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The Black Knee Chronicles

Volume 6

Research by Wilson Frazer, c 1930

James Frazer, Trooper

In the first available Muster Rolls for the 4th Regiment of Horse (later the 7th Dragoon Guards) there appears a James Frazer, and the only present ground got assuming that he was Archibald’s brother is the fact that he was serving in the same regiment and about the same time as Archibald. The Inspection Returns which gave such valuable information about Alexander and John are of no use here, because there is a gap of four years between the last aavailable muster in 1763 and the first Irish Inspection Return in 1767, and another gap between this Return and the next available muster in 1774. Without accurate knowledge whether James left the Regiment before or after 1767 it is impossible to draw any certain inference.

The Muster for the 24th June 1760 shows James as serving as a trooper in the Regiment which had been transferred from the Irish to the British Establishment from 15th April 1760 and was in June at Horstmar in Germany. James' troop was commanded by Capt. Henry Stuart. On the 24th June 1761 James was “on command” and  and the troop had passed to Capt. Meadows. On the 24th December 1761 James is still entered as trooper and so continues until 24th June 1762. The regiment then still in Germany but seems to have returned in the latter part of 1762 or early in i 763. Anyway sometime between June 1762 and April 1763 James became a Corporal in place of John Shaw, and in the Muster for the period 25th June 1762 to April 15th 1763 he is entered (1) as Corporal with a note “reduced from Corporal, 23rd February" and( 2) as trooper with a note “entertained 24th February". The Regiment was then at Coventry, and each troop was reduced from some 44 troopers to 28 on the 23rd February 1763 and to 20 on the 15th April following. James a not reduced on the latter date, but unfortunately it is not clear whether he remained in the Regiment or was transferred to another regiment. After 15th April 1763 no further Muster Roll for the Regiment is available until that for 3oth June 1774. The Regiment was then back in lreland, but James is no longer in it.

Assuming that James remained in the Regiment up to 1772, there is only one entry in the Inspection Returns which could apply to him if he were Archibald’s brother. According to the Tables of Age and Service one trooper in the Regiment reached 50 years of age and 25 years of service between May 1769 and June 1770; the rest were a good deal younger. Between May 1771 and June 1772 this trooper left the Regiment; he either died or was discharged and recommended for bounty. James then, if this relates to him, must have been born between May 1719 and June 1720 and to have joined the Regiment between May 1744 and June 1745. So far as dates are concerned, therefore, there is no reason why he should not have been Archibald’s brother.

If James had in fact transferred to another regiment he might be the James Frazer who was serving as a trooper in the 8th Dragoons according to the 1771 Musters of that Regiment. This James appears to have been ill and to have died in 1773. If he has been correctly identified in the Age and Service Tables, he became 55 in 1768, making his birth date about 1713-1714 and the date of' his entry into the service about 1735.


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