John Bruce

???? - 1823


Slave-owner on Dominica, where he had been Deputy Assistant Commissary General before he was reassigned to Sierra Leone.

  1. In the will of John Laidlaw made in 1826 and proved in 1831, he described himself however as owning one moiety (half) of Sugar Loaf in Dominica, with his brother Dugald Stewart Laidlaw and the heirs of his former brother-in-law John Bruce. The estate was shown as belonging in 1817 to John Neave before passing into the hands of Laidlaws and Bruce.

  2. Son of William Bruce (of Lonmay) and Elspet Laing (of Crimond). Died in Sierra Leone in 1823.

  3. Indenture dated 09/07/1823 between John Laidlaw of Dominica Esquire and Mary his wife on the one part and John Bruce late of the said island now at Sierra Leone and Dugald Laidlaw of the same island of the other part. Whereas by indenture of 26/03/1818 between John Neave of Exeter Esquire of the one part and John Laidlaw of the other, John Neave in consideration of £8,500 paid by John Laidlaw confirmed to him that sugar plantation in the parish of St John called Sugar Loaf and slaves and one moity was for John Laidlaw, one quarter for John Bruce and one quarter for Dugald Laidlaw. John Laidlaw confirms one moity to them.


  1. PROB 11/1791A/324.

  2. Email from Douglas Baugh, 20/04/2017.

  3. Vere Langford Oliver, Caribbeana being miscellaneous papers relating to the history, genealogy, topography, and antiquities of the British West Indies (6 vols., London, Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1910-1919) vol. III p. 309.

We are grateful to Douglas Baugh for his assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information


PROB 11/1695/149 - precis.

John Bruce, Deputy Assistance Commisary General at present residing in the Island of Dominica but about to depart for the settlement of Sierra Leone in consequence of an order from the Lords Commisions of His Majesty's Treasury.

My executors to convert whatever effects I may be possessed of at the time of my death with the exception of my gold hunting watch and whatever brooches or rings I may have into ready money so soon as they can do so, and invest the same in the public funds or other good security after having paid all my just debts and funeral expenses.

The interest from the principal I bequeath annually to my dearly beloved mother residing in the North of Scotland during her life, the sum of £30 sterling to be paid in advance.

After the decease of my said mother Elspet Bruce, my executors to divide the principal with the accumulated interest equally among my four sisters namely Jane (widow of the late Thomas Henderson), Ann (married to Lieutenant Peebles, Royal Marines), Isabella (unmarried) and Mary (the wife of John Laidlaw, Comptroller of His Majesty's Customs of the Island).

In the event of the death of any of my sisters before my mother then her proportion to be equally divided among her children. Should she have no children then her proportion is to go to the general fund to be divided among the survivors of my sisters.

Some time since John Laidlaw, Duglad Laidlaw and myself became the purchasers of Sugar Loaf Estate in this island but the purchase stand solely in the name of the former until the property should be clear[?]. My advance was one thousand pounds sterling and I have since paid about five hundred and fifty pounds sterling to meet the expenses for these advances with a memorandum in Mr John Laidlaw's handwriting stating clearly the transaction. I know my brother in law is possessed of too much honour not to pay the same regard to that settlement as he would to his bond and judgement.

My gold watch, brooches and ring to my dearly beloved sister Mary Laidlaw which I request her to keep as a token of my affection for her.

In the event of my dying in the colony of Sierra Leone I request some friend who may be near me to take charge of my funeral, pay of my little debts and should my effects produce more than the amount I request he will be good enough to remit the difference to James Laing Esquire of Streatham Hill, Surrey, John Laidlaw Esquire of Dominica, Lieutenant Peebles Royal Marines, Duglad S. Laidlaw Esquire and Dr Wrenmer of Dominica to be my executors.

Signed 15/01/1823.

Sworn by witnesses in Sierra Leone 17/01/1824.

Memorandum dated 22/11/1823 by Mr Bruce. £60 to Mary Barber.

Proved in London 09/02/1825.

Associated Estates (1)

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
26/03/1818 [SD] - 1823 [EY] → Joint owner

Relationships (2)


Addresses (1)

Sierra Leone