Old Danish Cemetery
Old cemeteries with their evocative gravestones can provide fascinating clues to life in former days of any site. We have the good fortune that in Christiansted's old cemetery, divided into various sections, to include the Moravian, Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran (Danish), most gravestones have not been obliterated or removed. In the Danish section, which is found in the southwest corner below the ruins of the old Peter's Farm Hospital, some of the gravestones have been mounted on the wall, which allows a large number of names to be in the roster of those buried here.
This cemetery, which is maintained thanks to an annual grant from the Danish Government, primarily holds the graves of Danish government officials and military officers; a large common grave with a monument erected in 1920 holds the remains of enlisted men that died here in service to their country. The Royal Danish Consulate in St. Thomas has a website displaying not only the names of all buried here ( and in the St. Thomas Danish cemetery) but photo images of all the gravestones and the inscriptions, a most helpful tool for anyone interested in historical research. It can be found at www.dkconsulateusvi.com/HDC
A number of prominent persons in their days found their final resting place here, among them were Jobst Gerhard von Scholten, the brother of Governor General Peter von Scholten, Vice Governor and Admiral John Christmas, Major General Frederik Oxholm, Counselor Claus Langhaar Smidt, Hospital Administrator V.C. Hvid, to name a few. But we also see many graves that hold infants of a tender age, tragic evidence of the hazards of life in the tropics in former days, when yellow fever and malaria epidemics did not differentiate between rich and poor, old and young.
We learn about the shipping trade with Flensburg in southern Jutland from the grave inscriptions in German for two ship captains who died here in the 1830's; a monument to the late Marcus Andersen, lieutenant, postmaster, and customs officer, erected by the Danish Marksman's Club, tells us about an organization that we might never have known existed. We find a gravestone for Svend Joergensen, a plantation owner who founded the Christiansted cooperative dairy, another revelation of a former activity.
The most recent grave in the Danish Cemetery is that of Harry Neumann, son of a prominent Danish officer August Neumann, who remained in St. Croix after the sale of the islands in 1917. We do find some graves to so indicate, giving an insight into the options available to resident Danes at the time. Some took the opportunity to emigrate to the mainland U.S. and remained there, while many returned to Denmark, often with bitter-sweet memories of the time spent in this distant land.
As a precaution, visit the cemetery with friends. The entrance, at the West end of Company Street, can be entered by car.