Alexander Ley

Male 1708 - 1779  (69 years)


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  • Name Alexander Ley 
    Born 1708  Monkleigh, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Baptism 8 Apr 1708  Monkleigh, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Occupation master mariner 
    _UID 6FEFE26C33CDFD4F864DFDCD25B2D3A5E4D4 
    Died Between 1777 and 1779  Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I657  Victoria Boutilier's Genealogy Pages
    Last Modified 4 Jun 2020 

    Father Thomas Ley,   b. Abt 1670, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Oct 1743, Monkleigh, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 73 years) 
    Mother Margarett Mill,   b. 28 Nov 1671, East Putford, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Apr 1731, Monkleigh, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 59 years) 
    Married 23 Feb 1692  East Putford, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • (The marriage date would be 23 February 1693 by our reckoning)
    Family ID F110  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Patience Whitefield,   b. 1706, Bideford?, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1777, Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 70 years) 
    Married 17 Mar 1734  Monkleigh, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Bride was a resident of Northam at time of marriage, notes the marriage entry. Married on March 17, 1734 (1735 by our reckoning)
    Children 
     1. Patience Ley,   b. 1737, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1801  (Age > 65 years)
     2. John Ley,   b. 1739, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1800, on or near Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years)
     3. Thomas Ley,   b. 1741, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1798, (Lingan, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 58 years)
     4. Alexander Ley,   b. 1744, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 1777, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada(?) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age < 32 years)
     5. Margaret Ley,   b. 1746, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     6. Peter Ley,   b. 1748, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Feb 1749, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 1 years)
     7. Mary Ley,   b. 1751, Northam, Devon, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 23 May 2017 
    Family ID F109  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Alexander Ley in Devon

      Northam Pew List (begun in 1732 and emended thereafter)
      Transcribed by David Carter 2017
      Taken from original document in North Devon Record Office, ref: 1843A/PW/2/e/79
      Area 6: Alexander Ley
      Area 7: Patience Ley


      "Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers Preserved in the Public Archives 1729-1745" by W.A. Shaw (1901) p. 353
      Embargo Warrants from Customs Book XIV p. 446 (meaning, a list of merchant ships that must provide a (sometimes specified number) of men for His Majesty's Navy)
      March 27, 1740 Order in Council/April 2, 1740 Date of Treasury-"Resolution" berthed at Bideford bound for Newfoundland, master Alexander Ley. (Master of the "Newkey" at this time was Robt. Prance (see below); Richard Vernam, a relative of Patience (Vernam) Whitfield, was another master mariner working at this time).

      According to "Gentleman's Magazine" Vol. 14 of 1744, p. 616, the master of the "Newkey" of the port of Barnstaple, Alexander Ley, encountered a French privateer off Cape Clear [ = Cape Clear, County Cork, Ireland] on October 19, while carrying 13 guns, 13 men, 71 passengers, eventually the master of the privateer was captured as well as 15 French prisoners. Ley broke his shoulderbone in the skirmishes.

      The above incident is cited in "A History of Bideford" by Duncan Fielder, pub. Phillimore & Co., 1985

      Apparently Lloyd's lists elaborate that the above voyage was returning from Newfoundland.

      North Devon Record Office: Account book; reference "1843A/PO 2 1720 - 1760"
      Northam Parish
      John Gregory apprenticed to Alexr Ley 1747
      Will: Dean apprenticed to Alexr Ley 1747
      same parish, same location, different document; reference "1843A/PO 3 1761 - 1775"
      1747
      John Gregory to Alex. Ley for Hide
      William Dean to Alex Ley for personal estate
      www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a

      Reference: ADM 106/1052/128
      Description:
      Alexander Ley, Northam. Account of charges for assisting the Mortar Sloop when in distress off the Bar of Barnstaple by order of Thomas Benson, Esq.
      Date: 1747 Nov 2
      Held by: The National Archives, Kew
      Legal status: Public Record(s)
      Language: English
      Physical condition: Enclosed in f127

      Reference: ADM 106/1054/206
      Description:
      Thomas Benson, Northam. Requests funds to pay Captain Ley and his men for helping to get the Mortar Boom into the harbour.
      Date: 1748 Jan 12
      Held by: The National Archives, Kew
      Legal status: Public Record(s)
      Language: English
      Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

      Catalogue description
      Captured ship: Le Pierre Marie of St Malo (master Jean de la Coste). History: a French...
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      Reference: HCA 32/142/14
      Description:
      Captured ship: Le Pierre Marie of St Malo (master Jean de la Coste).

      History: a French privateer (50 tons, 10 guns, 30 men), bound to Morlaix with an English prize laden with whale oil; taken near Barnstaple on 30 October / 10 November 1744 by the privateer New Key (Alexander Ley commanding), and brought into Barnstaple.


      Documents:-

      Court Papers:

      [CP 1-CP 7]: standing interrogatories, five examinations, commissioners' affidavit;
      [CP 8-CP 13]: standing interrogatories, four examinations, commissioners' affidavit;
      [CP 14]: abstracts and translations of the 28 ship's papers.
      Ship’s Papers (28) marked SP A-SP Z2.

      [Decision: unknown]

      Note: Extra information from HCA 30/775/1
      Date: 1744 - 1745
      Held by: The National Archives, Kew
      Legal status: Public Record(s)
      Language: English and French
      Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

      Catalogue description
      Captured ship: Lydia (master Thomas Askew or Bertrand Moracin as prize master). History:...
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      Reference: HCA 32/127/39
      Description:
      Captured ship: Lydia (master Thomas Askew or Bertrand Moracin as prize master).

      History: an English merchant ship (70 tons, 9 men), bound from Madeira to London, laden with wine and lemons; taken on 6 February at latitude 47°, 60 leagues off Scilly by the French; retaken on 16 February 1745 at latitude 40°, 35 leagues west of Scilly by the privateer Resolution (Alexander Ley commanding), and brought into London.

      Documents:-

      Court Papers:

      [CP 1-CP 5]: standing interrogatories, three examinations, commissioners' affidavit;
      [CP 6]: attestation and claim;
      [CP 7-CP 8]: Commission of appraisement and appraisement;
      [CP 9]: attestation as to papers.
      Ship's Papers numbered SP 1-SP 8.

      [Decision: restored paying 1/2 salvage, 11 June 1745]

      Note: Extra information from HCA 30/775/4
      Date: 1744 - 1745
      Held by: The National Archives, Kew
      Legal status: Public Record(s)
      Language: English and French
      Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

      reference in "List and Index Society Vol. 45: Oyer and Terminer Records (H.C.A.1), HCA 1/20/56 and 57 "indictment of Alexander Ley [and others] for destroying the "Ropeyard" , deposition of William Prust in the case" (latter record dated January 12, 1753 [1754])

      Derby Mercury Friday, 1 March 1754
      "The Grand Jury found Bills of Indictment against several Persons for Felony, for the wilful Destruction of the Ship Rope-Yard, of which Alexander Ley was Owner, and James Jones Master, on the High Seas, with Intention to defraud the Insurers thereof"



      possible reference in "A Record of Wooden Sailing Ships and Warships built in the port of Bideford" by Inkerman Rogers, 1947
      ------------
      Alexander Ley in Cape Breton

      From "Journal and Proceedings of the [Nova Scotia] House of Assembly" for the year 1845
      page 263 (Extracts of the Minutes of Council of the Province of Nova Scotia, books C, D & E)
      "no. 4 p. 524 At A Council holden at Halifax, on the 6th March, 1765. The Governor laid before the Council a letter from the Right Honble. Lord Colvill, representing that information had been laid before him of a considerable quantity of Furs amassed at La Brador on the Island of Breton, by two persons named Ley and McCormick, in order to export to St. Pierre's, and that proper measures might be taken to prevent such exportation. And the Attorney General was directed to make enquiry on this representation, and to proceed according to such information as he should receive."

      "Post Occupational History of the Old French Town of Louisbourg, 1760-1930 Chapter 1: 1760-1768 English Garrison Habitation" http://fortress.uccb.ns.ca/search/Foster1.html

      This text claims that

      1. Alexander Ley & his son John appear on an 1766 petition for land at Louisbourg

      2. In 1766 Alexander and John Ley were signers of a petition of Louisbourg residents against a tax on liquor levied by the legislature of Nova Scotia. "Friction between the government at Halifax and the Louisbourg inhabitants is evident in the Council Minutes of the 1760's...Alexander Ley and Moses Freeman made a complaint at Halifax against [George] Cottnam [tax collector at Louisbourg] for his 'ill language' to them and the injury done to their reputations because of his statements."

      3. On March 22, 1767, Alexander Ley is prosecuted by the Attorney General of Nova Scotia for "smuggling" a large amount of coal dug in Cow Bay to New England.

      From "A History of the Island of Cape Breton With Some Account of the Discovery and Settlements" by Richard Brown (London, 1869)

      p. 365- Lord William Campbell, Gov. of Nova Scotia on Nov. 27, [1766?] gives exclusive rights to dig coal to Benjamin Gerrish and his partners in Halifax, until the following April, at Spanish River [Sydney River]. Gerrish & his partners applied for an extension of time, one reason being "A large quantity of coal has been smuggled from Cape Breton to New England by one Alexander Lee of Louisbourg, which reduced the price so low that it would not pay them." Lord Wm. Campbell's reply to Gerrish: "the coal composed the surface of the island, and could be easily taken away by any adventurer"

      p. 368-Alexander Ley is noted as one of those who were noted as having made improvements ("dwelling houses, stages and flukes") at "Manadou" without having a title to any land, September 26, 1767. Mr. Franklyn, acting Lieutenant-Governor, forwards the list containing Alexander Ley's name to England.

      (When did Alexander Ley get a licence of occupation for said improved land? Were there any consequences of his "smuggling" ?)

      p.397-In 1786 or 1787 (the author does not specify) John Ley was appointed one of the magistrates for the district of Louisbourg (which included Sydney and Baddeck). [this is probably John Ley Sr. and not his son]

      WILL OF ALEXANDER LEY (the original of which, and a more clearly written copy of which, can both be found on FHL microfilm # 546, 017, containing Halifax County estate papers, file L-56)
      "Know all men [by these] presen[ts that I,] Alexander Ley of my own perfect mind and m[emory] and free will and accord do make this m[y la]st will and testament. at the Departure of my Life-I bequeath my Soul to my most and Gracious Almighty Good God my Corps to be buried in the Burin Ground as near as convenien[t] to my Wife, by my Executor in Manadue.
      I give & bequest to William Phips Ten Pounds To his wife Patience Ten Pounds. To their Daughter Elizabeth five pounds and to each of their children els Six Dollers. To William Solloman Samuel Catharin Margret & Patience. I also give to Thomas Crow Ten Pounds, to his wife Margret Ten pounds. To her son John Five pounds. I also give to John Burk Ten Pounds to his wife Mary Ten pounds and what say about Thomas Ley, I am at a Lost as he is missing. my son John Ley I make my Sole Executer- and if please God that Thomas Ley returns saff, that I give & bequeath to him all the Estate at Lingan with all the Houses Goods & Chattels of thereon moveable & immoveable whatsoever but if he should not return in saffty, his Widdow & c To the care and direction of my Executor John Ley and should not John Ley ever return, then and in that Case I make all Executors and Executrix a Like To say William Phipps Thomas Crow John Burk John Ley Child John and Thomas Ley Widdow Ann. and in case that Thomas Ley should return and not his Brother John, in that case he is my Executer. Manadue July 22, 1777 Signed Sealed & c & c In presents of Alexander Ley
      Nova Scotia Court of Probate of Wills Halifax The within Will proved in Common form of Law upon the Oath of Patience Phipps, one of the subscribing witnesses thereto before me. Wm Morris, Registrar."

      The will is in the handwriting of Alexander Ley (holographic will) and witnesses Patience Phipps, Jos. Ross, and Jno.(or Jos.?) Allen all sign.

      The above-transcribed will seems to indicate that Alexander Ley's son Thomas Ley inherited whatever property was possessed by Alexander Ley at Lingan; Alexander Ley's [eldest] son John Ley Sr. lived on or near (by will, inheritance law or from a previous transfer of land) whatever land was granted to Alexander Ley at Main-a-Dieu. Did Alexander Ley own any ships when he lived in Cape Breton?