30 Sep

Hedding, Isabel MayExtract from Women of South Africa compiled by Thos. H. Lewis 1913
HEDDING, (Mrs) Isabel May. Wife of W.C.L. Hedding, Esq, Solicitor. Partner, J. Warwick Tainton, P’m’burg, N. Born at Bloemfontein, O.F.S. Youngest Daughter of the late W.B. Gradwell, Esq., who was a progressive farmer owning many farms near Bloemfontein, and was for many years Pres. Of the Rifle Associat’n, Bloemfontein. Educ. At Dames’ Instituut and St Michael’s Home, Bloemfontein. Fav. Rec., Music, Fishing. Memb. St Michael’s Reunion Club. 2 Daughters – Elizabeth Lilian; Ione Phoelice. Add., 106, West Street, P’m’burg, N.


GAINSBOROUGH, (Madame) Ethel Violetti

1 Sep



GAINSBOROUGH, Madame) Ethel Violetti. Wife of Everard Calvert, Esq. daughter of James Elliott, Esq. R.I. Born in London, Eng. Educ. at Kensington, London. Has resided 16 years in S.A., and is a conspicuous business woman of Johannesburg. Fav. Rec., Tennis and Fishing on unfrequented parts of S.A. Coast. 2 sons – Revel; Jack. Res. O’Reilly Road, Berea, Johannesburg, T.



4 Mar


Extract from Women of South Africa compiled by Thos.H. Lewis 1913

“ABSCHE, (Mrs.) Becky. Wife of Max Absche Esq. Diamond Merchant, Kimberley, C.P.

Born at Kimberley (1890). Daughter of Sam Stone, Esq., of Kimberley.

Educ. Kimberley and Cape Town, C.P.

Mem. Tennis and Croquet Clubs , Kimberley

Fav. Rec., Riding, Motoring, Singing, Needlework.

Add. Park Road, Kimberley, C.P.”

I have not been able to unearth a great deal about Becky Absche. From what I have managed to find, I would imagine that she lived a quite luxurious life. I have seen online a couple of ship’s passenger lists where she is travelling first class between South Africa and England. On one of the trips I noted that she was accompanied by a maid.
The following extract from ‘The Romance and Reality of The Vaal Diamond Diggings” by George Beck & Thomas Laurent Terpend 1917, illustrates, perhaps, the extent of the couples wealth.
“The Ben Engelsman Diamond, found at Droogveld No 3, 24th June 1913, was a first cape-white octahedron of 125 carats weight, and was purchased by Mr Max Absche, of Kimberley for £ 1687.10s.”

It would seem that Becky’s father Sam was in the same line of business as there is a file in the South African archives as follows


Sadly it would seem according to the document below held by the national archives Rebekka died at the young age of 37

STARTING 19270000
ENDING 19270000

The England & Wales death index 1916-2006 records Rebecca Absche’s death in Marleybone London in the third quarter of 1927.

According to passenger lists online she and Max had arrived in Southampton England on the 25th of April 1927 intending to stay at the Hotel New Metropole, Northumberland Rd, London.


28 Feb


Extract from Women of South Africa compiled by Thos. H. Lewis 1913

ABERCROMBIE SMITH, Christina Caroline. Wife of the Hon. Sir Charles Abercrombie Smith, M.A. ( 2nd Wrangler and 2nd Smith’s Prizeman, Hon. Fellow of St Peter’s College Cambridge), late Controller and Auditor-General C.C.; Mem. Of Council of Cape Univ. and for 8 years Vice-Chancellor.

Born at Wynberg , C.P. Daughter of Harry Remington Horne, Esq. and grand-daughter of Commissary- General Horne, who on his way to the Cape was a fellow passenger as far as St. Helena in the “Northumberland” with the Emperor Napoleon. Her maternal grandfather, Captain Blake, arrived at the Cape in 1810 with his regiment, the 24th.

Educ. By private tuition

Memb. Alexandra Club, Cape Town

Rec., Gardening.
Is greatly interested in charitable and philanthropical work.

Res., St. Cyrus, Wynberg, nr. Cape Town, C.P.

According to the Dictionary of South African Biography Vol II Christina and Sir Charles were married late in life,1897, and consequently had no children. The dictionary records that Christina died in 1917 two years before her husband .

There is a charming reference to the couple, Christina and Charles in The Garrett Papers by Gerald Shaw. In one of the letters, on page 92, the extract reads as follows.

“-You know the lady old Abercrombie left a posy with when we drove out with him and his sister? That’s the beloved of 20 years that he’s going to wed. She sailed for England with a written proposal, gossip says,, and was to cable a word from Madeira and she cabled ‘Heather’ which for dear old Crombie was ‘Heaven’. Isn’t it nice.”
There is a note on the same page of the book that reads
“ From the “Marriages” column of the Cape Times 28.7.1897: Abercrombie-Smith – Horne. On the 29th June at St Luke’s Church, Redcliff Square, London, by the Rev. Canon Brook, assisted by the Rev. Evan H. Hopkins, Vicar of the Parish, the Hon. Charles Abercrombie –Smith, M.A., and late fellow of St. Peter’s College Cambridge and Controller and Auditor General of the Colony, to Christina Caroline, youngest daughter of the late Harry Remington Horne Esq. of Springfield Cottage Wynberg.”

A Harry Remington Horne is recorded in my copy of the book” Cape of Good Hope Civil Service List 1900.” At this time he was employed as Civil Commissioner Cape. C.C. at a salary of 650 pound per annum with Stamping allowances of 50 pounds per annum. His civil service career is described as follows :
HORNE, Harry R. – Appointed temporary clerk, central road board, 7th April 1856 ; transferred to audit office, 8th July, 1857 ; appointed as assistant teller, treasury, 15th August 1860 ; accountant public works department, 1st December 1875 ; accountant crown lands office, 22nd December 1880 ; accountant, colonial secretary’s office, 1st May, 1882 ; civil commissioner, Cape, 1st July 1186 ; and custodian of stamps, 22nd August 1887 ; chairman, Cape land board, October 1882 ; chairman, Rinderpest committee, Cape 1897-98.
I presume that this particular Harry. R Horne is a sibling of Christina’s named for their father.


27 Feb

Extracted from Women of South Africa compiled by Thos. H. Lewis 1913

“ ADAMS (Mrs.) Una Ellen. Wife of Charles Frederick Adams, Esq., General Merchant, Eshowe, Zululand, whose father came to S.A.in 1860 as a member of Dr. Livingstone’s Expedition, returning to England in 1864 for a short period, finally settling in Zululand.

Born in London. Daughter of Lt. Colonel Brown, Hampstead, London, N.W.

Educ. At the South Hampstead High School and Univ. College, Gower Street, London, W.C.

Hobby, Needlework.

Fav. Rec., Riding and Tennis.

1 Son , 1 Daughter – Basil; Gladys.

Has resided on S.A. 15 years

Add. Eshowe, Zululand.

A search on Ancestry.com revealed that there was a Una Ellen Brown born in the Pancras district, London during the third quarter of 1868. (Indexes London England register Office )

It would seem that Charles and Una went to visit family in England as Ancestry.com holds images of a passenger list for the Ascanius which sailed from Durban to Liverpool arriving on the 7th June 1921. The address of their destination is given as 9 Worsley Rd Hampstead N.W.

Also on Ancestry.com one can view the passenger list for the “ Aeneas” which sailed from Glasgow on the 15th October 1921. On board and travelling first class were Charles Frederick and Una Ellen Adams.
Their details are recorded as follows.
Port at which contracted to land: Cape Town
Ages: Charles 47, Una 51
Profession: Charles –Merchant
Country of last permanent residence: British possessions.
Country of intended future residence: Natal
Last address in the United Kingdom: 12 Adamson Road, Hampstead, N.W.3.

Again In 1926 a Una Ellen Adams was a first class passenger on the Aeneas leaving Liverpool 27th February for Cape Town. This time her last address in the United Kingdom was given as The Elms ,9 Worsley Rd, Hampstead N.W.3.
In the 1871 U.K. Census a Una E. Brown age 2 is recorded as living at 9 Vicars Road St Pancras with her father, Henry (age 27) Mother Kezia ( age 30) and her sister Maud ( age 9 months). Her father’s occupation was recorded as “Assist. to a corporate body”. Also resident in the household was a general servant, Elizabeth heath ( age 21).
By 1881 the same family was living at 8 Worsley Rd St Johns Parish Hampstead. On this record Unas father is recorded as Harry, occupation Assist. Sect(?) Lieutenant(?) Capt. Hill’s Reserve Middlesex ??
We also learn that Kezia,s full name was Kezia Una, her daughter was obviously named for her.
The family has grown enormously to include, Joseph N. (age 9), Basil (age8), Alice ( age 6) and May ( age 4) . perhaps that was why they also had a housemaid and cook living on the property!

By 1891 the family had moved to The Elms in Worsley Rd and there were now 6 children living at home , Una 22, Maud 20, Basil 18, Alice 16, May 14, and Noel 7.
By 1891 Una had left home.

In 1911 ( UK Census) the family were still living at 9 Worsley rd which is a direct link with Una’s trip to England from SA mentioned above. This census records that Kezia, Una’s mother had given birth to 9 children in total 7 of which were still living in 1911. There were two of Una’s siblings still living at home Noel, aged 27 and Alice aged 36.

According to an entry in the England and Wales National Probate Calendar ( Index of Wills and Administrations) 1858-1966, Una’s mother Kezia died in 1920. The entry reads as follows.
“ BROWN Kezia Una of The Elms, Worsley Rd, Hampstead Middlesex ( wife of Henry Brown) died 27th March 1920. Probate London November 29 October to basil Brown Carrier and Thomas Edwin Pryce-Tannatt. Civil servant. Effects Three hundred and fifty pounds seventeen shillings and sixpence.”


27 Feb


Extract from Women of South Africa compiled by Thos.H.Lewis 1913

“ABERCROMBIE, (Mrs.) Beatrice Matilda. Wife of H.R. Abercrombie Esq. J.P, .F.S.A., Merchant, Chairman, Pretoria Chamber of Commerce. Born Rustenburg. T. Daughter of Henry Jarvis Esq. Educ Loretto House, The Convent, Pretoria, T.

Memb. C.W.S.

Fav. Rec. Fancy Work, Driving, Gardening.

Her father , one of the British emigrants of 1870, fought in most of the numerous Native Wars of S.A. during the past 40 years; her mother ( nee Haarhoff) was of Huguenot descent and formerly lived at Graaff-Reinet, C.P.

2 Daughters- Laura Cecilia: Adolie Helen.

Add. The Farm Wonderboom, nr Pretoria, T.”

( Abbrev. T.( Transvaal) C.W.S. (Church Womens Society) )

Further information I have managed to find in books and via the net

Although Hugh Romilly Abercrombie was still living at Wonderboom Pretoria in 1954 (South African Who’s Who 1954) sadly it would seem that by this time he and Beatrice had parted company as there is a file in the national archives recording a divorce in 1920.
The National archives also holds documents referring to a Henry Jarvis , 1933, recording his surviving spouse as Anna Cecilia born Haarhoff, thus I think that we can safely assume that Beatrice named her first daughter Laura Cecilia after her mother. There is another archive document that records the name as Cecilia Anna so I am unsure as to which is the correct order.

Annie Frances Bland Botha

25 Feb
Mrs Annie Frances Bland Botha

Mrs Annie Frances Bland Botha

BOTHA, Mrs Annie Frances Bland. Wife of General the Right Honourable Louis Botha, P.C., Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, Minister for Agriculture. Born at Swellendam, Cape Colony. Daughter of John George C. Emmett, Esq. Educated at St Michael’s Home, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State.

Clubs: Alexandra, London; Alexandra,CapeTown, etc.

Societies: South African Women’s Federation, Prisoners’ Aid Society, Women’s South African Party, Women’s Agricultural Society, South African Women’s Industrial Union, Girl Guides etc.

Takes great interest in all Social, Industrial and Philanthropic Institutions affecting the general welfare of South Africa.

Has three sons, two daughters: Louis, John, Philip; Helena (de Waal), Frances.

Addresses: Groote Schuur, Rondebosch, Cape Peninsula; Sunnyside, Pretoria, Transvaal; Rusthol near Standerton, Transvaal.”

According to further information I have found, the Emmett family was of Irish ancestry, descendants of the patriot Robert Emmett. Annie was born on the 3rd of July 1864. The inclusion of the name Bland as a Christian name links to the fact that it was her mother, Helena Aletta’s, maiden name. Annie was Helena and John’s only daughter, she had two brothers one older, William Cheere Ayliff, and one younger, Joseph James Cheere.

Louis Botha was a friend of Joseph’s and having met Annie through this friendship he later married her on the 13th of December 1886 in Vryheid,Natal.

Annie died on the 21.5 1937.

(Sources:Women of South Africa – Thos. Lewis 1913,
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bluepeter/f_b1.html#6, Southern African Dictionary of National Biography -Eric Rosenthal)