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Highland Scots - Frasers from Inverness & area:
Simon Fraser of Belladrum


Sources for an account of Simon Fraser in Demerara and Berbice
NAS = National Archives of Scotland

28 Nov 1801 Peter Fairbairn from Demerary
Arrived from Berbice, lodging with Capt Farquhar Macrae, whose brother is a respected merchant here. Travelled with the brother by horse and chaise to Berbice on Sunday last – reached lot adjacent to A&B, now property of James Fraser, his brother Simon residing there. He has become son in law to Governor van Battenburg, who he met the next day.

23 Apr 1802
Peter Fairbairn to Lord Seaforth from Kingston, Demerara
Met Simon Fraser, on his way to Britain with his wife who is in bad health.

NLS 19331 f71r Anne Robertson to her daughter Christy Watson, 21 July 1802

Just now Mr Simon Fraser Belladrum & his Lady called here together with Mr & Mrs Mckenzie Mountgerald the former left Demerary in April last & saw our Gilbert just before they set off. They are a most agreeable young couple.


GD23/6/391/1 Demerary 7th August 1802 Donald Mackay to James Grant, Inverness
Two Negroes I own, which your cousin Mr Simon Fraser was good enough to give me at 12 months credit, though at the high price of £200
‘Mr Simon Fraser with his Dutch lady will be long before now paying their respects to you – but he will need to take another trip across the Atlantic’ [i.e. has not yet secured his fortune]

Reelig archive 1st Nov 1803
Weldaad Estate, Berbice EF to his mother
At last arrived at destination. . . . Just returned from warm ride to Union with Simon Fraser – 7 miles off from here – most beautiful plantation I have seen yet. House is to be built in as pretty a situation as flat country will allow. Old mangrove trees.

Reelig archive 13th Nov 1803
Demerary EF to his mother
After some weeks Simon Fraser Belladrum may take me to Union with him. I wonder James Fraser does not send me there just now – don’t believe he feels any affection for his brothers, so sees no reason I should see mine more than once a year.

GD23/6/391/4 Demerary 14th November 1803 Donald Mackay to James Grant, Inverness
He is well as are Mr & Mrs Simon Fraser

Reelig archive 21st Nov 1803
Weldaad Estate, Berbice EF to his mother
Hope to go to Union when Simon Fraser’s house is built – it was a great loss being destroyed just as it was finishing

10 Oct 1804 PF to Lord Seaforth
Madame van Battenburg has ‘eloped’ with Major Hardiman, commanding officer of the colony, who took her away in the Garrison Barge. Divorce to be filed for. Lived 22 years with her husband. Poor Simon Fraser and his wife, who is a good young woman, are to be pitied. He called out Hardiman, duel took place but no injury ensued.

Reelig archive: In 1804 Governor van Batenburg’s wife caused a great scandal by ‘eloping’ with the local commander of British troops, Major Hardiman. Simon Fraser, who was married to one of the van Batenburgs’ daughters, challenged the major to a duel, from which both emerged unscathed. As everyone already knew, but had previously not dared to say, the offending fraulein had once been an opera dancer in France or Holland – so what could you expect? Before the gossips ran out of things to say, the governor provided more fuel for the cauldron by remarrying a milliner thirty years his junior. They are ‘all love and affectionate’, Edward Satchwell Fraser told his mother; he is ‘an old fool’.

Reelig archive 17th Feb 1805
No 28 EF to his mother
Visited coffee estate in which Simon Fraser has an interest – much prettier than the coast . . .
Simon Fraser in good spirits. Hates the country. Mrs Fraser makes the best of it. Lives at great expense - £2000+ for house expenses – house will cost at least £5000.

Reelig archive 7th April1805
Mrs Fraser – but being the only woman almost I ever see she will run in my head. New house finished
James has changed – silent – utter aversion to being at home. Hates Mrs Fraser.

Reelig archive 13th Jan 1806
West Coast, Berbice
Mrs Simon Fraser has taken a fancy to Suzy, the woman who nurses her child and would fain have her sold to her - this I suppose my father would never think of allowing for she is not only one of the best women on the place but she cannot bear Mrs Fraser. Mrs Fraser always shows me contempt but has done me so many good turns.

June 1806: Thomas Staunton St Clair
An invitation from Simon Fraser of Belladrum, a good friend of Thomas’s commanding officer Colonel Nicholson, to visit plantation Geanies, on the supposedly healthier east sea-coast, near the Corentyne river. The plantation schooner, which had been delivering a cargo of cotton to New Amsterdam, called at the Fort on the evening of Sunday 8th June and Thomas, growing weaker, ‘with difficulty crawled on board’. A four-hour sail took him to Geanies, which Simon Fraser managed on behalf of the owner – Stabroek merchant, John Macleod, a son of Donald Macleod of Geanies in Ross-shire. Simon’s brother, Evan, owned the neighbouring plantation, Brighton . . . On the Friday 13th they sat down to dinner at Geanies in a larger party. Dr Gordon, a nephew of Macleod of Geanies, had arrived intent on exploring the Corantyne and, if possible, visiting the settlement of German Moravian missionaries in the remote forest . . . Dr Gordon persuaded Thomas to join him, along with four others – Simon Fraser’s younger brother Evan, Mr King, William Brummel and Mr Inglis.

GD23/6/391/7 Demerary 30th October 1806 Donald Mackay to James Grant, Inverness
Mr Simon Fraser and his Lady are arrived with you long since & I hear some fear not in very eligible circumstances. When he left the country he was determined to go into the army; he had actually applied to the commander in chief on the station; and I was the other day informed he was gazetted. I never knew of any man, with the immense advantages he had, who so completely missed making a very great Fortune

Reelig archive 29 Nov 1807
Starsbroek EF to his mother
Mrs Simon Fraser lives on Corantyn coast where Evan formerly lived
Mrs James Fraser lives here as well.
James Fraser well – but has been dangerously ill.
Simon Fraser well as are Mrs Fraser and children

Reelig archive 13th Dec 1807
No 28 West Coast EF to his mother
Mr and Mrs Simon Fraser live at Brighton on the Corantyn – Mrs Fraser not liked – everybody seems to disapprove of her coming out to Berbice.

Mary Noel Menezes, The Amerindians in Guyana, 1803-73 (1979)
p172 A woman named Fraser who was once in the position of a gentlewoman being a legitimate daughter of Governor Van Battenburg, married a man of property – abandoned him for another person and took refuge with her Paramour on the Demerara River, where she has resided for many years, gradually sinking into the condition of a mere squatter, with loss of every appearance of a gentlewoman and with little reputation. [1839]

The Examiner
Friday, May 14.

This was a suit of divorce, initiated on the part of Simon Fraser, Esq. of the island of Berbice, by reason of adultery, against his wife, the daughter of—Brittlebank, Esq [an error in the report] formerly governor of that place. The marriage took place in 1801, at Berbice, and they had subsequently three children. In 1814 they came to England. Mr. Fraser, in 1815, went out to Batavia. The lady returned to Berbice, under protection of Mr. Thomas Brittlebank, with whom the adultery was committed. They revisited England, and in various parts of the country lived together as man and wife; they had one child born at Lichfield, in 1815, and another in the New-road, in 1816, both of whom they acknowledged on various occasions. The defendant suffered judgement to go by default, and the damages were assessed at £1250.—Sentence in favour of the husband.


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