Theovald Eric Moorehead
Theovald Eric Moorehead was one of St. John’s most notable citizens. He was born the year before Transfer, on November 1, 1916. His father, Edward A. Moorehead was St. John’s sole police officer. His mother, Eugenie Theodora Keating Moorehead, operated the Keating Guesthouse. He was raised in Cruz Bay. He married Genieve Hendricks and together they had a daughter, Theodora.
Throughout his life and various careers, he always remembered the advice and guidance of the older people in his community. His civic and business life reflected a philosophy of hard work, helping others and protection of islanders’ rights and culture.
As a young man, Moorehead was drafted into the United States Army. Over time, two future Governors, King and Farrelly, served in his unit. Moorehead initially intended to make the Army his lifelong career. However, in 1955, machinations by the Federal Government and Laurence Rockefeller prompted him to resign his commission and return to his island home. Plans to condemn the land, relocate the indigenous population and establish the Virgin Islands National Park were being made. As he later said, “I returned to protect my land.” His efforts, coupled with those of his friend, Gilbert Sprauve, led to the defeat of the condemnation movement, though not the National Park. They returned to St. John as local heroes.
Thus started Theovald Moorehead’s long career of public service. He took a job as St. John’s first Customs and Immigration Inspector. He was Assistant to the Island Administrator. He served in the Senate from 1956 until 1972 and was asked to join the First and Third V.I. Constitutional Conventions. The bills he sponsored promoted scholarships, homestead development, Washington representation for the Virgin Islands, and much more.
Meanwhile, he earned a law degree, started a real estate company, opened Mooie’s Bar in Cruz Bay and, with others, established the St. John Corporation, which ran the first regular ferry service to the island. He was fundamental in the conception of two projects that were decades ahead of their time. One was the Enighed Pond Port, which opened in 2006 and the other was the establishment of a marina in Coral Harbor. The marina project also appears to be finally becoming a reality.
Whether as a businessman or as a public official, Moorehead never wavered from the life lessons he learned at an early age. As a member of the Lion’s Club, as a Boy Scout Leader or as a regular parishioner at the Nazareth Lutheran church, he was a tireless advocate for his island and its people. He was dedicated to the idea of Virgin Islands heritage, which he viewed as his peoples’ strength and birthright. He defined heritage as the understanding and respect for St. John Culture.
Theovald Moorehead was born in a simple, self-sufficient time and witnessed the injection of outside influence. He worked his entire life to protect the people and heritage of the island he loved. He passed in 1995 and was survived by his wife and daughter.