George Riddock

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George Riddock(h) was the “of colour” owner of Strawberry Hill estate, Westmoreland, Jamaica, which he inherited from his father in 1802 at about 4 years old. It is not known who received compensation for Strawberry Hill at emancipation.

  1. George was the son of Scotland-born, Jamaican planter and merchant, John Riddoch, and his free black mistress, Jeaney Riddoch. A Westmoreland, Jamaica baptism record, dated March 18th, 1798, of “a child of colour”, is likely that of this George Riddock. Another Westmoreland, Jamaica baptism record, dated October 8th, 1796, of a Elizabeth Riddock is presumed that of George’s sister. Neither record shows the names of the parents.

  2. Based on John Riddoch’s will, written 24th September 1800 and proved in Jamaica 13th March, 1802, John leaves to “my natural son named George Riddoch, all that my mountain settlement called Strawberry Hill situate in the said Parish of Westmoreland and containing fifty four acres”... “and also so many of my negro slaves as will amount in value to one thousand six hundred pounds of current money”... and to “his heirs and assigns forever”. John also leaves to his “reputed natural daughter, Elizabeth Riddoch... so many of my negroe slaves as will amount in value to two thousand pounds current money aforesaid” … and to “her heirs and assigns forever”.

  3. George first appears in the Jamaica Almanacs as owner of Strawberry Hill from 1810. From this he is presumed to have been at least age 21 in 1810 and so born in 1789 or earlier. George married Bonella (Bunny) Woollery Johnston in 1811 and had at least four "quadroon" children by her (John Johnson, James Wise, Alexander Johnson, and Jane Carr or Kerr). According to family oral history, he also had at least three other children with other women. This includes a George Riddock who is likely one of the nephews named in Elizabeth’s will in 1832. George Riddock likely died in 1823 and probably left his property to his young children (his will has not yet been accessed). His wife, Bonella, was the Administrator of Strawberry Hill from 1823. There is no record that she was awarded any slave compensation for Strawberry Hill, although she is still listed as owner in the 1845 Jamaica Almanac. She might have sold the enslaved people before August 1st, 1834.

  4. Although George’s sister, Elizabeth Riddock(h), is not named as a co-inheritor of the Strawberry Hill land in John Riddoch’s will, the Jamaica Almanacs show her as co-owner/proprietor with her brother in starting in 1815. She is likely by then age 21, as directed by her father’s will, and therefore is presumed born in 1794. By 1817 Elizabeth is no longer listed as a proprietor of Strawberry Hill in the Almanacs but appears as owner of a neighbouring estate, Grange Estate in Westmoreland. There is no evidence that John Riddoch or George Riddock ever owned Grange and it is not yet known how Elizabeth acquired that property.

  5. John Riddoch died in Jamaica 23rd December, 1801; notice of his death in The Scots Magazine states he was resident in Jamaica "for upwards of 30 years" and that he was the brother of George Riddoch deceased, writer in Glasgow. Little is yet known of his life in Jamaica or his origins in Scotland. It has not been verified where in Scotland John was born or the names of his parents. Strawberry Hill was conveyed to him by William Lewis and his wife Mary Lewis and Rebekah Dennison, a widow, in 1781 in lieu of £350 Jamaican currency.

  6. John's brother George Riddoch, who was a writer (lawyer) in Glasgow, Scotland predeceased him in 1794. In his will, John also names the son and four daughters of his brother George as legatees. The names of the surviving nephew and nieces in the will match the names from Glasgow baptismal records of the children of George and his wife Janet Somervell(vill).

  7. A James Riddoch, likely also a brother, was named as residuary legatee and an executor in John Riddoch’s will. This James was the owner of Glen Islay estate, Westmoreland, Jamaica from at least 1809 to 1811 and died in 1812. During John Riddoch’s time in Jamaica, there was also another James Riddoch of Grange, Scotland living in Mirandahill, Montego Bay, St James but he had predeceased John in 1796. Based on the people named in his will, this James was the brother of Margaret (Riddoch) Huie of Grange, Banffshire Scotland and Trelawny, Jamaica, the mother of George Huie of Duff House, Trelawny. It is not yet known if this James Riddoch or Margaret (Riddoch) Huie were related to John Riddoch of Scotland and Strawberry Hill.


We are grateful to Vilma Ruddock for compiling this entry.

  1., Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online].

  2. John Riddoch’s will, written September 24, 1800, proved March 13th, 1802: accessed at the Jamaica Registrar General Department (RGD) by Margianna Ruddock in 2016: Will Book 68, folio 176. Thanks to Margianna Ruddock for accessing the will at the Registrar General Department (RGD) in Jamaica.

  3. Marriage of George Riddock and Bonella Riddock 08/12/1824 and baptisms of their children:, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online]. This database includes the baptism of a George Riddock 14/06/1814, "a child of colour", likely one of the illegitimate children of George Riddock. Jamaica Almanacs transcriptions available on

  4. Jamaica Almanacs.

  5. John Riddoch’s death notice in The Scots magazine, Vol 64, Page 182, Jan, 1802; Conveyance of Strawberry Hill to John Riddoch from William Lewis and his wife Mary Lewis and Rebekah Dennison, a widow, in 1781: Jamaican Archives Liber 318, Folio 108. The conveyance has not been accessed but is noted in a 1938 The Gleaner newspaper article, accessed from the Newspaper Archives.

  6., Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950 [database online].

  7. Will of James Riddoch of Glenislay, Westmoreland, written January 4th, 1812, proved April 25th, 1812: accessed at the RGD by Margianna Ruddock in 2016: Will Book 86, folio 33. Will of James Riddock of Mirandahill, St James, written 26th March, 1795, proved 10th November, 1796: accessed at the Jamaica RGD by Margianna Ruddock in 2016.

Further Information

Bonella Woollery Johnston
John Johnson, James Wise, Alexander Johnson, Jane Carr or Kerr

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
1823 [EA] - → Previous owner
1801 [SY] - 1820 [LA] → Owner

Relationships (3)

Natural Son → Father
Husband → Wife
Brother → Sister