Supreme Court Building, named after Bough descendant, Raymond L. Finch

In March 2017, members of the Bough family of the Virgin Islands gathered together during the Virgin Islands commemoration events, for the 100th Anniversary Transfer of the Danish West Indies from Denmark to the United States. At the gathering, family stories were featured. At one of the informal settings, it was said that James Bough had one of the sharpest legal minds in the V.I. With that, I decided to compare the legal careers, of James Bough and Raymond Finch who were third cousins.

James Bough
James A Bough

James Bough can be considered the first in his family to break out of the tradition of retail merchants and into Government service. He was born on St. Croix. The son of August C. Bough and the eldest child of Hadassah Summersille-Bough. He was the product of the Christiansted public school system.  graduated from High School at the Polytechnic Institute, St. German Puerto Rico.  In 1931; graduated from Columbia Law School , New York City.


.When James Bough returned from School, he immediately became engaged in the community.  He was appointed Law Clerk to Lieutenant Governor Lawrence Cramer in the Virgin Islands.  Attorney Bough was a recognized authority on the history, political development and legal structure of the Virgin Islands.

He played a significant role in the revision of the 1936 Organic Act. He was appointed a member of the 1945 Organic Act Commission to review the 1936 Organic Act. Many hearings were held in Washington and the Virgin Islands.  While participating in the struggle for self-rule, he cherished the hope of one day serving the Territory as its Governor. He made three unsuccessful bids.

In 1966, he was appointed US Assistant Attorney General by US President Lyndon Johnson and in 1971, legal Counsel to the first elected governor, Melvin H. Evans. In the 1970’s, James A. Bough served a professor of government at the College of the Virgin Islands. James Augustus Bough died August, 1994 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. He was 89 years old.

Portrait Raymond L Finch


As interesting as James Bough was, new leaves were growing on another branch of the family tree. Almost 30 years later, in 1994 another US President, Bill Clinton, appointed another family member, this time as a Judge of the District Court of the Virgin Islands, Senior Chief Justice Raymond L. Finch. He was born on St. Croix the eldest child of Wilfred C. Finch and Beryl Bough-Finch. Raymond Finch was a product of the public-school system. By 1965, he received his JD and LLB in Law from Howard University.
Raymond Finch unlike James Bough, was not engaged with the aspects of political changes in the Virgin Islands; however, he was dedicated to the rule of law.

After his military career, he returned home and launched his legal career. He served over 23 years in judgeship. From Army Captain in Viet Nam to presiding judge of the District Court of the VI he provided decades of service to the people of the Virgin Islands. Finch continues to be involved with the aspects of community services benefiting young people. His dedication to the community is inspiring.
Although they are a generation apart, it doesn’t mean that they both did not have unique challenges. Obviously, coming from the Virgin Islands without racial discrimination to attend schools in the North or South, both James and Raymond had to be aware of the Jim Crow Laws and Racial discrimination.

Finch and Bough contributed greatly in their own way regardless of the limitations or struggle that they faced. An ounce of determination, pound of sacrifice, tablespoon of hope and a pinch of love; dreams become a reality.  The Honorable James Bough, District Attorney and Raymond Finch, Presiding Judge  have made some valuable contributions to the Virgin Islands community, and brought a sense of pride to the family for generations to come.

On Thursday, June 15, 2017 the Justices of the Supreme Court honored the accomplishments of a native son, with an Official Naming Ceremony of The Raymond L. Finch Supreme Court Building on St. Croix, USVI. (act no 7626)


Raymond Finch, a true public servant filled with humility and a heart of compassion.


FinchFamily (2)
Lt Gov. O. Potter, Judge Raymond Finch, Gordon Finch, J’Ada Finch-Sheen, Dorrette Finch-Carter



I am the great niece of James Bough and the 4th cousin to Raymond Finch

Source: Daily News, 50th Anniversary edition, August 1 1980, St. Thomas USVI
Bough family history booklet.
VI Profiles, Bough Family


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 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.


  1. I discovered a few years ago that Judge Raymond Finch of St Croix is my cousin from my father’s side (Hilvan Finch). I never knew my father, so my history of that side of the family is scarce. Snipets like these (and books like Anne Thurlands “Jen Lars Photo Collection St Croix 1935-1937” helped me to get a picture of the lives of my ancestors.


  2. Thank YOU for posting this info. (I should note my biological father was Hilvan Finch Sr.). Technically Judge Finch and I are first cousins. We even look alike. I just want to look as dignified as him when I’m his age, lol.


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