Robert Douglas of Better Hope

26th Apr 1786 - 10th Apr 1826


Planter of Demerara. Joint owner of Better Hope estate. Not to be confused with his first cousin once removed, Robert Douglas of Fyrish (q.v.) - Robert of Fyrish's father and Robert of Better Hope's grandfather were half-brothers, both the sons of Robert Douglas in Ketwell with his first and second wives respectively.

  1. Son of George Douglas, minister of Kirkwall and then of Tain from 1769-1794, and his wife Anabella S. Munro, daughter of Rev. Joseph Munro, minister of Edderton. Younger brother of Joseph, "a barrister in London" who died in 1849. Married Mary Caird. Children: Anabella Stuart Agnes (married James Brodie in Edinburgh, 1864, she died 1875); Robert Douglas of Douglas Park, Glasgow (married Mary Ann Butler in 1858); Mary (married Kenneth Mackenzie Adams, M.D. in 1846, died 1892).

  2. Primary sources confirm some the details given in The Families of Mulderg and Robertson of Kindeace but contradict others. Robert Douglas, son of Mr George Douglas, minister of Tain and his wife Mrs Annabella Munro, born 26/04/1786, was baptised by Alexander Munro, Minister of Eddertown, on 26/04/1786. A memorial inscription in Canongate parish churchyard to Mrs Annabella Stewart Munro, relict of the late Revd. George Douglas, Minister of Tain, died 12/10/1823 aged 76 years includes three of their children, the first of whom is Robert Douglas, died 05/04/1826. The death certificate of Annabella Agnes Stewart Douglas, wife of James Brodie, who died in 1875 age 55 years at Cockpen, gives her as the daughter of Robert Douglas, West India Proprietor, Demerara, deceased, and Mary Douglas nee Craig deceased. The death certificate of the Mary Adams, married to Kenneth McKenzie Adams, Doctor of Medicine, who died at Laughton Hall, Edinburgh, in 1892, age 68 years, gives her parents as Robert Douglas, Doctor of Medicine, deceased, and Cecilia Douglas nee Craig deceased. The 1851 census entry for Robert's widow Annabella Douglas, as South Nelson Street, Edinburgh, gives her birth in Tain in 1785 and two children, Anna S Douglas, born Demerara in 1821 and Robert Douglas, born Demerara in 1823 ("Ceylon Coffee Planter").

  3. Will of Robert Douglas planter of Demerara proved 10/06/1826. In the will Robert Douglas described his property as: "one half of the plantation Better Hope situated on the east coast of the colony with the one half of the slaves attached thereto their number at present being one hundred and ninety five"; one half of the plantation Geneva situated in Canal No. 1 and the one half of the slaves attached thereto consisting of six; and "whatever sum I may yet have to receive under the will of my uncle William Ross Munro." Douglas' own will provided for the "purchase of two mulatto children which [sic] I believe to be mine." He left half his estate after bequests to his "beloved wife Mary Douglas", and the other half to be divided equally between his lawful children; in the absence of lawful children, his brother Joseph and his sisters became heirs. Douglas said in his will that he was heir to his uncle Gilbert Douglas' estate of Douglas Park and the Boggs in Lanarkshire after the death of Mrs Cecilia Douglas; if he predeceased her, he willed the property follow Gilbert Douglas's will and pass to Robert Douglas' issue.

  4. Robert Douglas of Esquire of "Dumerria [sic] from 27 India Street Died 10th Inst Interred in the Southside of Mrs Douglas, a ground west side of the yard", recorded in the Parish Register of Canongate, Edinburgh, 13/04/1826.

  5. Death "at Edinburgh, on the 5th [sic] instant, Robert Douglas Edq. of Better Hope Plantation, Demerara, eldest son of the late Rev. George Douglas, of Tain, in the county of Ross, N[orth] B[ritain]."

  6. One of the uncles mentioned in Robert Douglas's will, Gilbert Douglas Esquire of Douglas Park, married Cecilia Douglas (q.v.), sister of Sir Neil Douglas, Commander of the Forces in Scotland. "She was in her day the toast of Glasgow." Gilbert Douglas died in 1807 and Cecilia died without issue in 1863, aged 89. The other uncle, William Ross Munro, has not been identified.

We are grateful to Adrian Clark for his assistance with compiling this entry.


  1. The genealogy of the families of Douglas of Mulderg and Robertson of Kindeace with their descendants (Dingwall, A.M. Ross and Company, 1895) p. 13.

  2. GROS OPR Births 082/ 10 184 Tain; memorial ID 121686697; GROS Deaths 676 24 1875 Cockpen; GROS Deaths 685/1 788 1892 Canongate; 1851 census online.

  3. PROB 11/1713/209.

  4. GROS OPR Deaths 685/3 320 251 Canongate.

  5. Morning Chronicle 12/04/1826.

  6. The genealogy of the families of Douglas of Mulderg and Robertson of Kindeace with their descendants p. 13.

We are grateful to William Douglas for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Mary Caird
Anabella Stuart Agnes (?-1875), Robert, Mary (?-1892)

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
1823 [EA] - 1823 [LA] → Joint owner

Relationships (3)

Nephew → Aunt
Nephew → Uncle
Nephew → Aunt
Notes →
Aunt by marriage - Cecilia's husband Gilbert Douglas was the brother of Robert's father Rev. George...

Addresses (2)

Tain, Ross-shire, Highlands & Islands, Scotland
27 India Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian (Edinburgh), Central Scotland, Scotland