Jost Van Dyke’s Preservation Society


One of the most memorable sailing trips I took in my youth was a visit to Jost Van Dyke, the smallest of the four main islands of the British Virgin Islands. Having always remembered its breathtaking bays, I was overjoyed to hear of efforts to preserve its natural beauty and historical structures through the creation of the The Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society. As Jan Hein reports (in All at Sea, June 2009), “The average visitor to Jost Van Dyke sails in, drops a hook from a chartered vessel and heads ashore to one or several of the legendary beach bars [. . .] Little do they know that buried behind those hot spots are the remains of a fort, an 18th century farmhouse, an antiquated turtle kraal pen and the ruins of a sugar works. Hidden in the hills is an unlikely history that, thanks to a small but mighty organization, is now being retrieved and retold.”

Preservation efforts began with Jost Van Dyke’s Foxy Callwood, proprietor of the Tamarind Bar and host of the famous Foxy’s New Year’s Eve Party. According to Hein, he was telling a group of customers “about the island he’s known for well over half a century, its problems and potential. One guest took the hat off Foxy’s head and passed it around until it returned to him bearing $50. Foxy matched it and announced, ‘Now I got public funds, I gotta do someting.’”

Hein explains that “the first major undertaking has been the construction of an island boat to rekindle an awareness of traditional boat building and sailing skills, an industry that died in the BVI decades ago.” She quotes Foxy’s recollections of the Jost Van Dyke’s boating traditions and livestock production, “I wark on de botes, on de sloops, sailin to Sen Thomas. We take dem cows, goats, chickons, what eva we had to sell. De market was dere wid da butcha. Sometimes we haul charcoal dat was made right ere.”  Trade for the sloops with the US islands ended abruptly when the FDA banned the import of BVI livestock. “Dey say our cows got a dis-ease and we can’take dem dere any more [. . .]. But dose people, dey could come ere and eat our beef.” 

Besides the construction of the 32’ island boat (Endeavor II), which will be used for sail training, marine sciences education, and cultural demonstrations, the latest undertaking of the JVDPS is a project (funded by grant from the UK’s Overseas Territories Environment Program) to find and classify all species of flora and fauna on Jost Van Dyke and the surrounding waters. The Island Resources Foundation (IRF) based in Tortola, is conducting field research that has uncovered several resident bats, snakes, frogs, numerous stands of lignum vitae, and rare plants. IRF will also document all habitats, ecosystems, historical sites, and pollution issues. Furthermore, JVDPS is supporting educational projects locally as well as sponsoring teachers and students to attend workshops on other Caribbean islands and in the United States.  

For full editorial by Jan Hein, see

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For more information on the Jost Van Dyke Preservation Society, see

6 thoughts on “Jost Van Dyke’s Preservation Society

  1. Hello:

    I am the last of the Saba Vanterpools, descended from the original Dutch settlers. I am trying to locate other Vanterpools who are NOT of African descent, and I know there are very few of us. If you know of any would you please have them contact me.
    I know there were Vanterpools on Jost Van Dyke one or more centuries ago, and would like to know what happened to them. Thank you for your anticipated help, and all the best for 2011.

    Alan Vanterpool


  2. Hello Alan.. My Grandmother’s name was Lillias May Vanterpool. She was born in Barbados in 1879. She has a sister whose name was Inez Carnet Vanterpool. My Grandmother’s father, I don’t know his first name, was born on Saba and I was told he had four brothers, but maybe it was five total children in the family, this I am not sure about? He was the Captain of his own ship. They owned a plantation on Barbados where he lived with his wife and his mother or his wife’s mother. I was told that my Grandmother’s father and his wife and their ship were lost at sea. With her parents dead, my Grandmother immigrated to Mexico where she worked as a Governess for a short time. Then immigrated to Brooklyn, New York about 1902? She lived to be 100 years old and passed away in 1979. I see on another web site that there was a Lillias Vanterpool born Dec. 3, 1853. This may have been her mother as the name Lillias is an unusual name. I was also told that my Grandmother was named after her father’s ship which I was told was named The Lillias? My Grandmother’s married name was Murray. She had eight children, my aunts and uncles, who have all passed away. I am the oldest, at 77, of the grand children of Lillias May Vanterpool. Hope this helps. It would be interesting to know if you can add to the family history? Thanks, Walt


    1. Dear Walter:

      This message is regarding Lilias Mae Vanterpool born March 1 1880 in Barbados with a sister named Inez Carnett Vanterpool born in October of 1882. Yes, Lilias was named after the schooner ship Lilias.
      Lilias immigrated to New York on the ship Buffon in April of 1900 when work was almost impossible to find on the island. She immigrated with much of the family that still existed at that time. I also heard of the rumors of the passing of her parents on a ship. We can discuss that later along with other things

      This is your cousin on Dorothy Murray’s side. I have information that I would be willing to share with you . If you are interested. I just found this site and your comment so you may not be available any longer but I will try. There are some corrections that need to be made to the history, at least of what I am aware. Lilias spoke with me in great details when I was younger. Although the memories can get mixed I do recall much of the details.

      Thanks to anyone that is willing to contact Walter and to you Alan and Gosta.



  3. Hello Alan again..
    Correcting my previous message. The correct spelling of my Grandmothers first name is Lilias. Also her father, Captain Vanterpool, did have a Schooner named Lilias.

    Walter Torgersen


  4. Hello Walter,
    Your family story is interesting and important and needs to be further investigated. Please, get in touch via my private e-mail below.

    Gosta Simmons,

    Researching: Simmons, Dinzey & intermarried families

    e-mail address: gosta dot simmons at swipnet dot se


  5. By any chance anyone that comes across this message we’re working on the family tree of Hatchett/Hatchet of Jost van Dyke and Francis of Tortola. If anyone wants to get in contact just send me a message. gwynepin (at) hotmail (dot) com


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