Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library


by Daniel L. Ogilvie


Continued from Trelawny 10

See History of Trelawny list


In June 1774, the Justices and Vestry ordered that a house for the Company of Rangers now at Martha Brae be purchased for use as a Barracks for reception of the said Company and that Daniel Cargill be paid £200. The land at Rio Bueno on which the old Fort is to be found was in 1797 purchased from George Robinson Hamilton for £320. The Government School has been erected on the site.

In the days of which we are writing, all seaport towns had their Forts. That in Falmouth was named Fort Balcares, and situated on the site of the Court House in the center of the Town. In 1799 it was decided to have it removed. Negotiations were successful and so we find that in September, 1901, the Committee met the Executor of the late Mr. Ed. B. M. Barrett and visited the premises suggested for a new Fort and recommend that the present site of the Fort with all rights of the public or Parish thereon (reserving liberty to remove the materials) be give up in lieu of a certain parcel of land at the Point, butting and binding South on Charlotte Street West on Newton Street North-westerly and North-easterly on the sea and Whereas the Justices and Vestry have no authority in themselves to purchase lands for the above purpose and Whereas some of the above lands cannot be sold by Mr. Barrett's Executor it becomes the Committee to inform the Vestry that there will be a necessity for obtaining a Bill of the Legislature to enable both parties to accomplish the transaction. It was ordered that the same be carried into effect.

In October 1801 the Attorney General wrote stating that as one of the Executors of the late Mr. Barrett he would insist in the insertion of a disqualifying Clause being introduced in the intended Bill to preclude the right of the Police or the Falmouth Water Company from purchasing any part of the land whereon the Fort now stands at any future period or for a Market place or a Reservoir.

Resolved unanimously that the disqualifying clauses suggested by the Attorney General cannot be assented to by the Parish of Trelawny. Resolved that the business should not by any means be pressed in an hostile manner but rather given up for the present. That it be obtained at an easy expense and without much opposition. That Mr. Pat Smith's motion that a Bill be recommended to enable the Parish to purchase the lands in question at such reasonable value as a jury of disinterested men may put thereon, would be very desirable, especially if in such a Bill a clause was inserted authorizing the Parish to sell their present possession of they thought fit to do so. A Bill for the exchange of lands as passed by the Legislature in the year 1803, and the transfer was consummated.

In 1802, Captain Dixon of the Detachment of the 55th Regiment was paid £54. 10/- towards defraying the expense of the interment of 34 soldiers and 3 soldiers' wives from 12th June to 6th December, while stationed at Martha Brae. The Magazine was constructed at a cost of £1,500 by William Danny. The building being 15 feet square and walls from 4 to 5 feet thick. Crown of the Arch 2 feet in thickness. The Regiment came down to Falmouth in 1804.

On the 1st January 1805 in consequence of orders received by Colonel Galloway from the Commander in Chief to call out the Trelawny Regiment and to keep them on permanent duty until further orders and there being as yet no official notification of Martial Law having been proclaimed: Resolved that the Vestry will make good to the Company any expenses he may incur by furnishing rations to the Troops or any other expense he may incur should the public of Jamaica refuse to pay the same.

In 1807, John Roberts was paid £104. 3. 4 for providing Breakfast for the Trelawny Militia previous to their inspection. Some Breakfast.

In July, 1808, it was resolved that a Petition be sent to His Grace the Duke of Manchester of the apprehension of the Parish and Island's inhabitants should the 2nd West India Regiment be allowed to remain in the Island and ask His Grace to adopt such measure to relieve the well grounded anxiety of the inhabitants. A peculiar inference this was.

In 1825 an Armoury was built within the Barracks Walls at a cost of £200.

In October, 1825, the Rev. Wiilam Fraser, Messrs. Scott, Dyer and Hoole were appointed a Committee to prepare an address to be sent to the Lt. Col. Moffatt and Officers of the 33rd Regiment on the occasion of that distinguished Corps' removal from this Parish - The following address was approved: Sir: To the distinguished character of the 33rd Regiment any complimentary mead of ours can make but trifling addition. We cannot however, in justice to our feelings omit the offer of it to you. You will allow us to say that the conduct of the Corps while stationed among us was such as impressed the highest sense of their worth and that we sincerely regretted their departure. For yourself and Officers we beg leave to express the highest esteem and our kindest wishes.

Resolved that the above address be signed by James Gallimore Esq., the Senior Magistrate and forwarded to our worth Custos, the Hon. James Stewart to be by him presented to Lt. Col. Moffatt in the most acceptable manner.

The following was the reply from the Lt.-Colonel: Spanish Town, 21st October, 1825 . . . My Dear Sir, For the address of the Magistrates and Vestry of the Parish of Trelawny which you have done me the honour to present I beg in the name of the Corps to return my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

The approbation of so reputable a body is highly flattering to the 33rd Regiment and extremely grateful to my feelings as its Commanding Officer, and you must allow me for myself and Officers to present you our united best wishes for the welfare and happiness of the inhabitants of Trelawny. Permit me also to add that the value I attach to the honour done me is much enhanced by the acceptable manner in which you have this day conferred it. Believe me to be, My Dear Sir, Yours sincerely, S. Moffatt, Lt. Col.

January 1832, Resolved that Captain Wilkin Cooper be paid £45. 10/- for Rations for the Windward and Packet Guards during last Christmas Holidays. Our enjoyment in those days were filled with the spirit. It was resolved that the 77th Regiment be required to remain in the Parish one month longer and to command the troops with the occupation of the Gaol.

In 1883, the Guards during Christmas cost £654 for Rations.

In the year 1811 in January it was resolved that it would be a desirable object for the Parish to purchase the lands in the Grass piece (Park lands) the property of the heirs of Edward Barrett, deceased, provided the same be got reasonable, and payable by annual installments. Resolved that the Church Wardens be authorized to agree with Mr. Scarlett, Executor, for the purchase of the said land for the sum of £2,800 currency. The Hon. House of Assembly having granted £5000 towards the erection of a Barracks for His Majesty's Regular Troops to be stationed in the Town of Falmouth which sum may be inadequate to the completion of the same and that the Law authorizing the Justices and Vestry to raise the sum of £3000 by a Tax on the inhabitants of the Parish in aid thereof.

Resolved therefore that Mr. Knowles, Mr. Black and Mr. Brown be a Committee to prepare a Plan of the same and ascertain the probable expense and to make their report as soon as is convenient. In October 1811 it was resolved that the sum of £1,500 of the Surplus raised on Tax on Slaves and stock on the 15th April last is applicable to the first installment for building the Soldiers Barracks in the Town of Falmouth agreeable to Law.

In March 1812, it was Resolved that the second installment to Samuel Barrett of £1,590 for land in connection with the Barracks and that the second installment on account of building the Falmouth Barracks of £1,500 be paid.

March 1818, Resolved that the thanks of the Parish be given to Lt.-Col. Stapford, Commanding the 6th Battalion of H.M. 6th Regiment and also to his Officers and privates for their exemplary good conduct and especially for their ready attention when occasionally request to assist the Civil authority in the preservation of peace and goodwill in the Town and port of Falmouth and that the Custos be desired to communicate the same in the most acceptable manner.

In June 1836, a letter was read from Lt. W. J. Renwick of the Royal Engineers asking for an extension of the Barracks premises for military purposes, the present being barely sufficient for the buildings already standing. I submit for your consideration how far you may deem it advisable to aid the comparative advantages of Falmouth as Military position over Montego Bay or Lucea and have to remark that the latter place, the Barracks Square, has been made sufficiently extensive to serve as a Parade ground for the Hanover Regiment as well as the Troops in occupation. I have further to observe that at Falmouth there being no deficiency of ground suitable for building on, I trust the favourable consideration of this request.

In August of that year the Committee appointed for the purposes reported: In re application for a portion of the grass piece land to enlarge the Barracks, the Committee recommends that the Vestry grants the portion of this land from the West end of the present Barracks wall to Rodney Street on the South and to Lots Nos. 261 and 245 on the East for the purposes required. Resolved that the Clerk be directed to write to Lt. Renwick that the Vestry will be happy to treat with him or any other authorized agent of the Government for the sale of a portion of land which the Parish can most conveniently spare for the purpose of enlarging the building at the Barracks. Resolved that the land be sold and not given. In October, a letter from Lt. Renwick, R.E., relative to the land at the Grass piece to be sold for extending the Barracks was read and the same was referred to the Committee with full power to arrange the business with respect to the quantity of land to be sold the price of same being fixed at £500.


The first reference to a Prison in the newly formed Parish was on the 7th of February 1794, when the Justices and Vestry gave the orders that the Work House Negroes be employed to make a Race Course at Cave Island Pen and that John Gaynor be requested to supervise them. To go back to the subject matter, in October 1781 it was Resolved that the Hospital at the "Point" (as that run of land from the present Barracks or Government School to Half Moon Bay, was called) be converted into a Work House and that John Jarrett, John Tharp, Neil Campbell, Thomas Steele and Charles Shaw, Esquires, or any three of them be Commissioned to inspect the state and situation of the said Hospital and order such repairs and alterations as are necessary. That James Brown, Esq., be President and Mr. Francis Jennings be Treasurer thereof.

We observed no further reference to this matter until July, 1798, it was Resolved to pay Mr. James Dunn the sum of £400 on the 11th July, 1799, and the sum of £400 on the 11th July, 1800 with interest from date, being amount of purchase money of his house and land at the Grasspiece for a Gaol. In 1802, the Vestry purchased from the Executors of the late E. M. Barrett the Marl Pit - later known as Quarry lands.

In August 1803, Walter H. Birmingham was paid £2,487. 7.5 for building new Workshouse. Lament & Sommers were paid £600 being half the purchase money for Lot 225 for workhouse.

In September, 1813, John Robey's Tender for building the new gaol for £2.349 was the lowest and it was accepted. In May 1814 it was reported that John Robey having duly performed his contract for building the new Gaol it was ordered that he was to receive £1,174. 10/- being one moiety of his account, the other moiety to be paid on the 1st August, 1815. The gaol was delivered over to Alexander McIntosh, the Deputy Marshal. In August, 1814, it was further resolved that the Gaol be enclosed with a stone wall 100 feet square and Cook room, Wash-house and two privies be constructed according to plan. The walls were to be substantial, suitable stone pillars for gateway, foundation to be 2 feet in the ground 2 feet in thickness and 9 inches above surface. From the set off 8 feet high all round and 20 inches think. Foundation height of offices to correspond. Tradesmen to find materials to charge by the perch for the walls and for flagging or flooring of brick on edge by the square. The work to be fully completed by the 1st May 1815.

Mr. Alex. Woodrow's estimate for £135 for Carpenter's work for the Out Offices was accepted. It appears that work on the walls were not proceeded with as in May, 1820, it was recorded "Your Committee found the fence around the gaol in a decayed condition as represented by the Deputy Marshal, but considering the high Parish Tax occasioned by the building of a new Court House and which tax is likely to be kept up and perhaps enhanced by the building of the new Workhouse and Poor House now so much wanted, reluctantly recommend a faced stone wall in mortar 12 feet high, 22 inches thick, to be capped on the top and stock full of broken glass to be built around the gaol as the ultimate cheapest fence that can be made, taking care that the foundation is solid otherwise it will not stand long as the soil is sandy, probably such a wall fence on the east side of the gaol yard may also answer for the west wall. The Tender of Peter Warburton and Alex. Woodrow for £850 for doing this work was subsequently accepted.

On the 1st August, 1825, William Birmingham was paid £6 for putting up the Gallows at the Gaol. It was previously located at Martha Brae.

In the year 1834, when the "Apprenticeship Law" was enacted under the Governorship of the Marquis of Sligo who had that year arrived from England with that Law, whereby all children under 6 years of age should be given their freedom and by the end of six years the slaves were to be emancipated in all British possessions, the Justices and Vestry became apprehensive of a general uprising and on the 9th of June. 1834, expressed their feeling in the following Resolution - Resolved the Vestry is of opinion that the new system under which the labouring population of this country is to be governed comes into operation that a house or houses of correction must be erected in this Parish in order to afford the Stipendiary Magistrates the means of effectually punishing such delinquents as may be brought under then notice and that our present Workhouse establishment is totally inadequate to the purpose.

2. That this meeting being fully satisfied that the requisite funds for such a purpose cannot be at present raised without inflicting severe distress on the inhabitants by reason of the unprecedented heavy burdens they are already called to pay in public, parochial and road taxes and of the distressed state of the British Markets for their staple products;

Resolved that a petition be prepared to the Hon. House of Assembly praying that the House may be pleased to order the Receiver General to pay out of the Loan lately made by the British Government to the Island the sum of £5000 to the Parish of Trelawny for the purpose of erecting a House of Correction with Tread Mill etc on an extended scale. This was addressed to the Hon. Richard Barrett, Speaker of the Hon. House of Assembly.

In September, 1834, it was resolved that His Hon. The Custos, Mr. Miller, be authorized to import a Tread Mill and Wheel for the Parish capable of accommodating 20 people with a Corn Mill attached to grind Guinea Corn, and that a drawing of the Mill and Machinery be sent out as soon as possible and that a proper place be prepared for its reception in the Gaol.

In 1835, £420 was paid to James Murray for constructing 12 Solitary Cells in the Prison, and Captains Hall and Green the sum of £380 for 64,000 bricks for erection of the Tread Mill. In August, 1837, the Corn Mill was erected at the House of Correction by Mr. Jonathan Smithers (who kept a Coke Foundery in Upper Harbour Street) for the sum of £310. With advanced civilization this method of torture we are glad to say, has been abolished. The contraption consisted, we are informed, of two huge wheels bladed across with steps and the prisoners were required by their weight to revolve this wheel which, being attached to a Corn Mill, ground the corn into meal for their feed. Of course it required dexterity in stepping on the oncoming tread, failing which your shin is stripped and may leave the unfortunate with a permanent sore as we have seen with sorrow. In 1838 Mr. Jonathan Smithers was paid £15 for furnishing two new Flywheels and the straps missing from the machinery of the new Cornmill and that he be required to put up the clock attached thereto as part of his contract.

In October, 1841, it was Resolved that the District Prison was now fit for the reception of prisoners agreeably to the classification and plan submitted to His Excellency the Governor, Sir Charles Metcalfe.

It was in that year taken over and administered by the Central Government until the year 1896-7, when it was closed and its inhabitants sent to Spanish Town. The place of execution of murderers was also fixed at Spanish Town. The Gallows, however, was still in good condition until the year 1945, when it was altogether dismantled to the relief of the Officers and men of the Police Force who occupy the buildings as a Station. The last Superintendent was Mr. Humphries, who was respected in and outside the prison.

Up to about the year 1897, prisoners were employed in metalling the Streets of the Town and would have to draw carts along the public highway. The Street, Rodney Street, passing the prison and along the sea coast, then a veritable promenade, was kept in apple pie condition. Both Mr. Kidd and Mr. Humphries, Superintendents, took great pride in seeing it well maintained and properly swept. The walls all regularly whitewashed. Only the foundations of the Weathercock or vane, which was installed by Mr. Humphries remains. It was never maintained. It is unfortunate that this coast road had to be abandoned. The expense of maintaining it was too great for local government. Despite concrete walls it was washed away whenever a hurricane struck this side of the island. The reefs which are nearby offer little protection against the mountainous seas during a hurricane.

In this vicinity the waves are so violent that on the 11th August, 1908, when we experienced one of the fiercest hurricanes the remains of two murderers who had been years before executed and interred on lands adjacent the prison walls were unearthed. It was curious that they were never buried in the Cemetery despite the Cemetery Law.

After a time the only work that prisoners did was the beating of cocoanut husks into Coir and the breaking of stones for sale to public works. The buildings, or rather a section of these buildings were taken over tby the Police Department about the year 1904 as Barracks. The female section of the prison as we have already stated was utilized as part of the Poor House.

The old District Prison is still in a fair state of preservation. It was built at the expense of the Taxpayers of Trelawny but served the whole Island.

Continued at Trelawny part 12

Used by kind permission of Donovan Ogilvie and the late Pearl Ogilvie

© 2013. Jamaican Family Search hereby grants you a limited license to copy and use the materials provided on this site solely for your personal, non-commercial use. No other use of the site or materials is authorized. You agree that any copy of the materials (or any portion of the materials) that you make shall retain all copyright and other proprietary notices contained therein. Posting of materials on other Web Sites is strictly prohibited.


Search for



Plan of this website

Help - Frequently Asked Questions

Jamaica Almanacs Slave-owners, Civil & Military officers, Magistrates etc.

Items in the Samples Directory

Items in the Members Directory

Transcriptions from Registers and Wills (Church of England, Dissenters, Civil Registration)

Jamaican Roman Catholic Church Registers - transcriptions

Jamaican Methodist Baptisms - transcriptions

Jewish births marriages deaths - transcriptions

Slaves and slavery in Jamaica

Photographs, maps, prints, etc.