James Syms

???? - 1821


Resident slave-owner, almost certainly a native of Stewarton in Ayrshire, dying in Jamaica c. 1821. Husband of Jane Syms, father of Margaret Higgin and father-in-law of Isaac Higgin (each of whom q.v.).

  1. Owner of 32 enslaved people and 4 stock in St Ann, Jamaica, in 1792.

  2. Will of James Syms of Saint Ann in the County of Middlesex, Jamaica proved in London 28/09/1821. In his will he mentioned his wife Jane and his estate Arabia Felix in St Ann's and a piece of land bought from the heirs of Seville estate, also in St Ann. The land from Seville estate he left to his wife and the residue of his estate to his two daughters Margaret (married Isaac Higgin, q.v.) and Eliza Mary. He left annuities of £15 p.a. to his two sisters Jane Kerr and Mariann Dunlop both of Stewarton in the county of Air [sic].


  1. 'A List of slaves and stock in the parish of St Ann taken the 28th March 1792 pursuant to order of the Honourable House of Assembly... transcribed from papers presented to the British Museum by Charles E. Long ref. Add. 12435' transcribed at http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Members/mstann1792.htm.

  2. PROB 11/1648/264.

We are grateful for the help of Sharon Clayton with this entry.

Further Information

Margaret, Eliza Mary

This will was transcribed by Bill and Sharon Clayton, Patricia Jackson and Robert Sims.

1.Jamaica SS George the fourth by the Grace of God of the United
2. Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland King and of Jamaica Lord
3. Defender of the faith to our trusty and well beloved George Ogilvie and
4. George Sime Esquire know ye that we have constituted, authorized, and
5. appointed and by these presents do constitute authorize and appoint ye or
6. either of ye to administer an oath unto William Thomas or any
7. other that are witnesses and now make oath of the Signing Sealing
8. publishing and declaring of the last will and Testament of James
9. Syms late of the Parish of Saint Ann Esquire deceased and
10. thereof you or either of you are to make a due return under your
11. or either of your hands and seals unto our Captain General and
12. Governor in Chief of our said Island or to the Governor in Chief
13. of the same for the time being with this power annexed so
14. that such proceedings may be ordered therein as may be fit
15. according to Law - Witness his Grace William Duke of
16. Manchester Captain General and Governor in Chief of our said
17. Island at Saint Jago de la Vega the 1st day of March annoque Domini
18. 1821 and in 2d year of our Reign - Manchester - passed 19. the Secretarys office - W Ballot Secretary - Jamaica SS the execution
20. of the within dedimus potestatem appears by the Will and probate
22. here unto annexed - given under my hand and Seal this 19th
23. day of March 1821. Geo Ogilvey (SS)
24. [Blank line]
25. In the name of God Amen
26. I James Syms late of the Parish of Saint Ann in the
27. County of Middlesex and Island of Jamaica but now on board
28. ship on my passage out to the said island Esquire do make this
29. my last Will and Testament in manner following that is to say
30. first I give devise and bequeath unto my truly and justly beloved
31. wife Jane a negro woman named Cleona with her issue
32. and increase to my said wife and her heirs for ever Item I also
33. give devise and bequeath unto my said Wife Jane the place lately
34. purchased from the heirs of Seville Estate with her choice of their
35. house servants to hold the said Land and house servants during the
36. natural life of my said wife and afterwards to revert to and become
37. part of my Estate Item I give and bequeath unto my two Sisters Jane
38. [End of page 186. Top of page 187.]
39. Kerr and Mariann Dunlop both of the parish of Stewarton in the
40. County of Ayr North Britain fifteen pounds Sterling each with lawful
41. Interest till paid the first payment to commence within twelve
42. months after my demise and to continue during their natural lives
43. respectively Item all the rest residue and remainder of my Estate
44. Real Personal or mixed either in Jamaica or elsewhere I give
----------------------- Page 2-----------------------

  1. devise and bequeath unto my two daughters Margaret and
  2. Eliza Mary Syms to be equally divided between them as Tenants
  3. in Common and not as joint tenants to hold my said Estate
  4. real and personal to my said two daughters Margaret and
  5. Eliza Mary and their heirs for ever Item Whereas I am possessed
  6. of a large extent of Land in the said Island of Jamaica the
  7. greater part of which is in wood and in an un productive Estate
  8. therefore I do hereby empower and authorize my Executrix and
  9. Executors hereinafter named and the survivors or survivor of
  10. them to sell and dispose of to the best advantage all or any part of
  11. my Land in the said Island of Jamaica excepting my penn
  12. or plantation called Arabia Felix and the place I purchased
  13. from the heirs of Seville Estate hereinbefore mentioned both in
  14. the aforesaid parish of Saint Ann and the monies arising from
  15. such Sale or Sales to be applied to the use of my said two daughters
  16. as hereinbefore directed Item but in case of the death of both my
  17. said daughters without lawful issue before they shall have attained
  18. the age of twenty one or without making any legal conveyance or
  19. other disposition of my said Estate hereinbefore bequeathed then and in
  20. that case I hereby give devise and bequeath the said Estate Real
  21. and personal or mixed to my said wife Jane for and during her
  22. natural life and after her demise to my two Sisters Jane and
  23. Marianne before mentioned and their heirs for ever and lastly
  24. I do hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said wife
  25. Jane to be Executrix and my much esteemed Friends Robert
  26. McCline of the City of Cork in Ireland Adam Anderson Senior
  27. and Thomas Winder both of the aforesaid parish of Saint Ann
  28. Esquires and my kinsman Ian Pollott of the city of
  29. Kingston in the said Island of Jamaica to be Executors of this my last Will
  30. and Testament and together with my said wife Jane Guardians
  31. of the persons and Estates of my said daughters hereby revoking all
  32. other Wills by me at any time heretofore made. In Witness
  33. whereof I have to this my last will and testament and a duplicate
  34. thereof set my hand & affixed my Seal this the seventeenth day
  35. of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
  36. hundred and ten - James Syms (SS) Signed sealed published and
  37. declared by the Testator as and for his last Will and Testament in the
  38. presence of us who in his presence and in the presence of each other
  39. at his request subscribed our names as witnesses hereto - Wm Thomas
  40. J R Bowen, John Oriel
  41. [Blank Line]
  42. JAMAICA SS in obedience to the dedimus potestatem
  43. hereunto annexed I have administered an oath unto William
  44. Thomas who being duly sworn on the Holy Evangelists
  45. deposeth and saith that he was present and did see James Syms
  46. the Testator in the annexed testament of writing named being
    1. at that time of sound and disposing mind memory and understanding
    2. sign Seal publish and declare the same as and for his last Will
    3. and Testament and at the same time J R Bowen and John
      94….Oriel were also present and together with him subscribed their names

[Page 3]

  1. as witnesses to the same in the presence of the said Testator and
  2. further that he knows nothing of any Will since made by the
  3. said Testator that can tend to the disadvantage of the Will hereunto
  4. annexed - given under my hand and Seal this 19th day of March
  5. annoque Domini 1821 -  Geo Ogilvy (SS) vera copia exten. - J W Bullock  
    1. [blank line ]

    2. On the 28th day of Sept 1821 admon [administration] with the will annexed of all

    3. & singular the Goods Chattels and Credits of James Syms late of the
    4. parish of Saint Ann in the County of Middlesex & the Island of Jamaica
    5. Esq. was granted to James Higgin the lawful attorney of
    6. Jane Syms Widow the Relict & one of the surviving Exors [executors] named
    7. in the said Will being first sworn duly to admr [administer] for the good and
    8. benefit of the said James Syms now residing in the Island of
    9. Jamaica aforesaid Robert McCline the other surviving Exor
    10. named in the said Will having first renounced the probate &
    11. Exon [Execution] thereof as by Acts of Court appear
    12. Examd SW Hawkins Examiner

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
1792 [EA] - 1820 [LA] → Owner

Relationships (2)

Father → Daughter
Deceased Husband → Widow