Cameron of Erracht (Lochaber)
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Adam Cameron [c.1772–1841] was the illegitimate son of Colonel Sir Alan Cameron of Erracht (Lochaber), who in 1793, at his own expense, raised the 79th Regiment, which became known as the Cameron Highlanders. Adam Cameron served in the regiment as a volunteer, then ensign (6th November 1794), lieutenant (5th September 1795) and captain (London Gazette, Issue 14049, p932, 26 September 1797), transferring to the 39th Regiment in 1799 (Edinburgh Gazette, 22 February 1799, Issue 591, p46), serving with the 39th in Berbice, and retiring in July 1803 (The London Gazette, 26 July 1803, Issue 15605, p921).
In 1800 he made a temporary return to Britain with 'his Lady', that is his first wife Anne Elizabeth Lemmers [Conner v Cameron reported in Evening Mail, 2 December 1803; Lorainne Maclean, Indomitable Colonel (London, 1986), 176].
He was later described as living in Surinam from about 1801, being referred to in 1823 as a ’22 years resident’ in the correspondence of John Henry Lance, then British Commissioner for Arbitration in Surinam. (Surinam Museum: for this detail see Dikland, notes on plantation Alliance). This may be the date of his return after the above voyage to Britain.
Cameron is said, by Teenstra (Marten Douwes Teenstra, De negerslaven in de kolonie Suriname [H. Lagerweij, Dordrecht 1842 ], p337) to be the author of the anonymous Antwoord op bovenstaande Aanmerkingen (The Hague, Gebroeders Giunta d'Albani, 1824). However, the author of the Antwoord explains that he came to Surinam in 1813 and so the identification of him as Cameron is unlikely.
In 1805 he was appointed Deputy Venue Master there and from 1806 he was a customs officer [Johan Friederich Egbert Einaar, Bijdrage tot de kennis van het Engelsch tusschenbestuur van Suriname, 1804-1816 (M. Dubbeldeman, 1934), 66], serving as Comptroller of Customs under the Collector, George Herbert. There is a description of him leading a raid on a warehouse to seize contraband, drawing his sword when he was refused entrance by the owners, and using ‘coarse language' from his military background. Along with Herbert he was suspected of corruption but an investigation led to his acquittal. [Einar]. He continued inthis position until at least 1815 [Gentleman's and Citizen's Almanack, 1815] and probably until the colony was returned to the Dutch in 1816. He was also a member of the colony’s Court of Policy and Criminal Justice.
In 1810 he led fund-raising among the inhabitants of Paramaribo, Surinam, to support the establishment of a Gaelic Chapel in London for the benefit of their ‘Christian brothers the Highlanders of Scotland’. The funds collected amounted to 3904 florins. [Report of the Proceedings of the Committee appointed to manage the affairs of the London Gaelic Chapel, 1810].
By 1816, as a member of the Highland Society of London, he was known as ‘Adam Cameron Esquire of Surinam’ [Statutes of the United Kingdom, 1816, 727].
Cameron formed a relationship with a ‘free coloured’ woman, Eleanor Herbert, with whom he had two sons, Alan [born c1806] and Nicholas Herbert Cameron [born c1808], both born in Guyana. In 1816 he married a Dutch woman, Anna Esther Petronella van Halm [Gentleman's Magazine, Vol 119, p178], the widow of Pieter Heydorn.
Adam Cameron bought plantation Alliance on the Commenwijn. In 1819 Dr James Sharpe, who had been the military surgeon from 1804 to 1816, when the colony was under British rule, wrote from Trinidad to Adam's father saying that Adam had got 'a loan from Holland' and paid off the mortgages on his property. He went on to comment that Adam was 'now clear and independent of the World, can go where & when he pleases in the World & enjoy the advantages and happiness of a Princely fortune, the last Year's Crops, which are now crossing the Atlantic are doubly sufficient to pay the loan he took up'.
In 1823 Judge Lance described Cameron as ‘a terribly stupid fellow but very friendly ; He either is – or pretends to be – deaf, which is a terrible nuisance’. It is difficult to reconcile this with Cameron’s success as a planter.
In his father's will, written in 1827, he is described as 'my much respected Relative . . . Adam Cameron of Surinam, expected home soon' and was bequeathed his father's 'gold chronometer by Arnold with its appendages'. [Lorainne Maclean, Indomitable Colonel (London, 1986), 286 & 296]
His death, in April 1841, was announced in the London Times:
On the 8th April, at Paramaribo, to the inexpressible grief of his surviving widow, and great regret of a numerous circle of friends, Adam Cameron, Esq., an old and much respected planter of the colony of Surinam, and formerly one of the members of the Hon. Court of Policy and Criminal Justice. [Times, 8 June 1841]
Adam Cameron's children:
His son Alan Cameron moved to Surinam, probably with his father, and had a daughter, Mary Ann Cameron, probably the child of an enslaved woman. Mary Ann was manumitted as a young girl in 1847.
Sources: this is largely based on information from the well researched Surinaamse Genealogie website.
About 1824 Adam Cameron was joined in Surinam by his cousin, Archy Cameron [1792/97-1834], a (legitimate) son of Sir Alan Cameron's brother Ewen [Maclean, Indomitable Colonel, 292].