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Alexander Jackson Douglas




Alexander Jackson Douglas (March 1827 - 23 March 1905) Pastor, Hopeful Lutheran Church, Florence, was in Richland County, Ohio. he was the son of William Douglas and Margaret Edgington.

He married 1st Mary Jenner and 2nd Sarah Jane Cassell 20 July 1876 in Noble County, Ind. She was born October 1847 in Ohio. and died 11 Apr 1939 in Indiana They has three children: Lloyd Cassel Douglas (1877 - 1951), Mabel Douglas (1878 - 1879) and Clyde E. Douglas (b. 1883 in Boone County, Kentucky - 1909, Chicago).

A. J. Douglas was called to Boone County in November 1881, and was pastor until 1883. W. C. Butt, a pastor there, says of him: "Bro. Douglas was an interesting speaker and his preaching was very acceptable because he was fresh and original as a speaker." His son, Lloyd, wrote of him, in a chapter of autobiography entitled "My Papa":

My father, Alexander Jackson Douglas, was fifty when I was born. He had lived longer than most men of his years, having been a farmer, a schoolmaster, a college student, a lawyer, a State Senator; and, when we first met, a rural preacher.

He had also sired a large family and was a grandfather to children older than I, so that by the time we of the second crop came along little kids were no novelty and certainly no treat.

My younger brother and I were taught by our mama to call our father Papa, which we did, and continued to do until the end of his days.

Mama, too, who was his junior by more than a score of years, called him Papa, except on infrequent occasions of brief of brisk annoyance when she addressed him as A. J. Mama was sincerely devoted to Papa but when she called him A. J. we all — including A. J. — took cover.

When I was a small boy all men in their fifties were elderly. It was not to any man's advantage to appear youthful. The world had always been operated by and for old men and my papa had been brought up in that tradition.

(Lloyd C. Douglas, Time to Remember, p. 1-2)

Alexander studied at Wittenberg College in Springfield, Ohio, but failed to convince the Examining Committee that he was suited for the Lutheran ministry. He demonstrated weakness on several important points of doctrine, doubting that unbaptized infants went to hell, admitting that he didn't believe in the Devil, and suggesting that Luther's stature would have been improved had he maintained his vow of celibacy. He therefore returned to his original ambition to become a lawyer.

In 1861, the Civil War broke out and a phase of his life began.

The Indianapolis Star of August 2, 1862:
Mr. Douglas, the nominee for Senator, is a Democrat with back bone enough to proclaim his political sentiments without fear., and ever ready to assert the rights of the Democracy when assailed by the enemies of the Constitution as it is. He is a man of more than ordinary talents, a fair speaker, and will, if elected, do honor to himself and reflect credit upon his district.
Alexander Douglas "handily defeated his Republican opponent" and joined the state legislature as a senator.

 In 1863, he was arrested and charged with "violating General Orders Number 38 by expressing sympathy for the rebels and “declaring disloyal sentiments and opinions with the object and purpose of weakening the power of the Government in its efforts to suppress an unlawful Rebellion.”

The military commission found him guilty of "uttering words considered an incitement to violent resistance to authority." The two incriminating statements were "I thank God that I have not, by word, or act, assisted to support the administration”, and "When next you go to the ballotbox carry your cartridge box with you”. Nevertheless, the officers on the commission returned a verdict of "not guilty" to the overall charge and dismissed the case. "Even more surprising, … the military commission adjourned sine die, never to reconvene." (Towne)

Alexander married twice.

In 1850 he married Mary Jenner, "of a prominent Richland County family", and by 1855 they had eleven children, including daughters Alice and Elizabeth,

By his second marriage, to Jenny Cassel, he had, amongst other children, a son Doya, later known as Lloyd Cassel Douglas, an American minister and author.

Alexander Jackson Douglas died on 23 Mar 1905 in Columbia City, Indiana, and was buried in Salem Cemetery, Washington Township, Noble County, Indiana.

A fuller biography compiled by descendant Arthur Dawson can be read here:

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The article includes extracts from Arthur Dawson's biography of Alexander Jackson Douglas

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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024