Old St. Andrews

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Frederick Worrell and Shiretown Items

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After the demise of the St. Andrews Beacon in 1919, St. Andrews pretty much disappears from the news, relatively speaking. It reappears in the early thirties in the St. Croix Courier in an unpretentiously titled column called "Shiretown Items." The author is J. F. Worrell, local dentist. Originally the column was written for a short time by Worrell's son Donald, who ceded it to his father after a short time. Mr. Worrell continued to write his little weekily summary of events for many years; his last column was in 1951, and in the interim he contributed materially to the history of the town and its people with his humorous tales and dramatic sketches, not to mention simply reportage of various events such as hockey and the arts. Worrell was an interesting character. His calling was as dentist but he was also twice Mayor, and was responsible for the first paving of a street in the town--Water Street, which was paved with concrete in 1937. He was Alderman during the negotiations of the Town with the CPR for water. He was a musician, playing several instruments and of signal assistance in setting up and maintaining a Town Band. He was a gifted athlete, one of the best basketball players on the St. Andrews Shamrocks, also an avid cyclist, award-winning gymnast. In addition, he was an ornithologist of stature, could speak knowledgably of astronomical matters. He was also a member of many local clubs and societies, such as the St. Andrews Men's Club and Kiwanis Club. He knew many people and seemed often to be prowling the street, looking for stories. "Shiretown Items" is a veritable mine of local life during the war years. Many of Worrell's columns are collected in my new book: "St. Andrews: An Historical Scrapbook," in the chapter on the St. Croix Courier. I have added therto others which could not be fitted it, such as his battles with his ulcer, which ultimately killed him, his obituary, and various tidbits from the papers about him but not appearing in his column.

 

 

After Worrell's death in 1951, his friend W. C. O'Neill, in Worrell's memory partly, created a similar column called "News Notes." Though interesting for its factual information, O'Neill had little of the literary panache of Worrell.