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Alexander Family saltire

 

Aims of this project

To provide information about the Alexanders of Locaber and Inverkeithny and to record links to families in the West Indies

This page includes:

Full pdf version of The Alexanders of Locaber and Inverkeithny. Alexanders of Inverkeithney

Maps of Inverkeithney can be found on GenUK

[updated 1/9/10]


EXTRACT FROM "ALEXANDERS OF LOCABER AND INVERKEITHNY"

The times were hard indeed, but the spirit of freedom and determination ingrained in all Highlanders was strong and in about 1838 three grandsons of Charles of the 45, namely Charles, Richardson and Hall Alexander left their home for the West Indies with the idea of rebuilding the shattered fortunes of the family. They were probably influenced by their uncle Thomas Thain of Drumblair who with one MacGillfrey was one of the founders of the North West Company of Canada which was later amalgamated with the Hudson Bay to which the organization the Dominion of Canada owes much of her modern development and progress. In this connection a report exists to the effect that a considerable sum of money, the share of Thomas Thain in the North West or Hudson Bay Company, is at present lying in Chancery. This report however, has not been checked by the writer.

The three brothers Charles, Richardson and Hall Alexander, who went abroad, all achieved success in varying degrees, and when the Island of Grenada was threatened with trouble from the West African labour working on the plantations, the Spirit of the Lord Lochaber asserted itself in his descendent Charles who immediately raised a strong body of Militia, both horse and feet, from amongst the planters, which he himself commanded and relieved the situation. For his services he was given a Colonel's commission by Queen Victoria. He shortly afterwards became a member of the Executive Council and returned home for the last time in 1861 when he contracted pneumonia on the voyage and died on arrival at the port of London and was consequently buried in the cemetary at Bow near the docks.

During their sojourn in the West Indies, the three brothers Charles, Richardson and Hall made frequent voyages back to their native land. in 1845 their father died at Auchininna at the age of 84 and was buried at Inverkeithny, and shortly afterwards Auchininna which had been the home of the family for over 200 years knew them no more.

On the death of his father, the elder son Charles then acquired Don Bank House near the river Don at Aberdeen and this was occupied by the family for several years.

In 1840 Charles (born 1802) married Margaret Drysdale Douglas (born 1819) daughter of Andrew Douglas of Jodburgh and Berwick-on-Tweed and his wife Helen Agnes Drysdale.

Douglas, the second surviving son of Charles Alexander was born in 1849 and after completing his education in Aberdeen he returned to Grenada to manage his father's property Montreuil which had been left in trust for the family. In 1871 Douglas married Annie Elizabeth McEwen (born 1853) and by her had eight sons and four daughters. Like his father before him Douglas became a member of the Executive Council and the owner of several estates in the island. He died in London in January 1910 and was buried in the same grave as his father at Bow.

The other two married daughters of Charles Alexander and Helen Drysdale Douglas were Helen and Agnes who were twin sisters born in 1844. Helen married Arthur Gall, an officer of constabulary in Barbados and had two sons and daughters. Arthur Henry Beckles [Gall] was born in 1870 and became a very successful planter. In 1899 he married his cousin Margaret Edith Gall. There is no issue of the marriage.

Herbert Frederick Douglas [Gall] the second son was born in 1875 and became Agent and general manager of branches of the Colonial Bank. He married Aileen Duke in 1921 by whom he had two daughters Cynthia Helen born in 1922 and Clara Jocelyn born in 1923.

Ida Helen Douglas the elder daughter of Helen (Alexander) Gall was born in 1872 and married Patrick Archibald Fletcher Mcleod in 1900 and had one son Patrick Colin Fletcher born in 1901 and died in 1927, and four daughters Helen Margaret Douglas born in 1903, Clara Aileen Thain born in 1905, Agnes Mary Campbell born in 1907, and Doreen Enid born in 1909.

Clara Margaret Drysdale the younger daughter of Helen Gall was born in 1874, married Robert Coombe of Ceylon in 1902 and died at Camberley in 1908. She was the mother of three children.

Helen (Alexander) Gall died in Camberley in 1924 at the age of 80. Agnes [her twin sister] was born in 1844 and died in 1919.

For more information on the Galls press here. For more information on the Alexanders visit Michael Outram's site. [broken link in 2014]

[Commentary: This record makes no mention of Thomas Alexander who died in Grenada West Indies 6th March 1819 aged 18 years nearly twenty years before his brothers followed in his footsteps. (see gravestones below)]

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Visit to Inverkeithney
In August 2007 I visited the graveyard and transcribed two gravestones relating to the Alexanders.

David O'Carroll

GRAVESTONES IN INVERKEITHNEY CHURCHYARD

In memory of Charles Alexander late farmer at Auchininna in this parish.

Died 6th February 1845 aged 84 years.

This stone is erected by his surviving sons AD 1846

Sarah Alexander his daughter died 4th June 1809 aged 10 months

Thomas Alexander died in Grenada West Indies 6th March 1819 aged 18 years

James died 15th May 1819 aged 6 months

Andrew died 1st February 1824 aged 8 months

John Alexander his eldest son died in Grenada West Indies AD 1840 aged 42 years

Sacred also to the memory of Helen Thain daughter of John Thain of Drumblair Parish of Forgue beloved wife of the above Charles Alexander of Auchininna who died at Don Cottage near Aberdeen on 20th October 1853 aged 81

And their daughter Barbara who died 18th January 1867 aged 45 years

Charles Alexander

 

Charles Alexander late farmer in Auchininna departed this life 11 June 1787 aged 70 years

Also his wife Barbara Duncan who died June 15, 1782 aged 58 years

This stone was erected by his sons John,  James, William, Charles and David

[the rest was not transcribed by me]

Also above William Alexander d. 2 June 1792 aged 34; also above John Alexander d. 15 Nov 1793 aged 44.

Charles Alexander d.1787


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Burials at Bow Cemetery

Chris Alexander visited Tower Hamlets Cemetery in August 2008 and found the Alexander memorials. He has transcribed them as follows:



IN MEMORY OF
CHARLES ALEXANDER
OF MONTREUIL ESTATE GRENADA WEST INDIES
WHO DIED OCTOBER 5TH 1861
AGED 58 YEARS
A NATIVE OF BANFFSHIRE, SCOTLAND

ALSO IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MARGARET DRYSDALE
HARDTMAN
THIRD DAUGHTER OF THE ABOVE
BORN 22ND MARCH 1849
DIED 29TH DECEMBER 1929

On the left side of the base -

IN LOVING MEMORY OF DOUGLASS ALEXANDER
OF SPRINGBANK GRENADA BRITISH WEST INDIES
SECOND SON OF CHARLES ALEXANDER
BORN 22ND MARCH 1849
DEPARTED THIS LIFE 14TH JANUARY 1910
"REST IN PEACE, THY WORK IS DONE"

On right side of the base -

ALSO IN LOVING MEMORY OF EMMELINE FLORENCE DOUGLASS
DEARLY LOVED SECOND DAUGHTER OF THE LATE DOUGLASS ALEXANDER
BORN 13TH FEBRUARY 1876 DIED 4TH JULY 1921
GODS WILL BE DONE


See photographs on photobucket

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Montreuil Estate, Grenada

In about 1838 three bothers, the grandsons of Charles Alexander of Auchininna, fired by "the spirit of freedom and determination ingrained in all Highlanders" left their home for the West Indies with the idea of rebuilding the shattered fortunes of their family.

The three brothers Charles, Richardson and Hall Alexander, who went abroad, all achieved success in varying degrees. "When the Island of Grenada was threatened with trouble from the West African labour working on the plantations, the Spirit of the Lord Lochaber asserted itself in his descendent Charles who immediately raised a strong body of Militia, both horse and feet, from amongst the planters, which he himself commanded and relieved the situation. For his services he was given a Colonel's commission by Queen Victoria. He shortly afterwards became a member of the Executive Council and returned home for the last time in 1861 when he contracted pneumonia on the voyage and died on arrival at the port of London and was consequently buried in the cemetery at Bow near the docks."[1]

During their sojourn in the West Indies, the three brothers Charles, Richardson and Hall made frequent voyages back to their native land. They lived at Mt.Iendice(?) in St.Patricks.[2]

In 1845 their father died at Auchininna at the age of 84 and was buried at Inverkeithny, and shortly afterwards Auchininna which had been the home of the family for over 200 years knew them no more. On the death of his father, the elder son Charles bought Don Bank House near the river Don at Aberdeen and this was occupied by the family for several years.

In 1840 Charles (born 1802) married Margaret Drysdale Douglas (born 1819) daughter of Andrew Douglas of Jodburgh and Berwick-on-Tweed and his wife Helen Agnes Drysdale. [3]

Douglas, the second surviving son of Charles Alexander was born in 1849 and after completing his education in Aberdeen he returned to Grenada to manage his father's property Montreuil which had been left in trust for the family. In 1871 Douglas married Annie Elizabeth McEwen (born 1853) and by her had eight sons and four daughters. Like his father before him Douglas became a member of the Executive Council and the owner of several estates in the island. He died in London in January 1910 and was buried in the same grave as his father at Bow.

The other two married daughters of Charles Alexander and Helen Drysdale Douglas were Helen and Agnes who were twin sisters born in 1844. Helen married Arthur Gall, an officer of constabulary in Barbados and had two sons and daughters. Arthur Henry Beckles Gall was born in 1870 and became a very successful planter. In 1899 he married his cousin Margaret Edith Gall.

Arthur Henry Beckles Gall joined his uncle, Douglas Alexander at Montreuil at the age of seventeen and his obituary records that he became "Manager at Waltham in 1894 which position he held until the time of his death".

The early days of the estate

The Alexanders acquired the estate in 1845. If the brothers had arrived in the West Indies in 1838 they would have had about twelve years to amass enough money to buy the estate. No doubt this was achieved by hard work. It is also possible that the estate was bought from money left by their father who died in 1845 also. [4]

Charles had died by1861at the age of 59 and his wife died four years later. Douglas, the second son of Charles, was only twelve when his father died and probably returned to Grenada between about 1865 and 1868 on completion of his education in Aberdeen. The estate had been left in trust for the family and it is from this time that ownership became dispersed amongst many disparate parts of the family few of which bore the Alexander name.

The family history of "The Alexanders of Locaber and Inverkeithny" records that Douglas was a successful member of the local community becoming a member of the Executive Council and the owner of several estates on the island. The estate was managed by him and then by Arthur Henry Beckles Gall. The estate was therefore managed by a family member into the beginning of the Twentieth century.

Development of the estate

The Alexander brothers took over the estate after slavery had been abolished (1834 in the British Empire). It is not clear when the adjoining estate at Springbank was acquired.

The end of family ownership

By the mid 1960s there were few family members still living in Grenada (only Helen, Agnes, Doreen and Aileen Macleod) and not many more living in the West Indies. Ownership had devolved to twenty-two descendents of Charles Alexander only six of whom still bore the name Alexander.

In 1967 the estate was producing 47,078lbs of cocoa,18,078lbs of nutmeg and mace and 362,489lbs of bananas. With the sales of coconuts and copra and other provisions and fruit this had produced an income of WI$49,986. By 1969 sales of cocoa had dropped to 45,327 and of bananas to 301,511lbs. In 1968 only19,826lbs of nutmeg and mace were sold but this rose to 32,536lbs in 1969. Income had dropped to ECC$53,321. By 1971 income has dropped to ECC$26,517.

Mr Otway was the last manager of the estate but he did not live there. By 1972 he had gone to live in Barbados.

It is difficult to tell from the accounts why this rapid drop in performance happened but a number of factors were to blame. During the 1970s parts of the estate had to be sold off to meet the running costs. At the begining of 1970 the estate was about 300 acres but after sales of over 89 acres this had been reduced to 211 acres with perhaps some of the best land being lost to the estate.

The fortunes of Montreuil Estate waned with the fortunes of the Island. Grenada was a British Colony until 1958 when it joined the Federation of the West Indies. It achieved Associate Statehood in 1967 and full independence in 1974. Many of the ills of the island were blamed on the Prime Minister's shoulders and the name of Eric Gairy did not come off the lips of the owners easily. Worse was to come when the then Sir Eric Gairy was overthrown in 1979 by the Marxist New Jewal Movement led by Maurice Bishop who established a People's Revolutionary Government. On 14 October 1983 Bishop was ousted by a New Jewal faction and then was murdered. These were troubled times for the whole island. Those left on the island must have lived in fear of the worst and the owners overseas must have despaired at ever seeing any more profit from Montreuil.

American invasion

On 25 October 1983. United States' armed forces were sent to restore order to the island. This proved to be the necessary impetus for the selling of the estate which amounted to 345 acres.


Update
Extract from an e-mail from Henry Hurst to Michael Outram Wed, 7 Jan 2009 13:45:59

This contact results from a visit to Grenada which my family and I have just made - we went for a holiday and had a delightful time, mainly just relaxing by the sea. I was always curious about the Montreuil estate,  in which my mother had a share until it was sold in the early 1980s,  and we actually visited it. It's inland in the northeast of the island, still rather off the beaten track, though a settlement has grown up in  the lower part of it. It's wonderfully fertile land as the whole of  Grenada is with its volcanic soils and high rainfall, and the bananas  and nutmeg trees are still growing there. Apparently the Grenadian government pays people to maintain it and while it didn't look totally abandoned, it looks underexploited - agriculture generally on the  island doesn't look very dynamic!

Henry Hurst

[My mother Margaret married  my father Thomas Robert Hurst in 1937 and they had my sister Gillian Robson (d.o.b. 18 October 1938) and myself (d.o.b. 1 August 1946). My  mother died 1 Feb. 2000 aged 89 and my father died in 1977 aged 79. I'm married with three children, Clare aged 22, Tom, 20 and Harry, 14, and I'm a lecturer in Classical Archaeology at Cambridge University!]

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NUTMEG - More Than Just a Spice...

Four hundred years ago, nutmeg was the most valuable commodity in the world, owing to its potent medicinal properties. In 16th century London, for example, its price skyrocketed after doctors recommended it as a cure for the plague. The Asians used the seed of the nutmeg as an aphrodisiac, and by the 18th century, it made its way into snuff, which gentlemen removed from their silver snuff boxes for an after dinner snifter, while the women carried it in silver pendants around their necks as insurance against poor health.

Native to the Far East, its use in China dates back to the 5th century and was considered beneficial to the digestive system. It was one of several aromatics used in the streets of Rome during the coronation of Emperor Henry VI. It is now cultivated in the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Indonesia and is currently in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia for rheumatism, nausea, diarrhoea, flatulent dyspepsia and dysentery. Today, the medicinal uses of the nutmeg continue to be just as extensive as its culinary and therapeutic applications. The seed contains anti-fungal, anti-infectious and anti-bacterial agents as well as a volatile and non-volatile oil. The non-volatile oil can be found in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, skin care products, insect repellents and aromatic candles and soap while the volatile oil is found in many sedative and antiseptic preparations and inhalants and chest rubs. Many arthritis sufferers use nutmeg oil and it has been used for years in the West Indies as a treatment for malaria, asthma and pneumonia.

History of Nutmeg in Grenada

Where did it all begin? Nutmeg first appeared in Grenada around the early 1800s when British spice traders brought it to the West Indies from the East Indies. This occurred in 1840, when inexperienced East Indies sugar planters ran into difficulties with their method of sugar extraction, they turned for help to the West Indies where a superior method was being used. When West Indies plantation owners went to the East Indies to assist, the story goes that they quietly pocketed some of the attractive smelling nutmeg seeds and then returned to Grenada and planted them in estate house kitchen gardens where the plants thrived.

Their action posed no threat to the Dutch East Indies nutmeg industry who jealously guarded their monopoly of nutmeg by dipping seeds for export into a lime solution to prevent germination. This monopoly was threatened in 1769, however, when the French sent Monsieur Poivre on a spice stealing expedition to the Dutch East Indies. He returned to the French colony of Mauritius with several hundred trees and thousands of seeds, but they didn't transplant successfully.

In 1850 a crop disaster in Indonesia prompted the commercial production of nutmeg in Grenada. After a leisurely start, the first 100,000 pounds were exported in 1881. By the early 1950s, production had reached a surplus. When Hurricane Janet swept through the island in 1955 destroying three quarters of the nutmeg trees, this surplus proved timely; the stored nutmegs kept Grenada on the map as a world producer.

Kate Heyhoe
The Global Gourmet

http://www.nut-med.com/story.htm


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