Scotts of Ireland, Jamaica, Dominica and Nova Scotia

Happy New Year

The New Year is a time for good resolutions and at least one blogger I have read recently has promised to post more often. I’m conscious that I have not posted regularly in recent months and will try to do better in 2015.

I shall begin with a correction.

One feature of genealogy is that it is never done, and too often evidence emerges that shows conclusions drawn in the past, which seemed reasonable at the time, to have been wrong. So it was that I was contacted by someone researching the Scott family who challenged my assumption that their earliest ancestor in Jamaica had been the Rev John Scott who was presented to the parish of St Catherine on 14 March 1720 and married Elizabeth Millner (possibly the daughter of Elizabeth Rose of Mickleton) the following year. That John Scott died in November 1734 and so could not have been the father of the Scott brothers who grew up alongside the Lee family (see the book A Parcel of Ribbons).

In fact it seems clear now that the Scott family who were prominent in Jamaica from the mid-eighteenth century had come from Ballingarry in north Tipperary, Ireland where Jeremiah Scott (who had fought at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690) settled in the time of William III. Jeremiah’s son – yet another John Scott – had a large family of at least ten children many of whom were mention in the Will of their sibling the Hon. John Scott of Jamaica, proved in 1776.

This John Scott had brothers who ventured out across the colonies, Michael to Grenada, George to Dominica and Joseph to Nova Scotia. George, who was a professional soldier, was appointed Governor of Grenada but then left to be Governor of Dominica where he was killed in a duel in 1767. Michael seems to have remained in Grenada and by the time of his brother John’s death was still in dispute with him about George’s Will. Other brothers, and several sisters remained in Ireland.

Joseph Scott went to Canada where he built himself a delightful manor house at Fort Sackville, Bedford, Nova Scotia on land that had belonged to brother George. It is one of the oldest houses in Nova Scotia and is now a museum.

Scott Manor House Nova Scotia 7093_Medium

Joseph traded in a variety of goods, including rum which presumably came via his brother John in Jamaica. He also had huge timber holdings and he may well have traded lumber back to Jamaica in return. He imported butter from Ireland which was also a popular item traded into Jamaica, although its rancid flavour by the time it reached the tropics was an acquired taste!

This spreading out of a group of brothers from the British Isles is typical of what happened in many families during the eighteenth century. As time went on the next generation would be more inclined to look east towards India, Sumatra and China rather than west to the Caribbean and North America.

Joseph Scott’s family became well established in Canada and he died there in 1800 leaving a substantial fortune and over 8000 acres to his second wife Margaret.

John Scott married two wives in Jamaica adding considerably to his lands in the process. His first wife Frances Mary Henderson brought him lands in Clarendon but died giving birth to her namesake in November 1755. His second marriage to Lucretia Favell Gregory consolidated his dynastic credentials since her family included Gregorys, Gallimores and Favells, all early settlers.

By the time his son Jack Scott returned from education in England in the late 1780s to take over management of the family estates they were among the wealthiest on the island, albeit Sir George Nugent did not think much of him. The Scotts owned the Retreat and Kensington Park plantations in St Thomas in the East and Clarendon Park in Clarendon, but Sir George called him ” a silly, vain, chattering blockhead who…constantly blabs out all that passes in Council” (Lady Nugent’s Journal p.315). His brother George had settled to the life of a landed gentleman in England and Matthew had a distinguished naval career becoming a Vice Admiral in 1819.

All three Scott brothers married daughters of the plantocracy, but in Jack’s case not before he had fathered mixed race children with at least three women in Jamaica. Of his thirteen known children only five were legitimate (the last born posthumously in 1814 six months after his father’s death), whereas all thirteen of his brother Matthew’s were. The Scotts maintained close contact with the Lee family throughout their lives – Jack wrote regularly from Jamaica to Richard Lee, Matt Scott settled his family in Devonshire Place just around the corner from Frances Lee, and General John Lee named Matt Scott as one of his executors.

There have been distinguished Scott descendants down the years, but in recent times perhaps the most notable is Lt.-Cmdr. Desmond Edward Patrick Dehany Scott who claimed Rockall for the Crown in 1955!


30 thoughts on “Scotts of Ireland, Jamaica, Dominica and Nova Scotia”

  1. Lennox Honychurch

    George Scott was actually Lieutenant Governor of Dominica, because Dominica was a unit of the Southern Caribbees colony with the Governor in Chief resident in Grenada and Lieutenant Governors in each of the other units: Dominica, St. Vincent and Tobago. In 1770, Dominica became a separate colony with its own governor, but by that time George Scott was dead.

    There is a place name associated with George Scott. That is Scott’s Head, a point in the extreme south of the island on which there is a fort, Fort Cashacrou, the construction of which was directed by George Scott.

  2. Jennifer Willmott

    Congratulations on your book. It is the sort of thing all genealogists aspire to write one day – when they have completed their research.
    On pages 126 and 147 you mention William Mune and his brother. I have been looking for a William Mune of this sort of vintage for many years and am quite excited about this but I would like to ask you first whether you are confident that your transcription of this name is correct? My family name is Mune and my great-grandfather came from Scotland to Australia in the 1860’s. He died young and no one of the present generation knows who his father was.

  3. Anne M Powers Post Author

    Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you for your kind comments.
    I did actually check the spelling of the name of William Mune and now believe he was actually William Mure. I have corrected the spelling in the Kindle edition.
    I’m sorry this means that this is no help for you in your search for your William Mune.
    Good luck in your continuing hunt.
    kind regards,

  4. Jennifer Willmott

    Thankyou so much for your reply – even if it wasn’t what I was hoping to hear? And thanks for your good wishes regarding my hunt for the original William Mune. May I wish you good luck for your future researches too.
    Kind regards, Jennifer.

  5. Dorie-Ellen Scott

    It seems I am a decendant of John Scott, the owner of the plantations on the island of Jamaica. How would I go about tracing his descendants?
    Dorie-Ellen Scott

    1. Anne M Powers Post Author

      Dear Dorie-Ellen,
      I would suggest you begin with John Scott’s Will which can be obtained from the National Archives at Kew. It was proved at London PCC Prob 11/1551 – 7 Jan 1814. You can also view it for free on Ancestry. It appears he had children with at least five women, only one of them his wife, so it would depend which line of descent you want to track. The Will would give you a starting point.
      kind regards

      1. Rashida

        Thank you for this information I have been doing ancestry as well and i believe my ancestors are the Scotts who fought in the Revolutionary War and are buried near Kings Mountain Sc. General Sumter gave some of his land to my family the Sundry Act 1790 . I also have celiac which i am told is rare for a “black” irish. So i am curious now

    2. Robert Scott

      Hi Dorie myself is from the scott families in Manchester Jamaica I would like to learn more about my grandfather his name was brother Edd Gilbert Scott died just around year 2000 or 20001 his kids name Ucal Scott,Albert Scott, Ralph Scott,Mavis Scott Dudley Scott,Gilbert Scott and many more if you has any more info could provide me with would be very helpful as am trying to track the family tree many thanks.

  6. Steve Scott

    I am Scott and my great realitives were likely slaves on they’re plantations. Can you inform me of there was ever a revolt on one of the Scott plantations by the Mooroons?

  7. Camille

    Excellent work. My father is vincent O’connor Scott he was born in (Manchioneal) Kensington Jamaica in 1934. There are still family members living there

  8. Corina Taylor

    I was drawn to this article because I was trying to find information about my grandfather John Allan Scott (Jack) who at one time was the managing director of Rose Hall Estate and resided in the house overlooking the estate, near the great house. He was married to Cynthia Louise Delgado. Would you be able to give me any information or direction on where to look? I’d like to know more about him.

  9. Geoff

    Were any of these Scotts related to Charles Scott who was an attorney and connected to an estate called Hordley in eastern Jamaica ? Charles had family connections to Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was likely born there. I am related to Charles through his sister Mary.

    1. Geoff

      Hi Anne,
      I’m not exactly sure when he started in Jamaica, but he died at St Thomas-In-The-East in about 1842. His sister Mary Cook (nee Scott) mentions him in her will of 1830 (she died in Sanquhar), so he was in Jamaica then. A biography at describes him as a “Large-scale attorney in Jamaica who owned in his own right a group some 60 enslaved people attached to Hordley”.
      His nephew Thomas was residing on Duckenfield Estate at the time of Charles will in 1841.
      Hopefully I can work out if there is connection between Charles and the other Scotts of Jamaica.

  10. Anne M Powers Post Author

    Hi Geoff,
    As Scott is a very common surname, and I don’t know of any connection with the family of the Hon. John Scott (who came from Ireland), I don’t think I can help. Have you tried looking for records on Scotlands People?
    Kind regards,

    1. Geoff

      I’m doing some research in find my past and scotlands people now to try and piece it all together. My Scotts could be a different family by the sound of it, with connections in Scotland, rather than Ireland as per this family. Thanks for your help anyway Anne

  11. Martin Scott

    Thanks!!! This is great info! I’m trying to trace my ancestry, to find out if these Scotts owned any of my Scott ancestors on any of the slave plantations in Jamaica.

  12. Vernal

    My family are from Clarendon, Jamaica, and I’ve only just started to look into my roots. It is rather strange to carry the surname name of someone who owned my slave ancestors.

    1. Eve Powell

      Hi Vernal,

      My mother was a Scott, her father was Samuel Leopoldo Scott and seems to have been based in St. Thomas in the East

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