MC244 - Robert Douglass and Charles Douglass land surveyors fonds

Title proper

Robert Douglass and Charles Douglass land surveyors fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Cartographic material

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Title notes

  • Variations in title: This fonds was originally known as MC244 Charles Douglass fonds.

Level of description

Reference code

CA PANB MC244

Edition statement

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Date(s)

  • 1823-1928 (Creation)
    Creator
    Douglass, Robert
  • 1823-1928 (Creation)
    Creator
    Douglass, Charles Knowlton S.

Physical description

15 m of textual records and 67 maps and plans

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Name of creator

(1813-1906)

Biographical history

Robert Douglass, the son of Sarah Cather and Joseph Douglass (d. 1839), was born in Milltown, Ireland, in 1813. In 1829, he arrived in New Brunswick, settling, initially, in Kingston, Kings County, where he taught school until at least the mid-1830s. He later moved to Bouctouche, Wellington Parish, Kent County. In February 1844, he married Betsey Ann Smith (1809-1892), the daughter of Loyalists, Elizabeth Ruth Lyons and Bowen Smith, of Shediac Cape, and they had no fewer than six children: Matilda O. (1845-1933), Cordelia Ann (1846-1908), Henrietta (1847-1923), Eliza Peters (1848-1935), Charles Knowlton S. (1852-1929) and Bertha (1877-1927).

Robert Douglass was employed as a schoolmaster and by the Crown Lands Department as deputy land surveyor in Shediac Cape. He was responsible for surveying many, if not most, of the roads in Kent County, and was, in later years, assisted by his son, Charles K.S. Douglass. Robert Douglass's death certificate suggests that he worked as a customs officer prior to his death. Robert Douglass died at Buctouche, on 7 May 1906, in his 93rd year. His wife predeceased him, passing away on 26 July 1892. They are buried in Buctouche Anglican Cemetery.

Robert and Betsey Ann Douglass's son, Charles Knowlton S. Douglass, was born in Wellington Parish, Kent County, in 1852. On 4 September 1888, he married Mary Ann Porter (1862-1939), and they had no fewer than six children: Robert William (1889-1963), Charles Gordon (b. 1891), Burwell (1893-1974), Winnifred Smith (b. 1894, m. Stewart), Gertrude Strathmore (1898-1975, m. Triggs), and Frederick Chalmers (1899-1951).

Charles Knowlton S. Douglass received his early training in surveying from his father and worked with other surveyors, most probably Alfred Layton, William John Layton, E.R. Rutledge and R.D. Jago. He may have received assistance from his son, Robert William. By the early 20th century, Charles Douglas was employed at Buctouche as a deputy land surveyor for the provincial Crown Land Department. He probably held that position for the remainder of his life. In addition to his government post, Charles Douglass ran his own surveying business, performing services for residents of Kent County. He was still working as a surveyor in 1928. Charles K. S. Douglass eventually sold his private business to J. C. Shever of Moncton, N.B. He died in 1929 and was buried in St. Lawrence Anglican Cemetery, Buctouche, Kent County.

Robert and Betsey Ann Douglass's daughters, Matilda O., Cordelia Ann (aka Annie), Henrietta, Eliza Peters, and Bertha never married. Four of the five sisters were living together in the family home as late as 1911, Cordelia Ann having passed away in 1908.

Sources: Notes compiled by Charles Douglass's granddaughter, Kay Ruddick; Kent County census records; PANB cemeteries database; RS141 Vital statistics records; Robert Fellow's, Family Names index, RS655 Robert [Douglas], 1832.

Name of creator

(1850-1929)

Biographical history

Charles Knowlton S. Douglass, was born in Wellington Parish, Kent County, in 1852 to Robert and Betsey Ann Douglass. On 4 September 1888, he married Mary Ann Porter (1862-1939), and they had no fewer than six children: Robert William (1889-1963), Charles Gordon (b. 1891), Burwell (1893-1974), Winnifred Smith (b. 1894, m. Stewart), Gertrude Strathmore (1898-1975, m. Triggs), and Frederick Chalmers (1899-1951).

Charles Knowlton S. Douglass received his early training in surveying from his father and worked with other surveyors, most probably Alfred Layton, William John Layton, E.R. Rutledge and R.D. Jago. He may have received assistance from his son, Robert William. By the early 20th century, Charles Douglas was employed at Buctouche as a deputy land surveyor for the provincial Crown Land Department. He probably held that position for the remainder of his life. In addition to his government post, Charles Douglass ran his own surveying business, performing services for residents of Kent County. He was still working as a surveyor in 1928. Charles K. S. Douglass eventually sold his private business to J. C. Shever of Moncton, N.B. He died in 1929 and was buried in St. Lawrence Anglican Cemetery, Buctouche, Kent County.

Custodial history

The bulk of these records passed from Charles Douglass to J. C. Shever when Mr. Shever purchased Charles Douglass's surveying business. The remaining records came into the hands of Charles Douglass's granddaughter, Kay Douglass Ruddick, prior to 1998. They were transferred to this fonds from MC2499 in September 2007.

An undated survey map [18-?] on linen that shows land grants in the Buctouche area was transferred to this fonds from MC3361 Douglass family fonds on 12 February 2013.

Scope and content

This fonds documents the professional activities of both Robert Douglass and his son, Charles K. S. Douglass, as land surveyors. It consists of Robert Douglass’s field book, dating from 1848-1851, which records surveying work undertaken by him, as well as two practice / copy books, the first dating from 1836-1856, and the second to 1848, both containing geometry problems, drawings, theorems, and other sketches, as well as samples of plans, writing, and different alphabets. Towards the back of the 1836-1856 volume are several reflections and poems composed by Robert Douglass between 1843 and 1856. There are also a very few loose documents – 1 sample plan, 3 poems, and 1 blank petition for the purchase of land for settlement.

Charles Douglass’s professional records consist of business correspondence, orders for surveys, returns of surveys (including sketches), survey sketches, and statements of expenses, as well as circulars and regulations.

Also included are approximately 67 maps or plans that were prepared by, or that show grants of land that were surveyed by, either Charles Douglass, Robert Douglass, Alfred Layton, William John Layton, E. R. Rutledge, or R. D. Jago. Most of the maps, sketches, plans, and surveys are of property located in Kent County. A very few are of property in Queens County. The fonds also includes a few of Charles Douglass's personal and legal records, most notably, deeds, road tax certificates and school assessment notices.

The returns of survey and survey sketches are located with the textual records. The maps and plans have been moved to PANB's Map Section.

Physical condition

The undated linen map of the Buctouche area that was transferred to this fonds in February 2013 received conservation treatment from PANB's conservation lab.

Immediate source of acquisition

Mr. J. C. Shever, of Moncton, N.B., donated the bulk of these records to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick on 13 May 1980. The remainder of the fonds was donated by Charles Douglass's granddaughter, Kay Ruddick, on 21 November 1997, along with her diary of her Red Cross activities as a war brides escort in 1946-1947 (located in MC2499). The materials contained in the second donation, which are noted on the inventory, include Robert Douglass's 2 practice books (surveying) and 3 poems.

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Restrictions on access

No restrictions on content, but researchers are asked to handle the maps and plans with care, as some of them are fragile.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

An inventory is available.

Associated materials

Researchers interested in the Douglass family may wish to consult MC3361 Douglass family fonds which contains two diaries, 1886-1896; 1903-1926, kept by Robert Douglass's children. Included among the diary entries are several which record the dates and places of surveying work conducted by Robert and Charles Douglass.

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