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Scotch-Irish on St. Croix

Scotch-Irish on St. Croix

Posted: 1005230341000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1019223283000
I have been told on good authority that the following families came to St. Croix from County Fermangh Ireland, beginning in the early 1830's: Balfour, Fleming, Patterson, and Latimer. County Fermangh borders County Cavan on the northwest, so this adds to the families previously identified as arriving from that region

We might be able to narrow things even more, for some indications suggest a clustering in the Frederiksted area of County Cavan immigrants. Tramping through the Frederiksted Cemetery recently, I came across a monument for John McCabe ("native of Co. Cavan Ireland who died 11 Oct 1890, aged 66 [erected by his nephew Patrick Brady]"); a pair of tombstones for Gaffneys ("Thomas, born Aug 7 1871, Co. Cavan, Eire, died Sept. 8 1939, St. Croix"; and "Ellen, nee Gallagher, born June 4, 1873, Co. Cavan, Eire, died Oct. 16. 1947, St. Croix"); and tombstones for Farrellys ("Mary E. 1888 - 1937" and "Patrick A. 1877 - 1951"), a family known from other sources to have come from County Cavan. Others buried in Frederiksted Cemetery include Hewitts: John ("b. Ireland - d. St. Croix 9 Dec 1895; 51 yrs." and Robert ("b. Ireland - d. St. Croix 11 Aug 1899; 38 yrs") and John T. Armstrong ("22 Jan 1911 - age 52 yrs"). Again, there is evidence that both the Hewitts and Armstrongs were from County Cavan.

Was 19th century Frederiksted a center for County Cavan arrivals? Curiously, I came across no graves on which the person was said to have come from some other county in Ireland; although I could well have missed some. If nothing else, the graves of John McCabe and the Gaffneys suggest that being born in County Cavan was regarded as noteworthy.

Re: Scotch-Irish on St. Croix, Gaffney

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 1005417585000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Gaffney
Gaffney after having been an overseer bought Mon Bijou which they operated for years before selling out. There is an old scratch band tune about Gaffney. He went out to Fort Louise Augusta for a party in a buggy one night and went over the Altoona Lagoon Bridge which was wooden one lane on the way coming back. The song is Hoss, Cart, Old Man and all fell in de Lagoon Mout" Bill LaMotta used to sing it. I met his daughter as an old woman in the late 1960s

Re: Catholic Irish on St. Croix, The Irish King

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 1005418034000
Classification: Query
Surnames: O'Neill, Heyliger, de Chabert
The Catholic Irish had quite a presence on St. Croix as well the Protestants. Even the Pretender to the throne of Ireland "The O'Neill of Fews" also has Fredriksted ancestral ties.

Mon Bijou

Posted: 1005571501000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1019223283000
I've been told that Christian and Golda (Blackwood) Jensen, relatives of mine, bought Mon Bijou in the 1930's. It would appear that the owner previous to them was Thomas Gaffney. More recently, Golda's nephew Tommy Mackay did considerable work restoring it after hurricane damage.

Re: Scotch-Irish on St. Croix

Posted: 1012888873000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1072490778000
Dan - The gravestone of John McCabe which you saw in Fredericksted - John was one of the nephews of Charles Mulloy who went to St. Croix in 1825. Patrick Brady {mentioned on John McCabe's stone} was also a nephew of Charles Mulloy. Charles Mulloy was overseer on Estate Clifton Hill, manager on Estate Cane Garden, then co-owner of Estate Rose Hill {along with Henry MacAdam}. Charles Mulloy left St. Croix in 1850, his gravestone in Ashkum, Illinois is inscribed "born Killeshandra, County Cavan, Ireland." I've noted gravestones of the Irish in other states that are inscribed with various counties - just seemed to be a custom of the Irish. I'll be in St. Croix for house tour (Cane Garden) 13 February 2002. Would certainly like to meet some of the Molloys of Irish/native birth who are living now on the island and see where they fit into this picture of Irish emigration to St. Croix. Were you able to research at university library there? The card catalog has some possibilities. Does Richard Bond have suggestions for further research in this area? Dan, did you walk the cemetery in Christiansted? If so, did you find as many Irish gravestones there? Did you have a chance for research with original church records? I hope to do some of these things next week.
Norma Meier

Christiansted Cemetery

Posted: 1012919191000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1019223283000
Hi Norma,
Thanks for filling us in on the Scotch-Irish. I have been going over censuses lately and the number of estates on which the manager/overseer was both born in Ireland and English/Anglican/Episcopalian in religion is very great. Nearly half perhaps.
The cemetery behind St. John's Anglican in Christiansted is full of riches but, unfortunately, dangerous. My own experience may be helpful. Thinking that early in the day would be a great time to look around, I walked up to the cemetery one morning at about 6:00 AM . You must enter it through a side street, and already at that hour the corners were filling up with guys without much to do. Upon leaving the cemetery about a half hour later, one of them approached me menacingly with a long knotted rope. When just a few yards away, he snapped it at the ground in front of my feet. That was all, but it was enough. I didn't think of going back.
All this is especially unfortunate because there is so much history to be learned in that cemetery. It has both public and private (church members) sections. I don't know if a listing of all burials exists. Perhaps, someone knowledgeable about that can tell us. The Research Library at Whim does have copies of records from St. John's, including burials, although I can't say how complete they are.
Have fun, but don't go to the cemetery by yourself!

Re: Christiansted Cemetery

Posted: 1012955272000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1072490778000
I wonder if that is the only Christiansted cemetery - Catholic too? Thanks for advice, if I do go it will be with a cousin. We're told Protestant burials were once on "Protestant Cay" where the hotel is now. I find that unusual since I didn't feel Catholics were in the majority on the early census records, although there were a great many of them. I've abstracted the Irish from the census records through 1901, I think I sent you copies of that material. And it seems the listings of gravestones I've seen are quite selective - simply does not cover everyone. Since I am sexton for the cemetery in my town I was most interested in St. Croix cemeteries and liked the uniqueness of burial sites in Fredericksted. I know some estates had private burial grounds.
Norma Meier

Re: Christiansted Cemetery

Richard Bond (View posts)
Posted: 1013201731000
Classification: Query
Protestant Cay was the Protestant Cemetary under the French in the late 1600s and early 1700s the French were the ones who sold the island to the Danes.

Most of the cemetary spaces in town are contiguous.

Re: Scotch-Irish on St. Croix

Posted: 1021908447000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1021993072000
Dear Norma,

I've read the messages between you and Dan. I've posted messages in several boards in search of my grandfather, James William Smith. I visited the Cavan Research Centre web site and saw the name "Smith" listed as a surname in Cavan County. I always felt that my grandfather came from that area as he was related to the Latimer family. The Latimer family has a building at St. Paul's Episcopal Church named in their memory and from what I understand also came from Ireland.

The names that you have listed in your messages are very familar to my family especially since we attended the same church all our lives. My grandfather was Anglican/Episcopalian and so was every member of the family. My father, Hezekiah E. Smith, served as treasurer of the church for many years. Hezekiah was born on October 5, 1907 and died December 4, 1979. He is interned in the St. Paul's Anglican/Episcopal church yard right in front of the altar. I visited the grave site twice on my trip home recently....April 24th-May 14th. My father had two sisters, Ethanie Smith Francis (deceased) and Alice Smith Nielsen (now 81 years old). I sat with my Aunt Alice, along with Aunt Ethanie's daughter Aracelis, in the same church on Mother's Day (May 12th). I've always been told that my grandfather was from Ireland. His whole life is such a mystery to the family. I'm very curious to find out more about him and his life and so are other family members.

It is also believed that he owned Estate Whim and Mr. Erik Lawaetz wrote briefly about it in his book. The government of the Virgin Islands owns it today and the Whim Greathouse is a tourist attraction. Aracelis and I took a tour of the facility on May 13th including the slave quarters. We visited the museum but were unable to do any research because The St. Croix Landmark Society Library was close on that day.

I've posted messages and received replies but no real leads have come up. I know that someone out there knows something about my grandfather....his history. My family needs to know it too.

Also, the family is aware that he eventually left for Canada, died and was buried there. Although, there are no records to verify this word of mouth about it still stands today.

If you have any information about him, I ask that you share it with his family...who's desperate to know more about him.

Thanks for your help and I appreciate your very detailed information about the cemeteries in Christiansted and Frederiksted.

P. S. My sister and I attended the St. John's Episcopal Church School in Christiansted on scholarships in the middle school years.

Re: Scotch-Irish on St. Croix

Posted: 1021938547000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1029216812000
Hello Louella,
I have read St. Croix census of 1841, 1846, 1850, 1857, 1880, 1918 and abstracted all I could find pertaining to the Irish. I probably missed some entries but did find the following Irish Smiths:
______ Smith, age 24, born Ireland, baptized Church of England, overseer on Mt Pleasant Estate owned by R. S. Grant according to 1857 St. Croix census.
Richard Smith, age 25, born Ireland, Episcopalian, overseer of Fredensborg Estate owned by Barings & Co., in Kings Quarter according to 1857 St. Croix census.
There are several Latimers in my notes:
______, Latimer, born Ireland 1831, baptized English Church, manager of Spring Garden Estate on North Side, owned by Wm. Moore, Esq. (1857 St. Croix census)
Alexander Latimer, age 50, born Ireland, settled 1851 in St. Croix, Episcopalian, planter/owner of William Estate in North Side Quarter (1880 St. Croix census); also in household is Mrs. Latimer, M. A. Latimer, age 32, born Ireland, in St. Croix since 1871.
George Latimer, age 25, born Ireland, settled in St. Croix 1877, baptized Church of England, overseer on Estate St. George and Wal___ (1880 St. Croix census.)
James Latimer, age 40, born Ireland, settled in St. Croix 1860, Episcopalian, planter/owner of Estate Whim owned by A. and James Latimer (1880 St. Croix census).
John Latimer, age 30, born Ireland ca1820, Protestant, manager of Castle Coakley in Queens Quarter (1850 St. Croix census.)
Mary Ann Latimer, age 70, born Ireland, planter of sugar estate at West End Quarter according to 1918 St. Croix census; also in household is Thomas Latimer, age 57, born Ireland, manager of sugar estate.
Thomas Latimer, age 20, born Ireland, settled in St. Croix 1879, English church, unmarried overseer of Estate (appears to be Hankyon or Thankyou) according to 1880 St. Croix census.
William Latimer, age 24, born Ireland 1878, Episcopalian, overseer on Estate Camp Rico, 1880 St. Croix census.
There you have your James Latimer, shown as planter/owner of Estate Whim in 1880. You need to get a step or two back to connect your Smith family with Latimer. Find your grandfather's death record - the most important step!
How wonderful to have a connection with Whim! I was there last June and again this February. Contact the Whim library for Latimer data which should be contained in the Whim Estate file (estate file collection). Some of those files are almost empty, others contain a wealth of information.
Perhaps Whim has cemetery records or church records for St. Paul's Episcopal Church, that would give you more clues on your Smith line.
Keep in touch. Regards, Norma Meier (Illinois)
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