Will of William Fraser, Berbice
William Fraser of Goldstone Hall, Berbice, has in his will bequeathed freedom to upwards of twenty slaves on his estate in the colony. Mr Fraser died at Tain in the 43rd year of his age.
(Obituary, Inverness Courier, 1830)
William Fraser also left £100 to the poor of Cromarty.
In 1819 Fraser has been fined for excessive punishment of a slave at Goldstone Hall Plantation. Tommy (a cooper) had taken some sugar – because, he said, he was not properly fed or clothed.
William Fraser: Do you not know, you are not allowed to go into the boiling house to take sugar? I never forgive lying or stealing, and therefore I must punish you. I directed the driver to flog him; and he tied him to the stakes and flogged him. I gave him such punishment as I, as owner of that slave, considered myself in duty bound to do. I gave him thirty-nine lashes. [Tommy said he had received 100 lashes – the legal punishment was two.]
Extract from his will:
I William Fraser now residing on Plantation Voorburg on the east bank of Canje Creek in the colony of Berbice . . . making a disposition of my wordly affairs as follows
1st I will that my funeral expences . . . are first paid
2nd I give and bequeath to Alexander Matheson near Invergordon in Ross shire the sum of one hundred pounds sterling and if he is not in life to be paid to his children
3rd I give and bequeath to the poor of the Town of Cromarty one hundred pounds sterling to be paid to the parson of that parish for distribution amongst all poor who are natives of that Town and residing in it
4th I give and bequeath to the two following faithful slaves . . . Goldstone Hall named ? and ? their full and entire liberty from slavery
5th Estate to be divided equally between:
John, George and [Joan? Jane?] Fraser, children of deceased Elizabeth Swain Bannister in this colony [slave register – owner of 30 slaves in 1817]
Anna Maria Fraser, daughter of Mary Stuart in Barbados
Elizabeth Munro, daughter of Alexander Munro of Munlochy
sister Elizabeth Bain, born Fraser, residing in Cromarty