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NEWSLETTER November 2009

Dear Member,

The Banquet last Saturday was a wonderful evening:

The beautiful backdrop designed by Anthony Morely and wonderful music by Doc’s Melody Makers set the tone for a delightful evening.Brief speeches were made by President Jim Lawlor and Sir Orville Turnquest, who substituted for our Patron, His Excellency The Governor General Arthur Hanna due to the recent death of Mrs Beryl HannaOver cocktails the guests could view Bahamian History on the Screens painted by Diana Pullinger Cavill in the 1950s
We were treated to jokes and fun provided by our two Masters of Ceremonies, Anthony Skeebo Roberts and Betty Cole.Eight long serving members of the Society were honoured: From left to right sitting were Barbara Brown, Dr Vernell Allen, Dolly Foster. Standing: Mercedes Brown on behalf of husband Donald Brown, Bruce Raine on behalf of Uncle Sir Geoffrey Johnstone, Dr Gail Saunders, David Cates and June Maura.A good many people enjoyed the dancing, and a good time was had by all.

Our next talk: Thursday, 26th November at 6pm: "Liberated African Settlements in the Northern Islands" by Darius Williams

Darius D. Williams is a Grand Bahamian entrepreneur with an artistic and engineering background. He was born in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, the son of a Family Island Administrator and a Schoolteacher turned housewife. He is author of The Rail and Locomotive History of the Bahamas. He is currently working on a second book, The Heritage of Grand Bahama and its People. He can be seen on YouTube on the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas website. He has been featured in all major local newspapers, on ZNS TV and Charles Carter’s Bahamians. He has given many presentations to social clubs, heritage festivals and the Bahamas Historical Society. He has lectured at the College of the Bahamas' Northern Campus. Mr. Williams is married and a father of two. Industrial and social history, visual and performing arts, sports, baking and anything technical in nature are his passions.

After emancipation the colonial government set up a group of third party persons to oversee the resettlement of Emancipated Slaves and Liberated Africans, along with any other issues arising during the transition period. As a result, several settlements were created Bahamas wide. In addition, private owners in some cases help developed policy, distributed or rented land and help to administer the policy. While the bulk of the transition took about 40 years, several issues were still being sorted out 50 to 60 years after and several current issues can be directly traced to the implementation of this policy. This presentation features the results of research into the settlements of the North Bahamas.


The following week: Thursday, 3rd December at 6pm: "Cemetries in San Salvador" by Jane Baxter, PhD. Following this meeting we will celebrate the Christmas season with refreshments – a chance to fellowship together.

Jane Baxter, PhDJane Eva Baxter is Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at DePaul University. She completed her doctorate degree in 2000 from the University of Michigan where she wrote her dissertation on the archaeology of childhood, a topic on which she continues to publish. Dr. Baxter began working on the island of San Salvador in 2004 with her project co-director John Burton where they have excavated at Polly Hill Plantation, Kerr Mount Plantation, and most recently at Prospect Hill (Farquharson's) Plantation. She also has an ongoing project on historical and industrial archaeology of the Pullman Community in Chicago. Her most recent book is Archaeological Field Schools: A Guide for Teaching in the Field (Left Coast Press 2009), and she is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Bahamas Historical Society.

Co-presenter: Michael Marshall is a senior Anthropology Major at DePaul University. He is an active researcher on Bahamian archaeology and on the Chinese Community of Chicago. He already has several conference presentations and publications to his credit. He is applying to doctoral programmes for the fall of 2010.

Most people have some degree of anecdotal familiarity with cemeteries and graveyards. They pass by them in their daily commutes, perhaps stroll across their grounds on the way to church, and/or attend services for friends, family, and community members within their boundaries. Rarely, however, do people think of cemeteries as important historic sites that contain valuable information about community history, and even more rarely do people undertake the systematic investigation of cemeteries and graveyards to learn about the unique history of these sites.

Historians and archaeologists are notable exceptions as they have long been interested in the study of cemeteries and burial sites as ways of learning about the past. Historians have recognized the written information contained on grave stones and other markers as useful sources of information to study family and community histories, demography, and systems of social networks and beliefs. Archaeological approaches to cemeteries emphasize the material nature of graveyards and cemeteries focusing on the landscape and layout of the sites as well as the materials, shapes, and sizes of the grave markers. The combination of historical and archaeological information that is very well dated and fixed in place has made the study of historic cemeteries an important area of investigation in historical archaeology.

This lecture will describe a project that has brought these historical and archaeological approaches to the systematic study the headstones and grave markers in cemeteries on San Salvador. All five of the official, municipal cemeteries on the island were the focus of investigation. Undoubtedly, people who live on San Salvador have their own sense of history around these special places in their communities; however, the goal of this study was to use approaches from historical archaeology to offer an understanding the island’s cemeteries from a different perspective. It is hoped that this approach will allow visitors to the island to gain an appreciation for these sites, and to offer insights that may be useful for the study and preservation of cemeteries throughout the archipelago. Substantively, this analysis points to individual community identities being formed during the historic period, offers evidence for the interconnectedness of these newly founded settlements, and demonstrates the various cultural influences on historical burial practices on the island.


Tony Ortwein lived in Nassau during the period 1957 - 1960 and wishes to donate the following items to our museum. It is amazing that he was here during 1959 – the year of the birth of The Bahamas Historical Society and the 100th (Centennial) year of postage stamps in the Bahamas. Tony and his family will be arriving in Nassau on April 30th 2010 on the Oasis of the Seas from 1:00 to 7:00 and would like to visit us at the museum.


Dr. Ronald Shaklee's October presentation, "San Salvador: A Cartographic Odyssey" was placed on YouTube by new member Robert Dorsett:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBE4MRyCnVg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7ikB7THqv0

We also feature on www.thebahamasweekly.com.

Kind regards,

Jim Lawlor, President.

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