John Alves

8th Mar 1780 - 14th Dec 1825


Attorney in Jamaica and slave-owner in Kingston from at least 1817. Master in Ordinary in the Court of Chancery, Jamaica, in 1817 and 1824.

  1. Probably the John Alves, son of James Alves and his wife Mary Forteath, who was born 08/03/1780 and baptised in Burntisland, Fife. James Alves was a squarewright when he married Mary Forteath in Banff in 1777. The family moved several times in the early years of their marriage, their children being baptised in Banff (Alexander in 1778), Burntisland (John in 1780), Muthill, Perth (Mary in 1783 and Jean in 1785), Inveresk (Alexander in 1787) and Dalkeith (Elizabeth in 1789 and Margaret in 1792). The baptism record of the youngest child, Margaret, gives James Alves's profession as officer of excise. By 1803 the family had settled in Linlithgow.

  2. Joint leaseholder (21 year lease) from 1822 with James Seton Lane, of Salt Pond Hut in St Catherine.

  3. The inventory of Mary Alves, alias Forteath, widow of James Alves, Officer of Excise in Linlithgow, provides evidence for the identification of John Alves, linking her son-in-law Robert Fotheringham with a Jamaica transaction as follows: "2nd Principal sum contained in Bill of Exchange drawn by R Fotheringham upon John Adams in favour of the deceased dated Jamaica second September 1833 falling due 28th July 1834 £100. Discount thereon from said 15 Sept 1833 to said 28 July next 266 days £2 5s 5d - £97 14s 7d". Mary Alves, daughter of James Alves and Mary Forteath, had married Robert Fotheringham, also an officer of excise, in Linlithgow in 1803. In 1829, James Fotheringham registered 4 enslaved people in Kingston as trustee to the estate of John Alves deceased; John himself had previously registered 24 enslaved people in Kingston as owner but 20 of these had, by 1829, been returned to Francis Eliott as they had previously been transferred to John Alves as security for a debt. Peter McKie and James Fotheringham registered enslaved 112 enslaved people on Salt Pond Hut in St Catherine in 1832 as executors of John Alves deceased.

  4. John Alves Esquire of Edinburgh died at Kingston, Jamaica, 14/12/1825.


Jamaica Almanacs (1817 and 1824).

  1. GROS OPR Births 411 30 7 Burntisland; batch nos. C11147-2, C11411-5, C11386-4, C19502-2 and C11683-6; GROS OPR Births 683 40 396 Dalkeith.

  2. PROB 11/1755/450: "On the 1st November 1822 I became jointly with my friend John Alves joint tenant of Salt Pond hut pen in the parish of St Catherine for a term of 21 years and we have since that time purchased a considerable number of slaves for the purpose of carrying on the busines I therefore direct that my trustees and executors shall continue to manage and conduct my interest in the aforesaid farm slaves stock and implements to the best advantage and as it may be hoped that the annual profits of the penn may be considerable it is my direction that all the annual profits of the farm and all sums of money received out of the Sald pond hut as my moity of the gain during the year shall be divided equally betwen my wife and children then living and that the share of such annual profit as may belong to my children shall be vested in Island certificates or the Government funds of Great Britain until they reach age 21 or daughters marry... At the expiration of the lease or at the period of any breaks of the lease if my executors should deem it advisable to surrender the lease of Salt Pond hut pen in conjunction with my partner John Alves that then my moity of the slaves belonging to the said pen together with the stock implements and utensils of every description shall be sold to the best advantage and the proceeds divided equally between my wife and my children then living. If my son upon coming of age should deem it advisable to renew the lease of Salt Pond hut pen if it can be obtained and that it may be for his interest that any moity of the slaves stock and implements then upon Salt Pond hut pen should remain there it is my direction that he shall have the preference in the purchase of my moity on paying over to his mother and siblings their share of the amount."

  3. SC70/1/50 Edinburgh Sheriff Court Inventories; GROS OPR Marriages 668 50 383 Linlithgow; T71/107 p. 86 (slave register, Kingston, 1829); T71/9 p. 282 (slave register, St Catherine, 1832).

  4. Edinburgh Advertiser 14/12/1826.

We are grateful to Jim Brennan for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


Associated Estates (10)

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] - 1823 [LA] → Attorney
1817 [EA] - → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Agent
1817 [EA] - → Attorney
1817 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Attorney
1826 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Previous owner
1823 [EA] - → Joint owner
1823 [EA] - → Lessee
1823 [EA] - → Owner
1826 [EA] - → Previous owner

Relationships (3)

Uncle → Nephew
Uncle → Nephew
Trustee → Testator

Addresses (2)

Linlithgow, West Lothian, Central Scotland, Scotland
Burntisland, Fife, North-east Scotland, Scotland