Early Douglass History
by William G. Cutler (1883)
Douglass takes its name from Joseph Douglass, by whom it was laid out on December 17, 1869. It is located near the confluence of the Great and Little Walnut, miles south of El Dorado, the county seat. It is the terminus of the Walnut Valley branch of the A., T. & S. F. Railway, which was completed to this point on August 1, 1881. Since the completion of this line, the town has had a rapid growth and now claims a population of 700, and twenty-five live business houses.
The accounts of various old settlers differ materially on points of early settlement. It seems to be pretty well settled, however, that the party consisting of C. H. Lamb, two brothers and John S. White were the first to arrive on the scene. The brought with them three wagon-loads of furniture and goods, which were deposited on the unbroken prairie. White, who was a carpenter, went to work at once, and July 22, 1869, two days after their arrival, had constructed a rough house, 12x16, into which all hands were glad to turn for shelter. Work was at once begun on the Douglass hotel, and, on August 24, Lamb and his family moved into the new building.
Douglass had no town organization and no officers prior to those elected in 1879, when it became a city of the third class. C. B. Lowe, the first Mayor, held office until 1882, when L. R. Bump was elected. E. Stratford, the City Clerk of 1879 was succeeded in 1880 by F. W. Rash, who still holds the position. City Treasurers have been D. P. Blood, 1879; F. C. Wise, 1880; R. H. Snell, 1881-82. Police Judges, E. Stratford, 1879; H. S. Husle, 1880; R. H. Schofield, 1881; H. S. Schofield, 1882. The present Council is composed of Sol. Wise, L. W. Bell, John Mitchell, A. T. Havens and Samuel Cramer.
The first postal facilities afforded the place were obtained by private subscription, in 1869, and the duties of postmaster performed by J. W. Douglass. The following year a government service was secured, and C. H. Lamb placed in charge of the office. Lamb was succeeded on March 19, 1872, by C. Calhoun, and he by David Young, who held the office until December 12, 1877, when J. B. Ives, the present incumbent, took charge. The first money order issued from Douglass bears date October 1, 1877, and was procured by Levi E. Wright, in favor of the Moline Plow Company. The office now occupies the rear portion of Neil Wilkie's bank building.
The educational history of Douglass Begins with the spring of 1870, when Miss Stine, now Mrs. George L. Fox, taught a subscription school. A district school house was built in 1871, at a cost of $3,000, and school taught that year by Miss Alma Henderson, now Mrs. Neil Wilkie, who also taught in 1872. From that point to 1876, the records fail to give the names of the teachers employed, the first entry after 1872 being that recording the engagement of Prof. J. W. Shively, who taught in 1876-77; J. C. Elliott taught in 1878-79; H. S. Hulse, in 1880; A. Gridley in 1881, and T. Schumaker in 1882. The school now numbers nearly 200 scholars, and has so far outgrown the school building as to necessitate the renting of two rooms in town, and the employment of four teachers.
Douglass is located at 37°31'0N, 97°0'42W (37.516802, -97.011705).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 km² (0.8 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,813 people, 658 households, and 492 families residing in the city. The population density was 853.7/km² (2,198.4/mi²). There were 733 housing units at an average density of 345.1/km² (888.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.25% White, 0.28% African American, 1.60% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.50% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.65% of the population.
There were 658 households out of which 40.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.1% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the city the population was spread out with 30.5% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 16.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,833, and the median income for a family was $49,875. Males had a median income of $37,000 versus $25,938 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,965. About 4.5% of families and 6.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.
The public schools in Douglass are identified as USD 396.