St. Catherine – Popular Legends

The Golden Table

The legend of a large golden table which rises occasionally from the bottom of Jamaican rivers and ponds is perhaps the most widespread in Jamaica. One such story surrounds the Rio Cobre River.

A St. Catherine planter, hearing of the richness and beauty of the Golden Table, decided he would take it from the river when it next surfaced. It is said that the table rises exactly at noon, and so the planter waited patiently by the river bank until that time. The table, as he saw it, remained on the surface of the water for about twelve seconds, and then disappeared.

Having actually seen the table the planter devised an intricate plan, which he thought was guaranteed to get it out of the river. Twelve yoke of oxen were harnessed to a strong cattle chain with grappling irons at the end. Three slaves were readied at the water’s edge to dive in as soon as the table appeared and fix the irons onto the legs of the table.

Once again, the planter waited, and as the table appeared, he signalled for the irons to be attached and the oxen driven, to pull the table out of the water. As legend has it, the table sank, carrying with it the straining oxen and the slaves who were still in the water.

Not much is known of this brave and perhaps reckless planter, but somewhere on the property of Caymanas Estates is a cane-field, which some say rests on top of a buried plantation house and sugar works. Could this have been the residence and property of the hapless planter?

St. Catherine – Some Famous Persons

Prime Minister Bruce Golding

Though Orette Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica was born in Clarendon, he has been mostly associated with the parish of St. Catherine where he spent most of his years.  He was born at the home of his godmother, Mrs. Winnifred Stuart (the mother of Mrs. Percival Broderick) where his mother was staying in order to be close to her doctor. A few days after he was born he was taken to the family home at Ginger Ridge, St. Catherine where his birth was officially registered. His parents were Tacius Golding and Enid Golding (nee Bent), both teachers.

In 1949, when he was only two years old, his family moved to St. Faiths district near Browns Hall, St. Catherine where he spent the next five years. He attended the Watermount Elementary School in the parish.

Mallica Kapo Reynolds

Jamaican Intuitive master Mallica “Kapo” Reynolds was born February 10, 1911 in Byndloss, St. Catherine, to David Reynolds and Rebecca Morgan. A highly celebrated self-taught artist, Kapo began his prolific career in art by scraping on a stone with homemade tools.

Leonard Percival Howell – Gong

Though born in Crooked River Clarendon in 1898, Howell has come to be most associated with St. Catherine.  He was a mystic and has been credited with founding the Rastafarian Movement in Jamaica during the 1930s. He and his followers, known as Howellites, lived in Pinnacle, Sligoville and later Simon, St. Catherine.

Asafa Powell

Asafa Powell was born on November 23, 1982 in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. He attended the Charlemont High School in Ewarton, St. Catherine. This outstanding Jamaican sprinter held the 100m world record between June 2005 and May 2008, with times of 9.77 and 9.74 seconds respectively. He has run the 100m in under 10 seconds more times than any other athlete in the world.

Alfred M.W. Sangster

Well known educator, Alfred Sangster was president of the University of Technology (the College of Arts Science and Technology). He has contributed much to the development of Science in Jamaica and has published numerous scientific works.

Ena Collymore-Woodstock

Recipient of the Order of Distinction and Member of the British Empire, Ena Collymore- Woodstock was born in Spanish Town on September 10, 1917. She was actively involved in many aspects of Jamaican life, including Civil Service, guiding, education, law and social work, and rendered legal services in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and Anguilla.

Ivy E.A. Baxter

Born in Spanish Town on March 3, 1923, Ivy Baxter was best known for her pioneering work in Jamaican dance. She fostered the development of creative dance in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, and was also actively involved in education up to the time of her death.