Robert Watt

???? - 1841

Claimant or beneficiary


Resident slave-owner in Jamaica. He died in Jamaica c. 1841 after many years there as a magistrate, having bought property in New Brunswick Canada for his son Thomas c. 1837 now known as the Thomas Watt Residence.

  1. Watt bought Lacovia estate in St Elizabeth from the executors and trustees of Thomas Warren and Thomas Fullerton Warren for £40,000 in 1816 (conveyance dated 25/07/1816).

  2. 'DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE Built in the 1830’s, the Thomas Watt Residence is a wooden, one-and-a-half storey Cape Cod residence with a side-gable roof and a central entry in a symmetrical front façade. It is located on Queen Street in the Town of St. Andrews. HERITAGE VALUE The Thomas Watt Residence is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with past occupants and for being a contributing element to the array of buildings built in St. Andrews during the second quarter of the 19th century. The Thomas Watt Residence is recognized as a superb example of the Cape Cod style. The style of this residence is characterized by the one-and-a-half storey side-gable massing and the central entranceway flanked by single windows that are nearly flush with the eave. An indication that this home is a later rendition of this style is the application of eave returns and the extent of overhang at the eaves. The residence has a centrally-located shed dormer and symmetrically placed chimneys. The Thomas Watt Residence is also recognized for its association with its past owners. The property was owned by a prominent merchant from Jamaica by the name of James Rait who purchased the lot in 1829. It is not known if Mr. Rait resided here yet, in 1837, his father-in-law, Robert Watt, a Magistrate and Member of Legislature in Jamaica for many years, made this home available to his son Thomas Watt through Mr. Rait. The 1837 deed stated: “desirous of making a suitable provision for the future support and maintenance of his son Thomas Watt, and with that view made arrangements with James Rait for the Real Estate and paid James Rait a full and satisfactory consideration.” Robert died 4 years later in Montego Bay. Thomas Watt was a local St. Andrews merchant for 40 years, but later settled in an area that is now known as Watt Junction. He passed away there in 1873 but this home remained with the Watt family until 1879. Robert Kerr obtained the home in 1879 and passed away in 1890. His widow remained here until her death in 1920. The home remained with the Kerr family for 50 years before William J. Halliday purchased the home in 1929. Mr. Halliday passed away here in 1945 at the age of 91. He was a native of Scotland and came to Canada in 1908. He was a gardener by profession. He was known for years as being one of the oldest curlers in Canada, a passion he brought from his native Scotland. The Thomas Watt Residence is also recognized as a contributing element to the array of heritage buildings built in St. Andrews during the second quarter of the 19th century. Many of the Loyalist structures in St. Andrews did not survive the passage of time and the population through the first 40-50 years was sparse. St. Andrews has an abundance of buildings that were constructed from the late 1820’s to the mid-19th century. This abundance of construction was due primarily to the increase in population as a result of emigration from European countries throughout the 1830’s and 1840’s. This wave of immigrants helped stabilize Canada’s population. Source: Charlotte County Archives, Old Gaol, St. Andrews, N.B.'


  1. Edward Moore, Reports of Cases Heard and Determined by the Judicial Committee and the Lords of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council (1837) vol. 1 pp. 51-58.

  2. [accessed 16/02/2017]; The Raitt Stuff', [accessed 16/02/2017].

We are grateful to Paul Hitchings for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


Associated Claims (8)

£6,075 12s 10d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£2,176 14s 2d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£2,127 10s 5d
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)
£253 13s 1d
£296 10s 3d
£454 15s 7d
£182 8s 11d
£924 17s 1d
Awardee (Executor or executrix)

Associated Estates (13)

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
1829 [EA] - → Attorney
1829 [EA] - → Attorney
1819 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - → Joint owner
1816 [SY] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Watt bought Lacovia estate in St Elizabeth from the executors and trustees of Thomas Warren and Thomas Fullerton Warren for £40,000 in 1816 (conveyance dated 25/07/1816). William Gladstone alleged in Parliament in 1838 that Watt had purchased it around 1813 and that 'it stood in his books charged with £115,000.'

1809 [EA] - 1829 [LA] → Owner
1832 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Joint owner
1821 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Owner
1829 [EA] - → Attorney
1832 [EA] - → Executor
1820 [EA] - → Attorney

Attorney to the vendor at some point between 1817 and 1820.

1823 [EA] - 1832 [LA] → Executor
1832 [EA] - → Attorney

Legacies Summary

Imperial (1)

Canada: New Brunswick 
notes →
Watt Junction in New Brunswick Canada is named after Thomas Watt, the son of Robert Watt of Jamaica. Robert Watt bought the land c. 1837 for his son Thomas. The Thomas Watt Residence is still extant...
sources →