Malvina Wells

1804 - 22nd Apr 1887


Born in Carriacou, Grenada, c. 1804. In the slave register for 1817 on Grand Bay estate, Carriacou, "In lawful possession of George McLean, attorney to George G. Browne Mill and John Mill", age 13, "mulatto" (ie white father and black mother), no distinguishing marks. Brought to Scotland at an unknown date, worked as a servant to Joanna Isabella Macrae (nee McLean), who was the daughter of John McLean, a notable slave-owner on Carriacou.

In the census of 1851 as Malvina Walls, at 33 Great King Street in the household of John A. Macrae, a Writer to the Signet, and his wife Joanna Macrae. Malvina was listed as a Lady's Maid and Joanna's place of birth as Carriacou. Joanna Isabella McLean had married John Anthony Macrae in Edinburgh, 15/07/1841. Joanna was the daughter of John McLean, a slave-owner on Carriacou.

In 1861 she was at 42 Thistle Street, head of the household, an annuitant, age 57, living with a boarder called Mary Johnston, a dressmaker. In 1871 she was at 2 Randolph Crescent in the household of Edward Strathearn Gordon and his wife Agnes Joanna Gordon (born in Grenada). Malvina's occupation was Domestic Servant. In 1881 she was recorded as Meleina Wells, at 14 Gloucester Place, age 75, a Lady's Maid in the houshold of Joanna Macrae, a widow and annuitant.

Malvina Wells, domestic servant, daughter of John Wells, planter, deceased, mother's name not listed, died at 14 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh, 22/04/1887 age 82. The cause of death was heart disease and the informant was Horatio R. Macrae. Horatio Ross Macrae was the son of Joanna Macrae.

Buried in St John's Episcopal graveyard, Princes St, Edinburgh, her memorial inscription reads: "Malvina Wells born in Garriscou West Indies Died at Edinburgh 22 April 1887 Aged 82 years For upwards of 70 years A faithful Servant and Friend In the Family of Mrs MacRae Edinburgh. Faithful in all the house as a servant, Hebrews iii 5."


Slave register - T71/267 pp. 227-230.

Alexander Macrae, History of the Clan Macrae, with genealogies... (Dingwall, Ross, 1910) p. 120.

Censuses online - 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881.

Death certificate - GROS 1887 685/1 401.

Memorial inscription: [accessed 05/10/2015].

Further Information

died unmarried
Lady's maid

Addresses (4)

14 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh, Midlothian (Edinburgh), Central Scotland, Scotland
2 Randolph Crescent, Edinburgh, Midlothian (Edinburgh), Central Scotland, Scotland
33 Great King Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian (Edinburgh), Central Scotland, Scotland
42 Thistle Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian (Edinburgh), Central Scotland, Scotland