Thomas was under 15 when he wrote this letter.
Honduras 22 of March 1800.
I write to inform you of my father's death which happened on 29 December last - having exchanged, from the 60th Reg. into the 6th W.I.Regt. [West India Regiment] which no doubt you have heard of, we embarked on the 25th Dec. on board the Yeldan at Kingston for Honduras Bay, and on the 28th following unfortunately for us our ship was wreckt about 12 o'clock at night on the reef near Ambergreas Key which we perceived in the morning, at 5 o'clock, got out our boats and proceeded to the shore, which we found uninhabited, my father being very sick at that time we got him under a bush and covered it with blankets to shade him from the sun where he remained only two or three hours when he expired. We remained there 14 days very uncomfortable not having any means to get away when, luckily for us, we were taken up by the Albicore Slope of war. Here I remain with the Regimt. (in expectation of an ensigncy having been recommended). I remain under the care of Quartermaster Grant where I want for nothing. Please give my love to my sister and my duty to my Uncle and Aunt and likewise my compliments to Miss Hopley. I am in good health and hope you are same.
I remain, Dear Mother, Your dutiful son
THOS. ROBERTSON LIDDERDALE
Postscript. Excuse Dear Mother mistakes. T.R.L.?
A letter worth quoting from a lad full of promise who, with a fair star, should have done better. Owing to the revolt of the Colonies the £5000 left by his grandfather, John, was not available. No doubt there had been substantial American Assets. (John, his grandfather, had begun his successful business career in Williamsburg, and his wife, Elizabeth, was the only child of William Robertson, a cadet of Struan, who at his death held the position of Secretary to the Council of Virginia, and trustee of the city.)
Thomas, his father, added to the embarrassments also, being extravagant.
Thomas Robertson instituted a lawsuit against his Uncle, the result of which is unknown to the writer. This, in the circumstances, could only end in one way. John's bravo attempt to restore the family fortunes had failed. The Castle Milk entail was out and the property sold: there can have been no other choice for William Robertson. To return to Thomas Robertson. He married Ann, daughter of William Sadler of Bolton Hall, Yorks, and of his wife Jane Harrison of Hawes
On the walls of the family burial enclosure in Galtway Kirkyard are tablets to the memory of the following members of the family mostly buried there.
- THOMAS youngest son of John Lidderdale of Castle Milk, Dumfries, who died at Ambergis Bay [Ambergris Cay] of Honduras, 28th December 1777 [should be 1799] aged 39.
- THOMAS ROBERTSON who died at Appleby, Westmorland, 15th May 1852, aged 67 and his only surviving son.
- THOMAS WILLIAM who died on his way to the British Museum Library where he was on the staff, his death taking place in a chemist's shop on 4th September 1884, when he was 54.
Source: Robert Halliday Lidderdale, An Account of the Lowland Scots Family of Lidderdale, 1950.
We have now to refer to Thomas, the youngest surviving son of John Lidderdale of Castlemilk, Dumfries-shire. He joined the 3rd (King's Own) Light Dragoons as a cornet in 1776; became a lieutenant in the 89th Regiment; and a captain in the 60th Regiment in 1799. The same year he exchanged into the 6th West India Regiment. He married, 20th March 1783, Eliza, daughter of - Cropper of Ludlow, and had issue:
Thomas Robertson, born 24th March 1785, died 16th May 1852.
Sophia Matilda Eliza.
Anna Mariana Barbara.
He obtained for his son an ensign's commission in the 6th W. I. Regiment. Both were shipwrecked in the Bay of Honduras. Captain [Thomas] Lidderdale died and was buried in the sand on the shore. His son, twice again wrecked, became broken in health, and was placed on half-pay. Thomas Robertson married, 16th June 1823, Anne (born 2nd June 1787), daughter of William Sadler of Bolton Hall. She (died 4th November 1865) had issue,
John, died in infancy.
Source: P.H. McKerlie, History of the Lands and Their Owners in Galloway, 1878.