Academic journal article Manitoba History

Who Was the Father of Robert Logan of the Red River Settlement?

Academic journal article Manitoba History

Who Was the Father of Robert Logan of the Red River Settlement?

Article excerpt

The identity of the father of Robert Logan (d. 1866) of the Red River Settlement (later Winnipeg), has heretofore been unknown. Scholars have speculated, based on the little information available (son of a West Indies planter), that Robert Logan was born in Scotland, the West Indies, or Montreal. The papers of the Logan Family in the collection of the Archives of Manitoba (1) offer nothing beyond speculation by grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Robert Logan as to his heritage and place of birth. Even his exact birth year has been unknown, with estimates ranging from 1773 to 1778.

The birth date, place, and parentage of Robert Logan of Red River Settlement can now be authoritatively stated. Robert Logan was born September, 1778; baptized 3 June 1781 at St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica, (2) the son of Robert Logan (hereafter called Sr.) who died by 6 October, 1826 at Egham Lodge, Cheam, Surrey, England and a "free mulatto" woman named Anne Stitcher (Stitches).

   Baptized two quadroon infants sons to Mr. Robert
   Logan Overseer at Phillipsfield by Anne Stitcher
   a free mulatto woman at Dalvey. Name Robert
   Logan age two years & 9 months. Name Thomas
   Logan age about 6 mos. (3)

Robert was the first of six known children born to Robert Logan (Sr) and baptized in this parish. The others were Thomas Logan (natural son of Robert Logan and Anne Stitcher), born December, 1780; baptized 3 June, 1781, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; (4) Nathaniel Logan (son of Robert Logan and his wife--her name is not given), born 5 April, 1788; baptized 18 October, 1788, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; (5) Catherine Logan (daughter of Robert Logan and his wife), born 13 March, 1790; baptized 14 July, 1790, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; (6) Isabella Logan (daughter of Robert Logan and his wife), baptized 28 January, 1795, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica; (7) (referred to later by her married name of Isabella Dobinson); and Robert Logan (son of Robert Logan and his wife), baptized 5 September, 1797, St. Thomas in the East Parish, Jamaica. (8) (At first glance it seems odd that Robert Logan (Sr) would name a second son "Robert" considering his first son Robert (born 1778) was still alive. However, the first child named Robert was a quadroon, born out of wedlock.)

Robert Logan (Sr) lived in Jamaica from at least 1773 to 1797 as reflected in Jamaican baptismal records and in correspondence contained in the Slebech Papers in the collection of the National Library of Wales. The first letter in this collection which mentions Robert Logan, dated 14 July 1773 at Pleasant Hill, Jamaica, was written by James Wright on the occasion of his dismissal from his post and subsequent replacement by Robert Logan. (9) The following year, Robert Logan reported from Pleasant Hill on 12 June 1774 to Nathaniel Phillips in London as to the crops and goods he had shipped to Philips and the prospects for the next crop. (10) On 30 April 1795, Robert Logan wrote from Port Morant, Jamaica to Nathaniel Phillips in London, "in a case of the outmost distress." (11) Logan had purchased the plantation Arcadia a few months previously, using credit he thought was available to him. He soon found this was not the case, and wrote Phillips requesting help in refinancing, although help was not forthcoming. (12) Logan obviously obtained a loan elsewhere, as Arcadia was part of his estate when he wrote his will.

The Royal Gazette (Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies), published on 2 February 1793, contains a list of passengers leaving the Island, which included, on 1 February 1793, Robert Logan, of St. Thomas in the East. (13) That this is either Robert Logan (Sr) or (Jr) can be deduced from parish records and the will of Robert (Sr) in which he stated the location of his farm, sugar plantation and mansion house in Jamaica, as St. Thomas in the East. In his letter of 30 April 1795, Robert Logan (Sr) refers to having been in England prior to purchasing Arcadia, but no date is given. …

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