Blog


Within this section you will find over 100 articles which have appeared in publications of the Society, have been the subject of our hikes and wanderings and/or are simply of interest to anyone with a love of St. John and its rich history.

If you’d like to submit an article for consideration in a future newsletter or quarterly journal, please be aware of the following guidelines.

  • Word count should be between 500-1,000 words. Articles longer than 1,000 words are accepted on a case-by-case basis, so please contact us in advance for pre-approval;
  • Please single space after periods;
  • Article should be concise, on topic, and most importantly, relate to V.I. or Danish West Indies history; and
  • The article’s relevancy to St. John should be clear.

Please send articles to the attention of newsletter editor Andrea Milam at: [email protected].


06

Oct 2007

Jumbies and Werewolves

(By Robin Swank, with the assistance of several other unnamed ghoulish board members.) Halloween wasn’t observed in these islands until the U.S. influence began to strengthen in the 1960’s, but there has never been a lack of spirits or hauntings here, with traditions of fright that go back to both Africa and Europe. Will you see jumbies on St John, come All Hallow’s Eve? If…

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05

Aug 2007

African Roots

(By George Tyson, summarized by Robin Swank) George Tyson, one of our pre-eminent historians and researchers in the USVI, spoke to the membership on April 10th about The St. Croix African Roots Project (SCARP). Still in progress, it is clear that SCARP’s first product—an intricate database gleaned from thousands of archival sources amassed during the period of Danish sovereignty (1734-1917) has the potential to satisfy…

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05

Aug 2007

A Nineteenth Century Ornithologist at Estate Adrian

(Excerpted from a book by Frederick Ober) The literary genre of adventure-travel has sustained popularity over many centuries, and travelers’ tales were surely a form of entertainment from the dawn of expressive language. In the 1800’, Americans did not have to go very far to find mysterious wilderness and exotic people to write about: the Florida Everglades or the desert Southwest were thrilling enough for…

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07

May 2007

That’s My Cousin, But I Don’t Know How

(Presentation by Veronica “Ronnie” Phillips) “Genealogy….why do it?” Veronica “Ronnie” Phillips challenged SJHS members and guests at our December 12 evening meeting. She asked us to imagine being an orphan. Gazing into a mirror, we might wonder if we looked like our mother or father, or a once-removed relative. Growing up, we might wonder how and where our ancestors grew up. Discovering our own artistic…

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07

May 2007

Earth Day 2007 Festivities

By Bruce Schoonover and Robin Swank Earth day 2007… preserving and protecting the environment This year, in connection with the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park Earth Day festivities, the St. John Historical Society highlighted its efforts to preserve and protect the Annaberg Country School ruins at Mary’s Point, by sponsoring a coloring contest for all children. Children were given a four-page coloring booklet which recited…

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07

May 2007

Lameshure Bay Estate of the 1950s

Frank Stick’s map of St. John showing the outline of Lameshur and Hope Estates Consolidation of properties has always played a huge role in the ownership of estates on St. John. By the late 1700s, we have seen that what we now think of as the Lameshur Estate was, in fact, composed of multiple former estates–consisting of something less than 500 acres. This same consolidation…

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07

Apr 2007

Huguenot at Lameshur: Captain Ingiald Mourier

(Syracuse University Professor Emeritus Daniel Smothergill is a SJHS member who traces his ancestors back to 19th century St. John.) Denmark is well known for having allowed citizens of other countries to settle in its West Indies possessions. The English, in particular, took advantage of the policy and at one time owned a large number of the estates on St. John. This has special significance…

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06

Apr 2007

Lameshure Bay Explore

Yawzi Point’s Great Lameshure Estate House Its rounded entry steps overlook the cotton magazine (By David Knight, summarized by Robin  Swank) On Saturday, March 17th, a record 78 hikers met at VIERS to join SJHS President David Knight for a tour of the physical remains of three contiguous estates (Great Lamesure, Little Lamesure, and Bowe) which were consolidated in the latter half of the 18th century…

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05

Apr 2007

English Creole-The Spoken Word on St. John

Mr. Elroy Sprauve, Educator; SJHS Board Historian. (Presented by Mr. Elroy Sprauve, March 13, 2007, summarized by Robin Swank) “ ‘Creole’ is a language patterned from two or more languages by people who live and work together,” Mr. Sprauve began. With wit and charm, he gave lively examples of how English and African, along with Dutch and probably some Spanish and French donations coalesced into…

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07

Mar 2007

Presentation by Susan Lugo & Field Trip to the Caribbean Genealogy Library

(Summarized by Robin Swank) If you wish to trace your ancestry, help someone trace theirs, or are just interested in written historical records, head across the water to become familiar with a real St. Thomas gem, the Caribbean Genealogy Library (CGL). [Contact the Library via email at [email protected] or via telephone at 340-714-2136. Visit at Al Cohen’s Mall in Havensight.] Susan Lugo co-founder of CGL. Co-Founder Susan Lugo…

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07

Feb 2007

Exploring Lieven Marche Bay Estate Ruins

(By David Knight, summarized by Robin Swank) If you want to learn something new, take a hike!!! Many of the hikers who joined President David Knight on January 13th had visited Brown Bay, but only a few were previously aware of the Hermitage or Lieven Marche Estates, or of the earlier subsumed and less-documented estate houses and industrial plants that remain along the coral-strewn north…

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07

Jan 2007

Mary’s Point Hike

(By David Knight, summarized by Robin Swank) SJHS President David Knight welcomed about thirty members to our December hike on Mary’s Point. We met at the Francis Boiling House on what was once the Betty’s Hope plantation, which straddles a strategic isthmus separating Mary’s Creek and Francis Bay. At the outset David informed us that he is going to lead us to several little-known estate…

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