Harry Sumner Douglas.Among the contractors in Topeka who have won prominence and enduring success in that line of business is Harry Sumner Douglas, a native of Pennsylvania, who was born in the village of West Newton, Westmoreland county, March 23, 1860. He is a son of William Harrison and Martha (Davis) Douglas, the former born in Warren county, Ohio, Nov. 9, 1834, and the latter a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., where she was born in 1834. William Harrison Douglas also was a contractor and at one time owned and conducted a planing mill in Pittsburgh, Pa. He served during the Civil war in the quartermaster's department of the Union army, holding the commission of captain, and erected the Cumberland barracks at Nashville, Tenn., for the use of the Union soldiers, taking with him for that purpose 100 mechanics from Pittsburgh, Pa. In 1878 he and his family came to Kansas, locating first at Nortonville, Jefferson county, but later he removed to a farm in Jackson county, where he resided until 1904, when he and his wife decided to retire from active farm life and removed to Topeka, where they now reside. The paternal grandparents of Harry S. Douglas were Andrew and Elizabeth (Fletcher) Douglas, both natives and lifelong residents of Butler county, Pennsylvania, from whence the former enlisted as a soldier in the war of 1812. His maternal grandparents were William and Elizabeth (Robinson) Davis, both natives of Ireland, but who were married in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Therefore Harry S. Douglas traces his lineage back to both Scotch and Irish ancestors, as the Douglas family, too, came originally from Scotland. He was reared and educated in Pittsburgh, Pa., whither his parents had removed from West Newton, when he was a babe three months old. He mastered the carpenter's trade in his youth under the able direction of his father and when eighteen years of age accompanied his parents to Kansas, where for two years he engaged in carpentering in Leavenworth; then he came to Topeka, where he was similarly employed for ten years.
On June 18, 1890, he was wedded to Miss Myrta E. McKirahan, a native of Bellefontaine, Ohio. Immediately after his marriage he located in Kansas City, Mo., where he remained six months and then removed to Chicago, Ill., in which city he was employed at his trade in the capacity of foreman for large contracting firms during the next seven years. In 1897 he returned to Topeka, where he began contracting on his own responsibility, and met with flattering success. He formed a partnership with Fred T. Evans, in 1907, under the firm name of Douglas & Evans, which partnership still exists. Among the most important structures built by Mr. Douglas in Topeka may be mentioned the following: The Parkhurst-Davis Building; the Stover Building; the Bell Telephone Company's Building, the rebuilt National Hotel; the First United Presbyterian Church; the residence of the president of Washburn College, besides a number of the best residence in Topeka. Probably his largest and most important work in Topeka was the construction of the Mills Building, in 1910, a $300,000 steel and re-inforced concrete, fireproof, seven-story structure, the finest and best business building in the city and one of the best in the state, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas have a fine family of eleven bright, healthy childrenfour sons and seven daughtersas follows: Helen Evangeline, Alice Maud, Margaret Grace, William Harrison, Harold Bruce, Robert Andrew, Mary Elizabeth, Katharine Corrine, Winifred Genevieve, Annabel, and Merlin McKirahan. Mr. Douglas is a trustee, and both he and wife are members of the United Presbyterian Church of Topeka. He is a Republican in his political adherency, and is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and of the Commercial Club.Pages 735-736 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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