James Kerr senior

???? - 1785


1. James Kerr senior was married to Ann Kerr. The couple had three daughters - Ann, Mary and Elizabeth. Mary was married to Colonel Alexander Fotheringham of Powrie (about 5 miles from Dundee, Forfar in Scotland). In his will he was described as 'James Kerr of Harley Street Cavendish Square, Middlesex' indicating he had become an absentee by the time of his death.

2. Kerr owned Three Mile River sugar plantation in Westmoreland, Moor Park in St. James and Dundee in Hanover. In his will he stated that such was the hurricane damage to Three Mile River he wanted the land to be sold off and the money raised to go to his daughter Mary Fotheringham. Dundee was devised in trust to Philip Dehany and Alexander Fotheringham, one moiety for the benefit of each of his daughters Ann and Elizabeth.

3. James Kerr senior was likely the James Kerr involved in the case of Jonathan Strong of 1765. His name is mentioned in a description of the event in the memoirs of Granville Sharp:

'When the appointed day was come (Sept. 18), G. S. attended at the Mansion-House, and found Jonathan in the presence of the Lord Mayor, and also two persons who claimed him; the one, a notary public, who produced a bill of sale from the original master:

(Here follows a receipt from David Lisle for the thirty pounds paid by James Kerr.)

"BILL, Sfc. Sfc. To all to whom these presents shall come, David Lisle, of the parish of St. James, &c. &c. greeting. Know ye that the said David Lisle, for and in consideration of the sura of thirty pounds good and lawful money, &c. to him in hand truly paid by James Kerr, Esq. late of Jamaica, &c. &c, dotb grant, bargain, sell, and confirm unto the said James Kerr, his heirs and assigns, one Negro Man Slave, named Jonathan Strong, now in the possession of the said David Lisle, and the reversion and reversions, remainder and remainders rents, profits, and services of the said Slave, and all the estate, right, title, interest, property, claim, and demand whatsoever, of him the said David Lisle, of, in, and to the same, To have and to hold the said Negro man, Jonathan Strong, unto the said James Kerr, his heirs, &c. to the only proper and absolute use and behoof of the said J. Kerr, his heirs and assigns, &c. for ever, &c. .. sigued, David Lisle."

James Kerr, Esq., a Jamaica planter, who had refused to pay the purchase money (thirty pounds) until the Negro should be delivered on board a ship belonging to Messrs. Muir and Atkinson, bound to Jamaica; the captain of which vessel, Mr. David Lair, was the other person then attending to take him away.'

Minutes of the Trial of Jonathan Strong.


1 and 2 Will of James Kerr, 1785, [PRO London, PROB 11/1127] 3. Prince Hoare, Memoirs of Granville Sharp, Esq, Volume 1 (London: Henry Colburn, 1828).

Further Information

Ann Kerr
Mary, Ann, Elizabeth

I James Kerr of Harley Street, Cavendish Square in the county of Middlesex-- Whereas by certain deeds of settlement previous to the marriage of Alexander Fotheringham to my eldest daughter Mary and by certain other deeds made subsequent--all that sugar work called Three Mile River containing by estimation 1,786 acres in the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica--[was] assured for servicing certain annuities unto Alexander Fotheringham and Mary his wife--and a certain annuity to my wife Ann Kerr for her natural life-- And whereas from the great damage done to Three Mile River by the dreadful hurricane of 1780 and by the black blast affecting the sugar canes it is judged inexpedient to continue the said plantation as a sugar work and I am therefore desirous of drawing off the slaves and stock--and disposing of the lands together or in parcels-- And in order that in lieu thereof my plantation called Moor Park in the parish of St. James may be assured for the same intents and purposes by the same deeds of settlement--it is my intention to apply for an Act of the Assembly-- I hereby direct and empower my trustees--William Brown of the parish of Hanover, James Sharpe of the parish of Westmoreland, and Thomas Mure and Samuel Mure and William Dunlop of the parish of Kingston to procure an Act of the Assembly for vesting in them the plantation called Moor Park-- I direct my trustees to sell for the most money that may be had the plantation called Three Mile River, the lands Negroes and other slaves (excepting fifty of the said slaves at the choice of my trustees which I direct shall be equally divided between my plantations called Dundee and Moor Park) and all my houses, lands, tenements and hereditaments situate at Savanna-La-Mar, and also a run of land belonging to me patented in the name of William Hepburn for 300 acres situate in the parish of Westmoreland--together or in parcels-- I direct that the purchase money be remitted to my executors in Great Britain and be applied to the discharge of my debts and the overplus be considered as part of the residue of my estate-- I give and devise unto my wife Ann Kerr £500 (Sterling)--my household furniture, plate and carriage--and during her natural life one annuity of £400--chargeable upon the sugar work called Dundee in the parish of Hanover together with the annuity already secured to my wife upon Three Mile River and intended to be transferred from thence to Moor Park in full lieu of the dower and thirds and all claims upon my estate-- I devise unto Alexander Fotheringham and Philip Dehany all my plantation called Dundee-- [half] to the use of my daughter Ann Kerr during the term of her natural life upon trust--and after her decease to the child or children of [her] body lawfully begotten--share and share alike--as tenants in common-- I devise the moiety or equal half part of Dundee to the use of my daughter Elizabeth Kerr during the term of her natural life to take the rents and profits--and after her decease to the child or children of [her] body lawfully begotten--share and share alike--as tenants in common-- And for default of such issue then to the use of my daughter Mary Fotheringham and [her] heirs and for default of such issue to the use of Mary Dehany, the daughter of Philip Dehany during the term of her natural life-- And in case all my three daughters shall happen to die without issue then I subject and charge Dundee with the payment of the sum of £5,000 (Sterling) to be paid unto my brothers and sisters equally between them and the children of my deceased brothers and sisters-- I hereby set free my Negro slaves named John Forrester and Myrtilla--and I bequeath to each of them and also to my Negro servant named Isaac Hendrie an annuity of £8 (Sterling) chargeable upon Dundee and I direct that each of them shall have the liberty and right of residing as free people upon Dundee during their natural lives-- I bequeath all the residue and remainder of my estate unto the use of my daughters Ann Kerr and Elizabeth Kerr share and share alike as tenants in common-- I direct that the annuity payable by me to Thomas Trelawny Esquire for his life shall be considered as and of my debts--and payable out of my plantations Dundee and Moor Park I appoint my wife Ann Kerr, Alexander Fotheringham, Philip Dehany, Robert Mure and Richard Atkinson executrix and executors of my will and guardians of the persons and estates of my daughters Ann and Elizabeth during their respective minorities and I appoint William Brown and Samuel Mure executors of my will for Jamaica during the pleasure only of [the other executors named]

Signed, James Kerr, 11th May 1783 Witnesses, Neill Malcolm, James Stothert, Daniel Berry Proved in London 16th March 1785 by Ann Kerr, Alexander Fotheringham, Philip Dehany, Robert Mure and Richard Atkinson

Plantation owner

Associated Estates (7)

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
1762 [EA] - 1773 [LA] → Attorney
1762 [EA] - 1771 [LA] → Attorney
- 1785 [EY] → Owner
1799 [EA] - → Previous owner
1774 [EA] - 1785 [EY] → Owner
1759 [EA] - 1765 [LA] → Attorney

Tentative association only by LBS

1774 [EA] - 1785 [EY] → Owner

Relationships (2)

Father → Daughter
Testator → Trustee

Addresses (1)

Harley Street, London, Middlesex, London, England