Michael Keane

???? - 1796


Slave-owner in Barbados and then St Vincent, in Barbados again when he made his will in 1796. Family papers are held at the Virginia Historical Society and have been explored by Kenneth Morgan of Brunel and by Mark Quintanilla.

  1. Will of Michael Keane [late of the island of St Vincent but now] of Barbados [made in 1796 and attested in early 1797] proved 30/07/1799. In the will he asked to be buried at his 'little plantation' Liberty Lodge if he died in St Vincent. He left to his son Hugh Perry Keane four enslaved people, Shelaly [sic] a man, Guy a boy and Portia and Cumbah women, 'but if he should choose Tim preferably to Shelaly,....then Shelaly be kept at his trade of a cooper': if Tim was not chosen, he was to be sold to any master for a minimum of £80. He left his mother Mrs Frances Keane of Ballylongford Co. Kerry Ireland £100 to be remitted to Mr Paul Rochford merchant of Limerick or John Connell merchant Cork, and £836 in trust for his four married sisters. He ordered the sale of Liberty Lodge and Bowood 'whilst the price of sugar keeps at the present high rate and land sells high.' The remainder of the will, which has not been analysed, dealt primarily with his urban property in Bridgetown.

  2. Michael Keane was party to several indentures in the 1785 St Vincent Deed Book, one concerning his acquisition at auction as judgement creditor of land on Bequia, one concerning his role in buying and selling land as administrator of Jeremiah McCarty and one concerning his sale of a group of named enslaved people whom he had brought from Barbados.


Virginia Historical Society, Mss1 K197 a Manuscripts. 'Papers of three generations of the Keane family of St. Vincent, British West Indies. Represented are Michael Keane (d. 1796) whose letterbooks, 1787-1794, concern, in part, legal opinions rendered while he was attorney-general of St. Vincent; his son Hugh Perry Keane (1767-1821) whose diaries, 1788 and 1789-1819, describe his travels in the Windward Islands and in Europe and England and a voyage (1788) from England to Madeira and St. Vincent aboard the "Sugar Cane"; Hugh's daughter Susan Keane (b. 1798) whose diary, 1811-1869, concerns her life on St. Vincent and in England and Europe; her sister Mariana (Keane) Palmer (b. 1799) whose diary, 1853-1857, concerns her life at "Clifton Lodge," Bedfordshire, England; and her brother Hugh Payne Keane (1807-1892) whose diaries, 1819 and 1820, concern his life on St. Vincent and his visit to Sicily and Italy. Historical Note: Between 1770 and 1810, the Keane family actively participated in the colonization of the newly acquired colony of St. Vincent, British West Indies. Although "completely descended from Ireland," the Keane family would become so successful that they merged first into the West Indian planter society and, after achieving their fortune, the English gentry. The patriarch of the family, Michael Keane (d. 1796), arrived on the island in 1770 from Barbados. He established a lucrative career as a plantation lawyer. Simultaneously, Keane invested his profits by establishing two plantations that his son, Hugh Perry Keane (1767-1821), would transform into sugar estates in the 1790s. By the end of the eighteenth century, Michael Keane had been appointed Attorney General of the island and his son had successfully negotiated a marriage with a well-respected English gentry family. By the early nineteenth century (and after Michael Keane's death), the family purchased an English estate and effectively distanced themselves from their West Indian plantations, which they sold during the 1810s.'; Quintanilla, Mark S. ""From a Dear and Worthy Land": Michael Keane and the Irish in the Eighteenth-Century West Indies." New Hibernia Review / Iris Éireannach Nua 13, no. 4 (2009): 59-76. Accessed December 4, 2020. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25660921.

  1. PROB 11/1327/274.

  2. EAP 688, St Vincent Deed Book 1785, British Library, EAP688/1/1/1, https://eap.bl.uk/archive-file/EAP688-1-1-1 pp. 402-406; 407; and 417-419.

Associated Estates (2)

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
- 1797 [LA] → Owner

Michael Keane ordered the sale of his estate called Bowood [sic] in his will made 1796 and attested Jan. 1797.

- 1797 [LA] → Owner

Michael Keane asked to be buried at Liberty Lodge, which he ordered to be sold, in his will made in 1796 and attested in January 1797.

Relationships (1)

Father → Son