Looking at my genealogy research today, I felt very humbled by the number of mothers who came before me. It inspired me to post a reflection of my ancestral mothers some free, some enslaved – in the Danish West Indies/US Virgin Islands and Barbados. I began with my mother, Joyce Bough. Today I remembered and honor them and the mothers who preceded them. I briefly share this reflection with you. (I’ve indicated the birth year and town or Estate on St. Croix, Danish West Indies.)
Joyce Florencia Bough’s Ancestral Mothers
Caroline Gasper (1894, Christiansted Town)
Victoria Richards (1853, Hill Street Christiansted Town)
Georgiana Aagard (1868, Christiansted Town)
Maria Arndahl/ Arnold (1833, Christiansted Town)
Adelaide Williams (1856, Christiansted Town)
Mary Rose (1844, St. Michaels Parrish Barbados)
Emelia Petersen (1834, Christiansted Town)
Her 2nd Great-grandmothers
Caroline Arnold (1813, Christiansted Town)
Caroline Williams ( 1836, Christiansted Town)
Perin McCann (1795, Estate Sion Hill)
Mary Clarke (1824, St. Michael’s Parrish Barbados)
Anna C. DeWendt ( 1803, Christiansted Town)
Sophia Lincoln (1803, Christiansted Town)
Her 3rd Great-grandmothers
Sarrah Beaudhuy (abt 1772-1774, Estate Betsey Jewels )
Nancy (abt 1785 Africa)
These were women of strength and fortitude, and many were lost from our family lore and our collective family memory.
I don’t think of this often, but most of my mother’s great-grandmothers, going back to Sarah Beaudhuy of Estate Betsey Jewels, were born into enslavement on a sugarcane plantation on St. Croix. By 1797 she was given her freedom. Sarah is the Matriarch of the Bough family in the US Virgin Islands.
Joyce Bough’s 3rd Great-Grandmother was born in Africa, bought to the Danish West Indies, sold on an auction block to a Danish Captain Petersen, and remained with the Petersen family in the Christiansted town. (Details in a post “A Nancy Story) Nancy and the other women endured until all the unfree in the Danish West Indies were emancipated on July 3, 1848, by Governor-General Peter von Scholten. However, humble the beginnings and legacy these women leave to me, and my families are strength, stamina, survival, smarts, and beauty. Look at us now!
Many sisters, daughters, and grandaunts are too numerous to list here. May they all rest peacefully. Please keep the memory of them alive.
Nancy, Sophia, and Emelia – we call your names!