Tag: blogging prompts

Wordless Wednesday – Bough Family Gathering March 29-30, 2017

boughpeepsDuring the 100th anniversary commemoration of Transfer Day, when the Danish West Indies were formally transferred from Denmark to the United States, the Bough family of the U.S. Virgin Islands gathered again on St. Croix to celebrate our cultural blend and share family history.



”   One of the things that binds us as a family is a shared sense of humor –Ralph Fiennes

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

Tombstone Tuesday- Sarah E. Pretto

Sarah Elizabeth Pretto Beloved Wife of M.A. Pretto, who departed this life September 6, 1883 at an early age of 20 years. Like a flower withered in its bloom.  She has passed beyond the tomb, with a certain hope of grace to behold  her savior face to face.

Sarah Elizabeth Pretto Beloved Wife of M.A. Pretto, who departed this life September 6, 1883 at an early age of 20 years.
Like a flower withered in its bloom. She has passed beyond the tomb, with a certain hope of grace to behold her savior face to face.

Sarah Elizabeth Pretto, buried at the Christiansted Cemetery, St. Croix US Virgin Islands. She was the young wife of Morris Alexander Pretto. He was the great-grand son of Nancy my new-found African Ancestor.

Census Sunday – USVI 1857 (danish period)

Whenever I look at the 1857 census which I retrieved from ancestry.com, I recognize that the composition of the household is of a different time; a time when families lived together. Today, the ancestors could not possibly conceive in their minds, how most families are not living together and rather live apart in distant places. Then again, they could not possibly conceive the birth of the “internet” with the capability of bringing families together for company sake.

My 4x great-grandmother, Sarah Beaudhuy lived in the household of her son, George Bough, daughter-in-law and grandchildren most of her life. George died one year before the 1857 census .

US Virgin Islands Census 1857 (Danish period)

US Virgin Islands Census
1857 (danish period)

The 1857 census shows Sara Beaudhuy living in the household that once was headed by her only child, now belonging to the children of George Bough. Sarah continues to live with her family at 13&14 Fisher Street Christiansted St. Croix.

Susan Crow-Bough 42, born in St. Croix , Episcopalian widow, seamstress
David W. Bough, 17, born in St. Croix, Lutheran, Taylor
Benjamin Bough, 15, born in St. Croix, Episcopalian
Sarah Beaudhuy, 84, born in St. Croix , Moravian, Pensioner

This census is a reminder that families near or far need to make meaningful connections so that a legacy of caring can be established and passed down to the other generations.

Friday Funny

This week while visiting with my four gran-girls, my 9 year old grand-daughter Britni ran up to me with excitement saying “ Nana I have a Black History Project to do on Rosa Parks, and I know you would love to help.” I must admit she hit the right button and I was all willing.

After reassuring her of my assistance, I told her, “I have a picture of your sister with Rosa Parks when we visited New York City.” Britni was bewildered and puzzled she wanted to know this and that. You see, her sister Breanna is only 11 years old. To her surprise I uploaded the below picture of Breanna and Rosa Parks. It was only a matter of time before we both had a good chuckle.


Breanna Ward at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, New York City, 2006.

Military Monday- Army Nurse

Army Nurse

2nd Lt. Kathryn Bough-Nicols

Kathryn Yiensena Bough was born on March 18, 1909 to Harold Bough of St. Croix, a retired Wardroom Steward of the US Navy, and Maggie Keeling of Virginia, a retired Teacher, in the Public School System.   Kathryn was the 4th of seven sisters (known as the Bough girls in Portsmouth Virginia).

Kathryn, a Registered Nurse, graduated from Lincoln School of Nursing in 1934.  She also did some studies at Columbia University.  Before joining the Army Nurse Corp. where she attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, she served as Head Nurse at Harlem Hospital, New York City.

She joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1942 and was one of 12 African-American Nurses during WWII to serve at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama.  Because of segregation, the Tuskegee Airmen could not use the White Medical Facilities.  As a result, the nurses had to provide most of their medical services in the colored facilities.

2nd Lieut. Kathryn Bough worked along with Head Nurse Lt. Della Rainey as her second in charge.  Kathryn along with four other nurses started the operating room services used by the Airmen at Tuskegee, Al.  It was said that Kathryn might have been a doctor had it not been for her race and gender.

In 1943, Kathryn Bough married Tuskegee Airman, Edward Kingston Nichols Jr. who was an Attorney and Pastor.  Edward‘s father was AME Church Pastor Edward K. Nichols Sr.   His mother, Laura Drake Nichols, was a Social worker.  Kathryn and Edward Nichols had a daughter, Charlotte Nichols.  The couple settled in Philadelphia PA., but subsequently divorced.  Kathryn returned to her home in Portsmouth, VA, and served as head nurse on the ob-gyn ward at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital from which she retired in 1970.

During the 90’s, while on a cruise she had the opportunity to visit her father’s birth-place (St. Croix) unaware that she had a host of relatives that she was connected to on the island.

Kathryn Y. Bough-Nichols lived to the ripe age of 95 when she died in Philadelphia, PA.  Her year book with pictures of all the Tuskegee Airmen and Nurses was donated to the Military Museum in Norfolk Virginia.

This connection began with a 1932 St. Croix Avis Newspaper Article that was given to me from Veronica “Ronnie” Phillips Researcher/Family Historian in the Virgin Islands.   Further research led to discovering the life of my 3nd Great Uncle,  Harold Bough, (written in an August post)  and the lives of his seven daughters, with an eventual connection to a living relative, Charlotte Nichols.  She is the  grand-daughter of Harold Bough, and daughter of my subject Army Nurse Kathryn.  

From an email address to a phone call to Charlotte, as I waited to hear her voice as I began to tell her about my journey  The love and warmth that was poured out to me for my effort broke down all fears.  As I shared with her the story of her grandfather and other relatives in St. Croix through my research, she gave me the story of her mother Kathryn, the Tuskegee Army Nurse.  It was so wholesome, so real that I am forever inspired to continue telling  our stories.  I make mention of the other sources that assisted me with research, and contacts; whereas I’m able to sort and shape this narrative as well as get a better picture of this prominent, yet humble family in Portsmouth VA


1.             Charlotte Nichols (daughter of Kathryn Bough Nichols)

2.             “Inscriptions of Triumph” by Mae Breckenridge    Haywood – Retired Librarian, President, African-American Historical Society of Portsmouth, INC

3.            Christina L. Carlton, Fisher Hill Website, researcher/Manager

4.             The Afro America, August, 1943

Tombstone Tuesday-Amelia Marcus

The first time I was shown the grave-sites of my great-great grandmother Amelia Marcus, and my great-grandfather’s first wife, Mary Eliza, I was pleasantly surprised of the upkeep, and the poetry which was written on the tombstones.

The lyrics told me about the love and dedication that my great-grandfather August Bough felt towards his mother, and his young wife, Mary Eliza.

Christiansted Cemetery, St. Croix, USVI

Written on the Tombstone – Amelia Marcus:

“In loving memory of a loving mother Amelia Marcus who died the 15th Feb 1897 age 64 years old. Fondest of mothers, kindest of friends loving each other constant to the end. Ever watching alone her dear loving ones till heaven demand her work to be done then to the last commands said THY will be done. This monument is erected by her affectionate son A.C. Bough”

Written on Tombstone-Mary Eliza

“Mary Eliza beloved wife of A.C. Bough who died 26, October 1894 aged 20 years. Like a flower within its bloom she passed beyond the tomb with a certain hope of grace to behold her Savior face to face”.

My second great-grandmother, Amelia Petersen-Marcus, was born in 1831 in Christiansted, St. Croix, DWI, and primarily lived in Christiansted. She died in St. Croix due to a chest ailment in 1897. She was 64 years old.

My great-grandfather’s first wife, Mary Eliza (nee Armstrong), was born in 1874 in Christiansted, St. Croix. She died in 1894 at the young age of 20 years old. (Cause of death unknown)


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