QUEELY SHIELL (1755-1847)

 

Compiled by Richard Shiell and Dorothy Anderson, Melbourne, Australia.

Revised version March 2005. For reader comment please contact the first author at richard.shiell@gmail.com

Introduction.   

The progenitor of the Shiell clan on Montserrat is most likely to have been Queely Shiell. He was probably white skinned, of Irish descent and lived to a remarkable age of 93 years. Three of his sons, William, James Phipps and John Shiell, rose to become men of considerable importance in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies.[1]

 

Early Life of Queely.  

According to his 1847 death certificate, Queely Shiell, West India Merchant,  died in London on 27th November  1847.[2]  This would place his birth date as 1754 or 1755.[3] His parents names were not listed but we have reason to believe that his family were from the island of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) in the West Indies. His parents were very probably William Shiell, about whom we presently know nothing [4] and Margaret Queely, (daughter of John Queely, attorney), who married by license in Basseterre, St. Kitts, on June 17th 1756.[5] (A Margaret Shiell is listed as being buried on June 4th 1757.[6]

 

We know nothing about Queely’s upbringing or education but we can presume that, like most sons of affluent white West Indian merchants, professionals and planters he would have been sent to boarding school in England. Under British Law, the oldest son was sole heir to the family estates and was expected to spend the years prior to his father’s death learning to manage these. Younger sons may have been sent to University to study for the Church or to read Law at one of the Inns of Court. Others bought a Commission into the Army if these were available.

 

 

Although we do not have a record of Queely’s marriage to Ann we do have evidence that the oldest son William was born around 1785 [7]  and that the couple eventually raised seven children.[8] We know the names of five of these children. They were William, John, James Phipps, Eleanor and Maria.[9] Queely probably married around 1783-84 and we feel that it was very likely that Ann’s maiden name was Gordon.[10]  The Gordons were a very influential family throughout the British West Indies and this would have been a “good” marriage or him.

 

Later Life of Queely Shiell

The first known reference to Queely on Montserrat appears in 1783 when Deed number 3484 was lodged by Queely Shiell of Montserrat.[11]  His name was mentioned again in 1798 when he was named on a 1796 Indenture along with Richard Macnamara, Richard Dyett, all Attorneys of Montserrat.[12] Queely’s wife’s family (the Gordons) may have been there much earlier.  An Alexander Gordon was Collector of Custom from 1765 and President of Council on Montserrat from 1787-1790.[13]  Queely’s son William, in a letter to Earl Grey in 1850, claimed that his family had held a particular Estate on Montserrat for 150 years, that is, from around 1700.[14]

 

The source of Queely’s early wealth is at present unknown. He appears to have been an only child and may have inherited wealth from his parents. There is no record of his parents in the West Indies after the death of his mother in 1757 and perhaps Queely received his inheritance in cash or property after attaining his majority in 1776.  It is known that some 18th century individuals bearing the name Shiell had been involved in the slave trade and this was certainly a possible path to riches for those with the initial capital to become involved. [15]

 

Queely ‘s only known income from the public purse on Montserrat derived from his position of Customs Searcher and eventually that of Comptroller of Customs from 1805. The “fringe benefits” associated with these posts may have been far in excess of the modest salary of some £200 per year.[16] If not, there would have been little driving incentive to keep the job in the family for some 70 years.

 

It is on record that Queely’s land holdings on Montserrat increased considerably from 1810, when he was listed as owning 266 slaves[17] to 1824 when he had 656.[18] He seems to have lived at the Richmond estate and eventually became the major landowner on the island with many estates and other properties and was stated to be the largest slave owner on Montserrat in 1833 although he had reduced his numbers to 370, presumably having sold many off prior to Emancipation.[19] Certainly in the compensation payments to slave owners in 1836 Queely Shiell received £ 9743,  12% more than the next largest owner and nearly double the next largest.[20]  It is clear from the amount of compensation he received, which averaged £26, that he must have sold off most of his young and old slaves and was holding only the best at the time of Emancipation.

 

 Queely settled in London some time after he was superannuated as Comptroller of Customs on Montserrat in 1827 and the first address we have located for him there is in Mayfair at 46 Clarges St. in 1843.[21] He is later mentioned at number 40 Clarges St.[22] He drew up his Last Will and Testament in 1844 and made several changes as his family and fortune changed over the next 3 years.[23]  He died on 27th November 1847 after suffering a stroke.[24]

 

 

Historical References to Queely Shiell

 

The authors have located many references to Queely Shiell’s activities on Montserrat and these are listed chronologically below -

 

1783, December 18th.  Queely Shiell of Montserrat lodged Deed No 3484, probably in the Montserrat Courthouse.[25]

 

1792. Death of daughter Maria.[26]

 

1798.   Queely listed along with Richard Macnamara and Richard Dyett, all Attorneys of Montserrat, on a 1796 Indenture.[27]

 

1805, 4th Dec.  Queely is appointed Comptroller of Customs on Montserrat.[28]

 

1809, Dec 23rd. “A negro stole a barrel of Irish Mess Pork, the property of Queely Shiell”.[29]            

 

1810. In the census of this year Queely is listed as owning 266 of the 6880 slaves on Montserrat.[30]

 

1810. Queely Shiell and John Queely Shiell both listed as Members of the Assembly.[31]

 

1810, Dec. Queely Shiell is mentioned in connection with supervising a count of the white people in  St George’s Parish.[32]

 

1812, June 20th. Queely Shiell and Dudley Semper submit a tender to supply rum.[33]

 

1815, 17th June.  Queely must have been on leave because his son William signed a letter on this day in his capacity as “Acting Comptroller of Customs”.[34]

 

1817,  March 7th. We have a copy of a letter signed by Queely this day in his capacity as Comptroller.[35]

 

1820/21 Queely Shiell is still Comptroller of Customs, Montserrat: salary £50 p.a.[36]

 

1823, Nov 16th  Letter from Michael Joseph Semper to William Shiell asking to be remembered to his father who was presumably living at the Richmond Estate.[37]

 

1824.  Queely listed as owner of 656 slaves, the largest number of any owner on the island.[38]

 

1824.  Queely’s daughter visits the island of St Vincent’s.[39] The purpose of the visit is unknown but it was probably a social visit as there were many Gordons on the island and at least one Allan family.

 

1826. Queely is Comptroller and JPS is listed as Customs Searcher at salary of £200 p.a.[40]

 

 1827, Dec. 18th Queely is superannuated as Comptroller at salary of £100 p.a. and James Phipps Shiell (presumed to be his son) takes over as temporary Comptroller.[41]

 

1833. Queely still the largest owner but has reduced his holding of slaves to 370.[42]

 

1836 A number of slave claims by Queely (some litigated) but he eventually received the largest compensation pay-out on Montserrat (£9,743). [43] 

 

1837. Queely donates land for a school at Fry’s estate, 3 miles from Plymouth, in St Anthony’s Parish.[44] 

 

1841, 7 years after emancipation of his slaves, the value of Queely’s 5 remaining plantations was still listed (perhaps optimistically) at £44,500  (BPP H of C 1848, Vol  45) making him still the largest property owner on Montserrat.[45]

 

1843 Queely and his daughter Mrs Allan listed as living at 46 Clarges St. London [46], but in 1844- 46 living at number 40.[47]

 

1844, April 29th- Queely’s First Will and Testament.[48] Queely is living in Clarges St. Mayfair.

 

1844, December 14th -1st Codicil to Will.[49] It is stated that Queely is now blind and unable to write. (This was probably a result of a stroke as he later recovered).

 

1845 (first quarter) Queely’s wife Ann dies.[50] 

 

1845, November 22.  2nd Codicil of Will.[51]  (Queely’s sight has partially recovered and he is now able to sign).

 

1847, Jan.1st.  3rd Codicil to Queely’s Will.[52]

 

1847, September 6th. Death of Queely’s son John Shiell, Chief Justice of Antigua.[53]

 

1847, November 27th. Queely Shiell, died in London  at 40 Clarges St. Mayfair after being paralyzed for one week, (probably a result of another stroke).[54] 

 

 

APPENDICES

Appendix I.   Summaries of lives of Queely’s known children (for more detail see individual biographies by the same authors)

 

William  Shiell  ( 1785-1853) . William was a prominent figure on Montserrat for many years as attorney to his father’s numerous estates and as a member of Council from 1808 rising to President in 1834. William married Mary Cabey Semper, daughter of Dudley Semper in 1826. In a letter to Lord Grey of the Colonial Office on 27th August 1842 William claimed to have “……..8 children, 3 receiving education in England and 3 about to be sent there for a similar purpose”.  He mentions his eldest son William “now in his 16th year “thus born in 1826, and unsuccessfully attempts to obtain a Commission for him in the Army.  This child must have died early because Montserrat historian Dr Norman Griffin stated that another son was born to William and Mary in 1850 but died at aged 5 months. [55]

 

 His father Queely appears to have provided poorly for President William in his Will of 1847, leaving him only with a number of debt-laden properties.  He became bankrupt in 1851 and was forced to resign from the Council on which he had served for 43 years, many as its President. He died in 1853.[56]

 

John Shiell, 1788-1847. This name was noted several times on both Montserrat and Antigua during our researches but it was only after discovery of Queely’s Last Will and Testament that he was positively identified as the son of Montserrat’s principle landowner. Further research showed that he entered Lincoln’s Inn, London in 1808 and was admitted to the Bar in 1813. He was on the Montserrat Assembly in 1810, the year he would have turned 21.

 

 John married Elizabeth Jane (maiden name probably Nugent) around 1834-36 and the couple had 4 daughters, Maria Ann, Elizabeth Harriet, Louisa Gordon and Eleanor Matilda.

 

John Shiell practiced as a Barrister on Antigua and became a King’s Council in 1826. He was appointed Acting Clerk of the Council in 1836 and Chief Justice in June 1844. He died in September 1847.[57]

 

James Phipps Shiell – (1790-1834).   It is presumed on strong circumstantial evidence that he was one of the 7 children of Queely and Ann. In 1826, James Phipps Shiell was a witness at the wedding of William Shiell to Mary Cabey Semper, suggesting that he was a close relative of William.  At about that same time he married Elizabeth Carey.[58] The couple became the parents of Henry and Mary Ann Shiell who migrated to Australia in the years 1853 and 1883 respectively.

 

In his business life, James Phipps Shiell appears to have been Customs Search Officer of Montserrat and later, from 1827, Comptroller of Customs, a position previously held by Queely.

He served on the Montserrat Assembly (the elected Lower House) from 1823-1834.

 

James died in 1834 when his children were quite young.  These children are not mentioned in Queely’s Will but perhaps, if he was indeed the grandfather, he had provided for the widow and for the children’s education in the early years and felt that nothing more was necessary. Longer biographies of James Phipps Shiell and his two legitimate children Henry and Mary Ann have been prepared by the present authors.[59]

 

Eleanor Shiell was mentioned in Queely Shiell’s Last Will and Testament but we know very little about her. She may have been married to the William Alexander Allan who became Comptroller of Customs on Montserrat after the death of James Phipps Shiell in 1834.[60]

Two daughters of Eleanor, Louisa and her sister Eleanor Allan are generously provided for in Queely’s Will.  Eleanor and her aged father lived together in London from around 1844.

 

Maria Shiell, another daughter of Queely’s, died of smallpox at a few months of age on

Sept 16th, 1792.[61]

 

APPENDIX  II  .  SHIELL FAMILY  CHART.

 

 

 

APPENDIX III   - Typed transcription of Queely Shiell’s Last Will and Testament (variations in spelling of names are as given in the original manuscript)

 

This is the last Will and Testament of Mr Queely Shiell formerly of the Island of Montserrat in the West Indies but now residing in Clarges Street in the County of Middlesex Esquire.

 

I give and devise all my plantations and lands with the buildings works machinery cattle and other live and dead stock upon or belonging thereto in the said Island of Montserrat or elsewhere in the West Indies unto my dear wife Ann Shiell for and during her xxxxxx life and from and immediately after her decease I give devise and bequeath the same unto and equally among my three children William Shiell, John Shiell and Mrs Eleanor Allen widow and their respective heirs executors and administrators as tenants in common and not as joint tenants  And I appoint my said three children Executors and Executrix of this my will in the said Island of Montserrat and elsewhere in the West Indies  And I bequeath the following annuities to the persons herein after named videlicet  To my granddaughter Mary Ann Allen an annuity of forty pounds during her life  To Mrs Mary Barratt and Harriett Gordon two sisters of my said wife an annuity or yearly sum of two hundred pounds for their equal benefit during their joint lives and from and after the decease of either of them the same last mentioned annuitants then for the benefit of the survivor during her natural life  And I direct the said several annuities to be paid half yearly on the sixth day of January and the sixth day of July respectively in each year the first payment being made on such of the same days as shall be next after my decease  And I further direct that a sufficient sum of three pounds per cent consolidated bank annuities or other Government stock as will be sufficient for the purpose may be appropriated and set apart by my Executors hereinafter named to answer and satisfy the same several annuities and subject thereto I give devise and bequeath all my residuary real and personal estate whatsoever to Sir Samuel Scott of Cavendish Square in the County of Middlesex Baronet and John Hopton Forbes of Westwood near Southampton Esquire their heirs executors and administrators upon trust to permit my said wife Ann Shiell to have take and enjoy for and during her life the use benefit or income thereof respectively and also of so much of the said appropriated stock or funds as may fall in during her life and from and after her decease then upon trust to stand possessed of all my residuary estate real and personal in trust for my said three children and their respective heirs executors and administrators in equal shares and proportions as tenants in common.  And I empower my said Trustees to convert all such parts of my said residuary personal estate into money or to postpone the conversion thereof for such period as they shall think fit during the life of my said wife she in the meantime having the use and enjoyment of so many and such parts thereof as shall consist or be of the nature of chattels and likewise receiving the income of all other parts thereof producing income  And I direct my said Trustees during the life of my said wife to layout and invest my said residuary personal estate or the monies to arise from the conversion thereof in the public funds or on Government or real securities of Great Britain with power to vary and charge the same as often as thought fit and to give effectual receipts and charges to all persons whomsoever on account or in respect thereof  And I nominate and appoint the said Sir Samuel Scott and John Hopton Forbes Executors of this my will in Great Britain and devise to them their heirs and assigns all trust or mortgaged estates vested in me as a trustee for others and not xxxxxx beneficially to be held upon the trusts affecting the same  In witness whereof I the said Queely Shiell the Testator have to this my Will and Testament set my hand and seal this twenty ninth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty four - Queely Shiell - Signed sealed published xxxxx acknowledged and declared by Queely Shiell the Testator as and for the last Will and Testament in the presence of us we being present together at the same time and we at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witnesses thereto - Matt Hale City Street Holborn - William John Martin - Hny Ollio xxxx Clerks to Messrs Hale Boys & Austin xxxxx

 

 APPENDIX IV- Codicils to Queely’s Will

This is a Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me Queely Shiell formerly of the Island of Montserrat in the West Indies but now residing in Clarges Street in the County of Middlesex Esquire  Whereas by my last Will and Testament bearing date on or about the twenty ninth day of April last I gave and bequeathed to Mrs Mary Barratt and Harriett Gordon sisters of my wife Ann Shiell one annuity or yearly sum of two hundred pounds for their equal benefit during their joint lives and after the decease of either of them the said two annuitants then for the benefit of the survivor of them during her natural life  And whereas since the execution of my said Will I have been under the necessity of withdrawing large sums of money from my funded property in support of my West India estates  It has become necessary that I should reduce the said annuity so given as aforesaid  Now I do hereby evoke the gift of the said annuity or yearly sum of one hundred pounds in lieu thereof to the said Mary Barrett and Harriet Gordon for their equal benefit during their joint lives but with all the same benefit of survivorship and in all other respects as in my said Will declared and containing the said annuity or yearly sum of two hundred pounds  And I hereby declare that in case the annual sum to be received by my said wife during her life from my West India Estates and the residue of my real and personal estate as in my said Will mentioned shall not amount to the sum of eight hundred pounds per annum then and in such case I hereby direct the Executors appointed by my said Will to raise the deficiary by the sale or sales of sufficient part or parts of my landed property and pay the same to my said wife and so from time to time in order that she may have and receive full annual sum of eight hundred pounds for and during the term of her natural life  And I confirm my said Will in every particular in which the same is not hereby altered  In witness thereof I the said Queely Shiell the Testator have to this Codicil to my last Will and Testament set my hand and seal this fourteenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty four - The mark of X Queely Shiell - Signed sealed published acknowledged and delivered by the said Queely Shiell the Testator as and for a Codicil to his last Will and Testament (the said Codicil having been first carefully read over to him and being signed by the mark of a X in consequence of the said Testators blindness and incapacity to write) in the presence of us we being present together at the same time at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witness - Matt Hale - Fred Lewis Austin City Street London Solicitors - William John Martin Clk to Messrs Hale Boys & Austin City Street

 

This is a second Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me Queely Shiell formerly of the Island of Montserrat in the West Indies but now of Clarges Street in the County of Middlesex Esquire  Whereas since the date and execution of my former Codicil which bears date the fourteenth day of December one thousand eight hundred and forty four my dear wife has departed this life and consequently the gifts and bequests I had intended for her by my said Will and Codicil have failed of effect  And whereas I have by my said Will which bears date the twenty ninth day of April one thousand eight hundred and forty four give and devised (subject to the life interest thereby intended for my said wife) all my plantation and lands with the buildings works machinery cattle and other live and dead stock upon or belonging thereto in the said Island of Montserrat or elsewhere in the West Indies unto and equally among my three children William Shiell  John Shiell  and Mrs Eleanor Allan widow and their respective heirs executors and administrators as tenants in common and not as joint tenants  And I have by my said Will devised and bequeathed all my residuary real and personal estate whatsoever to Sir James Scott and John Hopson Forbes upon certain trusts for the benefit of my said wife and three children  Now I do hereby revoke and make void all the beforementioned devises and bequests so by my said Will made to and In trust for the benefit of my said children respectively  And I give and devise to my said daughter Mrs Eleanor Allan and her assigns from and immediately after my decease and thereforth during her life to be issuing yearly from and out of my said plantations and lands in the said Island of Montserrat elsewhere in the West Indies and which I do hereby charge and make chargeable with accordingly one annual sum or yearly rate charge of five hundred pounds of lawful money of the United Kingdom to be payable and paid to her at the Royal Exchange in the City of London by equal quarterly payments on Lady Day Midsummer Day Michaelmas Day and Christmas Day in every year without any deduction or abatement whatsoever and to be apportionable up to the day of her decease the first payment thereof to become due and be made on such of the said quarterly days of payment as shall happen next after my decease if my said daughter shall be then living  And from and after the decease of the said Eleanor Allen I give and devise to my granddaughters Eleanor Allan and Louisa Allan children of my said daughter for their equal benefit as tenants in common during their joint lives and after the death of either of them during the life of the survivor for her sole benefit and their or her assigns and to be issuing yearly from and out of my said last mentioned plantations and lands and which I do hereby charge and make chargeable with xxxxxx accordingly one annual sum or yearly xxxxxxx charge of three hundred pounds of like lawful money to be payable and paid to my said granddaughters in equal charges or to the survivor alone as the case may be at the Royal Exchange in the City of London by equal quarterly payments on Lady Day Midsummer Day Michaelmas Day and Christmas Day in every year without deductions abatement whatsoever and to be apportionable up to the day of the decease of the survivor of my said granddaughters the first payment thereof to become due and be made on such of the said quarterly days of payment as shall next happen after the decease of my said daughter if my said granddaughters or either of them shall then be living  And my Will is And I do hereby direct that when and so often as the said annual sum or yearly rent charge of five hundred pounds or the contingent rent charge of three hundred pounds or any part thereof respectively shall any time or times be unpaid by the space of twenty eight days next after any of the days therein before appointed for the payment thereof then and in every such case it shall be lawful for my said daughter or her assigns as her said rent charge and for my said granddaughter or either or the survivor of them as to their her said contingent rent charge to enter into and dispose upon the hereditaments hereby charges or any part thereof and to dispose of the distress and distresses then and there found according to Law to the intent that thereby or otherwise the said annual sum or yearly rent charge of five hundred pounds or contingent rent charge of three hundred pounds as the case may be and every part thereof so in arrear and all expenses occasioned by the nonpayment thereof may be fully paid and satisfied  And my Will further is  And I do hereby declare that in case the said rent charge of five hundred pounds or contingent rent charge of three hundred pounds or any part thereof respectively shall at any time either during the continuance thereof respectively or after the same shall have determined be in arrears and unpaid for the space of forty days or more then and so often it shall be lawful for my said daughter as to her said rent charge and for my said granddaughters or either or the survivor of them as to their or her said contingent rent charges or if the said rent charges respectively shall have determined then for the persons or person respectively legally entitled to the arrears to enter into and retain possession of all or any part of the said hereditaments charged therewith and receive and take the rents issues and profits thereof for her or their benefit respectively until therewith and thereby or otherwise the arrears so due to her or them and to grow due while she or they shall so be in possession and all costs charges and expenses attending or occasioned by the nonpayment or recovery thereof respectively shall be fully paid and satisfied and such possessions when taken shall be without impeachment of waste  And subject to and charges with the said rent charge and contingent rent charge and the remedies hereby provided or to which the person or persons entitled for the time being may be entitled to resort for the recovery thereof   I give and devise my said plantations and lands with the buildings works machinery cattle and other live and dead stock upon or belonging thereto in the said Island of Montserrat or elsewhere in the West Indies unto and equally between my said two sons William Shiell and John Shiell and their respective heirs executors and administrators as tenants in common and not as joint tenants  And I give and bequeath to my said daughter Eleanor Allan all the stocks funds securities and other the Personal Estate whatsoever belonging to me or which I shall be possessed of in any manner entitled unto at the time of my decease in Great Britain and not elsewhere for her own absolute use and benefit but subject nevertheless to the annuities of forty pounds and one hundred pounds bequeathed by my said Will and Codicil and to the appropriation thereout of a sufficient sum of three pounds per cent consolidated annuities or other government stock to answer and satisfy the same respectively as in my said Will in that behalf directed in exoneration of my General Residuary Estate  And as to all my residuary real and personal estate whatsoever (except mortgage and trust estates which I have disposed of by my said Will) I give devise and bequeath the same unto and equally between my said two sons William Sheill and John Sheill and their respective heirs executors and administrators as tenants in common and not as joint tenants  And save so far as my said Will and Codicil have become by the death of my said wife and by this present Codicil are or is otherwise altered I do hereby confirm the same respectively  In witness whereof I the said Queely Shiell the Testator have to this second Codicil to my last Will and Testament set my hand and seal this twenty second day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty five - Queely Shiell - xxxxxx - Signed sealed published acknowledged and declared by the said Queely Shiell the Testator as and for a second Codicil to his last Will and Testament (the said Testator having since the date and execution of his Codicil of the fourteenth day of December one thousand eight hundred and forty four undergone an operation and thereby partially recovered his sight) signed his name at length as it appears in the presence of us we being present together at the same time who at his rrequest in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses - Matt Hale City Street Solicr - Chas Boyd of the Middle Temple Gent. - Wm Shuckburgh Garlick Clerk to Messrs Hale Boys & Austin City Street Solicitors.

 

 

 

This is the third Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me Queely Shiell formerly of the Island of Montserratt in the West Indies but now of Clarges St in the County of Middlesex Esquire which Will bears date the twenty ninth day of April one thousand eight hundred and forty four whereas I have by the second Codicil to my said Will and which bears date the twenty second day of November one thousand eight hundred and forty five given to my granddaughters Eleanor Allan and Louisa Allan an annuity of three hundred pounds for their lives and the life of the survivor charged on my West India Estates to take effect after the decease of their mother Eleanor Allan and it is my intention that my said granddaughters shall have an annuity of four hundred pounds instead of the said annuity of three hundred pounds  Now therefore I do revoke the said annuity of three hundred pounds bequeathed by my said second Codicil  And I give to my said granddaughters and to the survivor of them in lieu thereof during their and her lives and life an annuity of four hundred pounds to take effect only in case my said granddaughters or either of them shall be living at the decease of my daughter Eleanor Allan and to be charged and chargeable and which I do hereby accordingly charge upon and against my West India Estates and to be payable and paid at such and the same times and to be recoverable together with a proportionate part up to the day of the decease of the survivor of my said granddaughters in such and the same manner as the said annuity of three hundred pounds was intended to be under the provisions and powers in that behalf contained in my said second Codicil all of which provisions and powers it is my intention shall be applicable and incident to the annuity hereby bequeathed and intended to be substituted as if the same powers and provisions were herein repeated  And in addition to such personal estate in Great Britain which I shall die possessed of and which by my said second Codicil I have bequeathed to my said daughter Eleanor Allan as therein mentioned I give and bequeath to her all and every sum and sums of money charged upon or due or owing to me or to which I am entitled from Gerrald’s Estate and Trants Estate respectively in the Island of Montserratt and the securities for the same respectively  And I devise to my said daughter Eleanor Allan her heirs executors administrators and assigns all such estate right title and interest which I am in any manner entitled to by way of mortgage or otherwise in the same several estates or either of them in respect of the monies owing to me therefrom  And I also give to my said daughter all and every sums and sum due and owing to me from John Kirwan now or late of the said Island of Montserratt Esquire on his xxxxxxx[bono?] and Warrant of Attorney Indiguient or otherwise howsoever  And whereas under and by virtue of my second Codicil and this present Codicil my two sons will become entitled as tenants in common in fee simple to all my plantations and lands with the buildings works machinery cattle live and other dead stock upon or belonging thereto in the said Island of Montserrat or elsewhere in the West Indies subject and charged with the annuity of five hundred pounds bequeathed by my said second Codicil to my said daughter Eleanor Allan and with the said contingent annuity of four hundred pounds hereby bequeathed as aforesaid  Now my Will is and I do hereby direct and declare that the property to which my said Sons shall so become entitled shall likewise by subject and  liable to all and every or any debts or debt sums and sum of money whatsoever due or owing by me therefrom at the time of my decease and to all liabilities (if any) incurred by me or on my behalf in respect thereof or any part thereof or otherwise in the said Island of Montserratt in the West Indies in exoneration and discharge of my personal Estate in Great Britain and of such other specific personal estate as I have hereby bequeathed it being my intention that

 

the benefits intended for my said daughter shall be freed of all my West India debts and liabilities whatsoever and save so far as the same is hereby altered I confirm my said Second Codicil in all other respects  In witness whereof I the said Queely Shiell the Testator have to this Third Codicil to my last Will and Testament set my hand and seal this first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty seven - Queely Shiell - xxxxx - Signed sealed published acknowledged and declared by the said Queely Shiell the Testator as and for a third Codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of us we being present together at the same time who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses - Matt Hale Ely Place Solr - Clifton Nielson - Wm Shuckburgh Garlick Clerks to Messrs Hale Boys & Austin Ely Place Solicitors

 

Proved at London with three Codicils the 18th December 1847 before the Worshipful William Galvert Gurtsis Doctor of Laws and Surrogate by the Oath of John Hopton Forbes Esquire one of the Executors for Great Britain to whom Administration was granted having been first sworn only to administer power reserved of making the like grant to Sir Samuel Scott Baronet the other Executor for Great Britain when he shall apply for the same.

 

APPENDIX V

Letter from William Shiell to Rt Hon. Earl Grey, Principal Sec. of State for the Colonies  - dated    April 27 1850  (CO 7 97)

 My Lord,

The perfidious conduct of a Friend has reduced my Wife and Self with seven children to a state of beggary, and an Estate in this Island which has been in my Family for a period of one hundred and fifty years wrested from us forever- But why make this appeal to your Lordship, but to incite your sympathy and compassion in my behalf- I am now, My Lord, sixty five years of age at too advanced a period of life to visit other climes to repair my shattered fortunes- I have been upwards of forty years a Member of her Majesty’s Council in this Island and have administered the Govt of the Colony upon two successive occasions and think with all submission and deference, I am entitled to some little consideration -The Provost Marshall of this Island is in a precarious state of life, and not expected to live many days, and if your Lordship should deem me worthy to succeed him in the event of his death I most humbly crave your Lordships nomination to the appointment. It will be the means of preserving my wife and children from starvation. Lord Glenelg appointed the present Gentleman, Mr Hamilton to the situation, who was the son of my predecessor Mr President Hamilton.

I am the honor to be,

My Lord,

 Your Lordship’s 

Most Dutiful and Humble Servt,

   Wm. Shiell

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX VI 

List of properties owned by Queely Shiell .

 

TUITE’S/BETHEL & HARRIS  L20,000

GROVE L6,000

RICHMOND L9,000

FFRYES L6,000

BALAAM  L3,500

 

Provision Properties  owned by Queely

POWERS  L200

EDMOND SEMPERS COVE L200

 

Other assets

3 properties in Plymouth valued at L1,150

 

N.B. These figures are taken from the BPP H of C book of 1848 (Vol 45)  They  seem wildly overoptimistic considering the economic picture of the times and may be a regurgitation of earlier valuations.

 

 

APPENDIX VII

List of Major Slave owners on Montserrat and the Compensation paid to them after 1834.

 

1.     Queely Shiell…………………….. £9743

2.     Thomas & John Daniel ………….  £8798

3.     Sir Thomas Neave………………   £5691

4.     ………, Coles, Lock & Smith…… £5064

5.     George Byrin Jeffers …………….  £2799

6.     Robert Dobridge …………………. £2697

7.     Susan Batt………………………..  £2588

8.     Turner, Brade & Brade…………….£2497

9.     Henry Hamilton …………………. £1772

10. John Gage ……………………….   £1759

11. William Shiell & John Cannonier .. £ 1694

12. Edward………. & Cornelius Paine. £ 1620

13. Admiral Sir John Talbot……………£1600

14. Michael Joseph Semper …………..£1538

15. Richard Goodall……………………£1247

16. Felix Bedingfeld……………………£1024

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX VIII

 

The Gordon family was to be found throughout the West Indies in the 18th and 19th Centuries. There is a lot of Genealogical material available including a book “Gordons as Jacobites “  by J.M.Bulloch.

 

John Gordon of Montserrat, in 1758, asked Sir John Gordon of Invergordon to try and get him the Collectorship of the island ( page 39 “The Making of the West Indies - The Gordons as Colonists” by J.M Bulloch)

 

Alexander Gordon was Collector of Customs on Montserrat from 1765 until he died of “sunstroke” in 1790 aged 51 ( Diary of John Baker. Ed Philip C.Yoke, Hutchinson, London, 1931, pages 462 & 463). He had replaced Edward Darell on the Council of Montserrat  in 1765 and was President of Council  from August 1787 (History of Antigua by, Vol. 1, page 185). He was probably Ann Shiell’s father.

 

We have not traced who was Collector  of Customs from 1790-1818 but the lucrative post was in the hands of  L.Gordon, perhaps Alexander’s son in 1819.( CUST 34 501)

 

  Presumed son-in-law, Queely Shiell, was Comptroller of Customs from  Dec 1805 until December 1827.  This post was “kept in the family” through  James Phipps Shiell, 1828 - 1834. (CUST 34 502) and then possibly to Queely’s presumed son-in-law, William Alexander Allan. (CUST 34 503)

 

Mr  W. Gordon died on Montserrat  on 18 July 1810. (CO 714 4)

 

Mr B. Gordon Member of Council  for  Montserrat died  6 September 1817. (CO 714 4).

 

 



[1] See individual biographies at http://www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/index.html#family

 

[2] Queely Shiell’s death certificate (a copy is in the posession of the authors).

 

[3]  Queely’s  birth date as calculated by working backwards from his death certificate would place his birth BEFORE his parent’s marriage.  This is certainly not impossible, as pre-nuptial births were not infrequent in those days. Of course it is also possible that his stated age of death may have been in error.  Alternatively he may have purposely advanced his age at some time in his business life to get early appointment to official  Government positions on St. Kitts or Montserrat. This would be relatively easy in those days when records were incomplete and suitable white, educated, male individuals in very short supply.

 

[4]  (a). Lt. Lucan Shiell of Ballinderry, County of Westmeath is mentioned in “King James Irish Army    Lists (1689) pub. Dublin 1855 (ed) J. D’Alton.

 

(b) A man of Irish descent, Luc  (or Lucan) Shiell is mentioned in the book “The Slave Trade” by Hugh Thomas  (Picador Press 1997). He was a prominent slave-trader based in Nantes, France in the early part of the 18th century and two of his daughters married well known traders.  Marie married Antoine Walsh an Irish Catholic immigrant who was one of the most powerful figures in the French slave trade, sending altogether 57 slaving expeditions to Africa. Walsh was a romantic Jacobite, his father had carried James II from England to France on one of his ships when he fled in 1688 and Antoine had accompanied “ Bonny Prince Charlie” to the highlands on another of his ships in 1745.                                                                                                                                        

 At some point this, or some other branch of the Shiell family may have settled in the West Indies and became nominal members of the Church of England.

 

[5] St. Kitts Parish Registers.

 

[6] St. Kitts Parish Registers. This was probably the young wife as we have no record of further children from the union and it is unlikely that the death of an infant daughter would rate a mention in those days of high infant mortality.

 

[7] . Queely’s son William in a letter dated 27th April 1850 and addressed to the Rt Hon.  Lord Grey Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, William says that he is 65 years old. ( This letter is reproduced in full in  Appendix V)

 

[8] Letter from Queely’s son William to British Colonial Secretary, Lord Grey, dated 14th November 1850   “My estates  which have been thus confiscated enabled the proprietor, my late Father (Queely Shiell ) to educate a large family of seven children”.   (extract from a letter at the PRO,  London )            

 

[9]  (a) An Eleanor Cannonier, wife of John Cannonier appears in the historic record on Montserrat at the time of slave compensation. She appears to have been a relative of William Shiell and, as Eleanor was such a prominent  name in the  later Shiell family it is tempting to think that she may have been a sister to Queely.

 

(b). Biographies of the first three have been prepared by the present authors (see hhtp:www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/#family  )and  brief summaries of the lives all five children may be found in Appendix I . See also the Shiell Family Chart in Appendix II.

 

[10]  In his first Will and Testament dated 1844, Queely named his wife’s two sisters, Mrs Mary Barratt and Harriet Gordon as beneficiaries. This indicates that Ann’s maiden name was probably Gordon.  In addition, Queely’s son John named his second oldest daughter Louisa Gordon Shiell,  and the  next youngest Elizabeth Harriet suggesting  that these  name had considerable significance within the  family.  (See  Appendix VIII for more details about this influential family.)

 

[11] Caribbeana by Vere Langford Oliver, page 55. (first printed 1896 )

 

[12] History of Antigua , by Vere Langford Oliver, published 1896 , page 330.

 

[13] “Diary of John Baker” Ed. Philip C.Yorke.

 

[14] See Appendix V. A similar wording is found in an advertisement placed in all the Caribbean newspapers by William Shiell in November 1850 advising readers of the shameful way some former plantation owners have been treated on Montserrat. See Appendix IX  of the biography of William Shiell 1785-1853 by the same authors at http://www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/index.html#family.

 

[15]  Queely may have been related to the Shiell family who were slave traders in Nantes, France in the 18th century. A Luc Shiell is recorded as owning the 250-ton slave transport ship “Victorieux” in 1735. (The Slave Trade  by Hugh Thomas, published by Picador, pages 251 & 304).

 

[16] To give some idea of Queely’s wealth, his son William, in a letter to the Right Honorable Earl Grey, Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1850 claimed that his father’s income from his estates had once been L5000 per year “after deduction of expenses”- This was a huge sum for those days when a laborer earned about £6 per year, a school head teacher’s salary was £15 per year, an able-bodied slave brought about £30 and a house and land could be obtained for £50- £100.  £1000 probably had the purchasing power of over US $ 1 million in today’s currency.

 

[17]Records of Montserrat”, page 179, (unpublished manuscript by T. Savage English)

 

[18] Ibid. page  186.

 

[19] Ibid. page 191. “In 1833 Queely Shiell was still the largest owner but he had reduced his holding to 370 slaves”.

 

[20] See Appendix  VII for a list of the principal slave owners on Montserrat at the time of Emancipation.

 

[21] Boyle’s Court Guide of 1843.

 

[22] Post Office Directory of London 1844, 1845 and 1846.

 

[23] See Appendicies III  & IV.

 

[24]  Obituary in Gentleman’s Magazine, January 1848, page 104. A copy of his death certificate is in the possession of the authors.

 

[25] Caribbeana, page 55

 

[26] . Monumental inscription at St. Georges Church, Bloomsbury, London.

 

[27] A History of Antigua, Vol. 2,  by Vere Langford Oliver, page 330.

 

[28] CO 10 6

 

[29] CO 177 17

 

[30]Records of Montserrat”, page 179, (unpublished manuscript by T. Savage English)

 

[31] CO 177 17

[32] CO 177 17

[33] CO 177 17

[34] CUST 34 501

[35] CUST 34 500

 

[36] Stewart’s Directory of Dublin.

 

[37] Caribbeana by by Vere Langford Oliver, page 93.

 

[38] Records of Montserrat, page 186.

 

[39] Island of St. Vincent by Shephard (pub.1831) William Shiell of Montserrat subscribed for 12 copies. This was possibly an indication that the island had considerable importance to him and he was perhaps obtaining extra copies of the book to keep for his children.

 

[40] CO 10 6

 

[41] CUST 34 502. The authors have a copy of Queely’s superannuation certificate dated Jan 5th 1828.

 

[42] Records of Montserrat”, page 191, (unpublished manuscript by T. Savage English)

 

[43] See Appendix  VI

 

[44] BPP, H of L  1838, Vol . 14.

 

[45] See Appendix  IX

 

[46] Boyle’s Court Guide of 1843.

 

[47] Post Office Directory of London 1844, 1845 and 1846.

 

[48] See Appendix  III

 

[49] See Appendix IV

 

[50] St Catherine’s Death Index, London.

 

[51]  See Appendix  IV

 

[52] See Appendix  IV

 

[53] CO 178 17 and CO 7 88

 

[54] A copy of the Death Certificate is in the possession of the authors.

 

[55] Two letters from the elderly Dr Norman Griffin were received by the author in 1972. They contain a lot of interesting but unreferenced data. Much of this material has since been independently verified but it would appear that Dr Griffin was probably writing from memory as there are some mistakes and an occasional glaring omission.

 

[56] For further details of William’s business and political career on Montserrat see his individual biography by the present authors hhtp:www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/#family . This William is thought to be the natural father of William Shiell, born 1823 to Mary McNamara, who ran a ship’s chandler’s store on Montserrat.  Mary was probably colored but was free and in fact was compensated by the British Government for the loss of slaves of her own in 1834. (see separate biography of William Shiell, 1823-1899, on the above website)

 

[57] A longer biography has been prepared by the present authors ( see hhtp:www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/#family ). The authors speculate that John was possibly the natural father of John N. Shiell who became a colored “Provision farmer” and a member of the Montserrat Assembly in the 1840s.

 

[58] The 1827 marriage of James Phipps Shiell to Elizabeth Carey was noted by Montserrat historian Dr Norman Griffin and independently derived from the death certificates of their son and daughter (documents in  the possession of the authors Australia).

 

[59] There is a possibility that James Phipps Shiell was the natural father of Matthew Dowdy Shiell born 18th Sept 1825. This would make him a grandfather to the celebrated West Indian Novelist Matthew Phipps Shiell, born some 40 years later in 1865. More details are provided in the biographies of both James Phipps Shiell  and in the Essay “The Possible Origins of Matthew Phipps Shiel” by the present authors. (see hhtp:www.alangullette.com/lit/shiel/#family.

 

[60] We make this presumption because of the propensity to keep this lucrative job “in the family”. It had previously been held by James Phipps, his father Queely and before that Queely’s probable father -in-law, Alexander Gordon.

 

[61] Monumental inscription, St. George’s Church Bloomsbury, London.

 

 

Copyright © 2005 By Richard Shiell and Dorothy Anderson.

Used with permission of the authors.

Return to M.P. Shiel