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NameWALBS bios - James Walcott
DescriptionBiographical data and locations of James Walcott between 1813 and 1837, as part of research into people of interest for WA Legacies of British Slavery project (ARC)
TypeOther
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ContributorIsabel Smith
Entries7
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Added to System2022-01-14 17:17:47
Updated in System2022-01-14 17:22:26
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Good Hope' plantation, Demerara (Guyana)

Placename
Good Hope' plantation, Demerara (Guyana)
Type
Other

Details

Latitude
6.780472
Longitude
-58.052222
Start Date
1813-04-10
End Date
1813-04-10

Description

Extended Data

Location notes
We have located Walcott at the Good Hope sugar plantation [11, 12]
Date notes
Though Walcott was likely in Demerara before 1813, the earliest record we have of him there is in April 1813. The Essequebo & Demerary Royal Gazette states on Saturday April 10, 1813: ‘SECRETARY's OFFICE. This is to inform the Public, that the following Persons intend quitting this Colony: ... James Walcott, in fourteen days or six weeks, from the 5th of April.’ [3]
Biographical information
Barbados-born James Walcott was owner of the 'Good Hope' sugar plantation, and owner of the St Christopher estate with John Walcott, probably his brother. Good Hope and St Christopher were both within Demerara - today part of what is known as Guyana. [1] Walcott was the business partner of Charles Dawson Ridley, who also oversaw plantations and lived in Demerara. They were likely also brothers-in-law: both married women born in Demerara who had their first children there, before both families moved to Britain and then onto Western Austraila. Two of Ridley’s children also went on to marry Walcotts. [1] However, as Jane Lydon notes there is a discrepancy in the records around Walcott's marriage: 'Banns of Matrimony published in Demerara state James Walcott’s wife as Johanna Forrester', while 'Walcott’s ‘Brady’ family tree states that he married Johanna Perry (b. 1803 Demerara) and they had their first child, Elizabeth Elliot Walcott, in Demerara in 1818. A John Perry co-owned a plantation in Demerara in 1817 that Ridley subsequently administered in 1826, perhaps hinting at this Demerara network.' [1]
Links to slavery the slave trade
Walcott was owner of the 'Good Hope' sugar plantation, and owner of the St Christopher estate with John Walcott, probably his brother. Good Hope and St Christopher were both within Demerara - today part of what is known as Guyana. On 30 November 1835 John Walcott was awarded £7256 for 134 enslaved people. So James may have bought out his brother in 1826. [1] Slavery heritage of Demerara: Demerara is today part of what is known as Guyana. Some of the earliest settlers of Guyana were Arawak, Carib, and possibly Warao. Although Christopher Columbus sighted the Guyana coast in 1498 and Spain claimed the area, the first Europeans to colonise the land were the Dutch in the late 16th century. In the mid-17th century the Dutch began bringing over enslaved people from West Africa to cultivate sugarcane. From the 1740s, English settlers from Caribbean islands began to move in on the region, first on the island of Wakenaam, then on the coast of Essequibo, followed by Demerara. By 1760, the British were the largest contingent in Demerara. During the Napoleonic wars the British and French in particular fought over the land, but in 1796 the British captured the territories and except for short intervals held 'possession'. In 1831 the British combined Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice to form 'British Guiana'. In 1823 Demerera was the site of one of the greatest uprisings of enslaved people in history: the 1823 Demerara rebellion involved over 10,000 enslaved people and was crucial in the dismantling of Caribbean slave systems. [1]
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images
An Illustrated History of British Guiana by George Hanneman Bennett: https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/An_Illustrated_History_of_British_Guiana/pe0jAAAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover
References
[1] Jane Lydon forthcoming article [2] https://www.vc.id.au/tb/bgcolonistsW.html [3] Essequebo & Demerary Royal Gazette, Saturday April 10, 1813, vol. 8, no. 570 "[4] State Library of Western Australia, Acc. No. 711A/23, 5 August 1836, 'His Majesty to James Walcott. Grant of 16,083 acres being Location H. Avon River.'" [5] State Library of Western Australia, Acc. No. 711A/39, 17 June 1839, 'James Walcott Esquire to Mess’rs Viveash and Smith. Conveyance of 11993 acres of Land on the Avon River-Yorkshire being part of Location H.' [6] William J. Edgar, 'The Convict Era in Western Australia: Its Economic, Social and Political Consequences' https://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/21436/2/02whole.pdf [7] Western Australian Dictionary of Biography, http://www.friendsofbattyelibrary.org.au/files/W.pdf [8] https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/642385?searchTerm=%22james%20walcott%22%20avon%20river [9] https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Walcott-377 [10] https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/640035?searchTerm=walcott [11] https://gy.geoview.info/good_hope,3378597 [12] https://mapcarta.com/19102872 [13] https://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks14/1402751h.html [14] https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/2146652229

Sources

TLCMap ID
t7993
Created At
2022-01-14 17:17:57
Updated At
2023-11-17 15:39:55

Kersbrook, Devon

Placename
Kersbrook, Devon
Type
Other

Details

Latitude
50.638917
Longitude
-3.321111
Start Date
1820-12-01
End Date
1820-12-01

Description

Extended Data

Location notes
Six of Ridley's children were born in Devon from 1820 to 1828, suggesting he may have been an 'absentee' owner of the plantations during this time while he lived in England with his family. However, his place of residence during these years has not been confirmed. [1] One child, Mary Anna (Walcott) Stafford, was recorded being baptised in East Budleigh, Devon. Wikitree states 'Parents named as James and Joanna Walcott living at Kersybrook [Kersbrook?], Devon.' [9]
Date notes
We do not know the exact dates that Walcott was in Devon, however we know that his children were born there from 1820 to 1828. We have therefore given an estimate date of 1 December 1820.
Biographical information
Six of Ridley's children were born in Devon from 1820 to 1828, suggesting he may have been an 'absentee' owner of the plantations during this time while he lived in England with his family. However, his place of residence during these years has not been confirmed. [1] Walcott was still recorded as owner of the Good Hope sugar plantation as late as 1817, and the St Christopher estate as late as 1826. [1]
Links to slavery the slave trade
As above
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images
References

Sources

TLCMap ID
t7994
Created At
2022-01-14 17:17:57
Updated At
2023-11-17 15:39:55

Portsmouth

Placename
Portsmouth
Type
Other

Details

Latitude
50.801389
Longitude
-1.109861
Start Date
1829-08-14
End Date
1829-08-14

Description

Extended Data

Location notes
Selected location near the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, though have not pinpointed the exact dock that the Wanstead departed from.
Date notes
We do not know exactly when Walcott arrived in England before departing for Western Australia. However we know that the ship he sailed on, the Wanstead, departed Portsmouth on 14 August 1829.
Biographical information
Walcott traveled to England before departing for Western Australia. He left London on the Wanstead on 14 August 1829, along with Charles Dawson Ridley. One of Walcott's children, Robert, was recorded as born in Western Cape Town, South Africa, in 1829. This was presumably about halfway through the journey [1]
Links to slavery the slave trade
As above
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images
References

Sources

TLCMap ID
t7995
Created At
2022-01-14 17:17:57
Updated At
2023-11-17 15:39:55

Walyalup (Fremantle)

Placename
Walyalup (Fremantle)
Type
Other

Details

Latitude
-32.056861
Longitude
115.741389
Start Date
1830-01-30
End Date
1830-01-30

Description

Extended Data

Location notes
Date notes
Biographical information
Walcott and Charles Dawson Ridley, along with their families, are described by the Legacies of British Slavery database as ‘what appears to have been a group of people moving from Demerara to Western Australia c. 1830' [14] Both arrived at Walyalup (Fremantle) aboard the Wanstead on 30 January 1830. [1] Walcott was a major advocate of the Swan River colony. In response to negative comments and reports of the fledgling colony, he threatened to ‘thrash [a critic of Swan River] if he spoke against it more, for so persuaded was he that this poor fellow had never been there and Captain Sterling (sic) was too much of the gentleman to state to the world a favourable account of any place without foundation.’ [1]
Links to slavery the slave trade
As above
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images
References

Sources

TLCMap ID
t7996
Created At
2022-01-14 17:17:57
Updated At
2023-11-17 15:39:55

Caversham / Lockridge

Placename
Caversham / Lockridge
Type
Other

Details

Latitude
-31.886583
Longitude
115.978583
Start Date
1830-12-14
End Date
1830-12-14

Description

Extended Data

Location notes
Date notes
Walcott was awarded land on the Swan River on 14 December 1830 [1]
Biographical information
Along with Ridley, Walcott was one of the first large land grantees in WA. Both had substantial capital and were awarded prime allotments on Wadjuk Noongar Boodjar (Country), on Derbarl Yerrigan (the Swan River), opposite the Governor of WA and near the junction of the Helena and Swan Rivers. American historian Warren Bert Kimberly described Ridley and Walcott amongst those first colonists who had ‘chosen places where the soil appeared most promising, and where they could partake of the advantage of river transit’. [1] Kimberly recorded awards of land in 1830 on the Swan 'to C. D. Ridley, 1,432½ acres in fee simple, 1st May; and on 14th December 1830 James Walcott, 16,083, fee simple; 17th December, Charles D. Ridley, 8,750.' [1] Jane Lydon explains that 'Before 1832 ... colonists arriving before the end of 1830 could claim 40 acres for every £3 of capital invested, and those arriving after December 1830 could claim 20 acres. According to the land schedule (or Return of Property on which land has been claimed from 1st September to 30th June 1830), Walcott’s family comprised one wife, 6 children and 7 servants; his ‘amount of property’ comprised £105 servants and children, livestock £282, 10 ½ s., implements and machinery £337 11s., provisions £253 12s. 11 ¼, seeds and plants £16, 15s. 7d., miscellaneous £137 2s. 9d., totalling £1,132 12s. 3 ¼ d (‘property inapplicable to the cultivation of land’ £442).' [1] Though Ridley and Walcott had adjoining blocks, there are signs that they went their own ways after arrival, such as a dispute in late 1835 regarding an agreement to erect a party fence between their adjoining properties. But they were still neighbours in February 1837 when the local newspaper reported a terrible fire at Walcott's property, 'which, in less than ten minutes, destroyed the whole of the thatched dwelling-house, and kitchen adjoining, with about thirty bushels of barley, and ten of wheat, in the latter building.' Ridley's son is referenced as one of the Walcott's neighbours in this article. [1]
Links to slavery the slave trade
As above
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images
References

Sources

TLCMap ID
t7997
Created At
2022-01-14 17:17:57
Updated At
2023-11-17 15:39:55

Avon Valley, south of York

Placename
Avon Valley, south of York
Type
Other

Details

Latitude
-32.06557
Longitude
116.854073
Start Date
1836-08-05
End Date
1836-08-05

Description

Extended Data

Location notes
Location based on newspaper article detailing perimeters of land granted.
Date notes
We do not know when Walcott moved to his Avon Valley block, but he was granted land there on 5 August 1836. [4]
Biographical information
Walcott was granted 16,083 acres around the Avon River, south of York. [4, 8] His block became known as the ‘Walcott Estate’. However he speculated and eventually incurred considerable debts, being forced to sell his Avon holding. Documents dated 17 June 1839 indicate the 'Conveyance of 11993 acres of Land on the Avon River-Yorkshire' from James Walcott Esquire to Mess’rs Viveash and Smith. [5] The Viveash family finalised the purchase of the Walcott Estate in July 1839, Samuel Viveash paying β‚€16,000 for 4,860 hectares. [6] William Edgar writes that when the Viveash family moved to the property in 1839, 'Though taken up some years before, the estate was almost entirely uncleared. It was covered with the tough and wiry ‘jam’ and York gum trees. The former owner, James Walcott, had left the colony for Mauritius two years before. It is probable the property had thus been neglected in the intervening period and very little developmental work had been done. Like so many others at the time, Walcott also had been granted land in the Upper Swan region (1107 acres or 448 hectares). His principal residence was there. The holding between York and the Dale would have been sufficiently remote to militate against much development.' [6, pp 54-55]
Links to slavery the slave trade
As above
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images
Newspaper notice describing the geographical boundaries of Walcott's Avon River block: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/639169?searchTerm=%22james%20walcott%22%20avon%20river Newspaper notice detailing the impending sale of Walcott's Estate: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/639191?searchTerm=walcott%20estate Newspaper advertisement for sale of Walcott's land: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/214041747?searchTerm=%22james%20walcott%22%201837
References

Sources

TLCMap ID
t7998
Created At
2022-01-14 17:17:57
Updated At
2023-11-17 15:39:55

Port Louis, Mauritius

Placename
Port Louis, Mauritius
Type
Other

Details

Latitude
-20.159306
Longitude
57.502278
Start Date
1837-04-30
End Date
1837-04-30

Description

Extended Data

Location notes
We do not know exactly where Walcott lived in Mauritius, so have used the estimate of Port Louis as presumably this is where he arrived.
Date notes
We do not know what date Walcott arrived in Mauritius, but he left WA on 29 March 1837. We have estimated the journey to take about one month. In a Proposal to Governor Darling by James Stirling on 14 December 1826 he estimated it would take 3 weeks to travel from the Swan River colony to Mauritius. [13]
Biographical information
The Perth Gazette reported that on 29 March 1837, Walcott, his wife and two children left Western Australia for Mauritius aboard the Shepherd. [10] It is unclear where he ended up. The Dictionary of Western Australians indicates that Walcott 'Suffered financial misfortune in England & Jamaica. Returned to Eng. to organise his affairs. He & members of his family sailed several times during 1850s. Sold his grants 1840s & ended his days with a son who had pastoral station Champion Bay district "Mininooka".' [7]
Links to slavery the slave trade
As above
Attitudes around race
Attitudes around labour
Images
Newspaper article advising of Walcott's impending departure and claims to be sent to George Leake: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/640053?searchTerm=walcott
References

Sources

TLCMap ID
t7999
Created At
2022-01-14 17:17:57
Updated At
2023-11-17 15:39:55
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