Tag: Bough family

Surname Saturday, Bough (US Virgin Islands)

genealogyfun

The mission from Randy Seaver:  how many surnames in your family tree database was done before, but since the Bough family gathering I needed to bring the tree up to date.  Looking at the Surname Statistics in my Roots Magic Software, there are 9 pages with 39 names per page .  Grand total of about 351 surnames in my database with 1,144 persons.  The top 15 are with birth date ranges:

surnames15

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.

NITA

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.

SONY DSC

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.

candy

“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.

mockojumbionpalmtree

Personal photograph by author 2015

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

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

 

Source:

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

http://home.ancestry.com/ 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)

 

 

 

 

52 Ancestors #43 Oops George fell!

Amy Johnson Crow “no story too small” suggested that we write about “An ancestor who made an ‘oops,’ or one that you made while researching.

52ancestors-2015

 

Week 43– OOPS!   George A. Bough (1806 – 1856)

George A Bough

Artist J.Dawkins rendering of George A. Bough private in the Jager Corp  1846 St. Croix danish west indies.

Although, there have been many oops over the years of my genealogical research that required pruning and other measures,  I decided to look at what appears to be an oops when looking at the cause of death for George Anthony  Bough, the patriarch of the Bough family.  From embarrassment to tragic.  George’s cause of death was a fall.  Oops there it is.

George Anthony Bough died on April 3 1856 on St. Croix,  Danish West Indies now the US Virgin Islands.

 

 

Sources:

Burials 1856, Christiansted Gravedigger Journal 1856/04/03 RA/VILA/VR/#3.81.635

Christiansted Burials 1856
RA/VLA/VR/# 3.61.209

52 Ancestors #42 Proud Nancy

The optional weekly theme for Week 42 was “Proud” Many of us have an ancestor that we are proud – or that we’re proud of our efforts to find them!

52ancestors-2015

As I look at my pedigree chart, there are so many ancestors that I am certainly proud of; but I am most proud of the efforts done to find my African Ancestor on the Christiansted Town Register of 1855.

I had been researching the genealogy of my maternal family, the Boughs of the Danish West Indies for at least one decade.    Researching my ancestors’ lives has been very fascinating and at times, discouraging.  However, finding my African ancestor, while in the midst of searching for the mother of my great-grandfather August Bough, I came across the 1855 Christiansted Town Register which showed 4 generations.  On the first line, of the 2nd household was the name Nancy, born in Africa.  She is the great-grandmother of August Bough.  Although I never thought I would find such ancestor, nor was I actively seeking one.   I experienced an Alex Haley moment when he found Kunta  Kinte.  Earl Jones, who played Alex Haley, shouts out with every bone in his body:  “ye ole African, I found you, I found you!

1855 Town Register

1855 Town Register

It is through the VISHA database that I can retrieve some of the Danish records.  Although, there are gaps I was able to piece together a time-line which gives me a clear picture of my Africa Ancestor and what became of her.   I don’t know where she came from or what her name might have been, but on the census and church records, she is known as Nancy.

Looking at the Danish involvement with the slave-trade from the 1650’s helped to establish when Nancy arrived in the Danish West Indies from her long journey from Africa.  It appears that she may have arrived during what is called the “winding down” time between the years of 1792-1803 of the prohibition of slave trade.   Danish Captain Thomas Petersen purchased Nancy and another African girl together for 400-800 rd.   She lived in the household of Thomas Petersen at Hospital Street in Christiansted.   The Town Register showed Nancy was baptized in the Lutheran Church, July 4, 1798.

In May of 1800, Captain Petersen prepared a Deed of Gift.   He gifted Nancy along with a house on 46 Hill Street, to his two sons, Peter Andreas and Hans Wilhelm Petersen, by a free colored woman named, Anna Lucia Assenius.    By 1818, Nancy, house servant, was living at the house on Hill Street, the property of the Petersen Brothers.    Living in the home were the Brothers,  their mother Anna, as well as what appears to be Nancy’s  five (5) children; Anna, Toney, James, William and Henry, noted in a later census.

Hill Street Home of Peter and Hans Petersen where Nancy resided over 50 years.  Photo accessed from St. Croix Historic Photos/Rezende-Walbom/Danish West Indian Society

Hill Street Home of Peter and Hans Petersen where Nancy resided over 50 years. Photo accessed from St. Croix Historic Photos/Rezende-Walbom/Danish West Indian Society

From the records we observe that Nancy stayed with the same Petersen family throughout her life.  She was considered morally good and was never punished.   Nancy received her freedom on July 3, 1848, when Gov. Gen Peter von Scholten proclaimed the freedom of all slaves in the Danish West Indies.    I perceive that since Nancy and her family were no longer slaves, it was the hope of a new day.   After the emancipation, she continued to live at the Petersen home on  Hill Street with her family to include my 2GG Emelia Petersen  She was no longer a servant, but then supported by her children.

By 1860 Nancy was a 70 year old invalid.  No surname was given on the census.  Despite the limited information, I am proud of the efforts and the assistance from my friends and family in finding Nancy, the African.

strength

S O U R C E S:

(Slave List 1798 – Head Tax CD 6 (1795-1799)

St. Croix Mission Church book 1805 – 1814

Christiansted, Lutheran Church Mission 1818 – 1846

St. Croix Slave Plantation and Head Tax Lists, 1772-1821. Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA),

Rigsarkivet (Danish National Archives, Copenhagen)

Vestindiske lokalarkiver (West Indian Local Archives)

Christiansted Byfoged (Bailiff)

Pantebog 1800-1801, folio page 38

St. Croix Register Unfree 1841, 1846,

St Croix Register, Christiansted , 1850,1855, 1860

http://www.visharoots.org/

52 Ancestors #16 Ena Dorothy Bough – Lived to 97

Long Life:  Ena D. Bough, My Great Aunt and direct ancestor:

52ancestors-2015

Ena Dorothy Bough, (1907- 2005) was born on St. Croix in the Danish West Indies. Ena was the daughter of Crucian Parents; Haddasha Summersille died at the age of 93; studied pediatrics and performed duties as a Mid-Wife.   August C. Bough died at the age of 74; the sucessful Merchant who turned Reverend and co-founder of AME Church in Christiansted St. Croix.

Ena was born at a time when Havanna Cigars were being sold, Cotton and Cane were flourishing and a Leper Asylum was established on St. Croix.   On the mainland, Mary Phelps Jacob invented the bra.   A decade after her birth, the Americans purchased the Danish West Indies in 1917.

In 1920, Ena was living with her parents, at the family home in the town of Christiansted.  She was a middle child between brothers, James, Oscar, and Kaj Bough. She attended school in Christiansted and was a known talented Seamstress.  By the mid-1920’s, Ena and brothers migrated to New York.  The 1930 census, showed her living in New York with her younger brother Oscar, and working as a Finisher in a Dress Factory.

On-line Photo https://www.google.com/urfreepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com

On-line Photo: the Ship Silivia that sailed Ena to new york
freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com

Ena answered the call to return to the Virgin Islands, to care for the family where sickness was eminent. Despite the excitement of living and working in New York City, she returned home.  Ena worked the most of her life as a famly care giver to include nephews and nieces.  Ena was very proud of her brothers’ successes in the fields of Law, Education, Agriculture, and Business Administration.

I met my great Aunt Ena for the first time at her home in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands when my mother and I took the seaplane from St Croix to visit the family.  It was hard to keep back my excitement of meeting the last living child of my great-grandfather, August Curtis Bough.  I walked with a list of questions and a small tape recorder, prepared to capture oral history.  When we arrived at the house, we were greeted by an over friendly dog and my cousin Ellie.  We glimpsed Aunt Ena sitting in the corner, looking puzzled as to the Crucian relatives who descended upon her.  My mother and I realized Auntie wasn’t up to talking about the past, nor was she going to be interviewed.  She just smiled gently, while offering the usual traditional greetings.

Our visit lasted about 2 hours, as we had to catch the plane back to St. Croix.  Although I was a little disappointed by her lack of engagement I understood her suspicion.   I was determined to make another trip to get better acquainted.  Being hopeful, we planned to return to celebrate her 100th birthday, with “lights, camera, action” for the interview of a lifetime.  Unfortunately, it never materialized.

Ena D. Bough Birthday Celebration.  Photo Courtesy by Ellie Bough

Ena D. Bough Birthday Celebration. Photo Courtesy by Ellie Bough

Aunt Ena  outlived her siblings. With her death on April 17, 2005, it signified an end to the August Bough generation of those who were born during the Danish period.  She lived on the island as a citizen of the Danish West Indies and was present in 1917 as the Danneborg lowered, and the U.S. flag was raised.

Coincidentally, as I reflect on my ancestor Ena Bough.  She was among the first Virgin Islands people to become American citizens; I will be honored to be among the rest of our citizens, as we celebrate Transfer Day in the year 2017. The US Virgin Islands will reach a milestone in our history.  Marking 100 years since the United States purchased the Danish West Indies (St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John) from Denmark for $25 million, and I look forward to the celebration.

Danish, Virgin Islands and USA Flags.  photo taken in St. Thomas by sdewese

Danish, Virgin Islands and USA Flags. photo taken in St. Thomas by sdewese

Ena Dorothy Bough died on St. Thomas, USVI April 17, 2005.  She was 97.8 years old.

Sources:

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

Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

Year: 1929; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 4555; Line: 1; Page Number: 249

Newspaper: The Virgin Islands Daily News; Publication Date: 23 4 2005; Publication Place: St.Thomas, Virgin Islands,, Carrbbean

http://www.highbeam.com/

http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org

Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.

52 Ancestors #15 Isabella Barzey of the Danish West Indies

As you may know, I am participating in Amy Crow’s 52 week ancestors with the 52 week Challenge. http://www.nostorytoosmall.com/ Although this is the 18th Week; I am posting #15  and hope to catch up with the rest of the bloggers before the month is over.  52ancestors-2015

I was recently given a letter that was written by Isabella Barzey (1820-1890) that had me puzzled as to the conditions of life of the population since  July 3, 1848 when the Danish Governor General Scholten proclaimed freedom for all slaves in the Danish West Indies.    Why were people bound to the plantations that enslaved them and why were they still being physically assaulted by the managers?    I discovered that the author of the letter is my ancestor through marriage, and  I needed to research in detail the facts of this ancestor.

By using Ancestry.com and stx.visharoots.org, I gathered information on birth, death and marriage dates.  But I needed to look further at the past history to obtain a real sense of time in which Isabella Barzey lived, when she wrote a letter in April of 1849 to the Danish King, pleading to be transferred from Estate Cane Garden Plantation on St. Croix after being flogged in order to join her husband in St. Thomas.

Estate Cane Garden

Estate Cane Garden photo by sdewese

My findings from the VI History books led to the Labor Act of 1849 in which I will point out two portions of the Act that shaped the early years following emancipation:

  1. The great majority of the newly-freed Blacks were to remain unfree on the estates with no recourse open to them but to submit to the bondage imposed by the 1849 Labor Act.
  2. The amended 1849 Labor Act.- The Act created a new institutionalized system of serfdom base on contract labor, in place of slavery.  The law fixed the contract year from October to October, renewable each August.  Engagement’s made by heads of families were to include their children.  Laborers were divided into three classes with meager wages.  No laborer could refuse the work he might be ordered to do.  To assure that a laborer remain bondage to his former owner, the law placed him in a no-win predicament by providing:

The laborer shall have given, or received, legal notice of removal from the estate where he serves, before anyone can engage his service; otherwise the new contract to be void, and the party engaging in tampering with a laborer employed by others, will be dealt with according to law.  The contract was inviolable except by mutual agreement between the master and laborer, or by order of a magistrate.

The Letter I have transcribed is from Mrs. Isabella Barzey, describing the bad treatment she received from Manager Maloy of Estate Cane Garden, and her request to be sent to St. Thomas to meet her husband.    Isabella letter is as follows:

BarzeyLtrpg1

Transcribed verbatim:

May it be pleasing to your Excellency

I humbly state that I have attended Mr. Maloy the manager of Estate Cane Garden three years as Cook, House Attendant and Seller.  Always faithful obedient and attention to my business. On Monday the 16th of April last I was constrained from bad feelings reasoned by a Cold and hoarseness, to beg Mr. Maloy for a dose of oil which he refused to give when I was obliged to seek for it elsewhere and remained my house until Thursday, the 19th.  When Mr. Maloy called me before Dr. Johnson who said I was not sick when my feelings were really sick as did not allow me to work the following day.  I was sent to Kings Hill and their flogged in a shameful manner, the first time since I arrived at the age of maturity which is painful to my feelings.  July next will be 10 years since I was married indorsed medals with accompanied certificates will prove my character it was from life and exemplary life and laudable conduct which was pleasing to Priest O Kennely

Courtesy of Camilla Jensen

Courtesy of Camilla Jensen

who honored me with this mark of distinction from other married women.  I was always respected from the managers who preceded Mr. Maloy, it is bad feelings in him to treat me in this manner, to expose me, to cut my flesh and humble my becoming pride which was always govern with markings of obedience to my superiors, and friendship to my equals.  Mr. Maloy has without cause inflicted a wound which he cannot remedy.  My husband is now in St. Thomas a Mason of trade.  I humbly beg that your Excellency will after mature deliberations be graciously pleased to grant myself and children to follow my husband according to the 2nd paragraph of your excellency Regulation of the 26th January last as I cannot remain to be further exposed under the powerful control of Mr. Maloy; my first child is 13 years old and my last 9 years old, your excellency’s compliance to the above will be ever gratefully remembered by your most humble servant.

Isabella Barzey

Christiansted 5th May 1849

It is not yet known whether Isabella’s request to follow her husband to St Thomas was granted.  The 1855 Census revealed that she was no longer living at Estate Cane Garden. She was then living in the town of Christiansted with her two daughters.

St. Croix Census 1855

St. Croix Census 1855

By 1860, the St. Croix Census showed that Isabella Barzey was then divorced from Henry Barzey, and living in the town of Christiansted with her daughter Virginia and grand-daughter Theresa Chabert.

St. Croix Census, 1860

St. Croix Census, 1860

Isabella’s grand-daughter Theresa Chabert married my 3rd generation Uncle Esram Bough,  on February 26, 1884 at Holy Cross Catholic Church on St. Croix.  Together they had four children.  (see my post on Esram Bough the  Cigar Maker)

Holy Cross Marriage Book 1884

Holy Cross Marriage Book 1884

Isabella Barzey died on April 11, 1890 she was 70 years old.

After the 1878 revolt on St. Croix, the Labor Act came to an end after thirty (30) years on October 1, 1879.

Sources:

Letter:  National Archives of Denmark -Courtesy of Camilla Jensen

Willocks, The Umbilical Cord, page 192

Boyer, America’s Virgin Islands, page 58-59

St. Croix Census 1855, Available from Ancestry.com Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), comp. U.S. Virgin Islands Census, 1835-1911 (Danish Period) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.

St. Croix Census, 1860, Available from Ancestry.com Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), comp. U.S. Virgin Islands Census, 1835-1911 (Danish Period) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.

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

Holy Cross Catholics Church, Christiansted Marriage records 1855-1898

52 Ancestors Week No. 12- Same

The last couple of weeks have been truly occupied in a pleasant manner. Spending time with my mom’s niece on the island was very refreshing. Her visit gave me the opportunity to re-discover St. Croix and enjoy our one-of-a-kind culture.  Albeit, I am looking forward to getting up to speed with the 52 week Ancestor challenge. I thought I would begin week 12 with the theme – Same – What ancestor is a lot like you? What ancestor do you have a lot in common? Same name? Same home town?

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Week 12 (March 19-25) –Same. While I was developing my maternal Bough family tree, I was surprised at how the middle name Curtis repeated itself in five generations. It is common tradition that names are repeated in honor of an ancestor.  Yet. I couldn’t find an ancestor who had Curtis as a given or middle name before 1841.   My research of the name did not reveal any historical timelines.  I turned to Wikipedia for name significance. “Origin: The name was Anglo-Norman. Meaning: Courteous, Polite, Well-Bred.”  Considering their lives through either family history, oral history, individual experiences; I was starting to understand the name Curtis and why it was picked as a middle name. also, all the more importantly how it matched the life they lived.


The basic facts from the Bough Family tree are these:

First Generation: Benjamin Curtis Bough (1841-1875) The son of Susan Crow and George A. Bough

Second Generation: August Curtis Bough (1866-1939) The son of Emelia Petersen and George Bough

Third Generation: Julius Curtis Bough born 1889-1936 The son of August Curtis Bough and Georgianna Agaard

Fourth Generation: Bernadine Curtis Bough (1895- 1974) The son of Ophillia Jackson and August Curtis Bough

Fifth Generation: Ishmael Curtis Bough (1929-2014) The son of Viola White and Bernadine Curtis Bough

Lord God of Saboath Lutheran Church, Christiansted St. Croix where family members attended. Photo  by s.dewese

Lord God of Saboath Lutheran Church, Christiansted St. Croix where family members attended. Photo by s.dewese

52 Ancestors # 10 Stormy Weather in Tortola BVI

The theme for week #10 of 52 Ancestors (stormy weather)  is so fitting to describe the historical backdrop of a schooner in Tortola called the “Fancy- Me”.  This brief account will show how a Hurricane back in 1926  impacted a Community, Family and a Caribbean Island to a heartbreaking misfortune.

For this story I invited my cousin Janet Smith, as a Guest Blogger.  She has courageously written as well as publicly spoken about the “Fancy-Me” Vessel and its incident.  It is not simply a story, it is a courageous effort on her part to write an account of the final voyage and loss of the “Fancy-Me”.

The Fancy-Me at Anchor in St. Thomas Harbour

The Fancy-Me at Anchor in St. Thomas Harbour (water island in the background)

SUCH ARE THE HOURS TO FIND PEACE

When Family Must Live with the Maritime Disaster of the Century

“Such are the hours to find peace”….  No more fitting words could describe the deepest feelings of a man who just days earlier, was only one of 59 of the 89 men and women when he returned home.  He had survived the sinking of the Fancy-Me schooner when it succumbed to a hurricane off the coast of Hispaniola on July 25, 1926. The schooner had been built on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for Jacob Wilson Smith, who, with his sons (and still for many of his descendants), had spent much of their lives in the business of boat building and inter-island transport.   “Papa Jake’s” only daughter was Ann Smith.  In the mid 1800’s she and her two young sons had moved from the British island of Tortola and made her home on St. Croix in the U. S. Virgin Islands.   Through marriage, the Smiths of Tortola is linked to some of the members of the Bough family.

Times were hard throughout the english-speaking Caribbean in the early 1900s. Making a living to support one’s family had grown harder and harder at home.  For the men of the island of Tortola and its surrounding British islands, so had employment from the bauxite and alumina industries on the U.S owned island of St. Thomas.  For this reason, the men, and sometimes even the women, ventured for months at a time to the Dominican Republic (also known as Santo Domingo) where they could find work cutting sugarcane or working in factories in order to support their families. While some moved permanently with their families to San Pedro de Macoris, most of them returned home when the season ended, and waited for the next sugarcane harvest.  Their families waited patiently for the financial support they sent home and for the time they would return home – whether to stay, or to return.  It was on one of these trips home – when many were looking forward to celebrating the local emancipation of slavery with the traditional festivities planned for the first Monday in August, that the tragedy that has been marked historically as one that may have affected every family, and in which the loss of life totaled more than that combined for all the hurricanes that have affected the islands to date, occurred.

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The brothers, James and Alexander Smith, by then owned their father’s boat – The Fancy-Me.  James himself was at the helm when the boat left the Santo Domingo city of Macoris late that Friday.  Some say they had hurried to leave.  It was hurricane season, and a hurricane was always possible, but those who plied the seas were experts who had come to know what to expect during such weather, and just how to handle their vessels.  Among other things, they knew that they could expect calmer waters in the open ocean. But the speed of the development of any storm was never predictable.  Passengers were anxious to get home to their families, to celebrate the festivities, and to celebrate the marriage of one of their own, some say.  The boat was also loaded with cargo – mostly sugar.…much of which had been placed on top of the boat’s larger of two anchors.  If there was to be rough weather, it is possible that this was intended to stabilize the schooner on the high seas, though we can only surmise.

It was usually a trip that lasted four days.  On the second day, as the weather worsened, it was necessary to take shelter near Saona, a small island south of Hispaniola. The captain dropped the available, but smaller anchor, which soon gave way with the tossing of the boat in the high, windy waves.  Despite his efforts to rid the boat of cargo, and to instruct passengers to help with shifting from their weight in order to balance the boat as it was tossed from side to side, there was much fear and panic as the boat capsized as it was flung against a rock – a rock called El Caballo Blanco (The White Horse). The single lifeboat was soon full and the remaining passengers were therefore left to fend for themselves.  It was night-time.  They grabbed whatever floating trunks and bits of wood they could, sometimes fighting each other to gain possession in order to stay afloat; and sometimes uniting in the midst of the tragedy, in the hope of saving each other. Many hung on to whatever they could and prayed for a passing vessel that might see, and rescue them.  This did happen, and some were taken to the small town of La Romana in Santo Domingo.  A few also made it to shore, but more than half of the passengers, including the captain and first mate, both of them members of our Smith family, were lost at sea that night.

It was a tragedy, none the likes of which had ever, or has since been experienced by the small and closely-knit people of the British Virgin Islands.  Though the family had always been, and continue to be well respected, everyone had lost someone, or knew someone that was aboard when the Fancy Me went down.  Most of us knew of the incident, as we often heard of the loss of the Fancy-Me, but sooner or later would come to realize how little we also knew about it. Feelings ran as deep as the pain that remained, so little was ever said by family members or others within the families that had experienced the tragedy; and blame was hardly spared.  Many of us sensed a measure of respect and admiration that was tinged with some distrust as we grew up.

Fancy Me Schooner Anchor

Fancy Me Schooner Anchor

In 1998, one member of the family, with the help of her father who interviewed perhaps the last two survivors,  obtained verbatim but almost identical accounts of the incident some fifty years later – as though it had happened yesterday.  “ Such Are the Hours to Find Peace: Intimate Accounts of the Loss of the Fancy-Me” recounts those two accounts, together with other accounts as they had been passed on through the years. Dr. Smith’s earlier writing as part of the story of the family, had been released.  She described it then as a personal item that closes a loop, but also one from which she hoped that others would come to learn a great deal concerning the history, people and culture of those times.

Janet D. Smith, Ph.D. is a native of the Virgin Islands.  She grew up on Tortola with her parents, Wilfred W.  Mrs. Cheddena (Nibbs) Smiht.  Dr. Smith, a higher education administrator, now lives in Jacksonville, Florida.   She has worked at the University of the Virgin Islands as well as at Universities in Ohio, New York and California.  Dr. Smith’s earlier writing on the “Fancy Me” is part of a 1992 description of the descendants of Jacob Wilson Smith a family known throughout the Virgin Islands for their citizenship, varied professional and boat building skills.

52 ancestors #8 August C. Bough born 1866: Holder of deeds & Did great deeds.

I’m participating in “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition” by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small. Week No. 8 of this challenge I used the optional weekly theme (Deeds)

52ancestors-2015

August C. Bough, my extraordinary great-grandfather was born in St. Croix, one of the largest islands in the Virgin Islands of the United States. He was the eldest child of his parents. His female ancestor, arrived into the Danish West Indies on a Slave Ship from Africa in the mid-18th Century. August Bough, was born six years after his Great-Grandmother Nancy of Africa died. I’m sure listening to stories about her life and the many challenges brought a feeling of pride and compassion towards different persons situation in life.

Before the 1848 emancipation of the Danish West Indies through a slave revolt; his father George Bough was a free-born colored. He worked as a Clerk; while his mother, Emelia Petersen was born enslaved. She worked as a House Servant the majority of her life for private families. August was raised by his mother, with his father’s impact limited to visits at his employment, and seeing him function as a clerk in a dry goods retailing store.

My great-granddad seemed eager for freedom and money related achievements. He took in the calling of being a Realtor, by which he ended up ready to purchase town properties. Yes, he was at long last holding the deeds to a few properties. Amid this period he opened AC Bough stores dealing in dry goods, hardware, and provisions;as well as operating wholesale, retail and commission. August Bough is described as was one of the islands greatest merchants. The height of his business career was in the best days of the island.

A.C. Bough's Store Photographer  C.E. Taylor circa 1899

A.C. Bough’s Store
Photographer C.E. Taylor
circa 1899

Property belonging to A.C. Bough  1901

Property belonging to
A.C. Bough 1901

Property Belonging to August C. Bough 1901

Property Belonging to
August C. Bough
1901

During the last 15 years of his life, my great-grand father was Parson/Rev Bough devoted his life to one of tribute. In fact. it may be said that he was the father of the A.M.E. work in St. Croix. Begun by Rev. Barrow of Barbados 20 years prior. The church received full support, and shelter in Rev A.C. Bough. The lot which stands the AME Church was given by him. Later when Rev Barrow was deported, it was Rev Bough who kept the AME work alive at Christiansted, Grove place and Frederiksted St. Croix.

The 1939 Obituary in the St. Croix Avis Newspaper, declared that Rev A.C. Bough was one of the popular and respected citizens of St. Croix. Five ministers were in attendance at the funeral Rev. E.E. Johnson of Bethel A.M.E. Church, Rev J.A. Agaard of the A.M.E Zion Church. Rev. C.S. Mayhew of the Church of the Nazarene and Rev E.C. Phaire of the Pilgrim Holiness Church were platform guest ministers.

A.M.E. church where Rev A.C. Bough ministered

A.M.E. church where Rev A.C. Bough ministered

When I think about his life in full, I think about the effort it must have taken for him to rise above his own striking character and conscience, to carry on a humble life without contradictions. The Reverend August Curtis Bough passed on March 18, 1939 in St. Croix; he was 73 years of age.

——————————————————————————————————————-
Sources:
U.S. Virgin Islands Census, 1835-1911 (Danish Period)digital images http://ancestry.com
Newspaper Archive/Government Secretary Office: “A remarkable Character Passes The West End News: 1939
Newspaper Archive/No. 63 “Obituary Rev A.C. Bough” St. Croix Avis.

52 Ancestors #7 I love to research Peter W. Bough (1854-1922)

52ancestors-2015 The theme for Week 7 was “Love.” One of the wisest decisions I have ever made was to become involve in genealogy research. As my skills increased, I was able to concentrate on my family’s history. Out of the many interesting family members that I love to research was Peter W. Bough, born in 1854 on St. Croix.

Peter is the brother of my 3rd Great-Grandfather and the youngest son for his mother Susan Crow-Bough. As an apprentice at 15 he studied a trade which carried him throughout most of his life. He was the hint, that supported the oral history connection of the Muckle branch to the family tree. Peter Bough was listed as a witness on the marriage record of his niece, Julia Bough and Alfred Muckle in the Anglican Church. I was amazed at his travels, which included a trip to Boston visiting his nephew Dr. Irvin Bough as well as his livelihood as a painter. At first, I thought he was an artist, but further research showed that he was not an artist but was an accomplished self-employed painter who worked for private families. He must have been very successful to be able to live on the Upper East Side of New York in the early part of the 1900’s. As someone who was born in New York, I can tell you that you would not have found many persons of color from the Danish West Indies living in that area; most of us lived in Harlem. I was very impressed to know that my Uncle Peter was a man of prestige and prominence. Peter was married to Adrianna Williams of St. Croix. He died in New York he was 67 years old.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge see the events in Peters life.

Sources:
Marriages, 1867-1901 St. Johns Anglican Church Book Records.
Virgin Islands Social History Associates (VISHA), comp. U.S. Virgin Islands Census, 1835-1911 (Danish Period) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 08; Assembly District: 20; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 41
The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 122
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