Embleton, St Thomas Jamaica 1809

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Embleton, St Thomas Jamaica 1809

Postby maddle » Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:21 pm

Does anyone out there have any information on Richard Mark Embleton, baptised 1809 in Kingston Jamaica - a 'free mulatto'?
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Re: Embleton, St Thomas Jamaica 1809

Postby Adam Stacey » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:27 pm


If you have got that far, then I probably have no more than you. I am a great great great grandson of Richard Embleton and Emerline (or Emma) Higham who were married in April 1827 in Shoreditch. They appear on the 1841-61 censuses as a couple, and Richard is on the 1871 census (Emma died in 1866). You probably know all of that already. The censuses say that Richard was born in the West Indies. The 1861 specifically says St Thomas, West Indies. He died in 1877. I have a scan of his will.

I originally thought that Richard came from the island of St Thomas in the Virgin Islands (which would then have been part of the Danish West Indies, briefly occupied by the British). I assumed Richard was the son of a British soldier. I now believe that Richard is the same person as the free mulatto child christened in Kingston, Jamaica. There are several reasons why I believe this:

1) it is known that our ancestor Richard Embleton had a son called Mark Richard - the Jamaican Richard's middle name is Mark.
2) Richard Embleton isn't that common a name
3) the 1861 census says that our ancestor Richard Embleton was born in St Thomas - St Thomas was the name of two parishes in Jamaica. One of them is still called St Thomas, and is next to Kingston.
4) I have been through what records I could find for the island of St Thomas, including christenings by British army chaplains. There were no Embletons.
5) I recently learnt from a cousin that he had been told by his mother years ago that we had an ancestor who had come from Jamaica somewhere along the line (I had had no idea that such a memory had been preserved in our family).

I don't have any other record of Richard in Jamaica, nor any explanation of how he came to Britain. He was christened along with three other Embleton children - it would be easy to assume that they were his sisters, but maybe they simply all had the same slaveholder's surname. I have found later records of a slave called Jane Embleton who is the right age, and whose mother was an African called Elizabeth Embleton. Part of me thinks it is hard to imagine that there were two Jane Embletons of that age, but part of me wonders why Jane would be a negro (ie. full blooded African) slave having been a 'free mulatto'.

By the way, have you found the Lending The Way website yet?

Best wishes

Adam Stacey
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Re: Embleton, St Thomas Jamaica 1809

Postby bimjim » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:16 pm

Part of me thinks it is hard to imagine that there were two Jane Embletons of that age, but part of me wonders why Jane would be a negro (ie. full blooded African) slave having been a 'free mulatto'.

It depends to some extent on what year/s are under consideration. Full emancipation was not until about 1835, and some slave owners held on to their slaves even after that. Many slave owners freed their slaves as legislated, but then tied them to contracts or "apprenticeships" of one kind or another for a number of years in order to continue to have a cheap workforce for their estates or businesses.

But I have seen Manumissions (voluntary freedom given slaves) being implemented as far back as the 1780s and 90s. It could be expensive in the Colonies, but was cheaper done in England, and there were some slave owners who either sent the slaves being manumitted to England for the purpose, or had family members or their commission agents perform the function for them in England.

Reasons for manumitting were many, including slave women being the owner's partner (or at least one of several), his/her children, or of some great service along the way. Some slaves were freed through their master's/mistress' Will upon (the owner's) death.

Many people today see black and white as, well, black and white. But there was considerable racial intermingling. One native Governor General is known to have remarked that - in Barbados, at least - there were very few long-time Barbados families of either colour who did not have some of the other colour in them somewhere.

Also bear in mind that the official "description" (negro, mulatto, etc.) was not a guarantee of their real actual "colour". The record keepers of the day had very little supervision and could "describe" people any way they wished (until Emancipation, when the practice ceased), and any person could be so "described" so long as they were not white and English. For instance, an olive-skinned (free) Portugese or Italian resident could be "described" in whatever record as a mulatto - and, since few people could read, nobody would be the wiser for many years afterwards, by which time it was too late to change the record.
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Re: Embleton, St Thomas Jamaica 1809

Postby Grayreed » Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:17 am

In the search for more information about Richard Embleton, I came across the British Guyana Colonists Index, and with the help of Tikwis Begbie, the following info emerged...

Name: Mark Richard EMBLETON
Birth: England
Death: bef 3 1824
Religion: Protestant
-- 1: Miss Elizabeth BAIN
-- Birth: Scotland
-- Marriage: 24 8 1816
-- Banns of Matrimony
Note: Essequebo & Demerary Royal Gazette 18 Jul 1807 For Freight or Charter, (To Any of the Islands.)The fast sailing Danish sloop Adventure, is now completely ready for sea. For further particulars apply to the Subscribers. Marsh & Embleton. Demerary, 18th July, 1807.

Royal Gazette Sat 13 Mar 1824 refers Elizabeth Embleton and Jane Marsh and the last Will and Testament of Mark Richard Embleton

Also, reference to M R Embleton, and his minor son Richard, intending to leave the colony in 1820 (Royal Gazette 05/08/1820).

This is the only other reference to a Richard Embleton in the caribbean found so far, apart from the Jamaican ones. Given that the name is uncommon, and that Mark Richard is even more uncommon, is it safe to assume that this is the same Richard baptised in Kingston in 1809. That's the theory anyhow. How to prove it? I understand that records from this period of British Guyana's history are hard to find, especially when they relate to slavery and the Europeans involved in it.

Any thoughts??

All the best

Graeme Reed
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Re: Embleton, St Thomas Jamaica 1809

Postby Adam Stacey » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:03 pm

Hi Graeme,

We've corresponded before, via another site.

Thanks for this new information. I actually came across this Mark Richard Embleton and Elizabeth Bain last week while googling, and thought that if they weren't connected it must be an extreme coincidence - but I couldn't see what else I could do to connect them. Your mention of a minor son Richard is VERY interesting.

My question is, if Mark Richard and Elizabeth are from England and Scotland respectively, how would this square with him being a mulatto if your assumption about the Kingston christening is correct?

Actually, having just typed that, I notice that Mark Richard and Elizabeth married in 1816 - later than our Richard and the Kingston Richard was born. So I suppose we are saying that British Guyana Richard is the son of M R Embleton but not Elizabeth Bain.

You refer to various sources and say what they refer to (eg. refers Elizabeth Embleton). How do we get to see these documents that you are seeing?

Thanks and best wishes

Adam Stacey
Adam Stacey
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Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:53 pm

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