Donald Mackay

1776 - 1851

Claimant or beneficiary


Scottish returnee to Britain.

  1. Arrived Demerara 1801 from Inverness; engaged as clerk by Wm Mackenzie & Co in Stabroek; bought slaves on credit from Simon Fraser of Belladrum and then from his employer, and hired them out. Mackenzie & Co wound up business 1806, by which time Mackay's income was £400. May 1811 purchased Reliance in partnership with George Mackenzie for £25,000 on credit with 114 slaves. Mackay returned to England, living at Sydenham and then Ryde, Isle of Wight. Letter to James Grant, provost of Inverness: dated 29 August 1833: about to embark for Demerara, 'driven to this necessity by the unprecedented spoliation of West India property by the British Government; an act so villainous a character as could only be expected from the most lawless and despotic Government that ever cursed any Age or Country.'

  2. 1851 census shows Donald (mistranscribed as 'Harold') Mackay aged 75 born Invernesshire, blind, living at 'Callopers House, Cashio and Leave [=Leavesden] Hertford' with wife Cordelia, and children Cordelia (33), Allan Douglas (20) and Ellen Frances (18) and grandchild Arthur Mackay Ellise (aged 17).  Donald Mackay's wife Cordelia died March 1854 at Shepton Mallet when she was described as the widow of the late Donald Mackay of Reliance.  Mackay must have died between the census in 1851 and the probate of his will as Donald Mackay 'late of Plantation Reliance in the county of Essequivo [sic] and now of No. 56 Rochester Terrace.. Paddington' on 20/12/1851. Their son Donald died aged 35 in August 1853: despite the Times describing him as of Reliance, he appears to have been buried at Highgate Cemetery of St James St Pancras 05/08/1853.  

  3. In his will (made 06/05/1847), Donald Mackay the father left half his estate to his children (other than Donald Mackay his eldest son, for whom he said he had already provided) on a share and share alike basis (the share of his daughter was subsumed under the trusts of her recent marriage settlement with John Ellis); the other half was left to support his wife Julia until her death. Two sons identified in the will beyond Donald jun. were Sween Macdonald Mackay and George Mackenzie Mackay; the latter was trustee with Philip Constable Ellis of Julia's marriage settlement.    

  4. On the 3d instant [Dec. 1851], suddenly, of spasm of the heart, Donald Mackay, Esq., of Callipers, Chipperfield, Herts, formerly of British Guiana, aged 77.


T71/887 British Guiana claim no. 2453 (Reliance).

  1. David Alston, [accessed 21/07/2010]. Letter sourced to National Archives of Scotland GD23/6/391.

  2., 1851 Census Sample online; children are derived from this supplemented (in the case of Sween) by, London, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 [database online]; Times 14/03/1854 p. 12; PROB 11/2143/398; Times 04/08/1853 p. 9;, London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980 [database online].

  3. PROB 11/2143/398 [indexed as Donald Mackay of Paddington].

  4. Inverness Courier - 11 December 1851, transcribed by Lisa Booth, [accessed 111/10/2018].


Further Information

Julia (1817), Cordelia (1818-), Donald (1818-), Sween Macdonald (1824-), George Mackenzie (1827-), Allan Douglas (1831-), Ellen Frances (1832-)

Associated Claims (1)

£24,288 7s 0d

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
1834 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner
1817 [EA] - 1826 [LA] → Joint owner

Relationships (1)

Business partners

Addresses (2)

Sydenham, Kent, London, England
Ryde, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, Wessex, England