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William Y. Douglas









The noteworthy success achieved by William Y. Douglass must be attributed to his persistence in the face of adverse circumstances and to the ability and character by which he has made his way to a place among the successful viticulturists of Fresno County. He is a native of the Lone Star State, having been born in Texas, on February 16, 1877, the son of Theodore C.(1) and Emma C. Douglass, natives of Tennessee and Alabama respectively. They were the parents of the following children : John D. at Merced; W. V.: Mrs. Mary Jackson near Reedley; Mrs. Viola Spears at Placerville ; Charles and Emma, who are both deceased ; Lottie teaching in Sanger; and Kate at home. The father, T. C. Douglass, migrated to California in 1885 and was the first man to purchase a forty-acre ranch in the St. Louis Colony, which he planted to vines and oranges and named the Sunny South Orchard. He passed away in 1915, his widow residing now at Sanger.

W. Y. Douglass remained at home until twenty-four years of age, worked on the ranch and in the meantime, for four years, he carried the mail from Centerville to Sanger. His first ranching enterprise was undertaken in 1899 when he leased the old St. Louis ranch and made his first stake. For two years, at an annual rental of $400, by careful management he succeeded in making $1,000, and at the expiration of his lease, he purchased his present place of forty acres, paying $200 per acre. It is one of the oldest ranches in the County, having been set out over fifty years ago by Hyde and Jackson, the ranch being taken up originally as government land.

On the ranch stands the original house, the lumber for which was brought around Cape Horn. Since purchasing the ranch, Mr. Douglass has improved the place by erecting buildings and otherwise beautifying the ranch, which he increased in size in 1914, by the addition of thirty acres, making his total seventy acres of valuable land. From two acres of Emperor grapes he received $2,500 gross which serves to illustrate the profitableness of his splendid ranch. That portion of his ranch which was set out to raisin grapes, fifty years ago, yields three tons to the acre. Among the orange trees on his ranch are some that have been planted since 1890. There are two trees that were set out in the late sixties.

In 1909, W. Y. Douglass was united in marriage with Miss Mary Deitrich (30 Aug 1888-1 Apr 1914), a daughter of Fred Deitrich, and this union has been blessed by two children: Doris V., and Rosemary. Mr. Douglass was bereft of the companionship of his wife, and the children of a loving mother's care and devotion, on April 2, 1914. On January 20, 1919, Mr. Douglass married for his second wife Marie Raypholtz, born in Medford, Ore.

Fraternally, W. Y. Douglass is a member of the Sanger Lodge of Eagles, and he has voted the Democratic ticket at national elections and shown his interest in educational matters by serving as a school trustee of the Centerville School Districts. 



1. Possible son of Jonathon, who had land in Monroe County, Tennessee.



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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024