"John Douglass, of the Township of Arran, may be said to have been the first actual settler in the township, though there were quite a number who came in previously and located their land, some of them making small clearings and building shanties, but subsequently leaving temporarily for their families and afterwards returning.
Mr. Douglas was born in Perthshire, Scotland in 1833, emigrated to Canada in 1852, and settled the same year in Arran, where he has ever since resided.
The trials and vicissitudes of pioneer life are nowhere more strongly exemplified than in the experience of the subject of this sketch. He was one of a family of three sons left fatherless in early life, whose mother brought them to America in hope of bettering their condition. Their means were entirely exhausted on arrival at Owen Sound, then a straggling hamlet, and the untold hardships endured by the family before attaining to a position of comfort in their new home were intensified by extreme poverty and utter lack of experience. But before untiring industry, determined will, and prudent habits these impediments one by one gave way, and the family at last saw themselves in circumstances and position such as they could never reasonably have hoped to attain in the land of their nativity.
Mr. Douglass is now one of the leading farmers in this part of the county, and has been for years prominently connected with the township and country agricultural societies, holding at various times the highest offices in connection therewith, being also an officer in the Volunteer Militia.
In religious and educational advancement he also evinces the deepest interest, and has never failed to bring his influence and labor to the aid of those most deserving attributes of our civilization. He has been for the past fifteen years Secretary-Treasurer of the Presbyterian Society, and for many years an active member of the Tara School Board, while his services to the community at large include a term of years at the Municipal Council Board, as well as a powerful advocacy of every public improvement, and of all enterprises having for their object the elevation of the moral standard of society of the amelioration of its condition."
Belden 1880 Atlas of the County of Bruce