The Original Settlement of St. Christopher

In 1620, Thomas Warner, who had been adventurous at heart since boyhood, joined an expedition under Captain Roger North. Captain North had been hired by a small group of wealthy Englishmen to found a settlement on Guiana, near the Amazon River.

Captain North landed a contingent of his followers on Guiana, and promptly sailed back to England. Among those left on Guiana, was Thomas Warner and a man known as Capt. Painton In 1622, there not being much to do on Guiana, Capt. Painton convinced Thomas Warner that they should sail to St. Christopher, an island in the area. Warner agreed and sailed from Guiana with a group of fifteen other men.

Warner arrived at St. Christopher and went ashore on January 28, 1623. Upon landing, Warner was met by a group of Caribs, including their Chief,
Tegreman and several Frenchmen, castaways, who were living with the Caribs and planting tobacco.

Warner and his group remained on St. Christopher several months and engaged in planting tobacco and living and eating as the others who lived there. Warner’s group built crude shelters and also a fort on the hill in the center of the island. They ate cassava bread, fish, potatoes, plantains and pineapples. They drank nicknobby, a drink made from potatoes.

Their tobacco crops were ripe and ready to harvest when on September 19, 1623, a hurricane destroyed everything included the dwellings and tobacco crops..

Undaunted, Warner and his men rebuilt the dwellings into stronger houses and planted more tobacco. They also finished building the crude fort

The new crop of tobacco ripened and Warner, after putting a man in charge of the small settlement, sailed to England with his harvested tobacco. Once in England, Thomas Warner looked for his old friend, John Jeaffreson. Together they sought funding for a settlement on St. Christopher. A wealthy merchant, Ralph Merifield, agreed to fund the expedition.

The three men worked out an agreement of partnership. The terms, Merifield would provide the funds, Thomas Warner would sail back to St. Christopher with as many volunteers as could be found. Once on St. Christopher, Warner would send word to Merifield and Jeaffreson would sail with a cargo of supplies and another contingent of volunteers.

Thomas Warner left England with sixteen other men, including his thirteen year old son, Edward.

On January 18, 1624, Warner dropped anchor on the Western side of St. Christopher, near Old Road Bay.

On the 19th of September 1624, once again a hurricane destroyed the crops. Warner repaired the damage and planted more tobacco.

Jeaffreson arrived on St. Christopher on March 18, 1625 with a shipload of supplies. Meanwhile, Merifield was so pleased with the result of his investment that he applied for a charter for himself and his two partners, Thomas Warner and John Jeaffreson. Merifield easily obtained a patent from King Charles on September 25, 1625.

The patent stated that “Ralph Merifield, his partners and agents were permitted to traffic at the islands of St. Christopher, Nevis, Barbuda and Montserrat. Thomas Warner and after his death, John Jeaffreson, would have governance of these islands.”

Note that these three men, Ralph Merifield, Thomas Warner and John Jeaffreson, now owned and held title to St. Christopher, Nevis, Barbuda and Montserrat, islands which the Spanish, under Columbus, had claimed for Spain. This title having been granted by the King of England. To be sure, Spain would not be too happy about this.

Also, in 1625, the French, led by Pierre Belain, Sieur D’Esnambuc arrived on St. Christopher.

Anne-Marie Danet

Let us talk about
Name and Mail are required
Join the discuss