Nathaniel Cameron

Nathaniel was one of the Camerons of Lochiel, a Scottish Episcopalian heartland, but whereas many of his clansmen were Jacobite, Nathaniel's father founded the loyal regiment which became the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders with his Welsh wife's West Indian fortune: an example of the circuitous routes by which wealth came into Scotland in the eighteenth century. Nathaniel's career as a landed gentleman in Wales suggests an active, impetuous man throwing himself first into Reform politics, then into industrial revolution.

Lived
1787-1860
Origin
Grew up in Marylebone, Middlesex
Father
Alan Cameron 9th of Erracht, 1750-1828. In 1772 he killed Alexander Cameron of Muirshearlich in a duel, and fled to America where he was involved in the War of Independence, and captured. He returned unfit for active service, obtained new lease of Erracht, founded the Cameron Highlanders regiment in 1794 using his wife's fortune, and was made KCB in 1815. (5 p.205)
Mother
Ann Phillips, 1765-1795 daughter of a West Indian merchant who owned Slebech Hall in Pembrokeshire.
Estate
Fynone, Glamorgan (2) and Erracht, Lochaber. Whereas his wife's ancestors had begun to diversify industry on the Glamorgan estate, Nathanial ran them in a conservative manner based on rentals from farming. Its rich mineral resources were remained unexploited until the 1840s. (6 p.15) Most of the estate was sold after his bankruptcy in 1850, after which he went to live in Bologne-sur-Mer.
Political Views
One of the largest landowners in the area, in the Reform era Cameron became known as a champion of the people: his open letter 'To the Working Classes of Wales' supported the Chartist movement, advising,
Let all secrecy, all unlawful meetings cease and proceed openly and manfully. Use your best endeavours to obtain the People's Charter and I have no doubt of your ultimate success. (6 p.14)
In 1836 he became the first Reform mayor of Swansea, having previously had little involvement in local politics: his correspondence and meeting attendence and committee membership testify to how hard he worked in that role. (6 p.15)
Religious views
The estate of Cameron of Locheil in Lochaber was, along with Appin, probably the most populous area of Gaelic and Highland episcopalians well into the 19thC. (4 p.79) However, Nathaniel's father Allan was a anti-Jacobite as the way he recovered Erracht caused a great rift between him and all the other Camerons of Locheil.
Profession
He commanded the second battalion of the Cameron Highlanders. He was later first mayor of Swansea. In 1844 he formed the 'Cameron Coalbrook Steam Coal and Swansea and Loughor Railway Company', the coal-mining part of which briefly prospered, but the railway never succeeded, and the Company was liquidated in 1850, bankrupting Cameron. He and his eldest son left Swansea for London and his son-in-law Mr Elderson, the company's solicitor, was convicted of embezzlement. Cameron was involved in several other projects and appears to have over-stretched his resources.
Chapel connection
Baptism (privately, 28 June 1815)
Married
1812
Spouse
Letitia Pryce Cuny; Ann Shewell of Sussex
Children
Nathaniel Pryce (1814, who remained in Swansea after his father's death, managing the remainder of the estate), Letitia Elizabeth (13 June 1815)

Sources

  1. Registers of Charlotte Chapel (NAS CH12/3)
  2. Estate and Industrial Records of the Benson Family, D/D SB 12, Strick and Bellingham, solicitors, West Glamorgan Archive Service online, accessed 19 May 2011.
  3. David Webster, The Naming and Numbering of Scottish Regiments (The Scottish Genealogy Society 2002)
  4. Rowan Strong, Episcopalianism in nineteenth-century Scotland (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2002)
  5. John Stewart of Ardvorlich, The Camerons: A history of Clan Cameron (Clan Cameron Association (1974)
  6. Bernice Cardy, 'Nathaniel Cameron, first Reform mayor of Swansea' in Minerva vol.3, 1995, p.12-16 (Available online, accessed 11 December 2011)

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