Bezsin Reece

23rd Aug 1796 - 22nd Sep 1842

Claimant or beneficiary


Awarded the compensation for the enslaved people on the Yorkshire estate in Barbados, son of Bezsin King Reece (q.v.).

  1. He was also the owner of the Pine Estate, St Michael, Barbados (498 acres) although he did not receive compensation for the enslaved on it: that went to John and Thomas Daniel. See notes on claim Barbados 119. Kathleen Mary Butler, The Economics of Emancipation: Jamaica and Barbados 1823-1843 (Chapel Hill and London, University of North Carolina Press, 1995), p. 82, writes that Bezsin King Reece bought the estate in 1838 for £7,800. [If this is correct, he bought the estate shortly before his death.] Bezsin Reece must have inherited Pine, as well as the Yorkshire estate, from his father. Pine was sold in 1845

    'He was delicate in health and visited Bath England in 1823 and subsequently a number of times...Finally after the birth of his daughter, Louise, at the Pine [estate in Barbados], he moved with his family to 7 Sydney Place, Pulteney St. Bath, a mansion overlooking Sydney Gardens. There he lived in some style with several negro servants.' His wife and daughters continued to live there after his death.

  2. Died at sea returning to Barbados in 1842 aged 46. Valued his estates [the Pine and Yorkshire] at £50,000 in his will but provided, 'whereas there are signs that the value of West Indian property may deteriorate', for a pro forma reduction in the legacies secured on them.

  3. Will of Bezsin Reece of St Michael, Island of Barbados proved 09/05/1843.

  4. The family of Bezsin Reece and Mary Elizabeth Olton. Mary Elizabeth Olton was the daughter of Michael Olton, Merton Lodge, Collymore Rock, St Michael, Barbados. The children were:

Mary Bezsin (1826; died young)
John Deane (1828-1871; army officer)
Sarah (1829; died young)
Bezsin King (1830-1831)
Elizabeth (1831-1914)
Margaret (1833-1834)
Bezsin (1834-1864)
Elvira (1835-1915)
Catherine Garrett (?-?); married John Torrance Haynes, Barbados planter, who was also manager of the Yorkshire estate at one point and owned Bush Hall plantation.

John Deane Reece became an Ensign in the 2nd West India Regiment in 1848; promoted lieutenant 1849; captain 1853; major by brevet 1855; major 1868; lieutenant-colonel 1871. He married Cecelia Ann Newman in 1868. He died at Sierra Leone 02/04/1871.

Bezsin Reece junior was at Bruton School, Somerset, age 17, born Barbados, in the census of 1851. He became an Ensign by purchase in the 37th Regiment of Foot, 13/09/1853. He married Matilda Matthews in Benares, West Bengal, 05/01/1859. In the census of 1861 he was with wife Matilda, born India, and daughter Mary D., born India, at 30 Daniel Street, Bathwick, Somerset. He died at Dover, 03/10/1864, worth £1500 at probate. It was around the time of the death of Bezsin junior in 1864 that the remaining Barbadian interests were sold to provide for Bezsin’s widow and daughter.


  1. Major H. M. Reece, 'The kindred of Bezsin King Reece (1765-1838) of St Michael, Barbados', in James C. Brandow, Genealogies of Barbados families: from Caribbeana and the Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (1983), pp. 497-9.

  2. ibid.

  3. PROB 11/1980.

  4. Genealogies of Barbados Families p. 499; 1851 census online; London Gazette Issue 21475 p. 2509 (13/09/1853);, India, Select Marriages, 1792-1948; 1861 census online; National Probate Calendar 1864; Reece, 'Kindred', pp. 497-99.

We are grateful to Stephen Van Dulken for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Mary Elizabeth Olton
Eight surviving children

"By his will, probed 23 Nov. 1842, he left his estate equally between his sons, John Deane and Bezsin, age 21. He charged the Pine plantation with an annuity to his widow of £500 sterling per annum and £150 per annum for the maintenance of his daughters, Mary, Sarah and Elizabeth, and with £3,000 each at 21. Yorkshire Estate was similarly charged for his daughters Elvira, Catherine and Louise. He appointed his friends Henry Dummett and George Abel Dean as executors. By a codicil to the will he says -- 'Whereas there are signs that the value of West Indian property may deteriorate... I value my plantations at £50,000 cy, and same to be appraised at my death and if the appraised value thereof is less than that sum, then the legacies to my daughters are to abate in proportion that such appraised value bears to £50,000.' His executors were empowered to sell his estates, houses, and stores in Bridgetown." [Genealogies of Barbados Families p. 498]

"The Pine estate had been sold about 1845; a few years before the property reached its lowest value. [Reece's widow and daughters] continued to live at 7 Sydney Place [Pulteney Street, Bath] in style and each [daughter] received her £3,000 at the age of 21 or marriage." [ibid. p. 499]

Associated Claims (2)

£134 0s 9d
£3,054 13s 2d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)

Associated Estates (2)

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
1832 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1832 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Relationships (1)

Son → Father

Addresses (1)

7 Sydney Place, Pulteney Street, Bath, Somerset, South-west England, England