Who were the "Roxbury Aunties?" Print

altIn spring 2009, Discover Roxbury made a limited number of inquiries for historic photos of people and places in the

neighborhood. One of the photos we received is the one pictured below, which we've used in association with our Roxbury's Black History trolley tour. It was donated anonymously and without detailed information, as such, the file was nicknamed "Roxbury Aunties." Recently, however, the family has stepped forward to identify the women and reveal a little of their history.

The information below was given to us by Sylvia Eloine (Snow) Rosario, granddaughter of Eloine Greene Gomes, who is pictured on the left.

Eloine Greene Gomes, my maternal grandmother, arrived in Boston from Antigua with my great grandfather, Julius Joseph Greene, in 1893 when she was 12 years old (according to 1900 and 1920 Census documents).

Eloine married my grandfather, Emanuel Henry Gomes, also from Antigua, and they lived and raised their family at 69 Ruggles Street, and later on Hubert Street, in Roxbury. They had five children Eloine Dulcenia (my mother), Adele, Agnes, Joseph, and Melvin Francis. They were members of the historic St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church on Tremont Street and St. Cyprian’s Place (formerly Walpole Street), where other immigrant Caribbean families found spiritual comfort, community, and fellowship. Emanuel's draft card indicates that he was a stoker at the railroad yards in Boston. Census records reveal that Eloine was an embosser of copper frames. It is also believed that she taught copper frame embossing at the Robert Gould Shaw House.   

My grandmother Eloine died in 1929. Her girls, Eloine Dulcenia (my mother) and Adele (then 12 and 14 years old respectively) went to live with their mother’s cousin, Adora (pictured sitting in the photo), for a short while before moving to New York to live with a family relative, Fredericka Greene, who was probably Julius Joseph Greene's sister.

Eloine Dulcenia and Adele returned to Roxbury when they were 16 and 18 years old respectively, presumably after the death of their father, Emanuel who died in 1934.   

In 1936, when she was 18, Eloine Dulcenia married Julius Snow. Adele married his brother, William Snow.  

~ Sylvia Snow Rosario