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Cuming family (Craigmill)

From General Roy's Military Survey of Scotland (1747-52) [British Library] showing Craigmill & Dallas church

The Cuming family of Craigmill, or Craigmiln (parish of Dallas, Moray), played an important role in the development of the plantations of Demerara. [For detail of family connections see this page.]

Thomas Cuming [1739/40-1813] was in Demerara from before 1760, spent 50 years in the colony and was one of the first Scots to own a plantation there. For details of his life see the Thomas Cuming sub-page.

He was joined from the early 1790s, if not before, by his cousin Lachlan Cuming [c1756-1827], who was a leading figure in the establishment of the Scots kirk in Demerara and was prominent in the suppression of the slave rising of 1823. For details of his life see the Lachlan Cuming sub-page.

They were joined in 1800 [NAS GD23/6/364] by Thomas’s nephew, also named Thomas; someone referred to as 'young Duncan'; and a cousin, Donald Grant. The nephew was probably the French-born Thomas de Cuming - see sub page, son of Thomas snr's older brother William, who had fled to France in 1746. 'Young Duncan', who was to go to Lachlan Cuming's plantation, was probably the James Duncan, referred to in Lachlan Cuming’s will (1830), as a kinsman and ‘if alive said to be residing in Demerara’. He owed Cuming a considerable sum of money at this time. He is probably the James Duncan born 12 June 1770, the son of Thomas Duncan and Mary Cuming [Deskford OPR, Vol.1 p.154].

Anna and Andrew Rose of Montcoffer (see Rose of Montcoffer sub-page) were also relations, grand-children of Thomas Cuming’s cousin, Anne Cumming.

By his marriage in 1798 to Isobel Fraser, Thomas Cuming became part of the Fraser of Belladrum family. The three Fraser brothers, James, Simon and Evan, were leading planters in Berbice, and their sister, Sarah, who was married to William Fraser of Culbokie, brought up his infant daughter, Hannah, after Isobel’s death in January 1800 and Thomas’s subsequent return to Demerara.

There were other Cumings in Guyana. James Cuming late of Sluie [Moray] died in Demerara on 21 January last [i.e. 1801, Edinburgh Magazine]. He was noted as being in Demerara in either 1790 or 1796 [Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser, 5 April 1898 quoting Rose Papers]. The Cuming family of Sluie were referred to in Lachlan Cuming's will as relatives. In 1801 Thomas Mewburn, on behalf of the late James Cuming, beganthe process of manumitting (freeing) an enslaved woman called Belinda and her 'mulatto' child James - presumably the son of James Cuming [National Archives of Guyana].

In 1810 Thomas Cuming petitioned for the manumission of ‘two coloured Children named Andrew and William, the property of Andrew Cuming deceased’ [E&DG 8 May 1810]. In 1816 notice was given that Andrew Cuming (a minor) intended to leave the colony in 14 days from May 6 [E&DRG 8 June 1816].

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