Alexander John Alexander

???? - 1801


Tobago slave-owner.

  1. Alex. J. Alexander was the original purchaser in Tobago 05/06/1770 of Barbados Bay division (St George parish) Lot no. 41 and of part of what became Highlands under Courland Bay division (St David parish) Lot no. 17 in Tobago. By 1773, Alex John Alexander was 'Present Proprietor' of Barbados Bay division (St George Parish) no. 2, which became the Bacolet estate, and had retained ownership of Barbados Bay Lot no. 41. The Courland Bay Lot no. 17 by 1773 was shown under Torquil MacVicar, implying Alexander had sold it to MacVicar, the owner of adjacent lots.

  2. Will of Alexander John Alexander of Marlborough Buildings Bath proved 16/06/1801. The will describes Alexander John Alexander as formerly of the island of Grenada. After specific legacies of £100 to each of his nephews William Alexander of Lincolns Inn and Robert Alexander of Kentucky and to each of 5 nieces, a further legacy to Robert Alexander in India, and annuities of £60 per annum to his cousin Cecilia Stewart of Edinburgh, he left the residue of his estate to Robert Alexander of Kentucky and his five nieces, Betina Alexander, Christian Alexander, Jane Alexander, Marriann Williams and Isabel Hankey. Executors were Wm Alexander of Lincolns Inn, John Peter Hankey of the City of London and Jonathan Williams of the City of Philadelphia. The will makes no mention of property in Grenada or Tobago.

  3. Alexander John Alexander was among the correspondents of Benjamin Franklin, writing to him and to William Temple Franklin from Grenada in 1781, evincing sympathy with the American colonists and introducing to both Mr Robt Young a brother of Govr Youngs [sic] of Tobago; and also writing to Benjamin Franklin from Queen's Square London in 1786. One of his nieces, given as Marriann in his will but sometimes spelled Marianne, baptised as Mariane and given as Mariamne on her gravestone (1758-1816), married Benjamin Franklin's nephew, Colonel Jonathan Williams of Philadelphia.

  4. The detail in his will confirms Alexander John Alexander as the son of William Alexander the Provost of Edinburgh (d. 1763), although the family history makes no mention of Tobago or Grenada. The brothers of Alexander John Alexander (who died without issue), Robert and William, were described as merchants in Edinburgh. Isabella, fifth daughter of William (1729-1819) by his first marriage and born 17/10/1768, married John Peter Hankey, 'merchant, London', suggesting a Grenada connection: John Alexander Hankey (q.v.) was one of her sons. Apolline Agatha, William Alexander's daughter by his second marriage, married Thomson Hankey MP 'one of the directors of the Bank of England' (q.v.). Sir William Alexander (q.v.) (1755-1842) was the son of William Alexander (1729-1819).


  1. The original grantees of 'Part of Highlands' were Torquil MacVicar (under St David nos. 15 and 16) and Alex. J. Alexander (under St David no. 17); 'Present Possessor Hon J. Kirk and others.' In 1832 the owner was Charles Gray; the estate was still in cultivation in 1862. 'Tables showing the Lots in each Parish, numbered as originally granted - the original Grantee - the name of the Lot, or lots, if one has been acquired, and the present Possessor where there is one' and 'A Table, showing the Estates in cultivation in 1832, and their Owners, in 1832, copied from the list appended to Byres' map of that date, with those in cultivation in 1862', Henry Iles Woodcock, A History of Tobago (Ayr: Smith and Grant, 1867; new impression London: Frank Cass and Company Limited, 1971); John Fowler, A summary account of the present flourishing state of the respectable colony of Tobago in the British West Indies illustrated with a map of the island and a plan of its settlement, agreeably to the sales by his Majesty’s Commissioners (London: A Grant, 1774), pp. 32-33; 36-37, 38-39.

  2. PROB 11/1358/226.

  3. Benjamin Franklin Papers, [accessed 31/10/2013]; Rev. Charles Rogers, Memorials of Earl of Stirling and the House of Alexander Vol. II (Edinburgh: William Paterson, 1877) pp. 34-35; baptism of Mariane Alexander, GROS OPR 681/1 290 580 Edinburgh; [accessed 15/12/2021]; Biographical Directory of the United States Congress entry for Jonathan Williams, [accessed 15/12/2021].

  4. Rev. Charles Rogers, Memorials of Earl of Stirling and the House of Alexander Vol. II (Edinburgh: William Paterson, 1877) pp. 34-35.

We are grateful to Richard Simmons for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


Associated Estates (4)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1773 [SY] - 1773 [EY] → Owner
1766 [SY] - → Owner
1780 [EA] - → Joint owner
1772 [EA] - 1780 [LA] → Joint owner

Relationships (1)


Addresses (1)

Marlborough Buildings, Bath, Somerset, South-west England, England