Articles


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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07

Feb 2010

About Robert H. Schomburgk…

More than three decades ago, in the torrentially rainy final months of the 1970s, I got a job with the Grounds Department at Caneel Bay, never imagining the long and intimate relationship with plant life that this would lead to. The Cow-Horn Orchid (Schomburgkia-humboldtii) (Image courtesy of Eleanor Gibney) In several of the old flamboyant and white cedar trees around Caneel, there were masses of orchids…

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07

Feb 2010

A Boat Accident (The following has been excerpted from LIGHTBOURNS’ MAIL NOTES)

(Provided courtesy of Society Historian, Mr. Elroy Sprauve… By Johannes Lightbourn) St. Thomas, July 15, 1907. It has never been our lot to record such a catastrophe as that which occurred on Saturday night off the Southern coast of this island. The boat Sea Gull, under the command of Sandford Sprauve, left here after 6 o’clock for St. John having on board, including the boat’s hands,…

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07

Jan 2010

The St. John Market Basket

For as long as I’ve been involved with the St. John Historical Society–and probably ever since the Society’s inception in the mid-1970s–we’ve wanted to have a logo: an image that evoked St. John’s history and culture and some of the unique attributes of both. The St. John market basket — a basket unique to St. John which seems to hold the spirit of St. John…

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