James Samson

1755 - ????


  1. James Samson, son of John Samson, gardener, and his wife Jean Good, baptised in Ochiltree 16/03/1755 (the same day as his twin McCrea Mynie). This baptism for James Samson is confirmed through the family and business connections of his brother Charles Samson (q.v.).

  2. Robert (Bontine) Graham wrote to Simon Taylor of Jamaica 25/03/1782 with a letter of introduction for James Samson, '... Mr James Samson will present you this, recommended by me to Mr Laing… at the Mount Ephraim estate, the young man is apprehensive that a new attorney now having the management of that property he may be dismissed from his charge and is anxious to be known to you … Samson‘s merits as a planter must speak for itself, it has been long enough in Jamaica to learn the business and his character must be known in the neighbourhood if these query can bear enquiry.' This suggests James Samson had been in Jamaica for some time before 1782, when he would have been 27 years old. Between 1782 and 1785 he registered Accounts Produce for West Prospect Estate, presumably as overseer. Between 1787 and 1789 he was overseer of Dalvey estate.

  3. Frances, daughter of James Samson, was publicly baptised in Vere 28/12/1806. James, a free man of colour, the son of James Samson Esquire of Smithfield Coffee plantation in Carpenters' Mountains, Vere, was baptised at the Rectory, 02/10/1814.

  4. Owner of Smithfield estate in Manchester, Jamaica, from at least 1809. Deceased by 1820, his executor given as Thomas Samson (another brother). After Thomas's death the estate passed to the hands of Charles Samson.

  5. Thomas Samson (possibly as executor of James Samson) paid 10 shillings each for the manumission of Quaco, Elizabeth Messum, Ruthy Huggins, Nancy Lambert, Sarah Huggins and Frances Samson, 03/03/1820. Ruthey Grey was manumitted by the will of Thomas Samson (date of probate of the will, 11/05/1824). Fanny Samson, age 20, "mulatto" and Elizabeth Clarke, age 69, "negro", were recorded as having been manumitted by Thomas Samson on Grimett in Vere, 1823.

  6. The 1817 slave register shows the Quaco, Fanny Samson, Ruthy Huggins, Sarah Huggins and Nancy Lambert were the children of Elizabeth Messum. All were recorded as "Negro" except for Fanny Samson, strongly suggesting this is the Frances Samson, daughter of James Samson, baptised in Vere in 1806 (she would have been around 3 years old at the time of her baptism). Also in the same group in 1817 are Elizabeth Clark, age 63, "Negro", creole, and Ruthy Gray, age 60, "Negro", creole. These enlsaved people were in the possession of Thomas Samson as lessee to the receiver of the estate of Elisha Clarke Ranger deceased.

  7. James may have died before June 1818. Henry Goulburn (q.v.) dismissed his attorney Thomas Samson (brother of James) by letter in June 1818 stating, "You have recently been possessed of a considerable property which makes the management of my Estate less if at all an object to you ... therefore your removal from Amity Hall cannot inconvenience you in a pecuniary point of view." This may refer to Thomas's inheritance of Smithfield.


  1. GROS OPR Births 609 20 243 Ochiltree. See separate entry for Charles Samson and email from John Hales 24/09/2018.

  2. University of London Simon Taylor Papers, ICS 120, index of letters p. 95; quote by email from John Hales 24/09/2018.

  3. Familysearch.org, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online].

  4. See estate information for Smithfield.

  5. 'List of Jamaican Manumissions of 1821-1825 in the Public Record Office (1)', from CO137/162, http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples/Manumit1.htm; 'List of Jamaican Manumissions of 1821-1825 in the Public Record Office (5)', from CO137/162, http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples/Manumit5.htm; T71/53 p. 17.

  6. T71/51 p. 245.

  7. 'Slaves’ Living Conditions and the childrearing problem at Amity Hall' for download at https://www.exploringsurreyspast.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Slaves-Living-Conditions-the-childrearing-problem-ESP.pdf p. 4 sourced to Correspondence between Henry Goulburn and Amity Hall attorney Thomas Samson (Surrey History Centre Ref: 304/J/1/19/7-82).

We are grateful to John Hales for sharing his considerable research in helping to compile this entry.

Further Information

Planter and attorney

Associated Estates (5)

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
1787 [EA] - 1789 [LA] → Overseer
1809 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Owner
1820 [EA] - → Previous owner
1815 [EA] - 1817 [LA] → Owner
1782 [EA] - 1785 [LA] → Not known

Filed Accounts Produce, possibly overseer.

Relationships (4)

Father → Natural Daughter
Uncle → Niece

Addresses (1)

Ochiltree, Ayrshire, Southern Scotland, Scotland