Robert Colhoun or Colquhoun of St Kitts

1710 - 1763


  1. Grandson of Scottish sojourner William Colhoun, planter on St Kitts in the 1670s, and St. Kitts Council member by 1677. Born c. 1710, Robert was brought to St. Kitts by Col. William McDowall in 1727 as an overseer on McDowall’s Canada Hills Plantation. Deputy Treasurer of St. Kitts (1747) and Speaker of the Assembly (1752). By 1753 Colhoun had acquired two plantations directly north of Canada Hills and also the 450 acre Mount Pleasant plantation on the Dutch island of St Croix, worked by 202 enslaved Africans. In the 1750s Colhoun acquired 'very fine young Gold Coast Negroes' by the dozen for partner Matthew Mills. He married Mills' sister Frances. His daughters were matched (by associates William McDowall II and James Milliken II) with the leading landed gentry in Scotland, and Frances married Sir James Maxwell of Nether Pollok.

  2. Robert Colhoun and five other 'merchants' of St Kitts were shown in 1758 as owners of a ship named Tankerville, which has a slaving voyage recorded in 1759 in the TASTDB as originating in London and landing in St Kitts with no details of the owners but with the same master (David Adam) as the 1758 ship.


We are grateful to Stuart M. Nisbet for compiling the first section of this entry.

  1. Stuart M. Nisbet, 'Sugar and the Early Mercantile Identity of Glasgow', Scottish Archives Vol. 19 (2013); William Colhoun (the grandfather) was an agent of Christopher Jeaffreson, who wrote in 1679 that Colhoun 'hath dwelt upon this island ever since I knew it and hath used the trade of these islandes these many years, and to no small advantage', J.C. Jeaffreson, A Young Squire of the Seventeenth Century (1878), p. 244; Robert Colhoun, 'a young gentleman whom I have a very great word for,' National Library of Scotland, letters of Col. Wm. McDowall, Col. Wm. McDowall, Edinburgh, to Chas Dunbar, Antigua (08/12/1727); Colhoun's career is documented in D. W. Thoms, 'West India Merchants and Planters in the Mid 18th Century with special reference to St Kitts' (University of Canterbury thesis, 1967); Fraser, Wm., The Maxwells of Pollok Vol. 1 (1863), p.108: Thoms, op. cit., letter No.400 (30/11/1764).

  2. HCA 26/10/94; Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Voyage No. 76241.

Further Information

Frances Mills
Anne (m. Sir William Cunningham of Robertland and Fairlie), William McDowall, Frances (m1. Sir John Maxwell of Nether Pollok, m2. Sir John Shaw Stewart of Blackhall), Janet (m. John Wallace of Kelly and Neilstonside)

Relationships (3)

Grandson → Grandfather
Father → Son
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Notes →
Sir John Shaw Stewart married in 1786 Frances, daughter of Robert Colhoun or Colquhoun of St Kitts and widow of Sir James Maxwell of Pollok....