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.


09

Feb 2008

Estate Retreat Timeline

Compiled from David Knight’s Speaking Notes for the St. John Historical Society, February 2008 Date Event 1728 The property that would become known as Retreat is originally granted to Niles Anderson. c1755 The neighboring Mt. Pleasant estate, is formed by the merger of four early land grants (Pier Castan, 1725; David Bordeaux, 1726; Barent Langemak, 1728; Reynier Volkers, 1725) by Lieven Marche 1779-1782 Retreat is…

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07

Feb 2008

Notes on Colonial-Era Education on St. John and the Annaberg School

In 1853 the Annaberg Country School opened to provide free, compulsory education to the children of St. John’s rural Maho Bay Quarter. But, while the opening of the Annaberg facility is indeed a notable milestone in the history of St. John, the school was not the first of the “Country Schools” to be established on the island; in fact, it may well have been the…

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07

Feb 2008

Creque Marine Railway, Hassel Island, a Walking Tour

SJHS Members, Creque descendants, Danish guests join VINP Archaeologist Ken Wild as he explains Hassel Island’s development timeline and the story of possibly the oldest remaining marine railway in the world (Summarized by Robin Swank) What enchants us upon landing on Hassel Island’s north shore is the visual impact of nearly intact metal, brick and stone artifacts littering the coastline, visible after the mammoth clean-up…

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08

Jan 2008

Hassel Island Chronology From Fred Gjessing’s 1992 Cultural Resources Assessment of Hassel Island, Appendix E

Distributed K. Wild’s SJHS Meeting 1/12/08 Date Event 1687 John Jenifer map of St Thomas Harbor, Prince Rupert’s Cove. “In this Harbor Prince Rupert careened some of his ships when he was in America.” 1689 Central ridge section of peninsula under cultivation by Christian Lassen. 1719 Peninsula Plantation owned by David Jansen. Habitat shifted from ridge to Careening Cove.K 1732 Peninsula Plantation owned by Adrian…

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07

Jan 2008

Estate Sieben-Mollendal Hike

(Led by David Knight, summarized by Robin Swank) Hardy SJHS members met for the last hike of the calendar year, to the south side estates of Sieben and Mollendahl. These estates are sheltered from the north wind by “Camel Mountain” (AKA: Camelberg), once thought to be the highest point on St John. David Knight led us down the Sieben Road, a major thoroughfare of the…

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07

Jan 2008

Florence & Walter Lewisohn and Steve Edwards Honored at the Annaberg School Sign Dedication

(Summarized By Robin Swank) SJHS members walked up newly restored steps to the Annaberg Country School on December 11th. Our ‘tea party’ was convened to dedicate new permanent educational signage on behalf of the three individuals who funded the educational signage by bequest and also gave of themselves to the SJHS, and to hear from founding SJHS members who restored the Annaberg school. ‘The new…

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06

Jan 2008

Estate Sieben &Mollendal Memories

My brother, Vernon, and I were born at Estate Sieben; that meant that somebody had to get on a horse and go to Cruz Bay and get Miss Myrah, for whom the Clinic is named, and then she had to get on her horse and come all the way down to Sieben to make the delivery. I wish you could have seen the Estate when…

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07

Dec 2007

November Rain

Until very recently, the most critical factor for human existence on St. John was water: How to collect it, how to save it, how to move it to where you needed it… These days, all that’s required is a cistern, and a few hundred dollars, and you can truck in hundreds of gallons of desalinated seawater to almost any location on the island. Although anyone…

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07

Dec 2007

Guavaberry and Christmas Carols

The guavaberry tree (Myrciaria floribunda) is a widespread species in Tropical American forests; found in the West Indies from Cuba down to Martinique, and on the mainland from the south of Mexico to Brazil. It is fitting, however, that the species was first officially described from a collection on St. Croix by Hans West in the year 1800, for nowhere in its wide range is…

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07

Dec 2007

Christmas Eve aboard the Ingolf

(By Olaf Linck, as translated by Nina York) (Olaf Linck (1874-1958) was a prominent Danish journalist and novelist, winner of several awards. In his preface to the autobiographical book “The Land We Lost – Memoirs from the Danish West Indies” from which this excerpt originates, he describes how his interest in the islands was awakened. As a reporter with a staunchly conservative newspaper in Copenhagen…

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05

Dec 2007

Of Waterfalls and Rock Carvings… Excerpted from THE VIRGIN ISLANDS Our new Possessions and the British Islands 

By Theodoor deBooy and John T. Faris (1918) …There is no road on St. John that is more than a bridle path; but also let it be said that there is no road that does not have features to delight the visitor. The road most commonly used by the inhabitants leads from Cruz Bay through the center of the island to Emmaus, and from there…

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07

Oct 2007

A Report of the Earthquake of 1867

(On the afternoon of November 18, 1867, a disastrous magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred in an intraplate fault of the Anegada Trough separating Saint Croix from the main chain of the Virgin Islands. The following account of this epic earthquake is a verbatim transcript from an article entitled “AN EARTHQUAKE EXPERIENCE” by Louis van Housel, a United States Naval officer serving on the vessel ‘Monongahela’ under…

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