the firm of GUILD & DOUGLAS. For three years they carried on the business of an ordinary foundry and machine shop. In 1842, they invented the celebrated revolving stand pump, which proved a great success, and the business of manufacturing pumps increased from year to year, the trade extending throughout the United States, South America, the Sandwich Islands, the West Indies, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

While Mr. Benjamin Douglas attended strictly to his business, he found time to devote to public enterprises and works of benevolence. He has been a faithful and earnest friend of the coloured people, and when the irrepressible conflict was brought to a final issue by force of arms, he was foremost among his fellow citizens in proving the means for crushing the rebellion. He has filled many positions of honor and trust. He was mayor of the city from 185- to 1855; he was a member of the General Assembly in 1854, and again in 1872. He was elected presidential elector in 1860, casting one of the six electoral voted for the State for Abraham Lincoln; was lieutenant governor of Connecticut in 1861 and 1862. It is as a Christina, however, in the humble walks of life, that the brighter and more beautiful phases of his character appear. He first united with the Congregational Church at Northford, Connecticut, in 1831. He united by letter with the South Congregational church of Middletown in 1832, and from that period to the present time has been one of the main pillars of the church.

For nearly 30 years he has filled the office of deacon, and was for many years superintendent of the Sabbath school.

On his 22d birthday, April 3rd 1838, he married Mary Adeline, daughter of Elias and Grace Totten Mansfield Parker, and a niece of Major General Joseph K. Mansield. By her he has had six children:

John Mansfield, born in Norwich, Connecticut, February 6th 1839; Sarah Kirtland, born March 21st 1841, died September 21st 1841; Benjamin, born November 17th 1843, died December 18th 1843; William born August 5th 1845; Benjamin 2d, born August 8th 1849; Edward, born June 17th 1854, married, on the 16th of December 1875, to S. Emma, daughter of Daniel H. Chase, LL. D




Benjamin Douglas, manufacturer, a grandson of Colonel William Douglas, born in Northford, Connecticut, 3 April 1816, worked on a farm and attended school till he was sixteen years old, when he became apprentice to his elder brother, William. a machinist, at Middletown, Conn. They formed a partnership in 1839, and in 1842 patented a revolving cistern stand pump. Since that time over one hundred new patents on pumps have been granted to the brothers in this country and Europe. 

William Douglas died in 1858, and in 1859 a company, W&B Douglas, was formed of which Benjamin became president. The company manufactures over twelve hundred styles of pumps, besides other hydraulic apparatus. They were awarded medals at Paris in 1867 and Vienna in 1873. 

Mr. Douglas was mayor of Middletown from 1850 to 1853.  He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Connecticut in 1856. Later, he was the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut for a single one year term, from 1861 to 1862, during one of the eight years that William A. Buckingham was governor of Connecticut.

Douglas succeeded Julius Catlin as Lieutenant governor and his successor was Roger Averill, both of whom also served when Buckingham was governor.

He died on 26th June 1894.

See also:
  • Benjamin Douglas House

  • The Douglas Cannon