Whenever I pass the Baobob Tree on Freemansville Main Road

baobob

I think of this:

‘STONYHILL GULLY   (1736).

It was in this gulley or ravine that the slaves, Court, Tomboy and Hercules plotted the uprising of 1736. It may be found to the north-east of the Midway Gas Station in the Sherwood’s area about three-quarters of a mile off the Freeman’s road not too far from a very old Baobab tree, “a place of wickedness”, and the old slave market.

In the ravine grew tangled bushes and “clothed in verdure green” and disrupted rocks were thickly scattered about. When a ball was to be held in honour of George II’s coronation at Christopher Dunbar’s house in St. John’s, three parties of 350 slaves were to enter the town and kill the plantocracy there gathered. However, the ball was postponed until later to commemorate the King’s birthday, and during this delay a slave named Johnny, became an informer.

The Legend of the Ravine relates that in meeting, the slaves uttered “Death to our foes!” and a very old Obeah Woman, Morah, attended to give her advice from Obeah’s Sign. The slaves also worshipped their king and drunk and danced and inhaled smoke from roasted cashews.

The amazing thing is that this heritage site was formerly far more recognised than it is today. In 1904, Governor Strickland recognised the spot as a historic site by making a visit there. However, Samuel Smith of “Shoot Hard Labour” fame, says “no nega should forget that place and so we should not!’ – I originally read about this in one of Desmond Nicholson’s books –  I believe Place Names of Antigua and Barbuda – but it can be found online thanks to the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. Remember to search Antigua and Barbuda Non Fiction here on this site to read more of our history.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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