If truth be told, Sir Harry Oakes wasted his life and fortune in the Bahamas. He was neither mourned, nor remembered, save only by his family, if that. The white, merchant oligarchs who lured Harry Oakes, then 63 years old in 1938, to the islands, quickly forgot about him. When the old Bay Street regime gave way to Majority Rule in 1967, Oakes was long since dust in island memory.
In trying to live out some wealthy, monied version of Robinson Crusoe, in the end, all poor Sir Harry got for his troubles, was to be hacked to death, like a farm animal, in his own bed.
(Winnipeg Evening Tribune, Saturday, March 12, 1938)
In July 1961, some eighteen years after the murder of the millennium, a ridiculous 3,000 acres of Sir Harry’s property, in Nassau, was up for sale. This purchase ushered in a new and formidable era of grandiose, multimillion dollar foreign developments which was about to engulf the Bahamas.
Oakes’s estate property totalled more than 4,000 acres on New Providence alone.
4,000 acres for Oakes, indicates just how much land was being thrown at the Canadian gold tycoon, in order to get him to spend more and more of his fortune in the Bahamas.
By July 1938, Oakes, the foreign import, had been elected to the Bahamas House of Assembly having defeated negro grocery man, Milo Butler.
(Nassau Daily Tribune, Monday, July 31, 1961)
(National Post, Saturday, 11 November, 1961)
(Detroit Free Press, Sunday, September 17, 1961)
1938 – Within The Vast Acreages Of Land Sold To Oakes There Was The History Of The Slaves… What Ever Happened To These Priceless Antiquities?
Over 4,000 acres was sold, bestowed, or just quieted to Sir Harry Oakes. Goodness only knows if he even paid for the majority of it. From what is now Oakes Field to Bay Street to Cable Beach to Caves Point to Old Fort Bay, Harry Oakes was said to own all of it.
In 1938, as Oakes and a stock of negroes working as labourers, were cutting through the vast acreages of land, they came across the relics of Bahamian slave history.
What ever happened to the remnants of slave and plantation history that was found in the jungle forests from Oakes Field to Caves Point to Old Fort Bay?
“He finds, in that old jungle, relics of a society vanished and gone for ever, a society of slavery, of plantation houses and the little rings of slaves cottages. ￼
Great stone fences, he finds, marking the boundaries of concessions got by royal favour in an age long dead.
￼On these fences, fine carven stone urns and ornaments.
Oranges and citrus trees gone wild and sour.
We still eat oranges, the orange is grown by planters who, when slavery was abolished, sailed across the still enslaved jungles of Florida, for it was a third of a century after Victoria’s decree that the United States followed.“