Friday Faces From the Past- J.C. Bough

Friday face of the past: My maternal Grandfather Julius Curtis Bough (1889-1936) born on St. Croix, son of August Curtis Bough, and Georgiana Ogaard, both of St. Croix.

Julius Curtis Bough
Julius Curtis Bough

My grandmother and other family members would often speak about my grandfather working in his fathers’ grocery store. (Featured in a previous post “Saturday Shopping”) Selling goods from a cart, around St. Croix, as well as on St. Thomas, made him a successful Sales Rep. The “1923 United States Federal Census” verifies oral history, showing Julius Bough’s occupation as a salesman working at a grocery store.

Just as the “First Great Migration of African-Americans “ moved from the rural south, to Northern states between 1910 and 1930’s; Virgin Islanders also emigrated to New York and other parts of the mainland when the Americans bought the Danish West Indies. Not out of fear of segregation issues, but for economic advantages.

“Passenger Record” Manifest, SS “Guiana, 30th of September 1923, list Julius Curtis Bough arriving at the Port of New York on October 6, 1923. He did not travel with his family. His soon-to-be wife and two children would follow later. “New York Passenger” Manifest, SS “ Maraval” 8th of June 1926, list Caroline Gasper and children arriving at the port of New York on June 14, 1926.

I decided to dig into the directories to map out their residencies, “Manhattan New York City Directory, 1931” showed my grandparents Julius and Caroline Bough living together on 626 West 140th Street Harlem, New York. They were among the “first Virgin Islanders, to arrive in America”.

Before Julius C. Bough untimely death, he worked outdoors as a Porter with a Sanitation Company. Unfortunately, he caught pneumonia and died at the age of 47. Thereafter my grandmother returned to St. Croix to bury her husband. Julius Curtis Bough was eulogized by his father, Reverend August C. Bough of the AME Church of Christiansted St. Croix and buried at the Public Cemetery.

As I look into this face of the past, take a genealogical journey into his short span of life, I come away with the impression that the transition of culture, weather, etc. had its toll. Still, all in all, providing for the family was foremost.

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 roots in Coastal Georgia and 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 database. 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 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 questions, comments, or need assistance in searching for a Danish West Indies ancestor, I invite you to drop me an email.

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