52 Ancestors #50 Naughty Ernest Bough

Amy  Johnson Crow  “no story too small”  suggested that we write a story about an ancestor who probably received coal in the their stocking

52ancestors-2015

Looking for naughty ancestors was a fun task.   The ancestor who got coal in the stocking was Ernest Bough.  He is the son of Julius Bough and Bernice Rowell, both of the Virgin Islands and who migrated to New York.   In our family, I remember hearing, as children, the anxiety the adults would have speaking about Uncle Ernest, who ran away from home.    But my thoughts were different coming from a family with immense rules and etiquette.  I would cheer him “yippy yi Ya”.   I viewed him childlike as one being a courageous and adventurous runaway.  But now, with research and oral history, Ernest Bough was the adult who served in the military and never returned home.  I came to thinking why would he just vanish, and cause the family  so much heartache, headache, and  stress. He ended up in Detroit, Michigan, never to be heard of or seen again.  So, I decided to stir the Pot.

Research revealed that Ernest B. Bough had served over 10 years in the military between 1932 – 1946, with the New York National Guard and the US Army.   By 1934, he was married to Rosalia Benjamin of St. Croix.  By 1937 he received an honorable discharge from the National Guard.  It is at this point that Ernest B. Bough never returned to his family, nor did they hear from him again.  The research supported the oral history  that Ernest  went to Detroit, Michigan.

So it hit me that he went to Detroit because it was booming with the Auto Industry.  He thought he would return home when loaded, or he heard about Motown and wanted to audition for Berry Gordy.  (Poking fun)  Listed in the “Classified Business section for complete list for Businesses and Professions” for Dearborn, Michigan City Directory, 1941 was Ernest B. Bough, Porter in Garfield Detroit. (huh)

Ernest, at 32 years old enlisted in the US Army for 2 years.   In February 1951, he then married Maggie Kelso from Martin, Tennessee by all standards; they were farm people who became a part of the “Great Migration”.  Those were they who were fleeing the South going North or West for a better life filled with hopes and aspirations.  Still, all in all, Ernest B. Bough died on February 7, 1973 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was 61 years old.

What brought Ernest from New York to Detroit could have been the fact that his mother, Beatrice, was married to a Gentleman by the name of Lonnie Haddon of Ohio who lived in Michigan.  Did he have any children?  Why didn’t he send word to his New York family he left behind is all left unknown?  One thing I know for sure, regardless of the situation his behavior was naughty.   Yes, my Great Uncle Ernest probably received coal in his stocking.

christmas-coal

Sources:

Photo by Getty Images {link to http://www.freeimages.com}.

http://www.visharoots.org/ St. Croix Population Database

Ancestry.com   New York, U.S. National Guard Enlistment Cards, 1917 – 1954,

Ancestry.com:  1910 US Federal Census

Ancestry.com:   1920 US Federal Census

Ancestry.com : New York, New York Marriage Index 1866 – 1937

Ancestry.com:  Michigan Marriage Records  1867 – 1952

Wikipedia: History of Detroit.

Ancestry.com : US Directories 1822 – 1995

Ancestry.com Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records, Michigan Deaths 1971 – 1996

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

9 comments

  1. Excellent story indeed and I especially love that poignant graphic of coal tied with a red ribbon for added appeal too. Did you ever find out why he went to Detroit? Hmmm . . . . there’s a story there for sure.

    Like

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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