Robert Reap junior

No Dates

Claimant or beneficiary


Robert Reay Jnr, free man of colour, was the son of Robert Reap Snr (q.v.), and like his father also a mariner. On 4 August 1831 he married the free coloured woman Joan Arthurton, the daughter of the free coloured planter John Fraser Arthurton (q.v.). His bride was still under age; her guardian, her paternal grandmother Joan Arthurton (q.v.), gave her consent to the union. Unusually, the wedding took place in the Rectory House. Both bride and groom were literate and signed the marriage register. The couple had at least four children: Wellington (baptised on 4 March 1835-1924), William (24 October 1836) and Frances (28 July 1838). They also had a daughter called Sophia but it is not known whether she was baptised. Shortly after the baptism of his son Wellington, Robert Reap sought to buy or lease land in Charlestown, entering into an agreement with the free woman of colour Christiana Smith. He may have been the same Robert Reap who in 1860 served as Vestryman in the parish of St Paul’s in Charlestown.

  1. On marrying Joan, Robert Reap came into possession of his wife’s three slaves. By 1825 she had acquired two black eight-year-old girls: she inherited Grace from her grandfather Thomas Arthurton and her father gave her Polly as a present. Joan’s father had bought Polly from the free persons of colour, Charles and Henrietta Abbott and then sold the child’s mother to other free coloured people. In the summer of 1832 either Grace or Polly gave birth to a girl, Sarah Bell. Described as 'a sambo', Sarah Bell’s father would have been a mulatto man.

  2. On his father’s death in 1843 Robert Reap junior inherited £45:8:0 Nevis currency. Of that sum £14:8:0 were intended for his own use; the remainder was to be equally divided between his four children. However, his father excluded him from inheriting any share of his property, which went to Robert Jnr's half siblings.


Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS), St Paul’s Baptisms 1824-1835; NHCS, St Paul’s Marriages 1824-1842 No 74; NHCS, St Paul’s Baptisms 1824-1835 and St Paul’s Baptismal Records 1835-1873; Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Registry, Nevis (ECSCRN), CR 1835-1838 f.6; UKNA, CO 187/33-35 and CO 187/40 Blue Books Nevis 1859, 1860, 1861 and 1866; ECSCRN, Cemetery Book 1924-1939.

  1. UK National Archives (UKNA), T 71/366 Slave Register Nevis 1825 f.7; UKNA, T 71/369 Slave Register Nevis 1834 f.195.

  2. ECSCRN, Book of Wills 1837-1864 f.203

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

Further Information

Joan Arthurton
Wellington; William; Frances; Sophia

Associated Claims (1)

£43 17s 6d

Relationships (3)

Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Natural Son → Father
Other relatives