LHBTF 2017 Green Turtle Cay Calendar Now Available

I’ve never considered myself a photographer. But when you’ve got amazing Abaco views everywhere you turn, and you shoot thousands (thousands!) of images, odds are you’ll end up with a few good photos.

After more than a decade of photographing Green Turtle Cay, and nearly three years of featuring daily images from the cay on my blog, I wanted to do something more with the pictures.

Introducing the Little House by the Ferry 2017 Green Turtle Cay Calendar

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Hints of the Past: Where Those Stairs Lead

As I recently wrote, you’ll spot hints of Green Turtle Cay’s history all around. One glimpse into the past can be found right in the center of town. Across from the basketball court is a small pink building, with stone stairs that seem to lead nowhere. It’s the old New Plymouth gaol.

Hints of Green Turtle Cay's Past: Ye Olde Gaol

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Daily Photo – September 26, 2016

Historic Photo of Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas

Photo courtesy of the Albert Lowe Museum

It’s Museum Monday! Today’s image was taken from the hill overlooking New Plymouth sometime after the 1932 hurricane. At left is the jail, all that remained of the former two-story government building after the storm. The white building behind the jail is the newly built Methodist church, a modest structure compared with the 1200-seat chapel destroyed in the hurricane.

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Abaco Wreckers: Scoundrels or Saviours?

This article is an excerpt from the presentation I gave at the Island Roots Heritage Festival this past May on Green Turtle Cay.

Galvanic a wrecker from bahamas - story of the bahamas

Bahamian Wrecker the Galvanic, from “The Story of the Bahamas” by Paul Albury

Over the past few centuries, hundreds of ships have met their ends on the countless reefs and shallow seas of the Bahamas. Not surprising then that for much of the 18th and 19th centuries, wrecking was a cornerstone of the Bahamian economy. Continue reading

Were You Delivered by Dana?

Were You Delivered by Dana?

Marian Jane (“Dana”) Hewitt
1884-1972
Painting by Alton Lowe

If you were born on Green Turtle Bay between the late 1920s and the late 1960s, chances are you were delivered by this woman.

Known as Miss Mary, and among the young people as Dana, her name was Marian Jane Hewitt. And from 1929 until 1968, she served as the island’s midwife.

Following in the footsteps of her aunt and grandmother, both midwives, Dana learned midwifery under Dr. Walter Kendrick, a medical missionary who lived on Green Turtle Cay during the early and mid-1900s.

Her first delivery was a difficult one, in which the lives of both mother and baby were threatened. Although the child died, Dana saved the mother so skillfully that she was immediately established as the town’s midwife, a position she would hold for close to forty years.

Back then, the midwife not only assisted with the delivery, but she cared for mother and baby for nine days afterwards. Early on, Dana earned about $8 for her services. In later years, her fee was about $14.40. Continue reading

Wreckers, Rogues and Rebels: Our Adventurous Abaco Ancestors

I always look forward to Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival, but this year, I’m even more excited than usual.

13010848_10153753541368500_8267926738831053579_nFirst, I love the theme: Adventure, Enterprise and Infamy. Given the cay’s quaint and relatively conservative atmosphere, it’s hard to believe that some of our Abaconian ancestors were pirates. Many were wreckers. Others made illicit fortunes as blockade runners and bootleggers. I’m really looking forward to exploring the more adventurous (and, in some cases, infamous) sides of our Abaco forefathers.

Speaking of forefathers, if you’d like to know more about yours, the Genealogy Research Center (across from the Gospel Chapel) will be open throughout the festival. It’s a cool, quiet place to research your own Abaco ancestry and get to know some of the Bahamas’ best genealogists.

And, as always, the weekend will be full of Bahamian cuisine, crafts and entertainment, including performances by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Marching Band, Julien Believe, Green Turtle Cay’s own Gully Roosters, the Sax Man, Sawyerboy and the New Entry Band. And of course, two of my favourites – the plaiting of the Maypole and Junkanoo.

Beyond all this, however, there’s another reason I’m excited about this year’s festival — for the first time, I’ll be giving a presentation as part of the festival lecture series.

Dr. Peter Roberts, of the Bahamas DNA Project, at the Island Roots Heritage Festival, Abaco, Bahamas.

Peter Roberts, of the Bahamas DNA Project, during his presentation at the Island Roots Heritage Festival.

Having attended lectures about Bahamian history, local conservation efforts and genealogy at past Island Roots Heritage Festivals, I’ve found them all to be interesting, entertaining and informative. The lectures are one of my favourite parts of the festival, which is why I’m so excited to be able to present one!

Entitled “Our Wrecking Ancestors: Scoundrels or Saviours?” my presentation takes place at 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 7, at the Catechist George Reckley Hall at St. Peter’s Church, across from Settlement Point.

In conducting research for the book about GTC history on which I’m currently working, I’ve developed a fascination with wrecking — arguably Green Turtle Cay’s first real industry. While some viewed wreckers as saviours, providing life-saving aid to the crews of foundering vessels, many saw them as little more than glorified pirates.

Either way, there’s no denying the vital role that wrecking played in establishing and shaping New Plymouth and other Abaco settlements. As part of my presentation, I’ll share some of the interesting tales — some amusing, others terrifying — I’ve uncovered about wrecking in Abaco.

Other lecturers scheduled for the 2016 festival series include:

  • Peter Roberts of the Bahamas DNA Project, will teach us how to use DNA and WikiTree to trace our Bahamian ancestry. (I attended Peter’s presentation on this topic at last year’s festival, and found it to be extremely helpful with my genealogical pursuits)
  • Shane Cash, history teacher at Forest Heights Academy, will provide an overview of the history of piracy, wrecking, blockade running and bootlegging in the Bahamas.

And for the full schedule of events for the 2016 Island Roots Heritage Festival weekend, click HERE.

Hope to see you there!

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