During my trip to St Croix, one of the things I wanted to do was to see if I could locate the houses (or house sites) of as many ancestral homes as I could. I believe I located not only the site, but also remnants of what may be the actual house my ancestors occupied for so long.
Using an old Public Works map, I located the approximate area of the homestead. Of course, there are very few house numbers listed in Christiansted, so the map is the best tool for finding addresses. The map is very old and the numbers are hard to read, so I had to estimate the locations.
When I walked to the location on the map, I didn’t see a 200-year old house. I saw a brand new building. With a sign out front. The site is the new location of the Women’s Coalition of St Croix. This was actually a stroke of luck, because looking at their page on LinkedIn, I found the address for the Coalition listed as 45 Fisher St. They moved to this location in late 2011. It seems I found the correct location. Only the house was gone.
|1803 St Croix Matrical showing 45 Fisher St|
I can only estimate Johannes’ age since no birth record has been found. Johannes was probably born between 1760 and 1770 on St Thomas and baptized in the Dutch Reformed faith. These records have all been lost and he was dead by the date of the first St Croix census. He moved to St Croix with his parents around 1774.
The 1803 matrical, which lists property taxes, slave taxes, and owners, shows that both Johannes and Amey Mac Nobney are listed at the property. The matricals list both Johannes and Amey until 1831, at which point they only list Amey, variously as Amey McNobney and Amey van Beverhoudt (and a host of spelling variations) as the owner. From this, I conclude that Johannes must have died about 1830, 11 years before the first available St Croix census. I should note, that the house was listed as "Amey McNobney's Huus" for about 60 years after she died.
|Detail of 1803 Matrical showing Johannes van Beverhoudt and Amey Mac Nobney at 45 Fisher St|
Although it was somewhat disappointing to find that the home at 45 Fisher St no longer exists, it is possible that a remnant still remains. Here is a photo of the house showing a wall and entryway of an old stone house, with the new Coalition building behind it.
|November 2012 Photo of 45 Fisher St|
By 1901 the house was vacant, and stayed listed in the matricals as vacant until the matricals end in 1924. It’s possible that the house became abandoned.
While I don’t know yet if the remains are indeed the family home, I am pretty confident that the location is correct. Walking around the area helped me put the family location in perspective, making the long uphill walk from the harbor and the easy downhill walk on Queen Cross St. Much of the view today is the same as it has always been, particularly the topography.
|Inside and front Porch|
So, now I have another project, and a much more difficult one. I would like to know the history of the house at 45 Fisher St, particularly up to and after 1924. If you know anything about the house, I would love to hear about it. Also, if you have any pictures of the house, I would dearly love to see them! Pictures may exist, as nearly directly opposite the house, across Fisher St, is the childhood home of Melvin Evans. It may be that old pictures of his house show mine in the background.
|View of ruins at 45 Fisher St showing Front Steps|