Category: Family History

52 Ancestors #51 Nice -Anita Bough-Moorhead (1918-2015)

Amy Johnson Crow “no story too small” suggested that we write a story to Define “nice” however you want to 🙂

Our family historian Nita, shares a “Nice” Ole Time Christmas Story with her grandson  Dominick Scott.


Anita Chanette Elaine (Bough) Moorhead

Anita Moorhead was born on October 25, 1918, the daughter of Joseph E.  Bough and Alice M. (Smith) Bough both of St. Croix, Virgin Islands.  She is also the granddaughter of David Bough and Elizabeth (Prince) Bough as well as Emma (Mueller) Smith of St. Croix and William Smith of Tortola.  In 1942, she married Adrian L. Moorheard.

Nita, as she was affectionately called by family was a very effective Teacher as early as 1937 at the Frederiksted Grammar School and the Christiansted Grammar School.  After 40 years of teaching she retired from Pearl B Larsen School in 1977.   She received the award of “teacher of the year” occasionally.  As a teacher she impacted the lives of many Virgin Islanders.  She was an active member of the Lord God of Sabaoth Church overseeing confirmation classes and acolyte training.

Anita Bough-Moorhead was our Family historian.  Cousin Nita was proud of her Bough Heritage and was an inspiration for the first Bough family reunion in the late 90’s.  She created the first family tree for the reunion and as my interest in the history and genealogy grew, we shared information. I became 100% consumed with this knowledge and began blogging my genealogical journey.   Her love and the way she reached out and kept up with family was just incredible.

More importantly, she shared with her grandson Dominick Scott a treasure trove on how Christmas was celebrated when she was a child.  Each time I read this composition by my cousin, I get into the seasonal mood.   I hope you will enjoy this as much as I have each year.  Curl up with your sweet bread and guava berry drink and listen as dear “Nita” describes to her grandson about an Ole Time Christmas.


Old-Time Crucian Christmas. Whim Museum, St. Croix, USVI personal photograph by author 2013

An Ole Time Christmas written by Dominick Scott

According to my great-grandmother, Anita Moorhead in the 1920’s the Christmas season in St. Croix began after Thanksgiving.  People started to get the stores ready.  Most of the goods came from Denmark and England.  Most of the merchants were natives; there were one or two European merchants and some Puerto Ricans.  Her father Joseph Bough was a merchant at that time.  Everywhere there was a festive air. The stores would be decorated with garlands and other Christmas decoration like colored lanterns.

Women with large wooden trays sat under the galleries of Company Street and King Street selling candies.  The candies were all homemade.  They were: coconut sugar cakes that were colored brown, pink and white; brown, white, or pink losenges; peppermint candies; peanut sugar cake, and dundaslau.


“Coming Home to St Croix” Old time candy,  St. Croix USVI personal photograph by author 2015

There was also a candy that was similar to a lollipop that was shaped in the form of an animal to which a stick has been inserted called sugar babies.  The sticks were decorated with allkinds of colored paper.  Sweet Breads and all kinds of buns were sold.  Rusk was a small sweet bun that twas cut in half and baked until it became very hard and crusty.  People ate it with their tea.

On Christmas Eve night, the streets were crowded with people because most everybody lived in town. The only people who lived in the country were those who worked on the estates.  There were no fireworks as there is today, but people would walk around blowing horns and lighting Roman candles and firing thunderbolts.   After church, carolers went about the streets singing Christmas carols and visiting various homes.   They were given money, sweet bread, guava berry liqueur or cherry herring drink.

Sweet bread and ham were delicacies for the season.  Breakfast on Christmas morning consisted of sweet bread and ham with cocoa or tea.  All during the season sweet bread and ham were eaten for breakfast.  Dinner was either baked chicken or duck, which was usually raised by the family. There was no cold storage. There was only an ice box.  With the chicken or duck, potato stuffing and home gown vegetables like beets, carrots, corn, or string beans were eaten. There were no soda factories.  The common drinks were maubi, ginger beer, or punch made from many of our fruits – guava, gooseberry, plum, sour sop and tamarind.  People visited families and friends after dinner.  One would always be served sweet bread, guava berry liqueur, cherry herring, or Danish brandy.

Christmas Second Day was one of great celebrations.  There were masquerades dancing throughout the streets from noon until six in the evening.  This occurred on all the streets not just down one street.  People would look out their window and the troupes would stop and dance under the windows.  People would throw down money for them.  Some people would follow the troupes that they liked best, just like today when people follow a tramp.  The types of troupes were The Bull, David and Goliath, Donkey Want Water, Indians, Mocko Jumbies and other pretty troupes.


Personal photograph by author 2015

Christmas at that time was joyous and safe.  There were no crimes or violence.  Everyone had a good time.


On March 19, 2015 we lost our dear relative, she was 97 years old.               Nita=Nice.


Source:  St. Croix Population Database US Federal Census, 1920,1930,1940

In Celebration of Life Anita Bough Moorhead. St. Croix: funeral booklet., 2015.

Scott, Dominick. “Ole Time Christmas.” (class composition)





Sunday’s Obituary – Miss Sarah O. Bough, 1931

For this blogging prompt: I selected an ancestor who was on the threshold of adulthood, as well as a freshman entering Hampton Institute in Virginia. In my mind, Sarah experienced the feelings of arrival and gratefulness before her life was cut short.

obit edited

Portsmouth VA- September 25 1931 –  Miss Sarah Otella Bough, 18 year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Bough, passed away at the residence of her parents ,  304 Effingham Street Thursday, September 25th after a short illness.  The funeral services were held Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Emanuel A.M.E church, Rev J.A. Young, the pastor officiated, assisted by Rev L.L. Berry, pastor of St. Johns Church in Norfolk.

Papers were read from the Norcom High School Faculty and from the Church Class No. 29.  Miss Myrtle Petrey sang, “When It Comes To The End of a Perfect Day” and Messrs.’ James Driver, George Morgan, Leonard Western, and Wesley Fagan sang,  “Raise Me Jesus To Thy Bosom” The Norcom Fellowship Choir rendered “Crossing the Bar”.  The Choir sang two selections.

Miss Bough is survived by her parents and five sisters, Roslind V., Katryn Y., Italina A., Charlotte and Mrs. Gwendolyn Fortseque.  She was a graduate of Norcom High School and entered as a freshman at Hampton Institute last September to pursue college work.  Intermit was in Mt. Olive Cemetery.

Sarah Otella Bough is my first cousin 3x removed.

New Journal and Guide (1921-2003) Oct 3, 1931

ProQuest Historical Newspapers Norfolk Journal and Guide (1921 – 2003)
Pg. 8

Matrilineal Monday- Sarah Beaudhuy

Tracing my ancestor’s life in the Danish West Indies, St. Croix  in particular has been a genealogical journey over many years.  Although, I have not been able to obtain family history or any oral history, it is through my research into the census, church records, genealogical resources, along with the help of other researchers.  I am able  to re-create my 4 great-grand mother,   Sarah Beaudhuy.

Sarah was born into slavery in and about 1772 in St. Croix, Danish West Indies, baptized at the Dutch Reform Church, her race listed as Mulatto.  (offspring of a white and black) Sarah’s early years in slavery were not entirely worked out.  However Sarah was listed in the Estate Inventory of valued at 400 rd (source: Betsy’s Jewels Inventory)

Anthony Beaudhuy,  presumed the father of Sarah was a White planter, half owner, and slave owner with Jacob Boffron of Sugar Plantation Betsey Jewels on St. Croix 1772-1776 , from  1790-1799 half owner and slave owner with William Wood of Estate Betsey Jewels, St. Croix.   (Source: Colby files)

Securing any information on Sarah mother birth date or place of birth has been unsuccessful.  It remains unknown, and perhaps I will never know, whether Sarah’s mother was amongst those in the middle passage of the slave ships that arrived in the Danish West Indies from Africa; or whether she was transported in from another Caribbean Island.

In November 28, 1779, shows a baptismal record at St. Johns Anglican Church, Christiansted, St. Croix where Adam, Peter and Sarah, three mulatto children belonging to Anthony Beaudhuy were re-baptized, and took on the Beaudhuy name. (Source Christiansted ,Anglican Church Baptisms & Birth)  It is assumed that the father of these three children is Anthony Beaudhuy.  Sarah grew up together with her brothers and remained with the Beaudhuy family.

By 1800, Mr. Anthony Beaudhuy freed his children Peter, Adam and Sarah.  Sarah Beaudhuy received her freedom certificate from then Governor Malleville as recorded in Christiansted City Court April 24, 1797. (Source: Christiansted,  panteprotokol 1749-1801)

Anthony Beaudhuy dies the beginning of 1802; his 26 slaves were gifted to his daughter Anna Beaudhuy-Wood.   (Source: interisland movements 1802-1830)

Genealogical sources, suggest that Sarah’s adjustment to freedom was not altogether difficult.  She supported herself as a seamstress, resided in the town of Christiansted between Queen, Prince, Market Street all properties belonging Anthony Beaudhuy.   (Sources: St. Croix Census 1815, 1832)

Following Sarah Beaudhuy and her children through the census and church records indicated that by 1806, she had given birth to three (3) free-born children, Peter, David and George, because of her free legal status.  Two of her sons died in childhood while one survives into adulthood that gives rise to The Boughs of US Virgin Islands.

Sarah lived with her son George Anthony Bough at the family home Christiansted, St. Croix. In the records of death Sara Beaudhuy died at the ripe old age of 96 in December of 1868. (Source: MM1884/roll 18/NARA 601 Records of death 1865-1874) She out-lived her son, and was living with her daughter-in-law and grand-children, at the time of death.

In an effort, to bring my family Matriarch,  Sarah Beaudhuy, lineage forward I submitted a public family tree “Beaudhuy”on   Receiving a genealogy chart,  by another researcher, of Anthony Beaudhuy and his wife Catherine Thomas, with their off-springs (Sarah’s half siblings and cousins) was a gem, it peaked my interest to see where  the results would lead.

By looking  into the Danish and US Federal Census records I found additional surnames. Such as: Wood, Moth, and Beverhoudt all of which are branches on the tree.  I discovered through the passenger records, as well as  public family trees on ancestry, that during the 19th Century, most had migrated to New Orleans USA, or returned to Denmark.

At times hints and sources appear on the Beaudhuy tree with prompts to connect to other public trees.  I suppose that anyone, who submits a public family tree on ancestry, with similar data receives the same hints and prompts.  Therefore, I have hesitated to reach out.  Well frankly, I intend to give it some time before I share the story of my 4th great-grandmother.


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