A big chip off the Bermuda bloc
A charismatic big chip off the bloc of Bermuda’s slave-period and post Emancipation history was how 96-year-old Gladstone Willard Clayton Trott was eulogised at the service celebrating his life and legacy was held a week ago in St. Peter’s Church, St. George’s.
Mr Trott was a civic leader, entrepreneur, popular restaurateur, Town Councilor, prominent Free Mason and outstanding Kiwanian. He was determined to play an intricate role in the governance of his historic St. George’s town and in one bid become its Mayor, he was defeated by a margin of three votes. After that he became known as ‘the ‘Unofficial Mayor’ of St. George’s.
Gladstone had a profound sense of pride in his ancestry. His uncle was one of the first two black men to be elected members of the House of Assembly. Another uncle, Lawson Ratteray, a no-nonsense Somerset Inn Keeper. His cousin, the Hon. Sir George Ratteray became the first black man to be knighted by the Queen and later he was President of the Legislative Council now called The Senate. Sir George’s had no qualms about declaring “all Ratterays in Bermuda are related.
His great grandfather was the iconic Charles Roach. The fascinating story of Gladstone’s connection with Roach Ratteray is in the adjoining column headed (maybe: Gladstone and Roach Ratteray).
A tribute on behalf of the Trott-Ratteray family was given by Gladstone’s niece, Mrs. Rose A. Wilson Hill. She is Special Assistant to the vice-president and vice-provost of Ohio State University. She spoke of how ‘Uncle G’ as he was respectably known. had “etched a myriad of cherished memories into the souls of many, and engraved on the walls of time, a unique legacy to cherish.”
Mrs. Wilson Hill ran the copy desk at
The Royal Gazette in the mid to late 1960s before she left Bermuda for broader horizons in Ohio. She said Her Uncle’s “long journey of 95 and a half years has left us with a signature, one of making things happen in a fashion of determined longevity that will live on in our lives and the many he had touched.”
Officiating at the service was the Rector, Rev. W. David Raths. The Rev. Dr. Erskine Simmons preached the sermon, following tributes from Former Mayor Kenneth Bascome, MP; and Past Masters of Hannibal Lodge No. 224 on the Grand Registry of Ireland, where he was the oldest member.
Gladstone was born on November 3, 1917, the second child of the late Mary Hamilton Trott (née Ratteray) of Cricket Lane, Somerset.
Due to the untimely death of his father he was obliged to leave school at an early age and begin an apprenticeship in carpentry. His training proved invaluable in honing his skills in business and money management. He rose to the rank of foreman on several building sites around the island; and he was instrumental in putting his stamp on buildings in St. George’s; at Kindley Air Force Base, and the Head Office of the Bank of Bermuda on Front Street.
Although he resided in Somerset, he met and fell in love with a St. George’s girl, Catherine Trott (same name but no relation). He rode his bicycle from Somerset and back during their courtship. They married June 2, 1938, in a union that lasted 30 years until her passing in 1968. Together the couple purchased their home at 22 Coot Road, St. George’s and began their restaurant business in the lower level of their home.
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