Golden Grove: (By Traveller).
  Kinship:Bentick,John&Tuckness Sancho
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Among the multitude of public prints, it is hard to say which lyes the most. --Ignatius Sancho; (1729 - 1780), January 5, 1780.

 

Hotep! Welcome to A People of African Origins.

Golden Grove: (By Traveller)

With the sea to the , and the savannah to the south, with an inhabited area (the village of Nabaclis) to the east, and another (the Haslington plantation) to the west, the confines of Golden Grove village can be said to be identical with those of the other villages along the East Coast of Demerara. The Golden Grove of which I am writing now must not be confused with another area of land on the West Coast of Berbice bearing a similar name. It is about sixteen and a half miles east of Georgetown, and can be reached from the city or from any point on the coast eastward of it by road as well as by rail. In the years within the first decade after Emancipation, it was the property of the Mr. Bayley who owned Haslington – its western neighbour. Mr. Bayley is said to have sold it to one Bentick Sancho who resold it to two hundred and fifty persons, who became the original proprietors; and those first settlers with their progeny, exercising energy and industry have gradually developed their settlement, resulting in its blossoming out into the thriving and first-rate village it is today.

Whether or not there is in it any “grove’ – and a ‘golden’ one at that – whence the name given it has been chosen, I have not been able to determine, nor would I now venture on any speculation; but this is certain that within it confines are to be found a greater number of sand-reefs than can be located in any other inhabited area from Georgetown at the mouth of the Demerara River to the Abary.

The township not quite half a mile from the seashore starts that part of the village regarded as the township; and this portion can, for the purpose of description be conveniently divided up into three sections – first, the lands between the seashore and the Public Road, the second, those between the Public Road and the railway line, and the third, those south of the line up to where the cultivation begins. As can be seen, there is an East Section, and a West Section, the dividing line between the sections being a middle-walk dam running north to south and which is kept in a-not-altogether tolerable condition from the Public road to the line beyond which the metalling is seldom, or not at all done. The cross streets running east and west are not many, and though made up and kept fairly level are seldom macadamized.

What is a striking and somewhat peculiar feature in the configuration of the lands comprising the northernmost section is not so much their sandy nature, but the rising ground they form compared with those of the other two sections; and the slope that the lands take as you view the village from the seashore to the public road and for some distance beyond it, though not conspicuous, is very observable. The rising nature, which those sand reef portions assume, affords them a kind of protection; and so they do not suffer to the same extent from floods as do those that are low-lying. Another peculiarity in that section is the absence of any inter-lot drains of any great width, and the fewness of the number of narrow ones that have been dug.

The township cannot be said to be densely populated, and the least inhabited areas are those south of the railway line; the other two areas, between the sea and the line apparently sharing, equally in residential structures, and business premises.

Religious and Educational Aspects:-

I has but one church, and one school belonging to the Methodists, which has been functioning there for more than three quarters of a century.

The church, is a fine wooden building, and situated as it is by the roadside, its prominent position lends it some attraction. Many years ago, it boasted of a steeple, the top of which was discernible for fully three miles westward.
The church, is one of the four missionary stations comprising what is known as the Friendship Methodist Circuit, and at one time it had attached to it a Mission House where resided permanently a Minister, as a second to the Superintendent stationed at Friendship. Robbed as it has been for years of a resident Parson, it is a debatable matter whether the village has not been made all the poorer from a religious point of view.

There was at one time another church in the village not connected with any of the recognized denominations. It was founded by some very evangelical persons and catered for some of the prominent people who assisted in its erection.

Its founders have all died out; “Ichabod” has been written on its doors and walls; it was a first, sold to a society, which used it as its meeting place; that society has resold it, and today it serves as a hall for public entertainment and dancing.

One of the pillars of that Independent Sect was a Mr. James William James, one of Golden Grove’s most enterprising and industrious sons, details of whose enterprise and industry would be told later.

The one and only school of the village has a history of its own. It changed several head teachers when it was managed by the succession of Ministers from Reverend T. A. Tabraham of Jewish extraction to Revd: Charles Llewellyn, all of whom were loved and revered by the Golden Grove people. Then the father of present Head teacher was placed in charge, for several years he ruled over the destinies of that village school, and had the good fortune, satisfaction and pleasure of seeing one of his pupils, Balgobin Persaud win a primary scholarship, topping even the pupils of Mr. Sharples of St. Thomas’s that year and finally winning the Guiana Scholarship in 1916. Thus was Golden Grove placed in the news with the unique distinction of being the only village on the East Coast of Demerara that has up to the present produced a Guiana Scholar.

Time was when many of the children attended schools outside the village; particularly the Cove and John E. School, and so the one building in which the school was kept afforded all the accommodation necessary. Times has changed; and with the sensible increase of the school, population there arose the necessity for greater space to house the pupils of school age. An additional building was therefore erected by the Methodists on the spot where once stood the Mission House. Thus, Golden Grove has added another mark of distinction to itself as the only village on the Coast with separate buildings housing pupils of the lower and the upper school

 

Source:
“Covering the Country Districts” - the Sunday Chronicle – May 19, 1946: page 7.

 

 

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