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Highland Scots - Frasers from Inverness & area:
William Fraser of Culbokie

William Fraser of Culbokie (1763-1843), whose family's residence was at Guisachan in Strathglass, inherited the estate from his father in 1798. William, who was described as 'a capital man of business, of active and energetic habits' [Fraser-MacKintosh quoted in Alexander Mackenzie, History of the Frasers of Lovat, 1896], had been in business in St Vincent.

He was well connected with other plantation owners having married Sarah Fraser, a sister of the Belladrum Frasers who were all in Guyana. Another sister, Isobell, married Thomas Cuming of Demerara in 1798 and, when she died shortly after giving birth to their first child, their daughter Hannah was brought up by the Frasers at Guisachan.

In a letter to Fraser's father in 1796, a neighbour said:

I an happy to hear of Mr William being in good health & god be praised that he is in the land of the living & how many pretty fellows is suffering where he is, & hearing such character of him in the newspapers. I wish from the veins of my heart that he was at home fore as good as the riches of the West Indies I see they are not without trouble and danger.

[Highland Council Archive D111/3/36]

Fraser was himself glad to leave St Vincent, writing in 1798:

You may be sure that I have the utmost anxiety to bid this part of the world adieu. I have now every inducement to incline me to return home, yet, I am sorry to say, I cannot make this out so soon as I expected, without making a sacrifice which my circumstances cannot afford, and which my best friends might censure.

When he was able to return he was said to have taken £10,000 from the island with him. [History of the Frasers of Lovat]

He invested in Guyana and in 1817 [Slave Registers], with Colin Mackenzie, owned Union Plantation in Berbice and its 150 slaves, managed by Lewis Cameron.

In 1830 Fraser was attempting the sell both his slaves and the plantation, a matter on which Donald Mackay provided advice:

With regard to Mr Fraser of Culbokie’s negroes, I fear the present is an inpropitious time for the sale of them, depressed as the West Indies are by the fanatics, collision of interests, and a temporizing government. I think if he gets from £100 to £120 a head for the negroes including children they will be well sold. [NAS GD23/6/391/14 Letter of Donald Mackay to James Grant, Inverness]

Sale was more difficult because Berbice was a seperate colony, and it was not legally possible, by this date, to move slaves to Demerara.


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