Lovango Cay Historical Timeline, March 2008

Lovango Map 1919

Date Event
1728, Oct. 18 Deed to Lovango granted to William Gandy from the Danish West India & Guinea Company, with an 8-year tax amnesty to encourage plantation development. Gandy was a master carpenter who had worked for the DWI&GC in St. Thomas. He had previously been granted a waterfront parcel on Cinnamon Bay in 1722, which he sold to Peter Durloo in 1728 [RA/DWI&GC/SJLL. 1728-39].
1730 William Gandy is found dead in his hammock on Lovango, believed to have been killed by his slaves. As the corpse is rapidly decomposing, he is buried immediately in his hammock. The sole heir is his wife Elizabeth; the estate is valued at 300 Rigsdallers [RA/Martfelt1765].
1732 Probate of Elizabeth Gandy: her daughters, Anna Maria Mauor (married to Dedrick van Still) and Rachel Mauor (married to Johannes Jansen) inherit Lovango and a house in Charlotte Amalie equally [RA/VLA/SkiftePro/Ltr.B.1724-32].
1732 to 1751 In Martfelt’s account of the cays of St. John, Gandy’s sole remaining heir is noted as “old Madam Other.” He goes on: “As she could not, because of poorness, resume at the cay, it was left alone and unworked…” [RA/Martfelt,1765].
1751-1752 A British subject by the name of Conners applies for, and receives, a land patent on Lovango as a deserted island from the General Government in Antigua. As late as 1765 he is still upholding his claim and cultivating provisions on the cay [RA/Martfelt,1765].
c 1756 The Danish Crown takes possession of Lovango as an abandoned and bankrupt estate, and then issues a deed to Peter Durloo [RA/Martfe1t,1765].
1780 Peter Oxholm shows the cay as uninhabited on his manuscript map of St. John [RA/Oxholm,1780].
1788 The 22-ton bark Two Sisters, owned and operated by George Hazzel, receives a sea pass to sail from her homeport of Lovango to Charlotte Amalie [RA/GTA/SeapassProl788-1808]. (DK note: I recall seeing a reference to a physical altercation between Durloo and Hazzell over Hazzell’s presence on Lovango).
1791, Dec.16 Lovango. noted as consisting of 200 acres, is deeded to George Hazzel, and reappears in the tax rolls for the first time since 1729. It remains in the rolls thereafter. [RA/VLA/STJM,1794]
1803 Tax rolls record George Hassel residing on Lovango, with 10 acres in pasture or provision crops [RA/VLA/STJM,1804].
1804, Jan. 18 Probate of Rebecca Elizabeth Hassel, wife of Benjamin Hassel reveals that she and her brother, George Hassel, are joint owners of the Cay. Her children are her heirs: John Hassel, 8; Anna Hassel, 24 (married to planter Joseph Sewer of Jost Van Dyke); Sara Hassel, l8 (present but stricken with smallpox); Louisa Hassel, 14 (also with smallpox). The underage children’s guardian is her brother, James Hassel, a merchant on St. Thomas [RA/VLA/STJL/Reg&VurPro 1797-1807].
1805 Ownership is split in the tax rolls between Abraham Helm and James Hassell Jr., each with 100 acres. There are 3 white residents and 5 slaves, with 6 acres in pasture or provision crops [RA/VLA/STJM, 1805].
1807 Capt. James Halley acquires J. Hassel’s 1/2 share of Lovango [RA/VLA/STJM,1812].
1812 J. Anduze acquires Abraham Helm’s 1/2 share of the island [RA/VLA/STJM,1812].
1815 James Halley acquires entire cay. Listed as 250 acres and unoccupied [RA/V LA/STJM,1815].
1825, Aug 16 James Halley dies on Lovango. Tax records list the island as having 2 acres in pasture or provisions. Probate accounting lists a dwelling house, fishing net, a sailboat, a rowboat; and two slaves, Frank and Thimoth-altogether appraised for 2493.6 Rd.[ Ra/VLA/STJL/Skifte].
1826 Tax rolls record Lovango as belonging to “James Halley’s Heirs&” [RA/VLA/ STJM,1826].
1836 Tax rolls record 10 free-colored persons and 6 slaves, no cultivation [RA/VLA/STJM,1836].
1846 Census for Lovango records Peter Hally (36), William Hally (24), and Mary Hally (49) living on the island along with 14 other free inhabitants and 5 slaves [RA/VLA/STJR,1850].
1848 Emancipation in the Danish West Indies.
1850 Census lists Mary Halley and Elizabeth M. Vlaun as “part owners”. There are 17 people living on the island, in three households.[RA/VLA/STJR, 18501.
1854, June 21 William James Hally posts the following in the St. Thomas Tidende (Times) newspaper: “NOTICE: All persons are hereby cautioned against breaking of ballast, cutting of wood, or otherwise trespassing on the island of Lovango, as also the adjoining quay called ‘Congo.’ Offenders taken in the act after the date of this notice, will be dealt with according to the utmost rigor of the law” [RA/VLA/SkifteBrev,1854].
1864 Tax records for the Halleys on Lovango show that there are 2 acres in cultivation or pasture. An agricultural accounting that year reports 10 goats, along with 6 women, 5 fishermen, and 4 boys, living in 5 houses. [RA/VLA/STJM,1864]
1869 Lovango purchased by “retailor” Henry Varlak. Pastureland has increased to 14 acres. An agricultural accounting lists I laborer tending 4 head of cattle and 50 sheep [RA/VLA/STJM,1869].
1870 Census records population of 13 persons living in 4 households. Among them are John McKenzie Smith (and family), listed as “Manager” and Ventor Sprauve, listed as “Laborer”, and his family. 3 other men are listed as “Mariners”[RA/VLA/STJR,1870].
1880 Census has population of 15 persons in 2 households; 5 men are listed as fishermen. Tax rolls show that agricultural land has dropped to only 2 acres [A/VLA/STJR,1880;RA/VLA/STJM, 1880].
1885 Henry Varlak dies. The probate appraisal includes: A two-room house of wood, a bake oven, a little cookhouse, a house of wood with masonry foundation, a wood house 10 x 15 ft., a cistern with platform holding 114 puncheons, 60 acres of land, and about a “tuende” of quicklime, all appraised for 738 dollars [NA/55/728/1907, Skifte,1885].
1885, March 8 Lovango sold at auction to Francois Caliste. Other items from Lovango sold are some cattle and sheep, 2 boats and a seine net.[NA/55/728/1907, Skifte,1885] (Note: Caliste is the former manager of Leinster Bay during the Anduze ownership.)
1889 Lovango acquired by Henry Clen [RA/VLA/STJM, 1889]. (Note: Clen, a policeman on St. John, is the brother-in-law of Carl Francis, and the owner of Leinster Bay.)
1900, March 15 Clen dies on St. John. Lovango is appraised in Clen’s probate: A house on the bay–$125, A house on the hill–$10, Cistern, platform and trough–$200, 60 acres of land in grass or bush–$180, two stonewall fences dividing the island–$100, two boats and one seine–$55, 12 coconut trees –$10, TOTAL: $680 [NA/55/720/1903/Skift# 2,1900]
1901 Census lists 3 people on Lovango: John Smith, 3 (, a fisherman born on Thatch Cay; his son Charles, 9, born on Mingo Cay; and John George, 41, fisherman, born on Lovango.[RA/VLA/STJR,1901].
1905 Lovango purchased by Louis Christian Andersen [RA/VLA/STJM,1905]. (Note: Andersen came to the DWI from Denmark. He had been a policeman on St. Thomas and married Roslyn Smith; she was born on Mingo Cay).
1911 Census records the island as jointly owned by Henry Smith (30) and Elsa P. Andersen (only 3). There are 24 people in 7 households.[RA /VLA/STJR,1911].
1917 A public school is opened on the island [USC&GS,1919]. Census records a population of 49 people in 19 households. Note: During the period 1900-1930, the DWI/ USVI population dropped from 33,000 to 22,000.
1934 Cattle census of St. John district lists Louis Andersen as owner of “1/2 Loango” , with 19 head of cattle; Henry Smith owner of “1/2 Loango” with 11 head of cattle; and L.C. Matta, “Loango” with 15 head of cattle.[NA/E4/56/1932-34].
Lovango population summary: 1804–14 ,1805–8 ,1815–0 ,1836–16 ,1846–22 ,1850–17,1860–12,1864–15 , 1870–13 , 1901–3 , 1911–24,1917–49.

David W. Knight, Sr.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *