Rough Draft of a Fine Family

It's not a book and doubtless won't ever be. Tracing this family suggested that there are stories inherent in their details that can be saved. Let's not lose any more of them. The family lines started out of sight somewhere. Many branched, crossed and intersected. Some stopped. When they did, only their memory can keep them going.

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Grandma to some, mom to others.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Norval Douglass

Norval Douglass was born December 15, 1822, the third child of Dr. Elmore Douglass and Elizabeth Savin Fulton, in Gallatin, Sumner County, Tennessee, joining brothers Edward Douglass, who was 3 years old, and David Fulton Douglass, almost 2. He was just twelve when his mother, sheltered from a tunderstorm with many of her children, was struck by lightning and killed while sitting in their home. This was the fourth time the one-story brick house had been hit.

Only days earlier, brother Edward, 16, had drowned, and brother John J. White Douglass died the following autumn before his 4th birthday. These would not be the last of the misfortunes that beset this family and this young boy, but he would go on to live a long and adventurous life.

(Norval Douglass with daughter Anna Elizabeth Gill, granddaughter Mary Alma Gill Morrill and great-granddaughter Eulilla "Joy" Morrill, 1899)

Norval's father, Elmore Douglass, finally married again 4 years later to Sam Houston's first wife, Eliza Allen. Eliza had moved home to help taker care of her siblings, and then later moved in with one or the other of her married sisters. Her mother had died following childbirth in 1832 (baby also died, two days later). The next oldest girl, Margaret, was retarded, and was cared for by Eliza and Elmore till she died in 1863. At any rate, Eliza raised her siblings and her step children, and had 4 more of her own, only one of whom survived to marry, and that one and the daughter both later died.

But Norval and two others were already out of the house before their father remarried, and he soon himself married into another well established family, to Mourning Shelton Miller on November 16, 1844, in Sumner County, Tennessee. How and when they left Tennessee and settled in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama, I don't know, but they were there with her mother by the 1850 census, with two little girls. The oldest was my great-grandmother, Anna Elizabeth (4), and baby sister Mary Catherine (1).

Mourning was a widow with a three year old boy (only a babe when his father died) when they married, so her life hadn't been easy, either. But Mourning died in July, 1850, after the census, and Norval decided to drive his cattle to relatives in Mississippi and sell out.

Next we know, the little girls are living with their grandma Anna Woods Miller in Bastrop, Texas, where their aunts were married to ranchers. And Norval headed to New Orleans with cousin Grandison Saunders Douglass, to catch a ferry to California via Panama, where he's met by his brother General David Fulton Douglass and cousin Jesse Douglass Carr in December.


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