Web Site Hugh Frazer Family History Traditions

The Black Knee Chronicles

Volume 6

Research by Wilson Frazer, c 1930

John Frazer, Trooper

Note. In the Musters for the 1st Regiment of Horse (4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards) for 1774 - the earliest available -there appear as Corporals John and Alexander Frazer. Serving in the same Regiment was Neil Doherty who was a Sergeant when Alexander Frazer retired in 1794 and succeeded him as Quartermaster. In the will of Alexander Frazer of Nappagh (q.v.) reference is made to a bond given by this Neil Doherty, possibly for repayment of a loan for the purchase of the vacant Quartermastership. In the Muster Roll for 31 March 1792 Alexander is entered as Allick Frazer, the name by which Alexander seems to have been known to his family. (v. Aunt Ruth's Chronicle). From these facts it has been inferred that Alexander of Nappagh and Alexander of the 1st Regiment of Horse are identical. Further the Inspection Returns shew that John and Alexander were more or less contemporaries in age and had joined the Regiment in the same year. It has been assumed therefore that John Frazer of the 1st Regiment of Horse was identical with the brother John referred to in Alexander's will.

By deduction from the Inspection Returns the date of John Frazerís birth was 23 May 1719. He joined the 1st Regiment of Horse in 1740. In the earliest muster available, 30 June 1774, he is given as Irish in nationality, but what value is to be attached to this, it is difficult to say. In 1740, when he enlisted, the cavalry regiments were recruited almost exclusively in England, and all Irishmen were looked upon with suspicion as potential papists. By 1774 this attitude had undergone great change, many true Irishmen had been recruited, and the Regiment was well on its way to become the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, so that it is possible that John and Alexander were merely falling in with the majority in calling themselves Irish. On the other hand they may have always called themselves Irish, either to conceal identity or because they had in fact been born in Ireland, though their parentage was not Irish. The destruction of the earlier musters which appear to have been at the Four Courts, Dublin, has probably made it impossible to clear up this point.

In 1774 John was a Corporal in Major-Gen. Johnstonís Troop [1]. On 31 March 1775 he is noted as on furlough; on 30 June 1776 and 30 September 1776 he is recruiting. In 1778 the troop passed to Lt-Gen. George Warde. On 31 December 1778 John is ďon commandĒ; on 30 September he is on furlough, and again on 31 March 1782. During the quarter ending 31 December 1782 John left the Regiment [2]. No comment is made on the muster roll, which is unusual. Generally at the end of the roll there is a list of the men who have gone since the last muster with a note of the reason e.g. dead, discharged, transferred to such and such a Regiment. Possibly his leaving the regiment was connected with Alexander obtaining a warrant as Quartermaster. It is conceivable that John also had designs on the quartermastership; but either because he had not got enough money or was considered too old or for some other reason, Alexander got the pull over him and John got out of the Regiment in a huff. In any case what became of him remains a mystery.

Between 1774 and 1782 when he left the Regiment, John was never stationed very near Dunnacliggan; and his visits there were doubtless few and far between even supposing that there were any.

When he left the Regiment it may well be that he went away to some other part of Ireland or perhaps out of Ireland altogether. Whatever the reason, his memory seems to have been entirely lost to his Nephew Robertís children.
If the evidence of Alexanderís will can be accepted, John was still alive in 1805.

[1] - In the Stock Purse Account in the Inspection Return for 1770 the following item occurs:-

To Corporal Frazerís expenses of recruit horses  £35/2/10

There is no evidence to decide whether this is John or Alexander.

[2] - A re-examination of the Inspection Returns for 1785 reveals the following item in the Stock Purse Account:-

To Corporal Frazerís subsistence from 12 February to 10 July 1783  £8/3/0

It is not easy to say whether this is John or Alexander. According to the Musters John had gone by the dates mentioned, but on the other hand, though in the Musters up to 30 September 1783, Alexanderís Warrant as Q-M dated from 10 December 1782, and it is difficult to understand why in the Account of 1785 he should be called Corporal or why in any event there should be a charge for his subsistence between the dates mentioned, when according to all the evidence he was on service as usual with the Regiment. Upon the whole it seems more likely that the reference is to John, and the circumstances of this special charge have yet to be ascertained. There are no Irish Inspection Returns for 1780, 1782 and 1783.


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