Biography of William Lewis Douglas


Douglas, William Lewis. Ex-governor, manufacturer. Born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, August 22, 1845. Educated at brief irregular periods in public schools of Massachusetts. When five years old, lost his father by death. At age of seven, went to work for an uncle, who set him to pegging shoes, and except for a brief return to his mother when 11 years old, worked for his uncle eight years. Worked in a cotton mill at Plymouth at 15, and later in factory at Chiltonville, MA; afterward went to Hopkinton and South Braintree, MA, where he learned bootmaking. At Brockton, in 1876, he began with a small shop, from which he built up a business with combined capacity of over 20,000 pairs of shoes daily, and owned 78 retail shoe stores in large cities selling the "Douglas" shoe. Member Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1884-85, and of Massachusetts Senate, 1887. Mayor of Brockton, 1890. In November of 1904 he was elected governor of Massachusetts. Delegate to Democratic national conventions in 1884, 1892, 1896; delegate-at-large, 1904.