Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DOUGLAS, William, soldier, born in Plainfield, Connecticut, 17 January 1742; died in Northford, Connecticut, 28 May 1777. At sixteen years of age he enlisted among the troops furnished by Connecticut to serve in the French war. He was present at the taking of Quebec, and by 1763 had attained the rank of sergeant. He then removed to New Haven, became a sailor, and in a few years was master of a West India merchantman. Before the Revolution he had made a fortune. After the battle of Lexington he raised a company, became its captain, and joined Montgomery's expedition against Canada. He did good service at the capture of St. John's and Chambly, in command of the flotilla on Lake Champlain, and on his return to New Haven was made major of one of the eight regiments raised by Connecticut early in 1776. He was commissioned colonel in June of that year, and rook a prominent part in the disastrous campaign that ended with the evacuation of New York, distinguishing himself at the battles of Long Island and Harlem Plains. At the latter place his horse was shot under him, his clothes were riddled with bullets, and he received wounds that forced him to retire to a farm in Northford, where he died from their effects.
His brother, John Douglas, was commissioned lieutenant colonel early in the war, rose to the rank of colonel, and finally to that of general, and served with distinction throughout the war.
William's grandson, Benjamin Douglas, manufacturer, born in Northford, Connecticut, 3 April 1816, worked on a farm and attended school till he was sixteen years old, when he became apprentice to his elder brother, William. a machinist, at Middletown, Conn. They formed a partnership in 1839, and in 1842 patented a revolving cistern stand pump. Since that time over one hundred new patents on pumps have been granted to the brothers in this country and Europe. William Douglas died in 18.58, and in 1859 a company was formed of which Benjamin became president. The company manufactures over twelve hundred styles of pumps, besides other hydraulic apparatus. They were awarded medals at Paris in 1867 and Vienna in 1873. Mr. Douglas was mayor of Middletown for several years, a republican presidential elector in 1860, and lieutenant governor of the state in 1861'2. He has been a trustee of Wesleyan University since 1862.
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