|In the mid-1700's, the first signs of emigration from County Cavan Ireland to the Danish West Indies appeared. Slow at first, the pace seems to have picked up considerably in the middle of the 19th century, with many of the new arrivals settling on St. Croix. Men mostly, they worked as accountants, bookkeepers, overseers, and managers on sugar estates. Some soon acquired estates of their own.
Compared to other counties, Cavan seems to have accounted for a large share of the Irish who came to St. Croix. Many were actually descendants of the English and Scottish tenants who had come to Ireland during the Resettlement. Since many St. Croix estate owners were themselves Englishmen, this shared heritage might have contributed to the Cavan - St. Croix Connection.
The aims of this site are to call attention to the Cavan - St. Croix Connection and to learn more about it. Virtually nothing is presently known, for example, about the routes or ships the immigrants took. Nor do we know whether they came singly or in groups, or whether employment and other matters might have been arranged beforehand. Some, for example, married daughters of estate owners not long after arriving. Any information you might wish to share is welcome. Perhaps you know a family name that should be listed. Please send contributions to me at the e-mail address below.
David Finlay (from nearby Sugarloaf)
1826: Will drawn on St. Croix filed at Chancery in Copenhagen.
1840: daughter born on St. Croix
1841: Overseer at Estate Belle-Vue (St. Croix)
1843: Manager at H. J. Hill, Monsbury from Abrahams Fancy (St.John)
1843: Obtained Burgher Brief (St. Thomas)
1843: Manager at Brownsbay (St. John)
1846: Manager at Anna's Retreat (St. Thomas)
1850: Owner, Estate Carot Bay (St.Thomas)
1855: Loses Estate Carot Bay
1857: Overseer, Estate Diamond (St. Croix)
1858: Died on St. Thomas
1846: Overseer at Estate Work & Rest (St.Croix)
abt. 1847: Left for Connecticut
1850: Overseer at Estate Jealousy (St. Croix)
1852: Appraised Estate Fortuna (St. Thomas) belonging to the heirs of Thomas Kearney
1853: Purchased Estate Enighed (St. John)
1855: Manager at Estate Spratt Hall (St. Croix)
1856: Sold Estate Enighed
1857: Manager at Estate Two Williams (St. Croix)
1880: Manager at Estate Little Le Grange (St. Croix)
1890: Died at Estate Dolby Hill (St. Croix)
1864: Overseer at Estate Nicholas (St. Croix)
Samuel Edward Lamb
1866-1867: Planter, Estate Mon Bijou (St. Croix)
1872-1877: Planter, Estate Little Princess (St. Croix)
1879: Planter, Estate Aldershvile (St. Croix)
William Clarke Bowes, Jr.
1880: Manager at Estate Contentment (St. Croix)
(Came to St. Croix from New Brunswik, Canada. Strong chance that he or his Bowes' ancestors originally were from Belturbet)
before 1780: First person from Cavan County known to have gone to St. Croix. Purchased
Estates Lebanon Hill and Pearl. Also acquired Estate Mount Welcome and,
perhaps, Estate Mount Pleasant.
Thomas Armstrong, Sr.
before 1783: Manager at Estate Lebanon Hill
1783: Married Mary Aletta Biggs, daughter of Dr. & Mrs. (Heylinger) Biggs.
Thomas Armstrong, Jr.
1819: Arrived with wife Catherine (Cornelius) Armstrong. Bought Estate Lebanon Hill from
Dr. Benjamin Biggs. Also acquired Estate Mount Welcome
1840: Re-acquired Estate Lebanon Hill from son-in-law Robert Beatty. Also had Estate Mount
1852: Left for Connecticut.
1825: Arrived on St. Croix
1851: On St. Croix
Buried in Frederiksted Cemetery. Died 11 Oct 1890 at age 66. Tombstone erected by nephew Patrick Brady.
1878: On St. Croix
[A grave marker near Belturbet bears the inscription: "This monument erected by Messrs. Terrence, John, Patrick, and George Farrelly of St. Croix, West Indies - In memory of their brother Edward who died September 24, 1865 Aged 25"]
1871: Departed St. Croix
William and Emily Jane (Bell) Morton
1889: Arrived St. Croix. Came to live on Estate Diamond.
1898: Departed St. Croix
OTHER COUNTY CAVAN
Thomas. Born Aug. 7 1871 in Co. Cavan, Eire. Died Sept. 8. 1939 on St. Croix.
Owned Estate Mon Bijou. Buried in Frederiksted Cemetery.
Ellen. Nee Gallagher. Born June 4, 1871, Co. Cavan, Eire. Died Oct. 16, 1947 on
St. Croix. Buried in Frederiksted Cemetery.
Smith, James W. Born about 1872 in Co.Cavan. Nephew of Mary Latimer.
Four brothers primarily on St. Thomas:
John. Last will and testament 29 Jul 1847. Owned parts of estates Canaan, Lovenlund, and Rosendale. Left all to mother Sarah Ann Veaitch; sisters Sarah Ann, Margaret, Mary, and Elinor; and brothers Thomas and David all residing in the town of Ballymachugh.
Francis. Died before 1847.
James. Died Sep 1843.
Edward. Born about 1801. On Estate Lovenlund on 1841 census. Died Aug 1842.
BOOKS OF INTEREST
Hall, N. A. T. (1992). Slave Society in the Danish West Indies. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lawaetz, E. J. (1991). St. Croix: 500 Years Pre-Columbus to 1900. Denmark: Poul Kristensen.
MacInerny, Rev. M. H. (1909). Irish Slaves in the West Indies. Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker.
McKay, O. T. (1991). Now It Can be Told. St. Croix: Virgin Islands Council on the Arts.
Richardson, E. (1984). Seven Streets By Seven Streets. New York: Blyden Press.
Armstrong Family History
Virgin Islands Genealogy
Cavan Research Centre
Killeshandra, County Cavan
Danish Chancery Records
County Cavan Chat Room