Visiting family in Durban, July 2012

After spending a few days in Pietermaritzburg at the Aberfeldy B&B in Scottsville (which we can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone), we came down to Duban and visted Val’s aunt, Pat van der Merwe, formerly Terblanche, born Greene.

Val Hayes, Jared Alldred, Pat van der Merwe, 14 July 2012

We saw aunt Pat when we went to the Western Cape on holiday last year, but had not seen Jared since he was 9 months old, and now he is 12, so perhaps that warrants a special picture.

Jared Alldred, aged 12

Pat is Val’s father’s sister, and Jared is her great grandson (and Val’s first cousin twice removed). Pat is staying with her youngest daughter Edwina (Jared’s great-aunt) in Durban.

While visiting them we warched rugby, the Sharks playing the Cheetahs in the Super-15 tournament, and the Sharks won by a big enough margin to move on to the nextr stage in the competition.

On Sunday morning we went to church at St Nicholas Church in Durban North, and then went down to the Pirates Lifesaving Club to meet some Hannan cousins I do not think I had met before.

Bill Hannan was the son of Duncan McFarlane Hannan, the youngest brother of my grandmother Janet McCartney Hannan, and we met him and his two sons Shawn and Clyde, and had lunch with them at the lifesaving club. Shawn and Clyde are my second cousins, and our great grandparents were William Hannan and Ellen McFarlane of Glasgow in Scotland. William and Ellen had seven children, four of whom came to Southern Africa.

Bill Hannan, Val Hayes, Clyde & Shawn Hannan, at Durban, 15 July 2012

The children who stayed behind were the eldest son, Tom, a daughter Maria, and a son Stanley Livingstone Hannan, who was killed in the First World War.

Bill Hannan

Those who came to Southern Africa were Emily (or Amelia), who married first Charlie Mould and then Arthur Sharp; Janet (my grandmother), who married George Growdon; David, who married Agnes Irvine and lived in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), and Duncan (Bill’s father) who married Margaret Helen Bain.

Earlier in our holiday we visited Peter Badcock Walters, who is descended from David and Agnes Hannan, and another of their descendants is Clyde Alexander Hannan, now an archiect in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. Bill said that his Clyde was named after the other one, because they thought it was a nice name, and Shawn commented that it was a bit wet, since it was a river, but that was probably the origin, since the Hannans lived at Clydeside in Scotland.

We had not known that Clyde and Shawn were married, and Clyde’s wife and daughter are now living in Shropshire, UK, on the Welsh border, where Clyde hopes to join them , and Shawn’s daughters, Giorgia and Maxine are very active in sports, and Giorgia has played hockey for South Africa.

Clyde Hannan

Clyde and Shawn grew up at Scottburgh on the Natal South Coast, and swimming and lifesaving were very much part of their lives on the coast.

It was good to make contact with another branch of the Hannan family, one that we had had little contact with before.

We’ve had a fair bit of contact with the descendants of Tom Hannan, most of whom remained in Scotland. My mother told me about her uncle Tom, who was a conscientious objector in the First World War, and spent two years in jail for it. In my youth this made him something of a hero in  my eyes, even though my mother also told me that uncle Tom Hannan wasn’t a pacifist, but was a conscientious objector because he was a socialist, and she said he sent his children to the socialist Sunday School.

When I went overseas to study I met Tom’s son Willie Hannan, who was MP for Maryhill in Glasgow, and my mother’s Rhodesian cousin Betty regarded him as a terrible man, proposing sanctions against Rhodesia after UDI, so before I met him I pictured him as a wild-eyed Che Guevara-type revolutionary, but was slightly disappointed to find thad he wasn’t at all like that, but was very respectable and rather conservative.

Shawn Hannan

But he was very kind to me, and when my mother travelled to the UK he introduced us to the other members of the family, his sisters Ella, Tilda and Ria, and took us to see the small town of Girvan, where the Hannans had originally lived before they went to Glasgow. I’m still in touch with some members of that branch of the family on Facebook.

The biggest remaining mystery of the seven children of William Hannan and Ellen McFarlane is Maria (Ria) Hannan, born about 1893, and said to have married a Jack Cochrane, but we don’t know if they had any children, or what happened to them at all.

After lunch with the Hannans we then visited Frank and Erna Vause in Durban North. Their main hobby is the collecting of Royal Doulton China, and family history takes second place to that. They have a most amazing collection, which occupies many of the rooms of their house.

We spent quite a bit of time discussing a Vause family tree, which many different members of the family have variants of, which traces the origin of the family to Vaux, De Vaux, or De Vallibus families, but always shows a gap of a couple of hundred years between them and the known ancestors. Different branches of the family have slightlky different versions of this family tree, but I believe the original was drawn up by one Arthur Wyatt Ellis, son of Henry Vause Ellis, who was born about 1880 in Reynoldston, Glamorgan, Wales.

Frank & Erna Vause, Steve Hayes

 

Childhood memories: Ingogo 1948

Randy Seaver challenges people to post their most vivid childhood memories Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – A Childhood Memory.

INGOGO – APRIL-MAY 1948

I lived in Westville, near Durban, until I was nearly 7. Then my father got a new job in Germiston, and the house in Westville was sold. My father went to Johannesburg to find a place to live, while my mother and I stayed at a hotel at Ingogo for a couple of months in April and May 1948. Ingogo was a small village in northern Natal, about halfway between Durban and Johannesburg.

The hotel, Valley Inn, was a mile from the main road between Newcastle and Volksrust. and was owned by my father’s cousins, Win and Sheila Bradbury, though my parents had not known that when they first arranged for our stay there. The Bradburys had two children, Michael, who was 12, and Gillian, who was about my age (there was a third child,  Winona, the eldest, but I have no recollection of her at all).

The hotel itself was built of stone, and had only four guest rooms. My mother and I stayed in the biggest one, on the corner of the veranda. It had an old-fashioned washstand, with a stone top, and a large enamel jug and basin; there was no running water in the bedrooms.
There was a hill behind the hotel, up which wound a deep rutted track which had been the main road from Newcastle to the north. There was a wood and iron general store over the road where this track joined the road from the station. The road from the station turned to the left at the store, and passed in front of the hotel, and after passing through some wattle trees crossed the Hart and Ingogo rivers, which joined quite close to the hotel. There were lots of doves around, and every day the place was filled with the sound of their cooing. Since then, whenever I hear doves cooing, I am reminded of that autumn in Ingogo. Ingogo was overlooked by three hills, Majuba, Inkwelo and Mount Prospect, and amajuba means doves in Zulu, an appropriate name.

I used to play with Gillian a lot while we stayed there. We would sometimes walk to the railway station, a mile down the road, and look at the signal cabin, with its big red levers. Or we would walk the other way, down to the river, and play there. We once found an old corrugated iron canoe, which didn’t float, however. We salvaged it from the bottom of the river with a great effort, but it was quite useless. We swam in the river, and went for rides on ox wagons that came past laden with fire wood. We went riding on donkeys a couple of times, but not very far. They were stubborn beasts, and had to be led and chased.

Gillian Bradbury & Stephen Hayes, Ingogo, 1948

Gillian Bradbury & Stephen Hayes, Ingogo, 1948

Once we went into Michael’s room, and found a bottle of Vaseline hair oil which he used, and Gillian and I used about half of it in experiments. The hair oil was lovely and greasy, but Michael wasn’t pleased when he found out that it was gone. The wrath of big brother was to be feared, but Michael was also admired for his knowledge and worldly wisdom and experience. He added several swear words to my vocabulary, whose meanings I only discovered later.
Michael also taught me to play marbles, though I was never very good at it. We dug a hole in the ground, and had to shoot each other’s marbles out of it.
One day Michael trapped and killed a dove and Gillian and I watched fascinated while he took its guts out — looking like red and blue spaghetti, and then cooked it. We tasted that, but there was not much meat on a dove. He caught doves by setting a trap, using an old builders sieve which he propped up on a stick with a piece of string attached to it. He would sprinkle seeds on the ground under the sieve, and then hide away, and when doves came to eat the seeds he pulled the string, and the sieve fell, trapping one or more of the doves underneath it.

Gillian Bradbury, Stephen Hayes and Michael Bradbury. Ingogo 1948

Gillian Bradbury, Stephen Hayes and Michael Bradbury. Ingogo 1948

Most of the business of the hotel came from neighbouring farmers who dropped in for evening drinks. It was the social centre of the neighbourhood and they would sit in the bar, or on the verandah, talking about their farms, politics, the weather — anything. We children weren’t allowed in the bar, or at least not when it was open to the public, but we went into it when it was empty and saw the high wooden stools and the counter that was as high as we were.

One of the farmers who came from far away said he had crossed baboons with dogs. One day we went to his farm to have a look at these creatures. He had an old coupe, and we went for miles and miles along the gravel road. Eventually we left the road altogether and drove across the veld, very close to the Free State border. There was a quarry next to his ramshackle old farmhouse, where these strange savage dogs were living. They had hump backs and deep chests, and did look a little bit like baboons.

We also went to see another farm, and had to cross a drift (ford) to get there. It was a weekend when my father had come down from Johannesburg to see us, and we went in our new Wolseley 8. The had a milk separator which rang a bell every time you turned the handle. It was the first time I had seen a milk separator, and it fascinated me. My father said that on his journey down the Wolseley had gone at 50 miles an hour for the first time. In those days new cars had to be run in for a long time, and for the first thousand miles one was not supposed to drive them at more than 30 miles an hour.

One day everyone went to the station to vote. It was the 1948 general election, when the Nats got in. The grown-ups said that one  good thing about the election was that we would be able to get white bread again. We couldn’t get white bread during the war, and the Nats had promised that they would bring back white bread if they were elected. During the war my mother used to buy brown flour and sifted it to make white bread.

There was a school for black children a little way beyond rivers, and Gillian and I went there a few times and sat in the lessons. The school was in a corrugated iron church building and the children played netball outside in the breaks. The teacher was very nice; she was the nicest teacher I knew. She treated us like people and not like children who must be seen and not heard. Perhaps that was because she was black and we were white, and maybe she didn’t treat her regular pupils like that; but whatever the reason, we enjoyed going to the school. Thirty years later, when we lived in Utrecht, I was called upon to be manager of several farm schools like that one.

My paternal grandfather, Percy Hayes, died while we were there, and we drove to Paulpietersburg for his funeral. We drove through Utrecht and Vryheid, and the journey was hot and dusty. We stopped at Vryheid for tea or lunch at a hotel. I was not allowed to go to the funeral, but had to sit in the car. We collected some things from my grandfather’s cottage, including a sailor hat that my father had worn when he was young. We drove back late in the afternoon, westwards into the setting sun over bumpy and dusty roads, and reached Ingogo after it had got dark. I had never seen my grandfather, Percy Wynn Hayes. He was manager of the Dumbe coal mine in Paulpietersburg, and before that he was a stockbroker in Johannesburg. When he died his Afrikaans friends all dug his grave because they liked him. My mother told me that my father didn’t want to see him because he was afraid that he would cadge money off him. My father and his younger sister Doreen wanted nothing to do with him while he was alive, but the older sister Vera cared for him.

Once we had discovered that we were cousins, Gillian Bradbury and I tried to work out what our relationship was, but it never became clear to me until after i had grown up and brgan researching the family history. I had assumed that we were related on the Hayes side because Gillians father was Win Bradbury, and my father’s middle name was Wynn, and so was mine. It tuned out, however, that her father’s full name was Harry Winston Churchill Bradbury, and he was born in Ladysmith during the Anglo-Boer War, around the time of the siege. Winston Churchill was captured by the Boer forces nearby, and perhaps his name recalls that event.

BradShe1It was actually through Gillian’s mother that we were related. Sheila Bradbury was born Sheila Bagot Cottam, and though she was only a few months older than my father, they were actually a generation apart, as her father, Richard Herbart Cottam (who had died only a few months before we stayed there) was actually my father’s great uncle.

After we had lived in the Transvaal for a couple of years my mother and I went to Durban on holiday, and spent a night at the Valley Inn on the way, and we once again saw the Bradburys.

Gillian Bradbury, 1984

Gillian Tiquin, born Bradbury, 1984

On a later journey, however, we found they had moved away and we lost touch with them. It was many years before I saw them again, though I did write to Sheila Bradbury a few times about the family history. When I did finally meet Sheila and Gillian again, when they were living in Oribi, Pietermaritzburg, after nearly 35 years, Gillian did not remember me at all, though Sheila did, and said that I was the only one from the Cottam side of the family who had kept in touch. She died a couple of years later.

We were at Ingogo for less than two months, but I remember more about that time than I remember of most of the time before I was twelve years old, probably because I liked it and was happy there. I suppose that for Gillian we were just two of many visitors to the hotel who came and went over the years, whereas for me it was new and different, and so my memories are much more vivid.

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