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James & Peter Grant (Leguan)

James Grant (died Thoby Priory, Ingatestone, Essex, 1822) and Peter Grant (died Leguan, Essequibo, 1822) were brothers from Banff-shire who established themselves as plantation owners on Leguan Island, in the mouth of the river Essequibo. They had acquired the plantation, named Amsterdam, by 1804, when a mortgage over the property, from John & R Gladstone of Liverpool, was transferred to Peter Grant [E&DRG 21 May 1811].

James’s son, Charles, who inherited the property, was born in St Vincent c.1792 [Census returns]. James, Peter and an older Charles Grant (a third brother?), together with a Thomas Fraser, traded in St Vincent under the name of Charles Grant & Co, formed on 9 March 1799. Their business included trade with America and James Grant had gone there in 1801 to pursue their interests. [Frankland v McGusty in Reports of cases argued and determined before the committees of Privy Council, Volume 1, 1829-31]

James Grant was a member of the Court of Policy in Demerara but resigned in 1810 because he was 'under absolute necessity of making a voyage to the Island of St Vincent and most probably from thence to Europe' [NAG Dutch Series]. Peter Grant was appointed to fill the vacany, initially declined on the grounds of his poor health but then took up the position 

At emancipation in 1834, almost £15000 compensation was paid for the 269 slaves who were freed on plantation Amsterdam. One third went to James's son, Charles, and two-thirds to the remaining trustee under his will, the judge Sir Nicholas C Tindall. [Legacies of British Slave Ownership]. There were two small counterclaims from a Jane Grant, in Georgetown, and a Sophia Grant, both of whom has received legacies of £50 from Peter Grant. In 1815 the 'mulatto women Jane and Sophia Grant' had sought formal letters of manumission on the grounds that they had lived in a state of 'reputed freedom' for more than ten years [D&ERG 8 July 1815].

[The evidence for their origin in Banff-shire is in the will of James Grant (PROB 11/1667/408) in which there are legacies to his sisters Sophia Angus, living in Keith, and Elizabeth Grant, living in Garmouth. Sophia Grant, from the parish of Keith, married James Angus, from the parish of Huntly, in 1789 (GROS 159/00 0040 0195).]

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