Friday, June 29, 2018

"All those people, all those lives..."

Some people have funny hobbies. I’ve got a new one.

Well, its winter and I’m not enormously mobile, so, after the morning housework is done, the overnight European tennis and cycling results checked and the blog statistics taken in (hmm the French courtesans aren’t doing so well, but the parrots are liked), I make a cup of camomile and have a wander through e-bay. No, I’m not shopping … although I keep my eye cocked for, in particular, mislabelled items that interest friends. For myself, I just enjoy the C19th cartes de visite – all those photos, all those people, all those lives …

Today there was a Theodore Thomas for Andrea, a Charles Halle, a photo from India of the East India Company postmaster’s unmarried daughter from Paignton

another labelled as an actor, which was actually an 18 year-old law student in fancy dress

and, amongst the New Zealandish ones, particularly nice photo of a young lady from the Wairarapa. 

And not just any young lady, I discovered. Her name was Ann Elizabeth Oates, and she was the second daughter of Samuel Oates of Peach Grove and his wife Jane. Oates came to New Zealand in 1856 and established himself as a farmer in the Wairarapa, to excellent effect. And his daughter, Ann, married Mr Charles Joseph Jury, son of an early settler and a maori lady, and seemingly an even more extensive farmer at Glendower, Carterton. When he died, it took an Act of Parliament to settle his estate.

Ann, alas, was not part of it. She had died in childbirth just two years after her marriage.

The family is well documented especially in the letters of Jane Oates, which are held in the local museum. I have tipped the archive off about the photo of Ann.

Right, 10am. The sun is being a little reticent about bursting through the sea fret, so I’ll make another cuppa and disappear back into C19th France …

Epilogue. I am delighted to say that the Wairarapa Museum bought the photo and it will now be enshrined in its historically proper place. Yayyyyy!

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