William Purcell

19th Jul 1798 - 23rd Sep 1854

Claimant or beneficiary


  1. William Purcell was born in Grenada in either 1798 or 1799. He was one of six "coloured" sons of Irish-born landowner Patrick Joseph Purcell and his 'housekeeper' whom he described as "free negro woman Franchine" (q.v.).

  2. His grandfather, Joseph Purcell, was sent to the West Indies by his great grandfather Redmund Purcell of Dunane, County Laois, Ireland. Redmund sent 5 of his 6 sons away as it was not possible to find careers for them at home and he was "under the pressure of the penal laws".

  3. William married Mary Wilson on 21 December 1820. Mary already had two illegitimate children by merchant David Park named Mary and David. A deed made between William and Mary on the same day of their wedding, allowed Mary to retain ownership of her and her children's property in enslaved people and real estate. Mary also retained control of her children's eduation and maintenance. William also gave her 300 pounds sterling "as a token of his love and affection".

  4. Overtime, Mary did relinquish some of her property. The 1825 Trinidad Slave Register shows that two enslaved people, "late the sole property of Mary Purcell", were jointly 'owned' by William and Mary Purcell.

  5. Mary died in 1841 and William later married Margaret Ann Buchanan, although the date of their wedding is not known.

  6. William and Margaret Ann had 3 children - only one of whom, Amelia Catherine Amanda, survived to adulthood. He also had a daughter with Juana Granado. Later in life Amelia mentioned an "adopted sister" named Caroline who may have been her half-sister.


  1. Grenada Archives

  2. John O'Hart, The Irish and Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry when Cromwell came to Ireland (Dublin, M.H.Gill & Son, 1884).

  3. Marriage Register at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port of Spain, Trinidad; Trinidad Deed 218 of 1820.

  4. Trinidad: Personal, Slave Register T71/512/560 Ancestry.com. Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies, 1812-1834 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.

  5. Death Records, Trinidad

  6. Birth Records, Trinidad; Purcell family.

We are grateful to Philip Bellamy for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
Wm. Purcell
(1) Mary Wilson (1820); (2) Margaret Ann Buchanan (bef. 1846)
Wesleyanna Lyndsey (1846-1859), Amelia Catherine Amanda (1849- ), George Beresford (1851-1853), and a daughter - possibly named Caroline - by Juana Granado

William Purcell's will was made on 10 September 1854. His wife, Margaret Ann, was appointed as the sole executrix. The will asked Margaret Ann to "act the mother" to "his natural child by Juana Granado". The will also left a building and tenements on Halifax Street in St. George's, Grenada to William's "aunt Angel Riley and her daughter Mary McKenzie for the rest of their natural lives". The will also showed that there were debts attached to William's "cocoa estate in Maracas".

Associated Claims (1)

£152 13s 6d

Relationships (4)

Other relatives
Notes →
First cousin once...
Son → Mother
Grandson → Grandfather
Other relatives
Notes →
William Purcell married Mary Wilson, previously the partner of David Park with whom she had two...