The earliest recorded history of James Cistern, found in the archives of the Methodist Church, states that the community was established by freed slaves who migrated from the plantations of Exuma (the Rolle Estates) and Cat Island (the Johnsons' and Bethels' Estates). Today, these surnames are still prevalent in the community.
The community was officially named after Sir James Carmichael Smythe, who served as the Crown Colony's Royal Governor between 1829 and 1835. He was an abolitionist who was much concerned with the well-being of the freed slaves. He contributed one thousand pounds of his own money to establish schools for the freed black slaves in Nassau and the Family Islands. He is best known for shutting down the Parliament of the day because it would not pass legislation that would prohibit plantation owners from lashing or whipping their female slaves.
He commissioned the erection of the Columbus Statue that is located at Government House, and allowed salt-rakers from the Family Island to sell their salt to the markets in Nassau. This served the purpose of the inhabitants of James Cistern, because saltraking was a lucrative part of their income. Governor Smythe's contribution to the well-being of the Bahamian people was so widely established that today Carmichael Road, Carmichael School and James' Point were named in his honour.
The early inhabitants of James Cistern were hard-workers who made their living from fishing, sponging, salt-raking, farming and salvaging wrecked ships. They also made history when they leased their commonage land to the United States Government to establish the Naval Base and Missile Tracking System.
North Eleuthera's Townships
more information, see www.EleutheraLiving.com
Tarpum Bay - a charming artists' colony lost in time. See George Major's www.tarpumbay.com for daily news of the village.
Eleuthera & Briland Travel Guide
can also visit Preacher's Cave that was once used for shelter by the earliest
European settlers of The Bahamas; ride horseback down a deserted beach;
explore the dramatic Hatchet Bay network of underground caves as used
by the original Arawak Indians; marvel at the sunset overlooking Hatchet
Bay and Alice Town; watch descendants of the 16th century Eleutheran Adventurers
feed the fish at the Rock Sound Ocean Hole, or climb the cliffs in the
north for a dramatic view of both the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans.