American Author Brings Pirate History to St. Kitts
Treasure Island was inspired by a true tale of buried treasure that has its roots at St. Kitts. John Amrhein, Jr. just returned from his presentation of the origins of this infamous pirate tale to the National Historic Trust at St. Kitts.
In 1750, a man named Owen Lloyd who last lived in Hampton, Virginia, was driven by revenge, greed, and destiny, to commit one of the greatest crimes in the eighteenth century. Lloyd had previously lived at St. Kitts and was married to Christian Caines, a privileged woman who lived on a sugar plantation at Dieppe Bay. Lloyd had left Hampton immediately after a hurricane in early September of 1750 travelling with his one-legged brother, John, to St. Kitts to reunite with his wife who had left him. As fate would have it, his sloop sprang a leak forcing him into Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, where a disabled Spanish galleon was anchored. After stealing the treasure, he buried most of it on Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands. Exactly one hundred years later, to the day, on November 13, 1850, Robert Louis Stevenson was born. He would later write a fictional tale of returning to that island to recover the treasure that had been stolen at Ocracoke.
While in St. Kitts with his wife, Amrhein made a public presentation at the National Historic Trust which was will received and opened many eyes to this new history for not only St. Kitts, but the rest of the world. As Amrhein explained there would be no Pirates of the Caribbean today without Stevenson’s Treasure Island and without the daring exploits of Owen Lloyd, there would not have been a Long John Silver or Treasure Island. St. Kitts was surprised to find out that Stevenson’s great grandfather was buried in St. George’s churchyard just blocks away from the historic Treasury Building where Amrhein made his presentation.
Before leaving St. Kitts, Amrhein was a guest on WINN FM radio for a two hour discussion with Scneidman Warner, Vice President of the Historic Trust. The station is very popular on the island as well as overseas where former Kittitians live.
Over half a million tourists arrive by cruise ship every year at St. Kitts. This Island paradise is served by a number of cruise lines including the Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. There ships make weekly calls allowing passengers to disembark for sightseeing excursions. Amrhein expects that the Caines Plaintation, the former home of Owen Lloyd, will become a destination for all visitors to St. Kitts to see.