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 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.

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