Founding date: 1730
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There is no mill or evidence of an estate in existence on this land, but the beautiful old Creek Side Bridge is still visible from the main road. It was constructed in an elegant triple-arched design from old stone, reminiscent of a scene from the English countryside. It was built over the tidal inlet (Antigua has no flowing rivers), presumably at the time of the original estate. Water flows through a series of dams and ponds from the Body Ponds area, through Creek Side, and empties into the flashes and the sea by Seaforths.
Estate Related History/Timeline
In 1739, during the ownership of Isaac Thibou, he, his wife Catherine (nee Shield), and her spinster sister Sophia Field contested the will of Catherine and Sophia’s brother, Theophilus Field, who had stipulated that he wanted “his” estate to be used for charitable purposes. The legal document reads: “Antigua: Isaac Thibou, Esq., and Catherine his wife (late Catherine Field) and Sophia Field, spinster, appellants: Ashton Warner, Esq., his Majesty’s Attorney General of the Leeward Islands, at the relation of the parsons and vestries of the parishes of St. John and St. Mary in Antigua, respondents: the respondents’ case to be heard before the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of Council, at the Council Chamber at the cockpit, Whitehall, on Wednesday the 13th (i.e., Tuesday the 26th) day of February,1739 at six o’clock in the afternoon.”
The area is prone to flooding, and the bridge was deemed inadequate and unsafe for travel after the earthquake of 1974. The road was then diverted alongside a new bridge constructed with money from the government of China and is known locally as the Chinese Bridge. The neighborhood planted palms and flowering plants in 2005 on either side of the new bridge, but the area remains the scene of many accidents due to the speed of vehicles on the curve.
Thomas Franklyn Nibbs was a resident of Antigua and a Member of the House of Assembly. He claimed the Creek Side estate, having purchased it subject to a mortgage. Gibbs and Henry Moreton Dyer settled a division of the compensation between them. In 1805, Thomas appeared with William Baxter, a merchant, certifying the exchange rate of a document dated January 1, 1805 from John Cole, a surgeon at HM Naval Hospital, Antigua, seeking payment from the Commissioners to Lord Lavington for Sick and Wounded Seamen in London for disbursements at the Hospital. Jane Austen’s father, the Reverend George Austen, was trustee of James Nibb’s Antiguan estates. Nibbs was godfather to Jane’s brother, James.
Creek Side was given a Legacy award (Antigua 125) by the British Parliament following the abolition of slavery in the 1830s. The award totaled £2,973. 15. 11p. for the freedom of 184 enslaved. The awardees were Henry Moreton Dyer and Thomas Franklyn Nibbs. Walter Thibou was listed as the previous owner. Unsuccessful was Elizabeth Maria Thibou. Alexander Coates was mentioned as “other association.”
In 1941, the Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. estimated cane returns from Creek Side of 2,008 tons from a 100 acre estate from 1,988 tons of sugar cane delivered at 18.42/acre; 15 acres of peasant land.
August 1, 1943, Gunthorpe’s Estates Ltd. was restructured (see #64, Gunthorpe’s) into a new company renamed Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd. The estates then held by the Dew’s family included Gilbert’s (#80), Pares/Cochranes (#83/84), and Comfort Hall (#103) as well as Creek Side.
Papers and correspondence between 1867 and 1892 for Moore, Creekside. Antigua No. 50 held at the National Archives (UK) Colonial Office, Ref. #CO441/7/12.
Enslaved People’s History
Based on contemporary research, we have little information to share about the enslaved peoples from this plantation at this time. They probably had at maximum 184 people working at that plantation. When the British Parliament abolished slavery in 1833, Creek Side was given a Legacy award (Antigua 125). The award totaled £2,973. 15. 11p. for the freedom of 184 enslaved. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.
1730: Isaac Thibou. d. 1758, approximately 80 years old
1790: Walter Thibou. Baptized 1741. Still living in 1774 (1777/78 map by cartographer John Luffman.)
1829: Thomas Franklyn Nibbs. Baptized 1771. 367 acres, 187 slaves
1851: Thomas Franklyn Nibbs. 367 acres
1872: John H. Moore. 396 acres, 180 in St. Mary’s Parish
1891: James Davey
1910: Ernest Dew. Married Violet in 1918; then Millicent. The girls were the Maginley sisters!
1921: Mrs. Ernest J. Dew