Finding inspiration in her ancestral home, and in tribute to the men and women that persevered and built a life and community on Green Turtle Cay, Amanda Diedrick has published a book on the early and enduring settlers of the island.
Amanda, granddaughter of Lurey (Curry) Albury who was born on Green Turtle Cay, recounts listening to (and later recording) her grandmother’s stories of life on the cay in the early 1900s. “In the early 1990s I began tape recording her stories,” she said. “I always found them fascinating.”
“In 2012, my husband Tom Walters and I were fortunate enough to purchase the house that my grandmother grew up in, the house that her parents built from the rubble of their larger, more elegant home that was destroyed during the 1932 hurricane,” she said.
While researching and planning the restoration of the house, Amanda visited the Albert Lowe Museum and started chatting with its owner, Alton Lowe, who has kindly shared many stories about the history of Green Turtle Cay.
Amanda said she started a blog – www.littlehousebytheferry.com – to document the restoration of her grandmother’s childhood home, and began writing small articles about the cay’s history on the blog.
“Then, about 2 years ago, Alton and I began talking about putting down all these stories into a book,” she said. “Since then, he has generously shared with me information, documents, photos and artifacts from the museum archives and from his own personal archives. Much of that information is reflected in the book.”
In writing her book Amanda noted that she a generous amount of help from Alton who for the past 40 or more years has collected stories, documents, historic photographs and personal accounts of life in Green Turtle Cay.
“I also had first-hand accounts of Abaco and Green Turtle Cay life from personal interviews I conducted with my grandmother, Alton’s brother – Vertrum Lowe, the late Floyd Lowe, the late Jack Lowe from Marsh Harbour, my late cousin, Jack Albury of Marsh Harbour, and others.”
She added that she also “did some research in the Bahamas Department of Archives in Nassau, as well as through a number of online ancestry and historical databases. And, I have a sizeable personal library of history books and historic articles about The Bahamas from which to draw.”
She said that the book tells the history of Green Turtle Cay – from the Lucayans who lived here prior to the arrival of Columbus, to the Loyalists and Eleutheran Adventurers who came seeking refuge from persecution, to the wreckers, farmers, spongers and fishermen who inhabited the cay in the 19th and 20th centuries.
“Throughout my research, I kept seeing a pattern,” Amanda said. “Over the centuries, various populations migrated to Green Turtle Cay (and the rest of Abaco,) seeking shelter or refuge or safety. Ultimately though, out island life provide difficult and most left, defeated. Only the strongest and most resilient remained, and it was they who formed the foundation for modern Green Turtle Cay – hence the book title, ‘Those Who Stayed.’ I want this book to stand as a tribute to them and all they endured to stay and make a life here.”
She launched her book with a book-signing at the Fortieth Anniversary Celebration of the Albert Lowe Museum on January 7 and was scheduled to another signing at the Abaco Inn on January 10 in Hope Town.
She said that she also had a signing scheduled for January 13 and 14 at the Sand Dollar Shoppe in Marsh Harbour, but the book has sold incredibly well. So much so that she expected to be out of books after the Hope Town signing event.
“I’ve got another, larger print run in the works, so we’ve postponed the Sand Dollar Shoppe signing to late April or early May – I hope to have a firm date soon,” she said.
Sher noted; however, that a number of shops have ordered copies to sell, including Driftwood News & Gifts at Marsh Harbour Airport, the Green Turtle Club in Green Turtle Cay, and the Abaco Inn in Hope Town. The Wyannie Malone Museum and the Albert Lowe Museum will also carry it.
For a full list of where it’s available, visit www.thosewhostayed.com.