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: ContactUs@StJohnHistoricalSociety.org.


10

Jan 2013

The Establishment of Estate Bellevue: Jewel In The Crown Of The St. John Plantocracy, 1721-1728

The ruins of the Bellevue estate house and plantation compound sit prominently atop a wooded knoll in the Gift Hill area of St. John’s Cruz Bay Quarter. The estate was originally created by a merging of two early-period Danish colonial land grants, each with a recorded measurement of 3,000’ by 1,500’ (Danish feet). Added to these tracts was a smaller, 500’ by 3,000’ parcel, acquired…

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01

Dec 2010

Albert E. Daniel – His Life Works

(Summarized by Jessica Hornbeck.)  Magda Smith, long-time St. John resident, student of art history and former Director of the Virgin Islands Humanities Council, introduced those gathered at our November membership meeting to native Virgin Islands artist Albert E. Daniel with his own words: Albert E. Daniel (with Mass Hysteria), 1980 (Photo by Ray Miles) “Never had a lesson in my life, some call me a…

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01

Dec 2010

Crystal Blue View of Tektite II

(On November 6, 2010, the St. John Historical Society and Cleans Islands International, which manages the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station (VIERS) for the University of the Virgin Islands, co-hosted a 40th anniversary commemoration of the Conclusion of the Tektite II project at VIERS. Don Near is a long-time Interpretive Ranger at Virgin Islands National Park. Don wrote this article for an internal Park publication…

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01

Nov 2010

Dear Judge, … Margaret Braithwaite

  I never fail to be amazed at the depth and breadth of the information that can be gleaned from research in Danish West Indies archives. Once you have ventured beyond the volumes of governmental tax accounts and reams of administrative files – the proclamations, the probates, the auctions, the appraisals, the guardianships, the judgments and adjudications – one finds the poignant minutia – the…

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01

Nov 2010

Losing Ground

The heavy rains that have saturated St. John this year have caused major inconvenience for many residents—and terror and heartbreak for some who live in vulnerable areas. The most visible and dramatic effects of the inundation have been along St. John’s most costly and heavily engineered stretch of road: the section of Centerline between Bordeaux and Coral Bay. As many of you know, this was…

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01

Nov 2010

A Timeline of the Establishment of the Town of Cruz Bay, St. John

1672 — The Danish West Indies Company successfully occupies St. Thomas and claims it, along with adjacent unoccupied islands, in the name of the Danish Crown. 1680 – As early as 1680 census documents for the Danish West Indies record Danish-sanctioned settlers on St. John. 1718 — On March 25, 1718, Governor of the Danish West Indies Eric Bredal officially claims St. John on behalf…

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07

Oct 2010

The Cholera Epidemic of 1853–1854

Early on a Friday morning in December 1853, three fishermen from the Hull Bay plantation on the north shore of St. Thomas gave aid to a sailing vessel that appeared to be drifting and in distress. Unbeknownst to the fishermen, the vessel was a “plague” ship, and the gifts from the passengers that the fishermen had taken home as rewards for their assistance were infected…

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01

Oct 2010

Vaniniberg Estate Hike

(Presented by David Knight and Eleanor Gibney Summarized by Robin Swank) Three dozen hikers attended the last SJHS event of the 2009-2010 season – an engaging trek to Estate Vaniniberg. The tour of this little-known and little-documented colonial estate was led by historian David Knight and botanist Eleanor Gibney. Vaniniberg, David tells us, was formed by merging a number of estates during the late-1700s sugar…

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01

Oct 2010

A Tribute to John Achzet (5/24/1927–9/19/10)

(By Bev Biziewski and Mary Moroney) John was a special man who was liked by so very many, as was evident at his memorial service in Penn Yan, NY, when 300 people filled the pews. Known for his kindness, John was unable to say no to anyone… he forever had a helping hand out. He started in the Historical Society in the 1970s, and was…

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01

Apr 2010

Merchant N. S. Hjardemaal of Cinnamon Bay, St. John

(By David Knight, with annotation by Eleanor Gibney) Nicolai Severon Hjardemaal was born in Denmark on September 21, 1774. Before coming to the Danish West Indies in 1800, Hjardemaal lived for many years in the thriving industrial center of Flensburg in Schleswig-Holstein, where he honed his skills in business. After arriving in St. Croix, Hjardemaal married Anne Margaretha Berner, the daughter of a local surgeon….

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07

Mar 2010

Joe Popp: A Case of Ultimate Resistance

In the pre-dawn hours of November 5, 1839, Joe Popp somehow freed himself from the heavy iron shackles that bound his legs and escaped from the detention cell on the Annaberg plantation. After quietly making his way to Water Lemon Bay, Popp swam out to the estate’s boat — a sloop named the Kitty Berg — and fled to the nearby British island of Tortola….

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07

Mar 2010

Waterlemon Bay at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century

(Summarized by Robin Swank) On the morning of January 25, 2010, forty-plus SJHS members, their guests and visitors, joined historian David W. Knight for an imagined journey back in time along the shore of Waterlemon Bay (AKA: Leinster Bay). While this pristine one-half-mile stretch of our National Park’s North Shore appears remote and “unspoiled” to us today, back at the turn of the 19th century…

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