The Hannahs in Jamaica
By Margaret Hudson,
The first Hannah on our family tree was John Hannah, born in the 17th century. He had two sons and these two sons each had, among other children, a son, and those two cousins, Alexander and Robert, married sisters – Rachel and Agnes Blount. Of these two families, Alexander’s at some time went to Huddersfield and Roberts lived in Dumfries.
Robert and Agnes had a son. John, born in 1761, he became the owner of Hannahfield estate (please see the Hannahfield page). He died unmarried and it is Alexander (mentioned above) who is my ancestor. John was born at a time when economic conditions in Scotland were improving and the country was enjoying peace for the first time in centuries. At this time many Scotsmen made fortunes in the colonies. John Hannah was one such and owned an estate in Jamaica called Hannah’s Town.
According to the book “Memorials of St Micheals”, he amassed a fortune in the West Indies. It has been suggested that he might be the originator of the Antigua 1/4d token coin in 1836 – attributed to Hannah & Coltart – but Antigua is a good way from Jamaica and there is nothing to suggest any link.
My Great, Great Grandfather, another John, did succeed to the Jamaica property, but had to wait seven years before he recieved any rents. I do not know how long he enjoyed these rents, but through business reverses, he lost the property. These business reverses may have been in the woollen trade in Huddersfield or in Jamaica itself. In 1846, five years after my Great, Great, Grandfather inherited the Jamaican property, the Sugar equalisation act was passed in Britain as part of the free trade policy, which eventually abolished all protective duties which favoured the colonies. Rum, Coffee, and other exports were involved and in 1847 a commercial crisis in Britain also contributed to the ruin of the plantations. I do not know if the property was in fact a sugar plantation.