Biographical Sketch of Mrs. William Douglas

Of the few surviving women who lived through the infancy of San Mateo County, Mrs. William Douglas of San Mateo is one of the best known. Mrs. Douglas has lived in the county for fifty years in which time she has seen a few scattered settlements develop to the present peninsula cities.

Mrs. Douglas’ career has been most interesting. While in her ‘teens she came around the Horn in a sailing vessel which took eight months to make the trip. She arrived in San Francisco in 1850 and a year later she was married.

She then spent a few years in Placer County. Her husband moved his family to San Mateo in the late fifties. Here he built up a profitable abstract and real estate business.

Mrs. Douglas is the mother of ten children. This remarkable woman survives her husband by fifteen years and has survived all of her children with the exception of two, Robert Lee Douglas and Mrs. Dr. Sanderson, both of San Mateo.

Mrs. Douglas tells most interesting tales of the early days of San Mateo. She describes the business district, containing a few buildings and restricted to less than the size of a block. She remembers of the planting of the long rows of gum trees that have become peninsula land marks and the years that there was only a morning and afternoon train down the peninsula.

Pieces of property which Mrs. Douglas now owns were purchased for a song in the early days but even at that time Mrs. Douglas anticipated the growth that was coming to San Mateo and vicinity and stubbornly held on to her land until she now finds her fond dream of a large city fully realized.



Alexander, Philip W.; Hamm, Charles P. History of San Mateo County from the Earliest Times: With a Description of Its Resources and Advantages: and the Biographies of Its Representative Men. San Mateo County, California: Press of Burlingame Publishing Company. 1916.

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1 thought on “Biographical Sketch of Mrs. William Douglas”

  1. This is Annie DEIGHTON Born 28 Jun 1829 Perth Scotland
    Her emigration to the US in 1847 is listed at Ellis Island
    Her trip round Cape Horn in 1850 on Ship Madora can be found here:
    She initially married Charles Francis van Antwerp in 1850 and divorced him in 1856
    She is listed in the SF 1852 + 1860 Censuses as Annie van Antwerp (latter with 4 kids)
    There was also a “Matrimonial Disturbance” listed in the newspaper that year when he tried to break in, assaulted her and was fined $15.
    She then married William Douglas a Real Estate agent
    Died 26 December 1923 San Mateo CA

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