They made a difference -- One hundred people who made a significant contribution with lasting effect on the affairs of Bermuda
A little over a week ago, seven prominent historians gathered at The Royal Gazette's offices to decide on the 100 people who had made the greatest contribution to the Island's history.
A little over a week ago, seven prominent historians gathered at The Royal Gazette's offices to decide on the 100 people who had made the greatest contribution to the Island's history.
They were asked to choose the 100 on the basis of their impact.
In addition, there was some debate about whether the living should be included on the list; in the end, they were, but many of those whose total careers have still to be written are missing from the list, including two significant "firsts'' of the last decade: Pamela Gordon, Bermuda's first female Premier, and Jennifer Smith, Bermuda's first elected female Premier and the person who led the Progressive Labour Party to power for the first time. Strong arguments can be made for the inclusion of both, but with long careers ahead of them, it was felt their total contribution cannot yet be judged.
The vast changes of the 20th Century also means that more than half the names come from the period after 1900. For convenience, this period is divided into categories where those named made their greatest contribution.
Nonetheless, there will be omissions, as with any arbitrary number, and some of the people here are now virtually unheard of. However, their legacy is the Bermuda we know today.
The historians on the panel were: Colin Benbow, author of "Boer Prisoners of War in Bermuda'' and "Gladys Morrell and the Suffrage Movement in Bermuda''; Bermuda College history lecturer Walton Brown; Dale Butler, founder of the Writers Machine and author of innumerable books for adults and children, the latest of which is "Marathon''; Dr. Eva Hodgson, author of "Second Class Citizens, First Class Men''; Bermuda Maritime Museum historian Dr. Clarence Maxwell; Ira Philip, author of "Freedom Fighters: From Monk to Mazumbo''; and William S. Zuill, author of "The Story of Bermuda and Her People''. The discussion was moderated by Royal Gazette Editor Bill Zuill who compiled the final list. All errors and omissions are the responsibility of the Editor.
Debate between the historians was good-humoured, enthusiastic and often entertaining. A very high bar was set for inclusion and all left the building having learned something new. We hope that you will too.
Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries Juan de Bermudez: The likely discoverer of Bermuda in 1505 or 1506, just 13 years after Christopher Columbus' first voyage to the Americas.
Sir George Somers: Sir George's passion for Bermuda was so great he left his heart here -- literally. Without that passion, the Island's settlement in 1612 may not have occurred.
William Strachey: Sir Thomas Gates' secretary, his poetic account of the Sea Venture's voyage and shipwreck and of Bermuda gives the story in great detail and was the inspiration for Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Christopher Carter: The "first Bermudian''. If his personal achievements were meagre, his tenacity in remaining in Bermuda from the wreck of the Sea Venture in 1609 through the departure of the Deliverance and the Patience in 1610, the return and death of Sir George Somers and the eventual arrival of the first settlers in 1612 on the Plough gives real meaning to the sense of putting down roots. He made Bermuda his home and is our first inhabitant.
Governor Richard Moore: Bermuda's first Governor. He laid the foundations for the community and defended the Island against Spanish attack so successfully that they never attempted to capture the Island again. Governor Daniel Tucker: The first Governor under the Bermuda Company, Old Dan Tucker built on the foundations of Moore, founded Tucker's Town and his sometimes harsh rule brought order to the young colony.
William Norwood: Bermuda's first major surveyor. The first accurate map of the Island and the division of the Island's property into shares set the tone for the Island's early development.
Governor Nathaniel Butler: One of Bermuda's finest Governors under the Bermuda Company, he called the first Parliament into being, thus beginning the oldest continuous system of democracy in the Western Hemisphere, and built the State House in St. George's. Employed a Dutch shipwright who "invented'' the Bermuda rig.
John Trimingham: The leader of the "Royalist'' faction in Bermuda during the English Civil War, he deposed the then-Governor in the closest Bermuda has ever come to civil war.
Samuel Trott: A Bermudian based in London, his work led to the end of the Bermuda Company and to Bermuda becoming a Crown Colony during the reign of King Charles II.
Sir Nathaniel Rich: His family helped to found the Bermuda Company and funded Warwick Academy, which still thrives to this day.
Eighteenth Century Sarah (Sally) Bassett: The black slave who committed the first "poison plot'' and whose execution on a very hot day in 1750 led to the designation a "Sally Bassett Day'' for extra hot days ever since. "Nat'': One of the accused conspirators in the 1761 slave rebellion along with "Peter Parker'', "Ben'', "Nancy'' and "Mingo'', a failed blade and poison plot against white slave owners. The plot's suppression led to the execution of six people and the revival of many harsh laws against free and slave black people.
Governor William Popple: Oversaw the introduction of the harsher slave laws and set the social order after 1761. He also barred the expulsion of free blacks from the Island and introduced freemasonry to Bermuda.
Col. Henry Tucker: Pleaded Bermuda's cause to the Continental Congress at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War and later had some involvement in the theft of gunpowder from the colony's magazine.
Governor James Bruere: With Bermuda close to revolution itself, the British Governor spent 1775 and 1776 in a nearly single-handed effort to maintain the Island a British colony until ships and troops arrived from Boston. It can be argued that without his efforts, Bermuda could have been the 14th state.
Captain Andrew Durnford: His presentation to the House of Assembly on the military needs for the defence of the Island laid the foundations for the "Gibraltar of the West''.
Pilot Jemmy Darrell: The black slave who brought Vice-Admiral Sir George Murray's flagship into Murray's Anchorage north of St. George's and was given his freedom as a result; a testament to the skill of Bermuda's black sailors.
Nineteenth Century Tom Moore: The Irish poet spent a few years here as a member of the Admiralty Court; his poetry helped to immortalise the Island.
Hezekiah Frith: The merchant and adventurer symbolises Bermuda's merchant and trading era. A colourful character whose independent streak can still be seen in many Bermudians today.
Mary Prince: The Bermudian slave whose narrative of her experiences helped accelerate the emancipation of slaves throughout the British Empire. In modern terms, her experiences -- including the vile working conditions of the Turks Islands salt ponds -- helped to demonstrate that slavery in Bermuda, while different from plantation slavery, was far from benign.
The Rev. Joseph Marsden: Helped to organise the Methodist Church in Bermuda, thus breaking the grip of the established Anglican Church. The anti-slavery philosophy of the Methodists was also vital in leading to Emancipation.
Edward Frazer: Black Methodist slave who undertook the work of building the Cobbs Hill Chapel in Warwick in 1825. The church was built at night and on holidays and took two years to complete. Later freed, Frazer pleaded the cause of black people in Britain. But the chapel, which still stands, was testament to what free and slave black people could do on their own.
Archdeacon Spencer: Later a Bishop, Spencer led the way for the Anglican Church to provide education to black children.
Thomas Butterfield: The Attorney General, who steered Bermuda's 1834 Abolition of Slavery Act through Parliament and was later an influential Chief Justice.
John Noble Harvey: Raised the real estate qualifications for electors before the Abolition Act took effect. The decision was defended as a measure which made property, not race, the deciding factor on who voted, nonetheless the effect was to disenfranchise many free black people as well as whites.
James Athill: Prominent black shipbuilder who petitioned Parliament on behalf of free black people after Emancipation. As a result black and white became equal in law.
Governor Sir William Reid: Perhaps the best 19th Century Governor of Bermuda.
Energetically promoted agriculture at a time when Bermuda's salt and sea trade was in decline. His arrival in 1839 also brought a measure of peace between Government House and the House of Assembly, which had been warring for decades.
Governor Sir J.H. Lefroy: A Governor and a Major General, but historians -- and all Bermudians -- owe him a great debt because his "Memorials of the Bermudas'' put the major part of the early documents relating to Bermuda's history into print.
William Henry Thomas Joell: Bermuda's first black Member of Colonial Parliament and a founder of the Berkeley Educational Society.
Samuel Parker: Owner of the first black newspaper, the Times and Advocate.
Samuel David Robinson: A baker, but much more. The builder of the Emporium Building and perhaps the leading black businessman of the 19th Century. Peter Ogden: A black Englishman who first helped to introduce Oddfellows to the United States and then to Bermuda in 1842.
John Henry Thomas: A leading Oddfellow. The first meeting of Oddfellows was held at his house. The Oddfellows were, and are, an important working man's and service society which also paved the way for trade unions. Also one of the spiritual fathers of the Berkeley Educational Society.
George Allen: A schoolmaster who was instrumental in introducing the Grand United Order of Oddfellows onto Bermuda which led to the founding of a Pride Of India Lodge in St. George's in 1848.
The Rev. William Dowding: Founded the first integrated school in Bermuda (St.
Paul's) in the mid-19th Century. The school did not last, but planted the seeds for future integrated educational efforts.
George DeCosta: The first principal of the Berkeley Institute, founded in 1897.Felipe Macedo: Portuguese Monsignor who helped to assure Portuguese immigrants to Bermuda of their basic rights and forced the repeal of the law requiring Portuguese men to return to the Azores after a fixed period of time.
Capt. Ben Watlington: His ship brought the first Portuguese workers -- from Madeira, although most immigrants later came from the Azores -- to Bermuda 150 years ago.
Henry Lockward: Brought the telephone to Bermuda in 1887 and founded the Bermuda Telephone Company, which was just the ninth exchange in the world.
Without the telephone, Bermuda would be a very different place.
Donald McPhee Lee: Founded The Royal Gazette . Bishop Nazery: A Bishop of the Canadian Methodist Episcopal Church, he brought what would later become the African Methodist Episcopal Church to Bermuda.
Twentieth Century Politicians Two politicians, one white and one black, tower over all others in the 20th Century. One was white and born in relative privilege, the other was black and born in Trinidad and came to Bermuda as an adult. Both drew fierce criticism and high praise; both were magnetic personalities who dominated every situation they found themselves in.
Dr. Edgar Fitzgerald Gordon: "Mazumbo'', a physician, but so much more. Dr.
Gordon, then an MCP, became leader of the Bermuda Workers Association in 1944, which fought for the rights of Bermudians on the US bases and later became the Bermuda Industrial Union. His trip to London in 1945 and demand for a Royal Commission to examine conditions in Bermuda electrified the community, while his efforts in the 1950s for racial desegregation have been an inspiration for generations. He is perhaps Bermuda's greatest icon. Until the 1950s, few had had the courage to take on the white establishment or the tenacity to win.
Sir Henry Tucker: "Jack'' Tucker, a prime mover in developing the Island's international business and tourism industry as the general manager of the Bank of Bermuda, was the dominant figure in politics in the 1960s and early 1970s.
The founder of the United Bermuda Party, he oversaw the transition of Bermuda from the property vote to universal adult suffrage. The UBP, "the house that Jack built'' would govern Bermuda for 30 years, based on the political philosophy of integration, equal opportunity and fiscal conservatism.
Sir Edward Richards: A leading educator, journalist and lawyer, the Guyanese-born "ET'' was also a leading campaigner for desegregation and equal rights. A small-c conservative and integrationist, his decision to join the UBP demonstrated that it was a party for both races and was vital to its success.
W.L. Tucker: The leader for the movement for universal adult suffrage in the House of Assembly, Mr. Tucker, a black MCP, quietly forced the issue along until equal political rights for all adult Bermudians were achieved. Roosevelt Brown: The leader of the movement outside of Parliament, Mr. Brown's chairmanship of the Committee for Universal Adult Suffrage turned popular opinion around on the issue.
Dr. Eustace Cann: His speech and vote in 1948 on woman's suffrage was pivotal.
As a black politician, he was a leader of the black community for decades.
Sir Julian Gascoigne: His symbolic act of opening Government House social events to whites and blacks in the early 1960s showed that Bermuda was changing. Less enlightened Governors might not have steered the Island through the turbulent 1960s so well.
Walter Robinson: A founder of the PLP and a leading lawyer, he was the party's leader from 1963 until 1968 and again from 1972 until 1976. Later a Puisne Judge, one of the first black judges in Bermuda.
Dame Lois Browne-Evans: First female barrister, first female Opposition Leader, first political Attorney General in modern politics, the list goes on.
A tenacious politician and human rights advocate, her influence has been enormous from 1963 until today. If there is a mark against her, the split in the PLP under leadership in 1984 may have set the PLP's path to power back by a decade.
One hundred who made a difference L. Frederick Wade: Rebuilt the PLP from the ashes of the 1984 split and the 1985 General Election debacle when it was reduced to seven seats and took it to the brink of power. "Freddie'' Wade was a brilliant tactician whose successful boycott of the 1995 Independence Referendum ended Premier Sir John Swan's tenure and sowed the seeds for the PLP's 1998 General Election victory.
Sir John Swan: Dominated politics throughout the 1980s and during the early 1990s, rebuilding the UBP from the double shocks of the 1977 riots and the 1981 general strike. Led the Island through the prosperity of the 1980s and the recession of the early 1990s before the Independence campaign brought him down. Also one of the Island's most successful real estate developers.
Colonel Thomas Dill: Led the first Bermudian contingent overseas in the First World War. A long-time Attorney General.
Sir John Cox: Speaker of the House of Assembly from 1948 to 1968 and a powerful influence on political and business affairs. In some ways a reactionary, he was part of the team which negotiated the bases agreement in the 1940s.
Sir Howard Trott: A businessman and politician who symbolised Bermudian hotel ownership.
Sir Henry Vesey: A leading businessman and MCP, as chairman of the Trade Development Board, he was perhaps the most influential person in making tourism so successful in the 1960s and 1970s.
Martin T. Wilson: A tireless labour and democracy activist, his organising efforts in Warwick were crucial in the drive for universal adult suffrage.
Hugh Richardson: A founder of the PLP and later President of the Senate who attempted to bring about Independence through a referendum in the 1980s.
John Stubbs: The dynamic first chairman of the UBP was an influential Cabinet Minister for two decades. Shortly before his death, he steered through the law decriminalising homosexuality, an important human rights advance.
Sir Stanley Spurling: Bermuda's leading politician between the World Wars as tourism grew and agriculture declined. Also the champion in the House of Assembly in the movement for Women's suffrage.
Gladys Misick Morrell: Tireless campaigner for women's right to vote, she finally saw women get the vote in 1948, the end of a campaign which had begun in 1914.
Hilda Aitken , the first woman MCP and chairwoman of the Social Welfare Board and Edna Watson , the second woman MCP, a heroine who saved the life of the captain of the flying boat Cavalier and who chaired the Public Transportation Board in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of the motor car.
Sir Bayard Dill: A politician, lawyer and soldier, but his greatest achievement may have been the drafting of the bases agreement in 1941.
Dr. Stanley Ratteray: The Progressive Group which brought about the desegregation of public places through the Theatre Boycott in 1959, but Dr.
Ratteray was a leading light and later became a key player in the UBP as chairman, Education Minister and later Minister of the Environment.
Science and Technology William Beebe: American scientist whose deep water diving experiments off Bermuda taught the world about life in the deep ocean.
David Wingate: Bermuda's greatest living conservationist. From saving the cahow from extinction to his struggle to preserve the Island's natural environment, David Wingate is a national treasure.
Sir Henry Watlington: Among his many achievements, he founded Watlington Waterworks, drawing on the fresh water lens below Devonshire Marsh, thus ending Bermuda's dependence on catching fresh water on rooftops and water catches.
Education Dr. Francis Patton: One of the great educators of the 20th Century. A leading scholar and the president of Princeton University when Princeton was producing men of letters who later became presidents and occupied other high places in Government, business and the arts.
Victor Scott: The principal of Central School for decades, where up to 1,000 black children at a time received a superb education. The school has now been named for him.
Edward Skinner: Former headmaster of Cavendish Hall School, he went on to found Howard Academy, where black children who could not enter Berkeley Institute or Sandys Secondary School received a secondary education in buildings literally built by their parents.
Edward DeJean: Dynamic principal of Howard Academy in its later years. One of the founders of the Progressive Labour Party.
Dame Marjorie Bean: Educator, founder of the Bermuda Professional and Business Woman's Association. A true trailblazer.
F.S. (Frederick) Furbert: One of the great principals of the Berkeley, under whose tutelage, many of Bermuda's leaders of the last half of the 20th Century received the academic grounding which was to stand them in such good stead.
Ivan Cunningham: A teacher at Central School in the 1940s and later the principal of Robert Crawford School for Boys.
Dr. Marjorie Hallett: Long-time principal of the Bermuda High School for Girls; an inspiration to generations of white women.
Kenneth Robinson: The first black Chief Education Officer who helped to implement the integration of Government schools. Also the author of "Heritage'', an important history on blacks in Bermuda.
Labour Russell Levi Pearman: Chairman of the meeting which led to the creation of the workers Association and later a leading black MCP.
Ottiwell Simmons: The long-time president of the Bermuda Industrial Union has been an object of love and hate. Led the union through some turbulent disputes, including the 1981 General Strike, but also made major gains for the Island's working class.
Dr. Barbara Ball: A physician whose long time support of labour cost her greatly, a stalwart and meticulous researcher who was also the only white PLP MP for many years.
The Rev. Charles. V. Monk: An AME Minister and publisher of the "People's Journal'', he defended exploited workers in Dockyard in 1903, resulting in a criminal libel trial against him in 1903.
The Arts Lance Hayward: A pianist par excellence. Enough said.
Hereward Watlington: Leading patron of the arts, whose donation of his superb collection of paintings led to the foundation of the Bermuda National Gallery.
Dr. Henry Wilkinson: Historian whose four volumes covering the history of Bermuda from the 17th to the 19th Century remain essential to the researcher, even through advances in research of social history and the black community show up omissions.
Wilfred Onions: His influence can be seen in almost every Bermuda building of the last 60 years. He reinvented the Bermuda vernacular in architecture.
Sports Alma (Champ) Hunt: The outstanding Bermuda cricketer of the mid-20th Century and arguably an even better administrator, whose leadership of the Bermuda Cricket Board of Control led to Bermuda's triumphs in the ICC tournament (which Hunt helped to found) in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
W.F. (Chummy) Hayward: The Olympics' answer to Champ Hunt; an organiser par excellence and an inspiration to generations of Bermuda athletes.
"Bert'' Darrell: Probably the best sailor and boat builder of the century.
Stanley Burgess: "Mr. Marathon''. A successful long distance with a unique training regimen, he simply never stopped, even when he was in his 80s. The symbol of the May 24 Marathon Derby the greatest sporting event on the calendar along with Cup Match.
Clyde Best: The Somerset Trojans, West Ham, Ajax and Feyenoord striker is Bermuda's best ever footballer. A fairly successful tenure as Bermuda technical director came to a sudden end last week.
Clarence Parfitt: Bermuda's best bowler ever. Played for Bermuda and later for Scotland as a professional.
Business Montague Shepherd: The founder of Capital Broadcasting (ZFB) which showed that a black owned and run broadcasting station could compete.
Frederick Reiss: Invented the "captive'' insurance industry which was the foundation of Bermuda's development as an alternative insurance centre to New York and London.
Sir James Pearman: One of the early members of the United Bermuda Party and a leading statesman, but his tireless efforts to develop international business may be why he will be remembered.
David Graham: The man who "invented'' international business, via a letter to The Times of London on how British shipowners could form offshore companies in Bermuda.
Sir David Gibbons: The Premier from 1977 until 1981, his greatest legacy will be his contribution to the Island as Finance Minister, the head of the Gibbons group of companies and as chairman of the Bank of Butterfield. A keen business mind, he helped bring about the Island's economic prosperity in the 1970s and 1980s.
Community The Rev. C. Austin Richardson: The development and growth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was largely a group effort, but the Rev. Richardson was the leading pioneer during the church's growth in its first quarter century.
Lady Cubitt: The wife of the enlightened Governor Cubitt in the 1930s, her name lives on in the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association, which provides funds to people who need medical assistance, a symbol of the giving nature of Bermudians.
Brownlow Tucker: A shipping agent and MCP, "Brownie'' Tucker was a veteran of the Second World War who in 1964 took command of the Bermuda Regiment, which has become a symbol of pride and one of the best vehicles for integration of black and white and rich and poor.
Col. Henry Tucker: Pleaded to Revolutionaries Businessman: Samuel David Robinson Governor William Reid: Agriculture Sir George Somers: Left his heart in Bermuda Alma (Champ) Hunt Ottiwell Simmons Sir Edward Richards Sir John Swan David Wingate L. Frederick Wade Dr. E.F. Gordon Sir Henry Tucker: Built the United Bermuda Party Dame Lois Browne-Evans: Doyenne of the Progressive Labour Party Sir Stanley Spurling: Champion of female suffrage Joseph Henry Thomas
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