This account of March is based on the report by my grandfather and two men who participated in the March seventy-three tyears ago. Enjoy the fstory.
It was a mixed crowd with people in all age groups, well dressed full of zeal, gathered to demonstrate for freedom from the inhumane hands of the colonial Federation of the Leeward Islands. Many of them walked with a homemade snack for there were no resturants in those days and the few cookshops could not cater for such a crowd. There was no potable or bottled water because at that time no one sold water they shared it with one another. Today water is a leading commodity. The residents of Road Town graciously supplied water for the freedom fighters.
The crowd assembled on the old recreation ground and held a short religious service before beginning the March. The assembly then left the recreation ground and entered the historic main street, where the feet of the freed slaves in 1834 trod, and the rioters in 1853 played out their frustrations with fire agsinst the government's tax policy. Now the feet of freedom marchers were marching for greater political freedom.
As the assembly headed down street, they passed historic buildings from the plantation era. One of those buildings owned by A. O. Shirley's family was visited by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth Il in 1966. They soon reached another historic building named "Fireproof Building.' It was the original plantation office of William Rogers Isaac, whose profession was property management during the plantation era. The building was designed and built to resist fire and it survived the great fire of 1853. Across the street sat the Methodist church adjacent to Her Majesty's prison, which was flanked by the Anglican church on the opposite side. The prison biilt by the planters in the 1790's was known for the hanging of Arthur Hodge, the infamous slave owner in 1811, for beating a slave to death. The march passed Cockroach Hall, where the medical practioner lived and operated a clinic. They then came to Social Inn, the oldest guest house on the island. Across the street fron Social Inn a road led up the hill to the site of Fort Charlotte, which was the defence of Road Town. Other important landmarks were the Merchants's shops. Their design consisted of a first floor made of concrete and local fieldstones and a wooden structure forming the second floor.
The march arrived at Post Office just across ftom market Square(now Sir Olva Grorges Plaza). Here the freedom movement was born by Theodolph H. Faulkner of Anegada and later joined by Isaac G. Fonseca and Carlton de Castro to become the political forefathers of the quest for freedom. The march passed the hospital which was built in 1920 by the Commissioner, Major Peebles. The next and final stop was Government House, called"Olympus," the home of the Commissioner, John Agustus Cockburn Cruickshank. They delivered a short speech and presented their petition. The mission was accomplished and they returned home satisfied to wait for the expected changes. The text of the petition will be Wheatake 37.
- Dr. Charles H. Wheatley