St. John Historical Society Donates Estate Enighed Cemetery Sign to Sprauve Library


Elaine I. Sprauve Librarian Carol McGuinness and SJHS presient David Knight with the new Estate Enighed cemetery sign.

Elaine I. Sprauve Librarian Carol McGuinness and St. John Historical Society President David Knight stand with the new sign that was recently installed at the historic cemetery on the library’s Estate Enighed property.

The sign, which was donated by the SJHS, presents a short history of Estate Enighed, a former cotton and sugar plantation. Visitors can also read about the estate’s former owner, William Wood, a native of the island of Saba, who was buried in the Enighed cemetery upon his death in 1757.

Wood’s ornately-carved monument is believed to be the oldest marked grave of a Sabian known to exist anywhere in the world.

The donation was made by the SJHS as part of its pledge to act as stewards for the important historical cemetery.

The sign reads: William Wood, a native of Saba in the Dutch West Indies, migrated to St. John by way of St. Eustatius, where his name is found in the 1728 census. In or about 1740, Wood acquired tow struggling cotton plantations in the Cruz Bay Quarter of St. John and merged them to create a large and profitable sugar estate. He married Elisabeth Durloo, a daughter of the prominent St. John planter Peter Durloo, in August of 1742.

William Wood died on his plantation in the spring of 1757, leaving his wife, Elisabeth, and their children as heirs. A later partnership between William and Elisabeth’s son, Johannes, and George Hazzel appears to have inspired the naming of the property, “Enighed” or, in English, “Unity”.

William Wood’s grave rests alongside 11 other burials in the Estate Enighed Cemetery adjacent to the property’s stately great house, now the Elaine I. Sprauve Public Library. It is the only remaining identifiable burial on the site. The granite slab marking Wood’s final resting place measures six by two and one half feet, and was most likely imported from Europe.

The style of the monument is rather unique, as it is ornately carved rather than inscribed. It is one of the earliest known marked burials on St. John, and also believed to be the oldest identifiable grave of a Sabian (a native of the island of Saba) known to exist anywhere in the world.

The memoriam on William Wood’s gravestone, written in both Dutch and Danish reads:
William Wood / First Alderman of the community of Jesus Christ / Former Burger
Captain of St. John / Born on Saba 22 March 1692 / Died St. John 9 March 1757
On Saba rose his sun of life.
Wood, who knew God’s community,
His life’s sun waned on St. John.
Here resteth his remains.
He will find the Alderman’s
Wages of Grace with Heaven’s Lord.
J.I’T invent et fecit