Samuel T. Douglass

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Samuel T. Douglass (February 14, 1814 – March 5, 1898) was an American lawyer and jurist. He served as a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Douglass was born in Wallingford, Vermont, on February 28, 1814.[1] His family moved to Fredonia, New York, and Douglass was educated at Fredonia Academy there.[1] He studied law in the office of James Mullet (who was judge of the Supreme Court of New York).[1]


Douglas came to Detroit in 1837, and was admitted to the bar the same year.[1] With the exception for a brief time in Ann Arbor, Douglass spent the next fifty years in Detroit as a practicing lawyer and judge.[1] In 1849, Douglass became law partners with James V. Campbell, also later a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court.[1] He married Campbell's sister, Elizabeth, in 1856.[1]

In 1845, Douglass was appointed reporter of decisions of the Michigan Supreme Court; he served in that position until resigning in 1849.[1] Douglass was reporter when the first two volumes of the Michigan Reports were published, covering 1843 to 1847.[1] Douglass served as judge of the Wayne County Circuit Court and the Michigan Supreme Court from 1851 until 1857.[1]

A separate Michigan Supreme Court was created in 1857, and Douglass was nominated for justice by the Democratic Party.[1] The Democrats were an extreme minority in the Michigan Legislature at the time, however, and James V. Campbell, Douglass' former law partner and brother-in-law, was appointed instead.[1] In May 1857, Douglass resigned the circuit judgeship and returned to private practice.[1]

Douglass was a lover of nature and an amateur naturalist.[1] In 1860 he built a home and farm on Grosse Ile in the Detroit River.[1] Douglass took part in several trips to explore the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at a time when the area remained remote and almost entirely unsettled.[1]

Douglass died on the afternoon of March 5, 1898.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Biography: Samuel Douglass, Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society.