Samuel Douglass

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Written by his daughter, Henrietta Douglass. Additional documentation compiled and shared by his granddaughter, Marie Douglass Stevenson Stewart, is italicized.

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Samuel Douglass (1850 – 1918}, a native pioneer of Utah and for many years a prominent merchant of Payson, Utah, was born March 1, 1850 in Salt Lake City. He grew to be a tall, slender, upright man and had a just, charitable, kind disposition. He gave liberally to all churches in the community of Payson. During unproductive seasons of the year, he carried accounts in his store with many families. Some were able to pay when crops were sold, others could not, but Samuel had done what he thought was right. He followed the Douglass motto, “Do Right and Fear Not”.
Samuel spent the first eight years of his life in Salt Lake City. The Douglass home was located on all of lot 5 block 13 plot B – “S. L. C. Survey” facing 8th East on the street about 1/3 of the way down 7th South. The house was made of adobe and built by his father William Douglass with assistance of his wife, Agnes Cross Douglass.

In 1858 the family moved to Payson. Their first home here was a log cabin at 1st East and 1st South. First East at that time was planned for Main Street. William, however, bought property one block west on what is now Main Street at 1st North. He built a home on the south west corner and a store a short distance west of the north west corner.

Later he built a two story building on the corner with an open stairway from the main floor to the upper floor with goods for sale on both floors. Samuel spent most of his time as a young man working in the store.

His father had had a liberal education and wished to give his children every advantage in education possible. Samuel attended school both in Payson and Provo. He found time to make himself a violin and learned to play it ---not too well.

He made many trips to Salt Lake with his father to purchase goods for the store. They made those trips in two covered wagons, each drawn by four mules. They cooked their meals on the way and camped at night. The road through the Jordon (sic) Narrows was a bad one at times, no road had been cut on the mountain side.

With a superior line of goods, the Douglass store was the outstanding business block in Payson. As business expanded, a side room on the west side was built, where caskets were sold along with furniture. Next a hardware store was built on the block across the road east of the main store and Samuel was put in charge. He had put a fanning mill[1] in the Union Hall, a building north of the General Merchandise store. Union Hall had been bought by the family. Samuel fanned[2] the Lucerne seed which he both raised himself and bought from farmers. Later, he moved the mill to the east room of the hardware store.

When his father died August 19, 1892, the hardware store was left to Samuel and his brother Joseph. After a few years the partnership was dissolved and Samuel went into business for himself. He built a building on the corner one block south of his father’s home and opened a Dry Goods and Grocery business. The business section by this time was moving from First North to Main Street and his corner was one of the four best business corners in town. His father’s barn had previously occupied this site.

His store was stocked with top grade goods. He later added a line of men’s furnishings, shoes, dishes, paints, oil and glass. He also put weighing scales out on the road adjoining, where he weighed coal and farm products.

Mercantile was not his only business. His farm land was near West Mountain Land. He drained and planted it in grain and Lucerne[3], part was pasture land. Salem was a hay and grain field. The north Payson field was grain. This piece was cut in two when Payson Main Street was extended to Benjamin, but by exchanging land he worked it out so all of his land was on the west side of the street.

Samuel bought fine horses – Hector, Mark Laddy, Roscoe (registered), Larned (registered), and Dewey. He raised many others. He also owned a fine herd of cattle. One spring he hired a man to drive them to pasture. He received word shortly afterward that they had been droven (sic) off, probably stolen by the Robbers Roost gang.

He bought a small orchard on West 1st North where he harvested different kinds of apples. There were also apple trees about the yard surrounding his home. He stored them for winter use in an insulated room in his barn for family use in the winter. Later the property on 1st North, which was the size of a city lot, was used for a stack yard.

Samuel was called on a mission to the British Isles, May 15, 1873. He and his mother made the trip to Ireland and Scotland. His mother, Agnes Cross Douglass was at home there and knew where to search for the Douglass genealogy. She brought back as complete a line as could be had. A history of the Douglass family was also brought back. While there, Samuel became acquainted with a cousin, Alexander Grey, with whom he carried on a correspondence for many years. Archibald and Sholto Douglass are included in the list of names obtained in the genealogy.
Samuel was called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Arkansas in 1887. He did not remain long. He returned in 1888 suffering with chills and fever (malaria) from which he never fully recovered.

On October 26, 1874, he married Emma Jane Dixon. They had planned their wedding for a later date, but her father was called on a mission to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They desired his presence at their wedding, so they were married before he left in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.

After they were married they moved into the new home which Samuel had built on the town public square, where Indians had camped, and where they had made peace with the whites, where town gatherings were held, and where Emma Jane’s father, Christopher F. Dixon, had made camp on his arrival in Payson in 1862, the year the family crossed the plains. This was to be their home for the rest of their lives. It was a fine two story adobe. As the family came along they enlarged the house from time to time.[4] They raised a family of four boys and seven girls and a grand-daughter, making an even dozen in all. (Emma Jane was a widow and sixty-seven years of age when she took he little five year old grand-daughter – her youngest son’s child, who had lost her own mother. She lived to see this child married.)

In 1902 Samuel brought the first phonograph to Payson. It was shaped like a box and sat on a table. It had a large horn shaped speaker. When the townsfolk heard it, they came for blocks forming a crowd out in front of the south gate. After that Samuel placed it on the East porch. Every night for several weeks, people would line up from the East gate to the corner to listen to it.

Samuel was an enterprising man. He served as City Councilman and City Treasurer of Payson and was the chosen candidate on the Republican ticket for Mayor in 1903, but was not elected.

With the cooperation of his brother-in-laws, John and Jack Dixon, they piped water from an underground source near Payson Park to their homes all located on North Main Street. Later he formed the Douglass Perculating System, a corporation, and installed a much larger line. He then had water enough to supply his store as well as his home. After this the first line was used only outside. He had apartments in the upper story of his store building and piped water there also. In front of his store was a drinking fountain and watering trough free for public to use.
When Payson had but one toll telephone, a private telephone company installed telephones at Samuel’s residence, his place of business, the Junior Wightman home and the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad station.

After the Mountain States Telephone Company installed their telephones in Payson, Samuel left his private telephone connecting his home and the store for many years.

Electric lights were installed in the house in 1897 and were turned on for the first time December 29th, the night their second daughter was married.

Shortly before he retired from business, a major remodeling job was done to the Douglass home. A hot water heating system was installed, two rooms and plumbing added upstairs; the big rooms down stairs opened up with wide colonnades, and hardwood floors laid. The outside adobe walls were covered with a rough cement plaster, and Samuel himself helped lay the rocks in the three story chimnies (sic) and rock pillars decorating the exterior of the house. This was done in 1912.

His brother, Joseph, was the mason and did the rock work on the pillars and chimneys.

(Samuel Douglass HousePicture of Samuel’s home with the caption “THE SAMUEL DOUGLASS home in Payson is viewed each year by hundreds of tourists, but few of them realize it is over 100 years old.”)

Home’s History Given

PAYSON – One of the oldest Payson homes highlighted by the recent Utah County/Payson Heritage Days is glimpsed by hundreds of visitors driving into town from Interstate 15, bound for vacations this summer.

Located on the northwest corner of Main Street and 200 North, the imposing Douglass house was built by Samuel Douglass, a merchant, soon after his marriage in 1874.

This house, along with two others across the street, was among the very first in Payson to receive electric lighting in 1890. It was also among the first with indoor plumbing.

The Samuel Douglass Building, long a landmark at Utah Avenue and Main Street for about 58 years, was finally torn down in 1953. Mr. Douglass erected his two-story brick building in 1895 for his general merchandise store, according to Payson Historian Madoline Dixon.

Mrs. Dixon notes in her book, “Peteetneet Town: A History of Payson, Utah,” that men and teams were under contract for $2.50 a day to haul brick from Benjamin and Salem for the structure.

It usually took 12 hours a day in order to deliver the specified 2,000 bricks – two wagonloads –daily.

The store today, originally planned by Mr. Douglass as a hotel, is long gone, but his home on North Main stands as a “monument” to the memory of one of Payson’s pioneer merchants.[5]

The long east porch on the front of the home and rose trellis were added in 1910-15, as were the two bedrooms built above the existing rooms on the west.[6]

After his retirement he took up gardening as a hobby. The yard was beautifully landscaped with evergreen trees, and all kinds of flowers – roses, pansies, petunias, verbenias, asters, daisies, flox, honeysuckle, lilacs, and other flowering shrubs. His wife’s rose garden was started at the same time as Mrs. William McKinley’s, and was one of the first private gardens in Payson. The old home became somewhat of a showplace and was awarded a brass plaque engraved with the following: “Winner of the Sanitary and Home Beauty Contest 1914 Awarded by the High School Civics Class.”

Samuel’s life was not a long one. He died August 7, 1918 at the age of sixty-eight. His funeral services were held at home, and he is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.


Samuel Douglass, son of William and Agnes Cross Douglass, one of the more highly respected citizens of Payson for over 55 years and one of the most potent factors in the upbuilding of that little city and its environs, passed away peacefully at his home at an early hour yesterday morning.
Mr. Douglass was born in this city March 1, 1850, and spent his early boyhood days here, his parents later removing to Payson, where he became a successful business man and enjoyed the esteem of all who knew him. He was one of the most ardent promoters of the building of the Strawberry reservoir and his satisfaction upon its completion by the government was very great.

Mr. Douglass filled a mission for the Church in the Southern States Mission in 1877-8 and was over a generous donor for Church, civic and Red Cross activities, the latter in spite of fast failing health.

Long before the people of Payson enjoyed a system of waterworks, Mr. Douglass spent a considerable sum in building a private pipe-line from a spring located in the southern part of town to his beautiful country home located in the northern section of Payson. He was a lover of flowers, a friend to animals, ad known for his generosity and kindliness.

Mr. Douglass is survived by his widow and the following children: Mrs. John J. McClellan, Mrs. Robert S. Wimmer of Salt Lake City; Mrs. Newell K. White, Miss Henrietta Douglass, Mrs. Dave Huish, Miss Marguerite and Miss Kathryn Douglass; Samuel Douglas, Jr., Charles D. Douglass, William D. Douglass and Stanley Douglass. Two sisters, Mrs. Hyrum Lemmon and Mrs. Mathilda D. Dixon, with many friends, also mourn his departure. He is survived by 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, the latter being little Miss Genevra McClellan Jennings, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. Gordon Jennings. Mr. Jennings now being with the Sprague ambulance corps at Camp Grant, Rockford, Ill.

Funeral services will be held at the residence in Payson tomorrow (Friday) morning at 10 o’clock and a number of Salt Lake relatives and friends will attend. Among them will be Elder Richard R. Lyman, Prof. Anthony C. Lund, Prof. Willard. E. Weihe, friends of the departed and fellow artists of his son-in-law, Prof. J. J. McClellan. These will take part in the brief services and then the body of Mr. Douglass will be brought on the 1 o’clock train to this city where interment will be made in the city cemetery.[7]

Death Calls Prominent Citizen of Utah County


Payson, Aug. 9. – Samuel Douglass, son of William and Agnes Cross Douglass, died Wednesday at his home here and was buried today. Mr. Douglass was connected with some of the biggest enterprises of this section. He was a faithful Church member and ward worker and a prominent citizen of Payson and Utah County.

The deceased is survived by his widow, one brother Joseph S. Douglass, and the following children: Mrs. John J. McClellan, Mrs. Robert S. Wimmer of Salt Lake City. Mrs. Newell K. White, Miss Henrietta Douglass, Mrs. Dave Huish, Miss Marguerite and Miss Kathryn Douglass, Samuel Douglass, Jr., Charles D. Douglass, William D. Douglass and Stanley Douglass. Two sisters, Mrs. Hyrum Lemmon and Mrs. Mathilda D. Dixon. He is survived by 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services were held at the residence in Payson. Beautiful floral offerings were artistically arranged around the casket. Elder Levi Edgar Young was the principal speaker. He eulogized the life of the deceased.

Music was furnished by Prof. A. C. Lund and Willard E. Weihe, accompanied on the organ by Prof. J. J. McClellan, son-in-law of Mr. Douglass.
Bishop Brown of the Payson Second ward presided and made a few remarks. Bishop Joseph Fairbanks, formerly…..(missing words)..….Annabella, Utah, offered the opening prayer and Bishop Justin A. Loveless of the First ward, Payson, pronounced the benediction. The services reflected the strong character of the pioneer and the devotion of the father, husband and friend.

The body, accompanied by the family, was taken to Salt Lake, where burial took place in the City cemetery. President Charles W. Penrose, a warm personal friend of the family, offered the dedicatory prayer at the grave, prefacing the same with an impressive but brief discourse in which he paid strong tribute to the noble character and the successful life of this well known citizen.[8]

Samuel Douglass
Dies at Home of
Heart Trouble

Samuel Douglass died at his home in this city of heart trouble Wednesday morning, August 7, 1918. His parents were William and Agnes Cross Douglass.

He was born in Salt Lake City March 1, 1850.

During the “move” south in 1858 in company with his parents, he came to Payson and since that time has made this his home.
His father, William Douglass, started in the mercantile business for himself and his sons, under the firm name of Douglass and Sons, in the year 1869, and did a successful business.

After the death of his father Samuel continued in the same business for himself and only retired a few years ago.
Deceased was a public spirited man, ready to help in any public enterprise that was for the up-building of the community, was charitable, kind and honest in all his dealings.

He was married to Emma J. Dixon, in Salt Lake City, Oct. 26, 1874, and is survived by his widow and the following children: Samuel Douglass, Jr., Charles D. Douglass, William Douglass, Stanley Douglass, Mrs. J. J. McClellan, Mrs. R. S. Wimmer, Mrs. N. K. White, Mrs. Dave Huish, Miss Henrietta Douglass, Miss Marguerite Douglass and Miss Kathryn Douglass. Fifteen grandchildren and one great grandchild; one brother, Joseph S. Douglass; two sisters, Mrs. M. D. Dixon and Mrs. Hyrum Lemmon also survive him.
Funeral services were held at his residence Friday morning, Bishop Elisha Brown presiding. Elder Levi Edgar Young was the principal speaker. Music was furnished by Prof. Willard Weihe and Prof. A. C. Lund, accompanied by Prof. J. J. McClellan. Invocation was offered by Joseph Fairbanks and benediction pronounced by Bishop J. A. Loveless.

The many beautiful floral offerings was a symbol of his character.

The remains were taken to Salt Lake City for interment.

President C. W. Penrose delivered a beautiful discourse at the grave, after which he dedicated it.

Samuel Douglass was of a retiring disposition but true to his convictions and lived and died a true Latter-day Saint.[9]

Samuel Douglass, Born March 1, 1850, Salt Lake City, Utah Married Oct. 26, 1874 – Died Aug. 7, 1918, Payson Utah Buried Salt Lake City
Emma Jane Dixon, wife of Samuel Douglass, Born Oct. 16, 1855, Kirtland, Ohio. Married Monday Oct. 26, 1874. Died June 4, 1943 Buried Salt Lake City, Utah

Children of Samuel and Emma Jane Douglass, all born at home in Payson, Utah

Mary Estella Douglass – Born on Wednesday, Oct 27, 1875 at 6:03 P.M.
Blessed by Elder David Lant Baptized 1884
Married John J. McClellan July 15, 1896
Died-Feb. 23, 1957

Armanella B. Douglass – Born Tuesday April 10, 1877 at 6:50 A.M.
Blessed by Elder David Fairbanks Baptized June 2, 1887
Married Robert S. Wimmer Dec. 29, 1897
Died – Sept 24, 1953

Samuel Douglass -- Born Sunday Oct. 27, 1878 at 10:15 P.M.
Blessed by Elder Gary Wride – Thursday, Dec. 8, 1878
Married – Minnie White Dec. 23, 1914 Baptized June 2, 1887
Died – Jan 31 11:30 A.M. 1965

Charles Dixon Douglass – Born on Saturday Aug. 21, 1880 at 5:30 A.M.
Blessed by Elder David Fairbanks Thursday Oct. 7, 1880
Married Winnie Nebeker Dec. 15, 1909 Baptized Aug. 1, 1889
Died – June 19, 1968

William Douglass – Born on Sunday Feb. 26, 1882 at 2:10 A.M.
Blessed by Elder Thomas E. Daniels Thursday May 4, 1882
Married – Pearl McClellan June 15, 1910 Baptized Sept 4, 1890
Died – Feb 19, 1968

Emma Douglass – Born on Monday March 31, 1884 at 5:06 P.M.
Blessed by Elder L. S. Huish June 5, 1884 Baptized March 2, 1893
Married – Newel Knight White[10] Dec. 30, 1908
Died – May 14, 1961

Henrietta Douglass – Born on Friday Feb. 5, 1886 at 9:00 A.M.
Blessed by Elder John B. Fairbanks Thursday June 3, 1886
Married - Baptized – Aug 1, 1895
Died – 13 September 1980[11]

Edith Douglass – Born on Saturday Nov. 26, 1887 at 5:30 P.M.
Blessed by Elder W. S. Tanner (unable to read) 1888
Married – Dave Huish Dec. 12, 1909 Baptized July 2, 1896
Died – June 4, 1955

Stanley Douglass – Born April 30, 1890 at 4:27 P.M.
Blessed by Elder W. S. Tanner Sept. 4, 1890
Married – Amanda E. Hanson Aug. 27, 1914 Baptized May 4, 1913
Died – 9 November 1976[12]

Marguerite Douglass – Born on Wednesday Dec. 18, 1895 at 10:50 A.M.
Blessed -- Baptized June 5, 1904
Married Winslow Charles Cole Nov. 15, 1924 (divorced)
Died – Aug. 20, 1960

Kathryn Douglass – Born on Friday Dec. 15, 1899 at 7:00 P.M.
Blessed by C. W. Brewerton Aug. 5, 1899
Married – John Rowe Groesbeck June 30, 1942 Baptized –
Died – 15 January 1988[13]

Among the descendents of Samuel and Emma Jane Douglass are doctors, dentists, teachers, druggists, nurses, musicians, accountants, salesmen, cattlemen and farmers. One grandson served in World War I; four in World War II, and two grand-daughters in World War II (one as a nurse, the other in the Red Cross). One grand-son, a paratrooper, was killed in an airplane crash the day of Emma Jane’s funeral. Another, his brother was serving on the U S S Battleship Oklahoma when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese.

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