Articles


07

Jan 2010

Old Time Toys and Handmade Gifts

A glimpse of Christmas Past was available to the public on Saturday December 12th, 2009. On display in the Lutheran Church yard in Cruz Bay was a collection of historical items, mostly from the 1930s through the 1950s, an era when St John residents, with quiet industry and self-sufficiency, hand-made their own gifts and toys for Christmas gift-giving, as well as items for everyday use….

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07

Dec 2009

All the Fault of Peter Fink

(Nancy Gibney is the Mother of Eleanor Gibney, the immediate past President of the Society. Before moving to St. John in the 1940s Ms. Gibney was a Vogue Magazine editor. Our newsletter of November 2006 included one of her articles which appeared in the October 1, 1948 issue of that magazine—“A Report from Paradise…The Virgin Islands.” Following is a first in a series of articles….

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08

Nov 2009

Ladies’ Storytelling at Bethany Church Hall, November 10, 2009

“There is no gift so small that it cannot be given.” This is the sentiment that rang out clearly from the Ladies’ Storytelling at the Society’s November 10th Membership meeting. I am very grateful to the articulate and engaging Storytellers; as we enter the holiday season (many of us with less holiday in our season due to the economy), they reminded me that having only…

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07

Nov 2009

The Testimony of William Blackstock [A True Story of Piracy and Buried Treasure on Norman Island]

(The following story is true. It has been wholly compiled from primary archival sources: no names, dates or particulars of the case have been changed. Any constructed details were added solely out of well informed supposition and a studied understanding of the places and events portrayed.) Vice-Governor of the Danish West Indies Christian Suhm reached impulsively for his snuffbox and took a liberal pinch of…

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07

Oct 2009

Estate Zootenval’s Papilleau Bay

On December 16, 1728, Lorentz Hendrichsen and his young wife Hellina Margretha Muller were formally granted title to a 1200’ X 3000’ tract of land in the Coral Bay Quarter of St. John. As was the policy of the time, the Hendrichsens were given a seven-year tax amnesty to aid in the development of a plantation [SJLL, 1729]. Due to this amnesty, no details concerning…

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07

May 2009

African Roots Project Reprise–St. John Emigration to St. Croix

The African Roots Project‘s noted historian George Tyson summarized both the history of the project‘s database build and its exciting uses at the Society‘s March membership meeting.   (Presented by George Tyson, summarized by Robin Swank) The Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA) initiated the St. Croix African Roots Project (SCARP) in 2002 in order to investigate the population of St. Croix before and after emancipation. Although people from…

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07

May 2009

Danish Artist Hugo Larsen‘s Cultural Portrait of Our Islands 1904-1907 

(Presented by Edgar Lake, summarized by Robin Swank) “Danish Artist Hugo Larsen’s Cultural Portrait Of Our Islands 1904-1907” was screened at our final membership meeting of the 2008-09 season. This DVD was beautifully written, directed, and produced by two hugely prolific artists– photographer and filmmaker Erik Miles, and author, screenwriter and playwright Edgar O. Lake. Certainly the DVD itself is a triumph! We were honored…

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07

May 2009

Historical Society Installs Plant Signs at Annaberg and Provides Guidance to Friends‘ Docents

One of the signs at the Annaberg Estate identifiying the plants and trees. On Saturday, January 24th, St. John Historical Society President Eleanor Gibney and historian and Society Archivist David Knight met with the Friends of Virgin Island National Park Docents at the Estate Annaberg sugar works. The Friends Annaberg Docent program began six years ago as an effort to provide a clear interpretation of…

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07

May 2009

Tektite’s 40th Anniversary Fete

Standing in front of a mural in the newly completed Tektite Museum at VIERS are (l to r) Randy Brown, Ed Clifton, Jim Miller, Conrad Mahnken, and Bruce Schoonover (A presentation by board member Bruce Schoonover, summarized by Robin Swank) A large enthusiastic audience gathered at the Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station (VIERS) on February 15, 2009 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the ‘splash…

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07

Apr 2009

Potluck & Storytelling at the SJHS January 13, 2009 Membership Meeting

Songs from “Hot Steel in Cruz Bay” by Charlie Prentice’s Hotshots played softly as guests and members lined up to partake of dishes prepared by many talented chefs. I’m pretty sure Rudolph ‘Pimpy’ Thomas knew all the words to ‘The Old Man and the Donkey,’ and at another table I saw someone mouthing the words to “There’s a Man in Your Pajamas.”[1] The food was scrumptious!…

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07

Apr 2009

A Remembrance of St. John by Anna W. Knight, c1987

Anna (Billy) Wolmer Knight (Photo courtesy of David Knight) Edited and condensed by David Knight-2009 (Anna Wolner Knight (affectionately known to most folks on St. John as “Billy”) was the Mother of board member David Knight. She was born in New York in 1911, the first child of recently-arrived German immigrants. At the age of 19 she married Dr. George H. H. Knight and settled…

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07

Apr 2009

Estate Misgunst Meander Led by David Knight and Eleanor Gibney 

A handful of red Canavalia nitida seeds, rarely found in the V.I. and on right, a detailed drawing of the Locust tree (Hymanea courbaril). It is a multi–purpose tree—its pods are edible, the sap produces a natural medicine, and the wood makes admirable timber. There were a succession of inland Estates on St. John–Maria’s Hope, Bordeaux, Mary Simpson, Pasquero/Josie’s Gut and Misgunst. All eventually failed…

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