Michael McTurk Guyana Scotland

Biography of Michael McTurk

Michael McTurk signature, MD 1810
Michael McTurk signature, MD 1810

Michael McTurk from New Cumnock, graduated MD 1810, was an enslaver and plantation owner, as well as the principal medical officer in British Guiana (now Guyana, the only English speaking country in South America) for 34 years.

There is evidence that he played a key role in the suppression of a rebellion of enslaved people in 1823, including the capture of Quamina, the rebel leader and Guyanese national hero, his son Jack, and Cato, one of the enslaved men on McTurk’s own plantation. He had a reputation for cruelty among enslaved people.

In June 1838, he proposed a motion to end the apprenticeship system on 1 August 1838, once it was clear that full emancipation was unavoidable.

He was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1839 and made Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1897. He was active in the Georgetown Town Council, particularly in schemes to improve the water supply to the sugar plantations.


Other Online Resources

Printed Materials

Archival Materials

  • 26677 Register of the Doctors of Medicine 1728-1888
  • Addison, The Matriculation Albums of the University of Glasgow from 1728 to 1858


Michael McTurk
Born 1785.
Died 20 November 1844.
GU Degree: MD, 1810; Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences,
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate
Occupation categories: physicians
English snippet: Michael McTurk, principal medical officer in Guyana for 34 years
Record last updated: 28th Sep 2020

Country Associations

Guyana Guyana
Place of Death

Scotland Scotland

University Connections

University Roles