Fanny Brander Arthurton

No Dates

Claimant or beneficiary


Fanny Brander Arthurton was the daughter of the freed man of colour John Fraser Arthurton (q.v.). Her paternal grandfather, Thomas Arthurton, owned Richmond Lodge until his death in 1824. Fanny Brander Arthurton’s siblings were Joan Arthurton and Charles Arthurton but she may have had more brothers and sisters. On 24 March 1836 Fanny Brander Arthurton married William Tobin Claxton, free person of colour, writing clerk. They had at least one child; on 30 December 1836 their son Hastings Augustus Gumbes was baptised. The family lived in Charlestown.

  1. Each of John Fraser Arthurton’s three children inherited a plantation slave from their paternal grandfather: Fanny and her sister were left girls aged 13 and eight years (Sue and Grace), and their brother an 11 year-old boy, George. In 1825 their father signed a slave register for Fanny and her siblings but did not repeat the exercise in 1828. In 1831 it was the children’s paternal grandmother, Joan Arthurton Snr a manumitted slave, who signed Fanny Brander Arthurton’s register. In this she declared the birth of Delia. By 1834, when she still had mother and daughter her possession, Fanny Brander Arthurton was old enough to sign her own register. It is likely that Fanny lived with her grandmother, Joan Arthurton; when Sue/Susanna’s daughter Delia was baptised on 4 September 1829, the parish register recorded her as being a slave of Miss Joan Arthurton. The father of Susanna’s daughter was George Ritching, then an enslaved man who belonged to a free woman in Charlestown. After he was freed, he and Susanna, who was then called Susanna Ritchins (sic), were the witnesses at the wedding of two apprentices.

  2. Fanny's husband, William was well established in the island’s community. He joined the Nevis volunteer militia, as an Ensign in the Infantry. The role of the militia was not just to defend the island against invaders but at times would carry out patrols and seek out escaped slaves. He also served as a Notary Public, which suggests that he was of good character and deemed worthy to hold this post. It is unlikely, however, that he had any formal legal training; his role would have been to witness important documents rather than prepare or certify them. He was among 14 men who in 1836 signed a congratulatory letter to the Governor ‘on behalf of the coloured inhabitants of the island of Nevis generally’.


Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Registry, Nevis (ECSCRN), Book of Wills 1819-1830 f.218; NHCS, St Paul’s Marriages 1826-1842; ECSCRN, CR 1835-1838 f.49; NHCS, St Paul’s Baptismal Records 1835-1873.

  1. Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS), St Paul’s Baptisms 1824-1835; ECSCRN, CR 1831-1835 Index; NHCS, St Paul’s Marriages 1826-1842 (19 Aug 1834).

  2. UK National Archives (UKNA), CO 187/10 and CO 187/13 Blue Blooks Nevis 1836 and 1839, and House of Common Papers, ‘Return of Militia, 1836’ in ‘Tables of the Revenue, Population & Commerce, etc. of the United Kingdom and its Dependencies’, Vol. 45 (London, 1839), p. 45; UKNA, CO 28/134 Despatches from Evan Murray John McGregor, Governor of Barbados 1 April 1840 to 31 August 1840 ff.237-39, 22/9/1836.

We are extremely grateful to Christine Eickelmann for sharing with us her detailed archival research and on which this entry is based.

Further Information

William Claxton
Hastings Augustus Gumbes Claxton

Associated Claims (1)

£23 18s 8d

Relationships (2)

Natural Daughter → Father
Grand-daughter → Grandmother