Workday Wednesday-The Cigar Maker

No doubt I had looked at the 1870 census many times before, and saw that my ancestor Esram Bough’s occupation/trade was listed as a Cigar Maker, but this time was different. I noticed that most of the ancestors of the family (George A. Bough) sons’ occupations were: Clerks, Shoemakers, and Taylors throughout the 1800’s.

I knew that Sugar was the main industry, and Tobacco was just another crop that was grown on small plots. However, due to my lack of knowledge of any cigar industry in the Danish West Indies, it was difficult for me to understand the profession and its dynamics. Therefore, I decided to do a further research focusing on tobacco.

I learned that Denmark only imported tobacco from the Danish West Indies for their own cigar production, and those Cigars that were produced in the Danish West Indies were never officially imported to Denmark as a finished product. Cigar-making on St. Croix was most likely made out of the family home. Most of these sole proprietors worked alone at a long table with their own tools, rolling cigars.(http://www.danishcigars.com/danish-cigar-history/)

Although, Esram did not establish a generation of Cigar makers in the family, however he made a profitable living out of it. I honor my ancestor, the Cigar Maker, for embracing a profession that took not only skill, and concentration, but a sense of pride that went into the making of a fine cigar.

omx 1214_Page_1

Esram Bough
Esram Bough

Esram Samuel Bough (twin) (1846-1900) was born just two years before the emancipation of the slaves in the Danish West Indies. He was the son of George A. Bough and Susan Crow-Bough. He was classified as a free person of color. At the age of 13, he was an apprentice in a trade. As an adult his profession was listed as a Cigar Maker. Esram Samuel Bough died in June 1900 at the age of 54 in St. Croix, Danish West Indies.

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 GlynnGen.com; 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. Its.sheldew@gmail.com I especially appreciate the followers' encouragement.

3 comments

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: