The French Colony Girls’ Club

As the last surviving member of the Club, I am pleased that the Rev. Fr. Charles Crespo included the founding of “The French Colony Girls’ Club” in the 90th Anniversary Book of St. Anne’s Chapel.

Mrs. Evelyn Hartford Van Patten, was the wife of Lt. Commander Elsworth Van Patten, USN who was second in commander of the Virgin Islands during the last four years of Navy Rule.

Evelyn Van Patten was fascinated by the weaving of straw into hats and bags by the French ladies of the Carenage.. She decided to learn about the craft and help the young ladies of the Carenage. (See my article, “Strawcraft of the People of French Heritage”) on
this webpage.

About the Members of the Club

Family names of the members are their maiden names in all but one case as the lady was already married.

Anne-Rose “Pauline” Bernier was 25 years of age. My Mother, Marie Helene Bernier-Danet was 21 years as was her cousin, Mercellita Bernier. Francellia Greaux was 19 years of age. These four ladies were the teachers and chaperons of the group, who were all 16 years and under.

Three of the members were still children. They were Anne-Louise Ledee, 12 years.. Margueritte Duzant, 10 years and Anne-Marie Danet (me), midway between 5 and 6 years.

Anne-Marie’s mother was the only one who was married before the club was founded. In 1928, Anne-Rose “Pauline” Bernier was married and became Bernier-Greaux.

The teenagers were Pauline “Urise” Greaux, Annicia Cerge and Marie-Josephine “Urise” Danet who were 13 years of age. Margueritte Greaux was 15 years. Juliana Turbe and Anne-Sylvanie Simeon were 14 years of age.

Florina Magras, Marie-Lucina Aubin and Marie Inger Questel were all 16 years of age.

These young ladies and a few others, whom I do not remember, were the Charter Members of The French Colony Girls’ Club. I remember almost all the details of what a day was like at a meeting of the club.

I even remember the China porcelain that we used for tea or cocoa in the afternoons. It was white with royal blue motiffs of which one was a Dutch windmill.

Thank you Fr. Crespo. In honoring Mrs. Van Patten for her work with the young ladies of the Carenage. You have honored the members of the Club as well.

Anne-Marie Danet.

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