My name is Maekiaphan Phillips, but my birth name was Marciana Marcola Rivera. My dad was Epifanio B. Rivera. At my dad’s funeral on May 16, 1972, a brother from Tortola came to the funeral. I was too young to know him as I was only 9. I am doing my family tree and I have been searching for him and his family for about eight years now. I decided to try putting this in the Beacon because I was told that I am related to Beacon Founder Linnell Abbott through my great-grandfather James Abbott. Many say I look like her.

I pray that this message gets to my brother, his children or his grandchild. Thank you in advance for your help.

‘Stolen’ 14-year-old

I have many ties to Tortola through my great-grandmother Francesca Almestica (even though the records are spelled Armitica). At age 14, she was stolen from the island of Vieques by James Abbott of the Peter Island Abbotts, according to stories handed down in my family. She was never married to him, but she had six daughters and one son. Sarah and Frances moved to St. Thomas; Victoria lived between Tortola and Virgin Gorda; Henrietta lived on Anegada; Manuelita Matilda lived in New York; and my grandmother Bellencita Abbott Almestica Benjamin lived on St. John.

Amazingly, none of them have Abbott on their birth certificates even though the island knew James Abbott was their father. His only son, William Henry Abbott, died at the age of 2 from yellow fever in 1899. Only his son has Abbott on the death certificate. I realised that because James Abbott could not read and write, he put his X as the informant, not the father, so Abbott was never added as their last name.

It is my wish to come to Tortola and have a reunion for all the family of Francesca Almestica and James Abbott. The children were all born on Salt Island. My email address is, and my phone number is 340-514-2019.