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Alexander Dewar (1748-1792)


Alexander Dewar sailed on the last two of Captain Cook's voyages, both times as a clerk. Earlier, Dewar had sailed on Captain Wallis's voyage to the Pacific in Dolphin, also as a clerk.

Alexander Dewar was baptised in Cockburns-path, Berwickshire, Scotland, on 26 July, 1748, the son of Joseph Dewar. Dewar joined Adventure from HMS Torbay on 1 January, 1772, as Furneaux’s clerk for Cook’s Second Voyage. He served in Resolution on Cook’s Third Voyage, which was Dewar’s third voyage to the Pacific. He joined the ship on 10 February, 1776, as an able seaman (AB). However, he was soon appointed clerk on 12 March.

Dewar in his capacity as clerk was responsible for writing many of the shipboard wills. He then witnessed several of them, including the second one of Charles Clerke in August 1779.1

After the Third Voyage, Dewar petitioned the Earl of Sandwich for promotion and an appoint-ment as a purser. He was successful, and was appointed to HMS Lively.
Alexander Dewar, purser; Gregory Bentham, purser; Thomas Shaw, gunner... Warrants or commissions for service at this rank in the Royal Navy.2

Dewar served as a purser for the next ten years. His last appointment was in 1789.
Alexander Dewar, purser... Warrants or commissions for service at this rank in the Royal Navy.3

Alexander Dewar (said to be from Dunbar) married Catherine Quin on 29 December, 1780, at Fowey in Cornwall. She came from a naval family, with both her father Rollo (or Robert) Quin and two uncles having naval connections. The Dewars had two sons and two daughters. The younger son, John Hay Dewar, became a lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

Alexander Dewar died in 1792, and his will was proven that year.4

John Robson


  1. Cook’s Log, page 36, vol. 33, no. 2 (2010).
  2. The National Archives (TNA). ADM 6/22/285. 1781.
  3. TNA. ADM 6/23/513. 1789.
  4. TNA. PROB 11/1218.

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 17, volume 40, number 1 (2017).

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