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Posts Tagged ‘st. John’

Annaberg Plantation, St. John

One of our favorite days while on charter is when we walk/hike to the Annaberg Plantaion. Set up on a small hill that over looks the surrounding beautiful turquoise bays is the remains of this old plantation. Here is some of it’s history:

The Annaberg Sugar MIll:

The diverse backgrounds of the inhabitants of the Danish West Indies are clearly evident in a list of Annaberg’s owners. The first deeded land holding in the area was taken up in 1721 by a French Huguenot refugee, Isaac Constantin; upon Constaantin’s death, ownership of the plantation passed to his son-in-law, a Dane, Mads Larsen; and in 1758 the property was purchased by Salomon Zeeger, a Dutch immigrant from the island of St. Eustatius. It was Zeeger who named the property Annaberg (meaning Anna’s Mountain) to honor his wife, Anna deWindt Zeeger.
In 1796, James Murphy, an Irish-born merchant and slave trader based on St. Thomas, purchased Annaberg along with a number of neighboring properties and combined them to form a single, vast sugar estate. Upon his acquisition of the property, Murphy set out to construct a new, state-of-the-art ‘sugar works’ and tower windmill on the site of the former Zeeger plantation, and a grand, estate house on a hilltop east of Water Lemon Bay. By his death in November 1808, James Murphy had become the single largest producer of sugar on St. John. His combined land holdings totaled nearly 1,300 acres, and 662 enslaved workers toiled on his properties.
Although some modifications associated with production downsizing were made to the Annaberg factory in the mid nineteenth century, it is the ruins of the sugar works built during James Murphy’s ownership that are encoutered on the site today.
~ National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

There are many ruins there that show how the plantaion was run back in it’s day. Some of the sites you’ll see are:

– the Windmill tower; that processed the sugar cane on windy days:

– Oven; Where bread was baked for the enslaved workers:

– Boiling house; where the cane juice was boiled down into a thick syrup:

There is also:
– the curing House & overseers’ quarters.
– water cistern; where water was collected off the roof of the factory. It holds about 20,000 gallons.
– dungeon; Because desertions and worker resistance was common among other rebellions such as poisioning the overseer.
– Still House; Where the rum was made!
– Rum Still & Worm Cistern; used in the process of making rum
– Firing trench & furnace; where wood was fed to heat the coppers in the boiling house.
– the horse mill; on days that were not windy, the sugar cane was processed, crushed & juiced here.
– ox pound; where the work animals were kept

Also on the premises there is a garden filled with all kinds of local plants, fruits & herbs. Over all it’s a “Must See” when you visit the US Virgin Islands. It is steeped in history & surrounded by natural beauty!

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