Robert Claxton was a Collector of Customs for the British colony of The Virgin Islands. He successfully negotiated parliamentary grants (upon the recommendation of Governor Charles Maxwell of the Leeward Islands, and with approval by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Sir George Murray) for the settlement in 1831 of over 400 Liberated African adults and children who had been "condemned" in that colony since the 1807 Abolition Act. Claxton was appointed Protector for this abolition experiment to establish an "African Village" named Kingstown (Kings-Town, Kingston) after the new King William IV. The land agents representing the absentee owners from which the property was purchased for the settlement were prominent business partners and councilmen William George Crabb and William Rogers Isaacs who were to become Chief Justice and President respectively of the Virgin Islands in the early days of emancipation.
Robert Claxton's butler in Tortola was an African apprentice, a captured Igbo youth named Yamo who was brought to The Virgin Islands in 1814 on the seized Spanish slave ship, Candeleria. Renamed William Ingram, Yamo's previous master was Francis Ingram, one of Claxton's predecessors, late Collector of H.M.S Customs, Tortola. After the move to Kingstown under Claxton's supervision, William Ingram's son by wife Sophia Dyer (Zilpha from the Candeleria) was among the first Liberated African children to be baptized by the Wesleyan Methodist mission at Kingstown in 1831. The child was named Robert Claxton, most likely after his master, the first Collector of Customs with responsibility for Kingstown, Robert Claxton. Robert Claxton Ingram died in 1927. His father, William Ingram died in 1884. His mother, Sophia Ingram died in 1887. Like several Liberated Africans whose passage to Kingstown came under the watch of Robert Claxton, Collector of H.M.S. Customs, they are all buried in the chapel cemetery at Kingstown in the Virgin Islands.
Church records from St. George's Episcopal Anglican Church, RoadTown, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
House of Commons Papers, Vol.19, Claxton to Maxwell, 10 June, 1830
House of Commons Papers, Vol. 19. Maxwell to Murray, 3 August, 1830
Slave Trade: Papers Relating to Captured Negroes, Tortola Schedule, Ordered by The House of Commons, 16 March 1825, pages 202-3
Dookhan, Isaac (1975) A History of the Virgin Islands, 1672-1970 , Caribbean University Press: Essex.
Harrigan, Norwell and Pearl Varlack (1975) The Virgin Islands Story, Caribbean University Press: Essex.
Turnbull, Patricia G. (2012) Can These Stones Talk? : St. Philip's Church Ruins at the Liberated African Settlement in Kingstown Tortola, Virgin Islands, RainWater Institute: Road Town.
We are grateful to Patricia G. Turnbull for compiling this entry.
£26 7s 2d
Son-in-law → Father-in-law
Robert married John Hanley's daughter Anne...