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George Munro

George Munro Esq of Berbice died at Falmouth on 22 August 1824, in his 58th year [Edinburgh Advertiser 1 July 1825]. A George Munro was named as executor of the will of John Sinclair in Berbice in 1801, suggesting that he may have been in the colony from this date.

Munro was the owner of plantation Alness on the Corentyne coast and was a signatory of an address presented to Thomas Cuming in 1812, but he was not in the colony in 1817, when the return of slaves was made by his attorney (manager), David Millar. The plantation had over 300 slaves.

In 1816 he was described by Governor Bentinck as both the richest and the most impertinent member of the Council of the colony. [CO 111/84 Beard to Bathhurst, 12 Aug 1816]

According to Eirene O’Jon [Slave Society in Early Nineteenth Century Berbice, University of Guyana, 1992] plantation Alness was notorious for its harsh discipline, so extreme that a number of managers were poisoned by the cook and another, McWatt, was drowned by some of the slaves.

In his will [Prob11/1712/f474] he left £100 to the poor of each of the parish of Alness and Kiltearn in Ross-shire; gave legacies to the children of Matthew Munro, his 'dear cousin and friend Dr William Munro of Berbice', and his sister Christian Munro in Edinburgh; and made provision for the support of the 'coloured family' of Amelia and her three daughters, Susannah, Charlotte and Diana. In 1817 39-year-old Amelia was a slave on plantation Alness, described as 'coloured', a seamstress, born in Berbice; Susannah was aged 20 and Diana, 18, while 15-year-old Charlotte , a domestic slave, was the property of the plantation manager, David Millar, with whom she had a son, John. They were still enslaved in 1819 [Berbice Slave Returns].

Susannah's children were George, born 30 Oct 1808; John born 8 July 1810; and William born 1 May 1812. Susannah Munro's will [Prob11/2176/f30, date 1853, which she signed with her mark] makes it clear that she was the mother or George and John, who had pre-deceased her, and she was probably also the mother of William, who was presumably still alive. She claimed George and John's inheritance. Susannah can only have been aged 11 when she bore her first child.

George Munro left his property to be divided between these children and his nephews - William and Hugh Munro, the children of his sister Christian Munro and Alexander Munro, and Robert Robertson, son of his sister Esther Munro and John Robertson, late of Inverness. He made provision for his estate to be sold after 10 years and his executors claimed compensation of £19,212 18s 8d at emancipation, at which date the only named beneficiary appears to have been Robert Robertson [LBS Claim 8225].