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From: "Catharine Vinson" <>
Subject: [CARIBBEAN] BERWICK and WALLACE in Barbados?
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2000 10:39:28 -0500


I am trying to trace the origins of two individuals who settled and
lived in what was the Attakapas District of Spanish Louisiana. Based on
collateral materials, including land patents, deeds, family
correspondence and business documents, it looks like there may be a
Barbados connection for both individuals. They are:
Thomas BERWICK (BERWICK/BARWICK/BERWYCK/BERWICKE) and his wife Helena
Eleanora Birgitta Hypolita WALLACE/WALLIS/WALES (the woman has multiple
names depending on the document consulted!) background.

I would very much appreciate any help, suggestions, leads, advice, etc.
I have little in the way of hard information, just a growing
accumulation of facts/factoids that seem to point to some sort of
Caribbean connection for either/both Thomas and Helena. My “list” of
known factoids follows:

1. Thomas BERWICK a vintner of Bristol, England settled in Andover, MA
in the mid-1600s. A son Joseph BERWICK is born either in Bristol or
Andover but no further references are made. Quite possibly he died in
childhood. Berwick’s brother-in-law William BLOUNT was known to be in
Barbados in 1652 and his family is continuously represented in Barbados.
One of Thomas BERWICK’s daughter’s marries Joseph BALLARD; the Ballards
have interests in Barbados for a number of generations.

2. In the early-1700s, Samuel BERWICK in England appears to have had
some investment in Barbados. Listed as “Hon. Samuel Berwick” he's shown
as a subscriber to William Mayo's Map of Barbados based on his surveys
of 1717-1721. The map was published in 1722 and showed the position of
976 plantations with the name of the owner at the time of the survey.
Then no more sign of any Samuel BERWICKS until Samuel A. Berwick –
landholder in New Orleans; patent for 80 acres granted by treaty on May
20, 1862. Exercised patent and entered USA 27 DEC 1905.

3. In about 1765, Thomas BERWICK (b. 1740 reportedly Philadelphia,
Charleston, England, with no documentation to show where he was actually
born and/or the names of his parents) appears In Spanish Florida
(Pensacola). He marries Helena (Eleanora) Brigitta Hypolita
WALLACE/WALLIS/WALES 14 APR 1768. Shortly after the marriage, Berwick
meets with Governor Galvez requesting asylum for religious persecution.
Galvez hires him as royal surveyor for Spanish Louisiana (New Iberia,
Opelousas, Attakapas district. Subsequently, Françoise Bouligny hires
him to lay out Opelousas and supervise building the settlement for the
Malagian settlers that Boulingy brings to the area. My question: how
did an Englishman obtain this position with the Spanish. Spanish/English
relations were less than friendly during this period. Did Berwick have
some family or business connections with the Spanish officials? Did his
wife's family? Where did Berwick obtain his engineering background, as
well as reported sailing/navigational skills.

4. Helena (Eleanora) Brigitta Hypolita WALLACE/WALLIS/WALES/ and
sometimes listed as Eleanora or Helena BOLS/BOWLES b. 14 AUG/APR 1748
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; between 1748 and 1752 she spent time in
Scotland at Elderslie (near Glasgow); in 1752 at the age of four she and
her parents are in Pensacola, Florida (Spanish territory). She marries
Thomas BERWICK 14 APR 1768 in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. They have 10
children in Louisiana. To her death, Helena considers herself a Scot
(Wallace) rather than Irish.

One theory is that Helena’s father or grandfather is one of the “Wild
Geese” exiled from Ireland. There is some possibility that she was in
Jamaica before landing at Pensacola. Possibly she was fostered in
Jamaica with other Wallace family members. Her father may have been in
Spain’s Hibernia regiment. There is some evidence that she spoke Spanish
fluently. Both she and her husband had excellent and friendly
relationships with the Attakapas tribe in Louisiana. It’s documented
that she was a practicing Roman Catholic throughout her life (Her
husband Thomas may have been Roman Catholic from birth, as well. When he
applied to Galvez to settle in Louisiana, his petition states he is
seeking protection from religious prosecution; this may indicate that he
came directly from England, not Pennsylvania or South Carolina as some
researches hypothesize. On the other hand, there is no religious freedom
in Spanish Louisiana; everyone had to join the Roman Catholic Church.)

5. The Berwicks were successful sugar planters with good-sized land
holdings in Louisiana for three generations. Joseph, Nathan, and David
Berwick (son and grandsons of Thomas Berwick) were credited for
introducing a number of innovations to the Louisiana sugar refining
industry. Looking at the maps of their lands (Berwick's Bay, Berwick,
Louisiana initially; St. Mary's, Landry Parishes) their landholdings and
those of neighbors are very much a "block" with good water access both
to the Gulf and to river traffic. ALL the neighboring lands were owned
by families/heirs with Barbados connections. Thomas Berwick was known to
have high-level navigational and sailing skills--both river and sea.
Several key employees and friends of the Berwick have Barbados/Caribbean
and/or Spanish connections.

With only two exceptions, the children of Thomas and Eleanora all
married Anglos whose families had Caribbean connections. Several of the
given names of Thomas and Eleanora's children are family names with
Caribbean, Spanish, and South American connections. They include:

BOLS/BOWLES – 1700s in Barbados.
INES/D’INES – In Cuba in the late 1500s and 1600s. Also in Jamaica and
in Barbados in the 1800s.
DAWSON – Many family members in Barbados in the 1600-1800s. Also found
in Jamaica and St. Croix.
NEWMAN (Guillaume) – Barbados in 1600s forward. Also Jamaica in
1800s-1900s.
O’BRYANT/BRYAN/O’BRIEN – 1600-1800s Barbados; 1700s Antigua; early-1700s
Jamaica
ALDRICH – Cuba 1700s-1800s.
WALLIS/WALLACE 1600s-1800s Barbados; 1700s-1800s Jamaica; Antigua 1700s;
Madeira and Toledo Spain in 1800s.
HYPOLITA – Tampico, Mexico 1700s; San Luis Potosi, Mexico late 1800s;
late 1700s-1900s Brazil and Argentina, Spain 1600s-1700s.
LYON/LYONS – Barbados 1700s-1800s. Antigua 1700s. Dominican Republic
late-1800s. Jamaica 1800-1900s. Dutch Guiana mid 1800s. St. Thomas
1900s.
MYERS – Barbados 1700s, Jamaica 1800s, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
1700s.
KNIGHT – late 1600s Jamaica; 1600-1800s Barbados.

This is a very long note. I apologize for how vague it must sound. I may
be on a wild goose chase, but I'm trying to track down all the leads I
can. Samuel Berwick seems to indicate a tie, but I have not a shred of
documentation to tie him to either Thomas Berwick in Massachusetts or
Thomas Berwick in Louisiana. The tie between Thomas Berwick in
Massachusetts and the Thomas Berwick in Louisiana is also not documented
and is conjecture on the part of a number of family members who have
been researching the Berwicks for the last 20-25 years. My interest is
simpler: Thomas Berwick and his wife are my paternal g-g-g grandparents
and both he and his wife have always appeared both mysterious and
fascinating. I would like to continue the "hunt" and would very much
appreciate any suggestions from the list members.

Catharine Vinson

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