Hope College

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The land on which Douglas lies was previously inhabited by Pottawatomie Indians. In 1851, Jonathan Wade built the first house in the area of what became the failed city of Singapore. Wade, however, named his town Dudleyville, after his brother from Canada. Other early white settlers included William Scoville and Robert McDonald. Of more influence was William Dutcher, who purchased land in the area and officially platted it, naming it Dutchville. Later, Wade sold a portion of land to Dutcher in 1861 and the city was replatted and re-named again, apparently at the suggestion of other settlers, who had since moved there. Eventually, by decision at a town meeting, the town was named after the American Statesman, Stephen A. Douglas. It also appears, however, that Wade’s nephew, Col. Fred May, who came from Douglas on the Isle of Man, also suggested the same name. A debate about the origin of the village’s name continues but the most likely explanation for the name involved a combination of these two sources above. The town was incorporated as a village in 1870.

The collection consists of materials relating to the history of the Village of Douglas in Allegan County, Michigan. Included are newspaper clippings, ordinances, council proceedings (minutes), registration lists for elections, a history paper by Larry J. Wagenaar, property tax assessment records, and records of the village treasurer and clerk. Also includes a copy of a map of the village in 1864 and an oversized street-layout map from 1961.


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