Children of Slaves
- One of the intriguing things to come out of the improved access to the
British Library records for St Helena is that my direct family line has
increased by at least two more people. However the new names are
chilren born to my 4th GGF Lt John Melliss (Ass Surgeon) and "his slave
Clarissa Scott". There is also another Melliss child but no father
mentioned - the mother Mary was an "emancipated slave".
One shouldn't be surprised that this has happened as it has throughout
history. I am keen to find out more about the social conditions on St
Helena around 1812-1820 that may have lead to and or tolerated this.
Both children were baptised so recognised by the Church. I have not
found them back in England like the children of both my grandparents
so, if they survived, they most probably had reason to remain on the
Happy to receive any feedback
Re: Children of Slaves
1818 is an interesting date as the two births were either side, one 1817 (John Jnr), the other 1819 (George). If John was born to a slave woman he presumably would not have become “free” until 1839 when the local law was passed which would explain why he did not show up in England.
I have taken note from a small sample of other children whose father was an officer and the mother had a different surname and in most cases were listed as women slaves. In my case John’s wife Ann was 61 yrs old and probably passed acceptable child bearing age for the wife of an officer when the first child to Clarissa was born in 1817. Given time and opportunity it would seem the EIC officers indulged themselves in a manner that perhaps was widespread on the Island during this time when the garrison was at strength. I note also from other comments that the complexion of the skin of St Helenians reflected a diversity of ethnic backgrounds which might also indicate the extent of relationships between people living on the Island at the time.