On Saturday, October 7, 1865, a clash between police and a crowd of protestors broke out in the town of Morant Bay, the parochial seat of the parish of St. Thomas-in-the-East. This parish bordered St. David to the east; on a clear day, the coastal town of Morant Bay can be seen from the higher elevations of the eastern Yallahs region. The crowd had assembled outside of the parish courthouse to protest the proceedings against Lewis Miller. Miller was the unfortunate scapegoat caught in the middle of a conflict between the small tenants living and farming on Middleton estate and their landlord, James Williams. The tenants had threatened Williams with a rent strike unless he lowered the rents that he was assessing. Some tenants had already withheld their rent, claiming that the estate was vacant, and thus free for settlement. The tenants generally felt that they were being oppressed by Williams, who was not the landowner of the estate, but a lessee, who was subletting small farms for profit. For his part, Williams threatened his tenants with the possibility of prosecuting them for trespassing. Lewis Miller, whose horse had strayed onto Williams’s leased land, was a test case (Heuman, 1994).
KeywordsCoffee Plantation Historical Archaeology Coffee Production Blue Mountain Coastal Town
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