What Happened in October …

1691 – Arrack [locally distilled spirit] made from potatoes and sold at Plantation by the East India Company.

1698 – Wild goat population had increased so much that cattle could not survive on the remaining grazing. Hunting parties organised every Wednesday to shoot wild goats. 50 years earlier, Peter Mundy on his second of three visits described the cattle in perfect condition and lemon trees bent under the burden of their fruit.

1702 – The governor proposes corporal punishment for three accused found guilty of stealing arrack. The jury ask that they be hung instead. Two of them were.

1715 – The location of the landing place at that time was probably in the vicinity of Thompson’s Crane. It was declared dangerous because of rock falls. Three men had been killed and many hurt. The best place for landing was identified as Downings Cove, [James Bay side of Mundens Point]. However the cost of  extending the wharf that far was too expensive for it to be considered. The proposed extension was not acted upon until 1787.

1721 – Mr Van Oosten and Mercy [the wife of Jacob] both sentanced to twenty-one lashes to be given alternately. The governor had several times warned Van Oosten about ‘keeping the company’ of Mercy. The governor also reminded him that Mercy’s husband was suspected of cutting the throat of a man called Smitherman for being ‘too familiar’ with his wife.

1724 – Three men washed from the rocks at Sandy Bay during high winds and stormy seas. One drowned.

1744 – Thomas and James Greentree were fined £10 each for refusing to impound their goats at Peak Gutt for inspection. They were told they had been treated mercifully and warned that disobeying the law was looked upon as the beginning of rebellion. Anyone guilty of rebellion was executed.  

1795 – Thanks were sent to the governor [Brooke], Captain Seale and the men of the St Helena Corps for the part they played in securing victory for British forces at Cape Colony. 

1813 – St Helena Library established with patronage of the governor [Wilks].

1815 – HMS Northumberland arrives with Napoleon Bounaparte. Also arriving were HMS Icarus, Havannah, Peruvian, Zenobia, Red Pole, Bucephalus and Ceylon.  The last two ships transported the 53rd Regiment.

1823 – R. F.Seale was offered £400 for his famous model of St Helena. It measured 10ft 6in x 6ft 8in. The model was so accurate it was considered a possible security risk. The governor did not want it seen by foreigners.

1840 – The remains of Napoleon Buonaparte are taken aboard La Belle Poule and carried back to France.

1842 – The St Helena Regiment [formed in Winchester UK] arrives on the Island, consisting of five companies.

1845 – St James church reopened after undergoing repairs since January 1843.

1859 – First Bishop of St Helena [Dr Piers Claughton] arrives.

1862 – Roof of St James church collapses and is closed until repairs are completed.

1869 – Sparrows, Green Linnets, Blackbirds, Thrushes and a Starling introduced to the island.

1875 – The barque Elizabeth is fitted out as a whaler and crewed by St Helenians.

1881 – Death of a large tortoise at Plantation House.

1884 – Total eclipse of the moon.

1900 – New road round to West Rocks constructed with the help of Boar prisoners of war.

1906 – The island’s garrison is empty for the first time when 120 men are taken off on the Cluny Castle.

1914 – The refortified island is reinforced with 87 further troops and Martial Law is imposed on the island.

1917 – The St Helena Guardian is censored so the editor, Benjamin Grant, closes the paper for two years.

1922 – Forty men leave to work on Ascension. Ascension made a dependancy of St Helena the previous month.

1927 – Sixty nests of white ants destroyed in the vicinity of Plantation House.

1933 – St Helena Cricket Club formed

1934 – First flight over St Helena – made by a seaplane from HMS Dorsetshire.

1941 – RFA Darkdale torpedoed in James Bay. There were two survivors from a crew of forty-six.

1942 – St Helena Home Guard is formed.

1948 – Aircraft Carriers HMS Theseus and Vengeance together with Destroyers HMS Corunna and Jutland take part in a military exercise involving a mock attack of St Helena with thirty naval aircraft.

1957 – Radio telephone link to Europe via Ascension connected by Cable & Wireless.

1959 – Jamestown Community Association formed.

1961 – St Helena’s new Advisory Council [similar to Ascension’s current Council] meets for the first time.

1967 – St Helena Broadcasting ends test transmissions and broadcasts Variety Hour between 5 and 6 pm.

1968 – St Helena General Workers Union protest against Solomon’s shares being sold to foreigners.

1970 – Basil George, the first St Helenian to study abroad and graduate from university returns to St Helena.

With acknowledgements to St Helena Heritage Society’s publication ‘St Helena 500’ compiled by Robin Gill & Percy Teale