Long and Rich History

Sun-drenched paradise, where cooling trade winds enhance an idyllic year-round climate.


The History of Thatch Cay

Thatch Cay has a long and rich history, tracing its roots back to the Danish occupation in the mid-1700’s. The island was named after its abundant groves of “Thatch” or Tyre Palms, which still exist today. In days gone by, native craftspeople used this material to make brooms and wove it into mats and baskets.

Ownership of Thatch Cay was passed down through the Reyck family and their descendants for over 100 years. From 1804 through at least 1915, the island was part of a plantation known as “The Hope.” In the early to mid-1800’s, settlers made their living off the land, relying on the island’s abundant natural resources for farming and grazing. Daily life on Thatch Cay included fishing, lime burning, charcoal making, thatch and logwood cutting. The 1846 census reports that 16 people made their home on the island, including 14 descendants of the original settlers and 2 slaves. Plantation crops at that time consisted of cotton and potatoes.

In the mid-18th century, Danish economist Christian Martfeld recorded this description of the island (which has been translated from the original)

Teyer Cay – (Closer to St. Thomas. The name Teyer is a plant of which from the leaves the Negroes make bags or sacks, and used also to roof houses with, they are better than sugar leaves as they are less dangerous for fire as they do not flame). Teyer Cay is 1 ½ cotton plantations in size. It has a beautiful cotton ground and good forest. It is now sold at auction to Anthony Reyck, who for the most part lives here and plants food and burns lime. The cay is especially known for lobsters which are here in great numbers.

Land use on Thatch Cay reached its peak in the early 1900’s when eight acres of land were used for pasturing or planted in provision crops. Families continued to live on the island into the early-to-mid- 1900’s, when it served as a small fishing village made up of six structures. Stone ruins of these structures remain on the property. The island also at one time held a small working copper mine, and a partial brick chimney still remains from an oven used to melt the copper ore.