This swietenia mahogany table is from the Estate Clifton Hill Great House on St. Croix, which was most recently owned by the late Maria Hoffman. Although made during the 1830's, it was in 1867 that the table played a role in the history of the island.
The Treaty of October 24, 1867 precipitated the American aquisition of the Virgin Islands of St.Thomas and St. John for $7.5 million. As St. Croix was 'vociferously asking to be a part of the prospective purchase', the American wooden steamer Monongahela transported American officials and high-ranking navy personnel to St. Croix for inspection. Mr. Raymond, the owner of Clifton Hill Great House at the time, set this mahogany table for a gala luncheon on November 18th for the American officials as well as 'a few carefully chosen Danish leaders'. The American group from the Monongahela was headed by A.T. Stewart, a prominent New York millionaire businessman (who would later be appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Grant), and included Commodore Bissel, Governor Hans Henrick Berg, Chamberlain Carslina, and Reverend Charles Hawly who was Secretary of State William Seward's special representative. The meal was to include a saddle of mutton, a Scotch haggis...stew green turtle, roast yams, sweet potatoes and stuff chickens, bottles of Port, Maderra, rum and champagne, each to be put 'very cool and ice to be had from town in the morning'.
The carriage arrived with all the officials and invited plantation owners. The luncheon took place on the above-described table but 'tactful regret was expressed that St. Croix was not to be included' in the Treaty.
Shortly after this luncheon, there occurred a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Originating in the Anegada trough between St. Croix and St. Thomas it created a huge tidal wave that destroyed parts of Christiansted and Fredricksted and lifted the American warship Monongahela so high that it landed 'high and dry on the beach in front of Fredricksted town'. According to local history, the damage from this tidal wave of 1867 prevented the treaty from being ratified, for 'immediately everyone in Washington D.C. began to make fun of the treaty as one for annexation of hurricanes and earthquakes, and the subject was fairly laughed out of the court'.