History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 290
James D. Douglass is living on section 23, Clayton township, busily engaged in the cultivation of a neat and well-improved farm of eighty acres.  He is numbered among the early settlers of Taylor county and among Iowa's native sons, his birth having occurred in Delaware county on the 21st of January, 1858.  His father, David Douglass, is a native of Ohio and in his youthful days removed with his parents to Illinois where he was reared.  When a young man, about 1847, he arrived in Iowa, settling in Jackson county, while subsequently he removed to Delaware county.  He was married in this state to Miss Mary J. Main, a native of Indiana, and turning his attention to farming he opened up a new farm in Delaware county where he carried on general agricultural pursuits for several years, during which time five children were born of the marriage.  In 1871 he removed to Taylor county and purchased land in Gay township, where he developed a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, on which he reared his family.  While living upon that place his wife died about 1899, Mr. Douglass surviving her for several years, his death occurring in August, 1902.
James D. Douglass is one of a family of three sons and a daughter who were the surviving members of the father's household.  He spent the days of his boyhood and youth in this state, pursued his education in the country schools and remained with his father until he had obtained his majority, assisting him in the cultivation of the home farm.  The training which he received in agricultural lines well qualified him for the work which he took up in starting out in life on his own account.  He was married in Blockton, Iowa, December 23, 1880, to Miss Laura Denney, who was born in Clark county, Iowa.  After his marriage he rented land and engaged in farming in Gay township for a few years.  Later he bought and owned several farms in different parts of the county, eventually purchased one hundred and twenty acres of land in Benton township, on which he located and made his home for several years.  He then sold out and bought a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Washington township, where he carried on general farming for three years.  He then traded that property for a tract of land in Gay township, owning and cultivating there one hundred and eighty acres which he brought under a high state of improvement.  He built to and remodeled the house but after six years spent upon the place he traded that property for a farm of two hundred and forty acres in Mason township, on which he lived for five years.  In that period he erected good buildings and kept everything about his place in a state of good repair, making the farm a valuable and (page 291) productive one.  After disposing of that property he bought the place upon which he now resides and which has been his home since January, 1908.  He owns here a neat and well-improved farm of eighty acres, situated on section 23, Clayton township, and in connection with the cultivation of cereals best adapted to soil and climate he raises and feeds stock, has some good horses and also hogs and cattle of high grades.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Douglass have been born three children: Charles O., who is married and resides in Colorado; Cecil A., who is married and is a farmer of Clayton township; and Ethel May, a young lady at home.  Mr. Douglass has been a stalwart republican in politics, since age conferred upon him the right of franchise, at all elections where state and national issues are involved, but is not strongly partisan in local politics.  He has been elected and is now serving as assessor but has never been a politician in the sense of office seeking.  Throughout his entire life he has been a resident of Iowa, living in Taylor county for thirty-eight years, during which period he has not only been a witness of the growth and progress of the county but has aided materially in its development and improvement.  He has bought, owned and cultivated a number of farms which he has sold later at a fair advance in price.  He is a good business man and one whose business integrity is above question.  His life has been one of industry and thrift and his enterprise has brought him success which he is now enjoying and which numbers him among the representative agriculturists of the community.