The Saba Islander

by Will Johnson

The story behind the Johan Cruyf Sports field

Night view of the Johan Cruyf Sports field

As Commissioner in the Government of Saba one cannot stand here and not mention how this sports field came into existence.

One of the Tennis Clubs in The Bottom from the early nineteen hundreds.

Sports is not new to Saba. In the early part of the past century, when Saba had many captains and owners of large trading schooners, there were sports on Saba. Tennis was a favorite and where the hospital is now located in The Bottom, there was a tennis court. There where the Juliana sports field is now, and which has recently been upgraded, there was a Croquet field. On Booby Hill there was also for a short time a tennis court.

A Croquet Club from the early nineteen hundreds in The Bottom

Going back in time there was a form of cricket which was called batting ball.     In later years, with two world wars to deal with and a more impoverished island, sports which was a leisurely activity was more or less abandoned. The emphasis was then on survival and small-scale farming. With the advent of better economic times the Nuns with their schools and Youth groups, headed by people like teacher Freddie Johnson and government official Ramon Hassell, would have some sports lessons for their scout groups. Also, Mrs. Carmen Simmons-had her Saba Boys and Girls Sports Society.

Her Majesty Queen Beatrix here with Mrs. Lynne Johnson-Renz of the Saba Youth Soccer Foundation at the Sports Field on Booby Hill

But this sports field has a history of it very own. Around 1999 Mrs. Lynne Johnson started doing some soccer lessons with the young boys. An open spot was located in Booby Hill and with the permission of the Leverock family in the United States, the land was cleared off somewhat and the game was on. This effort evolved into the Saba Youth Soccer Foundation. A large open property next to the land being used and owned by Mrs. Winnie Hassell was rented. This was where in years past there was a tennis club for a while.

How time flies. Some of the boys who used to enjoy the field at Booby Hill and who are now grown men some of them married with children.

With the help of Island Council member Mr. Hemmie van Xanten funding of NAF. 17.500.—were acquired from the Zonnige Jeugd Foundation in Holland. These funds were used to level the land and Hemmie supervised this part of the job as well. Even Her Majesty Queen Juliana visited the Sports Field on one of her visits.

With the rental agreement on Booby Hill approaching its end. Mrs. Johnson kept after her husband Will Johnson to try and do something for Saba. He was then Commissioner and spoke to then Minister Leo Chance of Saba about buying the piece of land part of a larger property which ran all the way from the back of the Wilhelmina Park all the way up to the old Public School and was known as the Man-O-War Ground so the decision was made to give the new Foundation that name. One of the Dutch Ministers at the time asked Island Council Member Rolando Wilson why was the Foundation named that way. He replied that “Johnson is planning to buy a Man-O-War to deal with you all.”     The Foundation consisted of two people Commissioner Will Johnson and Dave Levenstone, a civil servant. Both of them started immediately to collect funds to buy the property. They succeeded in collection some fls.130.000. — At the last moment a glitch arose in the transaction which the Foundation had not expected and Commissioner Johnson donated the NAfls 7.000. – needed to acquire the property and pay the costs of the Notary.

After the land purchased to make this field possible only then the headaches started as funding was denied based on the fact that the Foundation was told that Saba already had a sports field the Juliana Sports Field and was not using it. This was difficult to explain but the Government was determined to go ahead with the idea. Many visits were made to this area with locals as well as visiting officials and many doubts were cast on the feasibility of having a Sports Field Here on this spot.  We are proud to say that with help from the Dutch Government via the Johan Cruyf Foundation and with conditions that it must carry his name the field is here, and has now been improved. Also, we are happy that many organizations and young people are making use of this field, and also proud that the Juliana Sports field is now being put to good use. Long Live Saba and her people who never give up when pursuing a goal, from the road that could not be built, to the airport, the harbor all have been achieved and we must give thanks to the Dutch Government for providing funds, something they can be proud of.

The Sports Field on the Man-O-War ground.

The Chronological History of Saba

This is an unfinished document. Word Press has changed the way I used to upload pictures and made it difficult for me to post anything as I did in the past.

Before the European conquest of the West Indies there were Arawak’s, later conquered by the Kalinago who had lived in the Eastern Caribbean for centuries already. A branch of the Arawak’s called Igniris inhabited Saba. They had their own history and culture. Only in the last century has extensive research been done on them and so our history ‘starts’ after the European conquest and much of what is written doubt can be cast on. Historians who never visited the islands and who were dependent on a few scraps of paper back on the continent and speculated on how it was in these islands and later on historians copied their ‘research’ and handed it down as Biblical truth. Also, several historians tried to make the islands history from a Nationalistic point of view ignoring many facts to the contrary. They also ignore oral history as handed down by the ancestors of natives to these islands and local writers and historians are not regarded as credible even though these locals have done much research into the European archives and have balanced out their findings with the oral history handed down to them by their ancestors. And thus, we will start the chronology with the usual Columbus story.

1493. Columbus is the first European explorer to have sailed past Saba on November 13th or 14th. Despite all the speculation to the contrary the name is of Arawak origin. Saba, Aruba, Cuba, and Haiti are all from the same source. In their language Saba means ‘Rock’.

1595. Saba is mentioned by Sir Francis Drake in his journal.

1624. Earliest mention of Saba from a Dutch source when Pieter Schouten passed the island.

1629. The Spanish Armada de Sotavento going to Mexico with 20 galleons and 4.000 men under arms under the Command of Admiral Fadrique Alvarez de Toledo Osoria dropped anchor at Nevis island and captured several English ships anchored there. When Nevis was seized by the Spanish forces, the planters were deserted by their mostly Irish and Scottish captured and enslaved by the English. The enslaved Irish and Scottish called ‘indentured servants’ swam to the Spanish ships to the cries of ‘Liberty, joyful Liberty!’ preferring collaboration with the Spanish than to the subjection of tyrannical English Masters.

    On 7 September 1629 the Spanish expedition moved to the sister island Saint Kitts and burned the entire settlement. They were resisted by the combined French and English, but the latter were weakened by the absence of Thomas Warner who was in England. The defenders included some buccaneer craft, the occasion being the first in which those extraordinary sea rovers figured in a major action. The military superiority of Toledo’s forces was overwhelming. The settlement was devastated. D’Esnambuc the French Commander and most of the English had simply put to sea and found hiding places among the lonely bays of the Virgin Islands, Antigua and Anguilla. Some had gone with the buccaneers to the Western end of Hispaniola (The French in the West Indies).

 Oral tradition handed down by Our ancestors claim that the Spanish allowed the Irish slaves and fellow Roman Catholics to settle on Saba where they named their two villages above the later named Well’s Bay, ‘Palmetto Point’ and ‘Middle Island’ after two similar named villages they had lived in on St. Kitts.

1629. Guillaume Coppier in his book published in 1645 “Histoire et Voyages des Indes Occidentales et de plusiers autres regions, describes a visit to Saba before 1629. He lived on the French part of St. Kitts. After visiting a Frenchman de Cussac who lived on Statia he then went to Saba. “We landed thereafter on the island of Saba, which is also small; there is a very large rock, where very large and palatable lizards are; several sea-turtles come to the shore there; their shield is made into finger rings which are enriched with gold and also various costly combs are made of it. A group of ‘wild people’ live there named Igniris; they go with their body completely naked and they have beards, which is different from all Indians, who pull out their hair as soon as it comes. They are idolatrous and live in cave like places, living like wild animals.

1635. Pierre d’Esnambuc takes possesion of Saba for the King of France.

1640. Most Dutch historians refer to this year as the approximate settlement by ‘Dutch’ people from Zeeland at a location above the spring at Fort Bay. The historian goes further in claiming that they named what we call The Bottom after a word from Zeeland ‘botte’ or bowl shaped. In all Dutch references to The Bottom I have only found reference to it as ‘De Vallei’ or The Valley. This makes more sense, as if the settlement was at Fort Bay the settlers would have used The Valley for their farming purposes. In a book by Jacqueline Bakker and Ron de Veer published in 1999, they correctly state that;” The colonization of St. Eustatius and Saba was a concern of several wealthy Zeelanders . They rounded up several ‘colonists’ in Europe (among others Irishmen and Scots) and put together a fleet and sent them to the West Indies to start a plantation there. Around 1640 from there (St. Eustatius) they colonized the island of Saba.

1651. A landslide destroyed the coastal settlement and several of the survivors moved up to The Bottom.

1655. A group of enslaved people of African descent describing themselves as Christians and prisoners of war referring to some of their masters as Flemish captured a sloop on Saba and escaped to Puerto Rico. This well documented story now forms part of this the sixth edition of this book.

1659. A petition was sent to the Dutch West India Company in Amsterdam requesting the company to send an English speaking clergyman to the island and no one on the Island spoke Dutch.

1665. Pirates, uncles of Sir Henry Morgan, Edward and Thomas capture St. Eustatius and Saba. Edward died of a heart attack on the Bay in St. Eustatius. The others captured Saba as well. Took a census of the island deported the Dutch settlers to Barbados and Jamaica as indentured servants while some settled on St. Martin. Ninety of the pirates remained on Saba as it appealed to them as a pirate settlement. From them the now famous pirate Hiram Beaks descended. He is credited with coining the phrase; “Dead men tell no tales.”

1665: Thomas Morgan was the first Administrator of Saba. He was an uncle of Sir Henry Morgan of Jamaica fame. When Thomas and his brother Edward captured St. Eustatius and Saba the islands belonged to the Dutch West India Company. The Company had representation on Sint Eustatius and the title was Commander.  However, the capture of Sint Eustatius and Saba was considered a government enterprise by the English Government so that the person in charge was considered a Government representative. After that on Saba the person was referred to as Vice Commander until the end of the West India Company and even after the final takeover by the Dutch in 1816.

1672 to 1679. The English occupied Saba for seven years. The island was well settled at that time with small scale farming going on and the Saba Bank was fished and piracy was conducted out of the Virgin Islands by pirates from Saba. Several islands there like Hans Lollick and Peter Island for many years belonged to native Sabans.

1689. Saba started a campaign of freedom from St. Eustatius and repelled an attack by the French privateer Pinel with a defensive system constructed by the Sabans to defend the island against such attacks.

1699. The census of 1699 is confusing as the names are neither English nor Dutch and caused Dutch historians to think they were Dutch names. The author of this chronology has put the puzzle of the names together by comparing the names from the various census’ taken in 1699, 1705 and 1715 in which case one can clearly see that the person who took the first census wrote down the names as he heard them expressed by the old pirates.

Settlements as told by the Ancestors

While historians not frm here and who never visited Saba calculate their history from archives in The Netherlands and ignored the archives of Spain, England and France, Denmark and Sweden for the most part. They ignored oral history as “old wives tales” part of their attitude towards colonized people on the whole.

Our ancestors told us the story of the settlement of Plametto Point and Middle Island after 1629. Hitorians not from here acted as if these two villages had been created centries after. Then why would they have named the two villages after the two still exisisting villages on St. Kitts? My ancestors among them the Horton’s who settled on Saba moved to St. Eustatius and then back to Saba in 1790. They were from Palmetto Point and moved on to The Bottom and Hell’s Gate. Already in 1728 Palmetto point was an “historic” village. The village of Hell’s Gate was mostly settled from Palmetto Point. It could have had something to do with the Spring at the Spring Bay which was known to have really good drinking water. Many people of Hell’s Gate and Palmetto Point intermarried even into the 20th century. The villages were connected with fairly decent ancient pathways and farming activiity. Dr. J. Hartog in his book “De Bovenwindse Eilanden” admits that the name Hell’s Gate had always been there. He said that in his research he had never seen a reference to that village by any other name. He said that he had been told by a few older heads that it had once been called Zions Hill but could bring no proof to bear after further questioning. In my family background and in dealings with the old timers from the village I never heard even once anyone referring to the village other that the name Hell’s Gate. The chasm between the village and the rest of the island would have been chellenging so that it was viewed as the gate to hell.

With the influx of pirates in 1665 and further settlers coming in during the years of English occupation the villages beyond The Bottom came into existence. St. John’s was mostly Irish settlers which can be easily told by the surnames of the villagers, Barnes, Kelly, Dowling, Darsey, and so on. They farmed in the area known as “Little Rendez-Vous”.

The village of Windward Side referred to in old records as “Over-the-Peak was first settled on Booby Hill. The “Pasture” in what is now the “Windward Side” was used for common pasturage of animals. Big Rendez-Vous is where most people from Windward Side farmed. It was also claimed that there would be the place where people from The Bottom and the Windward Side would meet to defend the island in case of an attack.

To get to the Booby Hill one had to first pass the Fort which is still called that, then the Best Place after which you came on to the plateau called Booby Hill which was easy to defend as on all other sides the bounds were high clifs. At the same time there was an excellent view of the surrounding islands where an attack would come from. After the fear of attacks ceased to exist people started settling wherever they could find land for cultivation.

Ancestral information has been double checked by personal research from archves of various countries by the author and with help from other people with similar interests of setting the historical record straight. We hope that by documenting these ancestral handdowns of where we came from and how the island developed that any disputes over my interpretation will be backed up by facts to the contrary rather than solely on assumptions of the authors involved in claiming a different history to that of mine.

1705. The census of that year seems to have been taken by a person who was literate and who wrote down the correct names from people who most probably could not read or write.

1701. Father Jean Baptiste Labat O.P.  a Roman Catholic priest with a plantation on Martinique and enslaved Africans visited Saba on a pirate ship and writes a description of life on the island at that time.

1710. For a long period the Dutch Reformed Church on St. Eustatius during the time of Pastor Anthony Kowan baptized children from Saba. The irony is that his knowledge of the English language seemed to be not so great. He gave the names he heard a Dutch tint which fooled future Dutch historians and because of that it caused confusion among non-native historians as to where the people of Saba come from.

1728. In the population list there is a John Avery listed as living here. That was the alias used by he pirate Henry Every and which name was used throughout the history of Saba in families who claimed that they descended from that famous pirate.

1772. A category five hurricane on August 31st, caused much destruction to home and small plantations on the island. Some people had to move into caves as they had lost everything. A petition was sent to the West India Company for help.

1775 and before. The Presbyterian Church was active on Saba. The first church was located where a cemetery was established a so-called potter’s field. This is where the World War II monument is now located. The Hill bounding the first church, which is erroneously called Paris Hill should actually be ‘Parish Hill’ as described in the old property records. Dr. Hugh Knox, later teacher of Alexander Hamilton on St. Croix spent 17 years on Saba was married to Mary Simmons daughter of Commander Peter Simmons and his wife Rebecca (Correa).

On his departure to St. Croix the Reverend Knox had less than flattering comments about the lifestyle of the islanders.

1777. The Church of England (Anglican) officially established though they had been active before that date and were the successors of the Presbyterians. A petition was submitted by the Rev. Kirkpatrick to Commander Johannes de Graaf of St. Eustatius which was approved and the church named Christ Church was built in The Bottom. In the British National archives there is mention of the church being repaired in 1777 from the damage it had from the hurricane of 1772.

1780. The Dutch language never much at any time had disappeared from Saba completely. Besides that it is recorded that only five adults could read and write their native English language even. In that year there was another very strong hurricane which did great damage to the island.

1781. Sir James Cockburn captures Saba for Admiral George Rodney. In the same year the French capture Saba and they remain in limited control for three years. The Sabans long accustomed to governing themselves despite European countries claiming ownership, continued cultivating the land and doing whatever was necessary to survive.

1801-1803. During the Napoleonic Wars the British occupied Saba.

1810 – 1816. The British again took over the island.

1816. A well-documented transfer of Saba, by native Administrators, to the Dutch took place. On Paper from that time on Saba was listed among the Dutch colonies. However the island’s people under local Commanders and later on Lt. Governors etc. continued to administer their own affairs and carry on life as they always had. Historians and other writers passed the island and said they were not worth anything to the Dutch but cost them nothing so expressed the wish that it could remain that way forever.

In 1816 there was no public school but some private individuals gave lessons to their children and those of family and friends.

1829 Historian M.D. Teenstra visited Saba from February 13th to February 16th, and gave a very accurate description of life on the island. At the time Richard Johnson then in his seventies was Acting Commander of the Island and all other officials (unpaid) were native Sabans and the island had its own Court of Justice with an appeals Court on the island of St. Eustatius.

In 1829 M.D. Teenstra recorded the domestic animal population as being: 3 horses, 5 mules, 150 head of cattl, 300 sheep, 800 goats, 600 pigs (among which there were some weighing over 300 pounds). Also lots of poultry, and doves.

1830. What little sugar cane plantations there were started to dwindle. Because of the mountainous terrain Saba was never a large sugar cane producer. Around The Bottom there was a small plantation which was owned by Commander Thomas Dinzey and at Spring Bay and part of Flat Point there was a sugar cane plantation owned by Abraham Heyliger of St. Eustatius.

1843. Sarah Mardenborough a native of Windward Side started Roman Catholic religious instruction from her home and is recognized by the Church as the founder of the Roman Catholic Church on Saba.

1854. Mary Gertrude Hassell was born. She later married James Benjamin Johnson. She was a teacher and studied on Curacao at a Convent School. There she learned how to make the drawn thread work from the daughters of elite Venezuelans, and introduced the art to Saba where it is generally known as Spanish work. By doing this she made life in those hard times a little easier for families here as they could partly survive from income derived from selling this craft in the United States.

1860. In the Windward Side the Roman Catholic, St. Paul’s Conversion Church was constructed with stones from the former Sugar cane mill on Spring Bay flat. The land was donated by the family of Peter Hassell and his wife Esther Lovel Johnson for the church to be built.

1863. On July 1st, 708 enslaved people of African descent were emancipated and the owners of these slaves were compensated with no provisions made as to how they who were given their freedom would survive. Many remained on Saba while others tested their new freedom by moving elsewhere. Many of the enslaved people of African descent already knew the outside world ad they had worked on schooners owned by their masters and travelled with them to destinations far and wide. Since they were spread out in small numbers, in households all over the island they mostly remained in the villages where they were born and worked the land together with the whites and fished the Saba Bank and along shore in order to survive. Most of the former enslaved people of African descent were given surnames for the first time most of which were Scottish surnames.

1867. Population of the island was 1411. The attendance at the Anglican Church School was 30 boys and 25 girls.

On December 31st at 9pm there was a large earthquake with aftershocks the following day.

1868. Local resolution to name the town of The Bottom Leverock’s Town to honour Lt. Governor Moses Leverock. In some circles one could hear it referred to as such up to one hundred years later.

1870 Because of the increase in population some people started emigrating to Barbados, Bermuda, Bequia, St. Thomas and the United States while earlier on a number of people during the Swedish occupation of the island of St. Barth’s among them Sir Richard Dinzey had moved to that island.

There was still no public school on the island but a teacher living on the island was given a small compensation to provide free education for needy children. He had around 30 pupils.

1877. Construction of the Holy Trinity Church (Anglican) started in Windward side. The first resident Rector, Revered David Hope arrived on the island. He was the first resident Anglican Priest on the island and before that time the island was served by the Reverend Henry Warneford from Anguilla from 1864 until 1878.

 At the same time construction started of the Roman Catholic Sacred Heart of Jesus church in The Bottom.

1878. More schools had been established one in The Bottom with 41 pupils and in Windward Side there were two schools one with 33 pupils and one with 41 pupils.

1880. Gertrude Johnson-Hassell a teacher started her drawn thread work on Saba. Popularly called ‘Spanish Work’ as she had reportedly learned the art while attending school on Curacao. This proved to be the economic salvation for many families on Saba who could make a dignified living working out from their homes.

1898. The Christian Mission Church (now Wesleyan Holiness) started its work on Saba.

In that same year Charles P. Hassell, born on Saba July 1st, 1863 lost his life in Havana Cuba with the sinking of the U.S. Warship the ‘Maine’.

1905. Sisters Euphrosina and Bertranda arrived on Saba on August 17th to continue with Catholic School education which had been started by Sabans like Sarah Mardenbourough, Gertrude Johnson-Hassell and others.

1906. When Dutch was introduced as the language of instruction in the schools of Saba it caused an exodus of people especially from St. John’s and The Bottom to Barbados. Those who left were the Captains and their families who had been sending their children to schools on Barbados, and to a lesser extent to Antigua and St. Kitts

1909. Saba school of navigation started in The Bottom by Captain Frederick Augustus Simmons and was accredited by the Dutch Government.  Many of the young boys who passed through that school went on to become captains of large ships in the United States merchant marine.

In that same year a new Roman Catholic Church building was built in The Bottom, and replaced the old one.

1911. First Roman Catholic Church, the Church of the Holy Rosary, was built in Hell’s Gate.

The government started an elementary school.

1919. Construction of the present Wesleyan Holiness Church, started in The Bottom.

1920 A new building was constructed to house the Public School in The Bottom.

1922. With the death of Capt. Frederick Simmons the navigation school was closed down much to the regret of our people at the time.

    In that same year a house belonging to the family of Captain Richard Wright Horton Jr., in The Bottom, was purchased by Government to be used as a Guesthouse for visiting government officials mostly. That building is now used by the Dutch Government as Adminsitrative Quarters for some of their obligations to Saba.

Also the house of Captain Thomas Charles Vanterpool was purchased  and the house next to it, by Government to be used as the official residence of the Island Governor and to create the Queen Wilhelmina Park next to it.

1923. Queen Wilhelmina Library established in The Bottom with a branch in Windward Side in 1932.

Archaeological excavations bring to light Indian artifacts in The Bottom, Windward Side, St. John’s and Spring Bay. This was done by Dr. Josselin de Jongh.

1925. A wave of emigration started to the islands of Curacao and Aruba where people could find work in the oil fields. Because of the more permanent nature of the employment women also emigrated and most remained there. Emigration to Bermuda and the United States also continued.

The hospital in the building in The Bottom being used for these past years as the Artisans Foundation was named the Princess Juliana Hospital

1926. Governor Nicolaas J.L. Braantjes visited the island and on that occasion opened the Public School in The Bottom. Years later it was named the Dr. Moses L. Crossley School after a famous Saban researcher in the United States.

1931, Telegraphic connection with St. Martin on November 2nd.

1932. Mountain path between the Windward Side and Hell’s Gate was made possible by hard surfacing parts of the footpath which had been in use for centuries.

1934. The village of Palmetto Point (a.k.a Mary’s Point) was evacuated. Several families moved to Hell’s Gate while others were moved to a plot of land, part of the Man-o-War ground in The Bottom and renamed The Promised Land. The people who had lived relatively independent in their remote village were not happy with the arrangement and no effort was made to find a solution to relieve them of their isolation. The cliff below the village was indeed breaking away but even so a solution of moving the village to a higher location was never tried.

Temperatures at the hot springs> Ladder Bay 55C and Great Hole 60 C.

In that same year the present Roman Catholic Church in The Bottom was built and the old wooden church was used for a primary school.

1935. Local telephone system was put into use with 10 connections.

    Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Founded.

1937. Public School at Windward Side converted into hospital.

1938. Cement Road from Fort Bay started (complete in 1943). It was achieved through the work of Local Councilor Errol Hassell who against the wishes of the Administrator was able to budget ten thousand guilders to build the road. The design was made by the Department of Public Works on Curacao. Labourers were paid sixty five cents a day back then so that the money placed on the budget by Local Councilor Errol Hassell could do the job.

The first start of the road was cleared by three men from Hell’s Gate, James Horton Simmons, Thomas Hassell and Norman Hassell.

1943. Hospital in Windward Side named after Princess Margarite.

1945. Radio-telephone connection with St. Martin established on November 29th.

1946. Mr. Remy F. de Haenen lands off Fort Bay in a Vough Sikorsky type O.S. 2U seaplane On November 26th.

1947. Arrival of the first motor vehicle, a JEEP, on March 17th.

            Mr. Josephus Lambert Hassell came back to the island from Aruba and was a Local Councilor. After that he designed the rest of the ‘road which could not be built’ and supervised the construction to the airport as well as the Road to Rendez-Vous and Bobby Hill and The Level.

1950. First visit of a member of the Royal House – Prince Bernhard on January 26th.

1951. The Island Territory the Windward Islands was formed. Saba gained more autonomy with two elected Commissioners by a Council of five. First Commissioners were Capt. Mathew Levenston and Mr. Ulric Hassell.

St. John’s and Windward side became accessible by automobile. At first the road was just a dirt road and it was several years before the road was cemented.

Last remaining horse on Saba was sent to St. Martin.

First movie house opens in The Bottom by Henry Earl Johnson.

1952. A helicopter from the Dutch aircraft carrier Karel Doorman is the first aircraft to land on Saba at St. John’s on February 14th.

1954. Second movie house opens in Windward Side.

1955. Visit of Her Majesty Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard on October 24th.New school built in Windward Side. The past years this building has become the Eugenius Johnson Community Center

1957. Investors from the United States started buying old houses on Saba and restoring them.

1958. Visit of Crown Princess Beatrix on February 13th. In that same year a new School was built in The Bottom. Later used by the Saba Government to start the Medical School and the last years has been used as a hardware store.

1959. Shrubbery was cleared from Flat Point on private lands belonging to Daniel Johnson and others and Mr. Remi de Haenen then Mayor of St. Barth’s accompanied by a mechanic, landed the first conventional single-engine aircraft on Saba on February 9th.

Hospital in Windward Side was destroyed by a large fire.

1960. Princess Irene Hospital opened at St. John’s. on March 26th, with 11 beds.Saba’s National Song was written by the nun Christina Maria Jeurisssen a.k.a. Sister Waltruda.

1962. Three helicopters from the carrier Karel Doorman land at Flat Point.

1962. Senator Claude Wathey together with Finance Minister Juancho Irausquin got the finances from Holland to start the airport and Claude was very instrumental in bringing in the heavy equipment needed for the construction which was done by the contractor Jacques Deldevert.

Visit of the Princesses Irene and Margriet on July 19th.

New Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Rosary in Hell’s Gate completed. Inaugurated on May 10th, 1962. Administrator Henry Every did a lot to make this building possible.

Antillean Girls Guild founded February 21st.

1963. Beginning of air service to St. Martin and St. Eustatius on July 24th. (Senator Claude Wathey’s birthday).

Opening of the Juancho E. Irausquin Airport on September 18th.

Opening of first supermarket, owned by Ronny and Eugenius Johnson, in Windward Side.

Electricity becomes available in The Bottom (October 20th).

1964. Electricity reached Windward Side and St. John’s on January 23 and Hell’s Gate later that same year.

First supermarket owned by Clinton Cranston opens in The Bottom.

1965. Caribe Guesthouse owned by John Godfrey Woods opens in The Bottom on February 8th.

Second visit of Crown Princess Beatrix on February 27th.

Second visit of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard on October 5th.

Esso gasoline station represented by Commissioner Max Nicholson starts operations at Fort Bay.

Radio communications with the USA established.

‘Jonge Wacht’ youth club founded on June 24th.

Hotel ‘Captain’s Quarters opens in Windward Side December 15h.

1966. The ‘Argonaut’ is the first sizeable cruise ship to call at Saba on January 17th.

Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus arrive by warship on July 28th and spend the night at the hotel Captain’s Quarters.

Saba Girl’s Sport Society founded on September 30th.

1968. Road with 1,064 steps from Windward Side to the top of the Mountain is put into use. It turned out later on to be a major boost to tourism as well as for local inhabitants to enjoy.

1968. Saba on August 24th gets its first newspaper (monthly) established by Will Johnson then living on St. Maarten. It continued until 1993. “The Saba Herald”.

Banco Popular Antiliano N.V. opens a branch in Windward Side on September 13th.

Opening up of the land ‘Under-the-Hill’ for new residential area in The Bottom.

1970. Saba gets 24-hour electricity on December 24th. The company had been sold in the meantime to the G.E.B.E. but continued under the capable management of an all Saba staff headed by Elmer W. Linzey.


W.I.P.M party under the Leadership of Will Johnson elected and brought major changes to Saba in dealing with the Dutch Government for development projects and an aggressive policy in Saba’s relationship with the Central Government on Curacao and the Island Territory the Windward Islands. A subsidy to the privately owned Windward Islands Airways was discontinued, government wages were drastically increased and new investments were encouraged which created some employment in the private sector.

 Saba continued with road building with an automobile road from Upper-Hells-Gate to beyond Above-the-bush. In later years this was continued and with large public water catchments along the new road being built.

Christina Youth Crusade founded on October 10th.

The “Voice of Saba” radio station owned by Mr. Max Nicholson

Started operation on November 25th and was received with great enthusiasm by the population.

1972. The Leo A.I. Chance pier at Fort Bay is dedicated on November 8th his birthday. Many Sabans had fought for a good harbor for over a century and several attempts had been made to build a small jetty which could not stand up against the high waves. Plans had been made and presented and when Mr. Chance a native of Saba became Minister he succeeded in convincing the Dutch Government, together with the local government, to release the necessary funds to build the pier.

It has received much damage with hurricanes over the years and requires costly repairs each time, but overall serves a great purpose for our people.

At the top of the Mountain a microwave relay station was begun by British Cable and Wireless to link Tortola and Antigua via Saba. A section of the elfin rain forest had to be sacrificed but the native population was happy with this development as it provided much needed employment for locals during construction and later on paid an agreed annual license fee to the local government.

West Indies Television Network started construction of a transmitter in Upper Hell’s Gate and linked by microwave to studios on St. Maarten.

The Saba Stone Company N.V., was established at Tent Bay to export crushed stone and sand as well as to supply local demand for the increased development.

1973. The Ministry of Education refused to give any kind of subsidy to the Dr. Moses L. Crossley School due to the poor attendance and the public school was closed down. The building was used for a short time for carpentry classes and then was used as the office of the Department of Works.

1975. On the initiative of Commissioner Will Johnson a call made by him in The Saba Herald in 1968 for Saba to have a national day of its own, ‘SABA DAY’ celebrations were approved by the Executive Council and started on December 6th organized by a Committee headed by Mr. Ray Hassell (later Senator). It was a great success then and enthusiastically celebrated by the people of Saba every year on the first Friday of December.

Saba was able to deal directly with Holland for projects they thought necessary for Saba and many projects were carried out in the following years. The building of a Youth Center in The Bottom, Restoration of the old step road to the Ladder Bay, a Home for the Aged in The Bottom named first to honour Peter Eleanor Hassell and later to honour Henry Every, a new Medical Center opened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix in 1980 and named the Maude Edwards Medical Center in a new policy adopted to name buildings and other infrastructural projects after local people.Roads were built to open up new areas for development to Booby Hill and The Level, to Rendez Vous, the Dinda Hassell road on Hell’s Gate and so on.

1977. A large property in Windward Side was acquired with help from Mr. John Goodwin and the Dutch Government to be used for a Museum and a park. This was a long fulfilled wish of Commissioner Will Johnson who brought it all together. The Musueum was named in honour of local police officer Harry Luke Johnson who as a hobby had created his own home museum where he sold his paintings.

…The WIPM government of Saba was able to open direct links to Holland and was able to get a number of projects approved.

1979. The Home for the Aged was opened in The Bottom. First named Peter Eleanor Hassell home and later the Henry Carlyle Every home.

1980. Secondary School started was established at St. John’s in the old Princess Irene Hospital.

…The new hospital in The Bottom was opened by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix under the name of Mrs.Maude Othello Edwards-Jackson, founder of the Saba Electric Company N.V. Construction was carried out by the Public Works Department and the architect was Raymond Peterson of Marigot,St. Martin.

…. Secondary education system was established.

1981. Saba got a limited representation in the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles. An Initiative of Senator Betico Croes of Aruba and Mr. Max Nicholson was elected by the Island Council to represent Saba as ‘Spokesman’ in parliament.

1983. On April 1st the Island Territory of the Windward Islands was dissolved and Saba became an Island Territory on its own with continued limited representation in parliament. Island Council Member will Johnson was elected to represent Saba.

…The former Princess Irene Hospital on St. John’s converted into a secondary school. Architect Raymond Peterson of St. Martin and the work carried out by the Department of Public Works,

…. A new Administration Building was taken into use. Architect Cornelius Wilson and the work carried out by Public Works.

1985. In preparation for the departure of Aruba from the Netherlands Antilles elections were held in November and Will Johnson was elected as a full Member of Parliament.

On December 6th of that year the new Saba flag was presented on Saba Day to great enthusiasm by the people. Commissioners Vernon Hassell and Peter L. Granger with Lt. Governor Wycliffe Smith (all locals) established a Committee headed by Will Johnson in May of that year to prepare the legislation for a new flag, coat of arms and national song. The committee also consisted of Frank Hassell, Patricia Johnson and Shirley Smith. This was achieved as planned and adopted by the Island Council. The design of the flag was won by Edmond Daniel Johnson (18) out of 135 submitted, and the coat of arms design was won by George Seaman (81) from St. Croix and a longtime resident of Saba, and the national song written in 1960 by Sister Waltruda (Christina Maria Jeurissen) was adopted as the national song. She worked on Saba as a teacher from 1959 to 1974.

1986. The English language once again became the language of instruction in both Primary and Secondary Education.

1987. On Saba Day, December 5th Minister Crastell Gumbs presented Senator Will Johnson with all necessary permits from the World Health Organization to start the Saba University School of Medicine. The Foundation was under the name of Dr. de Brauuw and Thomas Eric Johnson.

1988. December 4th Eric Lamb flew into Saba and started a private charter service.

In that same year Island Council Member Mr. Ray Hassell was elected as Senator and Island Council Member.

1989. Hurricane Hugo on September 19th, 1989 did much damage to Saba and was the start of many severe hurricanes yet to come. This hurricane destroyed forty houses and some of the public buildings were also damaged.

…. Proclamation by the Government of Saba that all houses and buildings have to follow the Saba style for exterior design, hipped/abled roofs, green shutters, red roofs and white sides.

1994. Referendum held whereby the people of Saba opted to remain part of the Netherlands Antilles.

1998. Hurricane George, September 21st did massive damage to the island.

1999. Hurricane Lenny: November 20th. Did extensive damage to Saba. The island was under hurricane winds for 35 hours. The hurricane came from the West and stalled over Saba.

2004. Referendum held whereby 86% of the voters voted for Saba to go directly under Holland.

2007. Chris Johnson and Bruce Zagers were elected to the Island Council as well as the Executive Council and continued carying out the WIPM party program as well as the negotiations with the Netherlands on the future of Saba’

2010 October 10th The Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and Saba became an official part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a Public entity and a dualistic system of government established, in the sense that the Commissioners can no longer be Members of the Island Council. In the referndum of 2004 he WIPM party had campaigned on the platform that Saba should become a part of the Neterlands in free association while retaining its right to independence. Saba achieved this in the sense that it is a self governing Public Entity in free assocaition with The Netherlands. The used of the term BES to identify the three islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) should not be interpreted to mean that becuase the Dutch use too many of their services from Bonaire, this does not mean that Saba forms a pert of a constitutional entity called BES

Also in 2010 Will Johnson was elected back as Senator and. was there until October 10th when the Netherlands Antille was disolved.

2016. Commissioner Chris Johnson had the high honour to be asked by the Government of The Netherlands to represent them as Head of their Office on St. Maarten. He resigned from the Island Counil and was replaced by Mr. Vito Charles and also from the Exectuve Council and was replaced by Island Council member Mr. Rolando Wilson who then became Commissioner.

2017. April 8th, temperature at hot springs below the Sulphur Mine 79 degrees Celsius. By comparison in 1934 the Hot Springs at the Ladder Bay were 55 degrees Centigrade and at the Great Hole 60 degrees Centigrade.

…May 28th Sister Agatha Jansen (97) died in The Netherlands. She was the last of the Dominica Order of Nuns to have worked on Saba.

…. November 11th. Last bull butchered on Saba. In 1996 there were over one hundred head of cattle on the island.

2018. People started importing cattle from St. Eustatius once more. A trade which has existed for hundreds of years. Commissioner Bruce Zagers announced that theDutch Government had approved funds to build a new harbour at a place called the Black RRocks. Construction of which should be started by the year 2022. The airport runway was renewed with a layer of cement and the terminal building renovated and estended.

2019. In the elections for the Island Council the W.I.P.M. party won all five seats on the Island Council. Elected to the Council were Bruce Zagers, Roland Wilson, Carl Buncamper, Eviton Heyliger and Vito Charles. When Zagers and Wilson were elected by the Council as Commissioners then Mr. Hemmie van Zanten and Esmeralda Johnson moved into the Council.

January 1st 2019 Total population was 1914. Voters were 11o6 of which 195 were voters with a foreign nationality and 911 were Dutch subjects.

The 100th anniversary of the Weslyean Holiness Church in The Boottom was celebrated.

January 15th. Ceremony held to show the hospital renovation to the Public. Work done by local contractors Hess Construction N.V.

2020 Saba was affected by the world wide epedemic caused by the influenza. The Overnment of The Netherlands continues to be very generous to Saba in its financial funding and will keep helping as much as it can, even though The Netherlands has also been negatively affected by the virus.

The first time even when Saba was lived on by the Arawaks (Igniri) and the Kalinago there were no children born on Saba. The health Care policy is to send pregnant women all the way to the island of Bonaire to have children.

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

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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 

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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.















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By: Will Johnson

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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.

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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.

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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.                                                                                             * * * * * * * * .


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