John Murray, Earl of Dunmore and Viscount of Fincastle

John Murray, Earl of Dunmore and Viscount of Fincastle

The story of the Buena Vista Estate begins on the 10th of February 1789 when the Royal Governor, John Murray (1732-1809), Earl of Dunmore and Viscount of Fincastle, granted a 150 acre parcel of land (Dept. L&S Book A: 1785-1865) to the Honourable John Brown, Esquire (1724-1796). Brown served as the President of His Majesty, King George III’s, Council for these Islands and lived in The Bahamas for more than 50 years. During his time at Nassau “…he filled at different times almost every office of responsibility in the Government, with the greatest honour and integrity.”

A plaque on the Senate building at Rawson Square commemorates Brown and reads; “In 1790 this property, later known as ‘The Public Lot’, was purchased by the Hon. John Brown, a member of the Governor’s Council. The centre building was erected prior to 1790. After renovation, the Upper House was occupied by the House of Assembly (from 1796 to 1805) and the Governor’s Council. In 1841, when the Governor’s Council was divided into the Executive Council and the Legislative Council, the latter body continued to meet here.”

Shortly thereafter, Lord Dunmore ceded the property to John Brown. Brown then quickly entered into an indenture with Stephen Delancey (1748-1798) a Loyalist and slave owner from New York. Delancey had distinguished himself as lieutenant-colonel of the New Jersey Loyal Volunteers in 1782 and rewarded (the family’s property was confiscated by the Continental Congress) with the position of Chief Justice of The Bahamas. He was married to Cornelia (1753-1817), the daughter of the Rev. H. Barclay of Trinity Church, New York and was son to Major-General Oliver De Lancey, Sr. (1708–1785) and grandson to Etienne DeLancey (1663–1741).

A copy of indenture between Brown and Delancey, located at The Department of Archives, reads that; “The land was located to the west of the Town of Nassau and behind Dunmore House which was Government House at the time. It stretched from West Hill Street (with an imaginary line drawn from west to Augusta Street opposite West Hill Street to the north) to South Street in the south, Nassau Street in the west and Hospital Lane to the east.” Less than a decade later, Delancey went on to become the Captain General, Commander in Chief and Governor of the (British) Colony of Tobago. He died in 1798, at the age of 50 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire en route to England.

Land Grant certified on the 10th day of February 1789

Land Grant certified on the 10th day of February 1789

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