Are the St. Croix Goldens Descended from Pirates?

William and Mary, Saints or Sinners?

William and Mary, Saints or Sinners?

I have known the Golden clan of St. Croix for about 30 years and enjoyed the company of family members on many occasions. Brother George was a natural story teller and he and I spent many days and hours sharing stories of life experiences and family lore. George Golden insisted that he was a descendant of John Golding who was hung for piracy in England around 1693.

Brother Mario is part of my Facebook family. Naturally, I pointed out my next book was going to be on the Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix and teased him about his being related to pirates. He replied that their serious and scholarly Brother Morty had researched the issue and determined that Golden and Golding were two different family names and that the pirate that was hung was John Golding.

I actually admire many pirates and indeed Pirate John Golding was an honorable man who is still an important part of case law involving piracy. Besides, I like a good story and felt compelled to determine who was correct. My conclusion is that both could be right but to conclusively prove it either way would take a lot of research and a lucky DNA match.

The biggest part of the problem is that we don’t really know whether the pirate’s name was Golden or Golding which as it turns out are really too different names.

From the Internet Surname Database ( Golding “is an English surname. It derives from the pre 7th century personal name Golding, recorded as Goldinc in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The development is from the original personal name “Golda”, meaning “son of Gold”. This persisted into the Middle Ages as a given name, with “Golde” as the feminine form, and was used in some cases as a nickname or byname for the color of a person’s hair whilst any names with “Gold” as the first element were usually compounds often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War. The modern surname can be found recorded as Gilden, Gilding, Golding, Goolding, Goulding and others…The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Golding, which was dated 1202.” Other databases suggest that Golding might also be associated with a lover of Gold or friend of gold.

On the other hand the same database site suggests that Golden is an unusual name of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the habitual use of a nickname that was originally bestowed on someone who had bright yellow hair, with reference to the color of the metal. The nickname derives from the Old English pre 7th Century term “gylden”, golden-(haired). The development of the surname from gylden” includes Hilde Golden (1279, Cambridgeshire), Henry le Gulden (1316, London), and Roger le Gildene (1327, Somerset). The modern surname can be found as Golden, Goolden, and Goulden.

To further compound the problem with family names is the issue of spelling and pronunciation over the ages. Think of a Mr. Coming as in “I am coming home.” Now think of all the ways it could be phonetically spelled; ie comming, commen, comin or comen.

Now think of Golding transformed into to Goolding, Goulding, Gilden and Golden depending on what a census taker, tax collector or immigration officer heard. Some old family Bibles even track the transformation of the family name from Golding to Golden. A further issue is that both names originally developed in England and Ireland before the Protestant reformation and the expulsion of the Jews from England so the ancient name can be Catholic, Jewish or Protestant and is distributed in many European Countries.

So indeed Morty Golden was correct Golding and Golden were originally two different family names with a somewhat natural transformation from Golding to Golden. So where does that leave Brother George our storyteller? Is he necessarily wrong? The answer is probably not. The family name of Golden is the more popular name in Ireland and the pirate who was hung was definitely an Irish Catholic and a loyalist to Catholic King James II of Ireland, England and Scotland. Therefore he was most probably named John Golden at birth.

However, in England, the more common form of the name was Golding and Protestant and in a politically motivated trial testing the rights of Englishmen, the new King and Queen, William and Mary, wanted to set a wicked example of trying a Catholic Loyalist to King James II for High Treason and Piracy. It would be easier to demonstrate treason if the Pirate were a Protestant Golding than if he were a Catholic Golden. If there were no treason proven, then there could not be a piracy charge as Captain John Golden was sailing with letters of Marque issued by both King James II and French King Louis XIV and was a privateer for the sovereign he recognized as his king.

Every nation at the time used privateers and more or less hung pirates and exchanged sailors, soldiers and privateers for their own people held by the opposition. During the rule of Catholic King James II, the English did not like his edicts of religious freedom. Seems James had been a very popular and efficient administrator and leader while his brother was King. This popularity lasted until he converted to Catholicism and married a Catholic princess from Italy who was viewed as an agent of the Pope. During this time, his brother convinced him to allow his daughter Mary to marry Protestant King William of Holland and this started the loss of his kingdom.

King James II started instituting edicts of religious freedom and appointing Catholics to important positions including leadership in the military which he was expanding even in time of peace. When the nobility got tired of the changes, they initiated a civil war by inviting Prince William of Holland to invade and promised military support and to make William and Mary co-regents upon his success. When the invasion force arrived and several protestant Generals took their troops and joined the invaders, King James II threw his seal into the River Thames and escaped to France where he lived by the grace of his cousin King Louis XIV of France. By this act, the English Nobles in support of William and Mary assumed he had abdicated his throne and was no longer reagent.

Shortly thereafter, he returned with an army and landed in Catholic Ireland where the Parliament recognized him as King. He proceeded to recruit more Irish soldiers and sailors with mixed success. When King William decided to personally lead the military invasion of Ireland to defeat King James II, James ran away for the second time and took an army and navy of 10,000 men with him. After this, James became known in Ireland as Séamus an Chaca or ‘James the Shit’.

Apparently Captain John Golden was one of the sailors in exile with the King in exile and accepted a Letter of Marque making him a privateer working for the French and the Government in exile led by King James II. From the English perspective, James the second, could not lead a government in exile as he had trice abdicated by virtue of his cowardices.

When the British Captured John Golden and seven other privateers, King William ordered that they be tried as traitors and pirates. Since the English were also making use of privateers, this would set a very poor precedent and make all privateering more risky and less desirable an enterprise.

When Dr. Oldish, the King’s Advocate, was asked to draw up the prosecution charges and to lay out the evidence. He refused, because of the poor precedent it would set. Dr. Oldish was fired as the King’s Advocate and replaced by a new man who tried the case and condemned those charged with high treason. The penalty was hanging.

As traitors, the men were not allowed counsel nor a jury trial. They were tried by a tribunal appointed by the king which found them guilty. The importance of this case is not the unfair method of how it happened but on appeal a fine distinction was drawn.

The appeals court ruled that these men were stateless people not entitled to the rights of Englishmen. At one level, their commission came from a king who had abdicated all territorial claims on two occasions and was therefor a private citizen. On the second level, they were Irish subjects of King William and Queen Mary serving the best interest of a foreign monarch King Louis XIV of France. In either case they were no longer Englishmen entitled to the protection of civil law. Thus, they were guilty of high treason and piracy.

This distinction still serves to define foreign mercenaries and pirates by a two level test. Are they serving the head of state of a legitimate government and are they working for a foreign government against the best interests of the legitimate government of their original state.

As often quoted, “might makes right and the winners write history,” so indeed, John Golden was a pirate and hung as such for being faithful to his king, country and religion.

Is it possible that Pirate John Golden came to St. Croix and started a family?

St. Croix was French and a pirate haven in 1693, so it is possible that he came her to trade with French and Dutch Merchants and to prey on Caribbean Shipping using the island as his home port. In this case the Goldens could all be descended from the famous John Golden.

Is John Golden related to the Golden Family of St. Croix?

We May Never Know!

This information is not included in my book (Lost Pirate Treasure’s of St. Croix: Your Search for Billions Starts Here!) because there is no solid evidence that John Golden ever crossed the Atlantic to engage in acts of piracy near St. Croix. Thus, if John Golden was never on St. Croix, there would be no pirate treasure of his on the island. If you want to search for pirate treasure that may still be on St. Croix, the best place to start your search is with my book.

Have Fun!

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Start Your Treasure Hunt Today!

Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix

Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix

According to Amazon, you don’t need to own a Kindle device to enjoy Kindle books. Download one of their free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on all your electronic devices. The Kindle app is available for every major smartphone, tablet and computer. That means with the free Kindle reading apps, you can buy a Kindle book once, and read it on any device with the Kindle app installed. And of course, you can also read that same Kindle book on a Kindle device if you own one. After you buy the book once, there are no additional charges for using it on every device you own.

I have a kindle and use it for traveling because it’s thinner and lighter than a real book and I find the larger print easier on my eyes. What many people don’t know about are the millions of free older books out there that I would never buy but have enjoyed rereading. I have read Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe and histories of many of the Caribbean Islands written during the colonial era.

While the kindle is easy to travel with I like my laptop Kindle reader when doing research. The search function is easier than a real book and more complete than the book’s index. Also, it is far easier to quote from a book on my laptop Kindle reader than it is by any other method. With a real book, you have to retype the passage. On my laptop, I just highlight the passage and copy it to my notepad. This is a very simple process especially if you are trying to quote a long passage or develop a set of notes for a much longer term paper or book on a subject.

Whether or not you have a Kindle you can get started on my book, “The Lost pirate Treasures of St. Croix” by reading it on your laptop or other computer. Remember your search for the billions buried on St. Croix starts with the knowledge that it exists. So start reading and learning the Pirate’s History of St. Croix. You chance of finding buried treasure on St. Croix is better than your chance of winning the Powerball Lottery so buy the book or buy it for a friend who is wasting too much money on Lottery tickets.

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Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix


Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix

Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix

My new book, “Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix: Your Search for Billions Starts Here!” has been published and is available from Amazon in both Kindle Book and Paperback Book. This is my second book carried by Amazon, but the first time that they picked it up in one day and are stocking a couple of copies already so I guess they think it will sell well. I will not get my copies for distribution on St. Croix until sometime in late September. Anybody who wants to start searching for billions can get a head start by buying it from Amazon.

Over the past six months I have been compiling all of the information about Pirate Treasures that have been lost to history on my home island of St. Croix. Throughout the past thirty years I have lived on the island, I have been told by all credible historians that there were no pirates on St. Croix so of course their would be no pirate treasures. Besides that fact, pirates were a bunch of foolish drunkards who had no reason to bury treasure when they spent it all so quickly. Well thank goodness for scholars of past centuries who documented the pirate presence.

My research documents the presence of several pirates who made St. Croix their home base and discusses the high probability that at least three of those treasures are still well hidden on the island. I am indebted to three proof readers who got caught up in the project and shared my excitement for treasure hunting and adventure. I will tell each of their stories separately in future posts.

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Buy an Autographed Copy of My Carib Book

My long time friend Mario Golden has moved to Georgia but like many others, we remain in touch through facebook ( He has been following my various activities of hiking and writing and I follow his eclectic news reports and the informative posts that he finds on everything from muscle cars to current events.

Mario didn’t just want a copy of my book, he wanted one with a personalized autograph and he inquired as to how much I would charge.

After thinking about it, I replied that the book Was $24.00, the postage for Priority Mail was $6.00 and my signature was priceless (LOL). However since I was flattered that this native son wanted a copy, the total price was $30.00.

If anybody else wants a personalized copy for friends or family, send me a check or money order for $30.00 to:

John Boyd
Sion Farm
Christiansted, VI 00820

Shop early for birthdays, holidays and especially Christmas.

For those who want to save $6.00, all of the copies at Under Cover Books (Gallows Bay) are autographed, just not personalized exclusively for you.

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Mother’s Love: I Never Knew Deer Could Talk and Birds Could Grieve.

Today, during my morning walk, I came across a whitetail doe and fawn grazing in a field in front of a house. When the mother saw me she started to run to the right, the fawn being rather young ran to the left and I froze because I wanted to see how this was going to play out. About 100 feet from where they started, both stopped and noticed the other was missing.

While watching me, the mother started to talk to the fawn. I grew up with whitetail deer all my life, but had never heard them make a sound. I am not attempting to put human qualities to animals as frankly I have butchered and eaten them. As a matter of fact, I served ground venison at my son’s fifth birthday party and we called it “Bambi Burgers” after the movie. If it’s any consolation to my vegetarian readers, I never killed a deer but as a country boy in my youth, was an expert at processing road kill. But back to our current story.

The sound of the talking fearful mother was hardly melodious; it was more like the cross between a sneeze and the sound a crow would make. Regardless of what it sounded like to me, the fawn stopped and waited while the mother retraced her tracks coming towards me and then crossed in front of the house to join her fawn. Since she did not perceive me to be a threat they calmly walked into the woods together.

This is the second time I have experienced a mother’s love in the animal kingdom and the first episode was even more profound. I live in a house with lots of glass windows many open most of the time. Over the years I have gotten used to two sounds from the windows that need immediate attention. One set of sounds that a bird makes is when it gets in and cant get out. For the most part after opening all doors and windows, I can shoe the bird out before it kills itself flying into a closed window.

The other sound is birds flying full speed into the windows making a characteristic thunk. In these cases I pay attention to dispose of the dead bird so it doesn’t create a bigger problem after being neglected. I have picked up mostly ground doves and yellow birds both of which I have in abundance around my house.

One day after hearing the characteristic thunk I opened a door to look. When I got outside I saw a yellow bird crying in pain with her right wing extended. My first instinct was that she was hurt and I really had no idea what I was going to do. Caring for a hurt bird is not something I have ever done and I do not have money to waste taking it to a vet.

The bird lay there singing her very sad song as I approached her trying to make up my mind what to do. She finely heard me or sensed my presence as she became quiet and took off like a shot. It seems that her stretched out right wing and sad song was devoted to one of her off springs that had just flown into my window while learning to fly. The poor momma was grieving and with her sad song trying to raise the dead.

So yes, I now believe that birds grieve and deer talk. 

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In Search of Pirate Treasure

Spanish Galleon used to transport gold

Spanish Galleon used to transport gold

Almost everybody I know has walked a beach while looking down for treasure. Some people treasure shells, others sea-glass and a unique group even searches for cod stoppers, those marbles used to seal carbonated beverages before crown caps were invented. A few, especially young people, openly admit that they are looking for pirate treasure. I won’t laugh because I personally believe that people have a better chance of finding pirate treasure then winning a big lottery and it doesn’t cost anything to look down at the sand while getting your exercise.

I hear stories of people finding valuable jewelry on the beach or in the sea on a regular basis and I pretty much have to accept it as true. This stuff is not the illusive “Pyrate Treasure” of old but items lost by careless tourists who should have left their expensive trinkets home because very few residents are truly impressed by bling. One friend walking on the beach found a $2,500 diamond ring so it occasionally pays off to be observant. He sold it to a local jeweler who probably resold it to a tourist for much more.

Moving upscale from observant people hoping to get lucky are those people who enjoy treasure hunting so much that they invest in a metal detector. I have met a few people who actually go on vacation with their metal detectors hoping to get lucky and pay for the trip so they can go on another vacation sooner. Another friend who has been doing this in tourist areas of St. Croix for a decade has found tens of thousands in Jewelery but the earliest treasure is from the Danish Colonial era and no pirate treasure.

By far the largest population of these dedicated amateurs with metal detectors I ever met was along the coast of the Outer Banks after a hurricane had passed and churned up the sea. In this area, hundreds of ships sunk over the centuries and some were certain to have treasure which might be washed up after a storm. In addition roving bands of outlaws used to create false beacons of hope on the islands by lighting fires along the dune ridge hoping to lure in ships which would run aground during storms. This is not really pirate treasure but gold and silver knows no name.

I once met met a vacationing treasure hunter with a metal detector on St. Croix and he was sort of a secretive non communicative person. He walked the beach for days and he did find a couple of pieces of interest to him, including something which appeared to be a two ounce lump of silver. Hardly enough to pay for his trip. I should have told him that his chances of finding any gold was zero to none. He was walking in the wrong place and rule number one is; if there were no pirates in the area, there will be no pirate treasure. He was walking a beach protected by an offshore reef with the water between the reef and the beach hardly deep enough for a canoe. There are no caves, or permanent markers like huge boulders along this portion of the coast so anything buried would be pretty much lost forever. Even the Amerindians in St. Croix never inhabited the area where he was walking because there was nothing there to attract them.

The big difference between amateur treasure hunters and professionals is the amateurs are hoping to get lucky while the professionals are more likely seeking wealth through knowledge. Mel Fisher was a chicken farmer from Indiana who followed his dreams. Not only that, but he had his whole family share his vision of underwater expeditions and hunting for sunken treasure. His first venture was the creation of the post World War II scuba diving industry in California and he had his Mother, Father and Wife work alongside him as the Fishers started a family and a business at the same time.

After he was firmly established, he decided to move to Florida and become a Treasure Hunter. He convinced his family and six of his friends that this was a great way to earn a living. He did not make this decision on a whim but only after diving on several wrecks and meeting and partnering with Kip Wagner who was already established in Florida and somewhat successful. Wagner had the local knowledge of Florida legends and lore that Fisher lacked and Fisher had the technical expertise that would help Wagner. Together they were very successful. As the salvage company grew and became successful, they hired an archaeologist to research records and provide more knowledge of how eighteenth century ships were constructed. They needed to know how the ships would come apart and scatter treasure over a large area when they sank.

During the 1960’s and 70’s, there were several Treasure Hunters in the Florida Keys and they got along with each other and socialized. At one party someone took out a copy of John S. Potter’s “The Treasure Diver’s Guide”, in which the Nuestra Señora de Atocha was described as one of the richest shipwrecks ever lost and the location was noted in the book. The Fishers were living in Islamorada which Fisher thought was near the site described in the book and he started searching for the wreck. Fortunately for him, he met a graduate student, Eugene Lyon, who was going to Spain to study the Spanish archives.

Fisher offered Lyon $10,000 and a share of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha treasure if he could find out where it was located. Lyon discovered that there had been a 1622 attempt at salvage and Fisher was diving in the wrong place. Based on the 350 year old record, the center of operation was moved 100 miles South West and the discovery and salvage of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha is now history. It was probably the richest prize ever found. Mel Fisher has since died but Dr. Eugene Lyon is a college professor and still looking for sunken treasure in the archives of history.

Perhaps the most interesting buried treasure discovered since then is the wreck of the Whydah discovered in 1984 in shallow waters off of Cape Cod. What makes this find unique is that it was a know pirate ship with unfathomable wealth. When the ship sank in a northeaster in 1717, Governor Samuel Shute commissioned Captain Cyprian Southack, a local salvager and map maker, to recover “Money, Bullion, Treasure, Goods and Merchandizes taken out of the said Ship.” Witnesses at the time said that the treasure on the ship had been divided into 180 lots or roughly one for each sailor. Total value bout $200 million at todays value for precious metals.

Barry Clifford was able to find the wreck because he researched the legends using the historical archives. He then relied heavily on Southack’s 1717 map of the wreck site and found the Whydah, which had been buried for 267 years covered with just five feet of sand below only14 feet of water. Historical research pays off and contemporary Treasure Hunters rely on the library and technology more than their diving skills to locate the treasure.

When I walk, I wonder about all that I am seeing. My love of our medicinal plants made me curious about the people who brought them to St. Croix. That got me to research the Caribs and ended up with the publication of my book, “Caribs:The Original Caribbean Pirates & Founding Fathers of American Democracy” which is available in a (Kindle Edition) and (Paperback Edition). Naturally, I now walk on the paths of the Caribs and Taínos.

Having completed that project and finding the evidence that the Caribs and pirates worked together, I have become curious about the pirates and am researching and walking along their paths. wondering what they did with the plunder they acquired. Even, if I never find any of their treasure, I will most certainly find enough information to make a good story to tell to everybody I walk with and I probably have enough for a book on the Pirate Treasures of St. Croix.

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Moses in the Rushes – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Moses in the Rushes

Moses in the Rushes

Moses in the Rushes (Tradescantia spathacea or Rhoeo spathacea) is on five continents as an ornamental or medicinal plant. In has been used in it’s native Mexico as anti-fungal and anti Cancer drugs and is still used in modern medicine as part of a treatment for cancer in that country. Naturally, it’s use was documented in the Mayan pharmacopoeia which people in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras are working to reconstruct.

Throughout the rest of the world, it is sold as a potted ornamental and for a ground cover although some people in Asia use it for medicinal purposes. If the tiny three pedal flower looks familiar along with the purple underside of the leaf, it’s because the plant is a close relative to the “Wandering Jew” (Tradescantia pallida ). Despite being sold as a ground cover it is actually rather poor for that use, at least in the tropics. As a ground cover it does not grow fast enough or dense enough to completely stop airborne seeds from growing. Where there are large areas growing, there are also vines, shrubs and trees that need to be weeded.

Now if that is not bad enough, the really ugly part is it is poisonous if eaten in large amounts and Moses-in-the-cradle causes rashes and other reactions if it contacts your skin. Unlike poison ivy, this plant does not attack everybody.

Skin Rash from Plants

Skin Rash from Plants

Still, my rash was treatable with antihistamines and steroids and if this would cure cancer, it might be a good enough reason to try. So there it is in a nutshell:

Good – Anti-cancer
Bad – Makes a poor ground cover
Ugly – The rash it gave me when I harvested a bushel for a friend who wanted to use it as ground-cover.

Neither she nor her husband got a rash when they planted them!  

Still, when on Vacation, be careful of the flowers you pick. The last thing you need is a trip to the Emergency Room after all the pharmacies are closed.

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In Search of the Du Bois ‘Castle’ – Danger in Paradise

It’s been months (five) since I’ve published anything about hiking on this blog as all my writing time has been focused on my book. It’s not that I’ve quit walking or going on hikes, I have just been spending all my desk time devoted to finishing and publishing my book, “Caribs:The Original Caribbean Pirates & Founding Fathers of American Democracy” which is available in a (Kindle Edition) and (Paperback Edition). Since I can only stand to sit at my desk about five hours a day, I have still been hiking and looking for new historic trails to walk as the Island of St. Croix has 5000 years of Amerindian occupants and over 500 years of European occupants.

One of the more intriguing questions is the location of the “castle” of the French Governor du Bois who ruled from 1659 to until perhaps 1665. If you believe in the fantasies presented in romantic histories, this problem was solved about 50 years ago when the ‘castle’ was located in the heart of an upscale neighborhood called Judith’s Fancy. Florence Lewisohn simply asserted than the mansion was located in Estate Judith’s Fancy and “The ruins of this residence stand today, done in the old French style with a small chateau with two unusual towers at either end, one of which is still there.”

Unfortunately, there are several problems with the Judith’s Fancy location, not the least of which is there is no tower in the vicinity of the ruins. Also, a 1920 report by the USGS places the castle high on a hill (303 foot) instead of the flat lands of Judith’s Fancy. While both sources place the castle to the north of my house, there are no hills in the area with ruins on them and none are above 238 feet.

1671 French Map

1671 French Map

Like all good mysteries, I started with an old Map from 1671 and ended with a feeling that I was replaying the spooky ending of the Da Vinci Code including a muscular young guy (bare to the waist) and a couple of unrestrained pit bulls.

The French Map of St. Croix from 1671 is drawn in a manner that South is towards the top of the page. Over the years as ownership changed from French to Danish to American, there have been several changes in name and only those who study history are aware of the old names. The same 1920 inventory of estate names refers to the top of the Hill I live on as Crameni or Soldier Hill. It is now referred to as Judith Hill but that is unnecessary because the map is good enough to place my house on Crameni Hill with Christiansted Harbor (Bassin) to the East, Salt River to the West and Judith Fancy to the North. In this map, the Governor’s castle is shown on a hill almost due South of Crameni.

1958 Topological Map

1958 Topological Map

The next step was to get a copy of the 1958 topology map of St. Croix and check the topology and roads on the hill south of mine now identified as Judith. Indeed, their is a road which takes you to the 300 foot level and it shows houses on that road prior to 1952. Interestingly enough, the road does access Queens Quarter and so I got two friends to take a hike so we could explore any ruins. Before we could reach the end of the road as shown on the map, we found a house built in the middle of the road blocking our path.

And then, we were attacked by two very aggressive pit-bulls. Now I always carry a walking stick and one friend uses “the voice”. I guess these dogs have never heard of Darth Vader because they kept on attacking him. I was able to keep the one dog at bay with my walking stick but that only made it worse for my friend as both dogs went after the guy who relies on his voice to tell the dogs to go home.

Pit Bulls Ready to Attack

Pit Bulls Ready to Attack

After the dogs had backed us 50 feet down the street, a young man came out of his house wearing only shorts and attempted to call the dogs back. They ignored their master until they backed us another 50 feet down the road. Once he had the dogs under control, I asked him if I could take a picture of Christiansted Harbor from the public road. He answered his father doesn’t like that and the dogs were not yet completely under his control so I missed a very scenic shot.

Now this would be the end of the story if Google Earth did not exist but I decided to go back for another look or to to see if there were any ruins on the hillside. The shot below shows a ruin over the word Navy at the bottom (center) which when you look due north points to my house on the opposite hill.

View North From Ruins

View North From Ruins

The final picture is as close as I can get on Google Earth without breaking up and shows an exceptionally large house on what appears to be an artificial plateau. The house appears to block the historic road and access to the ruins. The plateau is clearly visible on the 1958 topology map.

Close up of Ruins

Close up of Ruins

The interesting aspect about the ruins is on the east side where there is a circular base for a tower. It is unlikely this is a windmill as it is down hill from the square building and all windmills were built uphill from the factory with the cane juice running downhill. One possible explanation is that this is a “small chateau with [one] unusual tower” and is the Governor’s Castle. 

Now whether this is the Governor’s Castle from the Knights of Malta Era or not should not be the message of this post. When walking in areas new to you, you should be aware of all Safety issues. The biggest ones in St. Croix not only includes dog attack, but there are issues with insect bites, dehydration, toxic plants, lack of cell phone coverage in some areas and no easy way out if you have problems. Most of our older hiking guides have the experience to keep you out of harms way.

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My Book is Published!

As I have learned, the publishing of a book is an extremely tedious process. I published my first kindle addition in February and then decided on a print addition. In the editing of the print addition, I went through about five different proofs and three reviewers to find out just how sloppy my February Kindle Edition was. I have now republished my book, “Caribs:The Original Caribbean Pirates & Founding Fathers of American Democracy” in a (Kindle Edition) and (Paperback Edition). Both are available from Amazon.

Details of the book are available at the Amazon page for the book and the post below gives some of my thoughts about the need for a history of the Caribs of St. Croix and their Battle against the Conquistadors. 

Details of the book are available at the Amazon Links (above) for the book and the post below gives some of my thoughts about the need for a history of the Caribs of St. Croix and their Battle against the Conquistadors. 

The book is available from Amazon in either format, but I have not yet received my shipment so it isn’t in bookstores.

On my next book, I will definitely do the paperback version first as I found it easier for an old fashioned guy like me to edit a real book rather then an electronic one.

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The Caribs of St. Croix

When I started the process of qualification to walk on the National Park Property at Salt River, I was told I had to present an outline of my knowledge of the Historical Significance of Salt River. From my perspective at the time, the most significant historical record was the plants in the area. It seems over a few thousand years of St. Croix occupancy, all the groups who occupied the island have brought plants for their medicinal, spiritual, recreational, nutritional, economic or aesthetic values. No group who lived on St. Croix was excluded from bringing plants that are growing in the Salt River National Park. Over the years my interest in these important plants has remained alive and I routinely publish the results at

While this is the aspect that I find most interesting when walking in the Salt River National Park, it is not what the National Park Service was looking for. They wanted to know my interpretation of the historical significance of the area as it relates to the people who occupied the land. The more I read, the more I recognized how shallow our knowledge of the people who lived at Salt River really is and how much was actually false and based on published “Romantic Histories” which dealt loosely in facts and are passed on to our children by experts in the National Park System and teachers in our schools.

The romantic history of Columbus by Washington Irving was quoted and further romanticized by Florence Lewisohn in her very short book the “Divers Information on The Romantic History of St. Croix From the Time of Columbus until Today (1964). Obviously the book is dated but it is likely to live on in immortality as it is quoted by many scholars and is the foundation document for the historical significance of Judith’s Fancy and the Salt River National Park.

According to the brochure for the Salt River National Park, the men of Columbus were looking for water on November 14, 1493, and “encountered several Caribs in a canoe. They fought and each side suffered a fatality in this first documented armed resistance to European encroachment in the Americas.” The Spanish captured several Caribs and left St. Croix. Allegedly after the battle, Columbus named this location the “Cape of the Arrows because of the large number of Arrows launched by the Indians.”Within a generation (1512), the Caribs were ordered exterminated by the Spanish Crown, or to be captured and sold as slaves. Following that disease depopulated the island by 1590.

If true, this would make St. Croix’s Salt River National Park one of the most venerated of all locations for Native Americans and a shrine worthy of visiting. It would also be nice if people visited it for truthful reasons. The problem with the narrative above is that it is not true and a contrary version is offered by the National Park Service in another presentation on American Latino Heritage. As mentioned by them, “a party of Columbus’ men returning from explorations ashore attacked a group of Caribs in a canoe. The encounter is believed to be the second armed conflict between Europeans and Native Americans, the first being the battle fought at La Navidad on Española by Columbus’ men, who spent a year there after the wreck of the Santa María [starting] in December 1492.

As I point out in my just published book, “Caribs:The Original Caribbean Pirates & Founding Fathers of American Democracy” (Kindle Edition) (Paperback Edition),” the battle at La Navidad was not the first armed conflict between the Amerindians and the Conquistadors. In Samana, D.R., on January 13, 1493, during his First Voyage, Columbus battled the primitive Ciguayos who did not speak the same language as the Arawaks he had already captured to be interpreters. While attempting to trade with them and perhaps capture an additional 10-25 to return to Spain, the Indians turned hostile and confronted him with his only violent resistance on that first voyage being armed with bow and arrows. He called the inlet where he met them the Bay of Arrows (or Gulf of Arrows). This was recorded in the Diary of Columbus’ First Voyage and obviously this is the reference hijacked by Lewisohn in her Romantic History of St. Croix. No other observer or Historian makes reference to the Cape of Arrows at Salt River prior to her book.

During that encounter at Samana, Columbus crew killed two Ciguayos and the victims and their tribal group were described in his log as “evil, and I believe they are from the island of Caribe, and that they eat men.” From this humble start, Peter Margarita could pass the time on the long second voyage telling stories on the cannibals encountered on the first Voyage. The Ciguayos had no relationship to the Caribs as the Caribs spoke an Arawak Language and the more primitive Ciguayos did not. Also the Caribs used poison on their arrows; the Ciguayos did not.

One more minor issues with the National Park Service brochure is that it is improbable they were looking for water as they had traveled 21 days across the Atlantic with the water they could carry and filled up on water in Guadalupe four days earlier. All of the early witnesses also mention that Columbus wanted to meet and talk with the Caribs and learn their customs. The well armed boat of Conquistadors sent into Salt River lay in ambush for the unsuspecting Caribs for the better part of a day before attacking the distracted Caribs who were observing Columbus’ fleet.

Finally, the early Spanish Documents until 1547, make specific mention of the attacks on Puerto Rico by the Caribs of St. Croix so for 55 years, the Caribs had not abandoned the island or died from disease, nor did they retreat to another location further away. The Amerindian resistance of the Spanish by the Caribs should be recognized and this makes the island of St. Croix a significant historic location worthy of recognition but no specific information ties this 55 year of continuous raids to Salt River other than the one battle between the Amerindians and Conquistadors on November 14, 1493.

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