Alexander Masterton (c1640-1723)

Alexander Masterton (c1640-1723)

Provost of Linlithgow

Alexander Masterton was a merchant and provost of Linlithgow in the late 17th Century, and with his son Thomas, an investor in the ill-fated Darien Company. The failure was an even more severe blow to Alexander. As well as his investment of £100 he lost a son, Alexander, who was bo'sun of the ship Caledonia, one of the ships that took the settlers to Darien, and he, like many of the settlers, lost his life in the doomed endeavour. Another son, Charles Masterton, became a cleric and a notable presbyterian in Belfast. His eldest son, Thomas, the subscriber to the Darien scheme, also became a merchant in Linlithgow and is mentioned in the charter below.


Alexander Masterton is the earliest known Masterton in a small group who lived around Linlithgow. He married Elizabeth Heart in 1663, and had 8 children, and later in life probably married Margaret Glen in 1691. A fuller genealogy of Alexander Masterton can be found at this link

Calendar of the Laing Charters 854-1837

17th June 1686

reproduced from the Calendar of the Laing Charters, page 662. James Thin for the University of Edinburgh, 1899.

A History of William Paterson and the Darien Company

A Perfect List of the Several Persons Residenters in Scotland who have Subscribed...

Thomas Mastertoun, merchant in Linlithgow,           £100

Alexander Mastertoun, merchant in Linlithgow,           £100

A Perfect List of the Several Persons Residenters in Scotland
who have subscribed as adventurers in the Joint-Stock of the Company of Scotland trading to Africa and the Indies,
together with the respective sums which they have severally subscribed in the books of the said company, amounting in the whole to the sum of £400,000 Sterling.
Edinburgh, 1696.
Reproduced as Appendix F in Barbour's History of Darien.:

Chapter VI: The First Expeditions to Darien

Of the five vessels which formed the first expedition to Darien, one only, the Caledonia, was fated to return to Scotland. As already mentioned the Dolphin Snow was forced to run into Carthagena, where she was seized by the Spaniards. The Endeavour Pink, which left Darien along with the other ships, was abandoned at sea, where she foundered. The St. Andrew and the Unicorn ultimately reached Port Royal and New York respectively, but were left to go to ruin at these places.

Of the 1200 men who sailed from Leith in these vessels, 44 died on the voyage to Darien; about 300 found a grave during the Colony's short stay there; and more than 400 were thrown overboard in the fatal "middle passage" between Darien and Jamaica and New York. Many more died in Jamaica, while others got dispersed in that island and in Cuba and America. Very few lived to return to their native land,

A History of William Paterson and the Darien Company
James Samuel Barbour
William Blackwood & Sons,
page 127 (note)
Edinburgh, 1907