Jamaican Lobbans

A large number of Lobbans are found in Jamaica, but these seem to be descendants of slaves of several Lobbans, said to have been brothers, who held plantations in different parts of the island during the early 1800s. Many of these slaves may simply have taken (or been given) the name of the master, but there may also be genetic links.

For example, George Lobban (abt. 1805–1883) was a slave owned by John Grant Sutherland on Buckfield plantation, St. Thomas in the Vale, which had been previously owned by Joseph Lobban (d. 1820, as noted on a list of 182 slaves submitted in 1820). Sutherland’s partner was Joseph’s daughter, Agnes. Sutherland signed himself  “J.G. Sutherland Exor. [Executor] of Jos. Lobban &c and Tenant in Possession” when he submitted a sworn list of Buckfield slaves in 1817, where there are many named Lobban or named Sutherland, the first page of which is transcribed below.  By 1832 the estate was in possession of William Lobban.  Other Lobbans mentioned in the Legacies of British Slave Ownership database: John, Ann and George, all at St. Thomas in the Vale.

Transcription of first page (of 3) of a list of slaves in the possession of John Grant Sutherland, Jamaica, 1817, suggesting that many last names were given by the present tenant or previous tenant, Joseph Lobban.

In Syd Lobban’s Marnoch Lobbans branch there is a Joseph Lobban, b. 11 Nov. 1767, at Mayen, Rothiemay, d. 24 Jun 1820 in St. Thomas in the Vale, Jamaica. Despite the apparent discrepancy in the death year from the statement in the Legacies of British Slave-ownership, this would appear to be the same person. No wife or children shown in the tree, but he had a brother William, death unknown. His brother Alexander had sons William, John, James and George, but there is no indication that they ever went to Jamaica–all died in Scotland.  Thus, if there were brothers they could be either Joseph and William, or Joseph’s four nephews.  Given that Buckfield was in the possession of Joseph’s son-in-law, and then another Lobban, it is likely that William Lobban was related, but there is no such logic for John and George, and these are common Lobban Christian names. Given that William was in possession of Buckfield in 1832,  it is more likely that he was the nephew rather than the brother, but there is nothing known of the brother William except his date of birth.

Slavery in the British Caribbean islands ended in 1834. On 23 Nov. 1835 William Lobban was awarded £329  19s  1d for 18 enslaved (source), his share of the huge payout by the British Treasury after abolition to compensate owners for the loss of slaves. This amount in current money would be worth about £273,000 (source). His relatives, all at St. Thomas in the Vale, were also paid claims: George Lobban  £348 2s 2d for 16 enslaved, John Lobban two awards, £331 12s 4d for 15 enslaved and  £26 12s 2d for 1 enslaved; Ann Lobban £79 16s 8d for 3 enslaved. This totals to  £1,116 2s 4d, nearly £1m current value. I have not yet found any information on what became of these people. Did they stay in Jamaica or return to the UK with their money?

Portion of Syd Lobban’s Rothiemay-Rathven tree, showing Joseph Lobban and his relations. Click to enlarge.

 

Jamaican Lobbans have migrated to the US and the UK in recent decades. As of the 1940 Census there was only one Jamaican Lobban family in the US. Allan Herbert Lobban (1897–1984) and wife, Cora were living in New York City, but born in Jamaica. (In the 1940 Census race was listed but date of arrival was not.) Their naturalization application shows that they arrived in 1923, were naturalized in 1929, and had a son Rudolph born in New York.

 

If you are a Jamaican Lobban and have made or know of family trees for any Jamaican Lobban I would like to hear from you so I can expand this part of the website. Please contact me.

 

Page by Christopher S Lobban, created 24 Nov. 2018, updated 31 Aug 2021.