John Mathison

RolesNaval Sailor 
Date of Birthc.1721ADM 107/4
First Known Service1736CSORN
MistressThomasina NewtonPROB11
Illegitimate DaughterJane NewtonPROB11
Last Known Service12.5.1757CSORN
Date of Death4.1.1764BWAS-1714
Will Probated16.7.1765, PROB 11/910/221

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
17361741Service as a merchant seamanADM 107/4
11.7.1745 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination ADM 107/4/5RNLPC
17.8.1745 Lieutenant ADM 6/16/530CSORN
10.7.1761 Commander ADM 6/20/89ADM 6/20
10.7.176125.8.1762Tiger Hulk, Commander and Commanding Officer ADM 6/20/89
Issued by Sir Samuel Cornish (1st Baronet of Sharnbrook) (1715-1770), East Indies
Confirmed 4.9.1765
25.8.1762 Captain ADM 6/20/273ADM 6/20
25.8.17624.1.1764Panther (60), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/20/273
Issued by Sir Samuel Cornish (1st Baronet of Sharnbrook) (1715-1770), East Indies
Confirmed 21.3.1770
24.9.17626.10.1762Battle of Manilla 

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Marylynn Rouse on Thursday 14th of February 2019 07:31

Can you please put me in touch with Carole Mason. Thanks

Posted by Cy on Monday 12th of November 2018 21:44

Thanks, very enlightnening. Also I can confirm that he was lieutenant on the Cambridge from Oct 1755 until May 1757 when he transfered to the Devonshire. From ADM 6 commissioning records.

Posted by Carole Mason on Monday 12th of November 2018 17:52

I came across your website when I was researching my ancestor Captain John Mathison. Now that I know more about him I thought you might like to have a summary.

His father was a minister of the Church of Scotland, also called John, who spent his adult life in Edinburgh. John senior was married twice, and had (as far as I can tell) four children by his first marriage and eleven by his second. Captain John Mathison was a product of the second marriage and his mother was Isobel Hairstanes, a member of a Dumfries family.

John junior was born in Edinburgh on 6 February 1723 and baptised on 16 February 1723. You have the outline of his naval career on your website, and have obviously seen his will: are you aware of his role in what W.E. May called ‘The Panther Affair’ in an article which he wrote for The Mariner’s Mirror in 1969? I can send you a copy of the article if you wish.

I am reasonably certain that he was the “Lieut of His Majesty’s Ship Cambridge” who married Ann Elizabeth Grose on 6 May 1757 in Stoke Damerel. As far as I can tell there were no children from this marriage. I am descended instead from the Jane who is mentioned in his will.

Jane’s mother was born Thomasina Cox, and was the second wife of Captain John Newton who died in 1748 while swimming in Hudson’s Bay. She was the mother of five children by Captain Newton. She was fifteen years older than John Mathison. I know nothing at all about the circumstances in which they met, and how she became pregnant. Jane was baptised in Chatham on 17 April 1753, but I don’t know when she was born. However, she was aged 34 when she died in June 1788, which is consistent with her having been born shortly before her baptism. It seems that, whatever his character flaws, John Mathison felt a sense of responsibility towards her: that is certainly borne out by the provisions of his will. She was generally known as Jane Mathison.

John Mathison mentions several members of family in his will, apart from his nameless wife and his mother who was to die in 1766. (His father had died in 1752.) His brother, and executor, Gilbert Mathison was a plantation owner in Jamaica. His half-sister Margaret married George Ross in 1736. His full sister Isobel married James Campbell in 1751. Another full sister Jean married William Corrie in 1753. Corrie was a merchant in Dumfries. When Isobel Hairstanes made her will in 1765 Jean Mathison and William Corrie were her principal legatees, partly “with a view to reimburse the said William Corrie for some considerable sums he expended to my knowledge on the account and with a view to promote the interest of the said deceast Captain John Mathison”.

I hope you find this useful. Let me know if you would like to have more information.

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