Old Square-Toes and His Lady: The Life of James and Amelia Douglas

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TouchWood Editions, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 243 pages

August 12, 2003, marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir James Douglas. Although he played an integral role in British Columbia's history, in many ways Douglas remains misunderstood and an enigma. He is known for his contradictory qualities - he was self-serving, racist, a military hawk, sometimes violent and arrogant. Yet he was also extremely community oriented, a humanitarian, brave and a devoted family member.

John Adam's bestseller Old Square-Toes and His Lady: The Life of James and Amelia Douglas serves as an important source of information regarding Douglas's public and private lives. As Adams writes, [the term] old square-toes characterizes him as an unbending, stodgy, boring individual, but nothing could be further from the truth.

At the pinnacle of his career, Douglas was knighted by order of Queen Victoria. Considering his modest, mixed-race beginnings in South America, his lofty status is, indeed, remarkable. Equally so is the life of his wife, Amelia. She was also of mixed blood, her mother being Cree and her father Irish. But unlike Douglas, who was educated in Scotland, she never left the northern forests until they married. Their ending up as a knight and lady of the British Empire was an unusual achievement.

Old Square-Toes discusses the Douglases' diverse experiences of astonishing contrasts, from crossing North America by canoe to touring Europe by train, from Native uprisings to the frantic gold rush. Besides finding glory, they also faced grief in losing seven of their beloved children. This is a story of the adventure, heartbreak, and devotion that lies at the roots of western Canada.

 

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Contents

CHAPTER ONE Sugar Cane and Beaver Pelts
1
CHAPTER TWO FurTrade Warriors
9
CHAPTER THREE Go West
20
CHAPTER FOUR Honeymoon
28
CHAPTER SIX Chief Factor
53
CHAPTER SEVEN Fiftyfour Forty or Fight
60
CHAPTER NINE Murder and Marriage
87
CHAPTER TEN Outpost of the Empire
97
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Retirement
150
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Grand Tour
160
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Squire Douglas
170
CHAPTER SIXTEEN The Great Connolly Case
181
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN Prepare to Meet Thy God
197
CHAPTER NINETEEN The Dynasty Fades
207
Afterword
218
Bibliography
235

CHAPTER ELEVEN Of Lovers and Gold Miners
114

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