de Freitas Family History

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1. Henry Alexander de Freitas M.B.E. Born in 1872 in St. Vincent, WI.[2] Immigrated in 1902 to Trinidad, WI. At the age of 76, Henry Alexander retired from Port of Spain, Trinidad, WI in 1948.[2] Henry Alexander died in Port of Spain, Trinidad, WI on 9 Oct 1964; he was 92.[29] Buried in Lapeyrouse Cemetery, Port of Spain, Trinidad, WI. Resided in 9 Mary Street. Education: St Vincent.[2] Religion: Roman Catholic. Occupation: Businessman, Landlord. Served in the military.

Military Service:

Served on Staff US Army, 4 years[2]
Served the Spanish-American War, Storekeeper & Forage Master, USA Quatermaster's Dept.[2]

Business Ventures:

Henry started a leather tannery business in Port of Spain. As the business grew, he expanded into making shoes and other leather goods. The following article appeared in a contemporary publication:

H. A. de FREITAS, Manufacturer of Leather, Boots, Shoes, and Alpargatas, Orinoco Tannery, 70, Sackville Street.[17]

The cosmopolitan character of the people of Port of Spain is well illustrated by the variety of their footwear; and on the excellent streets of this attractive city the latest fashion in boots and shoes afford striking contrasts to the primitive wooden sandals and the popular alpargatas made of soles of first-rate leather, with strong cloth holders at back and front. The attention paid to footwear in Port of Spain is certainly noteworthy for a city in the tropics, and the establishment of Mr. H. A. de Freitas contributes its due share thereto. In the Orinoco Tannery, as his establishment is called, the manufacture of footwear is carried out from the treatment of the raw materials to the finished articles. The processes begin in the section of the premises comprising more especially the tannery, where, in a series of twenty-four pits, specially constructed by Mr. de Freitas as an improvement upon ordinary methods, the hides undergo slow tanning by mangrove bark and divi divi that eventually results in strong leather, which is further enhanced in quality by the rolling at enormous pressure to which it is subjected by a great machine specially designed for that purpose, after which it is comparable with the best sole leather in the world. For the manufacture of boots and shoes Mr. de Freitas has ingenious machinery that reduces the work to a minimum, and enables him to cope with a big demand. One of the machines cuts out at one operation a large number of soles by means of detachable steel cutters, which are as numerous in shape as the sizes required for the soles. Mr. de Freitas is one of the largest manufacturers of alpargatas which he produces all sizes, and which find their way to the other islands of the West Indies and the Spanish Main. The establishment gives employment to about sixty persons, and in front of it is an attractive showroom, where are displayed an interesting assortment of its high-class productions. Besides his wholesale operations, Mr. de Freitas makes boots and shoes to order; and is also an importer of American and European goods. He is a native of St. Vincent, and started his business in Port of Spain in 1903. His cable address is "Had," Trinidad.

In addition, Henry was involved in real estate, and owned a number of rental properties.

Civic Activities:

Founder & Member of the Portuguese Club of Trinidad[21]
Member of the Visiting Committee for Royal Gaol and Carrera Convict Prison[18]
Member of Child Welfare League for 15 years and several times President[18]
Member of St. Vincent de Paul Society for 39 years, President[18]
President & Co-Founder Corpus Christi Day Nursery[18]
Member of Central Poor Relief Board[18]
Member of Local Poor Relief Board[18]
Member of Central Visiting Committee for 15 years[18]
Honorary Treasurer of L'Hospice Management Committee[18]
Member of Belmont Orphanage Advisory Board from its inception[18]
Member of P.O.S. Rent Assessment Board[18]

Elected Office:

Port of Spain City Council, 30 years; Chairman of Assessment C'ttee for 19 years[18]
Appointed Alderman 1928, Retired in 1948[18]
Elected Deputy Mayor of Port of Spain on three occasions[18]
Elevated to to Mayor ?[18]

Honors and Awards:

In 1935, Henry was awarded the King George V Jubilee Medal.[18]. To mark the 25th year of the accession of King George V to the throne, this medal was awarded to the Royal Family, officers of state, officials and servants of the royal household, ministers, government officials, mayors, public servants, local government officials, members of the navy, army, air force and police in Britain, her colonies, and in Canada.

In 1937, Henry was awarded the King George VI Coronation Medal.[18] This medal commemorates the coronation of King George VI, which took place on 12 May 1937, following the death of King George V on January 1936 and the abdication of King Edward VIII on 11 December 1936.

He was also awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire.[18] The actual year of his award is as yet unknown. This medal was presented for services to the war effort by civilians at home and servicemen in support positions to reward non-combatant services to the war.

Family Information:

Henry Alexander first married ???.

They had the following children:
2 i. Boy ?
3 ii. Diane ?

Henry Alexander second married Jessimina "Mina" D'Abreau. Born abt 1894.[30] Jessimina "Mina" died in Trinidad, WI on 20 Aug 1958; she was 64.[30] Buried on 21 Aug 1958 in Lapeyrouse Cemetery, P.O.S., Trinidad, WI.[30]

They had the following children:
4 i. J.
5 ii. Henry Anselm (~1917-1943)
6 iii. Robert Anthony (~1919-1944)
7 iv. P.
8 v. Rhodes
9 vi. Phillip Alexander "Alec" (1925-1997)
10 vii. D.
11 viii. Noel (-~1942)
12 ix. J.


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