Amelia was born in 1812 at Fort Churchill or at Fort Assiniboia, to a fur trader of Irish and French Canadian ancestry called William Connolly, and his Cree wife Miyo Nipiy.  Her mother was also called 'Susanna.'  As a child, she was nicknamed 'Little Snowbird' by the men of the fort, for her fair complexion. 
"Early in their married life the courageous Amelia risked her life trying to rescue Douglas from an attack by some angry natives; Douglas had not understood some customs of the Carriers and Amelia saved her husband by throwing bales of trade goods to their chief to restore his honour. The warriors released James Douglas." There are several different versions of the story relating to the events of Amelia appealing to an enraged Chief Kwah, to spare James Douglas. 
Douglas journeyed to Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River, during their first year of marriage, but Amelia remained behind due to her pregnancy. After losing her first child, while making the trip to join her husband, she and her horse were caught in the swift current of the Fraser River, but a servant in the group managed to rescue both Ameila and her horse. 
Her husband befriended Rev. Herbert Beaver and his wife Jane, who arrived on the Columbia in September, 1836. The Beaver's epitomized pious snobbery, and the Rev. was rigid, dogmatic and prejudicial about the practices at the remote fur trading posts where he found “No legal marriage, no regular Baptism, no accustomed rites of Burial..." Douglas allowed Beaver to 'officially marry' him and Amelia on February 28, 1837. However, Beaver opined about the conditions at the Forts and about the native women/wives, indicating 'unmarried' women should not live in public buildings, be given rations, allowed medical attention or recognized as the wives of the men, with whom they were living, and that the men of the fort were living in debauchery, and sent a report to England. James Douglas then responded to this report and wrote a blistering rebuttal. 
In the spring of 1850, the Douglas family transferred to Fort Victoria where they would spend the rest of their days.  Attitudes to this 'mixed blood family' varied.
According to Sophia Cracroft, writing in 1861, "Mrs. Douglas is not at all bad looking, with hardly as much of the Indian type in her face, as Mrs. Dallas [daughter Jane], and she looks young to have a daughter so old as Mrs. Helmcken [Cecelia] the eldest, who is 26. Her figure is wholly without shape, as is already Mrs. Helmcken's we hear, and even Mrs. Dallas. She has a gentle, simple and kindly manner which is quite pleasing, but she takes no lead whatsoever in her family, and the luncheon arrangements and conduct, rested only with Agnes and Mr. and Mrs. Young, in the absence of the Governor." quoted in www.royalengineers.ca/douglasfam.html Royalengineers Douglas Family]</ref> which includes additional information about Douglas family members.
Before his retirement, ending his career as a colonial administrator, James received a knighthood for service, and therefore the title of Lady Douglas was bestowed on Amelia. 
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On 21 Dec 2015 at 14:54 GMT Anne B wrote: