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.

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