Matthew Douglas

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Matthew Douglas was born on July 1, 1791 in Washington Co., Territory South of the Ohio River (aka Southwest Territory). Prior to being ceded to the United States by North Carolina in 1789 the land was simply known as North Carolina's Western Territory.

In 1796, the territory officially became the State of Tennessee, the 16th state in the Union. North Carolina (1789) had become the 12th state to be admitted to the Union while Kentucky (1792) had become the 15th state.

Several family trees show Matthew with the additional given name of William (William Matthew King). While possible, there appears to be no official documentation to substantiate this.

Matthew was the son of Revolution War soldier (North Carolina Militia), John Douglas (1764-1842), and Elizabeth "Betsy" Ford (1764-1815). Matthew's father, John, who was born in the part of Rowan County that became part of newly created Surry County in 1771, died in Washington Co., TN. The burial sites of John's grandparents are unknown.

Matthew's paternal grandfather, John, was the son of Mordecai Mitchell Douglas (1730-1800), also thought to have been born in the British Province of North Carolina, to have lived and died there. John's mother was Mary "Polly" Siler (1730-after 1771). She was born in Siler City, Chatham Co., British Province of North Carolina and is thought to have died in Surry County.

Matthew's paternal great-grandfather (Mordecia's father) was Alexander Douglas (1718-1800), an immigrant (abt 1827?) from Cockpen, Midlothian, Scotland. Alexander's wife is uncertain.

Matthew's mother, Betsy, was also born in that part of Rowan Co., NC that became part of Surry County in 1771. She was the daughter of Lloyd Price Ford (1727-1816) and Mary Grant (1722-1817). Both were born in Baltimore Co. , Maryland and both died in Sinking Creek, Washington Co., TN. Their burial sites are currently unknown.

On May 29, 1812, quite possibly in Jonesborough, Washington Co., TN, Matthew married Nancy Ann King (1792-1861). Matthew was 20, Nancy 19. She was the daughter of Kirby King (abt 1852/55-1895/96) and Uroth Murray (abt 1752/55-1806?). Kirby had been born in Edgecombe Co., NC, probably in an area that in 1758 became part of newly created Halifax County. Uroth, of Scottish descent, was born in Baltimore Co., Maryland. Both of Nancy's parents (Kirby & Uroth) died in Washington Co., TN and were buried there on the Murray family farm.

In late 1813, Matthew acquired about 20 acres in Campbell Co. (founded 1806) and moved his family there. The land was located not far from present day Newcomb (not founded until 1878). The nearest settlement to his farm was Elk Valley (founded in 1790). At one time the Matthew Douglas farm adjoined that of his wife's brother, William King (1785-1841/50). It is currently unknown if William and his family moved to the area with the Douglas family or if they were already living there or if they migrated to the area shortly thereafter.

Matthew was a soldier in the War of 1812 serving his country as a Corporal in Colonel Edwin Booth's East Tennessee Militia from 1814-15. Note that the war with Great Britain had started in 1812 but did not officially end until 1815.

About 1815, Thomas Murray "Tom" King (1790-1880), another brother of Matthew's wife (Nancy Ann King), moved his family from Washington Co., TN to Campbell Co, TN . He settled west of the Douglas family in the present day area of Capuchin which is between present day Newcomb and present day Angel Valley. Consequently, Thomas did not live too far from his two siblings, Nancy (King) Douglas and William King.

About 1819, Nancy's brother, Thomas, migrated once again. This time he moved from the upper part of Campbell Co. (Capuchin area, now SW Scott Co.) to the Marsh Creek area of lower Whitley Co. (now McCreary Co.), KY. There he would eventually become the patriarch of the King family in that area. The two counties (Campbell & Whitley) were in different states (TN & KY) but bordered each other.

About 1813/14. Burwell "Burel" King (1780-bet 1850/60), the oldest brother of Nancy, William and Thomas, migrated from Washington Co., TN to Claiborne Co., TN where he would live the rest of his life. The area that Burwell settled in become part of Hancock County when it was formed in 1844.

Around 1830, his wife's brother, William King, bought and moved his family to the Peter Trammell (abt 1787-abt 1845) farm near present day Angel Valley. Three of William's children would eventually marry children of the family of Archibald Angel and Nancy Trammell. Also, two of his brother's children would marry into the same Angel family. When William sold his farm (abt 1830) he may have sold it to Matthew as it adjoined his land. Part of the Douglas Cemetery today?

It is interesting to note that some family trees show Matthew Douglas as having been a preacher. However, records show that he was actually a "Justice of the Peace" and thus, could and did perform several civil weddings. There is no known documentation that shows that Matthew was a minister of the Gospel.

In 1839, Matthew performed the marriage ceremony for Enos King (abt 1816-bet 1892/1900) and Nancy Ann Angel (abt 1820-bet 1892/1900). Enos was his nephew by marriage, the son of Thomas Murray "Tom" King, an older (only by 2 years) brother to Matthew's wife. As mentioned earlier, Thomas and his family had once lived not far from Matthew and Nancy in the present day area of Capuchin, TN. Nancy Ann Angel was born and raised in present day Angel Valley, not far from the Capuchin area.

In all probability, Matthew's wife, Nancy (King) Douglas, attended the wedding of her brother's son, Enos King, held in/near present day Angel Valley. Most likely, Thomas (49) and Rebecca (39) traveled the 22 miles to Campbell County to attend their son's wedding, and to visit with another son, Jackson H. King (abt 1817-bet 1857/60) as well as Thomas' sister, Nancy. Jackson was living in the area and was married to Eliza Jane Angel, sister to his brother's wife to be (Nancy Ann Angel).

William King (54) certainly would also have attended the wedding and the reunion with his brother, Thomas. Their oldest brother, Burwell "Burel" King (abt 1880-1850/60), lived in neighboring Claiborne County. However, he was 59 years of age and the trip would have been a long one, 120+ rough miles. Consequently, it is unlikely that he was able to attend the wedding and attend the King family reunion.

Matthew Douglas and Nancy Ann King were married for 33 years and had ten known children, nine of them sons. In order of their birth they were Elizabeth Ann "Eliza" Douglas (1813-1889), Rev. Samuel Porter Douglas (1815-1891), Kirby King Douglas (1819-1889), William Aaron "Bill" Douglas (1821-1900), Amasa Bales "Massie" Douglas (1823-abt 1898), Sterling C. Douglas (1824-1899), George Washington Douglas (1826-aft 1880), Dr. Thomas Matthew Douglas (1828-1901), John Douglas (1831-1913) and King Hiram Douglas (1838-1867). There may have been another unknown child or two who died at/near birth or who did not survive childhood.

Matthew died on July 24, 1845 at his home in Campbell Co., TN at the age of 54. The cause of his death is unknown. He is buried in the Douglas Cemetery near the little community of present day Wooldridge. Buried on his farm, Matthew is thought to have been the first burial in what became the Douglas family burial ground and later the Douglas Cemetery. He now has a replacement marker. His original marker is no longer present but there is a photo of it.

Matthew's wife, Nancy, died at the age of 69, on Aug. 24, 1861, also in Campbell Co., TN. She too, is buried in the Douglas Cemetery, next to her husband, Matthew. She was the third known burial in the cemetery, 16 years after the first known burial (Matthew). Her original marker is also missing and may have been destroyed by a large oak tree that is very close to her burial site.

Nine of the first ten burials in this cemetery were members of the Matthew's immediate family. There were only 32 known burials from 1845 to 1900, 26 of them members of the Douglas family, either by blood or marriage. There were probably other family burials during that time (1845-1900) that are no longer marked.

The Douglas Cemetery is no longer a small family cemetery. It is now a large cemetery but is still named after Matthew's family. Situated on land that was once part of Matthew & Nancy's farm, the Douglas Cemetery is well managed and is quite beautiful.



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    Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024