The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

Archive for the month “June, 2020”

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.

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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…

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