Ralph Moses Paiewonsky Photo

Ralph Moses Paiewonsky

Born: Nov 9, 1907

Death: Nov 9, 1991

Birthplace: United States of America

Nationality: United States

Ralph Moses Paiewonsky

Date of Birth : Nov 9, 1907
Date of Death : Nov 9, 1991
Birth Place : United States of America

Ralph Moses Paiewonsky was a businessman and politician who served as the ninth civilian governor of the United States Virgin Islands from 1961-1969. Ralph Paiewonsky was the son of Jewish Lithuanian immigrants to the Danish West Indies. He graduated from New York University in 1930. His degree was in chemistry his father owned A.H. Riise & Co. Ltd. an apothecary, general store and a bay rum distillery in St. Thomas. After he returned to the Virgin Islands his father bought the government owned beverage rum distillery on St. Croix. Ralph Paiewonsky found out that the shortage of water limited expansion. He proceeded to develop yeast strains which could ferment a mixture of molasses and seawater. After expansion he sold the distillery and turned to converting the general store to a gift boutique. He managed various family businesses, and was a founder of the West Indies Bank and Trust Company in 1954. In 1961, he was appointed Governor by President John F. Kennedy. Paiewonsky's administration established the Department of Housing and Community Renewal in 1962, and began a program of land acquisition and home construction.

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