St. John may be reached by any of the sloops running between the islands; or from the east end of St. Thomas at Smith’s Bay by boat to Cruz Bay, which consisting of a few detached houses, is called the town.
Many years ago it rejoiced in a battery mounted with cannon and a lieutenant with a detachment of twenty soldiers.
Now only a judge and two policemen represent the majesty of the law in this peaceable and well-ordered island.
Dutch Creole was once the prevailing language, many of the planters being of Dutch descent. The present population of 900 consists almost entirely of Negroes who speak English. They are represented in the Colonial Council of St. Thomas and St. John by three members, one appointed by the government and two eleted by the people. Only on horseback and not without a certain sense of fear can one ride along the pathways of the steep cliffs and mountains. Probably on account of the difficult roads and the distance between the estates, social life is virtually nil….
The lover of natural scenery will find much to reward him in his rambles. Magnificent views are everywhere: whether horseback riding, walling or boating, the excursionist can be assured of the most delightful surroundings.
Should boating be preferable a pull (row) to St. Mary’s Point with its lofty granite cliffs studded with mica glimmering in the sunshine, or Smith’s Bay (Leinster Bay) with its fine bathing beach cannot be easily forgotten. The bottom of the bay is of beautiful white sand, spread like a carpet and covered with all sorts of brightly colored marine plants, which spring up in graceful form and owing to the peculiar transparency of the waters, seem quite near to the observer….
…Denis Bay, America Hill and Leinster Bay are popular resorts among regular visitors to St. John and at all these places good food and splendid living accommodations can be had at reasonable prices….
…The only means of transportation on the island of St. John is by horseback. Narrow and uneven roads over steep and irregular hills are far from suitable for carriages or vehicles of any kind, but horses nay be hired for $2.00 per day and the services of a good guide may be procured at a nominal price….
On St. John there are at the present only two white landowners and only one white man making his home there. The population is almost entirely rural, there being no town worthy of the name in this section, the largest settlement being at Cruz Bay.
From Luther K Zabriskie’s book, The United States Virgin Islands, published in 1918