Adolph Achille Gereau, or Adolph Gereau, (December 20, 1893 – May 24, 1994) was a United States Virgin Islands civil servant who was the principal founder of the Republican Club and one of the committee of founders of the Republican Party of the United States Virgin Islands.
Gereau was born December 20, 1893, in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, then Danish West Indies, and died May 24, 1994, in Christiansted, St. Croix. His father was Mederic Gereau, a boat captain and steam engine mechanic from the island of Guadeloupe, French West Indies. His mother was Diana Beale of the island of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. Mederic Gereau broke up with his wife and relocated to the Dominican Republic where some of his relatives had previously moved. Mederic Gereau did steam engine maintenance for the Dominican sugar centrals eventually dying there. Although mostly Black, Adolph Gereau was adopted at the age of 11 in 1905 by a white family resident in Charlotte Amalie, the Ffrenches. Marie Leonides Galiber Ffrench and her husband Gustav Augustus Ffrench operated a commercial warehouse and stevedoring contracting firm. Ffrenches second wife was Esther Levy-Maduro who, though a Catholic herself, was of an illustrious Sephardic Jewish family. The Gereau and Ffrench families have been in communication since that time. One of Gereau's foster brothers, Leopold Adelbert Augustus Ffrench, moved to Mexico and a grandson Leonardo I. Ffrench serving in the diplomatic corps eventually became the Director General of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad of the Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. Adolph Gereau's wife was Annetta Brewster Gereau of Black, Asian Indian and White descent, a seamstress and herbalist active in the Episcopal Church. Her sister Louise Brewster Siebenhoven was grandmother of Michael S. Fields at one point President of Oracle USA. The Gereaus had three children Iva Liston Gereau, Edith Mercedes Gereau and Gustave Adolph Gereau.
He was educated in the islands' Catholic School system and received an Associates in Accounting by correspondence from the Pace Accountancy Institute forerunner to the Pace University. During a varied civil service career Gereau was a Danish police officer, Acting Commissioner of Public Safety, and Deputy United States Inspector for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in charge of the United States Virgin Islands. He was part of the official welcoming party at the visit of aviator Charles Lindbergh. The officious character Police Officer Adolphus in the 1939 novel Star Spangled Virgin by DuBose Heyward author of Porgy and Bess is a humorous interpretation of his personality. Gereau was one of the people who hosted Heyward when he visited on a cruise in 1937.
Adolph Gereau spent most of his career as either Assistant or Acting Commissioner of Public Safety. He was also deputized as the Inspector of Immigration for the Virgin Islands. Gereau was one of the first Blacks to go through the same training as an FBI agent, through a program offering training to senior police officers from cooperating departments. Before his civil service career, he also worked as a boilermaker's apprentice with the West India Corporation a division of the Danish East Asiatic Company, ships steward with Hamburg America Line. During his career he moonlighted as a merchant clerk with Cyril Daniel. Daniel served at times as Honorary Consul for France and Honorary Consul for Haiti and fiscal agent for Sténio Vincent. Gereau also worked for the St. Thomas branch of Paiewonsky Hermanos of the Dominican Republic cousins of Ralph Moses Paiewonsky. An article he wrote on a riot in Charlotte Amalie by Southern White sailors from the U.S. Navy in 1924 was given prominent coverage in the U.S. press. At this time he also wrote Calvin Coolidge requesting that he be permitted to form a Republican Club to help lobby for greater respect for the islanders. He was then invited to become a newspaper reporter with AP, UPI and American Negro Press Agency. In support of his capacity as a journalist he also helped finance his colleague Ariel Melchior founding publisher of the Virgin Islands Daily News. After moving to St. Croix on his retirement in 1959, he served the Catholic Church and he was Director of the St. Croix, Virgin Islands chapter of the Red Cross.
under Google Books and Google News ArchiveAdolph Gereau as Immigration Inspector
Adolph Achille Gereau SSDI Record
Adolph Gereau in NAACP Records
Reply to a letter from Gereau by the Dept of the Interior
Daily News: Gereau reappointed as Acting Commissioner
Charles Lindbergh visits St. Thomas meets Adolph Gereau