Thomas Roxburgh

1791 - 1867

Claimant or beneficiary


Partner in Gray Roxburgh (q.v.), resident in Trinidad at the time of compensation but in England from late 1830s onwards and then in Jamaica.

  1. Thomas Roxburgh was born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland, 05/04/1791, the twelfth and youngest child of Adam Roxburgh and Margaret Wilson. His father was a small-time merchant and the family can be traced through the direct male line back to Thomas's great-great-grandfather Archbald Roxburgh who married Elizabeth Williamsone in Hamilton 28/04/1667.

  2. Around 1810, Thomas followed in the steps of his older brother James, moving to Glasgow to work for the merchant firm Wighton, Grey and Co. He must have distinguished himself as in 1815 he was sent to Gibraltar to oversee the company's trading arm there. Three years later he moved to Trinidad to develop the company's base in the lucrative colonial market. The firm went through several evolutions, with Thomas Roxburgh becoming a partner in Roxburgh & Co., based in Liverpool, and Gray, Roxburgh, Sprunt & Co. in Port of Spain. Both firms, along with Wighton Gray & Co. at Glasgow, Alexander Sprunt & Co., at San Fernando and Gray Hadwen & Co., at Havana, were dissolved by mutual consent, 31/10/1841. Around 1840, Roxburgh appears to have settled in Liverpool for an extended period before quitting Trinidad for good and moving to Jamaica in 1845. He went into partnership with his sons Adam and Thomas Francis in Jamaica as Roxburgh & Sons, dry goods merchants, and they occupied a proment position in Roxburgh House at 11 Harbour Street, Kingston. The estates of Wighton, Gray & Co. (Glasgow) and Gray Roxburgh & Co. (Jamaica) were sequestered 09/10/1847.

  3. Thomas married Virtue Gilliard in Trinidad, 01/10/1821. She was born in England c. 1803, the youngest daughter of F. Gilliard of Chester. Thomas and Virtue had eleven children born between 1822 and 1844. The birthplaces of their children show the family's movements between Trinidad and Liverpool: Mary (born 1822, Trinidad), Adam (1823, Trinidad), Thomas Francis (1825, Liverpool), Margaret (1827, Trinidad), George (1828, Trinidad), Richard Gillaird (1833, Trinidad), Charlotte Jean (1836, Trinidad), Ellen Johnston (1838, Trinidad), Archibald (1840, Liverpool), Virtue Anne (1842, Liverpool), Catherine Bontone (1843, Liverpool).

  4. Thomas and Virtue were living at Chapel Place in Liverpool when their son Thomas Francis was baptised 26/07/1825. In the census on 1841, Thomas Roxburgh, merchant, aged 40, born Scotland, was living at New Chester Road, Bebington, Cheshire, with his wife Virtue, aged 30, and children Charlotte 5, Ellen 3 and Archibald 8 months. The older children (except Adam) were in a separate household at 11 Catherine Street, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, in 1841. Thomas was recorded at Catherine Street for the baptism of Archibald in 1840 and Virtue Anne in 1843.

  5. Thomas was one of twelve members of the Legislative Council in Trinidad from 08/08/1832 and remained a member when the council was working to ensure a smooth transition to apprenticeship following Emancipation in 1834. The council minutes show him consistently voting in the mercantile interest and willing to stand up to the other council members whenever he felt inclined to do so. Thomas and Virtue are recorded owning enslaved people working in their household during the 1820s but at some point between 1831 and 1834 Roxburgh & Co. also became the owners of Friendship and Williamsville plantations in Trinidad. He was paid compensation for a further 30 enslaved people in Trinidad in a counterclaim against "the guardians of the Vincent children" as a mortgagee.

  6. Thomas Roxburgh died 11/08/1867 in Gateacre near Liverpool. Thomas Roxburgh of Little Woolton was buried 16/08/1867 aged 76 at St Nicholas Halewood. Virtue was living at Holme Wood, Little Woolton, Lancashire in the census on 1871 with her daughters Ellen and Virtue Ann. Virtue Roxburgh relict of Thomas Roxburgh merchant formerly of Kingston Jamaica died Gateacre near Liverpool 16/09/1879 aged 76.


  1. General Register Office for Scotland OPR 647 030 183, OPR 647 010 293.

  2. Email from Matthew O'Donnell 30/10/2012. Jamaica Gleaner Issue 291069, 12/10/1869. London Gazette Issue 20148, 07/10/1842, p. 2709; London Gazette Issue 20782, 15/10/1847, p. 3652.

  3. Liverpool Mercury 30/11/1821. 1841 and 1851 censuses online.

  4. Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project 1841 census online., Liverpool, England, Baptisms, 1813-1906 [database online].

  5. CO298/9 Copy of the Minutes of the Council of Government from its formation on the 27th December 1831. T71/893 Trinidad claim nos. 548 and 549; T71/894 Trinidad claim nos. 1702, 1894 (Williamsville), 1898 (Friendship).

  6. Lancashire OnLine Parish Clerk Project [accessed 21/02/2011]. Evening Post, Vol. XVIII, Issue 117, 14/11/1879, p. 2 [accessed 21/02/2011].

Further Information

Mary, Adam, Thomas Francis, Margaret, George, Richard Gillaird, Charlotte Jean, Ellen Johnston, Archibald, Virtue Anne, Catherine Bontone

Associated Claims (5)

£2,107 14s 3d
£128 0s 2d
£246 7s 3d
£1,655 5s 4d
£1,608 9s 5d

Associated Estates (1)

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
1834 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Commercial (1)

Name partner
Gray, Roxburgh & Co.
West India merchant  

Imperial (1)

Australia: Victoria 
notes →
Thomas Roxburgh's eldest son Adam (1823-1906) moved to Melbourne in the 1840s where he became a merchant and...

Addresses (5)

Little Woolton, Lancashire, Merseyside, North-west England, England
Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Central Scotland, Scotland
Catherine Street, Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, Lancashire, Merseyside, North-west England, England
Chapel Place, Liverpool, Lancashire, Merseyside, North-west England, England
New Chester Road, Bebington, Birkenhead, Cheshire, North-west England, England