September 17, 2019

Eden family swords

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“Historic swords unite Eden family” [Familial Swords unite Eden descendants at . James]

[Savannah, Grand Cayman, January 24, 2018 – Ancestral swords belonging to descendants of the original Eden family members were brought to Pedro St. James National Historic Site from Alabama, for the first time on Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Descendants of the original settler, mariner and owner of Pedro St. James Great House – William Eden of Devizes – 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 and Pedro St. James.

There was local food, rum and music, as well as heart-felt speeches at the event which officially received the historic items into the care of Pedro St. James.

The family members (three in total), as well as their spouses came together for one day at the historic Pedro St. James to celebrate this ceremonious occasion.

From :
“It is our honour to bring these swords back to their home – to the people of the . 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, , 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”.

From the Deputy Premier & Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell:
“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.”

From Debbie Bodden, Operations Manager, Pedro St. James
“It has been a great journey getting these swords back to their family’s homeland. We are so appreciative of the efforts of Charles, Charlotte and Linda – grandchildren of Francis Mignonette (a great granddaughter of William Eden of Devizes, who built the Great House in 1780) – for bringing these historic items to Pedro St. James. We will continue to conduct research on who the owners were, and the story of how they came to live in Mobile, Alabama. 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.”

Other Information on the Swords:
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. 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 inscribed initials on the grip “WAB”.

Charlotte and her brother Charles Woodville, being well-aware of their ancestral roots in Cayman, but unable to find more information about the swords decided to take them to Cayman for further research.

They have subsequently donated these historically interesting pieces, under the auspices of Pedro St. James National Historic Site, to The People of The Cayman Islands.

Charlotte and Charles are descendants of the original settler, William Eden of Devizes, and down through the line, grandchildren of Frances Mignonette of Savannah.

Although the history, or provenance of the swords is not immediately evident, they are certainly fascinating pieces of history. The identification of the type of swords and knowledge of the original owners of these pieces is a mystery that Pedro St. James staff are trying to solve.

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.

The Tourism Attraction Board and Pedro St. James are encouraging anyone with information on the Eden Family – particularly on Frances Mignonette and her parents – to come forward and share their knowledge. 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. Their presence will play a significant role in enhancing the customer experience at the attraction, and in keeping Caymanian history and heritage alive.” – Shayma Hamdi-Romanica, Marketing Coordinator, Tourism Attraction Board.

An official unveiling of the swords is planned for May 2018, where the public, distinguished guests, and family descendants will be invited.

Pedro St. James National Historic Site is managed by the Tourism Attraction Board of the Cayman Islands, and is open Monday to Sunday from 8.30AM to 5.00PM. Boasting over 7 acres of landscaped gardens, the grounds are home to an 18th Century Great House, a stamp collection room, and a 3D multimedia movie theatre. It is the birthplace of democracy for the Cayman Islands people, and is a popular location for weddings and events. The Great House was restored and opened to the public as an historic site in 1996 by the Government of the Cayman Islands. It continues to promote, preserve, and protect Caymanian heritage and history to this day.

Pedro St. James offers resident rates of CI$5 for adults, and free admission for children under 12, and seniors over 60.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Ms. Debbie Bodden at
debbie@pedrostjames.ky or Shayma Hamdi at marketing@tab.ky .

IMAGES:
Photos attached, by Shayma Hamdi-Romanica. Captions below:
#1 Photo from left to right: Cayman Spirits Co. display their 1780 Rum, distilled especially for the Pedro St. James National Historic Site.
#2 Photo from left to right: Glen Scott and Eden Hurlston of OneWorld Entertainment.
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#3 Photo from left to right: Ernest Hurlston, Stacy Eden Hurlston, Linda Davis, Patrick Thompson (Director, TAB), Debbie Bodden (Operations Manager, Pedro St. James), Peggy Woodville, Charles Woodville, Ken Jackson, and Charlotte Eden Davis
#4 Photo from left to right: Eden Hurlston, Ernest Hurlston , Stacy Eden Hurlston, Linda Davis, Patrick Thompson (Director, TAB), Debbie Bodden (Operations Manager, Pedro St. James), Peggy Davis, Charles Woodville Davis, Ken Jackson and Charlotte Eden Davis
#5 Photo from left to right: Charles Woodville Davis speaking on the significance of the swords on behalf of his family.
#6 Photo from left to right: Receiving of the Swords – Deputy Premier & Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell and Charles Woodville Davis.
#7 Photo from left to right: Receiving of the Swords – Deputy Premier & Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell, Debbie Bodden (Operations Manager, Pedro St. James), and Charles Woodville Davis.
#8 Left to Right: Linda Davis, Peggy Davis, , Patrick Thompson (Director, TAB), Charles Woodville Davis, Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell, Charlotte Eden Davis, and Ken Jackson.
#9 Photo from left to right: Catching up on family history – Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses I. Kirkconnell, Stacy Eden Hurlston, Peggy Davis, Charles Woodville Davis, Charlotte Eden Davis, Ken Jackson, and Linda Davis.

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