John McLean

1776 - 1816

Claimant or beneficiary


Joint owner of Dumfries estate in Grenada; will proved in 1817, when one of his executors was his brother and legatee George McLean (q.v.). One of the daughters of John McLean, Joanna Isabella McLean, married John Anthony Macrae, in Edinburgh in 1841. She brought a formerly enslaved person, Malvina Wells, from Grand Bay estate to Scotland to be her lady's maid. She lived in Edinburgh until her death in 1890.

  1. Will of John McLean [of the island of Carriacou presently residing in the parish] of St Marylebone planter proved 22/12/1817. Under the will he left 2/3rds of his property to his wife Janet and one third to his 'friendly brother' George McLean, after some monetary legacies including £100 to a 'mulatto boy' Donald McLean.

  2. John McLean (1776-1816) and George McLean (1780-1858) were brothers from Ross-shire (Scotland), almost certainly from the parish of Alness where a memorial to John was erected by his widow, Janet (Jessie) Urquhart. George’s place of birth is given as Ross-shire in the 1851 census.

  3. By 1794 John McLean owned 1016 acres on Carriacou and George McLean had an interest in several estates totalling 1663 acres (H G Slade, PSAS 1984). In 1832 George McLean was described as the islands principal proprietor, having under his management 2,200 of the 3,200 enslaved people on the island.

  4. In 1812 John McLean married Jessie (Janet) Urquhart (1791-1876) from the neighbouring parish of Rosskeen, where her father Thomas Urquhart was minister. Mr Urquhart had connections to the West Indies, where three of his seven sons would die. These connections may have been made through his older half-brother Alexander [1740-1827], an illegitimate child who had gone to London, He lived in Wapping, where he ran a bakery but he had also been at sea in the West India trade. [Mary Midgley, The Owl of Minerva]. His son, Thomas (1765-1840), prospered and established the shipping firm of Urquhart & Hope in 1802. By 1813 they had interests in eight ships, all trading to the West Indies, and reportedly 'on at least some occasions' their ships carried 'slaves on the homeward trip'; however, this last somewhat unlikely assertion is not supported by any entry in the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database.

  5. John McLean died in Carriacou on 18 February 1816 [Memorial: He died at Carriacou/on the 18th of February 1816 in the 40th year/of his age]


T71/328 pp. 4-18; Alexander Macrae, History of the Clan Macrae, with genealogies... (Dingwall, Ross, 1910) p. 120; GROS Deaths 1890 685/1 152.

  1. PROB 11/1599/318. Gentleman's Magazine Vol. LXXXVI Jan-June 1816 Pt 1 p. 473 carried a death notice: Feb 18 On Limlair [sic] estate Curacao [sic] John M'Lean esq., a most respectable inhabitant of that island and one of the members of his majesty's council for Grenada.'

  2. 1851 Census, Thames Ditton, Surrey: Class: HO107; Piece: 1604; Folio: 94; Page: 14; GSU roll: 193503.

  3. M G Smith, Kinship and community in Carriacou (Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1962), pp. 22-24 quoting an anonymous visitor.

  4. Mary Midgley, The Owl of Minerva (Routledge, 2005); David Foxton, The Life of Thomas E. Scrutton (CUP, 2013) p 2. Foxton's reference (fn 8) on this page reads: 'Jeffrey [History of Scruttons] records insurance for a cargo of slaves in the firm's archives. See also Roderick Braithwaite, "Strikingly Alive": the History of the Mill Hill School Foundation 1807-2006 (2006)....p. 87 "a line with its roots in slaving."'


See also entry for Malvina Wells.

We are especially grateful to David Alston for his help in compiling this entry.

Further Information

Janet Urquhart

Associated Claims (1)

£10,914 2s 2d
Beneficiary deceased

Associated Estates (1)

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
1817 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Previous owner

Relationships (2)

Deceased Husband → Widow