Joseph Beete of Clifton

???? - 1834

Claimant or beneficiary


Joseph Beete claimed for the compensation for the enslaved people on the Best & Phoenix and Waller's Delight estates in British Guiana, as executor in the first case: in the second case Jos. Beete had registered the enslaved people as one of the heirs of Joseph Beete deceased. The compensation was paid in both cases to John Austin as mortgagee, possibly in connection with the prior marriage of Sarah Austin and Joseph Beete of Clifton. Joseph Beete of Clifton was the nephew of Joseph Beete of Demerary (q.v., who had died in 1815), and himself died c. 1834: his will, made in 1830, was not proved until 1847. His 'present' wife in 1830 was Sarah daughter of John Austin, who later married Charles Bean (q.v.). We have concluded that the claimant Joseph Beete was Joseph Beete of Clifton (although in theory the claimant might have been his son of the same name).

  1. The will of Joseph Beete 'late of the colony of Demerara now of Clifton near Bristol ... but about to proceed to Demerara' was proved 16/03/1847: his executors were Wm King of New Court and Thomas Austin of Bath, John Austin of Bath and Charles Bean of Demerara and his wife Sarah. The will (made in 1830) identifies his four eldest children (from his first marriage) as Jane, Joseph, John and Robert, and refers to legacies to these children from his uncle Joseph Beete; it also identifies his children with Sarah Austin as Sarah Eliza, James, Mary and Letitia Mehitabel. Finally it identifies a natural child 'now resident in England', Francis Davies, son of Frances Davies of Demerara. Genealogical sources connect this will, dated 24/05/1830 with the Joseph Beete reportedly dying in Demerara 10/12/1834. This death-date would be consistent (or not inconsistent) with a codicil dated 09/12/1834 headed 'Pln Best' under which Joseph Beete of Clifton appointed his son John as an additional executor.

  2. An Ancestry public members tree gives two children of Joseph Beete and Jean Ferrier born in Demerara: John (1807-1838) and Robert Crosby (1810-1878). Robert Crosby matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, age 18, in 1827.

  3. Children of Joseph and Sarah Beete had been baptised in London and Clifton in the 1820s. The family appear to have moved back to British Guiana but at least two children of Joseph (Letitia Mehitabel 1825-1859 and Robert Crosby 1810-1878) died in England. Joseph Beete the claimant is presumed to be this Joseph Beete of Clifton (the testator of the will proved 16/03/1847) and father of the children baptised in Clifton. However, one of his sons was named Joseph and could theoretically have been the claimant instead of his father.

  4. 'Medical Referee for London Crown Life Assurance Company's offices for Bristol'; signatory with other Demerara planters to anti-abolition letter published in Morning Chronicle 20/03/1832.

  5. The grandson of Joseph Beete (b. 1757, according to the entry), (Joseph) Beete Jukes, son of Sophia Beete and John Jukes, is in the ODNB as 'geologist'. The entry states that his maternal grandfather 'had been in trade in Demerara'. In light of the will of Joseph Beete of Clifton, Joseph Beete of Demerara was almost certainly Joseph Beete of Clifton's uncle, while Sophia Beete was the daughter of Joseph Beete of Demerara and cousin of Joseph Beete of Clifton.


  1. PROB 11/2051/342. Genealogical sources connect this will, dated 24/05/1830 and describing Joseph Beete as 'late of the colony of Demerara now of Clifton near Bristol..but about to proceed forthwith to Demerara', with the Joseph Beete reportedly dying in Demerara 10/12/1834, [accessed 05/04/2013]. The identity of his first wife has been taken from the British Guiana Colonists website [accessed 05/11/2014].

  2. DavidAlston59, 'Ferrier (Brechin and Surinam)', public tree no. 78233357;, Cambridge University Alumni, 1261-1900 [database online].

  3. National Probate Calendar 1859 and 1878.

  4. Matthew's Directory for Bristol (1836); Demerara Morning Chronicle 20/03/1832.

  5. Gordon L. Herries Davies, ‘Jukes, (Joseph) Beete (1811–1869), geologist’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 31 Dec 2013].

We are grateful to Ruth Hecht for her assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

(1) Jane Ferrier (2) Sarah Austin
West India merchant

Associated Claims (2)

£17,591 12s 6d
Deceased claimant unsuccessful (Executor or executrix)
£917 2s 5d
Deceased claimant unsuccessful

Associated Estates (3)

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] → Executor
- 1821 [LA] → Joint owner

In 1827, the suit of Joseph Beete v Henry Fisher Bidgood was heard in London arising from the agreement in 1821 between Joseph Beete and John Newton under which Beete sold to John Newton Beete's moiety in Met-en-Meerzorg for £25,000 (£16,000 net of notes in the hands of Newton). Henry Fisher Bidgood had previously been known as Henry Fisher Sloane, co-signee with John Newton of the contract. It is not clear from the summary of the case whether this brought Newton to 100% ownership or not. Newton was said to have died before the action was brought.

1817 [EA] - → Joint owner

Relationships (4)

Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Deceased Husband → Widow
Notes →
Joseph Beete married Sarah, daughter of John Austin; after his death, she remarried, to Charles Bean...
Nephew → Uncle
Business associates

Addresses (1)

Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire, South-west England, England