Homestead Farmers in Northcentral St. Croix in 1941"Cultivating sugar cane of the Virgin Islands Company land, vicinity of Bethlehem, St. Croix." Photography by Jack Delano. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.
The Works Progress Administration and the Work Projects Administration established, maintained, and operated homestead communities at Estates Colquhoun and Mount Pleasant on St. Croix. The work was funded by a $18,000 emergency relief grant (1933-1940) to the Government of the Virgin Islands.
The 1939 Annual Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands describes the outcomes of homesteading on St. Croix as such: “On the four Federal homestead projects in St. Croix there are 284 homesteads totaling 2,148 acres under contract. About 70 percent of the homesteaders are now in their fifth or sixth year. During the year 7 homesteaders died, 9 relinquished their plots and 18 were evicted for continued neglect of cultivation. Many of the relinquishments and evictions resulted from the fact that homesteaders found outside wage employment preferable to the uncertain income from cane cultivation, which is realized only at harvest time. Relinquished plots have been divided among adjacent homesteaders who have proved their ability to operate farms of greater area than the average of 7 acres now held by homesteaders. This average has proved too low to support a homesteader and his family in good years and bad, and to make it possible for him to meet amortizing rentals both on his house and plot. With mechanical cultivation facilities supplied at cost by the Government, with seed and cultivation loans, ambitious homesteaders have proved their ability to operate farms of greater area. Seven new houses were built, bringing the total of houses constructed for homesteaders on Federal projects in St. Croix to 74. Many more houses must be constructed if all successful homesteaders are to be provided for.”
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U.S. Department of the Interior, Annual Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1940, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1940, p. 67. U.S. Department of the Interior, Annual Report of the Governor of the Virgin Islands for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1939, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1939, p. 16-17.
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on May 15, 2017.
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