Ancestral swords donated to Cayman

| 26/01/2018
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Linda Davis, Peggy Davis, Patrick Thompson (director, TAB), Charles Woodville Davis, Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell and Charlotte Eden Davis, with husband Ken Jackson

(CNS Local Life): Ancestral swords belonging to descendants of the original Eden family members were given to Pedro St James national historic site from Alabama, Tuesday, 23 January 2018. Descendants of the original settler – mariner and owner of Pedro St James Great House, William Eden of Devizes (UK) – were united with distant family members – Stacy Eden Hurlston, his brother Ernest Hurlston, and his son Eden Hurlston, at a ceremony hosted by the Tourism Attraction Board (TAB) and Pedro St James.

The event featured local food, rum and music, as well as speeches to officially accept the historic items into the care of Pedro St James.

Last summer, when Charlotte Eden Davis was preparing for a visit to Cayman she thought of two swords that had been in the family for a long time, stated a TAB press release. They had always been referred to as the “Eden and Bodden swords”.

One had a metal disk attached inscribed “R. Eden, Mobile Al” and the other had the initials WAB on the grip.

Charlotte and her brother, Charles Woodville Davis, knew of their ancestral roots in Cayman but were unable to find more information about the swords so decided to take them to Cayman for further research.

“It is our honour to bring these swords back to their home – to the people of the Cayman Islands,” said Charles Woodville Davis. “It is our hope that they will stem further research into the story of the Eden family.

“My family have dedicated a plaque which says, “Eden and Bodden ceremonial swords given to the people of the Cayman Islands, donated to the Pedro St James National Historic Site by the grandchildren of Francis Mignonette Eden – Linda Lorraine Davis, Charlotte Eden Davis, Francis Madeline Peters and Charles Woodville Davis. Francis Mignonette Eden was a great granddaughter of William Eden of Devizes, the original owner and settler of Pedro St James Great House. This is bestowed to the people of the Cayman Islands, January 2018.”

CNS Local Life

Moses Kirkconnell receives sword from Charles Woodville Davis

Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said of the donation, “It is my privilege to accept these pieces of history from you on behalf of the Cayman Islands. I guarantee that they will be well taken care of, and thank you very much for bringing these pieces of our history home to us.

“The story will be told of how you brought them here, and of the sentimental journey that brought you and your family back to the Cayman Islands. This is extremely special for us as a people.”

Pedro St James operations manager Debbie Bodden thanked the group, noting their efforts to bring the swords to Cayman. “We will continue to conduct research on who the owners were, and the story of how they came to live in Mobile, Alabama,” she said. “We encourage anyone with information on the Eden family to come forward, and help us to piece together this important part of our Caymanian history.”

Contact has been made with professional colleagues in the history and museum community, to determine the identity of the swords. However, the real intrigue lies with the original owners – who they were, what they did for a living, and how they came to live in Mobile, Alabama, said the press release.

The TAB and Pedro St James are encouraging anyone with information on the Eden family – particularly Frances Mignonette and her parents – to come forward. Photos, ancestral documentation, or even stories are all welcomed.

“Further research will be conducted on the swords, and they will eventually be placed inside the Great House with other historic artefacts of that time,” said Shayma Hamdi-Romanica, TAB marketing coordinator. “Their presence will play a significant role in enhancing the customer experience at the attraction, and in keeping Caymanian history and heritage alive.”

An official unveiling of the swords is planned for May 2018.

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  1. Anson Autry M. Foster says:

    By the way, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell’s paternal grandmother was an Eden.