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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 ₤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
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
Newspaper notice describing the geographical boundaries of Walcott's Avon River block: Newspaper notice detailing the impending sale of Walcott's Estate: Newspaper advertisement for sale of Walcott's land: