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Highland Scots - Moray & Strathspey: William Grant of Thornhill

William Grant (1796-1866) was born at Aitnoch in the parish of Edinkillie (Moray), the eldest son of a farmer. Just over fifty years later, in 1847, by which time he was known as ‘William Grant Esq of Demerara’, he bought the small estate of Thornhill, near Forres, for £5000, thus gaining the status of a ‘landed proprietor’ in his native Moray. At about the same time he married Elizabeth Cowell, from the Isle of Man.

Grant served an apprenticeship as a wright or engineer with a Mr Duncan at Garmouth and then went to Glasgow where he worked as an engineer before going to Demerara. He worked as an engineer there and later became manager of a number of plantations (Nairnshire telegraph, 12 December 1866). After 1834, a William Grant claimed compensation for the emancipation of 23 slaves on plantation Chateau Margot, which had once belonged to Moray-born Lachlan Cumming, but no firm identification can be confirmed.


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