James Irving the elder

19th Apr 1713 - 4th Nov 1775


Younger son of William Irving of Bonshaw, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, born 1713. Trained as a doctor. Left Scotland at some point, possibly living in Russia and Bermuda, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Jacob Motte, in Charleston, South Carolina, 22/02/1746-7. They had four children born in Charleston: Elizabeth (1747), James (1749), William (1750) and Amelia (1751).

In Kingston, Jamaica, by November 1754. Bought 84 1/2 acres of land, bordered to the west by Ironshore estate in St James, from James Dugue in 1755 for £160. Bought Ironshore and Hartfield estates from Richard Dunn Lawrence in 1755. Bought Irving Tower at a Chancery sale of McLeod v. Foster in 1759. Also bought The Crawle estate in St James, date unknown.

By 1766 he was "late of the parish of St James in the Island of Jamaica, now residing in the City of London" when he mortgaged Hartfield estate to Thomas Shubrick and Richard Shubrick for £17,227 18s 3d.

Back in Jamaica by December 1767 when he became a member of the House of Assembly for St James. He contributed £50 to the University of Pennsylvania following Dr John Morgan's fundraising tour of the West Indies in 1772-1773. Wrote his will in July 1775. Died in London 31/10/1775.

He left his estates to four of his sons as tenants in common, entailed to their male heirs. The unmarried daughters each received £2,200. His son William received an annuity of £300 as "in his infancy [he] had a fall which at times appears to have affected his judgement or understanding and which makes it improper for him to take the charge or management of a Plantation".


Sir Aemilius Irving (ed.), James Irving of Ironshore and his descendants 1713-1918, ed. L. Homfray Irving (Toronto, Canada, College Press Limited, 1918) pp. 1-7; C. S. Graubard, 'Documenting the University of Pennsylvania's Connection to Slavery (2018) via archives.upenn.edu [accessed 16/01/2019].

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

Further Information

Elizabeth Motte
James, William, Robert Aemelius, John Beafinn, Jacob Aemelius, 5 daughters
Physician and planter

Associated Estates (3)

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
29/12/1755 [SD] - 04/11/1775 [ED] → Owner
29/12/1755 [SD] - 04/11/1775 [ED] → Owner
28/11/1759 [SD] - 04/11/1775 [ED] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

University of Pennsylvania...... 
notes →
C. S. Graubard, 'Documenting the University of Pennsylvania's Connection to Slavery (2018) via archives.upenn.edu [accessed...

Relationships (11)

Grandfather → Grandson
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Grandfather → Grandson
Father → Son
Father → Son
Father → Son
Father → Son
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandfather → Grandson
Father-in-law → Son-in-law

Addresses (3)

Bonshaw, Dumfriesshire, Southern Scotland, Scotland
Charleston, South Carolina, USA - United States of America
London, London, England