Search billions of records on

British Guiana
Tilbury & Hohenkerk
at Zorg
Arabian Coast


Detail of Essequebo, British Guiana, 1832

Sources: Tim L-H's family history; British Guiana Colonists Index
Google Books Online, Texas University Library at Austin (map)
Tikwis, ColinP; other websites


A note by Tim's father, quoting from a letter by his own father C. E. L. L-H:

"TILBURY - property in Demerara with Partner Henry HOHENKIRK?"

The index of colonists includes:

(daughter) HOHENKERK b. July 1866, Zorg Store, Essequebo
Olivia HOHENKERK (m. FAIRBAIRN) b. February 1868, Zorg Store, Essequebo
William HOHENKERK jnr. b. September 1874, "Sarmia" Villa, Arabian Coast
(daughter) HOHENKERK b. April 1877, Essequebo
John Thomas HOHENKERK d. November 1878, Zorg


Mary Elizabeth Georgiana HOWES (m. WOHLFAHRT) b. May 1840, Zorg Store, Essequebo

Hilary & John Barry in BG

What took Hilary, watchmaker-and-postmaster's son, to British Guiana? How did he finance his initial investment? When did he and brother John Barry go there?

Hilary at least was already at Zorg Plantation when he became a Special Constable and helped to control a riot, was slightly wounded in so doing:

From "Accounts and Papers: Twenty-five Volumes", 1850; pg. 180
British Guiana - Enclosure 3, in No. 5

His Excellency the Governor is pleased to direct the publication of a report received from Dr. Van AANZORG, Justice of the Peace, embodying the names of the following individuals recently appointed rural constables under the provisions of Ordinance No. 8, 1849, who are considered by his Excellency as deserving of high commendation for their steady and intrepid behaviour in aiding to quell a disturbance which occurred amongst some African immigrant labourers located on Plantation Zorg, District G, County of Essequebo, on the 16th April, and in guarding the prisoners to and from the court on subsequent days ...
Also, the under-mentioned Special Constables; namely,- Messrs. Hilary TILBURY, E. G. FOWLER, and Frederick MANDINGA, Nathaniel HAZELWOOD and Charles HODGE.
... finding it necessary to administer the oath of special constables to six persons incidentally on the spot, I have to notice the very good conduct of five of them: Nathaniel HAZELWOOD and Charles HODGE were among the first who very effectually assisted the police constables. Mr. TILBURY's steady conduct and good example during the affray, and his active co-operation in securing the prisoners with as little injury to themselves as circumstances would admit of, were very valuable services to the public.

J. B. TILBURY was a Vestryman of Trinity Parish (C of E) in Essequibo; (Rector, the Revd. W. H. BRETT, author of well-known books). (Courtesy of Colin Platt)

In these years at least, according to "The Mercantile Navy List and Maritime Directory", Hilary TILBURY was the owner of at least one vessel, some details of which were:
1867, Phantom, registered at Georgetown, Demerara; 18 Tons, 10 Hp; owner's address: Essequibo, BG
1869, Colombo, [entry mostly illegible]
1870, No. 30690, ..., Georgetown, Demerara; signal HDTG; 18 Tons ...

Below is some background to Hilary's and John's life in BG.

Zorg store, hospital, school

The installations and equipment required at a plantation were specified by the British colonial administration, and inspected.

1871: from "Report of the Commissioners: Evidences and Proceedings" by W. D. Ithell

page 40
"I had not seen LILADHUR for some time previous to my sending in these returns. I am not aware of his even having money deposited in town; but he had money in MESSRS. H. TILBURY and CO/s hands at the ZORG STORE, where a great many Coolies deposit their money on this Coast."
page 271
"... at ZORG, with an Hospital for 16, which might be extended to 25 beds, we found that until the day before our visit there had only been 10 beds in the Hospital, and if more were required the patients brought [their own]."

1873: from

George C. MULRAIN - Master of the Wesleyan School, ZORG, Essequebo

1882 British Guiana Directory

W. HOHENKIRK, Jnr., clerk, at:
Hilary TILBURY & Co., General Merchants & Druggists, Zorg Store, Essequebo
(Hilary TILBURY & Co. was also listed in 1880)

Hilary died in 1874, and brother John Barry was already dead (1866); therefore the name of the company continued? Was there a survivor of the CI's TILBURY family in BG?

1883: from

Tappin R. F. ELLIOTT - Teacher & Catechist, ZORG, Essequebo

Where was Zorg?

I have not as yet found a map giving the situation of the plantations. From the following data it would seem that ZORG was on the west bank of the Essequebo, towards the mouth of the river.

The Arabian Coast (1832 'Morocco Coast'), where T. H. G. FOWLER had his sugar plantation, continued northwards beyond the Essequebo estuary.

  1860: Essequibo Coast line-up was, N.W. to S.E.,
Queenstown Village
L'Union plantation
Hoff van Aurich plantation
Annandale Village
Annandale plantation
Abram Zuill Village
Cullen plantation
Perseverance plantation
Golden Fleece plantation
Zorg Village
Zorg plantation
Johanna Cecilia Village
Johanna Cecilia plantation
Maria Lodge Village
Suddie Village
(My thanks to Colin Platt for the above)
Detail from 1844 map by John Arrowsmith
(courtesy of

Essequebo Coast, Wakenaam and Pomeroon
Suddie District Plantations:

"Pomona, Huis t’Dieren, Riverstown, Airy Hall, Tiger Island, Adventure, Onderneeming, Belfield, Maria’s Lodge, Johanna Cecilia, ZORG, Golden Fleece, Perseverance."

1879: "Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute" (page 109)

"Suddie on the west bank of the mouth of the River Essequibo."


From "The Demerary and Essequebo Royal Gazette" for Saturday 4 February 1815, transcript at:

Public Vendues.
"On Friday, the 3d March, 1815, on Plantation Engelrust & ZORG EN HOOP, WAKENAM ISLAND, by order of P. W. Prins, Esq. q.q. - The Plantation Engelrust & Zorg en Hoop (in parcels) containing eleven hundred and forty three acres of Land, more or less, with all the buildings thereon erected. Also, one hundred and six Slaves, (more or less) in families. The whole payable, in three equal installments, at 3, 6, and 9 months' credit.
January 31. Kingston & Mills."

If Zorg and Zorg-en-Hoop were the same place, since Hilary TILBURY was not born until c.1819, he and his associates must have acquired the plantation at a later date.



Slavery is considered to have been abolished from 1 August 1838 in British Guiana. An Apprenticeship Act was passed by the British Government on 19 October 1833, designed to provide indentured labourers to the plantation owners, which was effectively an interim measure transmuting slavery into tied-labour - freedom of mind but not of body.

Some measures from "An Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies, for promoting the industry of the manumitted slaves, and for compensating the persons hitherto entitled to the services of such slaves" (praedial: connected with, attached to, the land).

All persons on the 1st of August 1834, being registered as slaves, six years old and upwards, shall become apprentice labourers.
All apprenticed labourers to continue to serve their former masters.
All slaves free when brought to Great Britain.
Three classes of apprentices: namely, 1st, labourers, or praedial attached on owner's lands; 2nd, praedials unattached, or those not on owner's lands; and 3rd, non-praedial, such as tradesmen and other artisans.
Apprenticeship of praedial labourers to 1st August, 1840.
Apprenticeship of non-praedial labourers to 1st August, 1838.
Labourers voluntarily discharged after this act to be supported by their late employers, if aged or infirm.
Apprenticed labourers allowed to purchase their discharge.
Apprenticed labourers not removable from the colony; praedial labourers not removable from plantation, except with consent of two special justices.
Right to service of apprenticed labourer to be transported property.
Employer to supply labourer with food, &c.
Subject to the above obligation. Slavery to be abolished in 1834.
Whipping on the authority of the employer abolished.
Apprenticed labourers nsot to be subjected to renewal of apprenticeship, not to more than fifteen hours' extra labour in any week for employer's benefit.
Apprenticed labourers not to be made to work on Sundays, or prevented from attending religious worship.

From "The History of British Guiana" by Harry G. Dalton, 1855

The wisdom of such an arrangement [apprenticeship] was questionable. Its intention was undoubtedly good; it had for its object the gradual adjustment of the relations between master and servant in their new positions, but, strange to say, it pleased neither. The former, denuded of his authority, was at a loss how to treat his dependent, while the latter felt as if he had been in part cheated of the promised boon ... It was then thought hazardous to convert in one day nearly a million of slaves into free subjects. By some it was considered unnecessary to enlighten or instruct them more fully in their required duties."
"Scarcely had the last sounds of revelry and merriment ceased which marked the 1st of August, 1834, when an unwillingness to submit to the published Act of the Apprenticeship betrayed itself throughout the greater part of the colony, but more especially along the west coast of Essequebo, known as the ARABIAN COAST, long deemed the garden of the country, from its opulence and beauty."

From "The Demerary and Essequebo Royal Gazette" published April 1815
Chart, Gazette, are at:

1813: A List of Estates in Demerary and Essequebo, With the Number of Slaves on each, and the Quantity of Produce made during the Year
Plantation Chart 2 - Essequebo - Wackenham - Meerzorg plantation, 388 slaves
Sugar at 12st per 100lbs (Pounds)400000
Rum at F3 per 100 Gals (Gallons)20000
Amount Of Tax3000

History books record that plantation owners tended to spend the compensation money (for the loss of slaves) on an improved life-style, rather than invest it. The freed labourers became itinerant, and some planters then vied with each other to offer higher wages. Eventually 'Celestials' were brought to Guiana as labourers, with mixed results since they had little knowledge of personal hygiene, and were less robust physically.

From "The Chinese in the West Indies, 1806-1995: A Documentary History" by Walton Look Lai (Bridget Brereton, Lu Shulin), 1998 (West Indies) ISBN 9766400210

pages 165-6
1853-80: Plantations and Districts in British Guiana Employing Chinese Indentured Labor
District: Essequebo Mainland
22 estates; 1,334 males, 256 females
Aurora, Anna Regina, Better Hope, Coffee Grove, Columbia, Golden Fleece, Hampton Court, Henrietta, Hoff van Holland, Huis't Dierren, Johanna Cecilia, La Belle Alliance, Land of Plenty, Lima, Mainstay, Union, Perseverance, Richmond, Sparta, Spring Garden, Windsor Castle, ZORG.

1856, March 7, letter from a minister regarding Wesleyan church members' participation in the riots; transcript at:

"Essequibo - Mr. BROWN, minister, writing from the ARABIAN COAST, informs us that no member of the Wesleyan church at Queen's Town or ZORG joined the rioters ..."


Zorg, Arabian, Sarmia

From Henry Dalton's "History":

"On the Arabian coast of Essequebo miles of road of loose sand are found, and beautiful sand beaches line many of the plantations which front the sea."

An incomplete and tantalising reference appears in a list of books at the beginning of an 1893 publication:

"Zorg: A Story of British Guiana" by Vernon Kirke. Crown 8vo, cloth, 6s.
[publisher or bookseller at] 18 Bouverie Street, Fleet Street, London.

In 1867 Hilary TILBURY was listed in a Guernsey trade directory as living at "ZORG", Rohais Road. Hilary and wife Sophia died in Guernsey in 1874.

TimL-H's family history suggests that TILBURY was associated with HOHENKIRK in British Guiana. The HOHENKERK family appear to have had links to Scotland (see below), not the Channel Islands. In September 1874 - shortly after Hilary's death, but before Sophia's in November - William HOHENKERK jnr. was born in September 1874, at "SARMIA" Villa on the Arabian Coast of British Guiana.


Although 'Wikipaedia' states:

"Alderney is conjectured to be identified with Sarmia."

... two other websites identify Sarmia with the Channel Island of Jethou:

From "A Topographical Dictionary of England: Volume 2" page 268, at:

"Respecting the early history of the island but few authentic particulars can be collected. Its surface was, in a state of nature, covered with woods and overrun with briars, when it was visited by the Romans, about seventeen years before the birth of Christ, and Octavius Augustus, then emperor, appointed a governor over it. It is the generally received opinion, that this is the island mentioned in Antoninus's Itinerary by the name of SARNIA; and that Alderney is called in the same Itinerary, RIDUNA; Sark, SARNICA; the little islands of Herm and Jethou, ARMIA and SARMIA, respectively."


"The Latin history of the names goes obviously back to the Roman period when the Roman legions marched across Europe around 56 BC. They swept into the [Channel] islands along with Gaul and made them outposts for trading. Jersey was given the name "CAESAREA", Guernsey "SARNIA", Alderney "RIDUNA", Sark “SARNICA” and the smaller islands being Herm and Jethou, ARMIA and SARMIA."

This would seem to demonstrate a link between HOHENKERK and the Channel Islands (there is also the possibility of a typographical error in the trade directory, of "Sarmia" in place of "Sarnia").

In September 1874, when William HOHENKERK was born at "Sarmia" BG, Hilary TILBURY had only recently died in Guernsey and his widow Sophia was most probably still in Guernsey since Hilary was buried there, and Sophia died there in the following November. Therefore, might "Sarmia Villa" have been Hilary and Sophia's previous residence in Essequebo, British Guiana?

Who were Hilary and Sophia's heirs?


Hohenkerk & Fowler


Hilary TILBURY's associate is suggested as Henry HOHENKERK; a Henry Frederick HOHENKERK (b. c.1826) died in British Guiana in February 1876 at "Abram Zuim".

There are many references particularly to L. S. HOHENKERK in Google Books and on the Internet.

1894: Copied by L. S. Hohenkerk, 18th December - Size, 17i x 22J inches. Black; engraved and colored boundary.
1913: Government Surveyor
1917: A list of British Guiana woods - Timehri 4: 244-293
1919: Experiments to determine the best method of bleeding balata trees - "The Official Gazette" 11343, 1-8
1922: A review of the timber industry of British Guiana - "Journal of the Board of Agriculture of British Guiana" 15, 2-22
1923: Forestry Officer: A review of the timber industry of British Guiana (Plantain, its cultivation, disease and insect pests) - "Journal of the Board of Agriculture of British Guiana, January"
1925: The Colonial Office List (GB) - Forestry Officer, L. S. Hohenkerk, 575l. to 675l.

The link with Scotland is suggested by the following. William Henry HOHENKERK married Ann GRANT August 1865 in Inveravon, Banff, Scotland; a William Henry HOHENKERK died April 1896 Georgetown, British Guiana. Catherine Eliza HOHENKERK married Charles MORRISON in November 1875 at St. Peter's Church, Parish of St. John, British Guiana; she died April 1892 at St. Andrew's, Scotland.

1946: "The Scottish Forestry Journal: Being the Transactions of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society" (page 85):
A very interesting account of the forests of British Guiana is given by Mr. L. S. HOHENKERK.
1952: British Guiana.—
Hon. Mr. Justice W. J. GILCHRIST, Georgetown; L. S. HOHENKERK, Georgetown.
Forestry Department: [A. G.?] HOHENKERK, Deputy Commissioner.
1962: "Aucuparius; Recollections of a Recruiting Officer" by Ralph Dolignon Furse (page 110)
"HOHENKERK would gladly step down to the post of second in command and place his great local experience at the service of the new conservator. I was so impressed by the man himself, as well as by his story, that I asked LOVAT if something could be done."
1964: HOHENKERK, Norman Grant, Senior Resident Engineer, Enmore Estates, Ltd., EC Demerara, British Guiana.


There are few mentions of T. H. G. FOWLER, and no trace to date (May 2007) of his place of death, although he is remembered on the gravestone in Foulon Cemetery, Guernsey.

1838-40 James PATERSON was a partner of Thomas FOWLER in Fowler & Paterson, merchants, Mahaica; previously, 1836-38, FOWLER was on his own. (My thanks to Colin Platt* for this.)

The 1854 directory listing which would seem to be his cites "Thomas Hughes Gordon FOWLER" as Justice of the Peace for Essequebo and planter on the Arabian Coast, and the 1860 directory lists T.H.G. FOWLER as the manager of a sugar plantation as well as J.P. for Essequibo.

From Google Books:

1928: Boletim, Brazil Divisão de Geologia e Mineralogia (page 7)

"... Department of Land & Mines in Georgetown, Demerara, under the direction of Frank FOWLER (F. G. S.) Commissioner of Land & Mines. This published work is to a scale of 1:633.600 and quite detailed ..."

FOWLER is associated with HOHENKERK in British Guiana in what appears to be a reference to the same work - a map:

1915: "The Geographical Journal" of the Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain) (page 270)

HOHENKERK and FOWLER. Map of British Guiana. Scale 1:633600 or 1 inch to 10 stat. miles. 2 sheets, each 29 by 35 inches.


* Colin Platt's interest is Bookers in BG before 1900, which touches on Hoff van Aurich and Mahaica
See his message in the Tilberia Guestbook for contact

Large 1832 Map of British Guiana

A website indexing people associated with British Guiana during the colonial period,
contributed by other researchers; on-site e-contact if you wish to make a contribution.
Introduction (Home Page)
British Guiana Colonists Index - T

The website of the Guyanese Genealogical Society
including, amongst others, a list of records available in 1941:
Guyanese Genealogical & Biographical Society: Sources of vital records

Online newspaper transcripts; contact address; CDs available: history, directories, etc.
Guyana History

Online transcriptions of British Guiana Diaries and Directories

Update: 21 April 2011

Other Tilburys in British Guiana

Return to Channel Islands page