Richard Douglass

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names


Captain Richard Douglass (1746–1828), a cooper, soldier, deacon and politician, was born in New London, Connecticut in 1746 to Stephen and Patience Douglass.

Richard Douglass ran a successful cooper business. Already in 1760 where there more than 40 ships from Brigs to Sloops registered in New London many under the Shaw Family flag conducting business in the East and West Indies as well as such foreign ports at Lisbon, Barcelona, Amsterdam and even as far as Russia in addition to the mother country England. Being a cooper was a valuable trade especially with New London and the Colonies thirst for Bajan (Barbados) Rum.

At the outbreak of hostilities in the 1775 against England, Richard Douglass enlisted in the militia and marched alongside Nathan Hale, William Coit, John & James Chapman and other New Londoners to Boston in William Coit's Independent Company. At this point it is not yet known if his unit under Capt. Chapman participated at Bunker Hill but it is suspected as William Coit was with a 200 man strong unit that fought at the "fence" with Thomas Knowlton of Connecticut. John Chapman eventually served under Knowlton in the elite Army Ranger unit, the first of its kind.

Two companies of New London County men were at Bunker Hill including John Tubbs of modern day East Lyme and Christopher Darrow (East Lyme/Montville) then called "Northern Parrish". It is most likely that, according to documentation, that William Coit's Independent Company protected the retreating soldiers from Bunker Hill (Breeds) thwarting any British engagements, thus allowing the survivors to return in safety.

It is known that Capt. Chapman's Regiment of Foote or "Company" served under Lyme's General Samuel Holden Parsons then living in New London and participated at the Battle of New York (Long Island) and the defense of New York and eventual retreat to the Highlands. It is thought that here Richard Douglass "suffered atrocities of the British" and was taken prisoner, eventually escaping a prison ship in 1776-77. Richard fought at the defense of Philadelphia, Monmouth, New Jersey, Germantown and Brandywine engagements along with many other Eastern Connecticut men. It is also possible that he was taken prisoner at Germantown, as many from New London County were, as their poorly led unit was outflanked.

Richard Douglass served throughout the war and it has appears that he was again the victim of atrocities when Benedict Arnold returned in 1781 burning New London and the attack on Ft. Griswold in Groton that eventually claimed the lives of 83 men on the Groton side and 6 more on the New London side. While Bradley Street was spared the torch, it is possible that Richard Douglass and family suffered harassment.

It is said that Richard Douglass enlisted in 1775 and served distinguishably throughout the war ending service in 1783.

Not much is known yet of the man as a person, what he looked like, or what people like Nathan Hale, William Coit or John Chapman thought of him, but having served distinguishably appears that he was a good foot soldier and very loyal to cause becoming respected in that area.

Douglas, Richard (Conn). Private in the Lexington Alarm, April, 1775; Ensign and Regimental Quartermaster in Selden's Connecticut State Regiment, 20 June to 25 December 1776; 2nd Lieutenant 1st Connecticut, 1 at January, 1777; 1st Lieutenant, 1 January 1778; Captain Lieutenant, 11 August, 1780; Captain, 22 August 1780; transferred to 5th Connecticut, 1 January 1781, transferred to 3d Connecticut, 1 January 1783; transferred to Swift's Consolidated Connecticut Regiment, June, 1783, and served to 3d November, 1783. (Died 1828.)

At the close of the War with New London nearly burned to the ground and its economy in shambles, it appears Richard Douglass's business began to slowly rebound. Just a few years after the war's conclusion he purchased the land from Timothy Green at the corners of the new Golden Street and Cross Street (now Green's Alley) to build a house. At nearly 40 years of age he removed from Bradley Street, which was known as "Widows Row" from the British attack on New London to this new street even closer to the wharves on Bank Street. His cooper business took place at 102 Golden Street for some time and eventually purchased the plot at 77-79 Green Street (immediately next door) for 117 dollars on June 30, 1801 from Timothy Green then living in Fredricksburg, VA to manage his family business interests there. The house was built a short time after and is one of the few homes of its type remaining in New London.

At the close of the American Revolution in 1783 Richard became one of the founding officers of the Society of the Cincinnati and it is noted in Bryce Metcalf's "Original Members and Other Officers Eligible to the Society of the Cincinnati" (1938) that he served until November 3, 1783. Richard Douglass was a member of the Connecticut Society.

Richard Douglass served as a representative from New London in 1803? In 1803.-A. WOODWARD, George COLFAX, Richard DOUGLASS, Lyman LAW all represented SE CT in Hartford.


Born to parents Stephen Douglas (1719-1748) and Patience Atwell (born 172), Richard married Ann Jennings, a widow from New Shoreham, Block Island, Rhode Island in 1777 and had 8 children(2). All lived to their adult years. Ann Jennings from the Champlin stock a well known Eastern Connecticut line of families, well respected and quite obviously a catch.

Richard Douglass Great grandfather Robert married Mary Hempstead in 1665, the first child born in New London to English parents. Robert was the son of William Douglas, b. 1610

Children of Richard douglas and Ann, nee Champlin:
Ann Champlin 1751-1837
Alexander Douglas b. 1778  became a whaling captain working in the firm of Benjamin Brown of New London(1) as well as for the Williams firm. He purchased property in upstate New York or received it from a war grant from his father's service in the war and eventually retired there after his last whaling voyages in about 1838.
Nancy Douglas 1780-1861 died unmarried
Clarissa Douglass 1802-1825
Fanny Douglas 1784-1855
Richard Douglas 1798-1852 became a lawyer and moved to Ohio Territory at Chillicote then being populated by many of Eastern Connecticut's citizens and later relocated to Marietta, Ohio and had two sons, Luke Richard and Albert.
Dr. Luke Douglas 1788-1820
Dr. Charles Douglas 1792-1851
Mary Douglas 1794-1795
Peter Douglass 1796-1874

Richard Sr.'s great grandson of  Albert was a politician and Ambassador.

He built what is now known as the Richard Douglass House.

Richard Sr. died in 1852 in Chillicote, Ohio.

1. The Benjamin Brown house (ca. 1817) still stands today on Bank Street as a "granite" icon to the Whaling Era.
2. I have names for 11 children
3. Richard's brother, Peter, moved to Chillicothe after living in Nashville, TE, for a short time.. He was for a time a merchant here. He also resided in Circleville and Cincinnati, Ohio, but spent his last years in Chillicothe where he died in August 1874, at the age of 78.

Any contributions will be gratefully accepted


Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024