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Rev John Douglas











John Douglas (1809-1879) , was minister of Steele Creek Presbyterian Church and Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church from July 6, 1867 until his death on October 8. 1879.

The son of John and Elizabeth Douglas, he was a native of Chester, South Carolina.  Douglas was a graduate of South Carolina College and the Theological Seminary in Columbia, SC. Ordained on April 30, 1836, by the Bethel Presbytery he served initially as minister of a congregation in Chester for approximately twelve years. In the late 1840's, he transferred to the Charleston Presbytery, where he headed the James Island Presbyterian Church. John Douglas preached his first sermon at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church on November 19, 1865, more than a year and a half before he was officially installed as pastor. Every Sunday Douglas conducted two services, the first at Steele Creek and the second at Pleasant Hill some eight miles away by horseback.

The evidence suggests that John Douglas was a refined and erudite individual. He and his wife, Frances G. Douglas (1800-1984), travelled extensively in Europe before the Civil War.

He possessed a library of approximately 1300 volumes, which he bequeathed to the Theological Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina. He was the author of the first history of Steele Creek Presbyterian Church, published in 1872.

Douglas was a Trustee of Davidson College and, even more significantly, served as the moderator of the Synod of North Carolina when it met in Second Presbyterian Church in Charlotte in 1877.

During the Civil War he had been a missionary among Confederate troops who had been stationed along the coast from Charleston to Savannah. When he came to Mecklenburg County, the congregations at Steele Creek and Pleasant Hill were plagued with factionalism and internal bickering. Undoubtedly, he was successful in bringing the people back together.  Local tradition holds that John Douglas was mindful of the local strife when he decided, ca. 1867, to purchase land and erect his home, now known as John Douglas House, immediately behind Steele Creek Presbyterian church in Christie Lane in the Steele Creek Community or southwestern portion of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.  One writer contends that his ministry "well nigh attained unto perfection." The Charlotte Observer described Douglas as a "greatly beloved pastor. " The Charlotte Democrat echoed these sentiments, stating that he was "much beloved by his Church people and by all who knew him."

John Douglas had no children. Susannah Baker, an orphan whom Rev. and Mrs. Douglas had taken in as a child, lived in the house as a servant. She died shortly after the death of John Douglas.

Mrs. Douglas expired on April 2, 1884, and was buried beside her husband in the cemetery at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church.


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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024