John Gordon Douglas was a West Indies merchant born in Jamaica, son of William Douglas, who was variously described as a Merchant, Controller of Customs, landowner, and his wife Anne MacPherson. John Gordon Douglas moved to Trinidad where his interests included the large pitch lake there.
In April 1882, John Gordon Douglas married Harriet Elizabeth Mill, third daughter of James Mill, surgeon in Thurso, and his wife Harriet Gordon Sage Davidson. James Mill died in 1873 and his widow moved to Edinburgh (she too is buried in the Grange Cemetery). At the time of their marriage in Edinburgh John Gordon Douglas’s usual address was given as Trinidad, and his and Elizabeth’s first child, William Alexander Scott Douglas, was born in March 1883 while they were on a visit there. They also had two daughters, Annabella Mary and Harriet Lilias Gordon, born in Edinburgh in September 1884 and January 1886 respectively.
Apart from owning properties in Edinburgh, at 40 Wilton Road and 7 Albany Street, John Gordon Douglas also owned Douglas Lodge in Machrihanish, near Campbeltown, in the Kintyre peninsula. The house at 40 Wilton Road, was called “Bulowsminde”, which suggests a further West Indies connection since it was an estate on St Croix (now the US Virgin Islands). The house is now number 44 Wilton Road on the corner with Mayfield Road. The name “Bulowsminde” can just be made out at the top of the two stone gateposts.
JOHN GORDON DOUGLAS
BORN 10TH FEBRUARY 1839
DIED 13TH MAY 1910
HARRIET ELIZABETH MILL
BORN 21ST AUGUST 1854
DIED 16TH FEBRUARY 1917
At the top inside a panel is a version of the Douglas crest consisting of a crown over a heart beneath the word “FORWARD” on a banner.
John Gordon Douglas was involved in campaigning for total abstinence from alcohol. In 1886 he was elected as one of the vice-presidents of “The Edinburgh Total Abstinence Society” [Edinburgh Evening News, 1 October 1886]. On the night of the 1891 census (5 April) John and Harriet had a visitor staying with them called Joseph Knight, aged 37, born in England, described as “Secy. to a Society” – Joseph was secretary of the Vegetarian Society [Sheffield Independent, 15 May 1889].
In 1893 John Gordon Douglas was chairman at a meeting to advocate vegetarianism, backing up his campaign for abstinence from alcohol:
VEGETARIANISM A CURE FOR ALCOHOLIC CRAVING.— In the Y.M.C.A. Rooms last night, Mr F. P. Doremus, hon. secretary of the Vegetarian Federal Union, lectured on “The Diet of a Worker.” under the auspices of the Scottish Vegetarian Society. Mr Doremus endorsed a remark made by the chairman, Mr John Gordon Douglas, as to the benefit of vegetarianism in overcoming the craving for alcohol. If brain matter was wanted they must go to the vegetable kingdom, particularly grain food, such as oatmeal porridge. If the muscle worker wanted good food he got it from the vegetable world. [Edinburgh Evening News, 18 November 1893]
In 1896 he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a prestigious organisation dedicated to research, exploration and education.
John Gordon Douglas’s wife, Harriet Elizabeth Mill, was the granddaughter of George Davidson, minister at Latheron, Caithness. He was one of those ministers who left the established Church of Scotland at the Disruption in 1843, and he was photographed in Rock House on Calton Hill for the famous painting now displayed in the Free Church headquarters on the Mound, Edinburgh.
(Source – Ian McHaffie, Greek Secrets Revealed – Hidden Scottish History Uncovered – Book 1 – Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 2019, ISBN 978-0-9525026-3-0))
“Mακάριοι οἱ νεκροὶ οἱ ἐν
“Makarioi hoi nekroi hoi en
“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”
Source: The quotation is from Revelation 14:13 and is often quoted in English.