William McDowall

26th Oct 1770 - 1840

Claimant or beneficiary


Awarded the compensation for the enslaved people on Mount Alexander estate in Grenada.

  1. This may be the last trace of the MacDowall family fortune of Glasgow noted by Eric Williams. William MacDowall III had been MP for Glasgow Burghs and benefited from the Grenada loans in support of the slave-owners in 1795-6 in the wake of Fedon's revolt. William McDowall of Garthland had been a partner with the Houstoun family of Glasgow, to whom Ludovic Housto[u]n an executor in this claim may belong. The Mount Alexander estate belonged to the firm of Houstoun & Co., of Glasgow, in the 1790s when it was shown as a debtor of the firm. The will of William McDowall of Garthland was proved 24/05/1817. In it, he left all his estate (In Scotland, St Kitts and Grenada) in trust for his brother James McDowall and his male heirs. William McDowall the younger of Castle Semple was the eldest son of James and his wife Isabella nee Peters. An unsourced online family tree gives the birth of this William McDowall as 1770-1840 but no death has been found for this person. William McDowall, son of James McDowall, a merchant, and his wife Isabel Peter, was born 26/10/1770 and baptised in Glasgow 28/10/1770. Castle Semple was sold in 1814 to another slave-owner, John Harvey (q.v.).

  2. A William McDowall appears as widower aged 53 'portrait and historical engraver' born Grenada who was living at 22 Hazel Street, Hulme in Lancashire in 1851 with his daughters Mary Frances 26, Emma 23 and Harriot 17, Jemima 14 and Elizabeth 11. The two oldest women were born in London and are described as dress-makers, the third was born in Lancashire and was an apprentice milliner; the fourth was also born Lancashire and the fifth in St Paul's Dublin Ireland. Although the status of the women's occupations appears inconsistent with the scale of earlier compensation money awarded to their father, both his occupation and the birthplace of his fifth daughter suggest that this is the same man as the William McDowall of the Ordnance Survey Office of Dublin who received the compensation under this award. In 1861 William McDowall was at 68 Walnut Street Hulme with four daughters. By 1871 only the daughters were living in Hulme. The death of a William McDowall was registered Q1 1862 at Chorlton Lancashire: no sign of a will or probate has yet been traced.


T71/880 Grenada no. 688 William M'Dowall, owner-in-fee with consent of Archibald Campbell and Ludovic Houston,  trustees and executors of Willm M'Dowall decd.  T71/1609 correspondence from Wm Macdowall of Ordnance Survey Office Dublin on one slave, Martha Rose and her children, under Grenada no. 592. T71/1594 p 150 4/12/1837 letter sent to William M'Dowall, Ordnance Survey Office Phoenix Park Dublin, re Grenada no. 592.  

  1. Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery ([1944], London, Andre Deutsch, 1964), pp. 75, 91, 102 and 163. Douglas Hamilton, Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic world, 1750-1820 (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2005), pp. 183-4; Caribbeana Vol. III p. 18; PROB 11/1592 PROB 11/1615; http://ingilbyhistory.ripleycastle.co.uk/ingilby_3/MACDOWALL%20of%20Garthland.pdf [accessed 27/03/2015]; GROS 644/01 150 223 Glasgow; http://www.clydemuirshiel.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/History-of-Castle-Semple-Estate.pdf [accessed 27/03/2015].

  2. 1851, 1861 and 1871 censuses online; England and Wales FreeBMD Death Index 1837-1915.

Further Information

Name in compensation records
William M'Dowall
Portrait and historic engraver

Associated Claims (1)

£5,139 13S 9D
Awardee (Owner-in-fee)

Relationships (1)

Nephew → Uncle

Addresses (1)

Ordance Survey Office, Phoenix Park, Dublin, Dublin, Ireland