- Written by Captain David Captain David
- Created: 17 February 2017 17 February 2017
In school you may have read the book To Kill A Mockingbird. It was also made into a movie (1962) starring Gregory Peck as the lawyer, Atticus Finch. What many don't know is that the story is based upon true events, the trial of State of Alabama vs. Charles White.
In the 1930's, Charles White, a large black man, was accused of raping a young white woman. During the trial, Dr. W. P. Stewart was called by the prosecution to testify. His testimony was scandalous. He said words that had never been said in open court leading husbands to cover their wifes' ears, others to rush from the courtroom, and still others of fainting. What were these shocking words that had such an effect? "Vagina", "hymen", "labia". His testimony, for the prosecution, was that he had examined the girl and her hymen was intact, and there was no evidence of assault, especially from a Negro (after all, we all know how "big" they are). If you haven't read the book, you should. After that, see the movie, because Peck does an great job. And there's a book that is a little more factual called My Father and Atticus Finch that tells the true story of the events.
After the trial, Dr. Stewart returned to his practice in Florida. To relax, he purchased Royal Island in the Bahamas, and built a sprawling estate. He used this as a getaway for himself and his friends to, as the story goes, drink, fish, and get away from his wife. Over the years the estate was abandoned, and has fallen into ruins, with the jungle slowly reclaiming the area. But exploring these glorious ruins is amazing.
Royal Island is a private island, four miles off of North Eleuthera, about 35 miles northeast of Nassau. At five miles long, this 430 acre island features 15 miles of coastline. Royal Island has long been a favourite both as a harbour of refuge for boats making the Abacos-Exumas transit or as a nearby destination for boats crusing from Nassau or Eleuthera. It's name was originally Real Island, for the Spanish silver coin used by pirate who frequented the harbour. Lying safely in the harbour, the pirates could go ashore and watch to the north for ships transiting the Northeast Providence Channel. A quick dash out and and they could lay siege to the ships, then retreat back into the shelter to divide their plunder.
Dr. Stewart's estate is built on the hill top, looking south over Royal Island harbour, a 150 acre, completely sheltered harbour with two narrow openings.