The Maillard and the Tide Waiter

NY Public Library Digital Collection public domain image

I have written in the past on my husband’s Maillard ancestors. They were a family of French Huguenots who settled on the small Caribbean island of St Kitts in the 17th century. His earliest well-documented ancestor was Ann Francis Catherine Maillard (1828-1919) who married William Mallalieu in 1853. From a number of clues, including Ann Francis’s known mother, and hints in the St Kitts slave registry books from the period 1817 to 1834, I believe her father was Michael Cannarikin Maillard (born 1805) and her grandparents were Peter Maillard and Francis Rawlins.

So where does the tide waiter come in, and what does that term even mean?

There was a Lucy Ann Maillard (1817-1878) of St Kitts who married a man from Barbados called George James Evelyn (1810-1903). Lucy Ann’s father was Peter Maillard. I’ve drawn this conclusion primarily from two sources. First, the St Kitts Slave Register of 1827 lists Lucy Ann Maillard with guardian Peter Maillard, and Peter appears in the 1831 and 34 registries as reporting for Lucy Ann. Second, a newspaper called The Barbados Agricultural Reporter published an obituary for George James Evelyn in 1903, which stated that “The subject of this notice married on December 29th 1885 [year incorrect] a daughter of the late Mr. Peter Millard of Sandy Point”. Millard was a variant of Maillard, and Sandy Point is a town in St Kitts. If my conclusions are correct, then Lucy Ann would have been Michael Cannarikin’s brother, and Ann Francis’s aunt.

An 1855 Anglican church record from Basseterre, St Kitts documents that George James and Lucy Ann had a son Albert baptized. The father’s profession at that time was given as “tide waiter”. Merriam-Webster defines tide waiter as a customs inspector who boards ships and observes the unloading of goods at docks. George James could have been working alongside a Kittitian medical officer named Howard Maillard Clifton, whose job it was to board ships to look for evidence of infectious diseases among arriving passengers and crew.

George James Evelyn’s obituary lists a number of posts he held during his lifetime. He started as a supply officer working at the Brimstone Hill fort, then for a time in a bank, followed by a long career in the St Kitts colonial government that included the tide waiter job, and culminated in positions as head of the Treasury and Customs Department and finally Receiver General and Postmaster.

The newspaper article also noted that his father, another George James Evelyn of Barbados, was a commodore in the British Royal Navy, and that an earlier ancestor John Evelyn was a famous historian and diarist of seventeenth century Britain. The source of the substantial Evelyn family fortune was apparently from a successful gunpowder milling business going back even further, to the sixteenth century.

Sources

  1. Ancestry.com. Former British Colonial Dependencies, Slave Registers, 1813-1834, 2007
  2. “Tidewaiter.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tidewaiter. Accessed 11 Jan. 2024.
  3. familysearch.org, St George’s Basseterre Anglican Church records 1747-1968, 1991
  4. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, 2019
  5. Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slavery, University College London George James Evelyn Senior, 2024
  6. John Evelyn – Wotton, Dorking Museum & Heritage Center, 2023

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