< Descendants of Charles Vidal of Jamaica

Descendants of Charles Vidal of Jamaica


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3. Charles Lewis Vidal was baptized in 1735 in Vere Parish, Jamaica. 5

Charles married Millborough ——— .

The child from this marriage was:

+ 7 M    i. Stephen Vidal 9 was baptized on 19 May 1767 in St. Mary's Parish, Jamaica 12,13 and died before May 1800.

5. John Vidal 1 was born <1740> in Jamaica and died <1765> at age 25.

General Notes: No record of John's baptism or birth has been found and it may be that he is the same person as John de Chany's (currently recorded as his brother) though the "de Chany's" part of his name does not appear in any other records.

Little is known about John, save that he was an attorney at law and that he died young, aged about 25. There is a family tradition that, even in the early years, the Vidals and Allwoods were in partnership as a law firm but this cannot be confirmed. As a lawyer it is surprising that John died intestate, presumably, his death was very sudden. Also, it looks as if he did not leave his wife, Mary, and their young child a secure financial future, because she very quickly remarried, though that may have been for reasons other than financial.

Lady Maria Nugent wrote in her Jamaica Journal when commenting on the state of morals of the Jamaican planters ".....but white men of all descriptions, married or single, live in a state of licentiousness with their female slaves....". John seems to have been no exception to the general rule in this respect; prior to marrying Mary he had two children by a free mulatto, Sarah Diston. The first of these died young but the last was born (though not conceived) after he had married Mary and was given her name. What happened to Sarah Diston after John's marriage is not known but the in all probability she and her child lived with the family while John was alive. 14,15

Something about his life:

• Grant of Administration: 13 Sep 1767, Jamaica. 16 John died intestate.

John married Mary Wade ,17 daughter of James Wade and Elizabeth Perrin , on 17 Oct 1762 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica.8 Mary was baptized on 24 Sep 1744 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica 18 and died on 3 Oct 1780 in Savanna La Mar, Jamaica 19 at age 36.

General Notes: Mary married again very quickly after her first husband, John, died. Her second marriage had only lasted five years before her husband, Joseph Gibson, died as well and Mary did not marry again. Perhaps Joseph left sufficient funds to allow her to survive on her own and bring up her small children.

She and her sister Jane Allwood probably lived close to each other in Savanna la Mar, if not together. Jane seems to have owned a number of houses in the town. They and most of the inhabitants of Savanna la Mar, perished when a hurricane struck the western end of the island of Jamaica on the 3rd October 1780. A contemporary account of that disaster can be found in the Supplement to the Royal [Jamaican] Gazette of Saturday October 14, 1780 where it reports:--

St. Jago de la Vega, Oct. 12 — At Savanna la Mar on the afternoon of Tuesday the 3d instant, about three clock, the winds began to blow very hard from the south-east, accompanied with heavy rains, and by four had acquired such strength as to tear the trees up by the roots, and strip the houses of their shingles. Between five and six, the sea began to rise, and continued for near an hour to swell to a most amazing height, overflowing the ill-fated town of Savanna la Mar, and the low lands adjacent. From this time until 8 o'clock, the force of winds and the impetuosity of the waves, overthrew and demolished every house in that unfortunate place, and buried most of the inhabitants in the ruins. A little after eight, it began to abate, but nonetheless continued to blow very hard until midnight, when the winds veered round to the Westward. — No pen can describe the horrors of the scene which the morning presented to the sight of the few who survived to lament the fate of their wretched neighbours; the earth strewed with the mangled bodies of the dead and dying, some with broken limbs, who, in that situation, had been tossed about during the storm, and afterwards left on the wet, naked earth, to languish out the night in agonies, with no hand to help, or eye to pity them. Humanity recoils at the contemplation of such unheard of calamities; and every feeling heart must melt at the bare recital!

The names of the unhappy sufferers which we have yet been able to learn:- The Comptroller of that port Mr. McDowal, Dr. King, his wife, and two assistants, Messrs Forbes and Dallas, and four children, Mr. Nesbit, a carpenter, Mrs. Allwood and three children, Mrs Gibson and two children, Mr. John Fitzgerald, Dr. Lightfoot, Mr. William Antrobus, jun. Messrs. Aaron Touro and Moses Nunes, and the nephew of the latter, Miss Pesoa, a child of Mr. Payne, Mr. McLean, his wife and children, Mrs. Slap, Mrs. Little, three Quadroon children, and a great number of Negroes. — We are informed by gentleman who are just arrived from that quarter, that the bodies of eigh[t]y white person's have already been found, and many more are expected to be dug out of the ruins, and that it is thought not less than 400 whites and negroes must have perished in and about Savanna la Mar. 20

The child from this marriage was:

+ 8 M    i. John James Vidal was born on 19 Sep 1763 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 8 was baptized on 12 Dec 1763 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 8 and died on 22 Oct 1823 in 34 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Gloucestershire 21,22 at age 60.

John lived with Sarah Diston .

General Notes: Sarah was a free mulatto

Their children were:

   9 M    i. James Vidal 3 was born on 10 Aug 1761 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 3 was baptized on 19 Nov 1761 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 3 and was buried on 20 Nov 1761 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica. 3 (Illegitimate)

General Notes: James was a quadroon

   10 F    ii. Mary Vidal 24 was born on 11 Feb 1763, 24 was baptized on 30 Apr 1763 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 24 and died <1823> 25 at age 60. (Illegitimate)

General Notes: Mary was a quadroon

6. Stephen Vidal 9 was born <18 Feb 1743/44> in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 1 was baptized on 19 Feb 1743/44 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 9,10 and died <1795> in Jamaica 9,11 at age 51.

General Notes: Thomas Thistlewood mentions a Stephen Vidal in his account of a fowl shoot which took place on Sunday November 7th, 1756. Stephen apparently steered the canoe in which the party travelled to the coast. The Stephen Vidal reported in Thomas Thistlewood's diaries is in all likelihood this Stephen as no evidence has been found of any other Vidal family living in the parish of Westmoreland at the time but Stephen would have only been aged about 14 in 1756.

Stephen seems to have had several wives, indeed, Alice Diehl writing about him in her autobiography The True Story Of My Life says "Stephen Vidal had many children, but without the slightest suggestion of Bluebeardism appeared to be a perennial widower." She also wrote: "He never spoke to my grandfather [Dr Charles Lewis Vidal] of his mother, except to assure him that he was the whitest of the white..."

Stephen's first wife has not yet been identified, however, there are some of his children such as Sarah, James and Charles who cannot be attributed to any union and may well have born of either his first wife/mistress or Mary Mathew whom he married later in 1783.

Strangely, no record of his marriages to Nancy and Ann have been found though they are both mentioned in baptismal records of some of Stephen's children and Nancy is mentioned in Stephen's Will.

Assuming that Stephen's Will of August 1793 lists all his surviving children, and there is no reason to suppose that it does not, it is a little surprising to find that there is no son named Stephen amongst them. Stephen senior's granddaughter, Jane Vidal (later Jane Hall) writes in a letter to an unknown relative: "As far as I recollect my Father's [George Vidal's] brothers [were] Charles, Henry, Stephen and William...". Sons called Charles, Henry, William, and indeed George are all mentioned in the Will but not one called Stephen. Perhaps, Jane's recollection was wrong on this point. 11,26

Something about his life:

• Will: 6 Aug 1793, Jamaica. 11,27,28,29 Stephen left his wife Nancy an annuity of £100 Jamaican money during her lifetime.

He appointed as his executors and trustees the Hon David Shaw and John James Vidal and he instructed them to sell his Pen called Vidal's Prospect and use the money thereby realised as follows:-

First, £500 was to be used to build a house and offices on 10 acres of land of his daughter Sarah Vidal's choosing which was to be suitably planted and which was to be hers for her life. Additionally, £50 was to be used to purchase a negro for Sarah.
Next, another £50 was to be spent in purchasing a negro for his son James Vidal.

Following those purchases, the remainder of the money was to be equally split between his sons Charles Lewis Vidal, Henry Vidal, John Vidal & George Vidal. In the event of the death of all of those sons, he bequeathed the money to his nephew¹ John Gale Vidal.

In the event, Nancy died before Stephen and, surprisingly, he does not seem to have changed his Will to bequeath anything to his new wife, Ann. Perhaps, he died shortly after marrying her without executing the necessary Codicil.

Alice Diehl writing to Julie Vidal (née Espeut) in 1908 complains that Stephen left all his money to his eldest daughter of whom she writes: "Stephen Vidal's eldest daughter, his housekeeper and favourite was a Mulatto — she was afterwards the wife of Mr Cressor & the bulk of what her Father left was hers." "She was childless & Charles Lewis, William, George, sons of Stephen Vidal had offspring who might have inherited the Aunt's fortune."

According to the Inventory of Stephen's assets, he left £6940. 0 . 7 so the bequests to his daughter Sarah amounting to £550 do not seem to bear out Alice Diehl's contention.

Interestingly enough, another member of the family, this time Jane Hall (née Vidal) who was Stephen's granddaughter, writes: "I have often heard my Father speak of the injustice of having been sent to sea at a very early age, their Father's Executor or Trustee was old John James Vidal who managed for his own interest and sacrificed the younger ones, caring little how they fared...".

¹ In August 1793, John Gale Vidal, the son of John James Vidal, was barely 18 months old and was in fact Stephen's grand nephew.

• Probate Granted: 2 Jul 1796, Jamaica. 30 Probate was granted to John Vidal being the only Executor willing to take upon himself the role, with the right of David Shaw to apply at a later time. In the event, it seems that John Vidal remained the sole executor and trustee of of Stephen's Will.

Stephen married ——— ——— .31 ——— died <1794> 31 .

Children from this marriage were:

   11 F    i. Sarah Vidal .11

   12 M    ii. James Vidal .11

+ 13 M    iii. Charles Lewis Vidal M.D. 9 was born in 1782 in St Mary's Parish, Jamaica, 32,33 died in Mar 1862 in Aveley, Romford, Essex 34,35 at age 80, and was buried on 15 Mar 1862 in Aveley, Romford, Essex. 36

Stephen next married Mary Mathews on 16 Mar 1783 in St Ann's Parish, Jamaica.

Stephen next married Nancy ——— .31 Nancy died <1794> 31 .

Children from this marriage were:

   14 M    i. Henry Vidal 9,31 was baptized on 26 Jul 1783 in St Mary's Parish, Jamaica. 31,39

   15 M    ii. John Vidal 31 was baptized in 1788 in St Mary's Parish, Jamaica. 31

+ 16 M    iii. George Vidal 9 was born <1789>, was baptized on 9 Sep 1792 in St Mary's Parish, Jamaica, 40 died on 10 Sep 1838 in Bariffe Hall, St. Mary's, Jamaica 9 at age 49, and was buried on 14 Sep 1838 in Bariffe Hall, St. Mary's, Jamaica. 41

Stephen next married Ann ——— 31 <1795>.

The child from this marriage was:

+ 17 M    i. William Henry Vidal was baptized on 5 Apr 1795 in St Mary's Parish, Jamaica 31,42 and was buried on 18 Aug 1827 in St Mary's Parish, Jamaica. 43,44

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