Alexander Mitchell Douglass was a member of the ancient Order of the Thistle. He was first generation Scottish American born in New Bern, North Carolina. His father, Henry Mitchell Douglass, was born in Scotland and drowned in the Florida Keys during a hurricane. His mother died shortly after.
Alexander Douglass was given to the custody of an aunt who brought him to New York City. While in New York City, he met Annie’s mother, Margaret Anne Hutchison, through the Masons. The Scottish immigrants joined the Masons in the early and mid 1800’s to help one another and met future wives and husbands through the order. The families were also tied through the Presbyterian churches which had their roots in the Church of Scotland.
After the 1910 death of his son in law, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Annie’s father helped her with the children and through her grief from the loss of her beloved Napoleon. Alex and Annie were close, beginning with her teenage years when she came with him from Cape May, New Jersey to Jacksonville, Florida in October of 1884.
The Hutchison family of New York City were very disturbed when Alex took Annie to the South with Effie, Alexander Jr., and Elsie Douglass. They had lost Annie’s mother, Margaret Anne, when she gave birth to Annie in 1867. They raised Annie into her teens, making sure she was a well educated and proper city girl. She dreamed of going to Vassar as a New York teen, an aspiration her Hutchison family would gladly have supported.
In 1880, when Annie was only 13, Captain Douglass moved her to Cape May, New Jersey where he captained a beautiful schooner which transported Philadelphia’s wealthiest families to Cape May for summer vacations.
The Hutchison’s spent a great deal of time in Cape May, as they had raised Annie from birth, while Alexander left to find a new wife, and did not want to part from her. At the age of 17, Annie would be forced to say her goodbyes when she finally left the North for the South.
As a daughter of the Civil War, this was a huge move for Annie. Her father and grandfather supported the Union Army, you see. Her mother was buried in Cypress Hill Cemetery in Brooklyn, right along with the Union soldiers and Confederate prisoners who lost their lives in the war between the States. 600,000 men had died. Another million had been maimed.
How would Annie be received in the Deep South, where the wounds of war still ran very deep?