August C. Bough, my extraordinary great-grandfather was born in St. Croix, one of the largest islands in the Virgin Islands of the United States. He was the eldest child of his parents. His female ancestor, arrived into the Danish West Indies on a Slave Ship from Africa in the mid-18th Century. August Bough, was born six years after his Great-Grandmother Nancy of Africa died. I’m sure listening to stories about her life and the many challenges brought a feeling of pride and compassion towards different persons situation in life.
Before the 1848 emancipation of the Danish West Indies through a slave revolt; his father George Bough was a free-born colored. He worked as a Clerk; while his mother, Emelia Petersen was born enslaved. She worked as a House Servant the majority of her life for private families. August was raised by his mother, with his father’s impact limited to visits at his employment, and seeing him function as a clerk in a dry goods retailing store.
My great-granddad seemed eager for freedom and money related achievements. He took in the calling of being a Realtor, by which he ended up ready to purchase town properties. Yes, he was at long last holding the deeds to a few properties. Amid this period he opened AC Bough stores dealing in dry goods, hardware, and provisions;as well as operating wholesale, retail and commission. August Bough is described as was one of the islands greatest merchants. The height of his business career was in the best days of the island.
During the last 15 years of his life, my great-grand father was Parson/Rev Bough devoted his life to one of tribute. In fact. it may be said that he was the father of the A.M.E. work in St. Croix. Begun by Rev. Barrow of Barbados 20 years prior. The church received full support, and shelter in Rev A.C. Bough. The lot which stands the AME Church was given by him. Later when Rev Barrow was deported, it was Rev Bough who kept the AME work alive at Christiansted, Grove place and Frederiksted St. Croix.
The 1939 Obituary in the St. Croix Avis Newspaper, declared that Rev A.C. Bough was one of the popular and respected citizens of St. Croix. Five ministers were in attendance at the funeral Rev. E.E. Johnson of Bethel A.M.E. Church, Rev J.A. Agaard of the A.M.E Zion Church. Rev. C.S. Mayhew of the Church of the Nazarene and Rev E.C. Phaire of the Pilgrim Holiness Church were platform guest ministers.
When I think about his life in full, I think about the effort it must have taken for him to rise above his own striking character and conscience, to carry on a humble life without contradictions. The Reverend August Curtis Bough passed on March 18, 1939 in St. Croix; he was 73 years of age.
U.S. Virgin Islands Census, 1835-1911 (Danish Period)digital images http://ancestry.com
Newspaper Archive/Government Secretary Office: “A remarkable Character Passes The West End News: 1939
Newspaper Archive/No. 63 “Obituary Rev A.C. Bough” St. Croix Avis.