Estate Bonne Esperance – Animal Mill

Bonne Esperance is estate 7 in St. Croix’s Northside B Quarter. Based on appearances on historic maps, the animal mill was likely built in the mid-1750s.

No indication of settlement is found on the French map of 1671 or the 1750 Danish survey. While the first printed Beck map shows no sugar machinery icon, an animal mill appears on the second printing. An animal mill icon appears in all the other annotated and manuscript copies of the Beck map in estate 7. Oxholm’s 1799 map and its 1820 revision show an animal mill in estate 7 without providing an estate name. While the Parsons map of 1856 and DAIA 1907 map show no settlement, ruins on the 1920s USCGS topographic map show ruins in a location similar to that noted in the McGuire geographic dictionary. Neither of the USGS maps show any structures in the area of Bonne Esperance.

The Beck map variants mostly attribute ownership to Lucas Benners, with a variety of spellings such as Beners, Benvens, and Benders. By the 1770 annotated map, ownership transitioned to Baron de Bretton. The 1790 & 1791 manuscript maps after Beck by Mühlenfels & Janssen, respectively, also attribute ownership to Baron de Brittons.

McGuire geographic dictionary of the Virgin Islands (p.38) notes the ruins of mill on the ridge west of the gut ascending from estate Lebanon.

Photos of Bonne Esperance Animal Mill

Masonry ramp at Bonne Esperance Northside B animal mill
Masonry ramp at Bonne Esperance Northside B animal mill
Masonry wall at Bonne Esperance Northside B animal mill
Masonry wall at Bonne Esperance Northside B animal mill

Photo credits: Steve Cohen

Historic Maps of Bonne Esperance

Snippet of the U.S. Geological Service topographic map of 1982 featuring Northside B quarter estate # 7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1982 USGS topographic map show no ruins at Bonne Esperance.
Snippet of the U.S. Geological Service topographic map of 1958 featuring Northside B quarter estate # 7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1958 USGS topographic map show no ruins at Bonne Esperance.
Snippet of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey topographic map of 1920 featuring Northside B quarter estate # 7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1921 USGS topographic map shows ruins, but nothing indicating a windmill, at Bonne Esperance.
Snippet of the Danish Atlantic Islands Association map of 1907 featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1907 map indicates no settlement near Bonne Esperance.
Snippet of the Parsons map of 1856 featuring Northside B quarter estate # 7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
Parsons’ 1856 map depicts no icons near Bonne Esperance.
Snippet of the Oxholm map of 1799 featuring Northside B quarter estate # 7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
Oxholm’s 1799 map shows an animal mill in estate 7.
Snippet of 1791 manuscript map after Beck by Janssen featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1791 manuscript map after Beck by Janssen attributes ownership to Baron de Brittons.
Snippet of the Mühlenfels map of 1790 featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1790 manuscript map after Beck by Mühlenfels attribute ownership to Baron de Brittons.
Snippet of the circa 1770 annotated Beck map featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The c.1770 annotated Beck map includes an animal mill in estate 7. The blurred image prevents reading any ownership attribution.
Snippet of the 1770 annotated Beck map featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1770 annotated Beck map includes an animal mill in estate 7 and attributes ownership to Baron de Bretton.
Snippet of the undated annotated Beck map featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The undated annotated Beck map includes an animal mill and attributes ownership to Lucas Brenner.
Snippet of the Küffner map of 1767 featuring Northside B quarter estate # 7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
Küffner’s 1767 manuscript copy of Beck’s map depicts a settlement but not a sugar mill.
Snippet of the 1767 annotated Beck map featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1767 annotated Beck map includes an animal mill in estate 7 and attributes ownership to Lucas Brenner.
Snippet of the 1766 Zollner manuscript copy of the Beck map featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
A blurred image for estate 7 on the Zöllner manuscript copy of Beck does not appear to include an animal ill, with animal mills clearly depicted on several neighboring estates. The blurred images on the c.1770 annotated map and Zöllner’s manuscript copy prevent reading any ownership attribution.
Snippet of the 1766 unsigned manuscript copy of the Beck map featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The unsigned 1766 manuscript copy of the Beck map includes an animal mill in estate 7 and attributes ownership to Lucas Brenner.
Snippet of the 1766 annotated Beck map featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The 1766 annotated Beck map includes an animal mill in estate 7 and attributes ownership to Lucas Brenner.
Snippets of the Beck map printed circa 1757 featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The second printing of the Beck map includes an animal mill at Bonne Esperance (Northside B) estate.
Snippet the Beck map printed in 1754 featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
The first Beck map printing indicates no sugar machinery at Bonne Esperance (Northside B) estate.
Snippet of the Cronenberg and von Jaegersberg map of 1750 featuring Northside B quarter estate #7, currently named Bonne Esperance.
By 1750, no settlement is indicated near Bonne Esperance (Northside B) estate.