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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
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
An Illustrated History of British Guiana by George Hanneman Bennett:
[1] Jane Lydon forthcoming article [2] [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' [7] Western Australian Dictionary of Biography, [8] [9] [10] [11],3378597 [12] [13] [14]