MAPPY MONDAY Free-Gut, Christiansted St. Croix

St. Croix Plan of Town Properties   Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI

Free Gut area of the Christiansted Town

The town property map shows:  Queen Cross Street and Fisher Street, these streets are a part of the Free Gut area  in the Christiansted Town.  Fisher Street as shown on the map drawing is where my ancestors Beaudhuy/Bough resided, as members of the Free Colored community.   “According to the building code of November 27, 1747, the Free Negroes had to build their houses in Neger-Gotted, locally known even today as Free Gut. “  The houses and grounds were not to exceed thirty Danish square feet each.

Town Register (1841) of Free inhabitants living in the town of Christiansted, enumerated the names of all free people, living in the household , the sex, place of birth, the religion they belonged to, when baptized, how they are supported themselves and their status in the militia.

Census 1841     The Census of 1841, showed George Bough living on his own property at Fisher Street, Christiansted.  Living in the household, was his mother, Sara Beaudhuy, who was given her freedom in 1797 and his son Edward Bough.  From this register, I was able get a better picture of the family composition and lifestyle.   It also explained why they were  townspeople.   The census  led me to further search through church and other historical records for additional facts as well as verification.

George Bough, and his off springs, continued to live at the family home on Fisher Street.  From one generation to the next, the family continued living throughout the Town.  Through census and land deeds, I discovered that the family lived in town of Christiansted totaling over 125 years.  Today, there are a few family members that have remained in Christianstiansted Historic District.  

Boughs Everywhere!

This past summer, the Bough Family Reunion was held in St. Croix, with the theme rediscovering our roots.  At the “Meet and greet” event, where family members were being introduced and socializing; the Boughs Family History was on display in a separate area.   Besides tree charts, family scroll, pictures, and stories on display; a Map was placed on the wall to identify the Boughs that were living off island, throughout the states and internationally.

It was quite interesting, to see by the map pins, how far the family had spread around the world.  From that once segregated area, in Christiansted town known as “Free-gut” for the Free-Colored, to the outskirts of the town, throughout the country, and the world.  The Boughs of the US Virgin Islands were becoming a global family that we coined a “V.I. Cultural Blend”.

Source:  Eva Laweatz, /free coloured in St. Croix, 1744-1816.  Census 1841 V.I.S.H.A  1835-1911 (Danish period) ancestry.com data-base

By shelley dewese

As I continue to search out my history, I am discovering how much I did not know. The more information that is disclosed about my ancestry, the more I learn and understand how I am the person that has evolved today. As a native New Yorker, with deep roots in the Danish West Indies, now the Virgin Islands of the United States or commonly referred to as the United States Virgin Islands, I have always had a yearning to return to my maternal homeland. In September of 1976, my family and I relocated back to St. Croix. While living in New York, I was always telling my friends about my trip back home, but here I was actually waking up every day, walking among the streets and people that I have identified myself with all of my life. At the time, I was not involved in any genealogical work, but I knew there was a missing link that became completed after I was offered the opportunity to transfer Danish documents into a data base. That opened up my world and I realize that this was my niche. I now had the tools to explore and document my ancestry. Growing up, my mother always impressed upon her children the pride in being a “Bough”, which was her surname. Now I was able to track where that pride came from, through participating in family history projects and meeting new family, as we gathered together for the Bough Family Reunion on St. Croix in July of 2012. As I continued to research, I found my passion extending to photography. Sunsets and street art are my favorite features, as shown in my tumblr blog http://minkyadoo.tumblr.com/ I also began blogging, and found that it has help me to improve my writing skills. Through the comments and well wishes, I have been encouraged to continue to write the stories and events of my life. Whether or not your roots trace back to the Danish West Indies, you will find a beautiful tapestry of life that reflects our “baseball and apple pie”. This site affords you with the chance to transform yourself to a time during the Danish period (1734-1917) where life was both simple and complex. If you have any question, comments or need assistance in searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email.

3 comments

    1. In effort to get a better understanding of this area, I made contact with St. Croix leading historian on the subject “Free Colored of Christiansted”. I inquired as to the exact boundaries and the historical significance. In sum: The first reference, to the residential area for the free colored, is in the 1747 Building Code. (Ordinances, 1744-60 St. Croix Pocket Companion, CPH 1780) There are no boundaries delineated. The Free Gut area for the Free-Colored is: Bounded on the south by Fisher Street, on the north by Hill Street, on the East by Queen Cross Street and the West by King Cross Street. It was interesting to discover that the name “Free Gut” is not a legal entity, and therefore is not on any legal census or matricules.

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