Alanson Douglas

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Alanson Douglas was the son of Wheeler Douglas (1750 - 1829) and Martha Rathbone Douglas (1753 - 1837). He was born on 11th February 1779 in Stephentown, Rensselaer County, New York, USA

He studied law; settled first in the village of Lansingburgh, in 1806 he was Surrogate of Rensselaer County, New York, in 1811; he was elected Cashier of the newly incorporated Bank of Troy; in 1827 he was invited to become the Cashier of the Chemical Bank of New York City, but not caring for New York, gladly accepted the call of the Merchants' and Mechanics' Bank of Troy in 1829, just after it received its charter; here he stayed until 1836 when he resigned and was succeeded by his son Charles Selden Douglas.

Alanson Douglas declined the offer of President Van Buren, of Secretaryship of the Treasury in the latter's Cabinet.

He married at Stanford, New York, 12th June, 1803, Ann Sutherland, (b. at Stanford, 7th April, 1784, d. at Irvington, New York, 28th February, 1869), daughter of the Hon. Solomon and Tamma (Thompson) Sutherland. 

The will of Alanson Douglas, drawn by himself, was a long and admirably written instrument, and on its first publication excited much curiosity, and attracted the attention of legal and financial circles. Among its provisions, after providing annuities for his brothers and sisters, he left a bequest of $100,000, to be equally divided among his nephews and nieces in eight equal annual payments. He had six children, all born in Lansinburgh, except the last two, who were born in Troy:—
• George Henry Douglas (____ - 1837)*
• Sutherland Douglas (1804 - 1831)*
• Mary Ann Douglas Miller (1807 - 1881)*
•  Charles Seldon Douglas (1812 -   ?)
• William Bradley Douglas (1818 - 1898)*
• Julia Douglas Merritt (1823 - 1904)*

The grandson of Asa Douglas (1715-1792) and Rebecca Wheeler (1718-1809), he died 9th April 1856 in Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, USA.  He is buried in Old Mount Ida Cemetery, Troy, Rensselaer County, New York, USA

The following sketch of him has been prepared by his son William B. Douglas, of Rochester : —
" He was educated a lawyer, settled in the village of Lansingburgh, and there entered njion the practice of his profession. He married, June 12, 1803, Anna, daughter of the Hon. Solomon* and Mrs. Tamma (Thompson) Sutherland, of Stanford. In Weise'S History of Troy, which village Avas the rival of Lansingburgh, the name of Alanson Douglas is given among the leading lawyers of that district. In 1806 he'Avas apjiointed sur- rogate of Rensselaer county. In 1811, by an act of the Legislature of New York, the bank of Troy was incQ^rporated, and Mr. Douglas was elected cashier. At this time it became evident that the location of Troy, three miles below Lansingburgh, on the same side of the Hudson river, was superior to that of its rival, and that it would eventually supersede Lansingburgh as a com- mercial and manufacturing town. These considerations operated upon the mind of Mr. Douglas, as they did ujjon the minds of other leading men in Lansingburgh, and induced a removal to Troy, and the acceptance by Mr. Douglas of the position of financial ofticer of the bank of Troy. The institution was suc- cessful and prosjoerous under his management, and he was regarded as one of the ablest bankers in the state. In 1827, Mr. Douglas was invited to take the cashiership in the Chemical bank in the city of New York, and, accepting it, he removed to that city. But he found a residence in New York less to his taste than he had anticipated; and, on being elected, in 1829, cashier of the Merchants' and Mechanics' bank, of Troy, then just chartered, he decided to resign his ofiice in the Chemical bank and return to the city of Troy, endeared to him by many valued associations. He entered on his duties as cashier of this bank at its opening, in 1829, and continued until 1836, when he resigned the office and was succeeded by his son, Charles S. Douglas.

" On thus retiring from the activities of a business life at the early age of 57, with unimpaired mental and physical powers, Mr. Douglas withdrew for the most part from public responsibilities, and devoted his time to the care of a large personal estate, and to reading, for which he had a decided fondness. He was by nature endowed with a clear intellect, which was strengthened and developed by the study and practice of law, and further en- larged and quickened by his connection with business and finance. An exact thinker and close observer, governing himself and his business by fixed principles and not by untested theories, as a lawyer, a banker, a man and a Christian, he always commanded the confidence of tlie people among whom his lot was cast. His will was strong, while his nature was gentle and affectionate. His habit was to concentrate his attention and strength upon the responsibilities that, in God's providence, were laid upon him, and he was conteiit with success therein. After about two years of failing health and increasing infirmities, borne patiently and without a murmur, in the entire possession of his mental facul- ties, revealing to those in close contact with him much of the childlike simjjlicity and affection which characterized his nature, combined with his unusually clear thought and foresight, he fell asleep, at his home in Troy, on the 9th day of April, 1856. His widow survived him until Feb. 28, 1869

•  Alanson Douglas took $50,000 of the U.S. Government Loan, 1813-14.



Sources for this article include:
  • Mackenzie, George Norbury, ed. Colonial Families of the United States of America. Vol. 6. Baltimore, MD: Seaforth Press, 1917.
  • Family Records, compiled by Charles Henry James Douglas; 1879

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