1. Charles Vidal 1 was born <1710> in Jamaica.
General Notes: Charles is the first Vidal who
can be placed in Jamaica from the surviving Parish Records. There is a family
tradition that he was an attorney at law and that his father was called Stephen
and that Stephen was descended from an unknown Vidal who was the first to
settle in Jamaica.
There seems to be several theories the about the origins of the Vidals in Jamaica. The first two derive from the fact that there were quite a few Spanish and Portuguese Vidals around in the 17th century who could have found their way to Jamaica. Alice Diehl, whose mother was Eliza Mangold (née Vidal -- Dr Charles Lewis Vidal's adopted? daughter), wrote to Julia Vidal (née Espeut) in about 1904 saying that her side of the family believed that the Vidals were originally Spanish pirates who settled in Jamaica either prior to the British annexing the island or later. Alice was a prolific and romantic authoress who, no doubt, fancied the notion of swashbuckling Spanish forebears but there is no evidence for this except in the supposedly "Spanish" look of some of the earlier members of the family.
As far as the Portuguese Vidals are concerned there is mention of there being some Portuguese Jews in Jamaica called Vidal who turned Christian. This is made in Captain J. H. Lawrence Archer's publication "Monumental inscriptions of the British West Indies" which says: "... Amongst the earliest converts from Judaism were the Vidals of Spanish town and the Israels of St Dorothy." Other sources have been consulted but there have been no Vidals, or persons with similarly spelt names, to be found among the Jamaican monumental inscriptions for Jews.
The writer is fairly doubtful about these first two theories. From 1735 (possibly earlier) all the Vidals had very English Christian names and later seem to have returned to England to be educated or trained and in some cases to live for most of their lives (viz Dr Charles Lewis Vidal -1782-1862). It seems unlikely that they would have had such an affinity for the country had their origins been Spanish or Portuguese.
The final theory -- in fact the accepted story for most of the Vidals who came to England in the 19th century -- was that the first Vidal to settle in Jamaica went there from England (there were quite a few Vidals in England at that time -- see IGI) with the expeditionary force of Penn and Venables who took the island from the Spanish in 1655. It is said that the officers of that force were granted lands on the western side of the island (now the parishes of St Elizabeth, Westmoreland and Hanover) which is where the expeditionary force is said to have originally landed.
Unfortunately, a publication listing all the land holdings on the Island in about 1675 does not include any of the western parishes so it is not possible to confirm whether or not the Vidals had holdings in the then parish of St Elizabeth (St Elizabeth parish, at that time, covered the whole of the most western end of the island, which now comprises the parishes of St Elizabeth, Westmoreland and Hanover).
Eighty years later, at a time when Charles might have owned some land, there are no Vidals to be found in a list of of the Landholders compiled in 1754 which covers all parishes and which appears comprehensive as it covers both very large and small holdings. It may be argued that Charles was dead by this time but the list includes holdings of deceased persons whose affairs were, presumably, in hands of administrators. Interestingly enough, of the various families which the Vidals were later connected (ie Allwoods, Gibsons, Wades) only one Wade is mentioned with a small holding in St Andrew's Parish. On the other hand, the Gale family, with which the Vidals were supposed to be connected in some way, had very extensive holdings in the western parishes. Likewise the James family with William Rhodes James, who in all likelihood was the father of Herbert James, owning 1075 acres in Hanover parish. (Herbert James was later to marry John James Vidal's only daughter, Jane.) 2
Charles married Lettice ——— .3 Lettice was buried on 19 Feb 1743/44 in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica. 3 Another name for Lettice was Letticia ———.
General Notes: In all likelihood Lettice died giving birth to Stephen.
Children from this marriage were:
2 F i. Mary
Vidal 4 was born on 14 Jun 1733
4 and was baptized on
6 Jul 1733 in Kingston Parish, Jamaica. 4
+ 3 M ii. Charles Lewis Vidal was baptized in 1735 in
Vere Parish, Jamaica. 5
4 M iii. John
De Chany's Vidal 6 was born on
15 Aug 1738 6 and was
baptized on 28 Dec 1738 in Vere Parish, Jamaica. 7
+ 5 M iv. John Vidal 1
was born <1740> in Jamaica and died <1765> at age 25.
+ 6 M v. Stephen Vidal 9
was born <18 Feb 1743/44> in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 1 was baptized on 19 Feb 1743/44
in Westmoreland Parish, Jamaica, 9,10 and died <1795> in
Jamaica 9,11 at age 51.