50 years ago: William Lawrence Nixon profiled

George-Town-50-years-finalIn the May 25, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, George Towner William Lawrence Nixon was profiled in the paper’s “Personality Parade” column:

“Serving as foreman of the jury at the recent murder trial was William Lawrence Nixon of George Town but this was no unusual occupation for Mr. Nixon. From the age of 18 years, he has been summoned to serve on juries in the Grand Court almost every year at one or other of the sessions in addition to many inquests.

“The case that stands out most vividly in his mind is that of Haldean Bodden v. Lindo DaCosta when the jury was confined for nine days and eight nights. In those days jurors were only paid 1 shilling 6 pence per day, which was little compensation for a man with a business which had to be closed down for the period of a trial.

“As this is only one of the many ways in which William has served, and is serving the community, we feel he is worthy of the honour of being feted on our pages.

“Born in George Town in 1909, the son of Laurannia Carter, he was later adopted by Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Dias.

“His formal schooling under teachers Sams, Hitchman and Watson lasted barely two years from Jan. 1 1924 until September 1926. These were hard times and it was necessary to work in order to eat.

“His first employment was as water boy, backing water for the cement mixers who were working on the government warehouse and he continued until this job was finished. He next became assistant to the late Inspector Watler who was the tidewaiter [customs officer] and worked inside the warehouse he had helped to build.

“Whilst working there, he was also seeking other means and got in touch with the late Mr. J.L. Llewellyn who was the only policeman in the island at that time and who was also a shoemaker. By watching Mr. Llewellyn at work on shoe repairs and assisting him, he eventually became so proficient and skilled at the task that he was able to do as well as his tutor and start up in this line on his own.

“His next venture was to rent a shop from Samuel Smith Junior … then one day Mr. J.T. Brown (now of Boilers) who was anxious to sell a shop which he owned came and offered it to Mr. Nixon. The price was eventually agreed upon as $30 … however, the land was not yet his as this was owned by the daughter of Mr. R.C. Dias and had been leased to Mr. Brown. Upon negotiation, it was agreed that Elsa would give William the first option if she ever wished to sell and just before Mr. Dias died, William promised him he would look after his two daughters, Elsa and Arlett, which he has faithfully done until today.

“In March 1936, therefore, he opened the grocery store which is today a familiar sight on the George Town landscape … In 1953, he was elected as a member of the Assembly of Justices and Vestry on which he served until 1955 …. Mr. Nixon was a member of the original Cayman Islands Yacht Club and the first Chamber of Commerce … and he has often been called upon to settle land disputes, [and among other things] went into citrus growing in a serious way and is now acknowledged as the #1 citrus man in this community …

“He was married to Margaret Verona (nee Terry) of Bodden Town and they have two children, William Lancelot, aged 10 years, and Karen Verona, aged 8 years – altogether a very happy family.”

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