The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

Captain Thomas Charles Barnes


The town of Gustavia on St. Barth’s as it looked in the late nineteen fifties. Photo Father Bruno Boradori.

His father “Buddy” Barnes  ( Richard Thomas Barnes Sr.) was a Captain and owner of schooners, as well as his brothers Chandlis should be( Chandos Augustin Barnes born 21.07.1889), Robert,(Robert Carlton Barnes born 08.02.1901) Willie (lost at sea in a hurricane) and “Buddy Jr.”  ( should be Richard Thomas Barnes born 28.11.1885) who died at sea while second mate on a six master schooner.’

Charles known to all as “Charlie” cut his teeth sailing the high seas with his seafaring family. I had a difficult time finding him in the site

until I realized that Dutch officials and even local ones registered names as they heard them pronounced. So I decided to look under Barns and there I found him registered as Thomas Charles Barns born 02.07.1894.  I also cannot yet find name and date of his wife’s  Nina (daughter of Johanna Lovelace Dowling ) birth. The Dowlings are largely registered under the surname Dowlin. I seem to remember that his wife was a sister of Viva Dowling married to Ralph Hasssell. Her parents were Peter John Hassell Dowling  and Joanna Lovelace Hassell, but I still could not find Thomas Charles Barnes’ wife in the records nor when and where they married. I did read somewhere that the ancestral home of the Barnes family on St. Barth’s was actually purchased by Johanna Lovelace Dowling in 1912.

netherwoodCaptain Charlie according to my research also had three sisters (Aramenta Barnes born 17.02.1891) who moved to Barbados as so many of the St. John’s people did.

, Estelle Barnes born 10.12.1896,  ( married in Barbados to Raymond Seale)and Elizabeth Ethel born 28.12.1899. (Married in Barbados to Clifford Mayhew).

As Sabans expanded their fleet of schooners many of them emigrated to other islands where there were better opportunities for business and safe anchorage for their schooners something which Saba did not have to offer.

Many Sabans moved to the island of Barbados and carried on the better part of trade between that island and the rest of the West Indies. Others from Saba and especially the white schooner owners from The Bottom and St. John’s also moved to Barbados but some also moved to St. Kitts, Trinidad, Guyana, Bermuda, and in the early part of the twentieth Century to work in the oil refineries of Aruba and Curacao.


Captain Barnes was in to everything. He even bottled rum under this brand name and it was then popular in the islands.

In my book ‘Tales from my Grandmother’s Pipe’ I found some more information connected with Capt. Thomas Charles Barnes.:” Others who went to Barbados were Chandlis Barnes and his cousin Robert Barnes who owned the schooner “Diamond M. Ruby,” built in Barbados, also the three masted “Russel M. Zink”. They traded between  Barbados and Demerara.

” Pennyson’s daughter Winnie married Captain Donny Hassell, who was a steamship captain . He also owned the two-masted schooner “Horniest” which had been purchased in Nova Scotia and ran gasoline between Trinidad and Barbados. He also owned the large two-masted schooner the “Minnie M. Mosher”. He and his wife Aramintha (Minty) a daughter of old Captain “Buddy” Barnes,lived at Belville, St. Michael’s, Barbados. Although they had nine children, still their home was a haven for Sabans just the same as Kaliski’s in New York. People stayed with them until they could find work.


The St, Barth’s captains were traders and had many schooners. This photo is from the collection of Carl Buncamper whose wife Anastacia was a native of St. Barth’s.

During the period in which St. Barth’s belonged to Sweden a number of Sabans moved there to live, and one Saban Richard Dinzey was even Knighted by the King of Sweden. After the economic decline of St. Eustatius mostly due to the independence of the United States being recognized by European powers. They could trade directly with that island. The Jewish merchants who had been expelled by Admiral George Rodney also did not return. They mostly moved to St. Thomas, Curacao and Barbados where they found new business opportunities. So a number of the old prominent families from “Statia” also moved to the island of St. Barth’s.. People like Vaucrosson who I have already written about. He was originally from Martinique and owned a very large house and business complex on the Bay. And a number of others moved to St. Barth’s and started businesses there.

Schooner Roma with Charles Thomas Barnes' home in background.

This schooner seems to be the “Roma” which belonged to Captain Barnes and the two story building with the red roof is his home.

When Captain Thomas Charles Barnes moved to St. Barth’s, Sweden had already returned the island to France.  The island was Swedish from March 7th, 1758. After a referendum, with only ONE vote against, the decision was to return the Swedish colony back to France which took place on May 16th, 1878. One vote! Sweden must have neglected the island very much at the end. One vote only in favour of remaining Swedish. Captain Barnes however established a relationship with Miss Julia Dinzey one of the descendants of Sir Richard Dinzey. When she passed away she left the Dinzey mansion to her neighbours Charlie and his wife. This lovely building was used over periods of time as a Guesthouse and now it belongs to the Swedish Government and is used as a historic and cultural center. When it was a guesthouse a number of boys from Saba worked there. I remember Alvin Every  (Bobby) and I being there at the sqme time once. His son Kenneth was working there at the time. I have covered that story in another article which I wrote on St. Barth’s. Foe the present generation of S Swedish nationals it is a great source of pride that St. Barth’s is the only colony which they ever owned outside of Sweden proper. Their blood relatives the Danes did own the islands which they sold to the United States in 1917 namely the United States Virgin Islands, of St. Thomas , St. Croix and St. John.

IMG_0009 - copie

Captain Ramon Beale  here on the schooner the “Roma” which he bought from Captain Barnes. The Beale family on St. Barth’s   also have roots on Saba from the village of Middle Island.

Captain Barnes was a trader. He bought and sold items to the islands surrounding St. Barth’s. In the newspaper “De Slag om Slag” of St. Maarten there are several news items of him having been there to carry salt to other territories. He also carried cattle. St. Barth’s people were traders and enjoyed a safe anchorage for their schooners and they remained on their island. They traded in cattle from St. Maarten and as far away as the Dominican Republic to supply the markets on Guadeloupe and Martinique. There was no refrigeration back then so the trade was in live cattle.  Also they transported sugar and of course salt which was produced on some islands, from one island to the next.


The Roma at the shipyard being outfitted for the transfer to Ramon Beale

With so many schooners Captain “Charlie” saw an opportunity for repairing schooners in the bay right across from his home and business. Even some of the sloops from Saba like those of Captain Randolph Dunkin would go there to repair their sloops.


From  left to right> Barney Gibbs my host on Barbados, Peter Bourne of Collins Lt.  Michael Stoute, me Will Johnson and Michael’s wife from Bolivia.

Taken from my diary of Tuesday November 20th, 2018:” Went to a coffee place with Peter Bourne and Barney Gibbs. there we met Michael Stoute and his wife from Bolivia. His grandmother was Elizabeth Barnes from Saba (sister of Captain Charlie Barnes). She was a sister of Minty Hassell-Barnes. He called an uncle of his who is 90 years old and we spoke. That uncle recalled visiting with Captain Charlie on St. Barth’s.

Captain Charlie acquired quite some land which in today’s world would be valued in the tens of millions. However no one ever imagined that land on St. Barth’s would be so valuable in the future. George Greaux my friend of many years told me that every billionaire on earth wants to be able to tell his friends “I have a piece of land on St. Barth’s you know.” And the St. Barth’s people know that as well. So a small country house which would have brought in to the owner a couple of hundred dollars back less than one hundred years ago will set you back nowadays from six to eight million dollars. That same George Greaux walked into a conversation I was having with a group at the Juliana Airport back around 1972. I was telling the group that Neville Lejuez and I had the opportunity to buy a considerable swath of land on the beach next to Remi de Haenen’s  Eden Rock Hotel. The old couple wanted twelve hundred dollars for it. Living off a salary of just around one hundred dollars a month there was no way that we could buy the land. When George walked into the conversation he let me finish my story and then he said: “Will is not lying. My story is much worse. I had the money and I went to my father for advice. My father told me “George put your money on the bank in St. Thomas. St. Barth’s has no future and will never amount to anything.” Well his father and all of that George decided to put his money on the bank in St. Thomas instead.

Dinzey Mansion

The historic home of Sir Richard Dinzey of Saba. He also built the Anglican church. His remaining heir Julia Dinzey willed it to Captain Barnes. It was later a guesthouse where I stayed. Here is my son Peter then age 15 when we were visiting my friend George Greaux for the weekend in 2004. The Swedish flag on the pole.

Telling this part of the story to introduce David Rockefeller. He had been to Saba and was interested in buying something here. The people here used to curse then Administrator of Saba Walter Buncamper of not wanting to see Rockefeller as he was too busy. There must have been some truth to it Allan Busby is always telling me that story, so just passing it on.

Anyway David Rockefeller fell in love with a beautiful bay and a sizable plot of land and was told it belonged t Captain Barnes. In his old age he was hard of hearing. Rumor would have it that when Mr. Rockefeller asked to buy the property Mr. Barnes asked for forty thousand dollars. Mr. Rockefeller thinking that the price, for the time, was ridiculous said he did not hear him.  Mr. Barnes then turned his good ear to him and said :” Son what did you say your name was? The answer was “David Rockefeller.” Mr. Barnes then said: “Well since you did not hear me, let me tell you that the price of the land is four hundred thousand dollars.” Mr. Rockefeller then asked Mr. Barnes, “Can we continue the discussion through your forty thousand dollar ear?” “I didn’t hear you”, said Mr. Barnes and the deal was closed.

In the period from after the elections in 1971 to 1973 I worked at the Post Office at the Juliana Airport.  The late Janchi Vanterpool who was a porter and a great friend of mine knew everybody including  David Rockefeller. He would park up his jet at Juliana and Janchi would handle the rest. One day while I was sitting in the restaurant area I was introduced to Mr. Rockefeller and we had a nice chat while he was waiting on his charter flight to St. Barth’s. About a year later I was sitting there in the same area with Claude Wathey, Clem Labega, Sam Hazel and Allen Richardson. Who shows up but Mr. David Rockefeller himself. He says to me.: Will are you still here since I last saw you?” Anyway I introduced him to the group and especially my friend Allen Richardson. After Mr. Rockefeller left Allen said “There won’t be holding you anymore. Man how did you get to know Mr. Rockefeller? ” So I embellished the first meeting and Allen would often bring it up when we were at drinking sessions: “This man here is a Personal friend of David Rockefeller, mind you.”

Gustavia back in the fifties.

On the right hand side you can clearly see Captain Thomas Charles Barnes’ home and ship yard.

And back to  Mr. Barnes.As I wrote earlier Mr. Barnes was a trader. I remember once asking him where he had bought his straw hat from. He said “I paid five dollars for it. If you want it I can sell it to you for ten dollars.”

When I first wrote a much smaller version of this story, Captain Charlie’s grandson also named Charles was living in the grandfather’s house. He was a son of Charlie, the only child of Captain Charlie I believe but not so sure. He went to Aruba and worked for the ESSO oil refinery there. When he retired he came to St. Maarten with his family and started a business there. His son, the third generation Charles was married to a Greaux I believe and worked with his grandfather to keep the business going. The Charles, the grandson that is, which I am talking about died young. I believe he had a problem with diabetes and must not have been more than fifty years old. He and his wife had four daughters who in one way or the other are still involved with the business in other forms. I have to be careful here as I will be sure to be corrected on some details. One of the daughters is married to Jerome Montoya who hails from the South of France but carries a Spanish surname. Crossing borders was a tradition back in the day as well.

Anyway Jerome and I became great friends through having mutual interests. I met him here on Saba with his wife some years ago. I advised him to look up the Dinzey archives which I thought Captain Charlie would have kept. Well he found a treasure trove of those old documents when he went back to St. Barth’s. He later on started The St. Barth’s Islander and keeps himself busy with fantastic stories of St. Barth’s past. He is also is in the shipping business representing cruise ships and ferries from St.Maarten and so on.


St. Barth’s very much undeveloped in the  1950’s. Photo by Father Bruno Boradori who was a Roman Catholic priest on St. Barth’s for several years.

The night Captain Charlie died I was in St. Barth’s on a small boat with friends from St. Maarten and the Ukraine. I passed by to say hello to Charles and he said that I could sleep upstairs as his grandfather was in the hospital on St. Maarten and was close to deaths door.  I was sleeping in the old four poster bed upstairs. Downstairs was the business. At 2 am or so his black cat which had been sleeping on top of an old mahogany  armoire let out s scream and made an all claws landing on my stomach. There was no central electricity back then. After hearing that the old man might be going into his last hours I took no chances and kept the old oil lamp on next to the bed. In the scurry with the cat I nearly knocked over the oil lamp. What a thing that would have been as the upstairs was a made from wood.

After recovering from the fright I decided to open the front door to the verandah, which there was none, I nearly dropped to the street below. held on for dear life till I could get my footing back on the floor and haul myself  up and close back the door which led to a none existing  verandah.

Early the next morning Charles came around. He asked me :” How did you sleep last night?” Before I could answer he said; “You know the old man died at the hospital on St. Maarten around 2 am this morning.” How could I forget  Captain Charlie. And may his memory continue to be blessed.


The man himself Captain Thomas Charles Barnes. Dressed in the hat I admired and in the background his house and business. I have a few more photo’s which I will add to the article but will have to still look for them.




The following story is taken from the Saba Herald Vol. 17, Friday August 24th, 1984, # 193.

Scan1316The Saba Herald was mostly used as a political newspaper or scandal sheet as my opposition was wont to call it. However since there were not elections every year I would give my readers some articles of interest. Many of these were about the lives of our former seamen.  This article is bout the life of Diederick Ambrose Every in an interview which I had with him when he visited Saba back in 1984.

The article reads as follows: ” In our effort each month to bring you the life story of one of our older Sabans this month we present: Diederick Ambrose Every, born on Saba January 9th, 1902 and living in Baltimore U.S.A. He visited here recently and we had an opportunity to interview him. His mother was Bernadina Elizabeth Every born Hassell, and his father John Leverock Every whose mother was Elizabeth Holm. His parents had six children. 1. Marie Louise Every (Miss Lou). 2. Julia Johnson b.Every (Edwin’s wife)3. Diederick Every. 4. Doris Johnson b. Every (Harry’s wife) 5. Winifred Soares b. Every and 6. John Clarence Every.

As a young boy Diederick went to the Roman Catholic school above the church in Windward Side. He used to take care of Capt. Ben’s (William Benjamin Hassell) horse which was named “Shamrock”. He remembers that Mrs. Gertrude Johnson (Daisy’s mother) used to teach in Capt. Tommy Hassell’s house

The first nuns to come to Saba were sisters Bertranda and Sister Winifred; they used to teach. He remembers Father Mulder and Father de Groen.

At the age of TWELVE (12) he started working with Capt. Ben on the schooner the “John Hazel.”, later on the “Maisie Hassell”, the “Esther Anita” and the “Buma” all of them schooners, 2 masted around 85 to 100 feet.


The schooner the Eszter Anita docked up in New York. Saba schooner back one hundred years ago and beyond traded regularly with New York.

After that he went on the schooner the “Estelle” with Capt. Tommy Vanterpool, then he worked under Capt. Knight Simmons of The Bottom who was her captain when the government bought the schooner.

He started out as a cabin boy then ended up as an able bodied seaman. Reuben and Joe Simmons of Hell’s Gate all went to work on the “Estelle” at the same time. Wages then were $14.– (FOURTEEN).dollars a month for a seaman and $20.- (TWENTY) dollars for a cook. Captain Ben used to give him $10.– a month coming from Curacao. Reuben Simmons was the mate. They used to cover all the islands. They would carry Bay Rum from St. Thomas to Barbados, cattle from Tortola and Nevis to Barbados and Trinidad. Capt. Ben was a trader. He didn’t just transport goods but would buy and sell from one island to the next. According to Diederick, Captain Ben was a hard man to work for. They seldom got to come ashore, as they were usually anchored in the road-stead. Only in Barbados and Trinidad did they go ashore as the boats anchored to the pier. In those days there were no social laws so therefore there was no vacation or free time, and no regulated working hours.

On board the “Estelle” there was a chicken coup with chickens, also they carried a lamb or two. Diederick at the age of FIFTEEN (15) was the cook on board. He did the baking on a wood stove. He worked from 5AM until 9 or 10 pm at night. Boys in those days had a mans responsibility at the age of 14 or 15. Diederick worked this way for $20.– a month until he reached the age of 17.

I am inserting the following to this original interview. Several reports were made to the Governor on conditions on the schooner the “Estelle” and the hardships endured while crossing the Caribbean Sea from Curacao to St. Maarten which sometimes took nine days or more. One of those reports mentions that the cook was a mere boy and despite the hardships the writer of one of these reports Canton Judge Mr. F. G. Schalkwijk, and  both the Judge and Lt. Governor Van der Zee had nothing but high praise for the crew who under these circumstances nevertheless managed to be extraordinary helpful to the distressed passengers.”

Schooner Estelle at Fort Bay 1934.

The schooner “Estelle”  here at anchor at Fort Bay Saba. She first belonged to Capt. Tommy Vanterpool and then was sold to the Government for the transport of passengers and mail between the Windward Islands and Curacao as well as St. Kitts and St. Thomas.

In the interview Diederick goes on to tell the following ” He remembers that once he was anchored in St. Kitts road stead  on board the “Ester Anita” in the hurricane season when a hurricane came up quite suddenly. This was around the year 1915 and they had to put out to sea to weather out the hurricane. He was 13 years of age then. While working on the “Buma” they traded between Trinidad and British Guyana and carried drums of oil. The longest he remembers staying away from Saba at sea was pretty near a year or so. He was sailing under Captain Lawrence Johnson at the time. With Capt. Ben he used to get home every two months for two days. In the other islands he mostly stayed on board of the vessels as he had to do the cooking.

In 1919 he went to New York to Mr. Herman Kaliski, as all Sabans used to do in those days. He carried with him a letter from Mr. Thomas Holm (local Councillor and Act. Lt. Governor!) Mr. Kaliski was a Jewish merchant of Russian origin who ran a clothing store at 27 South Street which was headquarters for all the Saban seamen who used the port of New York. Mr. Kaliski got him a job on the steamer named the “Edith” which transported coal between New York and Puerto Rico, and then brought back sugar to Yonkers New York.

Hyman Kaliski Original

Mr. Herman Kaliski a Jewish merchant of 27 South Street  New York who took care of the Saban sailors for more than forty years.

Capt. George Irvin Holm of Saba was at the time first mate. Diederick sailed on that ship for about a year, then he transferred to an old coal tramp on which a Simmons from The Bottom was first mate. After that he went to sail on a brand new ship named the “Collin H. Livingston”.

The first trip he made was to Duinkerk France. He then came back to Norfolk Virginia and sailed around the West Coast of the United States with general cargo. On that ship he had trouble getting paid and the crew walked off the ship in Seattle Washington. Seven of them joined up and bought an old “Lizzie” touring car. they came through the Rocky Mountains to Montana in the month of May. They then sold the car for $100.– after two of them had backed out.

He took the train to Baltimore with a transfer in Chicago. It took him three days and nights to get there. In that city he had three uncles living. They were his mothers brothers: William, Frederick and John Hassell.

William was a Coast guard officer. He came back to Saba once with his wife and three children. Frederick was an engineer for Standard Oil. He never returned to Saba after he left. John was a seafaring man- a boatswain -. He was married to Leisha and was the father of Marcus N. Hassell who worked for the government and who was married and died in Santo Domingo. John’s other child Crystalline was married to Cyrillus Leverock who together had 11 children. The entire family moved to the United States and at the time of this writing they are still living in Florida and Cyrillus was here last month with his daughters Marilyn and Altagracia and their families.

Diederick Ambrose Every with his niece Lucille and her husband Ronnie and children.

Diederick Abrose Every here in Baltimore with his visiting niece Lucille Therese Johnson and her husband Ronald Leon Johnson.

Diederick then joined the Standard Oil Company and started to sail on the tanker “Mosquova” for about 8 months, after which he transferred to a barge which transported fuel from the refinery in Baltimore to Washington D.C. and Norfolk, Virginia. The last barge he worked on only operated around Baltimore for 6 (six) years. He then got married and moved into the refinery on shore and he worked there until 1957 when they shut down the refinery. By then he had 36 years service with the Company. He only had one son who died of a heart attack. His son was a Lutheran Pastor and was named Diederick Clarence Every.

Diederick Every Sr. had been married fifty six and one half years when his wife died. Her name was Mary Magdalena Burton of Baltimore.

Clarence Every and wife

Clarence Every here with his wife who was a native Aruban. Together they had a large family some eleven or twelve children.

W hen I caught up with him for the interview, he was here on Saba with his brother Clarence from Aruba, visiting their brother-in-law Edwin Johnson. At 82 he looked like a man just turned 60.

His uncle Frederick was killed in a car accident in Baltimore by a tram. Killed in that same accident with him was Ellis a brother of Miss Gladys and a son of Richard Hassell.

Diederick has two grandchildren and they live in Baltimore. It will be difficult for our readers to imagine a boy of 12 going to sea and at 15 being he cook on a schooner plying the passenger trade through the stormy waters waters of the Caribbean, but such was life in former times.'”

P.S. I would like to thanks Mrs. Lucille Therese Johnson for supplying the photo’s of her uncle for this article.

Diederick Ambrose Every 1982 Baltimore.

Diederick here in front of a hospital in Baltimore in 1982. Already sailing out at 12 and cook on the schooner the “Estelle” at the age of 15.

Nurse Angele Cagan


Nurse Angele Cagan standing next to her brother Gaston Cagan who was a taxi driver and before that worked for the oil refinery on Aruba. Among the dignitaries present was the Editor of the Windward Islands Opinion, Lionel Bernard Scott, member of the Island Council and a number of her good friends and well wishers.

The Windward Islands Opinion of Saturday October 5th, 1963 carried the following article on the 25th anniversary on the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Nurse Angele Cagan.

“On Sunday September 29th, Miss Angele Cagan, celebrated her Silver Jubilee, 25 years as a nurse in the St. Rose Hospital at Philipsburg.

The occasion was marked by a solemn High Mass at 8 a.m. in the Roman Catholic Church at Philipsburg. The church was crowded with many of her friends, relatives and former patients (some of them had come from as far as Marigot and even Grand Case). The Rev. Father Boradori, Parish Priest; in his remarks about Nurse Angele after the Gospel, pointed out that, in the 25 years that she had been a nurse in the St. Rose Hospital, she had always been a very dedicated nurse and he was sure that she did not work for the money, but instead for the love of bringing relief and comfort to suffering humanity. He compared her dedicated service to the Inn-keeper; in a parable of Jesus (A certain traveler had found a sick man by the wayside, given him assistance and taken him to an Inn. In the morning when the traveler was leaving, the sick man had not fully recovered, so the traveler paid the Inn-Keeper for the night and asked that the sick man be taken care of until he (the traveler) returned, promising that he would pay all the costs on his return. The Inn-Keeper did not ask the traveler to pay in advance – but took care of the sick man with the

St. Rose Hospital 1947

St. Rose Hospital 1947. Here Nurse Angele Cagan worked for the better part of her life.

hope that someday the traveler would return.

“Our dear Nurse Angele,” he said: “Has been taking care of the sick entrusted to her tender care, by Our Lord Jesus Christ, and one day, I am sure, that at the end of her journey, He will return and repay her for all she has done.’

A reception was given in her honour at the St. Rose Hospital, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon, and among the many persons present were: Lt. Governor, J.J. Beaujon, Dr. Levendag, Ex. Lt. Governor and Mrs. W. Buncamper, Mrs. L.C. Fleming, Mr. Cagan (her brother), Mr. Th.A. Illidge, Mr. and Mrs. R. Carty and Mr. and Mrs. L.B. Scott. Most noteworthy among those present were; Mr. Anthony Buncamper (Nurse Angele ‘brought’ his mother to be with him) and his little son (Nurse Angele ‘brought’ his wife to bed with his son)-


Mrs. Olga Buncamper-Hassell signing in the registry for the occasion. Behind her Mrs. Jewel Levendag-Wathey, Mr. Walter Buncamper and Mrs. Lionel Conner-Kruythoff.

Speeches congratulating Nurse Angele were made by the Revered Father Boradori, L.B.Scott, Th.A. Illidge, J.H. Lake, R. Carty and Dr. Levendag – And all the speakers praised her for her unselfish and dedicated service to the sick of this community during the past 25 years – She was also the recipient of many useful and valuable gifts.

The Windward Islands Opinion joins the rest of the community in congratulating our beloved Nurse Angele and prays that the good Lord, may bless and keep her for many more years.

Before she retired she built a house on the Back Street. She would go there during the day but would spend most of her time living with Miss Bertha and the Captain over in Sucker Garden. They had sold the Guest House and built a home over there. Catherine Hodge would drop her off at her home on Back Street in the morning and pick her back up at 5 pm and bring her to sleep at the home of the Hodge family. Catherine told me that being a young woman then that Nurse Angele would sometimes have to wait on her and would let Catherine have it when she was late in picking her up. Later on when they all got older she spent her last years in the St. Martin’s Home.


Nurse Angele assisted with the delivery of many babies during her years at the St. Rose Hospital.

Elsje from the St. Maarten Heritage Foundation said that she would see Nurse Angele coming down the Secretarissteeg (Secretary Alley) to go to work at the St. Rose Hospital. Elsje said she would visit her when she was in the Home. She was in a room that used to be part of the hospital where she had worked most of her life. ‘I always found it a little sad that she worked there and died there. She died on October 17th, 2003 and was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery. She had no children but lots of nieces and nephews.’

St Maarten St Rose Hospitaal en St Josephschool004 (1)

Nurse Angel Cagan in the middle of the photo with a Nun to her side carrying out a newborn baby from the hospital.

Many of our old timers were true St. Martin islanders and worked where they could. I know of a number of people from the village of Grand Case who found work on the Dutch side and remained working and living there for the rest of their lives. When especially the ESSO refinery called the Lago was recruiting employees who could speak English any number of people from the French side and Anguilla found a way to register via the Dutch side and went on to Aruba. Some of them stayed there and have descendants there still.

And so it was with Nurse Angele who came to the Dutch side as a young woman and remained working and living there until she died. I have fond memories of her and so do the children and grandchildren of Capt. Austin Hodge and his spouse Bertha Lawrence both natives of Grand Case. May the three of them continue to rest in peace.


Nurse Angele Cagan here receiving communion from Father Bruno Boradori who at the time was the  parish priest on St. Maarten.



Joseph Husurell Lake Sr.

The Saba Islander

The late great Joseph Husurell Lake Sr. (1925-1976

Editor Joseph Husurrel Lake Sr. Here he is looking at me as if to say “Will you better do a good job about me in your article.”

He started the Windward Islands Opinion on July 1st, 1959, just a few months before I started working at the Post office in the old Court House in Philipsburg.
It was a weekly newspaper and had a number of subscribers abroad, especially on Aruba where many Windward Islanders lived. And so I came into early contact with him as he was constantly coming to mail out letters and newspapers and I was in charge of the only window on the whole island where one could buy stamps.
After he saw my interest in politics he encouraged me to write for his paper. I had a column ‘News and Views’. Of course the political establishment did not appreciate either my news…

View original post 2,303 more words


Posting parts of the Government Information Service for the year 1971 when there were elections going on and also the pier was being built. Mr. Carl Anslyn was the man in charge. Because of a new political party coming in The WIPM and the financial restraints on the government at the time we let that and a number of other political jobs go. When the economy improved various times attempts were made to publish it again. But here we are dealing with 1971 as that will show the lead up to the building of the harbour


The F ort Bay as it looks now. Plans are far advanced to build a new and improved harbor further to the East which will accommodate yachts and small cruise ships.

which made a big difference in the lives of the people who lived here.Scan1244

Image (331)

In 1934  and 1935 a sort of pier was built along the range of rocks and you can see from this photo that a wall was built to the other rock but the first big waves took it out and the idea was abandoned and the pier was seldom used except on an exceptionally calm day to land passengers.


Image (171)

Lots of heavy equipment like never seen on the island before was a cause for much excitement by the local population who followed the developments very closely.


Fort Bay, Saba 1915.

The Fort Bay as it used to look around 1900.



This photo is from before the fisherman’s pier was built years later.


Image (66)

Minister Leo Chance native of Saba was responsible to move the project which had been drowned in red tape further to completion. The pier was named in his honor. I am there in the middle with the goatee and dark glasses.



The Ladder Bay was also used especially when there was rough weather at the Fort Bay. 


This was an article showing off the new pier with the ‘Antilia” docked up to it as well as showing that the other situation had now come to an end after more than 350 years of landing this way.

Hartog Collection - Saba - dept. Arubiana/Caribiana - Biblioteca Nacional Aruba

I found this in my old photo collection. The plan is outlined how to move the harbour project of 1934 forward. Good thing it failed as that would have been all we would have gotten with the mentality towards Saba as it was before we had local elections which produced leaders who could advance the cause of the people of Saba to make life easier fr all living on Saba today.



Me , Will Johnson, age 16 next to the Sports Field in Brakkeput


Brakkeput boys 1987

On the 50th anniversary of the Boys Town some of the former Brothers visited the islands. The boys from Saba who had spent time in the Boys Town took care of them and after a church mass a reception was held for the brothers and invited guests at Scouts Place.


Image (305)

One of the Brothers cleaning up the sleeping quarters for the younger group of boys. This is where I landed in 1955. Those cots were made of hard canvas and were comfortable.




This is the food truck carrying food to the various buildings. That is me running behind the truck, age 14 then, and Ronny Leverock also from Saba used to drive the truck.


Image (1810)

Some of the boys right to left Boysie Richardson of St. Maarten, Roy Smith of Saba and one of Heskett Wiliams brothers. Will complete the names when I get them.


Image (1805)

In back from right Roland Peterson, Hyacinth Halley and John Alton Johnson, in front one of the Willams’ boys and then me Will Johnson.


A Mass was held in Brakkeput  on November 1st, 1987. Among the speakers were Prime Minister Minguel Pourier and I also spoke on behalf of those from the Windward Islands. We had to leave early as I was Senator then and we were hosting one of the Presidents of Venezuela and had to attend a reception being held for him 

Image (307)

There were three estates Brakkeput Abou, Brakkeput Mei Mei and Brakkeput Ariba where the Boys Town was located. All of the shore line was not developed back then and we had the entire lagoon to ourselves.















26012954083_ff3db091fc_bScan1228Scan1230image-148Scan1231scannen0037Claude WatheyScan1232Scan1233image-1384Scan1234


By: Will Johnson

Image (331)

Mr. Lionel Bernard Scot was a contractor on all three Dutch Windward Islands. You can see him on the pier which he built standing on the pier behind the little boy on the rocks.If you look carefully you will see a wall being built in the sea to connect the ranging rock to the rest but it was soon washed away and the project remained with the main structure until 1972.

Lionel Bernard Scot was born on St.Martin on January 28th, 1897.

He was from a large family. He was one of six brothers and ten sisters. From an early age he was very ambitious and went to the Dominican Republic in search of work as so many people from St.Martin did at the time. While there he went to vocational school.

On the anniversary of the 100th year of his birth I was privileged to give a speech in the Methodist Church about his life. For this article I will quote from that as well as personal memories of this famous man.

After I had made the speech my brother Freddie told me the following story. Our father Daniel was a foreman for Mr. Scot when he did construction on Saba in the nineteen thirties. When Freddie went to school in St.Martin in 1947, our mother wrote a letter to Mr. Scot to keep an eye on him. The well known Mrs. Zilah Richardson who had a guesthouse on the backstreet was Mr. Scot’s aunt. On Sunday evenings Mr. Scot would pick her up and take her to church. Freddie was standing on Front street next to the Methodist church at the Davis home where he lived. He was smoking a cigarette. When Freddie saw Mr. Scot passing he quickly threw the cigarette over the wall. At the same time Mr. Scot slammed the brake and reversed the car and called out;” That wouldn’t be Johnson’s boy smoking a cigarette, would it?” Freddie said that he was so frightened that he was very careful after that with cigarette smoking thinking that Mr. Scot would have spies checking on him.


Queens Birthday 1959 with Island Council Member Mr. Scot standing next to Mrs. Hertha Beaujon-Pietersz wife of Lt. Governor J.J. Beaujon.

Of all the people I knew as a young boy on St.Martin, Mr. Scot was one of those who left the greatest impression on me. As I recall the first time I met him, the poet Longfellow’s words come to mind: “Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds.” I was not the only one impressed with Mr. Scot .Former Minister Leo Chance told me once that “Scot was such an imposing figure, I was scared of him.” I never thought I would hear him say that he was afraid of anybody. At the time Mr. Chance was Minister and he was such a tough one that other politicians used to use his name as a BOO BOO man to scare their children into good behavior.

Yes somehow when one met Mr. Scot one immediately got the impression of being in the presence of a man of noble birth. His strength was in quietness and in confidence.

The Scot family was very poor with few opportunities available to them to improve their financial status. However by the time he passed away on January 3rd 1966 Mr. Scot was considered the first black aristocrat on St.Martin. He was owner of an estate of the former masters and had been so successful in business that he could live in more comfort and with fewer financial worries than the estate owners of old. His financial success also gave him time to dedicate himself to public life.


Seated from front to right. Then Commissioner Albert Claudius  Wathey and his wife Mrs. Eva Wathey, then Commissioner Milton Josiah Peters, then Island Council Member Lionel Bernard Scot, then Mrs. Hertha Beaujon and her husband Lt. Governor Jan Jacob Beaujon 1959.

In the Dominican Republic Mr. Scott was also active in the Marcus Garvey Movement (Universal Negro Improvement Association). After acquiring a certain amount of knowledge, and still in his early thirties, he returned to his beloved St.Martin and its people with a burning desire to serve them both. Mr. Scot co-founded the Philipsburg Mutual Improvement Association in 1932. This was the first benevolent Association ever established on St.Martin and Mr. Scot was its president for many years. He remained a faithful member until his death.

Image (217)

Mr. Scot as a young man showing ambition and he started out early on as a building contractor and then went into other businesses .

“De Slag om Slag” newspaper in its edition of August 7th, 1937 reports on a meeting to commemorate the Associations 5th anniversary as follows: “The President Mr. L. Bernard Scot’s address exhorted his people to stick to, and practice the principles of the Association: Unity, Love and Friendship. He endeavored to convince them that without unity nothing can be achieved. That ,whatever has ever been achieved by the individual or by nations and peoples, it was as a result of the aforementioned virtues. “The society,” he said, “can only live and flourish through the efforts of real men and women who with their backs to the wall are willing to fight adversity with bull-dog grip determination.”

Besides looking after the welfare of their members the PMIA and other organizations, in former times, also held parades to draw attention to their activities.  “De Slag om Slag” (Blow for Blow) of September 17th, 1938, reports on such a parade.

Image (140)

Mr. A. R. Brouwers newspaper carried various article about the activities Mr. Scot was involved in. The Methodist Church, his interest in social activities and his love of horses and so on.

“On Tuesday the 6th instant, at about 4 o’clock p.m. the Philipsburg Mutual Improvement Association staged a parade which went around the town. First came the National flag, which was followed by the band. Then, followed a banner of Orange cloth with ‘LONG LIVE THE SOVEREIGN HOUSE OF ORANGE” painted on it. Then followed the members of the P.M.I.A. all dressed in their uniforms with ORANGE sashes from shoulder to waist. This parade stopped for a few minutes in front of the Court House and then continued around the town, with the band playing in front.”

Mr. L.B. Scot was appointed by the colonial government as foreman of the Public Works department of the Windward Island and he filled this position well for over twenty two years before retiring in 1952. There are many buildings and roads in the Windward Islands which are existing monuments to his ability as a builder and a contractor. For example the Methodist Manse in back of the Methodist Church, Mt. William Hill road, the Governor’s residence and the Government school on St.Eustatius, the Harbour Building, the old pier and the former Administration Building (now the Library) on Saba. In “De Slag om Slag” of 1938 we can again read: “We understand that Mr. L.B. Scottof this place is expected in St.Eustatius by the following trip of the S.S. Baralt next week to begin the building of these farm houses. Mr. Scott is also expected to build, while in St.Eustatius, a dwelling house for the Government Agriculturist.”

When he returned from Santo Domingo, L.B.Scot was considered a young “upstart” by the older folks. However, Scot believed that there was a job to be done in St.Martin, and that he was the one to do the job. That conviction, coupled with his great devotion to his mother and his desire to be near her, encouraged this noble son of the soil to “hold on.”

In 1930 at the age of 33 Mr. Scot was given his “big break” when he got the contract to build the Methodist Manse in Philipsburg. This building which stands as a monument to his construction ability, won for him the respect of the older folks.

Mr. Scot served as a member of the Agricultural Association. He was also quite active in public service. He served on the Court of Policy as a member during the colonial system of government. When the Netherlands Antilles acquired autonomy within the framework of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in 1950 he entered active politics. He was elected to the Island Council of the Windward Islands in 1951 and served as a member until his death in 1966.

I have copies of some of the minutes of the Island Council meetings of the early nineteen fifties. Mr. Scot having dealt in construction with Saba people in the Island Council meeting of June 17th, 1954 said: “I think that a raise in wages is fair and I regret that Mr. Lambert Hassell has waited too long to apply for a raise. He said that he had always admired Mr. Hassells’ work and knows that only a Saba man could do what he had done. In the meeting of November 29th, 1951 on a proposal to raise the salary of the Commissioners from one hundred guilders per month to seven hundred, Mr. Scot said: “Mr. President, I think seven hundred a month too high and I propose an amount of five hundred guilders per month be asked for.” Many tax payers today who ridicule excessive government spending would wish to have a man like him still around.

His private life was centered on his estate his family and his horses. His fondness for horses was known throughout the Caribbean and probably acquired during his years in the Dominican Republic. Two of his favourite horses were “Pensamiento” and “Duke” handsome brown stallions. In the newspaper “De Slag Om Slag” of August 1st 1936 we read the following under the headline RACE HORSE IMPORTED:

“On Saturday evening 25th ultimo a mare was landed here which had arrived from St.Eustatius by S.S. Baralt for Mr. L.B.Scott. It is said that Mr. Scot imported this mare to race against the white horse “Apollo”, belonging to the Beauperthuy Brothers.”Apollo” is the horse which won the race on June 24th, while running against Mr. Scot’s horse “Pensamiento.” We hope to see this race on the Queen’s Birthday, August 31st.”

When I was doing research for my book “For the Love of St.Martin”, his son Mr. J.F. York shared correspondence he had with his father when he Mr. York was living on Aruba. He knew that I had known Mr. Scot well. I was fascinated by him. When he came to town on one of his horses it was like a Roman emperor of old coming into the city. My first encounter with him was when he came to let me know who of the Receivers he had had problems with in the past.Either they had taxed him too much or sent him the same bill twice in a row and so on. In the meantime he had put his big cowboy hat on the table I was working at and was staring me straight in the eye. I told him that I was only a junior clerk in the Post office and was just helping out here and there. His answer to that was:” I know that you are Johnsons’ boy. You have education and ambition. These people in this building are no challenge for you. Just now you will be calling the shots here so I am informing you in advance just in case.” It is remarkable that a few months later Lyman Halley came to me and asked me what I had done to Claude. He said that Claude was down at the Lido Bar taking a turn in Fons O’Connor shouting at him to tell him who was the boss in the Court House, he or that so and so Will Johnson. You see how you get a reputation without deserving it?

Much of Mr. Scot’s philosophy of life has been preserved thanks to Mr. York sharing those letters which he received from his father while he Mr. York worked for the Lago refinery on Aruba. I would like to share a few excerpts from those letters:

March 25th 1949: “My plans I am sure will be helpful to you all in later years even if I am gone. While we are here we must do something to leave behind when we are gone.”

June 21st 1951: There is one thing you can boast about me; whatever I am entrusted to do, I shall do the best of my ability, God being my helper. And rest assured I cannot be bought at no price to do anything that I know is wrong.

May 18th 1955: It is true that everyone should be able to think for themselves, but can they do it? So someone must shoulder the burden to help the less fortunate and I feel that should be the job of those who have the chance of knowing better to help them. What we need is conscientious men to fight this battle …There is no success without sacrifice.

July 26th 1962: “I am 65 years old and I have plenty to thank God for; if I am not a good father I feel sure I am not the worst…I was working for my mother and her children since I was 14 years and thank God I have nothing to regret… and I am not worthy to thank Him for His grace and mercies to me.”

Mr. Scot died on January 6th, 1966. His funeral was described by the Windward Islands Opinion as the largest ever witnessed on the island. Most of the members of the Island council of the Windward Islands attended the funeral, as well as dignitaries from neighbouring islands, among them the Honourable Robert Lewellyn Bradshaw, Premier of St.Kitts-Nevis and Anguilla. At the grave site many speeches were made by persons who knew and had worked closely with Mr. Scot. In his speech ,the Lt. Governor of the Windward Islands J.J.”Japa” Beaujon, said: “St.Maarten will never forget you, Scot. Rest in peace and, even as you will rise in glory and eternity, your work in St.Maarten will always be gratefully remembered, will expand, and will last.”

Mr. Scott was honoured in many ways, while alive and after his death. He was awarded the gold medal attached to the Order of Oranje Nassau by Her Majesty the Queen for his services to the Windward Islands. On January 28th, 1974 the Postal Services issued a Postal stamp in his honour. And on January 28th, 1968 the road leading from the Public cemetery at Little Bay through Cul-de-Sac to Reward estate was officially named the L.B.Scott road.


At the time of Mr. Scot’s death in 1966 St. Maarten was still relatively undeveloped and his beloved valley of Cul de Sac partly pictured here was still being used to raise cattle. 

I wrote in a Curacao newspaper at the time that:” the late Mr. Scot had made himself an inspirational example to the youth of St.Maarten, by linking his name to a road in the district where he was born, grew up and worked for the welfare of his people.

What can we today learn from the life of Mr. Scot you may ask? Each generation is supposed to produce its own leaders based on existing norms and values.

One of the monumental figures of the literature of the whole of human civilizations, Alfred Lord Tennyson, in his epic poem:”The passing of Arthur”, wrote:

“The old order changeth, yielding to new,

And God fulfills himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”

Mr. Scot’s legacy is established and can be studied and emulated. The essential task for young St. Martiners, the new order, is to study the lives of those pioneers who went on before them, and through dedication to purpose, honesty and sacrifice, confront the central issue. The central issue being that the call on St.Maarten today is for fresh thinking, new directions and most of all honest and courageous leadership.

Those same challenges faced Mr. Scot in a different way as a young man, and he met them beyond the expectations of his generation. And that is why so many years after his death we can still pay tribute to him and declare how proud we are to have known this great St.Martin son of the soil.                                                                                             * * * * * * * * .


A Visit to Saba in 1935

Image (57)

Enter a caption

George A. Seaman, Author.Scan1115Scan1116


Home of George A. Seaman, in Break Heart Hill locally called “Brickett Hill”


George Seaman

George in front of his verandah.



Ideal Location for a man who loved to write and meditate on the  affairs of the Universe.


Image (506)

We used to visit him often. Here he is with Mrs. Enid Renz my mother-in-law, my wife Lynne and me in the background.


The Hill on Saba once owned by Pan American Airways.


Thais Hill property of Pan American International Airways.

Few people on Saba today realize that Pan American World Airways once owned Thais Hill in the village of St. John’s. The land with the hill and all around it was purchased in 1945 from various families natives to the village’ Mr. Gordon Hipple Mayer, construction engineer, attorney for the company bought  Thais Hill property in three transaction.

I was always under the impression that the Dutch Government was somehow involved. However on further research I found out that it was solely a venture  of the company Pan American World Airways. This was done to establish communications with their flight from Miami to Rio do Janeiro in Brazil.

Pan American landing at St. Maarten in the nineteen seventies.

Pan American approaching Juliana Airport

With this article I will post some photo,s of the type of planes they used for the route Miami – Rio  and of the infrastructure at Thais Hill with the buildings and tower.

The deeds of transfer took place on August 3rd 1945 and August 5th 1945. In order to see how the people of the village of St. John’s especially were moving away from the island especially to Barbados and the United States I will quote as much as possible from the deeds in question.

Seller Mrs. Gertrude Hassell, Notary M.Huith and date August 3rd 1945.

” Mrs Susan Gertrude Hassell, widow of the late John Beaks Hassell, representing her own interests and;

B. Representing the interests of her daughter Miss Beryl Hassell residing on Saba.

C.  Representing her son Mister Edward Donallen Hassell, mariner residing in Demarara (British Guyana).

D. Representing her daughter Cora Jane Hassell spouse of Alfred A. Delecorte, residing in the State of New York, United States of America.

E. Representing her son Mister Lisle Alexander Hassell mariner, residing at Curacao Netherlands West Indies.

F. Representing her son Mister John Emilius Hassell residing in the State of New York, U.S.A.

G. Representing her daughter Stella Hassell spouse of William Henn and residing in the State of New York, U.S.A.


Mister Gordon Hipple Moyer, residing at Miami Florida acting as attorney bought the property for Pan American Airways.

Three fourths undivided portion of the land know as “The Hill” situated on Thais Hill in the district of St. John’s, which land is bounded as follows;

” On the North by land owned by the heirs of the late James Beaks Hassell;

On the South and East across the entire foot by the lands belonging to the heirs of John George Hassell Leverock.

On the West by the cliff commonly known as “The Lookout on Thais Hill” .

And such with all the rights and servitude s, profits and charges as well as conveniences  and inconveniences ,attached to the above described property hereby sold and purchased.

The appearer seller declares that she and her constituents acquired the right of ownership to the above described land hereby sold and purchased by virtue of legal inheritance from their deceased spouse and father James Beaks Hassell, who acquired the right of ownership by inheritance from his mother Ann Louisa Hassell, who in turn inherited said property from her parents.

Both of the appearers declared that this sale and purchase has taken place for and in consideration of an amount of five hundred and six guilders and twenty five cents which amount the appearer seller declares to have received from the purchaser, granting unto him in his aforementioned quality full receipt and acquittance fro said purchase sum. Passed at the residence of Miss Ella Roosburgh situated in The Bottom district of this island and in the presence of Messieurs Wilfred Percy Mendez Labega, and Oswald Meredith Williams both government officials and both residing on this island and well known to me Notary who along with both the appearers and me Notary have signed this act immediately after same had been read.”


Passengers boarding the Pan American flight at Miami

Second deed August 5th, 1945.

Appeared before Maximillian Joseph Huith:

Mister John William Hassell, retired mariner, mandatory of Miss Susan Laura Leverock, at present residing at  Torwood, Pin Hill  Barbados, British West Indies

Bounds: “On the North by the bounds of the deceased Rachel Wilson; this constitutes the head bounds and commences from a rock with a chop in it and extends in a direct line sixty three and three tenths meters to another FRoc and the letter E cut in it.

On the North-East by the lands formerly owned by Thomas Beaks Hassell, but at present generall known to belong to William Hassell and the lands belonging to the heirs of the late John George Hassell Leverock, this constitutes one of the side bounds.

524e283ebb99551930b1721b64273eac2180ee4a0b145b3d8f9799ea804caef1 Charles Stellrecht 2

Engineer Charles Stellrecht with the Pan American facilities in the background. The tower is not visible in this photo and I have a better copy somewhere which when I find it will post it.

On the South-East by the land belonging to the heirs of James Beaks Hassell deceased. This constitutes the other side bound and commences from the aforementioned rock with a chop in it and extends in a direct line sixty nine and three tenths meteres to a large rock with a water hole in the top of said rock.

The appearer seller declares that his constituents acquired the right of ownership tothe property by virtue of an act of sale and purchase passed at this island on the nineteenth dy of November in the year nineteen hundred and seventeen before the then Notary Mister Frederick August Simmons and witnesses.

The property was sold for one hundred and ninety one guilders and fifty cents. A ct passed at the residence on St. John’s of Misss Anny Mary Every, of no particular vocation. Witnesses Leslie Barnes and Ann Mary Every.


The interior of the sea planes used by Pan American on its route from Miami along the Caribbean islands to Rio.

Third deed August 5th, 1945.

Mary Ann Every representing her own interests and those of her sister Edith Every. Sells 1/4 undivided portion of the land known as “The Hill” bounded as follows. On the North by lands of the heirs of the late John Beaks Hassell. On the South and East across the entire foot by lands belonging to the heirs of John George Hassell Leverock and on the West by the cliff commonly known as “The Lookout at Thais Hill”

Seller said that she and her sister acquired the right of ownership to the aforementioned property known as “The Hill” by virtue of a legal inheritance from their father the late John Every who died at this island on the seventeenth day of the month of December in the year nineteen hundred and hirty one; he having acquired the right of ownership by virtue of an act of sale in the year nineteen hundred and twelve before the then Notary Engle Heyliger.

The price for this sale of land to the Pan American World Airways  represented by Charles Higgle Moyer was fls 168.75. Witnesses were Milbourne Leslie Barnes of no particular vocation and John William Hassell , retired mariner.

sikorsky_S40_02Pan American World Airways was founded by two US Air force Majors. In 1927 it began an airmail service between Key West Florida and Havana Cuba and was the United States’ first scheduled International flights.

Within a year, aviation visionary Juan Trippe took the controls of Pan AM and introduced its first passenger services to Havana. An ad campaign cosponsored by PAN AM and Bacardi successfully encouraged Americans to fly away from alcohol prohibition in the US to drink rum in the sun in Cuba, and Trippe quickly Pan AM’s network .


Interior of the pane. Looks better than what we have now.

By 1930 PAN AM  was flying routes through most of the Central and South American countries. Crucially it used a fleet of flying boats or clippers  to land aircraft, to land aircraft on the water at destinations that did not have concrete runways for traditional planes.

On October 26, 1958 Pan Am became the first United States airline to fly jet aircraft. A Pan Am Boeing 707 streaked across the Atlantic from New York to Paris in eight hours. In 1970 Pan Am carried 11 million customers and invested half a billion dollars in a large fleet of Boeing’s 747.

On my birthday September 22nd 1972 I flew across the Atlantic to Frankfurt Germany on a PAN AM 747. When they announced that the Chief Pilot was a Richardson little did I realize then that he was the son of Henry Richardson of St. Martin and Stella Richardson-Sloterdijk of Saba.


Mr. Charles Stellrecht here checking the communications equipment.

Pan Am started operating their beacon on Saba on August 20th, 1945. Their engineer who was stationed here was a Mr. Charles Stellrecht. In 1947 the famous Dutch photographer Willem van de Poll took a number of unique photo’s of the facilities and Mr. Stellrecht.

Mr. Stellrecht was charmed by one of the beautiful redheads of which Saba had a large stock back in the day. She was a sister of my old friend Trevelyn Barnes of Chrispeen. After the station closed down the couple moved to the United States and had several children there one of which I understood ad visited Saba in recent years.

In 1949 the beacon was transferred to St. Maarten and reconstructed at what later became known “Beacon Hill’.

74fe33c9864313774f28af1706fb199d1e72e8a174fae99741341953f1ad58dc Charles Stellrecht

Engineer Charles Stellrecht going up Thais Hill to the beacon of Pan American Airways.Sometime after that Thais Hill property was acquired by the merchant Joseph Emanuel Vlaun a St. Maaten native who was married to the widow Mathilde Hassell born Every of Chrispeen who he met on the island of Aruba where they both worked and lived. I do not have the information available as to when he purchased it.


However on May 24th 1960  he sold the property to Mr. Arthur Unger a writer for the New York Times.The property was sold for six hundred dollars. Mr. Eugenius Achilles Johnson a government offical represented Mr. Unger in the transaction.

The property measured  nineteen thousand and twenty square meters (19.o20m2)  equivalent to 4.69 acres.

The Notary passing the deed was Henry C.Every, then Administrator of Saba and the witnesses were my brother Thomas Erica Johnson and Kenneth Peterson both government officials.

On june 9th, 1978 the firm of M.Isreal and Associates of New York presented to Mr. Unger a fesibility study on the possibility of developing the property with a number of housing units which could be sold. From then on I had contact with Mr. Unger and attached to this article is a letter from him on March 3rd, 2003.

Scan1096As a writer for the New York Times Mr. Unger wrote a front page article in its Travel Edition about Thais Hill. I know I have it  somewhere as I do not throw away anything like that. I believe it was titled “A Hill Unto Myself” or something like that.

I cannot remember when Mr. Unger died and what became of the property and who owns it not. I would have to see Thais Hill developed and I advise the Government to look into acquiring it as a sort of heritage site for the use of the people of the village of St. John’s village.


Police Chief Bernard Halley here visiting with Charles Stellrecht at the Pan American Communications station on Thais Hill. Both of them were married to ladies from St. Johns Halley to a Dowling and Stellrecht to a Barnes.



Post Navigation