Galton Papers: Archibald Douglas Privateer or Pirate

I’d noticed a post by William Douglas on the Ancestry.co.uk about the Douglas/Hake family in Honiton, Devon. As mentioned in earlier posts Charlotte Douglas married Francis Fox M.D. of Derby. They are my great great great great grandparents. As mentioned in William’s post on Ancestry.co.uk, Charlotte’s father was Archibald Douglas who married a Miss Hake in Honiton on 16 Apr 1765. From what I’ve seen on Ancestry, Miss Hake was probably called Mary. Anyway, William’s post mentioned the following about Archibald and Mary:

They had a son, William Archibald Douglas who went missing on Madeira Island along with a fortune in gold dust, and was presumed killed. They also had three daughters, Susannah, Isabella and Charlotte.

Archibald had a brother in law, Samuel Pett.

On 8 Jun 1761, Susanna, daughter of Samuel Hake, married Samuel Pett. Susanna may have had two brothers, John b1748 and Cotton, b1750. Their father was a clothier.

Is this the same Samuel Pett? Did he marry secondly Miss Douglas?

Who were Archibald’s parents?

Can anyone add to this?

Well, I’ve found a reference on the Galton Papers and found a reference in Will of William Archibald Douglas that seems to suggest that the Susannah Hake who married Samuel Pett was the sister of Mary Hake who married Archibald Douglas:

The will contains details of monetary bequests to Douglas’s [William Archibald Douglas] uncle Samuel Pett and to his executors, as well as a bequest to his nephew John Douglas Cooper of a gold watch and seal. The remainder of his fortune was to be shared among his sisters Susannah, Isabella and Charlotte.

I would love to see these papers, but going up to Birmingham is a bit of a trek. The papers that look most interesting are the following:
Papers of Isabella Galton (nee Strutt)  MS3101/B/12  Mid 19th cent:
These consist of two narrative accounts about members of Isabella Galton’s family that were either written down by her, or which were given to her. The first is a narrative account of the life of her grandfather, Archibald Douglas.

Papers of Isabella Strutt (nee Douglas)  MS3101/B/20  1793-1802:
These consist of material compiled by Isabella Strutt about her mother’s family, the Hakes, and a copy of her will.

Genealogical notes on members of the Hake family, complied by Isabella Strutt  MS3101/B/20/1  Undated [late 18th cent]:
Stored in an envelope labelled with the words ‘this contains a list of my mother’s family written by my sister Isabella Strutt’

Account of the families of Douglas and Marianne Fox of Derby MS3101/B/23/5 1866:
Printed pamphlet containing details of the family history of Douglas Fox, son of Charlotte Fox (nee Douglas) and grandson of Archibald Douglas, and of the family history of his wife Marianne, granddaughter of George Benson Strutt and great granddaughter of Jedediah Strutt. Inserted in this pamphlet are some manuscript pages containing a draft account of the life of Archibald Douglas. The cover of the pamphlet is inscribed to ‘Mrs Howard Galton with Douglas Fox’s love’.

Papers of Isabella Galton (nee Strutt)  MS3101/B/12  Mid 19th cent:
These consist of two narrative accounts about members of Isabella Galton’s family that were either written down by her, or which were given to her. The first is a narrative account of the life of her grandfather, Archibald Douglas; the second is an account of the death of her mother, Isabella Strutt.

Account of the life of Archibald Douglas  MS3101/B/12/1  1844:
Dictated by his daughter Charlotte Fox to her niece Isabella Galton. This account also contains biographical details about his daughters Susannah, Isabella and Charlotte, and an account of the life and the circumstances surrounding the death of his son William Archibald Douglas on his return from Cape Coast Castle, Africa.

Papers of Archibald Douglas  MS3101/B/5  1769-1789:
The majority of these papers relate to Archibald Douglas’s business interests in a privateer ship called the ‘Fox’, which he part-owned, commanded by James Verco. These largely comprise bills and accounts, but also include material relating to James Verco’s actions in taking prizes from French and Dutch ships, and to the administration of Verco’s estate by Douglas after his death.

There’s a whole host of other papers such as the one authorising James Verco, commander of the ‘Fox’, to take prizes from French ships due to recent unjust seizures by the French king and his subjects. I’d also seen that a Joseph Verco, master of the Fox privateer, was tried for piracy, in boarding a Portuguese vessel, and plundering the captain of his watch (see here). This might be the same incident as Verco arrest by Lord Hervey of the Dapbne man-of-war on suspicion of illegally removing goods from a
neutral vessel. Fascinating, to think that my ancestor’s ship might have been involved in piracy, and I’d love to find out more but might have to be one for my retirement.

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2 thoughts on “Galton Papers: Archibald Douglas Privateer or Pirate

  1. Hello! I was interested to read this in your blog. I am currently writing a dissertation about privateers (who stray onto the wrong side of the law). I have one document relating to the case of Verco and the Fox, copied from the Cornwall Archives. It is an order to a naval commander to investigate the incident. Would you happen to have a copy of the Birmingham documents that you could email to me!? The B’ham Archives aren’t doing a copying service at the moment, and it’s a long way for me to travel. If you could, I would be so grateful, as this would be a tremendous help.
    regards,
    Tim

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