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|Table of Contents|
|The discovery of St. Thomas - Columbus...|
|Early history hidden in uncertainty...|
|Early visitors - Early settlers...|
|Iversen sails - Many die or desert...|
|Nicholas Esmit succeeds Iversen...|
|Old slavery days - Hard lot of...|
|Arrival of the Moravians - Transformation...|
|The Brandenburg Company gets a...|
|St. Thomas leased - Lorentz's worries...|
|King purchases islands - St. Thomas...|
|Violent hurricanes and earthquake...|
|Capital removed - Death of Governor...|
|Corporations established to help...|
|The transfer of the islands to...|
|American governors - Governor Trench's...|
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|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
The discovery of St. Thomas - Columbus did not see harbor - Scenic beauty unrivalled - Its proximity to the United States - A sympathetic people
Early history hidden in uncertainty - Indians vanished - Their story in verse
Early visitors - Early settlers - Eric the Dane - Danes suffered hardships - A Dutchman with an apporpriate name - Balked by death - Dutch driven out by British
Iversen sails - Many die or desert - Fort built - More settlers - Other nations lay claim - French defeated - Iversen's character
Nicholas Esmit succeeds Iversen - St. Thomas pirates' nest - Nicholas' brother - Death of Iversen - Governor Milan - His end - Adolph Esmit again
Old slavery days - Hard lot of the Blacks - Severe penalties - The missionaries of the Unitas Fratrum - Emancipation
Arrival of the Moravians - Transformation of the Negroes
The Brandenburg Company gets a footing on St. Thomas - Dwindles and dies - The Hamburg-American Line
St. Thomas leased - Lorentz's worries - Spain plays losing game - Planters' delegates visit Copenhagen - St. Croix bought - More about St. Thomas
King purchases islands - St. Thomas captured by British - Returned to Denmark - Many improvements - Cholera appears - People seek more political rights
Violent hurricanes and earthquake of past six decades - Steady decline of Saint Thomas
Capital removed - Death of Governor Birch, etc.
Corporations established to help Islands - The harbor board, etc.
The transfer of the islands to the United States following negotiations broken and resumed that covered half a century
American governors - Governor Trench's death - Citizenship granted
The Spacious Grand Hotel and Beautiful Emancipation Garden
~. .'- b*
1- ..~ 'i
Sy George E. Audain
S^~! !C .i
to the People of the great United
States a d especially to the Admin-
istrators of thc fi i7gin Islands Go-
zvernment, who. both in the executive
and judiciary de apartments portray'
shining examples oj Ame-zcan
ideals in their atenmpt to elevate the
islands economically, morally and
UNIVERSITY OF T1H VIRGIN 1SLANrF
ST, CTROX cLo
MA1I, NO'T'E S PRINTERc
U OR' OF Te priimary object that
impelled ine to prepare this book i the belief
th whily there are many and more valuable books
ril teti on S Tkol t ~ e Gpile of the \jrgin Is-
lands, and to some extent the people of the mainland.
lack a full knowledge of the history of the island.
This little book with many historic facts condensed.
will I hope, find a ready way into the hands of
Virgin Islanders and Continentals.
Several poems 1 use and which are no' other-
wise credited, were written by a native poet, Gerwvn
Tdman. T his writer's first real poem of note
was the first fruit of the poetical expressions
that followed the first of the annual 4th of July
poetical contests on the Flag.
The Discovery of St. Thomas.- Columbus did not see Harbor.---cenic
Beauty unrivalled.-Its proximity to the United States.-A sympa-
thetic People -- --- Page 9
Early History hidden in Uncertainty,-Indians vanished.-Their Story
in Verse. -- --- Page 12
Early Visitors.---Early Settlers.-Eric the Dane.-Danes suffered
Hardships.-A Dutchman with an Appropriate Name.-Balked by
Death.-Dutch driven out Lv British. Page 16
Iversen sails.--Many Die or Desert.-Fort built.-More Settlers.-
Other Nations lay Claim.-French Defeated.-Iversen's Cha
racter. -Page 22
Nicholas Esmit succeeds Iversen.-St. Thomas Pirates' Nest.-Nicholas'
Brother.--Death of Iversen.--Governor Milan.---lis End.-Adolph
Esmit again. ---- Page 25
Old Slavery Days.-Hard lot of the Blacks.-Severe Penalties,--The
Missionaries of the Unitas Fratrum.-Emancipation. Page 29
Arrival of the Moravians.-Transformation of the Negroes. Page 33
i lc CHAP1ER V111
Brandenburg Company gets a footing on St. Thomas--Dwindles
and Dies.-The Hamburg American Line. -Page 35
St. Thomas Leased.-Lorentz's Worries.-Spain plays Losing Game,-
Planters delegates visit Copenhagen.-St, Croix Bought.-More
about St. Thomas. Page 38
King purchases Islands.-St. Thomas captured by
to Denmark.-Many improvements.-Cholera
seek more Political Rights.
Violent Hurricanes and Earthquake of past Six Decades.-
Capital Removed,-Death Of Governor Birch, etc.
Corporations Established to Help Islands, etc.--
CHAP TER XIV
Transfer of the Islands to the United States following ne
broken and resumed that covered half a Century
American Governors.-Governor Trench's Death.--C
- --Page 66
i .ii ~
i' i: -
:~ : r:
Repli-a of Columbus' flaoship at St.
bia Exposition, Chicago.-- Courtesy
7Tomas on wal to Co/unm-
H, es t India.
i :, I
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'' -':`'- '~BPa
i --- -- ---~
o.-- (: :L:*~,
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When Clio opes her book to read
T'he pages of recorded deed,-
Whereon appear, in grand array,
T'he happenings of a bygone day,-
Her eye will wander to a page,
Which will close scrutiny engage,
And, falling in her wonted muse,
She will this feature-page peruse.
The Discovery of St. Thom'as.-Columbus Did
Not See liarbor.--Scenic Beauty Unrivalled.
--ts Proximity to the United States.---A
Sy mp athetic People.
T HE island of St. Thomas was discovered by
Columbus in November 1493, when on
his second voyage. The intripid navigator did
not land however, for he came among the group
known as the Virgin Islands during stormy weath-
er-that period of the year corresponding to
what is now recognized .throughout the West
India Islands as the hurricane season.
It is to be presumed that Columbus did 'not
enter the harbor of St. Thomas for, as far as we
are informed, he sent a vessel to examine the
various islands of the cluster. Had he entered,
he undoubtedly would have taken advantage of
ST, THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
its shelter, until the weather had become calmer.
Concerning this period of the Genoese labors
"Pursuing his voyage, Columbus soon came in sight of
a great cluster of islands, some verdant and covered with
forests, but the greater part naked and sterile, rising into
craggy mountains with rocks of bright azure color, and some
of a glistering white. These, with his usual vivacity of ima.
gination, he supposed to contain mines of rich'metals and
precious stones. The islands lying close together, with the
sea beating roughly in the narrow channels which divided
them, rendered it dangerous to enter among them with the
large ship. Columbus sent in a small caravel with lateen
sails, to reconnoitre, which returned with the report that
there were upwards of fifty islands, apparently inhabited.
To the largest of this group he gave the name of Santa Ursu.
la, and called the others the Eleven Thousand Virgins."
St. Ursula is supposed by many persons to
have been one of the British islands.
St. Thomas is one of the most charming bits
of land that God has surrounded by seas of deep
indigo or of scintilating amethyst. It is the most
picturesque of all the beautiful islands and islets
by which it is surrounded, and this has naturally
struck the poetical fancy of visitors who, regain-
ing their health after enjoying its balmy clime
and the hospitable attention of its natives, have
named it "The Pearl Amidst the Ocean."
Lying about one thousand miles from the
eastern coast of the United States, it is to be pre-
sumed that the island played an important role
during the Revolutionary War and did its "bit
to help the cause." The sympathy of its people
having been largely in favor of the struggling
colonists w ho sought to free themselves of the
yoke of George III, one can readily imagine the
appearance of St. Thomas Harbour with the
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE. I I
bustle and activity of brave tars aboard many a
ship that flew the Stars and Stripes.
Just across the southern channel the sym-
pathetic spirit of the planters and burghers of
St. Thomas was reflected in the hearts of their
neighbors-the Crucians. It was at that island
that one of the most convincing proofs of the
bonds that unite the people of the Virgin Isles
to the -American nation- was staged, and honor
paid to the emblem ot liberty, when a salute
was fired to an armed American vessel which
was leaving the port with a cargo of ammunition.
Thus it will be seen that the esteem in which
the people of these islands hold the United
States did not materialize through the increased
wealth of that. country, but was spontaneous
with the outbreak of the struggle for independ-
Records of Egypt's mysteries,
The Mede's overthrow, the fame of Greece,
Rome's rise and fall, the Free Man's birth,
And other tales of worth,
Will not eclipse in interest free
This little island's history.
Each feature which has helped to trace
In History's commanding place
And haaow to the later mind
Countries and things long left behind.
Is equalled in its history-
Though smallest midst the isle-set sea.
Early Ihistory Hidden in Uncertainly.-Indians
1 anished.- Their Story in Perse.
PRIOR to the time the Danes made their suc-
cessful and permanent settlement, St. Thomas had
been frequently visited by mariners and adventur-
ers of various nationalities. Its history during
hat period however, is hazy.
How. or when, the aboriginal population
disappeared is not known, but as early as the year
1596 the Virgin Islands were declared to have
been unpopulated by Lord Cumberland who
passed among them when on his way to attempt
the wresting of Porto R ico from the Spaniards.
These Indians were Caribs and Arawauks
who, to all appearances, were preceded at some
remote period by another tribe.
Some writers believe that the Indians fled to
neighboring islands when they found themselves
unable to offer adequate defense against the armor
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
clad Europeans. Other authorities hold that
they were killed or carried into slavery through
the cruel edict of Charles V which ordered that
they be treated "as enemies and exterminated."
Probably both versions are correct as the
reasons advanced could have been contributory
causes for the disappearance of the led men
from the hills aad shores of the Virgin Islands.
That St. Thomas supported a large population
of aborigines has been proved by recent excava-
tions made by archaeologists, especially Professor
(le Booy whose work has been supplemented by
1)r. Hatt of the University of Copenhagen, who
was assisted by his wife, and Professor Josslyn
de Jongh of the University of Leyden, Holland.
PASSING OF THE INDIANS
By the pale light of History,
bhed o'er the Caribbean Sea,
We dimly view the pristine race
That roamed across thy verdant face.
The mists of Time roll fitful by
Revealing to the mental eye
A checkered glimpse of ancient days,
And savage mankind's simple ways.
In fancy we can see them brave
'The surging of the channel-wave,
'1 heir light craft leaping o'er each crest
'i hat with a threatening fury pressed.
We see them tread the silv'ry sand;
Wander, exultant, through the land,
Climb the high hills, and view the sun
Shed his last beams their realm upon. 4
We hear once more the cry and hue
That marked the hotly pressed battue;
The thud of wild boar. as he falls,
Slain by the Carib's rocky balls.
'I he flame leaps from the blazing pyre,
And offerings greet a mad god's ire;
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Still looking back through centuries,
We see there cross the ambient seas,
And, deer-like, skip from isle to isle,
Basking in each one's sylvan smile.
"i hese people lived in Nature's way,
And did her simple calls obey;
Life's necessary wants, and these
Alone. roused them from savage ease.
Their greed was never kindled by
Rich lands beyond the sea-swept sky,
A statesman's perfidy ne'er gained
For them a realm where millions pained.
The falseness of a later age
Did not untutored minds engage, T
Nor purposed sham, nor treachery,.
Found root in their mentality.
If, to appease an angry god,
They saw fit to draw Mar's rod,
And carry warfare to the door
Of foreign tribe on distant shore,
I hey were by motive high impelled-
For godly fear within them dwelled:
They did not war with greed imbued
But fought a deity to soothe.
Their souls drank deep of sylvan bliss,
And nothing marred their happiness,--
Except Maboya, son of night,
Who hated all the gods of light,
Whene'er he showed his ugly face
They quickly gathered for the chase,
And all night long their shouts arose
Until the hour the game-fowl crows.
Or when the gods were hard to please,
And scourged them with a dreadful breeze,
Which swept in terrible career
Across the hills and valleys fair.
*But soon this chastening was o'er,
And happiness came as before.
They only asked to roam the hills,
To pluck the fruit, to drain the rills,
And in their rudeness to abide,
Until, in turn, with earth they vied
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE. AND VERSE. 15
IThis was denied that fated throng;
And (be it right, or be it wrong)
The present day can barely trace
The record of the vanished race.
They fought (or freedom-nay, for life,
And proved their courage in the strife;
But what could primitive arms boast
Against an emperor's armoured host?
Not sated with a double crown,
He must needs tread these people down,
And couple infamy with war,
Forgetting Astrea's changeless law.
The basest, foulest cruelty,
Disguised as Christianity,
Was wreaked on the defenceless lot
IThat erstwhile owned this beauty-spot.
They were dispersed,
The passing Earl
Looked up to see the blue smoke curl,
To see wide fields of waving grain
And mankind,-but he looked in vain.
Alas! the bloody hand of Spain
Had swept them from thy verdant plain,
And (be it right, or be it wrong)
'Twas thus they passed-ill-fated throng!
Not there did chronicler indite
The story of an empire's might,
Nor tell of hostile hosts engaged
When W~ar's wild storm in fury raged.
Nor have the gods illumined it.
With deeds ot love and valour fit;
Orion, Zeus, Perseus-none,
Have left their names this page upon.
But there-among the others filed,
Ambrosial in its romance wild-
Will Clio see, and, never pass,
his wondrous .tale of Saint Thomas!
Early Visitors.--Early settlers.-Eric the Dane.
Danes Saffered Hardships.-A Dutcnhman
With an Appropriate Name.-Balked by
Death:---Dutch Drivzen. Out by Britis.h.
HAVING touched upon the aboriginal inhabi-
tants, we now come to that part of the islands'
history where, as in many other parts of the
Western Hemisphere. we find the Europeans on
the scene and observe the Striving ot Spaniards
aorinst French, French against English and Eng-
lish against Dutch; then eventually the Danes
in- possession. It can thus be seen that St.
Thomas has had as Varied a history as any
place in the new world.
Proof was found by a party of Frenchmen in
1647 that there had been European settlers on
the island before that year, but to what national-
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
ity they belonged could not be traced with any-
thiong like accuracy.
This party had been driven from Crab Island
by the Spaniards. Their ships and provisions
had been destroyed and they themselves only
escaped death by hiding among the bushes on
that island from which they finally made the
voyage to St. Thomas in a canoe.
After recuperating a while at this place, where
they found plaintains, bananas and oranges,
in a state of neglected cultivation, they reem-
barked on their none to staunch vessel, and
putting to sea were fortunate enough to be res-
cued by a passing ship.
It is probable that the Spaniards landed often
on St. Thomas but did not hold it, as their ef-
forts were directed to the bigger island of Porto
The first nation that made a serious attempt
to colonize "The Pearl Amidst the Ocean," was
the Dutch who settled on the island in the year
-1657. That spirit that urged the early colonists to
roam the world in search of wealth was not lack-
ing in the Dutchmen for we read that shortly after
they abandoned the island and migrated to New
York, then known as New Amsterdam, the capi-
tal ot New Netherlands.
After the Dutch had abandoned the island, the
Danes, who had in the meantime become inter-
ested in the trade of the Indies, between 1662
and 1665, decided to colonize the island and a
number of settlers under Erick Smidt, a captain
with a fair knowledge of West Indian waters,
landed on St. Thomas which was taken formal
possession of on March 30, 1666.
18 ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Westergaard in his history-says that Smidt "is
referred to in a contract dated June 8, r665, at
Copenhagen, as royal commandant and governor
bf the island of St. Thomas."
Smidt died in 1666 and his remains were
interred at Smidtborg, the site of the infant settle-
ment. The Danes became discouraged shortly
afterward and returned to Denmark under the
command of their parson.
That:the Danish colonists led by their min-
ister, Kjeld Jensen Slagelse, were compelled to
return to Denmark was no faultof theirs for they
had appealed in vain to Copenhagen for succour.
Writing on this matter in his Leaflets from
the Danish W!est Indies, Taylor says:
It seebts difficult to believe that such an appeal as this
should have been left unregarded, but as we hear that some-
time afterward a Dutch governor named Huntum, landed in
force and broke up the expedition, it is evident that no
attention had been paid to the matter.
The same author further says that Huntum
had carried away all the arms and goods he
could lay hold.of and made himself generally unpleas nt.
This action on the part of the Dutch gov-
ernor no doubt makes many readers of this little
history wonder how it was possible'that he could
have treated his fellow Europeans in so unkind
Sa manner, when they were all trying to get a
foothold in the new world. It should be recall-
ed however, that selfishness and savagery were
rampant in those days. and although the warring
nations professed Christianity they had little
in their hearts of what we to-day look upon as-
true Ghristiaun principles.
Eric Smidt.impresses us with the belief that
he was not only a bold and fearless navigator,
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE. 19
but likewise as being a man of some foresight.
It was his desire to build a fort on Castle Hill,
on which Bluebeard's Castle now stands, in order
to protect Smidtborg; but his early death prevent-
ed his plan being carried out.
St. Thomas was now occupied by the Dutch
but their occupancy was not to last long for
war having broken out between Holland and
Great Britain St. Thomas was occupied by the
British in 1667, as were also the islands of Tor-
tola, St. Eustatius and St. Martin. The victors,
however, finding the soil of the last two islands
more productive moved thither, compelling the
Dutch settlers to do likewise. This event occur-
red in 1672. The removal was done in charac-
teristic British style and everybody was compell-
ed to leave St. Thomas not only with "bag and
baggage" but with house as well.
Bowing thy head, thou mourn'dst awhile,
A silent, sad, deserted isle.
The sounds of human life had ceased,
Atid nothing broke the mournful peace,
Save when the sea-oirds loudly screamed,
As in the bay the fishes gleamed,
Or, when the rip-n'd cocoanut-
Which lined thy bounding shores, and shut
From outside view each grove and dell-
Grew weary of the watch, and fell.
The moan which escapedd its loaded breast
Was wafted to thy highest crest,
And in at echo, faint and low,
The latter shared the former's woe.
Creation's era reigned anew:
The brute no more its master knew,
God's lesser hand-work once more found
The peace that smiled o'er Eden's bouand
1 he wild boar strode a sylvan king,
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE,
The wild duck hurried on the wing,
The deer stalked tranquil through the wold,
His timid spirit now made bold,
The serpent built its gloomy nest,
And reared-its young ones unmolest,
The dove's low coo came on the wind,--
But mankind here no eye could find.
Engrossed in lands of greater size,
Thou didst not fill their greedy eyes,
Nor move them to transform thy face
Of wildness to man's dwelling-place.
Such was thy state after the hand
Of ruthless men had swept the land,
And reft from thee the pristine band
That did thy-virgin hills command.
But Beauty ne'er will die unwed,
(Unless the soul of man is deadly)
For some warrw heart wil! always woo
The lovely Iace brought to its view.
And so they came-were forced to come---
And made thy forest-land their home.
'I he Neth'erlander (slow, but sure)
Passed boldly through the open door.
The Engigsh followed on his heel,
And desolation's law repeale.
The few who wooed thy sylvan charm
lived peacefully,. free from alarm;
They revellrd in a: rusti.elife
Whi)e others mixed, in deadly strife.
Then happened what, forsooth,.must chance
Whenever Vents divides her glance:
Two sought to win her charms complete--
One won, one went down in defeat.
But,t though the conflict seems- to seal
I he loser's doom, the victor's weal,
So strange is Fate in all she does,
We nerer can trust the gain that was,
It was-the plan of destiny
That the succeeding years should see
The very flag that Huntman fought
And conquered,. too, in triumph brought.
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
Brave Smidt had died and left his band
Unsafely settled on the land.
The martello had not been reared,
And hostile colonists they feared.
The Hollander then saw the chance,
For which he long did ogling glance,
To crush his rival, and secure
A firmer hold upon thy shore.
So, up rose Huntman and dispersed
The Danes who sued thy favour first:
Balking them in their budding plan
Of bringing slaves the fields to man.
But even then was Iwersen
Marshalling 'round his flag the men
Who later on accomplished well
The task neathh which their comrades fell,
And for the Danish kingdom won
An envied place neathh Indian sun.
We now are now rapidly approaching the
period when the Danes made their second attempt
to hold the island,
,For ever since Columbus hailed
Its summer hills, as past he sailed
In haste to greet another world,
Which through his genius lay unfurl'd
Down to this far-removed date,
Which sees a mighty empiVre-state.
Iversen Sails-Many Die or Desert.--Forl Built
-M-ore Settlers.- Other Natzons Lay Claim
--French Defeated---lersen's Character.
IN the year 1671 the Danes renewed their
energy to gain some of the rich goods that ac-
crued to traders with the West Ildies and the
Danish West India Company was given its charter
on the i th of March. The necessity of having
a base was foreseen and the island of St. Thomas
was selected on account of its strategic position,
A suitable man in the person ofJorgen Iver-
sen was appointed governor of the intended
colony and the expedition sailed in the "Fero"
for its destination on February 26, 1672.
During the voyage of 4500 miles from Ber-
gen to St. Thomas eighty-six persons died, or
having changed their minds just prior to sailing
had taken "French leave." Among those who
died was the brave Parson Slagelse, who had
accompanied Eric Smidt on his unsuccessful at-
tempt to gain St. Thomas for Denmark. The
"Fero" dropped anchor in St. Thomas harbor on
May 25, 1672 and the settlers, immediately start-
ed work by clearing the land. They were treated
by the English officials of Tortola with much
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE ANDLVERSE. 23
As soon as the party landed Iversen begun
the construction of Christiansfort which took
about eight years to build. Where this fort
stands is supposed to have once been a little
island, the water between it and the mainland
having been filled in many years ago.
The fort originally had a tower rising from
the courtyard but this was broken down in the
19th century. How well this tower served the
eariv settlers is shown further on.
Shortly after the arrival of the Danes, set-
tiers of various nationalities, but especially the
Dutch, found themselves on the island and Dutch
--the base of the later Creole--became the lan-
guage of the colony.
Although the English had abandoned St.
Thomas some time before the arrival of the
Danes we find the governor of the Leeward
Islands protesting at its occupation shortly after
Iversen had taken possession of the island for
Denmark. The Englishman, however, was re-
called by his sovereign on representations being
made to the English Court by the Ambassador
of the Danish king.
Spain also laid claim, in j673 and r675, to
St. Thomas. Not because it had been discovered
by Columbus but on one of the many assump-
tions due to geographical ignorance. This claim
declared that the island was off the coast of
Mexico Again King Christian succeeded in
averting interference with the infant colony.
On February 2, i678, Denmark and France
being at wAar, a French force from St. Croix
attacked St. Thomas. The Danes under Iversen
were hard-pressed but making a determined stand
in the tower of Christiansfort, finally succeeded
24 ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
in driving off the invaders, who were forced to
reembark and return to St. Croix with very little
Iversen was a man who knew his business
and having. been among "cut throats" from the
early age of 12 years was not expected to lightly
brook indignity from the riff-raff of which his
:colony was largely composed. Thus many felt
the heaviness of his hand;.
Among those who gave the Governor much
worry was one Carl Baggaert, who in 1674 built
Blackbeard's Castle (on Government Hill), much
against the wish of Iversen, for any one visiting
,the castle could-look right down into the fort.
Another "gentleman" who proved a thorn in
.Governor Iversen's side was an ungodly shep-
-herd who ministered to the spiritual needs of the
colonists and who added to his faults by his
persistence in: preaching in German. The name
.of this man was Brisbrich and he was finally
-sent back to Europe.
Iversen retired from. the governship of the
island and. sailed for Denmark on September
Let those who never yet have heard
The story of an isle preferred
By Fortune through long centuries
Of wild extravagance and ease,
Through thht great Past, to us now dim,
When men indulged each passing whim,
And every passion which they felt
Was catered to by virgin wealth,-
Let them a kind attention pay
To this sincere, though simple, lay.
Nicholas Esmit Succeeds Iversen. -St.. Thomas
Pirates' Nest.--Nickolas' Brother. -Death
of Iversen. -Governor Milan.-Hfis Eid.
Adolph Esiit Again.
The first inaugural ceremony in St. Thomas
was that held for Nicholas Esmit, who arrived
on the 4th of.July, 1680, as Governor Iversen's
successor.. The chroniclers of the time inform
us that he was received "with appropriate form
Esmit was beyond doubt a rogue and did
not flinch from the companionship of the pirates
who at that time infested West Indian waters.
The result was clearly foreseen and Esmit soon
found himself in "troubled waters."
Many were the pirate vessels which entered
the harbor of St. Thomas during that time and
which were made welcome by. the inhabitants
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
who, we are sorry to say, if not actual pirates
themselves, were connivers at the doings of those
Towards the close of the year 1682 Nicholas
was.ousted from the governorship by his young-
er brother Adolph. This man proved one of the
worst of the many rascally disposed governors who
held authority in the West dies. He was'bad
by nature but his evil ways were no doubt sus-
tained by his wife Charity, who was, as in so many
similar cases, "the power behind the throne."
During this time Denmark stood in jeopardy
of losing her possessions in the West Indies for
the collusion between the Esmit brothers, their
henchmen and the pirates, was so great that
;tAe governors of the Leeward Colony were much
put to to keep-their temper. Many a colony had
before, and. after, been seized while. the parent,
state was at peace, so it surpasses all under-
standing that the British did- not capture St.
In the opening months of 1682 the honest
Jorgen Iversen, found that he still had some
affection for St. Thomas and signified his desire
to resume the governorship. The king and
directors of the West India Company were glad
to have a man.of Iversen's ability once more
at the head of affairs and he left Elsinore on the
loth of November, of the same year, for St.
Thomas with recruits for the colony, among them
being a number of convicts.
Jorgen. Iversen was not, however, to see the
shores of St. Thomas again for the convict-colon-
ists rose against him and throwing him overboard
proceeded as pirates. Fate, likewise in their case
handed down her decree, and instead of these
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE. 27
rascalions of the land riding the seas in emula-
tion of sea-robbers they were driven on the
shores of the North Sea where they were appre-
hended and taken to Copenhagen. There they
were finally put to death with fiendish contrivance.
Adolph Esmit was superseded by Gabriel
Milan. This man was crafty and cruel and did
things with a high hand. He disregarded the
directions given him by the King of Denmark
and when a commissioner by name of Mikkelsen
came out, arrived on the "Fortuna" armed by
royal authority to investigate matters he defied
Governor Milan was finally induced to sur-
render and was taken into custody aboard the
man-of-war "Fortuna," which sailed for Denmark
alter a stay of about five months in St. Thomas
On the "Fortuna" also sailed, among other
passengers, Adolph Esmit and his wife. The
former was to answer to certain charges while
the latter probably went as his "guardian angel."
It is well to conclude in this chapter the
history of these interesting people. On Adolph's
return to.Copenhagen he found that his brother,
whose authority hq had usurped and who was
also bringing charges against him had become
insane. He too had been lodged in prison at the
Ex-Governor Milan at his trial was found
guilty, and sentenced to be decapitated. The
sentence likewise decreed that his head and
hands were to be placed upon a pole. It was a
fit sentence to be given the man who had once
ordered that a- poor slave, who had endeavored
to escape unlawful bondage, should be "impaled
28 ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
alive on a sharpened stick to die in horrible
agony." Milan escaped the full imposition of the
sentence but was executed on the 26th of March
Adolph Esmit demonstrated his slickness
and was sent out again as governor by the com-
pany with, of course, the sanction of the King, in
whose mind doubtless the gifted Charity had
caused visions of Spanish doubloons to appear.
Esmit and Admiral Hoppe, of the Royal
.Danish Navy, arrived at St. Thomas on the 24th
of March I688, with "divers and a lot of machines
and implements" with which to seek the recov-
ery of sunken treasure from a Spanish galleon.
We do not believe any treasure was secured
for Westergaard in his excellent history gives the
information that it was believed that the captain
of an English man-of-war, who drove away
.twenty-six other vessels from around the wreck,
made a clean sweep.
Esmit shortly after again departed from the
straight path and was taken in charge by Admiral
Hoppe who conveyed him to Denmark, which
county he later on left for Courland, part of the
present Latvia,and was thenceforth lost to history.
SAlthough of the opinion that Mrs. Adolpb
Esmit was an unscrupulous woman, one cannot
but admire her for the devotion to her husband
and for the ability she displayed in managing his
affairs.. She was English by birth.
Christopher Heins who had been acting
Governor when Milan was sent home in disgrace,
was the next governor. He died in j689-on
the 2nd of October-and was succeeded by John
Lorentz who was a good governor and served
Denmark in an admirable ; ay for about 13 years.
__ __ _
5~--r ~rr--- ----- ---- -. ___________ .--. ---~ -. ----~
Built by Iversen
t3 i '
---- --- ---- 1
' '' .':
The last lavender clouds fade, into grey,
The twinkling stars come one by one,
The sea drops still, the wind rests in the bay
And one more toilful day is done.
No more arise the sounds of sudden blows,
The plaintive cry, the mattered prayer, the curse.
The darkness now its kindly mantle throws
On men made beasts-or worse. -Jarvis.
Old Slavery Days.--Bard Lot of the Blacks.
-Severe Penalties.--Te Missionarzes of
ike Unitas Fratrum.-Emancipation.
The first cargo of slaves was brought to St.
Thomas in the year 1673, but slaves were evi-
dently employed on the plantations soon after
the landing of the colonists in 1672.
The slaves of St. Thomas shared the hard-
ships that were the lot of slaves on all tropical
plantations, and we find that. from the time they
begun to increase faster than the colonists the
latter, in order to overawe them, resorted to cruel-
ties that would have more suited the master of
the infernal regions than the subjects of his
gracious majesty the king of Denmark.
Such was the primitive spirit that prevailed
among so-called civilized men in those days that
few planters or traders demurred at any of thi
following acts of choice cruelty which were
30 ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
pfut into vogue during the administration of
The leader of runaway slaves shall be pinched three
times with red-hot iron, and then hung.
Each other runaway slave shall lose one leg, or if the
owner pardon him, shall lose one ear, and receive one hun-
dred and fifty stripes.
A slave who runs away for eight days, shall have one
hundred and fifty stripes, twelve weeks shall lose a leg, and
six months shall forfiet life, unless the owner pardon him
wfth the loss of one leg.
slaves who steal to the value of four rix-dollars, shall be
pinched and hung, less than four rix-dollars, to be branded,
and receive one hundred and fifty stripes.
A slave who lifts his hand to strike a white person, or
threaten him with violence, shall be pinched, and hung.
should the white person demand it, if not to lose his right
One white person shall be. sufficient witness against a
slave, and if.a slave be suspected of.crime., he can be tried
A slave who shall attempt to poison his master, shall
be pinched three times with red-hot iron and then broken.
on a wheel.
No estate slave shall be in torn after drum-beat, other-
wise he shall be put in the tort and flogged.
The lives of the slaves were made much
easier on the arrival of the missionaries of the
Moravian Church in the opening thirties of the
eighteenth century. These men prepared the
slaves for their emancipation which took place
on the 4th of July 1848, during the reign of King
Christian VII and under the administration of
Governor-Geperal von Scholten.
The attractive enclosure known as the Eman-
cipation Garden, and which helps to emphasize
the beauty of the Grand Hotel, is the spot where
the slaves were assembled to have the emancipa-
tion proclamation read to them.
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE. 31
It was a peaceful and bloodless victory for
the children of bondage.
A New World lay before the eyes
'Of nations hot for fresh emprise,
And nothing barred the conq'ring way,
Ot those who would acquired sway.
The Spaniard had, in ruthless mode,
Made in its bosom his abode,
And swiftly drained each cavern-hold
Of that most precious metal-gold.
The Frenchman came and pitched his tent;
England her hardy seamen sent,
And every nation which did care
Made on its face a demesne fair.
It was not strange that in this World
The Danish flag, too was unfurl'd,
And waved the red square, snowy cross,
Above the Caribtean's toss.
It was not first to span the breach
'TwiyKt Europe and the Western beach;
Nor, like the earlier- paniard, did
Its rivals' influence o'er.bid,
It came when affluence and ease
Were giving living life a Circean lease
In the rich lands beyond the waves,
Made prosperous by bleeding slaves.
The cotton whiten'd neathh the sun
Of Summer---ummer ne'er begun
And ended by a season's length,
But mailingg e'er in mid-day strength.
The coffee plant, the sugar-cane
The rolling fields of ripening grain,
Bespoke the toil and industry
Of men who, 'spite this, were not free,
Ceres smiled fondly o'er these part,
And filled the slavers' stony hearts
With joy, but not with gratitude
To those who caused her happy mood.
32: ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
And, in this game of human thrall
Thou join'dst with other lands, though small,
And sanctioned bondaged man's estate,
Like Egypt, Rome, and lands less great.
They had their slaves, and thou hadst thinae,
Even as the famished lion's whine
Struck terror to the hearts of those
Whose fate it was to meet the foes
Of mankind in a losing game,
Just to uphold a tyrant's.name.
So Afric's sons of deeper hue
Quaked in their inmost spirits, too,
And cowered like frighted animals,
As o'er the field. the seneschal,
His scourge aloft and cracking free,
Urged them to further industry.
Ev'n as the proud Coliseum's floor
Was marked by gladiator's gore,
So Negro.blood 'flowed from each gash
Left by the cruel slaver's lash,
And si~ided with ruddy colour bright
The wgar-cane and cotton white.
The Spanish trader ploughed the wave
Full-freighted with the. trembling slave,
For, Ob thy smiling shores he found
His nearest human market-ground.
What tales of woe, correctly made.-
What scenes of hell, in words portray'd,--
Could .here be brought before the eyes,
To illustrate this vile emprise!
Two'centuries of slavish toil
These children of the far-off soil
Passed through, before the long night broke
And Justice from her slumber woke.
Then, like the hurricane which sweeps
Across the vales and mountain steeps,
Squelching to earth imprudent trees,
Andaught that dares to stem its breeze.
So speed their souls at Freedom's call,
Breaking from the inhuman thrall
And rushing forth into the dawn
Of Hope, and Liberty's bright morn.
What dauntless men !
They braved the trackless sea
To teach men faith in God!
What honesty !
To prove by love for man opprest
Their love for Christ! ---arvis.
Arrival of the Moravians.- 2 transformation
of tke Negroes.
IN the year 1732 slaves were treated with
the utmost severity the world over and 'in the
hearts of very few owners .was the quality of
mercy not strained. To change the well estab-
lished belief that slaves were but the equals of
beasts, the missionaries of the Moravian Church
came to Saint Thomas on the I2th of August,
No other body of Christians had hitherto
gone on record in demonstrating such loving-
kindness toward their fellow-men as did these
They were, however, ill-received by the officials
and planters, who forgot the imperative command
of Him whom they professed to serve and which.
bade them to go into all the world and.preach
the gospel unto every nation, Nevertheless,
34 ST. THOMAS IN PROSE ANDl VERSE.
Nitschmann and Dober, the vanguard of the mis-
sionaries. persevered, and by degrees the poor
blacks, sweating beneath the tropical sun, torgot
their hardships and with the consoling words of
the Master's love deeply rooted in their hearts,
went about their tasks with cheerfulness.
What a change Even the "iron" hearts of the
slave-owners were softened and they vied with
their black chattels in welcoming the missionaries.
So great has been impress of the missionaries that
to-day the people of St. Thomas equal the Euro.
peans in their appreciation of culture.
Thy harbour would be spangled
With ancient galleons,
Which, in their aspect fangled
Would portray what was ooce.
The Brandenourg Company gels a Footing on
St. Thomas.-Dwindles and Dies.-The
SEVERAL Governors held offices following
the incumbency of Governor Lorentz but space
precludes the giving of more than a glance at
the principal events that occurred during their
terms of office.
The state of Brandenburg--the germ from
which the powerful: kingdom of Prussia sprung
-made an agreement with the Danes to esta-
blish a trading company at St. Thomas. This
agreement was made on November 24, 1685, and
was to last for a period of 30 years with the
privilege of renewal, but the Danes, after many
years, finding the arrangement not advantageous
to them, became jealous and much bickering en-
sued followed by financial losses to the company.
Finally King Frederick William I, of Prussia,
whose ancestors were Electors of Brandenburg,
did not think it wise to expend more money
and the discussions over the matter were
36 ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
brought to a close shortly after the venture had
proved a failure.
It seems that the failure of the Brandenburg
Company was principally due to two causes : the
business sharpness of Governor Lorentz and a few
Danes, and the semi-indifference of Brandenburg
when that state found more tempting the opportu-
nities offered to expand its boundaries in Europe.
Although the Germans early in the eighteen
century gave up their commercial ideas with re-
gard to St. Thomas, they never lost sight of its
importance as a port and returned to the island
in 1868, as the headquarters for the Hamburg-
German steamers from European and Latin
American ports often arrived three and even five
at a time to unload or take on cargoes which
were shipped to ports east and west, and north and
south of St. Thomas. The intimate connection
of the company with the island did much to keep
up the port's commercial glory.
"Nothing can last in St.Thomas," is a common
saying among the people. Alas! in many cases
this appears only too true and Fate in 1914 sent
forth her fiat, through grim war, that the Germans
abandon their chief commercial base in America.
The results of the World War are too well-
known to need much space in this little volume.
Suffice is it, therefore, to say that Germany',
battle and commercial fleets were driven from
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 37
the high seas and the coaling station and other
property of the Hamburg-American line seized
by our new mother country as the fruits of victory.
There is reason to believe that when this
company again builds up its fleets, St.Thomas will
once more be its headquarters. Meanwhile, many
natives consider it a blot on American commer-
cial genius that no American concerns have been
able to take the place of the Hamburg-American
Line in the commercial life of the island.
The transport "Kittery" was formerly the
German inter-island liner "President."
I wou'd tain link thy lowland
With deeds of herioc strife
Like thee to Greece or Poland
Struggling for Freedom's life.
St. 7Tomas Leasea.-Lorent',s W1orries.-Spain
Plays Losingr Game.-Planters' Delegates
Visit Copenhagen.-Saint Croix Bo'ght.-
jiore About St. Thomas.
THINGs were not moving as should from a
financial point with the West India-Guinea Com-
pany [the two companies were reorganized as one
in the year 1673] and an offer made by George
Thormohlen to lease the island for ten years
for an annual sum of 4.630 silver dollars was
accepted. Thormohlen was permitted to take over
all the company's property on the island with the
understanding that everything be returned in
good order at the expiration of the lease.
Thormohlen's plans did not work as he
wished and there was much friction with the
planters and the Company. His lieutenant on
the island, Francis Delavigne, had no adminis-
trative ability and acted so tyrannically that the
planters held no place in their hearts for the
Finally on the 7th of April, 1694, after much
vexatious disputes in which at one time the
Directors of the Company were right aiid at
ST. THOMAS :N PROSE AND VERSE.
another Thormohlen was, the lease terminated.
In the venture the lessee had lost about xoo,ooo
John Lorentz again became governor. He
had many difficulties but, being an able adminis-
trator, he managed to overcome them. Not least
of his difficulties were those caused by the Bran-
denburghers and privateers as both violated the
neutral position of St. Thomas.
The Spaniards took advantage of the sus-
picion that while Denmark was neutral her
sympathies were with France, and in 1696 they
determined to capture St. Thomas. They pre-
pared a strong force for this purpose but owing
to a French fleet were forced to temporarily
abandon their attack.
A second attempt by the Spaniards to capture
the island was disastrously defeated by the French
who sunk many enemy ships near Porto Rico.
Governor Lorentz died in 1702 and vas
succeeded by Claus Hansen.
.Relations between the planters and the
company were not always of the best and it is
therefore not surprising that the former should
have sent a delegation to the home country in
1706 to seek certain reforms. This mission bore
little fruit with the result that in 1715 another
delegation was sent. This delegation consisted
of three men whose names are still to be found
in the islands: Jacob Magens, John de Windt
and George Carstensen. They were more suc-
cessful than the members of the first mission for
King Federick the IV lent them the royal ear
and appointed a commission to examine into
their grievances. A revival of trade followed
this victory. But there was yet room for fresh
ST. THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE.
the planters and the company.
Some time in the year 1717 paper was issued
gal tender owing to the shortage of specie
the dullness of trade, but when in 1727 the
planters "begun to get unreasonable" the paper
money was called in. This was during the ad-
ministration of Hendrich Suhm Governor of
St. Thomas and St. John. The latter island
charter on February 5,
In 1747 the company was
monopoly which caused a furore
planters who threatened to retaliate
in a manner that would have certainly not been
beneficial to the company.
The colonists justly feared that among other
resultant ills through monopoly, the trade with
the States on the Atlantic-seaboard would be
ruined and that they would suffer corresponding-
ly in prosperity.
The King and proprietors listened to some
Extent to the cry and the trouble was, in a way,
1Built by the
LDa 11 es
~'' ~o. '' ::lrrr~:: :i::r'
:~i:::::.: : :
Each inlet, cranny, nook and sheltered hill,
A million pages would easily fill,
With the history of nations that have been.
The parts they have played in the Caribbean.
J. P. Gimenez.
King Purchases Islands.-St. 7 homas Captured
by British.-Returned to Denmark.--Manyi
Improvements.- Cholera Appears. -People
Seek More Political Rights.
IN the year 1754,--December io,--King
Frederick V purchased the three islands from the
company and Saint Thomas [with the others]
came. under t-he direct control of the Crown.
The price paid was 2,200,000 pieces of eight.
The Danish West India and Guinea Company
had, like all other proprietary companies that were
established in the West India Islands and on the
mainland of America, lived its time.
The inhabitants were glad of the new ar-
rangement and became moreso when selfish trade
restrictions imposed by the company were remov-
ed. The purchase was a wise step on the part of
the king. Trade after receiving a terrible setback
and causing the colonists much suffering, rapidly
began to increase.
In 18o0 Saint Thomas was blockaded by a
British squadron and surrendered on April I to
a combined naval and military force. The island
was, however, returned to Denmark on February
In the year 1804 a great fire occurred in
the town of Saint Thomas. This was followed
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
not long after, in 1806, by another of equal, if not
greater, destructive force. Large sections of
the town were swept by these fires and property
amounting to about $16,oio,ooo destroyed.
In the year Ir807,--on December 22,-
the British once more captured Saint Thomas.
This time they did nor return the-island to Den-
mark until the power of Napoleon Bonaparte,
Britain's arch enemy, had been completely brok-
en, Of this period of British occupation we read
in Knox's History of St. Thomas:
Late in the year 18o7 St. Thomas was again, by capitulation,
transferred to Great Britain, who however, this time retained it nearly
eight yeirs, or until April, 1815. The first result of the change of
masters was an increase in the price of all kinds of American provis-
ions, timbe., &c., and a scarcity, or, rather, almost total absence, of all
the German. French, Spanish, 'and Italian commodities, to which
the inhabitants had been so long accustomed. The harbor was no
longer gay with flags of all nations, although thiee or four times a
year a sight of surpassing interest was to be seen in assembling of the
numerous homeward bound English ships at St. Thomas, for the pur-
pose of obtaining the benefit of the convoy of the men-of war appoint-
ed to protect them on cheir voyage. The number of merchant ships
varied according to the season of the year. The convoy, which saileG
in the month of August, frequently numbered not few.r than four hun-
dred, while the smallest was composed of at least a hundred vessels.
It musthave been a sight of no common interest to witness the de-
parture of so numerous a fleet, even though composed of merchant ves,
sels. Many of them were of a larg6 class, and partly armed, while
all no doubt did their utmost to .ake a respectable appearance under
the eyes of so many observers, and to avoid the stigma of laggard,
from their proud and majestic conductors-the men-of-war.
In exchange for Heligoland, which became
the 2reat naval fortress of Germany during the
-World War, the British evacuated St. Thomas on
April 15, 1815, and a few days after the Danne-
brog had resumed its accustomed place the em-
blems of nearly every nation were to be seen in
its harbor which took on a commercial activity
that was to last several decades. This period
might be termed the "doubloon period," for money
was so.plentiful that many a bag, or keg, of the
precious object was wheeled about the streets
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 43
of the town without creating undue interest.
Twelve hundred houses were burnt down by
a fire in 1825, while in the following year many
buildings, including the Lutheran Church. were
On November 27, 1863, during the first days
of the reign of King Christian IX, new Colonial
Laws giving the people a considerable voice in the
affairs of their government, were granted and came
into force on April 6', 1864. Of course, the gover-
nor, at that time Louis Rothe, had much power but
this was necessary owing to the fact that the seat
of the Danish government, Copenhagen, was
some 4,800 miles away.
At this time many improvements were begun in
St. Thomas. There was a considerable amount
ot work done at the marine slip now owned by
H. O. Creque, while plans, which materialized a
few years later, were under way for a floating dock.
In the city itself several new buildings were
planned, including the present Executive Man-
sion, the cornerstone of which was laid on April
8, 1865. The sidewalks were paved and the
principle public thoroughfares lighted by gas.
On November i8, 1866, cholera appeared in
the island and belere its ravages ceased over a
thousand lives had been claimed by its progress.
Following the failure of an attempt made by
the United States to purchase the island, and its
visitation by a hurricane, the people became
dissatisfied with the laws, and the financial bur-
dens under which they lived and sent a nu-
merously signed petition to the king beseeching
him to ameliorate their lot. King Christian
replied in kingly and paternal fashion to this docu-
ment from his West Indian subjects. But the
gracious reply was all that was received by them.
At times we have felt the hurricane's lash,
Heard the earthquake's deep rumble, felt it's crash,
But somehow we always came out on top.
Can such small incidents our progress stop?
J. P. Gimenez.
Violent H-urricanes and Earthquake of Past Six
Decades.--Steady Decline of Saint Thomas,
D)EsTRUcTIVE hurricanes and earthquakes oc-
cOr few and far between in the Virgin Islands
and thus Saint Thomas, almost free from these
upheavals of nature which occur so frequently else-
where, beckons, underfiled, to the thousands who
seek their health by a sojourn in a clime more
balmy than that which their native land affords
In the 19th century Saint Thomas experi-
enced few hurricanes and but one earthquake of
devastating force. The greatest of these occurred
on the 29th of October, 1867. In those days
science had not reached the fine point of to-day
when notice of the force of the wind and the
direction in which it is moving, can be so accu-
rately given, therefore, it was not surprising that
when this storm was over it was found to have
wrecked many buildings, stranded 77 vessels and
stilled the heart-beats of more than 300 persons.
On October 23, 1871, a severe hurricane
occurred in which several persons were Killed.
The hurricane of 1876 did little damage.
The hurricanes of the 19th Century were
followed on October 9, 1916, by one of greater
SAINT THlOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
intensity. The destructiveness of this storm
however, proved a blessing in disguise, for it
strengthened the disposition of the mother coun-
try to sell the islands to the Unittd States. The
following description of the storm is from the pen
of Leroy Nolte, member of the local legislature
and able journalist:
When we spoke of another scene having been enacted i.i the is-
lanhds history (referring to the mass meeting) we little thought that we
should only twenty-four hours after have passed through another, one
however of so sad and te rible a nature-a devastating hurricane, a scene
that has filled us with sorrow and no little despair. Fifty years with-
out a hurricane made it no doubt seem incredible that the island
would ever suffer again as it did in 1867, but alas that idea has proved mis -
taken. '67 has not only been repeated but surpassed, and those of mid-
die age among as who never knew, or could never imagine, what a real
hurricane can do, have now had the awful, never to be forgotten ex-
Amid the utter confusion following the disaster it is not possible
adequately to describe the destruction or to estimate the losses caused
by the disaster. Briefly put, a calamity has fallen upon this island,
the like of which is unknown here. With a mighty hand the storm
king has with utmost fury struck an islandewide blow that has swept it
from end to end, leaving in its path a trail of desolation and misery
from which it will be slow, and in a sense impossible, to recover if out-
side help-prompt and ample-be not obtained.
Saint Thomas-the pretty little town which we knew and on which
strangers gazed with delight-is at least for the present and probably
for a long time to come a changed place. The sun is shining brightly as
ever again today but over a scene of much ruin and many broken hearts
Fo best convey an idea of the damage it should be mentioned that
hardly a house has escaped untouched. A few got slight damages, but
the greater part have been more or less seriously damaged, a num-
ber being totally destroyed, in many cases those left standing being
beyond repair or beyond the means of their owners to have them ie-
Ihe storm raged for hours and with an intensity which may be
judged by readers abroad from the fearfully low barometer,which fell to
28. o, some say even as low as 28.02. The tremendous gusts of wind,
striking like battering rams upon the houses, and which during the lull
seemed by their renewed fury to have increased their driving force, left
no doubt among the helpless mortals shut in their homes of what havoc
the angry elements were working. But none ever expected to behold
what met his eyes when morning dawned. Devastation and desolation
all around, an aspect such as one may picture somewhat as from a bom,
bardment. Damaged or fallen houses everywhere, debris scattered
broadcast. Almost every tree blown away, the few standing being
broken down or stripped. The handsome Field giants are nearly all
standing but terribly mutilated. The hoary beauties of the parks are
mostly memories now, the uptown one being a wreck and the Emanci-
pation Garden not much better. Those along the pier promenade are
46 SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
either dead or disfigure-. Skipping fr om here to the cemeteries we finr
a tangle of broken trees which in tailing damaged tombs. The great
tamarind anr genip trees that adorned the market square and vicinity
are most of them lying uprooted across the street, huddled together
with bent and broken iron and wood electric, telegraph, and telephone
posts and wires, which have been laid low all about.
A survey of the town from some height and a walk through all
its streets and byways tells the same sad tale and reveals the same pic-
ture on ,il sides-houses unroofed; roof covering gone, interiors dam-
aged by rain, rooms blown from their foundation, overturned, smashed
to pieces. furniture and personal effects mixed up in ruins, homeless.
ones. and so on. It would be hard to say what part of the town has
suffered most. From Blue Beard Castle in the east to Jan Dunko west
-and in the country district as well-the effects of the storm are visi-
ble. "Long Path" presents perhaps the dreariest aspect, while French
man Hill and environs have been hit hard. From end to end of the
town places have been ruined, making many a family and person home-
less. The Savanne and thereabout mi-s many a room which though old
and weak still provided a dwelling for their now shelterless occupants.
The churches have not fared so badly, being stronger and mostly of
wall, but the rectories have all been damaged, the Moravian and Wes-
leyan badly. The old Methodist chapel is gone. The roofs of Ta
litha Kumi and Bakkedal damaged, the Synagogu- also. The Factory
machine shop was washed into the sea. Communal Hospital damaged,
and countless other places. The state of the houses has made other
less distressed ones offer shelter to friends or needy ones, while some
families have had to remove to hotels.
I he King's Wharf and Pier present a strange sight. -quare
against the wharf is tne dredge -t. Hilda and a big lighter. Spars,
masts, other flotsam washed ashore are lying in one big mass with
trees, wires, boats, and what not along the walk. The boathouse has
disappeared and everything else movable. The Fort flagstaff blown
down and the guns on ,he saluting battery pitched about. A part of the
tiny ice cream palace remains but the bees have fled leaving lots of hon-
ey, Bats in profusion driven from their haunts fell easy victims to the
In the harbor there were several casualties. The Danish bark
Thor was wrecked and lies bottom up near the powder magazine.
steamers Calabria and the Wasgenwald, and Anholt ashore. Schooner
Irma II and sloop Faith sunk. Many lighters and boats missing. A
couple of seamen were drowned, these fortunately being the only
loss of life reported. Several injured persons have been sent to the hos-
The West Indian Co. has sustained damage to its warehouse and
other buildings. Two coal cranes were thrown down,,which though a loss
to the Company the work people are not all sorry about. Some damage
to roofs is reported from the H. A. L. wharf. The iron frame ware-
house at the E.A. Co.'s wharf is much damaged. The dock rode out the
storm safely though swung from her moorings somewhat. The cruiser
Valkyrien also stood the tempest bravely, and through her presence and
heroic work the crew of the Thor was safely rescued.
In this calamity it is not alone the need of relief, but relief prompt
and sufficient. The Government has given five thousand dollars in aid,
which is helpful, but a vast deal more is required if proper and needful
assistance is to be rendered. And the only source trom which thi.
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
should come is the State Treasury. A large number of the sufferers not
only need food but want aid to enable them to restore their damaged
(or lost homes. In these cases the Banks are not likely to assist, for
good reasons, therefore such easy facilities as necessary should come
iiom the State, from which in disasters of the kind assistance chiefly
-must be sought and cannot be refused. If such be not forthcoming we
fear that then the present acute misery will increase, and that many of
the homes of .te poorer people which have been lost will never
be restored. The loss in '67 occurred in rich times, but now, in
this miserable war period, made worse by the scarcity of work, money,
ind dearness of all necessaries and materials, the hurricanes is a
In 1924 another hurricane visited the island
and caused some slight property loss. That of
1928 while causing much loss of life and property
among other islands left Saint Thomas practically
unscathed. History recordsseven other hurricanes
occurring between the years 17 3 and 1837.
Twenty days -tater the hurricane of'67 the only
destructive earthquake of the century was expe-
rienced. This was followed by a tidal wave.
The tremors had lasted for about half a minute
when the frightened people, who had rushed into
the streets to avoid the fall of crumbling masonry,
were further scared by cries of 'The sea the seal'"
The sea receding and leaving, for a moment
exposed to view the stranded fishes and bared
rocks on the naked floor of the harbor, was now
returning as a great wall of water on the doomed
The inhabitants fled, as fast as their terror-
stricken limos could take them, to the beautiful
green hills that overlook the city and there., be-
lieving that their woes had been brought on them
by their sins, bethought themselves of the God of
whom the missionaries had taught and devoutedly
prayed that He spare their island-home the pun-
ishment inflicted upon Sodom and Gomorrha.
As in all such disasters there were found
few hardened individuals who took advantage of
48 SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
the situation and, by quick action, are said to
have ranked later on among the island's rich.
But, as though to nullify the curse that these
villians might have brought on the fear-filled
community, a young man of slave descent named
John Ottley stood guard at the open vaults of
a great treasure house,-the Colonial Bank.
Manager, cashier, clerks-all but he-had fled ini
terror to the hills In reward for this act of faith-
fulness the directors decreed that as long as Ottley
lived, or had sons to take his place, the post of
bank messenger would be theirs.
Ottley lived, an honored member of the
community, until he had reached the age of
four-score and more, and was then succeeded in
his job by a son who held the position until lack
of business compelled the bank to close its doors
on April 25, 1916.
It was the year after the disaster of 1867 that
the decline of St. Thomas as a commercial centre
of the world began. The causes appeared to be
many. Steam- superseded sail- vessels and ship-
pers could thus afford to send goods direct to the
Islands and to the ports of Central and northern
South America to the merchants ot which places
Saint Thomas had been so long the principal
"he linking of Saint Thomas with Europe
and America by cable was another cause. This,
occurring in 1872, naturally made it unnecessary
for ships to prolong their stay for orders. The
invention of wireless telegraphy several years
later further emphasized this reason. The chief
cause for the decline of Saint Thomas, however,
was to be found in the selfish and lethargic dispo-
sition of her merchants, most of whom, after
having made fortunes, either sailed away like rats
'A,- A, -- A- --- *---A~-.AA- --~ -- ------- A. a------- ---- .- *
K .... i
'^ .^' ..- ; .
.. '. ..
*" ':: :'; : \ -
,* "*/'. '"". . :i" '<
,,r,, ::, : ,
.,.., ?. ,., .=:: .. ; .,
" '.. ; =,'. '% .,, ,. i..", ,' .
r~~~~~.. }T ,.-
... -,, .." .... : ..' .* ...
The American Hotel
abandon a sir
way against t
king ship, or remaining, were
while the tide of decadence
FRUIT VENDER, ST. THOMAS
S A INT TT
Not bound up with an interest
Identical in each respect,
The passing years but wedged the cleft
Which former estrangement had left.
The natives wondered why their flag
Did in the island's uplift lag,
And why they were not called to share
A Mother Country's love and care.
Capital Transferred to Former Seat-Death of
Governor Birch.-Governors Bille, Stake-
mann and Garde Occupy Government house
Garde Dissolves Council.-- Other Events
of His Administration.-lie is succeeded by
Colonel Arendrup.-Events Under the A /ew
Under Governor Birch on February I1, 1871,
the capital of the colony was transferred from Chris-
tiansted to St.Thomas where it was at first located.
Governor Birch is said to have died through
the effect an article published in the Saint Thomas
Tiende, (Times), had on him. It had been
his determination to enforce the press laws
against the paper but his first move brought from
the pen of the editor an editorial touching on
tyranny. The editorial was published Saturday.
evening, February 25, 1871, and on the following
morning on the door of the bath room being
broken in, Governor Birch was found on the
floor unconscious. He died shortly after beine
placed in bed. He was succeeded by Gov. Bille.
Governor Bille retired in 1872 and the vacancy
was temporarily filled by ViceGovernor Stakemann
who returned to Saint Croix in the latter capacity
when Admiral Garde arrived from Copenhagen
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
on Sept. 24, to take over the reins of government.
The Apollo Theatre was completed in IS73
and formally opened on the 27th of October. It
was the first building of its kind erected on the
On the 9th of January, 1875, the Colonial
Council was dissolved by Governor Garde. At.
this time the council contained several foreign-
ers, mostly British subjects, who delighted to
block the plans ot the Governor. We are inform-
ed that on the occasion of the dissolution there
had been a rather stormy meeting from which
the members had retired in a body leaving the
irate governor alone. Raising his voice and
bidding them wait, His Excellency informed
the members that he had an important communi-
cation to make and then, after they had resumed
their seats, continued: "Gentlemen, by the au-
thority vested in me by His Majestic the King
of Denmark, I hereby dissolve the Colonial
Council of Saint Thomas and Saint John."
Governor Garde was one of the best gov-
ernors the islands have had, and many of the
improvements that are visible in the city to-day
were due to his initiative.
On September i, 1877, after 35 years of
existence the British postal agency was done
away with, and Saint Thomas became a mem-
ber of the postal union.
On June 3, 1878, the Communal Schools
were opened. This was a great blessing to the
poorer section of the population. Mr. O. Bache
was the first Director of Education in Saint
The inhabitants were thrown into consterna-
tion on October 2 by news of riots in Saint Croix
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
which caused the destruction of much property
in the vicinity of Frederiksted. The governor
accompanied by reinforcements for the garrison
immediately went over. The labor riots were
due to the antiquated laws that governed the la-
borers. The planters and the government were
to be blamed for the riots as they allowed the la-
borers to live in a state little better than peonage.
Prince Valdemar, the son of the King of
Denmark, visited Saint Thomas on September
27h, 1879. He was the bearer of royal greet-
ings from Christian the IX and spent several
months on the island. He left for home on
Governor Gade retired from the governorship
of the' islands on April 9, 1881. Mutual and
sincere regrets were expressed by the governor and
by.the people's representatives on the eve of His
Excellency's departure. He was succeeded by
On December 6, a Brazillian scientific ex-
pedition arrived for the purpose of observing the
transit of Venus. Their work was successfully
accomplished. An obelisk, erected on M;afolie,
near the beautiful estate of Mr. A. Fairchilds,
now marks the scene of their labors. The mon-
ument is visited annually by crowds of tourists.
On December 20, i886, Prince Carl, now
King Haakon of Norway, visited the island on
the cruiser "Jylland." He spent his time between
the three islands, and left for home on the 3rd of
For some years the Mexican dollar, which
was a recognized medium of exchange in Saint
Thomas, had become a source for much irritation.
Petition had been made to the home gov-
SAINT THIOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 53
ernment to remedy the currency situation, but
probably owing to the fact that because the spirit
of Alexander Hamilton, whose delight it had been
to observe the wheeling of gold-laden barrows
about the streets of Saint Thomas, did not skip
across the Atlantic to inject its master's energy
into the Danish ministry of finance, no notice
was taken of the protest by the home govern-
ment. This neglect made the merchants wise,
or perhaps, desperate, for they begun coining
of tokens, which readily passed at face value. At
first this was all right for it assisted the shortage
of small change, but soon, as was to be expected,
many a merchant obeying the urge of his pirate's
blood ordered for a mere "song," from New York
and elsewhere, thousands of dollars worth of to-
kens. The result was inevitable. Small Danish
coins were driven from circulation and the Mexi-
can dollar becoming more depreciated, most mer-
chants paid it out as one hundred cents but
accepted it at a discount.
Great discontent was naturally caused among
the working classes who started rioting in Sep-
Those whose conduct had been partly the
cause of this outburst of proletarian wrath quiver-
ed in fear of being maltreated by the mob, and
blood-shed was only averted by the tact shown by
the authorities, whose efforts were aided by the
courage of a few honest individuals
A vision comes of days gone by,
When Prosperity's tide ran high,
And Neptune groaned beneath the weight
That trudled through thine ocean-gate.
Corporations Established to I elp Islands.-
The Harbor Board.--New Colonial Laws.
-Labor Union Founded.--Music Receives
Impetus. -Roosevelt k isits Island. West
Indian Company Introduces Electricity.-
People's Anticipations Run Hizk.
The negotiations for the sale of the islands
in 1901 having tailed the Danes in a spirit of pa-
triotic fervor decided that something should oe
done for their economic uplift islands and accord-
ingly the formation of several companies followed.
The Danish Plantation Company was organ-
ized in 1903. As far as Saint Thomas is con-
cerned it proved a failure.
The East Asiatic Company, one of the world's
biggest shipping concerns, extended its services
to Saint Thomas in 1903. The management of
the local interests of this company passed into
the hands of the West Indian Company, a new
and gigantic company organized in 1912. The
West Indian Company is the economic backbone
of the port of Saint Thomas as it furnishes about
half of the island's laborers with work. The
cheap and splendid facilities offered by this com-
pany are unrivalled by any elsewhere in the West
On the 6th of July 1906, the Saint Thomas
Harbor Board was organized. Its creation has
proven to be one of the wisest measures instituted
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
under the former regime and to-day, under able
administration, the board is one of the chief
assets of the island.
On February 3, 1905, the National Bank of
the Danish West Indies was established with a 30-
year charter. This bank was also founded with
a view to help the inhabitants and to retain the
islands as an appendage of the Crown.
A new set of Colonial Laws were granted
by King Frederick VIII in 1906 with the under-
standing that a further revision would be made
ten years later.
On September 8, 1916, several individuals
founded the Saint Thomas Labor Union. At
first the Union was weak and owing to ineffi-
cient management 'was on the point of collapse.
At this critical stage, George A. Moorehead, a
charter member, was elected president and under
his tactful guidance the union has become a
strong and useful organization.
Through the energy and assistance of Mr.
Elphege Sebastien the Native Brass Band was
created in 1904. A few years after the band had
been founded, it ranked, under the capable
directorship of Lionel Roberts, among the
four leading bands of the West Indies. It be-
came defunct in 1922.
In 1910, another brass band, Adams Juven-
nile Band, came into existence. Founded by its
talented bandmaster and nutured in its early days
by Mr. Febastien, Adams Juvenile Band has
become, since the Transfer, the splendid U. S.
Naval Band of the Virgin Islands, with its band-
master widely recognized as a composer of note
in the field of music.
Another band came to the fore among the
58 SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
music loving natives of the "Pearl Amidst the
Ocean," in 1925, when P. O. Nicholson, a talented
and ambitious young ex-serviceman, organized
the St. Thomas Community Band. Its first con-
cert, given in the Emancipation Garden, created
much enthusiasm among the crowds of listeners
assembled at that historic spot.
On February, 17, 1916, ex-President Roosevelt
visited Saint Thomas and was received with great
cordiality by the Government and the people of
the island who had long been warm admirers of
the ex-president. His visit raised the belief in
the minds of many that the question of the
purchase of the islands was about to be raised.
In the year 1915, the West Indian Com-
pany introduced the use of electricity in the
city. The people, ever glad to advance along
lines of modern progress, could not refrain from
cheering when the lights were put on on the
main street in a successful test. Merchants and
clerks crowded at the doors of their stores, and
pedestrians stopped their steps and gazing at
the lights interpreted them as the harbinger of a
period of progress and prosperity for their island
Shortly after electricity made its advent the
gas company went voluntarily into liquidation.
At about this time the mind of everyone was
busy with forecasts of the prosperity that would
come to Saint Thomas with the completion of the
Panama Ganal and preparations were being ac-
tively made to reap that portion of the lucrative
trade that would fall to the port by ships calling
when on their way through that waterway.
Indeed, it was this opportunity, seen in the offing.
that had strengthened the founding of the West
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 57
Indian Company and secured for it vast conces-
sions from the home and local governments.
The grim, old god of war, however, in his
lust for blood and destruction, had decided that
the expectations of the Saint Thomians would
not be altogether realized, and thus the comple-
tion of the great water way across the Isth-
mus of Panama found the nations, whose fleets
would have utilized the harbor of Saint Thomas
in pursuit of riches, battling on land and sea for
Let not thy present sons despise,
Or hold thee in a cold surmise:
Let them not judge thee by thy worst,
But grant thee what thou suedst at first.
The Transfer of the islands to the United States
Following Negotiations Broken and Resumed
That Coverea half a Century.
THE transfer of the Virgin Islands, where)
Saint Thomas became American territory, must
be traced to that seemingly immutable decree of
Providence whereby the entire West Indian
group will eventually become a part of the great
A democratic oasis situated in the world of
monarchial desert, the United States early be-
came the haven where men sought safety from
oppression and the opportunity to follow the
pursuits of happiness. Nowhere else than
in the European colonies in the West Indies
did this sentiment appear so strong, and, added
to their geographical situation, it helped to
forge links of unbreakable friendship. Thus it
was that we saw in those early days the port of
Frederiksted saluting the flag of the war-bled
colonies and other islands of the group eagerly
supplying them with munitions of war.
How then could it have been anything but na-
tural for the people of Saint Thomas to yearn to
become part and parcel of the land that flies the
glorious star-spangled banner?
When the United States finally decided that
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 59
she did wAnt the Danish West India Islands the
necessity of owning them had been forcibly de-
monstrated to her. The raiders of the Seceding
States in i861-64, aided by the sympathic activi-
ties of Great Britain, had played havoc with the
merchantmen of the Northern States, and it did
not take long for the government to realize that
had it possessed a suitable port in the West In-
dies the loss of many millions of dollars would
have been spared the Federals.
Accordingly after the War of Secession, Ad-
miral Porter was detailed to make a report on the
advisability of the United States purchasing the
islands from Denmark. His report was favora-
ble to their purchase.
Secretary of State Seward shortly after
receiving this report took the matter up with the
Danish representative to the United States, but
as Denmark was at the time unwilling to sell the
matter was dropped only, however; to again come
up towards the close of the year 1865 when
Denmark was more willing to dispose of her
possessions in the West Indies.
With a view of having first hand information
the able Secretary of State himself visited Saint
Thomas on January 9, 1866, but on his return
to Washington offered the ridiculously small sum
of $5,000,000 for the islands. Denmark ask-
ed $15,000,000 for the three islands, or for
Saint Thomas and its adjunct, Saint John, $o1,-
ooo,ooo, with the understanding that a plebis-
cite of the people be taken.
The United States'accepted this counter pro-
posal two months after it was made and on
October 24, 1867, a treaty was arranged. The
plebiscite was taken in January 1868, and the
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
inhabitants of the island of Saint Thomas voted
almost unanimously for the change of sovereign-
ity. The treaty received the sanction of the
Danish Parliament and King Christian IX issued
a proclamation informing his West Indian sub-
jects of the sale.
Funny, as it would seem, the United States
finally rejected the treaty and good old King
Christian was left in the awkward position of
having to again take back his subjects.
The sale question again came up in 1892,
1896, 189S, I900 and 1902. It became a
disgusting kind of game to the inhabitants of
Saint Thomas who, at the time, could be likened
to a ball placed between Copenhagen and Wash-
ington and poked from one end of the Atlantic to
the other by the respective heads of affairs, for
when the United was willing to buy Denmark
was unwilling to sell,-and vice versa.
The end of this game of proposals and coun-
ter proposals was reached on January 17, 1917,
when after protracted negotiations ratifications of
tihe Treaty of Transfer were exchanged at Wash-
igton. The Great War and the hurricane had
much to do with the consummation of the sale
The United States, on the eve of entering
the Great War on the side of France and her
allies, and probably seeing the use to which
Germany could have put the port of Saint Thomas,
decided that she must have the islands and in the
usual fair manner she has of dealing with other
nations offered Denmark the sum of $25,000,000
besides relinquishing all territorial rights in
The King and Parliament of Denmark accept-
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
ed the offer, bur with honor. They had a plebis-
cite held in Denmark and invited delegates from
the Colonial Councils of Saint Croix and Saint
Thomas to give their opinion on the proposed
sale. Thedelegates from Saint Thomas were Dr.
Christensen, Lawyer Jorgensen and the Hon. J.
C. Roberts. They were in favor of the sale as
was likewise the plebiscite held in 1)enmark the
result of which was 283,694 for and I57,596 against
the transfer of the sovereignty of the islands to
the United States.
March 31 was set as the day when the red
flag with the white cross was to be hauled down
and that with the alternating bars of red and
white and field of scintilating stars was to take
its place. What pen can portray the emotions of the
thousands 'who gathered about the spot selected
for the ceremony? The people felt that they had
been well treated by Denmark but, as Destiny
must be fullfilled, they had craved the annexation
of their island-home to the Great Republic of the
North, and now the time had come when the dream
they had dreamt fifty-odd years aback was about
to be realized.
Since for better, or for worse, they had pledged
their hearts to America why should(men sob as wo- I
men'and women as children, as Europe's oldest
flag slowly began to drop from its staff, and then,
as it reached the hands of loving Danes, cheer
its disappearing folds? God is great and He is
just: The people's conscience was clear and
they honored the flag that had flown for over two
centuries in their midst.
Their ancient standard down, a new one, the
one they had clamored for, rose to take its place
and as it opened its folds to the tropic breeze its
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
silver stars seemed to mirror the awakened joy of
the cheering multitudes and to say to them
"Behold I am now here; long did you seek me,
be loyal to me and you will have no regrets."
The following was written by the late John
N. Lightbourn, editor ofLzghtbourn's MazlNotes:
After two hundred and fifty-one years to a day, the
Stars and Stripes replace the Dannebrog which was hoisted
over this island ore hundred and ten years before the birth
of the American Republic, an iwhich now disappears for
ever, as a ruler, trom the Western hemisphere.
It has not been lowered without a struggle, for there
were scores of thousands in Denmark who to the last fought
for and voted its retention; but doubtless there were very
strong, even grave, reasons which induced King Christian
the Tenth and his government to consider the transfer ot
this part of his dominions, and equally strong. we should
say, must have been the reasons which induced the United
States. after the experience of fourteen years ago, to seek the
transfer. Governments do not always give reasons for their
action, but this seems to be a clear international one and
some day it may be disclosed--when it ceases in any way to
But so it is that today we bid good-bye to that bit of
old.world life, in which we have lived and moved and had
our being these two and half centuries, and begin the new
o-der of things.
From 1666 to 1917, and from Copenhagen to Washing-
ton is a far cry; but a few hours ago we were with Copenhagen,
*now we are with Washington, and here to stay for all time and
with the exception of the sunshine which always blesses these
isles, all things are become new. We are taken under the
Stars and Stripes, not as a conquered people, neither do we
expect to be treated as such. We have for these many years
enjoyed the fights of a tree and enlightened people, and of
this freedom we expect no curtailment whatever. We shall
give our loyalty unstintedly ro the flag that now floats
over us. From this moment on it is our flag and in every
respect we demand every privilege, all the rights, and all the
protection for which it stands.
SAINT THOMAS.iIN PROSE AND VERSE 63
There are some things which made the transfer of these
islands easy. First, there is the language. In this there
s no difficulty whatever, for without a single exception En-
lish, or, if you will have it, American, is the tongue of the
people; next, the close commercial relations which have al-
ways existed between the States and these islands, and third-
ly, the large number of the islanders who have taken the
States for a home, and these seem to.be the actors whicn
will save a problem.
Saturday opened dull. drizzly. As was our wont in the
early morning we looked out for the hoisting of Daonrbrog at
the battery and we saw the old flag go up slowly to the top
of the mast for the last time. It could not open out, there
was no breeze, and for all the world it looked as if it were
rooping in sorrow, clinging in a last farewell embrace to the
pole that bad proudly borne it aloft for years.
Well, the day wore on and towards afternoon cleared
beautifully for the ceremony that was to take place-the
ceremony that was to change a people's nationality.
As the hour of four approached, the people gathered.
)y dozens, by scores, by hundreds, until thousands were
packed along the promenade and approaches to the barrack-
ard and on the battlements of old tort Christian, besides
he thousands who took up positions from vantage points on
ur hills and in boats in the harbour. By.and-by the guard
f honour from the Danish ship of war Valkryien, under
lieutenantt Jorgensen, landed and lined off on the pier; they
ere quickly followed by the Americans under Lieutenant
each who briskly marched to the position assigned them,
while the Danes waited to do bonour to Commander Pollock
on his landing, after which they took their place just in front
bf the barracks.
The officials, officers, of the Valkyrien and the Hancock.
the Colonial Council, consuls, and invited guests formed a
line along the southern front of the fort and His Excellency
Governor Konow walked down this line introducing Com-
mander Pollock, after which they proceeded to the Harbour
Office, accompanied by several officials, where the articles of
transfer were read and signed and from that moment we
ceased to be Danish soil, and we had seen the last Danish
In returning to the barracks Commodore Konow, standing
in front cf his men and facing Commander Pollock, in the
64 SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
name of His Majesty King Christian declared the transfer of
the Danish Islands to tha United States of America accom-
plished, and ordered the Dannebrog to be lowered, which
was done, the flag coming down slowly while the ships and
battery saluted with twenty-one guns and the band from the
Valkyrien played the Danish National Anthem. Then the
guards reversed positions. Commander Pollock on behalf of
the United States of America acknowledging the cession;
and as the ships and battery again saluted with twenty-one
guns and the band of the U. S. S. Olympia played The Star
Spangled Banner and the Stars and Stripes were hoisted. Com-
modore Konow and Com. Pollock again saluted each other in
military style, and shook hands. Commodore Konow with
his men then lelt the scene for his ship.
The proclamation of the President of the United States
was then read by the new Acting Governor, who announced
that the territory would hereafter be known as the "Virgin
Islands of the United States of America," and he hoped
that the change would be fraught with good for the islanders.
He then called on Bishop E. C. Greider (Moravian) for
prayer, and the Benediction was given by Bishop Charles
B Collymore, the Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Puerto
Thus the long and honourable chapter ot Danish rule
in the West Indies has closed and passed into the hands of
It was a long time coming-this change-America's first
effort at acquisition being made just fifty years ago but it has
come at last. For weal or for woe we are within the folds ot
Old Glory"-and we do trust that the islands may enjoy
that "happy and prosperous future which" both the King
who has ceded them and the people of the United States
who have acquired them hope for.
Alter the completion of the ceremony, Commander Pol-
lock shook bands with the consuls, councilmen, and officials,
expressing to all the hope that he would have the opportunity
of further acquaintance with them, and we are glad to say
that during the few minutes' contact he created a very pleas-
It was exactly 4.45 p.m. when the flag was lowered sim.
ultaneously from the Port staff, the Barrack staff, the Fort,
Government House and Office, and the Post Office. The
time.between the lowering of the Danish and the hoisting
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 65
of the American flags was about six minutes, the Stars and
stripes going up simultaneously at all the above-mentioned
places except the Government Office.
It is but natural that one's emotions or such an occa-
sion should be stirred to their depths, and as the old flag came
down tears filled the eyes of our women, and strong, robust
men shook as the tears rolled down their cheeks-it was a
sad sight, cutting to the heart, made more solemn perhaps
by the sounj of the guns in the Royal salute, while the band
played the Danish National Anthem. But quickly ran up
the Starry banner and again the hearts of the people were
.cheered. In deep reverence they saw the Cross go down,
and with fervent hopes for the future they saw the Stars shine
Immediately after the ceremonies a squad of American
Marines from the Hancock, who had been up on the Fort
terrace, were placed, on police duty in the town. It was
not a hard task and the people certainly tried to make the tars
see they meant to give them little if any work to do.
Emblem beloved ot our glorious state,
thou shieldest not oppressor, small or great
Beneath thy tolds our faith is sure and strong
That God Eternal will not suffer wrong.
Thy bars remind of early patriots' fire,
Thy Stars are beacon*v of divine desire
That Justice, freedom of man
Be more than life to true American.
How bright thy beauty for thy children glows
A menace only to our cruel foes,
Wave, ever wave, dear Flag o'er land and sea
Symbol of peace with love salute we Thee !
American Governors-Governor Trenck's Death
THE first Governor after the transfer was
Admiral Oliver, he entered into the governorship
after Commander Pollock had acted a short time
in that capacity.
He was followed in the gubernatorial
chair by Rear Admiral Oman who after a popular
administration was succeeded by Rear Admiral
Admiral Kittelle, though thought a bit arbi-
trary was a fine executive. As was the case with
Governor Garde, Admiral Kittelle came in con-
flict with the Colonial Council, which he dissolv-
in the autumn of 1920.
The dissolution of the Council followed
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 67
a sort of deadlock between the members and the
Governor over the passage of a bill considering
the appointment of a iudge to the District Court.
Under the Colonial Laws, which are still in force,
the governor of the Virgin Islands has the right
to dissolve the Colonial Councils.
The governorship of the islands was next
held by Admiral Hough and then by Captain'
Philip Williams. The latter was an admirable
and conscientious governor, and was much con-
cerned over the well-being of the territory he ad-
Governor Williams was followed by Captain
Martin E. Trench.
Governor Trench was one of the best gov-
ernors the Virgin Islands have had. He died of
pneumonia on the mainland where he had gone
for a vacation combined with work in the island's
interests. His death which took place on January
6, 1927, caused much grief in Saint Thomas.
During the absence of Governor Trench,
and until the arrival of his successor, the Honor-
able E. H. van Patten, the able Government
Secretary, filled the gubernatorial position with
credit and gained the full confidence of the peo-
ple He turned over the governorship to Captain
Waldo Evans whose inauguration took place in
the Emancipation Garden on March 927,
with simple, though impressive, ceremonies. The
crowds were very enthusiastic in their reception
of the new governor and almost became delirious
with joy when he said :
"It is with a great deal of pleasures that I
can inform you that President Cooligde signed
your citizenship bill ye ay an fora y
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
welcome you asan integral
The people had now
part of a oreat nation."
obtained that boone-
which they had so long
clamored. It was their just due and it
ways they made manifest their happiness.
The inaugural ceremonies over, Governor
Evans was escorted by a guard of honor to the
Executive Mansion where he reviewed a parade
composed of the Naval and Community Bands,
fire brigade, nurses, employes of the municipality,
merchants and other business men, thousands of
and the members of the Labor
In the evening a monster parade headed by
the Community Band, halted before the Executive
Mansion and played a hymn composed for the
occasion by Cyril Crequc, a native poet, and the
Star Spangled Banner.
Since the transfer of the islands to America
0o10. 4 I lOls
improved and it is our
belief that these conditions will show
improvement with a longer stay in office
.E xcellency Governor Evans, assisted by
such able Americans like the F
Government Secretary; the Hon.
iogton Wil iams, Judge of the Di,
Hon. Chas. W. Gibson, Judge
Court; Director of Police M. J.
rector of Education
Ion. van Patten,
strict Court; the
of the Police
. Nolan and Di-
The Spacious Grand
Hotel and Beautiful Emancipation
I __ ~_L 1_1_ I_ II__~ __ __ C~_II __ __
r- ~LU-UL_ d
ZTHIS Hotel with its spacious rooms and splendid
view of the harbour, is located in'the center of
the city and is in easy reach of the landing place, the
Custom House, Theatre, Churches, Club and Public
The dining saloon is situated on
side, and is quite open to the fresh
Terms very moderate
further particulars write Manager Ameri-
_ __ __
72 SAIN TH MA IN_ PROS AN)l VERSE CI __
A. LUGO & COMPANY
Wholesale and Retail Dealers:in
Provisions and General Merchandise
American and European Houses
Fire Insurance Agents
THOMAS IN PROSE
AND) VERSE S
ST. THOMAS VIRGIN
MANUFACTURERS AND EXPO
U. S. A.
RTERS OF THE GENUINE
DOUBLE DISTILLED BA
S --- _____f -3-1 1~-1 ~ om A
We specialize to the tourist trade in delivering of cases direct to your home address,
as an advertising medium
r MAIkDED DIPLOMA AT ROCHESTER, New York.
AWARDED SILVER MEDALAT PHILADELPHIA, Penn.
AWARDED GOLD MEDAL AT LONG BEACH, Calif
THE BAY RUM STORE
NO. 34 MAIN STREET
THE VIRGIN ISLAND BAY RUM MFG,CO.
therefore, patronize dby
Comedians, Tragedians and Singers
I homas and first-
_ ~_ -------CI~-----~LI
_ __ -~---_I
SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE 75
Marine Railway and Stores
Docking and repairing of wood and
Iron Vessels undertaken with quickest
air plant & ony-acetylene
76 SAINT THOMAS IN PROSE AND VERSE
A. H. RIISE
St. Thomas Apothecary Hall,
St. Thomas Virgin Islands Of U.S.A.
Druggist and Chemist.
Isaac Paiewonsky Proprietor
Patent Medicines and Proprietory Articles
of every description.
Prescriptions carefully and Promptly
Compounded at any hour of the Day or Night.
Stationery, Conklin Self-filling Fountain
Pens, &e. &e.
Eastman's Kodaks, Films and other
Photographic Supplies a Speciality.
Excellent supply of toilet articles of the finest
quality: Face Powders Cold Cream, Toilet Soaps,
Shaving Requisites, etc
Select Assortment of American Cigerettes :
Idle hour, Camel, Piedmont, Fatima, High Flyer,
Lucky Strike, and many other brands, also Turkish
Puerto Rican and Jamaican Cigars, American T obaccos
always in stock
Emporium for French Perfumery of the finest odors
from Houbigant, Coty, Roget &Gallet, Rigaud, Gallet
Freres, Pinaud, etc.
[-AP An Excellent Soda Fountain has been installed,
where tempting delicious drinks of every description are prompt
ly dispensed throughout the day and evening.
Ice Cream, Sodas, Sundeas, Cocoa-Cola, etc.
A Fine Supply of Good Family Groceries carried:
Canned Goods, Teas, Chocolates, Biscuits, etc.
Prop. Maria L. Quinones
Large Airy Rooms.
1. LaB i-GA
Insurance Agent, Commission
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Offers the usual supply of
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