1767 - 1833
Resident of Antigua, partner with Patrick Playfair and James Crichton in a merchant firm there, in the early 1790s, and then in business alone. He recorded his religious conversion in a Memoir published in 1835 [including a substantive continuation of the narrative by his wife], which showed him as the son of Dr Gilbert and Miss Frye of Montserrat. His father, he said, had bought two contiguous estates on St Vincent 'which afterwards proved the destruction of his temporal fortunes.' John Gilbert's father left him 'though I was his eldest child, without any provision but two or three slaves who were unprofitable to me and whom I afterwards sold for about £50 sterling.' The estate named Gilbert's had been the property of his grandfather but now belonged to his 'cousin-german' Nathaniel Gilbert, who 'died Vicar of Bledlow Bucks.' John Gilbert married in 1798 Anne Hart, one of the daughters of Barry Conyers Hart, given by Gilbert as a man of colour and owner of a sugar estate and the enslaved people attached to it: John Gilbert recorded the opposition to the marriage from the white elite in Antigua.
Anne Hart Gilbert and her sister Elizabeth Hart Thwaites are the subject of Moira Ferguson (ed.) The Hart Sisters: Early African Caribbean Writers, evangelicals and Radicals (University of Nebraska Press, 1993).
Memoir of John Gilbert, late naval storekeeper of Antigua (Liverpool, 1835); Anne Hart Gilbert and her sister Elizabeth Hart Thwaites are the subject of Moira Ferguson (ed.) The Hart Sisters: Early African Caribbean Writers, evangelicals and Radicals (University of Nebraska Press, 1993), which reprints the Memoir among other writings, including Anne Hart Gilbert's History of Methodism.
'Cousin-germans' according to the will of John Gilbert of...