The presence of Seventh-Day Adventists on Pitcairn has been noticeable for over a century. Indeed, the Hall of Fame has already inducted the Adventist missionary John I. Tay as the first non-Pitcairner. However, there have been more, and possibly one of the most memorable of the Adventists who had an impact on Pitcairn was Hattie Andre.
Hattie Andre was born in 1865. She trained at Battle Creek College and graduated with a degree in 1892. Among her many skills was craftwork and cooking, which would serve her well in the years ahead.
In 1893, Hattie sailed to Pitcairn Island aboard the missionary ship Pitcairn, on its second voyage there. With her were other Adventist missionaries.
As soon as Hattie arrived on Pitcairn, she organized a school in Adamstown in the place known as “Shady Nook.” Pitcairn had a need for a trained teacher, and people enthusiastically helped her as best they could. In April, 1893, Hattie's school opened at Shady Nook, and she was flooded with students, ranging in years 14 to 39. A local, Rosalind Amelia Young, taught the younger children.
Though she taught many things at the school, she was also actively involved in the community, and contributed her knowledge of woodwork and basket weaving to the Pitcairners, for the purpose of selling their products to visiting ships. She also gave lectures on health and clean living. However, the most prominent thing she taught was to do dry leaf painting (she is credited as the first one on Pitcairn to do so, and there is no indication that it was done before that). The leaves of the Bauhinia Monandra were dried, and various designs were painted on them. These came to be known by the Pitcairners as “Hattie Leaves, ” and a certain style of skirt on the island was also named after her.
It was also in 1893, that the ship Bowden wrecked on Oeno Island. Unfortunately, the sailors passed on typhus to the community, and almost all of the locals came down with the deadly disease. Hattie herself was unscathed, and worked hard to tend to the ailing people and the crippled community. Eventually, 12 Pitcairn people died from the disease. As a result of the typhus, the Pitcairners began to heed the healthy living Hattie had preached to them, and the community's living standards changed for the better.
The popularity of Andre's school was heard of outside the island, and the trader called Schmidt on Mangareva sent his three children (two sons and a daughter) to the school. The daughter, Della, eventually married Arthur Young and had children.
Hattie eventually left Pitcairn, leaving behind a community that was starting to grow thanks to her efforts. Sadly, a murder on Pitcairn in 1897 discontinued a lot of the growth, and the school at Shady Nook was virtually abandoned. However, after a while, it was shown that a lot of her influence was alive and well, especially in island crafts, and especially in the painting of the Hattie Leaf.
Following her departure from Pitcairn, Andre returned to the United States and worked at Oakwood College. In 1899 she was invited by Ellen G. White to work at Australasian Missionary College (modern Avondale College) in Australia.
Andre worked at Australasian Missionary College from 1900 till 1908, and following this she returned to the United States and worked at Pacific Union College (currently the home of the “Pitcairn Island Study Centre”) as dean of women. She left this job in 1920 to care for her ailing mother, and formally retired in 1929.
Continuing to remain active despite retirement, Andre finally passed away in 1952. Though she has many legacies left behind, to Pitcairn she left many, not least the Hattie Leaf, which is a name used to this day.My thanks go to Kari Young for a lot of the information on Hattie's time on Pitcairn, and Anders Kallgard for the photograph of Hattie Andre and her class from his book “Mytteristernas Aattlingar.” Most of the information on Andre outside her time on Pitcairn I got from an article in the free Adventist publication “Record” from February 18, 2012 (the portrait of her used in this article was also used here, but I received the one used in “Dem Tull” from a different source). Finally, thanks to Brian Young for the pictures of the Hattie leaves.