Robert Douglas of Fyrish

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This page may include detail of Robert Douglas of Better Hope, who may or may not be one and the same person.


Robert Douglas registered 82 enslaved people on an estate called Fyrish being Lot No. 3 on the Corantyne Coast (Guyana) as his own property in 1819. His death was reported at Edinburgh 5th April 1826(5).

Son of William Douglas of Fyrish near Alness, Scotland, and Jane Bayne. "Captain [William] Douglas [of the Marines] was part of an expedition against Martinique and Guadaloupe in 1758-59. He faced a court martial in 1764, which he himself requested, having refused to return to duty during a period of sickness. He was acquitted with honour. He died at Fyrish on 24 August 1788."

Will of Robert Douglas planter of Demerara proved 10th June 1826. In the will Robert Douglas described his property as: 'one half of the plantation Better Hope situated on the east coast of the colony with the one half of the slaves attached thereto their number at present being one hundred and ninety five'; one half of the plantation Geneva situated in Canal No. 1 and the one half of the slaves attached thereto consisting of six; and 'whatever sum I may yet have to receive under the will of my uncle William Ross Munro.'


Douglas' own will provided for the 'purchase of two mulatto children which [sic] I believe to be mine.' He left half his estate after bequests to his 'beloved wife Mary Douglas', and the other half to be divided equally between his lawful children; in the absence of lawful children, his brother Joseph(3) and his sisters became heirs.


Douglas said in his will that he was heir to his uncle Gilbert Douglas' estate of Douglas Park and the Boggs in Lanarkshire after the death of Mrs Cecilia Douglas; if he predeceased her, he willed the property follow Gilbert Douglas's will and pass to Robert Douglas' issue.

His uncle, William Ross Munro was presumably the brother of Robert Douglas's mother Ann Munro, daughter of John Munro, proprietor of Tirivan in Kiltearn.


In view of the clues that Robert's wife was Mary, and that he had a brother, Joseph, it is probable that he was the son of Rev George Douglas, himself the son of Robert Douglas, farmer of Balcony, parish of Kiltearn (son of Robert Douglas in Ketwell, a brother of Captain William Douglas).  'Our' Robert married Mary Caird, who died 1825.  They had two children:
• Anabella Stuart Agnes, married, 1864, to James Brodie, D.A.C.S., Edinburgh. She died 1875.
• Robert Douglas, of Douglas Park, Glasgow, married, in 1858, Mary Ann, daughter of the Rev. Stephen Butler, of Trinity Church, Southampton.


London Gazette

PURUSANT to an Order of His Honour the President of
the Honourable Court of Criminal ond Civil Justice for
the United Colony of Demerary and Essequebo, bearing date the 8th instant;
I, the undersigned, in capacity as Deputy First Marshal of
said United Colony, at the request of Mary Douglas, Executrix, and Richard Gray,
Executor, to the cstate aud effects of Robert Douglas, late of Plantation Better Hope,
in this Colony, de ceased, do hereby, by edict ad valvas curiæ, summon all
known and unknown Creditors of said Robert Douglas, de ceased, and of his
estate Butter Hope, to appear in person, or by his Attorney, before the
Bar of the Honourable Counsellor Commissaries, attending
at the ordinary fourteen days Roll Court, to be holden at the
Court-House, in George-Town, on
the 18th and following days of June next, in order then and
there to render in their claims, properly attested and substantiated,
and in due form, against the estate.
Whereas, in default of which, will be proceeded against the
non-appearers, according to law—Demerary this 20th January 1827.
J. D. HALEY, Deputy First-Marshal.

1.  This family is part of the Douglas of Mulderg family
2.  UCL Department of History and other slavery researchers make th claim the Robert was the son of William.  William did indeed have a son who died in Demerara, but this does not appear to be him.
3.  I am unable to trace this brother.  Was he a nephew?
4.  Robert may have died in Demerara.

5.  Robert's date of death is uncertain.  The will of Robert Douglas planter of Demerara was proved 10/06/1826, so before this.

   a. Robert Douglas of Esquire of "Dumerria [sic] from 27 India Street Died 10th Inst Interred in the Southside of Mrs Douglas, a ground west side of the yard", recorded in the Parish Register of Canongate, Edinburgh, 13/04/1826.
   b. Death "at Edinburgh, on the 5th [sic] instant, Robert Douglas Edq. of Better Hope Plantation, Demerara, eldest son of the late Rev. George Douglas, of Tain, in the county of Ross, N[orth] B[ritain]."

   c.  The Families of Mulderg and Robertson of Kindeace - Robert Douglas, died 05/04/1826.

   d.  Blackwood's Edinburgh magazine, Volume 19 - 5 June 1826 'At 25, India Street, Robert Douglas, Esq. of Better Hope, Demerara.



Sources for this article include:
  • The genealogy of the families of Douglas of Mulderg and Robertson of Kindeace with their descendants (Dingwall, A.M. Ross and Company, 1895) p. 11.
  • Slaves and Highlanders, Spanglefish

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