Monday, January 26, 2015

Our Friend Harry, the Alligator Man

August 2013
The elders in the West Indies Mission all know about Harry - the Alligator Man.  He makes wallets, belts, scripture cases, purses, and whatever else you want out of caiman hides.  The elders loved to go home with some of his products.  We were introduced to Harry and after that we took most of our out-of-country visitors and others to visit him.  We brought him so much business that he gave us a belt, and then before we left he made me a purse of his own design, and gave me a good deal on it.
He lived in Vreed-en-Hoop with his "mistress" and their two children.  He also had five grandchildren.  He would go out when there was a full moon to hunt the caiman and snakes.  When we talked to him he would quote scriptures from the Bible.  The elders knew him and would visit him.  He lived in a "comfortable" home on the other side of a large trench close to the cemetery.  To get to his place you had to park your car, walk along a cow trail and cross a bridge.  If it was rainy, it was muddy.  Often he had live caiman or snakes to show us.  He was very friendly, personable, and a hard worker.
Harry, the Alligator Man, with a caiman hide at his home in Vreed-en-Hoop.

Harry showing Elder Beecher his processes.

Kerron Thompson and Kevin Roach, Elder Stephen's companions.

Live caiman in his barrel.

Fishing the caiman out of the barrel.

They put rubber bands around his snout.


I'm doing it.  I'm holding one!  Kevin and Elder Stephen look on.

We loved Elder Stephen!

Kevin was a newly baptized member out helping the missionaries.

Harry rolls out his anaconda skins.

Harry does part of the work with his sewing machine, and part by hand.

The hides he has drying.

Harry's son making an art project.

This was a big one.

The bridge we walked over to get to Harry's house.  We brought home scripture cases, purses, and wallets for the kids.


  1. For the first time in my life, I am seeing this king of thing. I never knew about such work. Well it looks great and it looks like you enjoyed it out there and I appreciate the alligator man.