Sentimental Sunday

“Uncle Lee”

Leopold Alexander Bough (1893-1975) was best known for his weekly visits to his relatives with bags of goodies.  Every child and adult looked forward to having Uncle Lee at their home.   He was my Great Uncle born in 1893 in St. Croix, Danish West Indies, now a United States Territory. He worked as a salesman along-side his brothers for his father who was a Grocery Store owner on St. Croix.  By 1925 he left the Virgin Islands and came through Ellis Island, NY.  Unlike most immigrants that left the old World for a new life, my ancestors came with their culture, music, food, dance and dialect.  They were known as the “Proud West Indians.”  The family settled in New York between Harlem and The Bronx, where most of their relatives and friends from the Virgin Islands lived.

Because the family grew up tight-knit in the Virgin Islands, Uncle Lee was always eager to see his family so he scheduled weekly visits to see them.  He would take the long journey on the subway from the Bronx to Brooklyn or to Queens. By 7pm every Tuesday we would look forward to seeing him.  Our young faces would just brighten when we saw him.  I remember running and embracing him with the biggest hugs.  “Uncle Lee, Uncle Lee!!”  His visit would consist of bringing many goodies which we looked forward to: roasted peanuts, pretzels, candy apples, Bazooka gum, and Baseball Cards.  He knew how to make a child happy.   After being stuffed with all the goodies, we would be in a hurry to go to bed just to hear his bedtime stories.   He had plenty of stories in his head.  One story that I recall was titled  “one eye, two eye, and three eye.”  His stories did not come from a book instead straight from the heart, stories that taught history, culture, which included a song like, “Guava Berry and Cinnamon Jelly.”  These stories ended with his signature, “The Wheel Bend and the Story End.”  Oh how we cherished Uncle Lee!   He was never married and never had any of his own children.  But he had the neighborhood children and his many relatives who he touched with his kindness and dedication to family.  Leopold Alexander Bough died in Bronx, New York in 1975.  As I think of dear Uncle Lee it reminds me to reach out to my grandchildren to re-create the many memories that I have with my Uncle Lee.




By shelley dewese

As I continue to search out my history, I am discovering how much I did not know. The more information disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. My family's research efforts have taken me on an enlightening journey back through the past in the U. S. Virgin Islands (formerly Danish West Indies) and Coastal Georgia. As with most people of Afro-Caribbean descent, my ancestry stems from peoples brought together by colonialism and conquest; it stems from people thrown together, albeit forcibly, by the throes of enslavement. As a result, my DNA tells me that my people originate in Africa, Europe, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Lesser Antilles, and Leeward Caribbean Islands. Two collections made my dream to research my ancestors in the Danish West Indies a reality. I have conducted extensive research using the St. Croix Population Database 1734-1917, a St. Croix African Roots Project product, and a research and document transcription effort sponsored by the Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA). The other catalyst has been accessing the extensive photo, manuscript, and microfilm collections at the Library and Archives of the St. Croix Landmarks Society at Estate Whim in St. Croix. My heartfelt thanks go to all my cousins, extended "cousin-family," friends, and research colleagues from the St. Croix-based Virgin Islands Ancestry Discovery Group, for their input and collaboration. I also want to thank the UJima Genealogy Group in Coastal Georgia and; webmaster Amy Hendrick has introduced me to Southern History and its people. This site allows you to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) when life was both complex and straightforward. If you have any questions, comments, or need assistance searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email. I especially appreciate the followers' encouragement.

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