52 Ancestors: Caleb Douglass, #28

This week’s theme is “travel.” My ancestor Caleb Douglas was born in Connecticut and later settled in Whitestown, NY.  In his late 60’s he took a mission trip to Michigan and purchased land there.

Caleb was born in 1756 to John and Esther (Leach) Douglass. He grew up in New London, Connecticut with his parents and married Bethiah Chapel in 1777. They moved a couple of times before Bethiah died in 1788, three weeks after giving birth to her youngest son. In February of 1789, Caleb married again, to Sarah Hall and in 1791 the family moved to Whitestown, in Oneida County, New York.

Caleb had already broken with the Congregational Church he was baptized in as a baby and after moving to Whitestown he joined the Whitesboro Baptist church. On January 7, 1802 he was ordained minister of that church and served there in that capacity until 1816.  According to the records of the First Baptist Church of Pontiac, Michigan, Caleb and his son Nathan travelled about 450 miles from Whitestown, NY to Pontiac in 1823 to visit the newly formed church and preach there.

During Caleb’s visit to Pontiac, he bought a little over one hundred acres of land in what was then called Detroit Michigan Territory. After becoming ill with some type of eye inflammation that eventually resulted in blindness, he and his family moved to Gorham, NY in Ontario County. He died in 1833 at the age of 77.


Charles Henry James Douglas, A collection of family records, with biographical sketches, and other memoranda of various families and individuals bearing the name Douglas, or allied to families of that name (Providence, R. I.: E.L. Freeman & co., 1879), 103-104; digital images, Internet Archive, Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org : accessed 15 July 2018).

Ancestry.com, “U. S. General Land Office Records, 1776-2015,” database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018), State Volume Patent for Caleb Douglass; United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records.

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