Judge Byrd Douglas


Son of Byrd Douglas

Byrd DouglasJudge Byrd Douglas was born in Nashville on August 28, 1894, the son of Byrd and Adelaide Wharton Gains Douglas. His home in Nashville was located at 2019 Castleman Drive. 


Douglas authored two books, The Science of Baseball, published in 1921, and Steamboatin’ On The Cumberland, published in December of 1961, that sold 1300 copies its first day of sale.


Judge Douglas attended the Wallace University School, Vanderbilt University, Princeton University, and Cumberland University of Lebanon, Tennessee. He received a Bachelor of Literature degree at Princeton in 1916. At Princeton, he lettered in baseball as an All-American catcher, and coached the team for several seasons. In 1917 he completed his legal training at Cumberland University and earned his law degree. He later taught at Cumberland University, served on the Board of Trustees, and was Director of Athletics for 2 years. At Vanderbilt, he coached the baseball team, producing the championship team of 1920, and was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.


About 1920 Douglas married Mary Stahlman Douglas who was born in 1895 and died in 1979. She was the daughter of Edward C., and Mary Geddes Stahlman, and sister of James G. Stahlman, who had once owned the Nashville Banner newspaper. Mrs. Douglas was a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia, from which she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1916. In 1942 she was invited to be the alumnae speaker at her alma mater on the merit of being chosen Outstanding Alumnae in her field. Mrs. Douglas began her professional career with the Nashville Banner in 1916 as a drama critic and reporter, and later became Book Review Editor serving in that capacity from 1935-1972. In 1922 and 1923 she was Dean, as well as teacher, at the Yancy School of Journalism at Cumberland University. During the writing of Steamboatin’ On The Cumberland, she edited, proofread, and indexed the book for her husband.


During World War I Douglas volunteered in the first Officers Training School at Ft. Oglethorp, Georgia, serving until an injury forced him to leave military service. He joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation becoming Agent in Charge for the U. S. Department of Justice in Tampa, Florida. During World War II Douglas was active in organizing and training auxiliary units of the Coast Guard in Tennessee. In 1943 he was named Captain of Division 6, which comprised eight CGA flotillas in the Tennessee Valley area. Douglas was a licensed operator, owning a variety of boats, including towboats and barges, which he piloted along nearly every navigable mile of the Cumberland River. In 1930, he began practicing law with his brother Lee, until 1942 when he became Judge of the 2nd Circuit Court. In 1958 he was appointed Judge of the Circuit Court of Davidson County.


Douglas was an active civic and church leader. He was an ordained elder of the Downtown Presbyterian Church, and member of the Session, the governing body of the church.


He was a Charter Member of the Nashville Chapter of the Propeller Club, a member of the Rivers & Harbors Congress, served as President of the Larry Gilbert Junior Baseball League, and served as director of the Red Cross, and the Boy’s Club. Judge Douglas died of a brain haemorrhage at his summer home, Hunters Point, in Wilson County, Tennessee, on August 11, 1965, after serving 21 years on the bench.


Source: TSLA Vertical File, Newspaper obituary.