Sir Alexander Cumming of Culter, 2nd Baronet

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Alexander Cumming

Birthdate:
Death: August 23, 1775 (84-85)
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Alexander Cumming of Culter, 1st Baronet and Elizabeth Swinton
Husband of Amy Whitehall
Father of Sir Alexander Cumming, 3rd Baronet
Half brother of Sir Alexander Cumming, II

Managed by: Alisdair James Smyth
Last Updated:

About Sir Alexander Cumming of Culter, 2nd Baronet

Biographical Summary

"Sir Alexander Cumming, Baronet [S. 1695], possibly of Culter, 1st s. and h., by the 1st wife, b. 1690; entered the Army, 29 May 1703, at the age of 13, becoming, subsequently, a Captain, and serving in the wars in Flanders, and at the battle of Malplaquet (1709), in which his uncle, Col. Swinton, was slain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Malplaquet

He was admitted as Advocate 1714, but quitting the legal profession was "taken unto the secret service of the Crown at a salary of £300 a year," from Christmas 1718 to Christmas 1721. He suc. to the Baronetcy, 7 Feb. 1724/5, and possibly (if, as is not improbable, it had not been previously sold) to the estate of Cutler. In 1729 he sailed for America, and on 3 April 1730, was made Chief of the Cherokee nation, being crowned at Nequisee, he and six Cherokee chiefs doing homage to the King, at Windsor, 22 June following. In 1737 and 1750 (and probably through all that period) he was a Prisoner in the Fleet for debt, but on 30 Dec. 1765, was nominated a Pensioner of the Charter House, London. He m. about 1737, Amy, (not Anne) da. of Lancelot Whitehall, Commissioner of the Customs .[S.]. She d. at Chelsea, and was bur. 22 Oct. 1743, at East Barnet, Midx. He d. at the Charter House, 23 and was bur. 28 Aug. 1775, at East Barnet, aged 85. Will pr. Aug. 1775."

SOURCE: Complete baronetage; Cokayne, George E. (George Edward); 1904; Vol. IV; page 370

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Sir Alexander Cuming (1691 – 1775) http://www.barnet4u.co.uk/Barnethistory/A%20Cummings/acummings.html

Sir Alexander Cuming: ‘Chief of the Cherokees’ was born in Edinburgh in 1691, of Scottish nobility. When he was 12 he attained a Captain’s commission from Queen Anne and he led a company during the Jacobite uprising in 1715. He had also became a lawyer and declined the Governorship of Bermuda in 1722,

In 1729 he became a member of the Royal Society of London and had been granted the King’s leave of absence to travel. America was his choice to visit and in March 1730 he made the dangerous journey to the Cherokee mountains (now in South Carolina and Virginia) as a self-styled diplomat on behalf of his country although he had no authority from the King or the government. But Sir Alexander was an independent man and his dream was to visit the people of the Cherokee people. He must have impressed them as by the 3d of April 1730, in a general meeting of chiefs, he was crowned commander and chief ruler of the Cherokees and was presented with the scalps of their enemies.

He then set off for Charlestown arriving on April 13, with seven Indian chiefs that he was taking to London and on 5th June they arrived at Dover.

A few days later Cuming presented the Indians to George II at Windsor. Among them was Oukou-naka, who was later to be known as Attacullakulla (the Little Carpenter), one of the greatest Cherokee Chiefs who ever lived.

Cuming saw little of the Indians during their stay where they went to the theatre, dined with bishops, were amazed at the crown jewels in the Tower of London and received an audience with the royal family, The population of the Cherokees was estimated to be around 60,000, and an alliance with the French was close to being forged but Cumings stopped that and on June 22nd 1730 a treaty was signed between the English and the Cherokee Nation (even though no such ‘nation’ actually existed!)

Shortly after that Sir Alexander Cuming was thrown in jail for debt and was unable to accompany the Cherokee delegation on their return trip to America.The Indians loved Cuming, and were much impressed by his imprisonment. They regarded the white men as exceedingly foolish to place a man in jail for debt, thus making it impossible for him to pay!

Little is known of Sir Alexander’s later life although it is known he returned to the army. He died aged 84 and was buried in East Barnet churchyard on 28th August, 1775 but there is no sign of his grave which has been either damaged or, through time, the inscription has eroded.

The name of Sir Alexander Cuming may not mean anything to the people of Barnet but to the Cherokee he was an important part of their history.