Dr Lewis S. Douglass

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 A notable black citizen of Henderson County, Dr. Louis S. Douglass, was born in this county, October 1853, a son of Cato and Melvina Douglass and maternal grandson of Becky Douglass, all of whom were bond-folk in antebellum times, servants of Bryant Douglass, a prosperous white farmer whose land lay along what is now Union Cross Road, principally on the west side of this road and north of Interstate 40 where it crosses this local road. After emancipation the Douglasses acquired, lived upon and farmed about 160 acres adjoining their former master's farm, which property "Dr. Lou, "as he was respectfully known, eventually owned and passed to his heirs.

About 1874, Dr. Lou married a young woman whose initials (L. J.) are only known, presently, to the writer; they had four children before she died. He then married Laura Pyles, a daughter of Arch and Julie Pyles, long-time residents of Henderson County. After her death, about 1906, he married Mrs. Lee Wallick in Madison County, Tennessee, July 7, 1909 but being incompatible they were soon divorced. His last wife was Mrs. Catherine (Garrett) Knight, whom he married in Hollow Rock, Tennessee, October 6, 1917.

In December 1883, Dr. Lou bought 200 acres of the old white Douglass farm, including the homestead of Abigail, widow of Bryant Douglass. On this tract stood Dr. Lou's residence, consisting of two large log rooms connected with a passageway called a dogtrot and an adjoining kitchen; various outhouses stood close by this dwelling. He eventually owned 604 acres all but 17 of which were contiguous the latter also being nearby, on which his cotton gin and sawmill were located.

Dr. Lou possessed a bright mind and firm ambition; he felt with religious fervor that he was meant to be a medical doctor but as he had been raised in bondage he had almost no formal education and his growing family needed most of what he raised on and sold from his farm. Even so, he persisted in his resolution to become a doctor.

Off and on for several years Dr. Lou attended Tennessee Central College, a black school in Nashville where he gained his basic education; despite the hardships he faced, he finished his course there and in January 1885 enrolled in Meharry Medical College near the other school. Although he did not graduate from Meharry he completed enough medical training to be certified as a physician by the State of Tennessee, initially on July 12, 1889 and periodically thereafter.

Although his medical practice was among black folk, occasionally he administered to ill whites; he went where he was needed. He was skilled in preparing medications from herbs, some of which "potions" he often dispensed in pill form. For years he rode horseback or in his buggy to make his rounds. A man of sturdy, stocky build, of medium height, who wore a long overcoat much of the time, he was a familiar figure in the area where he lived.

Dr. Lou attended Mt. Tabor Methodist Church, a log sanctuary located just northwest of Bargerton (thin village being his official address). He was also a member of a community band.

Having contracted typhoid fever, Dr. Lou lingered ill several days before he died December 2, 1922; his body was buried in an unmarked grave on the piney-top mound where his old master and several of his kindred and inferentially some of his own kindred were buried.[8] To reach this burial ground, drive about five miles west/southwest of Parker's Crossroads via Rock Springs and Union Cross roads. Approach is off Union Cross Road west onto Lewis Lane to a fieldgate about .5 mile, through a field, to the south, about .2 mile.

The children of Dr. Lou and his first wife, L. J.:

1. WILLIAM HENDERSON DOUGLASS (January 1875-1954), husband of Pearlie Harmon and father of William H. Douglass, Jr. who married and had children. Buried near his father in the old Douglass family graveyard.

2. IRVIN DOUGLASS, born in 1876deaf-mute; nicknamed Jigger; died unmarried in middle-age. Buried near his father in the old Douglass graveyard.

3. LOUIS DOUGLASS, born in April 1878; moved to St. Louis, Mo. as a young man.

4. G. E. DOUGLASS, an infant daughter, born in the spring of 1880, who died in childhood.

The children of Dr. Lou and his second wife, Laura:

1. SYLVESTER DOUGLASS (December 1882-March 30, 1926) who married Addie Price, December 28, 1902 and had children Stella, Mattie and Cecilia.

2. BELL ORA DOUGLASS, born in June 1885; married Temp Henry, May 19, 1912 and had a daughter, Elizabeth who married and had children.

3. MAMIE DOUGLASS (September 15, 1887-September 20, 1968) who married (1) Albert Williams, August 9, 1906 and had three children, one, Ellis, surviving childhood; (2) Addie Townsend and had a daughter, Ella May, born in October 1916 who married Thomas Rufus McCullough (born June 1914), December 1935 and had sons Tommy and Malcolm, prosperous farmerfolk in northern Henderson County; (3) Marvin Mebane, May 6, 1918 and had children Nathaniel (married; three children) and Tessie B. (married; five children); (4) Isaiah Hughes. Buried in Seats Chapel Cemetery.

4. WILLIE DOUGLASS, born in February 1891; married Walter Cathey, September 24, 1911 and had children Matthew, Maxell, Irene and Norma Lee.

5. POMP DOUGLASS (November 23, 1893-October 8, 1968), who married Mary Olive (1900-1974), January 30, 1916. They had children: Jurlean Douglass, born February 12, 1918, married J. P. McGill, no children. Edward Douglass (June 9, 1919-November 29, 1990), who married Virginia Jones, 1946 and had a daughter, Cassandra. Elexzine Douglass (January 6, 1921-July 1, 1952), wife of L. J. Hart and mother of Jesse Edward, L. Ray and John Thomas Hart. Mildred Douglass, born January 10, 1923, wife of L. B. Anderson and mother of four sons. Learnier Douglass, born October 26, 1928, married Virginia Carter and had children. Virginia Douglass, born November 9, 1930, wife of Varnel Nesby and mother of six children. Leara Douglass, born September 7, 1932, wife of Junior Parker and mother of two daughters and one son.

6. NORAH DOUGLASS, born in July 1897; died in childhood.

7. REBECCA SEATS (July 14, 1901-June 6, 1957), married Ernest Seats (January 23, 1898- March 3, 1975), April 28, 1918. Children: Carl Seats (April 17, 1919-August 19, 1946), unmarried. Vertie May Seats, born November 14, 1921, married Ivy Williams and had a son, Jerry. Lew Wilbert Seats, born February 19, 1923, married Elizabeth White, August 22, 1942 and had children Doris, Juanita, Ora Lee, Omega (died young) and Robert Lewis. Floyd Seats, born May 29, 1924, married Bertha Flakes, May 7, 1949 and had children Eugene, Barbara and twins Night and Dwayne. Calvin Leon Seats, born December 1, 1928, married Martha Lee Williams, August 14, 1949 and had children Gary, Tony, Mary and Gloria. Gracie Seats, born February 7, 1926, married Andy Lee Buckley and had children Glenn, Margaret, Ilene, Evelyn, Marcelle, James and Wayne. Irene Seats, born March 23, 1931, married Ned Jobnson, no children. Infant son, stillborn June 21, 1936.

8. AMALEE (Alma) DOUGLASS (December 22, 1902-May1983) who married E. G. Williams, July 28, 1918 and had children Helen and Waddell (died August 4, 2001), both of whom married and had children. Benton Harbor, Michigan.



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