Douglas was born in Northford, Connecticut, on April 3, 1816. His paternal grandfather was an American Revolutionary War soldier, William Douglas. He partnered with his brother William in manufacturing pumps.
As an adult, Douglas lived in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut. He was a Republican. He was Mayor of Middletown from 1850 to 1853. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Connecticut in 1856. Later, he was the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut for a single one year term, from 1861 to 1862, during one of the eight years that William A. Buckingham was governor of Connecticut. Douglas succeeded Julius Catlin as Lieutenant governor and his successor was Roger Averill, both of whom also served when Buckingham was governor.
- Brief Descriptions of Connecticut State Agencies, Lieutenant Governor
- Virtual American Biography, William Douglas (blocked link 30 September 2009).
- The Political Graveyard, Index to Politicians: Douglas
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