Robert Douglass was born June 8, 1833, the oldest son of Robert and Jane McGill Douglass in Halton County, Ontario, Canada. He went to the local schools and then attended Queen’s University in Kingston, where he received his B.A. in 1851. He continued his studies at Trinity College Medical School in Toronto for a few years, returning to Queen’s University for his final year, to become a member of the first graduating class of the Medical School at Queen’s in 1855. He married Eleanor Sproat, daughter of John Sproat and Elizabeth Brown of Milton, Halton County, Ontario, in September 1857 and worked for a few years in Jarvis, Wellington County. In 1864 his father’s family moved to Port Elgin, Bruce County, and he joined them there a few years later, setting up a practice, and serving for a number of years as Coroner in Bruce County. He was active in the medical community and elected to the Ontario Medical Council. He was re-elected to the Council shortly before his death. He went abroad for his health in 1884 and was some improved but died January 24, 1886 at the home of his sister, Mrs. John Sproat, Milton, Ontario.
Robert and Eleanor had four daughters: Jean (mar. Dr. Stewart Grafton), Marion, Margaret and Helen (mar. Malcolm Oswald).