Totten House History
Totten House was constructed in the late 1790s. This historic structure is now named after Ashley Totten who was born in Frederiksted, St. Croix during Danish occupation and later confirmed in the state church of the Danish West Indies, the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1915 he departed for New York City and served as a bugler on the USS Algonquin.
When he learned of the racism and inhumane practices occurring in his homeland during the naval administration of the islands, he co-founded and administered the Protective League as well as the American Virgin Islands Civic Association which focused on the economic and political advancement of the territory. Totten is also largely credited with the formation of The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, in 1925, the first labor organization led by African Americans to receive a charter in the American Federation of Labor. President Harry S. Truman appointed him to the Board of Directors of the Virgin Islands Corporation; and vice president of the Trade Union Division, Liberal Party, of New York City. In this capacity he testified before a congressional committee in behalf of the Virgin Islands.