Long Life: Ena D. Bough, My Great Aunt and direct ancestor:
Ena Dorothy Bough, (1907- 2005) was born on St. Croix in the Danish West Indies. Ena was the daughter of Crucian Parents; Haddasha Summersille died at the age of 93; studied pediatrics and performed duties as a Mid-Wife. August C. Bough died at the age of 74; the sucessful Merchant who turned Reverend and co-founder of AME Church in Christiansted St. Croix.
Ena was born at a time when Havanna Cigars were being sold, Cotton and Cane were flourishing and a Leper Asylum was established on St. Croix. On the mainland, Mary Phelps Jacob invented the bra. A decade after her birth, the Americans purchased the Danish West Indies in 1917.
In 1920, Ena was living with her parents, at the family home in the town of Christiansted. She was a middle child between brothers, James, Oscar, and Kaj Bough. She attended school in Christiansted and was a known talented Seamstress. By the mid-1920’s, Ena and brothers migrated to New York. The 1930 census, showed her living in New York with her younger brother Oscar, and working as a Finisher in a Dress Factory.
Ena answered the call to return to the Virgin Islands, to care for the family where sickness was eminent. Despite the excitement of living and working in New York City, she returned home. Ena worked the most of her life as a famly care giver to include nephews and nieces. Ena was very proud of her brothers’ successes in the fields of Law, Education, Agriculture, and Business Administration.
I met my great Aunt Ena for the first time at her home in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands when my mother and I took the seaplane from St Croix to visit the family. It was hard to keep back my excitement of meeting the last living child of my great-grandfather, August Curtis Bough. I walked with a list of questions and a small tape recorder, prepared to capture oral history. When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by an over friendly dog and my cousin Ellie. We glimpsed Aunt Ena sitting in the corner, looking puzzled as to the Crucian relatives who descended upon her. My mother and I realized Auntie wasn’t up to talking about the past, nor was she going to be interviewed. She just smiled gently, while offering the usual traditional greetings.
Our visit lasted about 2 hours, as we had to catch the plane back to St. Croix. Although I was a little disappointed by her lack of engagement I understood her suspicion. I was determined to make another trip to get better acquainted. Being hopeful, we planned to return to celebrate her 100th birthday, with “lights, camera, action” for the interview of a lifetime. Unfortunately, it never materialized.
Aunt Ena outlived her siblings. With her death on April 17, 2005, it signified an end to the August Bough generation of those who were born during the Danish period. She lived on the island as a citizen of the Danish West Indies and was present in 1917 as the Danneborg lowered, and the U.S. flag was raised.
Coincidentally, as I reflect on my ancestor Ena Bough. She was among the first Virgin Islands people to become American citizens; I will be honored to be among the rest of our citizens, as we celebrate Transfer Day in the year 2017. The US Virgin Islands will reach a milestone in our history. Marking 100 years since the United States purchased the Danish West Indies (St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John) from Denmark for $25 million, and I look forward to the celebration.
Ena Dorothy Bough died on St. Thomas, USVI April 17, 2005. She was 97.8 years old.
http://stx.visharoots.org/ St. Croix Population Database
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Year: 1929; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4555; Line: 1; Page Number: 249
Newspaper: The Virgin Islands Daily News; Publication Date: 23 4 2005; Publication Place: St.Thomas, Virgin Islands,, Carrbbean
Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.