What Happened in July….

1684 Gabriel Powell was fined £15 for trading with an interloper [also known as privateers – ships which traded without the benefit of the Charter granted to the East India Company].  Powell’s cows, the subject of the trade, were seized.  Powell’s son followed in his father’s footsteps, being a bad-tempered and cruel crook.  The Powell family became one of the biggest landowners on the island, mostly through foul deeds rather than fair.  The son even became acting governor but was deported after the East India Company realised how much Powell had swindled them.  Powell Valley is named after this less than illustrious family.

1692 Slaves were suspected of killing a cow.  One suspect was whipped in order to extract a ‘true’ confession.  After several lashes the slave confessed, naturally.  After recovering from his ordeal he retracted his confession.  Physical and mental torture was then inflicted on other slaves but again to no avail.

1693 William Birch dies after a fall at White Hill while herding goats.  The place of the fatality is still known as Billy Birch.

1698 Records list 71 planters, 23 employed in government and 92 men as planter’s slaves.  This list excludes numbers of soldiers and government slaves.

1706 Decision taken to build the moat in front of the Castle and Grand Parade.

1709 Decision taken to build barracks alongside the Castle- on the site of the present Police Office and Court.

1711 Thomas Cason’s land, between Plantation House and High Peak, is possessed by the East India Company in exchange for a grant of land at Sandy Bay.  Cason appears to have got the worse end of this deal but his original property still bears his name.

1717 The governor proposes making a good track from Jamestown through to the east of the island.  As a consequence Sidepath was built.

1732 A landslip in Lemon Valley disturbs 8 acres of land, 600 yards long and 90 yards deep.  The valley’s water is said to have altered both in colour and taste.

1742 George Gabriel Powell proclaimed governor upon the death of Governor Lambert.  By March 1744 Powell is accused of several incidents of embezzlement and abuse.

1746 Thomas Greentree charged with selling liquor without a licence.

1755 The Burial Ground in Jamestown is now so filled with bodies it is impossible to lay a corpse at the proper depth.

1770 A sergeant, six soldiers and a slave desert the island in a long boat.  All arrive safely in England.  One deserter even returns to St Helena eight years after deserting.

1781 James Youd, a sergeant -major is tried for the murder of his women slave by cruelly beating her with a wooden staff and causing a mortal head wound.  Incomprehensibly he was acquitted.

1785 Elizabeth Renton, a shopkeeper’s wife was acquitted of murder after stabbing her slave girl under the left shoulder causing a wound nearly five inches deep.

1787 Isaac Hicksled is killed by a shark while swimming by the landing place.

1795 Governor Brooke sends 11 officers and 400 men together with ordnance and money to assist Admiral Elphinstone in South Africa.

1821 It is discovered that a number of oak trees at Plantation are dying because of white worm infestation.

1831 The island’s theatre is destroyed by fire on the night of the 15th.

1832 The slave population on the island is 645 and valued at £28,062.  Slaves aged 55 and over have an average value of £2.20.  Those aged between 50 and 55, £24.25, between 45 and 50, £36.70.  There were 500 slaves under 45 years; the average value is put at £51.50.  These values were set as compensation rates to owners.  Slave emancipation was staggered over five years with one fifth of the slave population emancipated in each of those five years.

1836 Charles Darwin arrives at St Helena in the Beagle and stays for six days examining 746 plant species, 52 of which are indigenous.

1845 A Baptist church is organised by James McGregor Bertram after he landed at St Helena.

1855 A Humpback whale is captured off the wharf.

1864 A new signal gun is mounted at High Knoll.

1871 Large floods cause several people to be made homeless and much damage to property.  The Run had dead animals flowing into it.

1876 The first shipment of flax, from the Colonial Fibre Company, leaves the island. The consignment was 100 bales, each weighing 4 cwt.

1877 Lemon Valley is used as a quarantine station due to scarlet fever in Portsmouth and measles in Cape Town.

1880 Empress Eugene, widow of Napoleon III, visits St Helena.

1884 Mr Knipe is dismissed from his post as Deputy Colonial Secretary for embezzling £3,000 from public funds.

1897 The St Helena Rifle Association is formed.

1903 The cable station at the Briars is completed.

1908 The Lace Making Association is taken over by the government with the establishment of the Government Lace School.

1912 Inauguration of the Boys Scouts at Plantation House

1913 Solomons open a flax mill at Bamboo Hedge.

1914 The island’s schools are closed for five months because of a whooping cough epidemic.

1918 Solomon, Thorpe and another island family business name, Deason, hold a public meeting at Rickmers calling for the acting governor [Dixon] to be recalled by the UK government.

1919 Peace celebrations are held on Francis Plain to mark the end of the First World War [not the recall of Dixon].

1932 The island’s flax mills are closed due to a fall in the price of hemp.  They are re-opened in November of the same year.

1934 The first meeting of the St Helena Growers Association is held.

1940 The Friendly Societies Union meets for the first time.  The Union has two representatives on the new Advisory Council.

1953 The lower cemetery in Jamestown is deconsecrated.

1958 The St Helena General Workers Union is formed.

1961 Jamestown Recreation Centre is opened.

1976 Petrol rationing is enforced

1977 The island’s fishing limit is extended to 200 miles.

1983 An abandoned bay girl is found in the Run.  She died the same day.

1984 UK coins cease to be legal tender in St Helena.

1985 Colin Plato wins a bronze medal in the 100 metres at the Island Games

1991 The Oman Sea One is granted a licence to fish crabs in St Helena’s waters.

1994 Irishenco complete work on the sea wall at Rupert’s.

1996 Advisory committee appointed for the Millennium and 500th Anniversary celebrations.