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Photo from death notice April 10, 1899, The Arkansas Democrat

Photo from death notice

James Knox Polk Douglass enlisted in the Lookout Artillery March 6, 1863.  He was born in Polk County, TN, to Emmons/Emons Philander Douglass (later Captain of  Co. C, Third [Lillard’s] Reg. Mounted Infantry  Capt. Douglass was among the besieged at Vicksburg.).  J. K. P. Douglass lived in Georgia at some point and was widowed at a young age.  After the War, he and his father moved to Crawford County, Arkansas, as did the Campbell, Scott, Slover, and Hannah (Hanner) families; it is unclear what relationship Douglass had with the other families.  In 1874, the Douglasses were among the founding members of the Alma Presbyterian Church in Alma, Arkansas, and J.K.P. Douglass was elected ruling elder in 1877.  He also served as the Church’s Clerk of Session from its organization until 1884.   J.K.P. Douglass later was elected to the Arkansas Legislature and died in office.  One of the last pieces of legislation introduced by Sen. J.K.P. Douglass was the appropriation of funds for the care of Confederate graves in the State of Arkansas.

From “Confederate Voices” by Debbie Moore [ http://www.oldtowncleveland.com/Confederate_Voices/confederate_voices.html ]:      Unknown Newspaper, May 24, 1861  Polk County – We spent a portion of this week in Polk.  We found the war spirit considerably in the ascendant, and great unanimity of feeling among the people of that county.  Capt. J. F. Hannah is now in camp at Knoxville with a company of 90 men, from that gallant and patriotic county, and Capt. E P. Douglass will march, in a few days, with a company of 100 men – this will give noble little Polk 190 men in the field.  In addition to this Maj. Bob. McClary is making up a cavalry company, which he will be able to report in a week or two.  The war feeling in Polk is aroused, and it knows no ebbing.  Her boys are made out of the right kind of material, and we venture that if they ever have a conflict with the enemy they will give a good account of themselves.  [Source:  History of the Rebellion in Bradley County, East Tennessee, by J. S. Hurlburt 1866]

Newspaper Clipping, June 9, 1897   UNKNOWN GRAVES WHERE SLEEP THE SOLDIER FATHERS AND BROTHERS. To Be Commemorated in Marble Eloquent…ANOTHER BOY SOLDIER. “We intend to build a monument of our own in Crawford county,” said Senator Douglass of Alma, yesterday to “The Gazette” reporter, “but we also intend to do our part in seeing that one is erected at the capital.          “Yes, I was all through the war, enlisted when I was less than twenty-one and came out without a wound.  I was in Barry’s battery of Chattanooga, Tenn., a corporal and gunner; I was in the Georgia campaign of 1864, in the Mississippi campaign of 1863, and at the siege of the Spanish fort, Mobile in the winter of 1864-5.  I was never seriously wounded and was never in the hospital a day.”

Newspaper Clipping, January 31, 1899    SCHOOL DISTRICTS – Their Representatives Meet in this City and Talk of School Legislation. – Senator Douglass’ School Children Transfer Bill Unanimously endorsed – A Wise Measure – The Legislature Asked to Amend the Laws Relating to the Examination of Teachers. The representatives of boards of special school districts, city superintendents and town principals held a meeting in the…

 Newspaper Clipping, March 21, 1899, p 5  Senate Voted for New Capitol – Kembell Bill Passes the Upper Branch by Good Margin, – Insane Asylum Bill – Passes the House Carrying the Sum of $34,750 – DEAF MUTE ADDITION – Senator Douglass Proposes an Appropriation of $18,000.

Newspaper Clipping, March 24, 1899   The following bills were introduced:…by Mr. Douglass – To appropriate $5,000 for the care of Confederate graves in Arkansas; read twice and placed on the calendar. (H. B. 273.)

Newspaper Clipping, April 2, 1899   A VERY SICK SENATOR – Senator Douglass’ Illness Has Become Serious  – Senator J. K. P Douglass, of Alma, is a very sick man at his room in the Arkansas building.  His condition last night was regarded as serious and his recovery as a matter of grave doubt.  The senator was taken ill with a chill Thursday [March 30] at the state house and had to be escorted to his room.  He had been feeling ill several days before.  Pursuant to the action of the senate a trained nurse has been employed and is in attendance at the senator’s bedside.

Newspaper Clipping, April 5, 1899  HIS CONDITION CRITICAL.  State Senator Douglass May Not Recover.  The illness of State Senator J. K. P. Douglass is regarded as quite serious.  His condition during the past forty-eight hours has assumed a decided typhoid form, and he is restless and delirious, being conscious only at intervals.  Yesterday forenoon he called for his friend, Senator Kimbell, whom he had desired to see before that gentleman returned from Hot Springs, and indicated that he desired him to prepare his will, but the condition of his mind was such could dictate it.  Senator Douglass has the benefit of the services of a most efficient nurse, Miss Howard, and Drs. Lewis and Hughes have charge of the case.  The senatorial committee are giving him every attention in their power.  Friends are requested to desist as much as possible from calling at the sick Senator’s room and are assured that information as to his condition will be given out as often as change may occur.

Newspaper Clipping, April 10, 1899      SENATOR DOUGLASS-  Death of the Popular Representative From the Twenty-Fifth Senatorial District –  HIS SECOND SESSION – Was One of the Most Energetic and Most Highly Respected Members of the General Assembly.  – Senator Jas. K. P. Douglass died at 1:45 o’clock this afternoon in his apartments in the Arkansas building.  Funeral announcement will be given later.  Senator Douglass had been ill for the past two or three weeks with a complication of gastritis and typhoid fever.  The legislature had furnished him with all possible attention and everything was done to restore his wonted health, but all in vain.  The senate met for the afternoon session and adjourned at once out of respect to his memory.  Senator James Knox Polk Douglass represented the Twenty-Fifth senatorial district, composed of Crawford and Franklin counties and his home was at Alma.  This popular legislator was born in Polk County, eastern Tennessee, February 25, 1841.  He received a liberal academial education, supplemented by a collegiate course at Emory and Henry College of Virginia.  While attending school the war broke out, and he enlisted in the Confederate service, Lookout artillery, and served till the end, being paroled at Meridian, Miss.  He then went to Banks County, Georgia, where he remained until 1873, when he came to Arkansas, settling in Crawford county, one mile south of Alma.  He was engaged in planting and milling.  Senator Douglass was elected to the state senate September, 1896, and was one of the leading members in both sessions.  Since reaching the senate in 1896 his principal efforts have been directed toward improving our fencing laws, exemption from tax of manufacturing enterprises, securing a railway commission, and he has been earnest in his efforts toward the refunding and payment of interest on the state debt.  He never sought or held office previous to his election to the senate in 1896.  The senate this afternoon selected Senators Hall, Ferguson and Lawrence as a committee to escort the remains to Alma where they will be interred tomorrow.  His nearest relative, a cousin, resides there.  The body will be taken up on the Fort Smith train at 8:30 tonight.

Newspaper Clipping, April 11, 1899  A TRIO OF DEATHS – State Senator J.K.P. Douglass Expires in This City.         State Senator J. K. P. Douglass of Alma died shortly before 2 p.m. yesterday at his room in the Arkansas*** building after a fortnight’s illness of typhoid fever.  

The body was taken last night to Alma for interment under escort of a committee composed of Senators Hall, Ferguson and Lawrence and Representatives Neal of Crawford, Brooks and Welton.  As a mark of respect, the senate adjourned immediately upon the announcement of Senator Douglass’ death and the house adjourned at 3:30 p.m., after adopting a resolution by Mr. Rogers of Crawford County.

James Knox Polk Douglass was a native of Polk county, Tennessee.  He was born February 25, 1841.  He received the finishing touches of his education at Emory college in Georgia and Henry college in Virginia.  He served with distinction in the Confederate army.  Twenty-six years ago he came to Arkansas and located near Alma in Crawford count, where he engaged in agricultural pursuits.  In September 1894 he was elected to represent the Twenty-Fifth district, composed of Crawford and Franklin counties, in the state senate.  As a legislator Senator Douglass was progressive and liberal and he left his impress creditably upon the state’s lawmaking annals.

He left no immediate family and his nearest living relative is a cousin at Alma.


Senate Resolution:


Mr. President and Members of the Arkansas State Senate:

Whereas, On the 10th day of April, 1899, death invaded the ranks of the senate, removing from the walks of life and from its seat in this body, the Hon. James K. P. Douglass, senator from the Twenty-fifth senatorial district of Arkansas, and that it is meet and proper that the senate should place upon the record of its proceedings this recognition of the distinguished public services, high character and eminent abilities of our deceased associate in this body; therefore be it

Resolved, by the senate, That in the death of Hon. James K. P. Douglass this body has been deprived of one of its ablest members and the state on of its most distinguished citizens and ablest statesmen, his community of a high-toned Christian gentleman, and his friends one of their most cherished ***; therefore be it

Resolved further.  That a copy of these resolutions be spread upon the journal of the senate, and that a copy appropriately **** be transmitted to the family of the deceased, and that the members of the senate wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days in memory of our distinguished associate.

Senator Hall offered the following resolutions:

The secretary of the senate, in preparing the journal for the deceased senators, W. P. Grace and Jas. K. P. Douglass.

Resolved.  That the sympathy of the senate be expressed through the secretary to the family of the deceased representative, Hon. J. D. Steele, late member from Poinsett county.

All the resolutions were unanimously adopted.

Chaplain John H. Dye read an appropriate chapter from the Bible and was followed in prayer by Rev. D. H. Colquitt, chaplain of the house.

Eloquent tributes to the memory of both senators were made by Senators Martin,  McGehee, Hall, Fitbagh, Wilson of Washington, Ferguson, Kimbell, Dowdy, Rains, Kirby and Rev. John H. Dye.


Newspaper Clipping, Sept. 5, 1899   Farm Sold for a Song – The splendid home and farm of the late Senator J. K. P. Douglass was sold at the courthouse in Van Buren Saturday by A. A. McDonald, administrator of the estate.  The farm consisted of 320 acres, and was considered one of the best farms in Crawford County.  It is splendidly improved.  In fact it was an ideal farm.  Capt. W. H. Bolling was the purchaser, it having been knocked down to him for $3,250, being practically $10 an acre.  Capt. Bolling will occupy his recent purchase as a home.  There was but little bidding and the buyer had but little opposition.