Two Islands One paradise - Beautiful St. Kitts and Nevis

   
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  James Cardin
 

                        James Derrick Cardin


JAMES CARDIN ("Johnnie Bull")
1871-1954: social activist, friend of the poor, Cardin Home is named in his honour, Member of the British Empire (MBE), Coronation Medal

James Derrick Cardin also known as Jim Cardin or Johnnie Bull was born on November 13, 1871. He was one of several children of Alma Demming, a street sweeper. His father was the manager of Canada Estate. 
    The family income being small, Jim did not receive much of an education. However, things would soon change. One day while walking down Fort Street, Jim could not resist the temptation to pick a few roses from the Auld sisters' garden. He was caught and after a frightened apology and an explanation of his mother's poverty he was sent on his way with the flowers. Jim was then eleven years old. Later the sisters looked up Alma Demming and asked her to allow Jim to live with them. Seeing this as an opportunity to ease the burden of maintaining a large family on a meagre income, Alma agreed. As the sisters ran a school, the young boy was soon able to make up for the lack of education in his early years. 
    At fifteen years of age Jim signed on as a sailor to the southern islands. Eventually the Aulds sent young Cardin to the USA where he worked mostly as a Pullman Porter on the Hartford-Newhaven Railroad. He also found time to learn boxing and became a sparring partner to the renowned heavyweight, John Jeffries. Working on the trains brought him into contact with many wealthy and famous people such as the Vanderbilts, the Roosevelts and Bishop Dean of Albany
   He also met Gene Stratton Porter, a millionaire, whose personal valet he became. James Cardin worked hard in the US and invested his savings wisely. This enabled him to eventually return to St. Kitts to personally look after his aging guardians, and to open a bookstore on Fort Street.
Cardin was a generous man, who was interested in the welfare of young people. He urged them to study and lectured them on the importance of education and the value of such qualities as honesty, good manners and politeness. He assisted many experiencing financial difficulties, often helped to settle disputes, and facilitated the schooling and employment of many persons. 
    Cardin was often deeply distressed by the stream of beggars he saw every Saturday morning in the streets of Basseterre and he did not cease in his effort to impress on the government to build a house for them. His efforts met with success in 1927 when Governor St. Johnstone opened the Infirmary to admit the first inmates. Jim Cardin's hallmark was charity and he could be seen daily going through the wards giving good cheer and distributing gifts for the comfort of the residents. 
    In 1918 Cardin became a member of the Freemasons and so active was he in the work of the Lodge that within a few years he had risen to the position of Master. He was honoured with an MBE for his services to the Community. He also received a Coronation Medal from Queen Elizabeth II and a visit from President Theodore Roosevelt and Mrs. Roosevelt while they were touring in St. Kitts. 
    James Cardin died on the 15th May 1954. In his will he bequeathed a sum of money to the Infirmary to provide two treats a year for the inmates for ten years after his death. This gesture continues to be carried out by the Brethren of the Mount Olive Lodge. Finally, Administrator Burrowes changed the name of the institution to the Cardin Home, in honour of Jim Cardin's outstanding generosity. 
 

 
 
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Intelligence plus character - that is goal of true education - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr