1845-1892 Gordon Family Letters
The below transcriptions are the best efforts of their original transcribers to interpret handwriting styles on photocopies of old and decaying documents hence there are some inevitable minor variations where a letter has been transcribed by more than one person.
My dear child,
I hasten to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 29 July which has been five months coming. By it I find that my dear and beloved mother by God's most gracious mercy is released from her worldly sufferings. I trust in a few years and then we shall meet in that Blest abode where no sorrow can reach her or me. Marry a year I have sorrowed for her and you and many a night have I offered up a silent prayer to god for you both - and I heartily thank my heavenly Father for taking her from this world of sin and sorrow. I hope sincerely she was prepared to meet her redeemer. I must say it hurts me much to think she had no one belonging to her to soothe her in her last moments. When you receive this write to my sister's son, Francis. Present him with my kind love for his attention to his poor neglected grandmother's resources.. My dear child you say in your letter that you have no home now, no friend There is no doubt you lost a friend a humble friend in your poor grandmother but pray be comforted and consider you have a friend a home and a mother that never forgot you although length of time and circumstances and thousands of miles across the wide ocean separated us. Yet my poor child you were never forgotten by your mother. All I wish is to see both of you and your dear little boys, so if you can manage to get out here I think you may do pretty well. You complain of my not writing to you but I can assure you that I have answered every letter you sent. I also sent your husband two newspapers that you both might form some idea of this Colony and judge for yourselves. I hear the 11th regiment is under orders for this Country and shortly must be out here as there is only two regiments here now - the 99th and the 96th as the 80th is gone on to India. So pray try to come in some regiment as I think it would be best. Yet I leave it to your husband to do what he thinks best but pray try all you can to come. I am sorry to say the Colony is at present in a very bad state, it cannot be much worse. Yet you may do well with industrious habits here as where you are. Particularly as you mentioned in one of your letters that your husband's mother and father was dead. Therefore this Colony must be as good to him as his own. Tell him if ever he comes I will be to him a Mother for your sake. Your uncle and aunt has been very unkind to me. They have never written to me since August 1841 not as much as to let me know of the death of my poor mother and that was past wrote by Francis their son. I think in my last I forgot to tell you that my son, my only one how I love him, is married and has now a fine little son. The three girls Caroline, Maria and Sarah and their children are at present at home with me and as for their father I have had to keep him for this last ten years without his earning one single shilling but spending all he can get - give my love to your husband and children and accept the same from your affectionate mother.
should have answered your letter before this
but my troubles has been very great. So much so that I could not reconcile
my mind to write or to do any one thing. I have lost my daughter Caroline.
She died a few weeks. Since she was in a decline she suffered severely
for 14 months. She is now gone I trust to heaven to join the Saints of
god forever. She has left one son and a daughter without mother or father
or friend in the world, but myself ............. in my poor child
in her dying moments never to forsake them and by gods assistance ..............
with. You spoke of your little Caroline. God grant she may be more fortunate
than her poor Aunt. Kiss her for me and tell her I will always love her
for the sake of my poor Caroline though perhaps I may never be perrnitted
to see her. I am happy to hear you have put your oldest boy to a trade
as it will be much better than his being at service. I also hope you will
do better yourself in Auckland. I often wish you was near me or that I
was near you so that I could converse with you and tell you many things
so that I could convince you that I have the same good heart towards you
as I have to the rest of my children and god only knows my feelings for
you as well as the rest. You wish your grandmother was alive. You do not
know how that word has pierced my heart my ever dear mother. How many bitter
tears have I shed for her and what would I not have given to have seen
Your affectionate mother,
little time ago received a letter from you
and should have answered before this but waiting to see how things would
turn out as I fully expected your sister would have gone to Sydney for
the benefit of her health but circumstances would not permit of her leaving
home. Her family is large and her health is much improved so I have no
hope of her going. I wrote to your son a few weeks back but I have not
yet got an answer. Every stranger I see pass the door I think it may be
him. I am sorry that I cannot go to Sydney to him. If I could I would soon
let Mr. Russell know that he has no right to detain the boy but let him
go home as he wishes and that he should pay him his wages, but I cannot
go and that makes me feel very unhappy. His last letter he tells me they
have moved to No. 274 Castlereagh Street. It is so long since I left Sydney
that I know of no friend nor even an acquaintance that I could ask the
favor of I have only been to Sydney once this last three and twenty
years and that as you know many changes take place in that time. I think
his father should write a severe letter to Mr. Russell and tell him that
he wanted him home.
I remain your
Compiler's Note: The reference to "your brother" in the last paragraph would be a transcription error that must have read "your father" in the original. There was only the one brother Henry Gordon then aged 42 who enjoyed excellent heath and lived into his 90's. On the other hand Letitia's step-father Robert Gordon was then aged 80 and died the following year. It would seem Letitia's son referred to as "the boy" could have been Thomas Garmonsway who was born in England on 12th June 1843 and at the date of this letter was just shy of his 19th birthday thus qualifying for the description of "boy". Thomas did not marry until 1880. However it could have been son Edward "Ned" born 10th Dec.1840 who would have then been aged 21 years. It would not have been the only other son John Henry then almost 27 who was born on 3rd June 1835 and was by occupation a baker. He had married Crighton Petrie over two years earlier on 19th Dec. 1859 in Auckland, N.Z. where he was listed in the 1865/66 electoral roll and they had a daughter Letitia born there in 1862. During the period 1861 to 1864 no person named Mr. Russell appeared in the Sydney Sands Directory at #274 Castlereagh Street or elsewhere in Castlereagh Street. However there was no directory for 1862 when it is indicated by the letter he would have been at that address. In the directory for 1863 a Mrs. West was at the address running a Seminary.
My dear Aunt:
I received your letter addressed to my dear grandma who I trust is in heaven. I did not know your address or I should have written to you of your Mother's death. She died of bronchitis on the sixth day of June 1868. She was dead two years and one month when I got your letter.
I have often thought of you my dear aunt. I would give anything to see you. My dear Grandma often spoke about you to me she told me if ever I should see you that I should see my mother as you are very like her. I am your sister Caroline's daughter. I was always with my dear grandma. I was with her in her last moments. She died a happy and peaceful death trusting in her savior. My dear Aunt do not grieve or fret for your Mother. I will send you her portrait the next time I write to you. You must write to me when you receive this. We have often read about the war in New Zealand it will be a good thing when the war is over. You speak of the directions of a letter. My grandma's letters were all destroyed after her death. Your sister, Maria, sends her love to you and your brother Henry is quite well.
I expect you think there is something wrong from the long silence. Your sister, Ann, is in New Zealand but we have not heard of her this long time. I must now conclude. With love to you and your family and hope and trust this will find you well and happy.
I remain your affectionate niece
My address is
My Beloved Sister,
I have made two or three attempts to write to you, previous to getting your kind letter yesterday, dated 31st October. Can’t work while ill in bed. I got a letter from Ada Gordon, she had received a letter from her brother Willie with your portrait enclosed. I knew it immediately as I had seen one with poor Jessie’s some time since. You dear Letitia like us all are not so happy as you ought to be, which greives me much but like me it cannot be helped. God is good in him we must trust. You spoke of Jessie in your letter, I am greieved to tell she has never written me since my husband died, now some two years, and then her letter was sad to read. She had a small pimple on her wrist some years since it got before she left here into four or five holes. The Doctors told her it was partly consumption settled there and in time it would work its way out her finger end. So her last letter to me was that she thought it was making that way which then prevented her from writing. God helps us all, more or less. We are suffering while here, dear sister. I will now tell you a little of my trouble. I have been ill now six weeks and little hopes of getting better. I have lain afraid. Cancer in the womb continually bleeding and a painful discharge of blood and water with toxification so offensive that I cannot sit near anyone for the stench, it also makes me ill. What to do my dear, dear Letitia, I know not. I am very weak and all the strength leaving me. So dear sister, think of me with no breadwinner to give me nourishment or look to me. I am a long way from my only daughter and am getting too weak to venture in the steamer. You say you have a good daughter with you she like ourselves are left to live and fret. God bless her is my prayer and tell her from me not to be in a great hurry to get married again. It is a great risk all men do not make good husbands. I will say goodbye dear sister. Christmas will be close when you get this. I wish you and your good children a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, when it comes. God bless you dear Letitia.
Your fond sister
Maria Fulford - Gordon
Note: Maria died on 4 June 1882 - six months after writing this letter. He husband James Fulford Sr. pre-deceased her on 5 Jan 1880.
My Dear Sister,
You will forgive me for not writing before but if you only knew all you would not think I could collect my poor memory together to form any sort of letter. The poor boy would do it for me but I have been so low and ill that I scarce spoke to anyone. My eyes are still very bad for months. I was forbid to write and take any part in my business. I never thought I should never have been able to go through what I have done lately. We would be able to think against if it was not for the goodness of my blessed God. He has given me the strength so far to go on blessed be his holy name. I have been seriously ill lately suffering from extreme nervous debility brought on by a ........ shock to the nervous system. I felt my illness coming on the sudden shock I got of our beloved sisters death was too much for me. I had not time to get over the sad death of my husband and the way in which his friends treated me was enough of itself in my heart …… broken my poor heart. Oh dear sister you can die what God has done for me. I do not wish to …………… you too late you too much., may God spare me this summer to go and see you when I can talk to you. How happy I feel when I think you are well and free from ill. With your dear family around you tell me who you have living with you. If God be willing dear sister, robert will come with me. I am now not safe to travel alone but I will let you know before. I have received a letter from Henry Fulford the first telling me of a sale of property. They seem all to be healthy people. He spoke of some of our boys going ………. But I fear they would be too poor and hardworking men to go near ……….. relations. My poor boys did not get the flu, they did they of mine here had a poor suffering mother for years to look after……..dear boys I trust they may live long to enjoy all they got. Their poor dear mother had many a ……………. But thank god I trust she is in the arms of Jesus. Where may God grant we shall all meet. The last letter was by that he was I think in a hurry he did not speak since his first letter of coming to New Zealand. He might not be able to get away. He sent a photo of is three little children and has sent his own and his wife’s but it never came. He ……. His one to you. I am now waiting patiently till next month to know than when the mail business whether I shall get my pension. The good Colonel Hewitson has done all for me in forwarding my papers. I have now been twelve months. When I should have been receiving some. What it may be I cannot tell if at the Ministry of War they do not grant it. I will then be left dear sister entirely on my boys, but God is good and I must trust in him. I trust this will find you all well and happy.
Sarah Ann Moir
Your dear kind letter reached me safe a few days back. I would have written before only I missed the last mail, but hope dear aunt this note finds you well. Now, dear aunt, I must thank you for kindness for sending me the 2 male and 1 pretty little boy, it is the prettiest one of the kind I ever saw. I would like to put another one to match it. It is quite a novelty now, dear aunt, you spoke of Ada Gordon and she is a melodrama, yes she is. Crafting about on her friends. Take no notice of her letters, treat them as they did your dear never forgotten sister. I myself shall never contenance them again. They are a bad lot. They would never write to you only they want to get some information about your people.
Aunt, I hope you receive the papers I sent you, I send them regular. I have a great deal of sickness in the family lately, but thank goodness they are getting alright again. They don’t seem to get good health in Newcastle. When living in Maitland, we never had a Doctor, but it is just the reverse here.
I must say goodbye dear aunt. God bless you.
Your loving boy
Thanks for your letter. I hope that you will receive the "Tribune ". I did not know that Frank A. was dead I only saw him once when a child so do not remember what he was like. My mother says that he had red hair. I think he did not get along well with his first wife so I heard and that he married 2nd his children's governess so you say she is dead. I heard that she had left him.
Arthur Adams whom I once or twice met it is said is such bad disposition he is not married. Clara's husband died lately so I think I mentioned to you but I did not know that she was dead she had some children. She and Amelia, Mr Fulford's daughter, were married on the same day and dressed alike. Amelia married a Mr. Guest, a man of a little property at Narrabri, she lives at the Valley and has two nice little girls.. She was my mother's favourite, gentle and well behaved but I fear had not the best time of it when young. Mr. Fulford had by his first James an ex MP. residing at Randwick (2) George, who did not do well (3) Ralph, who died and left four little girls. One Sid has taken, one James has and two are living with their mother's family (4) Amelia - Mrs. Guest.
Mr. Fulford and your sister had -
So there were three families in all. They had a good home and a liberal education. Mr. James was the only one who made an attempt at rising above the ordinacy sphere of life, he was Mayor of Maitland and MP for that place a few years ago. Since that he seems to have retired from public lfie, he has not any children.
Did you know anyone named Campbell? Someone told me that a Mr. Campbell, master in the Regiment, married your father's sister. That must be the woman who was not very kind to Grandma when first they came out. Poor Grandma, she had the expression of a broken hearted woman. I have since thought that she lived in hopes of seeing her friends in England again. The last time that I saw her was in Maitland '67 when on my way to school from up the country. I broke my journey there and stayed at her house all night. I think the next year she died but I forget the date. There are some of those Campbell's living near Parramatta I believe. I have never heard or seen them.
Jessie was a handsome woman very Jewish looking. She lived with ma when a little girl. Her father was not kind to her mother, so she, Caroline, returned to Grandma and died. She also had a son called Fred I saw him once when a child staying at Grandma's and I remember your father then showing me pictures of the Crimean War and the state of excitement he got into over at a battle on paper, he treasured up all these old illustration for his grandchildren's benefit. I once heard that your father's family were a good family. but that his father or grandfather had married beneath him and was not recognized by his relations in consequence. Also that there was some property in the West Indies belonging to them in Chancery. I thought the Maria Gordon that you spoke of in a former letter was the daughter of John Gordon, by your last letter I understand that she was the sister. Did you ever know a Major Bassley in your husband's regiment. Major B. has lately died he was a very remote relative of my mother's. My mother's people were nearly all army, navy or church people.
We had had great flood in some parts ofthe Colony. I fear that my brothers have suffered in consequence.
We are not settled here. They are making the old officers retire, if my father retires he will buy a place and settle down. With my brother's wifes bad health I feel thankful that they had no children.
Did you ever see Count Rufus? Grandma saw or knew him somewhere in England. He was a small old man she said.
And now I must conclude or I shall weary you with my long letter.
With kindest regards.
Yours very truly,
[ Written on the side] Frank's daughter married and he had a son not quite right.
My dear sister,
Pray do not think that I have forgotten you. No dear Letitia that can never be. You are the only one I have to confide in. I am suffering much with my health. I seem to think of nothing nor do I take any interest in any work that is going on. I cannot help the low miserable feeling that comes over me at times and my being laid up has made it no better for me. I was unfortunate enough a short time ago to scald my foot with the boiling kettle of water. I have been laid up ever since it was good for me that some relatives are living near me and did all they could for me. You will see when I began this to you. I am suffering now from liver complaint. I am low in spirits so much for that I take no interest in anything . My eyes are very bad in fact I can scarce see what I am writing but I know you will excuse it. My foot is still bad it is now three months since I scalded it . I can only wear slippers. I have had a bad attack of my old complaint but that is the weather. I cannot get a good nights rest altogether I am nearly done up. The appetite is very bad I have trouble on trouble that no one knows of but God is good. Dear sister may he look over me in mercy. I have trouble that I never knew of before. Now did I ever think I should all that greives me is to think I could not go and see you but it is impossible now the cold weather has set in. I am too weak to take the journey. More so myself. Has the boys are away one place and on others.
We have a baby boy now near three months old. The mothers a young giddy girl had no milk so she had to feed it out of a bottle. I am obliged to look after the dear little fellow so you can imagine what trials I have.
My lord grant you are keeping well. Is poor John and family well. I trust poor woman may be spared to her little family. Dear Martha and little ones are well I hope and dear kind Edward. If I should be spared dear sister to the Winter then I will go and see you if possible but Gods will be done. I am afraid this Winter will try me very much. I have no kind friend near me to cheer me up. The boys have themselves to look after and I have been so long bad that they seem to think it has a mother of powder and that nothing can be done. God help me and bless them. Now dear sister write soon and let me know how you are. I must close as the post will soon be here.
With sincere love to all and may god bless you and that he may allow to meet in this world is the sincere prayers of your affectionate but unhappy sister.
Many thanks for the Christmas card which I got from you today and I have much pleasure in sending you one with my best wishes. Ada sent me a letter today in which she says that she saw in ‘The History Of The British Navy’, that Mr King was promoted from ‘The Victory’ to the command of ‘The Venerable’ and was in the engagement with the Dutch in 1809. Did you know that Ada says that she is writing to you by the same mail. I am sorry to say that my wife has been laid up with a severe illness for two months. I put it down to working her brain at fancy work and other family troubles combined. Her illness first came on with a severe giddiness and she got so bad that one time I fancied she was going to a better land. She is now recovering at her fathers place in the country.
Do you ever hear of Mrs Moir?
Your affectionate nephew
Dear Mrs. Garmonswqy
I got your letter yesterday, I received the album of news with which I was much delighted I had no idea that Auckland was such a fine city. it must be a very pretty place from the number of gardens it contains. So many thanks for the views.
I shall tell my father about the Lamberts. I am sure he never heard of their death. Did Mrs. Lambert not leave some grandchildren or children? Grandma was very reticent she never told her children much of her family. Her granddaughter Jessie knew the most and used to tell my sister. Jessie died four years ago leaving no family. She married first a Mr. Smith and secondly a Mr. Cameron. They had all Grandma's things including a silver service that I heard has been given to Grandma in pieces at diferent times. I suppose they are in the hands of strangers now.
Sid Fulford has built a splendid house at Huntsville. The view from the verandah is unsurpassed for beauty. He inherited his father's love of neatness and order. No gentleman's residence could be better arranged on 7 acres. inside they have the servant ............. to contend with. Domestic are getting truly awful in the Colony. The class of emigrants who come out here are ................ the ..................... generations by their example of deceit, villainy and cunning. Happy are those who ----------- do ------------ one constantly hears people say. We generally get good ones. They have a wholesome fear of my father, l am very sorry to hear of your illness. My mother has been suffering in the same way. She caught a bad cold which ended in my having to bring her to Sydney where we shall stay a few weeks at the seaside. She has become very deaf
I have been reading your grandfather's and his brother's biographies which I sent you a copy of. Did you ever see your grandfather? Was he like your brother in features and did he die in 1835 as stated in the Naval Gag. I understood you, he had died before that time
Hoping you will soon be quite well.
21st Dec 1887
Dear Mrs. Garmonswqy
I have just got your letter and thank you for papers at different times and pretty Xmas card I am glad that you are better. I always live in hopes of seeing New Zealand My brother thought of coming to see us with his wife but her health appears to be in a very precarious state and in New Zealand as well as here it behooves government officials to be careful for a rainy day. A great many officers have been discharged from our government employ and times have been very hard One dismissed gentleman bought a basket of meat mixed with fish. He said that he could not see his little ones wanting meat. Now he has a horse and cart and getting on very well. Another gentleman and his son after trying to get employment in vain opened an ------------------ and another are ------------------------- , such like occupations anything they could get. All this trouble could have been ------------------ if each succeeding ---------------------- would not ----------------- an opportunity a fresh lot each times of friends and supporters of ------------------------. My father has promised to be photoed next time he goes to Sydney and I shall send you one of series if am taken again
We are still in apartments not being able to get a house. We hope to hear of one soon and get settled Luckily we sold most of our furniture before leaving Albany. I was not sorry to leave but I did not like my father being sent here to make--------------------for the brother-in-law of the Chief Justice. We are only 3 hours from Sydney and so can go ship occasionally. Ask Mrs. Moir who Count Rufus was that Grandma used to talk about. I cannot find his name in history in the almanack de Gotha.
I hope you received the Illustrated Sydney News. I think that it was good this year. Did you know Clara? Her husband has just died I believe that she has several children. Sid Fulford is begining to look older. He has adopted his dead half-brother's child. James fulford has taken two and the mothers sister has two. The mother died about two years ago. I do not know much of Sid's brothers. They live in or about Maitland I hear that
Robert married an elderly widow who has a public house. I should say that Sid has the best head of the family and he is decidedly the most gentlemanly. Amelia, Sid's halfsister, has only two daughters who are very nice girls. She is living up the mountains at a place called the Valley and is very happy. I think I told you that I met a lady from New Zealand a Mrs. Stewart who said that Mrs. Moir had had a great deal of trouble through her husband's unkindness to her. Gosford is a dull place in Brisbane Water, it is an old settlement very hilly country. There is not much to sustain, the town not being an agricultural district. It was a much more important town 50 years ago, a great place for cedar. There are the remains of numerous sawmills. One comes upon garden flowers growing in the bush away from any sign of habitation no doubt the remains of a sawyer's garden, but all wastage of cottage vanished Sometimes there is the remains of a chimney overgrown by tall trees and undergrowth.
Do you write to any of your Gordon relatives in Portsmouth? Did you know Colonel Bloomfield's family there 20 years ago? Did you ever see Admiral King, your great uncle. He only died in 1862. He must have been a great age, the was older than your grandfather. You did not know Captain Collius of 7 Dragoons. He knew Grandma and wished to take my father to India when a lad with a commission in the Army. Capt Collius now lives at Al .... (missing from letter)
with kind regards and best wishes-----------------------
My Dear Aunt,
I send you the enclosed with my best wishes and regards. I did expect to be able to go up to Auckland and see you both. Mrs Moir and you but will have to defer my visit as it is hardly safe now a days to ask for leave. I am writing to Mrs Moir by this mail. I got a friend in England to examine the pay books of the ‘Victory’ and I send copy paybook H.M.S. VICTORY 1805
No 27 Andrew King Lieut, subsequently
transferred to H.M.S Ocean.
Was your grandfather Andrew King? Who you will see was transferred to H.M.S Ocean. My father and Ada are well, but my mother is still ailing. Indeed she has been a wonder to me and to others as well. She has been a martyr in this world. Had bad health for years. Surely she will be well off in the next. A pious and refined woman and so there now let me wish you all the compliments of the season.
Your affectionate nephew
Letter 13: [duplicate
of above with some differences - transcriber's idenity not known]
I send you the enclosed with my best wishes and regards. I did expect to be able to go up to Auckland and see both Mrs. Moir and you but will have to defer my visit as it is hardly safe now a day to ask for leave. I am writing to mrs. Moir by this mail. I got a friend in England to examine the pay books of the " Victory " and I send copy - Pay Book H.M.S. Victory 1805.
No. 27 Andrew
King lieut subsequently transferred to hms ocean
Was your Grandfther Andrew King who you will see was transferred to HMS Ocean.
My Father and Ada are well but my Mother is still ailing. Indeed she has been a wonder to me and to others as well. She has been a martyr in this world. Had bad health for years. Surely she will be well off in the next. A pious and refined woman and so then now let me wish you all the compliments of the season.
Your affectionate nephew
27 March 1889
Dear Mrs Garmonsway,
A short time ago, when I was in Sydney, I was looking through some books containing the names of these persons who are entitled to money and property in England or elsewhere. I turned to the name of King and was surprised to find the following, though it is quite possible that they are no relation of hers:-
Mrs Robert Gordon
The address of the compiled of the above
lists of names is;
Another list of names compiled by;
If it should be your grandfathers family that have been advertised for, he being dead, also your aunt and mother. You might find it to your advantage to enquire. My father takes no interest in the matter. He says it would be too good news to be true, when I suggested he should write to one, again the other. There was also a name of my mothers family in the list. I wrote for her and got a reply back asking for ten pound. The fee for a copy of the advertisment and sending the records which I have just sent. I understand Mr Dougals letter that it is ten pound for each and of each person. If you write to either lawyer and got a copy of the ad for Andrew King, perhaps it would state fully who he was as to be sufficient for you to decide at once if you had any claim. Paramatta is a frightfully hot place in the summer. My mother is not well, but my father is always well.
Wish kind regards to you and your uncle
Letter 14: [duplicate
of the above letter - transcriber's idenity not known]
Dear Mrs. Garmonswqy
A short time ago when I was in Sydney, I was looking over some books containing the names of those persons who are entitled to money or property in England or elsewhere. I searched to the name of King and was surprised to find the following. Though it is quite possible that they are no relation of ours.
Mrs. Robert Gordon
The address of the compilers of the above list of names is F.H Dougal & Co., 62 Strand London & another list of names compiled by Mr. Edward Preston, I Gt. College Street, Westminster, London S. W
If it should be your grandfather's family that have been advertised for, he being dead also your Aunt and Mother, you might find it to your advantage to enquire. My father takes no interest in the matter. He says it would be too good news to be true when I suggested that he should write to one agent or the other.
The was also a name of my mother's family in the list. I wrote for her and got a reply back asking her for one pound the fee for a copy of the advertisement and sending the records which J have just sent.
I understand from Mr. Dougal's letter that it is one pound for each adv. Of each person. If you write to either agent and get a copy of the adv for Andrew King, perhaps it would state so fully who he was, as to be sufficient for you to decide at once if you have any claim.
Parramatta is a frightfully hot place in the summer. My mother is not well, but my father is always well.
With kind regards to you and your circle.
Yours very truly,
Compiler Note: One of the above transcriptions has the fee as £10 and the other as £1. Scams of this type were quite common. Henry Gordon's skepticism that there would be no pot of gold was no doubt well justified. As the letter suggests Andrew King may have been of her "grandfather's "family, it would seem Ada thought a person of that name could have been a brother of Letitia's grandfather rather than her grandfather. Also implies Ada had no knowledge of her grandmother Ann having had a brother named Andrew. If she had any such knowledge then she would have referred to the Andrew named in the two above lists as having been a possible uncle of Letitia's. If Letitia had known of an uncle Andrew she would have advised Ada when replying to Ada's letter of the March. The Andrew named in the two above lists may well have been a cousin of Letitia's mother Ann.
Dear Mrs. Garmonsway
My mother sends you a pair of mitts of her own knitting which she hopes you will like and some wool to darn them with should they get moth eaten. Ma is a great hand at knitting little things. It is about the only thing that she can do now.
My father is staying with us for a month. We are still unsettled and expecting a change ofappointment for him. Sir Henry Parkes is married again. I hear that Lady Carrington will not meet his wile. There are some strange rumours abroad about her, however, they were well received at Gosford I shall send you a Gosford paper.
My mother sends her kind regards and would like you to pay us a visit for a couple ofmonths as we shall be located in Paramatta for the winter and you would then have an opportunity ofseeing your only brother after so imiany years. The weather here is exceeding mild and pleasant and I think you would enjoy it.
My father would like to know what institution it was that your Grandmother was connected with. Did you ever see your Mother's mother or your Grandfather King and do you remember him living. Did you say that Mrs. Lambert and all her children were dead? My father remembers hearing his mother speak of Mrs. Lambert and of a Count Rufus whom she went to see when she was a little girl. My father also says that his mother was a very reticent woman and never told them that you were their sister till Caroline was dying then she told her family that Letitia who they had thought was a sister of Grandma's was their eldest sister. Ann Campbell whom Grandma kept married a Mr. Cave. Henry Campbell a son of old Campbell's is a blacksmith in Parramatta. My father has heard so little of Grandma's family that it is interesting to him to hear something about them. What became ofyour grandfather's sword? Those are relics that are usually kept in a family. Trusting that you will decide upon visiting us and with kind regards to all.
Yours very truly,
Dear Mrs. Garmonsway
My mother has sent you some of morson's pepsuie lozenges which she hopes will do you good I taken one after each meal. She has to keep herself always supplied with them. Otherwise she would be a much greater sufferer than she is. My mother thinks that you should give up drinking tea and take Mrs. Hauties Cocoa. It does not require boiling and suits her very well. I put in a teaspoon full for 2 cups into a little jug that just holds the quantity then pour the boiling water over till half full. Stir it very well before adding the milk. I fill the jug up with milk and then stand it in the stove for a couple of minutes while the breakfast is being taken in. I find that it improves it leaving it in the oven that little time. I am sure you would be better if you gave up tea for a time or only took it once a day.
My father returned to Gosford on Tuesday after a month's holiday he looked much better for the change. He looks absurdly young for his age. He never drank or smoked Never had an illness or any trouble in his life. He has had an easy time. I received letter of the 8th of April. I never heard Grandma speak of her brother John you say he was a "milkman " in some vessel. Do you mean that he milked the cows? I hear that my brother William is going up your way for a change and hope he will call. My brother Lowell has been down and left his little girl with us to go to school. He is a very good man but delicate.
With kind regards,
Letter 17:Ada F. Gordon
to Letitia Garmonsway [identity of transcriber from original
Letitia is a most uncommon name, were you called after any of Mrs King's family which was her maiden name I saw the death notice of a Capt. Henry King who died in India in 1811. Was that your grandfather? And do your remember the Battle of Waterloo - Mrs. Fulford was born on the voyage coming out she told me she was called after the ship Maria Matilda.
I am surprised to hear that Mrs. King was not matron of some institution. My father has told me several times that he had heard his mother say that her father had charge of the Royal ---------- and mother was matron of the institution when Grandma was a girl. Perhaps after Grandma married her mother gave it up and you might never have heard it mentioned Grandma also used to say that her father was wounded in Quebec. Grandma was a most reticent woman in some success for instance she never told her children who you were till Caroline was dying, then she told them all that they had an elder sister. They had heard of Leitita but thought she was some friend of Grandma's in England
I heard lately that Jessie 's brother Fred was still living and has an orchard I thought that he had died some years ago. He was not like her, she was a fine girl with dark eyes and most agreeable manners. I heard that John Gordon's sons are living in Limerick and are in very good circumstances.
I have just got a letter from my father who wishes me to write to you on his behalf to ask you what you can remember your mother say what became of the medal and sword which belonged to your Uncle James Henry King, who was killed at Waterloo and any information you can kindly give me as to your mothers father will be acceptable. My father thinks that you may have had lots of conversation with your mother on the subject and if your memory is good he will be glad to know what information you can give him. Do you know your grandfathers name? Was it Andrew King and was he a Lieutenant on the ‘Victory’ at Trafalgar. My father wishes particulary to know which King family he belongs and if you can assist please do so by writing me as soon as convenient and oblige.
I was in Auckland for a week lately but could not see your son or the Taviot cutter on which I am told he was not in Port during my stay which I was sorry for as I should have liked to have seen your son. I was prevented also from calling on Aunt Letitia’s daughter in Auckland. Through an oversight of the old lady, I wrote her from here to send me my cousins address and she put her daughters letter in my envelope and mine in hers. I suppose so I did not get her address in time to call on her. Kindly reply as soon as convenient.
My father sends his kindest regards
Your affectionate nephew
6th June 1889
My Dear Aunt,
Your letter came to hand a few days back. I am glad to find you as well as you state. No doubt what you are suffering from is indigestion, is very bad. I may tell you aunt, I am suffering the same thing myself and I advise you when you rise of a morning take a cup full of warm water as hot as you can drink it and you will find in a minute or so you will find the benefit of it and also cut lemons, they are good. I had a letter from Ada Gordon wanting to know the old yarn about all the people who are gone and wanting to see grandfathers brothers letters and other papers I have got here. Did she know? Did you tell her, but I can tell you aunt she will not see them or anybody else only if you wish. She also wants to know where grandfathers sword and medal has got to. I do not know if you know or not and also she wants the Christening name of grandma’s father. I can assure she will not learn anything from me. I am sorry I have lost the letter you sent me with all the information of the old people. I would like to hear from Aunt Moir, I have written several letters and never got an answer. Would you be kind enough to send me the address of her eldest son or any of them. I did have it but it has got lost.
With kind love from all
Letter 19: [duplicate
of the above letter - transcriber's idenity not known]
My dear Aunt
Your letter came to hands a few days back. I am glad to find you as well as you state. No doubt what you are suffering from indigestion is very bad I may tell you that I am suffering from the same thing myself and I advise you when you rise of a morning take a cup frill of warm water as hot as you can drink it and you will find in a minute or so you will find the benefit of it and also cut lemons they are good
I had a letter from Ada Gordon wanting to know the old yarn about all of people who are gone and wanting to see Grandfather's brother's letters and other papers I have got. How did she know, Did you tell her; but I can tell you she will not see them or anybody else. Only you if wish. She also wanted to know where Grandfather's sword and medals has got to. I do not know if you know or not. And also she wants the Christian name of Grandma's father. I can assure she will not know anything from me. I am sorry I have lost the letter you sent me with all the pedigree of the old people.
I would like to hear from Aunt Moir. I have written several letters and never got any answer. Would you be kind enough to send me the address of her eldest son, or any of them. I did have it, but it has got lost.
With fond love from all,
Compiler Note: Henry Fulford is trying to find out from Letitia how Ada Gordon came to know that he was the one who had possession of Ann and Robert Gordon documents that included letters from Robert's brother which would have come into possession of his mother Maria when Ann Gordon died in 1868. He clearly did not know the name of Ann's father and did not even know whether Letitia knew. If it had been Ann's father, and not as seems apparent her Uncle, who had died at the Battle of Waterloo one would have thought the Australian born family members would have known.
My ever dear Sister,
I am sorry to hear you appare so ill. I fear the winter will be to much for us boath. I am in deed very ill. My self a sevre cough is set in. I know I cant stand it much longer but God is good and he will help us boath. In close you a letter I got from William Gordon. I wish for his father sake our dear brother that I could give him the information he wants but I cant. I will be thankful if you can put him rite for our mother sake. I only recolect her telling me wen I was quite a child that I had a uncle kiled at Waterlool that is all I know about it. I wish I could get them any news. I would tell them I only wish I could have seen William Gordon my self but I know you will poot them rite if you can. I hope this letter will find you better than it leaves me. It is getting late now so will give my love to all the family. My boys join me in kind love to you all. I have no more news to tell you but I will rite soon a gain if I am spaired. God bless you. Is the fervent prayer of your affectionate sister.
P.S. Please get someone to let me know if you
Compilers Note: A copy of this letter is held by the Mangawhai Museum. Written to her sister Letitia Garmonsway it was likely Sarah Ann Moir's last letter. She died six weeks later. It would have been dictated to one of her sons as word spellings are astray compared to the same words correctly spelt in earlier letters written by herself which exhibited a very high standard of spelling. The referred to Letter 18 above from her nephew William Gordon in New Plymouth was inquiring as to her King grandfather's name, which his father Henry wished to know as he had only known of an uncle of his mother's named James Henry King who had died at Waterloo. The references to Andrew King relate to William Gordon's sister Ada's speculations that he had been her great grandfather.
Dear Mrs Garmonsway,
Your letter is just to hand. I am very sorry that you are having such a bad winter it is very cold here also quite an exceptional winter as regards frosts and rain. I shall send you a woollen undervest which I hope will fit you. Let me know at once if it does and I shall get another one at once. You will find it very uncomfortable worn next to the skin.
I am sorry to hear that Henry Fulford is not well and hope that he is not one amongst those whose services have been dispensed with at Newcastle. He tells me that your grandfathers sword and medal or your uncles sword and medal are in South Brisbane. Do you know who has them. I hope some of the family.
My father was down two weeks ago he has given up ……… tea he is a remarkably youthful looking man he never drank anything or smoked. He grows so like what his mother was…. He is fresher looking he has the digestion of an ostrich. Mrs Fulford was a tall woman also Jessie and Caroline. My father has now sufferings with a swollen toe joint which has obliged him to go to court every day in a buggy. He thinks he caught it through the... opening………..service……too early & his room which is off the……… has a fearful draught under the door. I got the same thing myself when I went to grandpa’s through………… was in brick floor before we got the kitchen covered. It is unusual for him to have pain.
Note: Of the four daughters of Ann Gordon née King, Caroline Gordon who never married and Maria Fulford were the two sisters who lived in NSW. Jessie was Caroline's daughter. This letter indicates Ada Gordon did not know if James Henry King was Letitia's grandfather or his brother. Ada's brother William five weeks earlier, on his father Henry's behalf had also queried Letitia's sister Sarah Ann Moir about James Henry King, stating from information presumably given to him by his father that he had died at the Battle of Waterloo.
As Ada's information re the sword and medal had come from Henry Fulford, he would have also told her the name of the person whose sword it was originally, which was it seems James Henry King. His mother Maria was the informant for Ann Gordon's 1868 offical death record and gave the name of Ann's father as "James". As her son Henry did not know perhaps she too did not know for sure that James King was her King grandfather when she gave that name for her mother's death registration purposes! It seems a bit unlikely she would have known whilst her brother Henry did not. As Ada had a reply to her earlier March letter in which she had suggested Letitia about a possible Andrew King "pot of gold", seemingly Letitia did not know exactly who was who, else Letitia would have clarified the identity of Andrew when replying to Ada! For the sword to be in the possession of someone in South Brisbane in Queenland (perhaps Caroline's son who was in QLD) implies it would have come to Australia in a cabin trunk with Ann on the "Matilda" in August 1817 - but in itself that does not tell us if the sword had been that of Ann's father or her uncle!
Dear Mrs Garmonsway,
I am so glad that you like the shawl and am sending you the other by post, which I hope you will receive safely. It is rather too warm for such thick things and you will have them ready for next winter. Mother has just finished a lovely shawl for my sister who is staying in Adelaide.
My fathers foot is much better and I trust that it will be permanently well soon. I did not know that you had been in America, was it with Mr Garmonsway’s Regiment? Garmonsway is such an uncommon name, you are the only person I ever knew with that name. Is it English? You must have travelled a great deal. Were you ever in India? We know an old Colonel who was at the Kings School with my father. The Colonel was in India many years ago and liked the country very much and also we have a retired Doctor who was nearly all his life there, living close to us in poor Grandma’s house. It is a house that Grandma built intending to leave it to her children but one day the poor woman was informed that it was no longer her’s, he husband had sold it without her knowledge. She also had a farm that went the same way. Had she been left to herself she would have been a very rich woman. She had the gift of managing and saving successfully. I suppose that she inherited her abilities from her mother. I did not know that your grandma lived with her family. Had she many sister’s and was her father a Naval man and what was his name. My father says that his mother came out here in 1817 and Maria was born on the ship. Caroline was a baby so my father says that he thought you were born before the Battle of Waterloo. Mrs Moir is younger than my father. I hope she is better than she was. I had a letter from William, lately his wife does not seem to get better. My brother Lovell has been seriously been ill with some complaint of the throat. Unfortunately his wife is delicate her mother is very kind and lives with them a great deal. My brother Henry’s children are fine strong boys, but he is in a bad state of health, he used to be very much on stations. I think the rough life broke up his health. My father wished him to study for the law but he preferred to go on a friend’s station.
Sydney Fullford and his family are well, they are nice children and he is a most agreeable man and his wife is a charming woman.
I must now conclude with kind regards,
Dear Mrs Garmonsway,
I received the paper you sent with the death notice of Mrs Moir. I believe that Mrs Fulford passed away in the same quick manner without pain. I hope that Mrs Moirs boys were kind to her. I heard that she never had a daughter. My father cut the piece out of the paper, he was very sorry to hear the news though he had not seen her for very many years and then she was called Sarah. Her name was Sarah Ann. All the girls except Maria I think were called Ann or Anne.
You must have been a great traveller in your time. I hope my brother will pay you a visit someday, he often speaks of you in his letters. I think it was Mrs Lamberts daughter that used to write to Grand-mama, was she married and living in Ireland. (missing sentance see below)
Lady Carrington has a little daughter. There is much disappointment because it was not a boy. All the property goes to Lord Carringtons brother if there are no heir.
It is very dull and raining. The wise people predict three years of drought for us. I wish that it will not be the fate of any of the Colonies.
My brother who was so ill is much better but he will never be as strong again. My fathers foot is much better he can walk well.
I am very sorry to hear of your Rheumatisim. Lemons are very good for that complaint. My poor sister who died of heart disease had bad Rhematic fever very badly. What did Mrs Moir die of. I must conclude with kind regards to you and all the family.
Letter 23: [duplicate of
the above letter - transcriber's idenity not known]
Dear Mrs. Garmonsway
I received the paper you sent with the death notice of poor Mrs. Moir. I believe that Mrs. Fulford passed away in the same quick manner without pain.
I hope that Mrs. Moir's boys were kind to her. I heard that she never had a daughter. My father has cut the piece out of the paper, he was very sorry to hear the news though he had not seen her for very many years and then she was called Sarah. Her name was Sarah Ann. All the girls, except Maria I think were called Ann or Anne.
You must have been a great traveler in your life. I hope my brother will pay you a visit some day. He often speaks of you in his letters. I think it was Mrs. Lambert's daughter that used to write to Grand-mama. Was she married and living in Ireland? My father says his mother used to get letters from Ireland.
Lady Carrington has a little daughter. There is much disappointment because it was not a boy. All the property goes to Lord Carrington's brother if there is no heir. I should like to go to England next year and I might go and should go and see your Grandmother's grave if I knew where she was buried at Portsmouth. I know a retired naval officer and his wife at Southampton.
I should have written to you long before but I was waiting for a paper in which some illustrations of my brother's part of the country will appear. It is not out yet.
Note: Letitia Garmonsway's sister Sarah Ann Moir died on 11 August 1889 - 8 weeks before this letter was written. Their sister Maria Fulford had died seven years earlier on 4 June 1882. Note the second transcription version above is significantly different to te first version, in that its last two paragraphs were omitted in the first. The first's last four paragraphs are omitted in the second! The second contains the important info (or maybe was just Ada speculating as she was much inclined to do) that Letitia's grandmother was buried in Portsmouth.
My dear Aunt:
Your kind letter reached me safe. You are asking about the names of your people. You misunderstood me. It is Grandfather's people that live in Limerick. Your mother's mother's name was Ann King. You spoke about your father being bad to your mother. I remember him well and was always over at his place. I never seen him behave bad to Grandmother nor did I ever hear.
You speak about the Campbells. All of the old people are dead. There are daughters and sons at Parramatta. I know not much about them only they Roman Catholic and those class ofpeople I do not like nor do I do not have anything do with nor would I have any of that class in my house.
Dear Aunt, I asked you in my last letter to let Aunt Moir's eldest son know that I have written to you and addressed the letter the same as I did to her. I hope you will not forget to let him know and ask him to answer it.
Hoping dear Aunt by this time you are better. I also send you a paper by this mail. I would like to hear from some of your children for fear of anything happening to you now you are getting old.
May God bless you and keep you well.
Your loving nephew
My Dear Aunt,
We are quite well here, thank God; hoping it will find you the same and your family. We have had very hot weather here, but it is raining again now making everything look green and fresh. It is a fine thing for crops I suppose the weather is the same your way. All my brothers are quite well and send their love to you. Receive the same from me. My wife joins us. God bless you and keep you in his love.
Your affectionate nephew
Compiler Note: N. H. Moir would have been Robert Henry Moir who had married in 1889.
Dear Aunt Letitia,
You must not be angry with me for not writing before. Our baby has been very ill. We thought she would not pull through, but God in his goodness has spared her to us. I ought to have come up in March but sickness and one thing and another has prevented me. I will try and come in the summer if spared and all is well.
Things are very dull here and the weather is very unsettled. My brothers have been to see Mrs Schraffe as well as Roger’s in town. They were all well. I hope you are enjoying good health. Let me know how you are. We have erected a pewter and marble tombstone to my mothers memory in Te Ari Cemetary, where she was buried and I and my wife are going to see it and plant flowers on the grave. Very soon if spared.
It is about four miles to the cemetary from here and the roads are muddy just now. My brother Reg still runs the cutter and Jack with him. He does very well. Hoping this finds you and your son quite well.
With the best love from my wife and myself and may we be prepared to meet one another in the next world is the prayer of your affectionate nephew.
K. H. Moir.
Compiler Note: Likely K. H. was Robert Henry Moir. The baby referred to would have been Annie (known as Nancy) who was born 5 July 1890. She lived to almost 83 years of age. Letitia Garmonsway's daughter Caroline had married Thomas Rogers and Martha had married Charles Schrafft.
My dear Cousin
Your letter of sad news reached me 2 days back. It was what I expected on account of not getting a letter from her for some time. My prayer is she will meet her dear gone sister in that beautful home where no pain or trouble is not like this world there being nothing here to live for.
Now what I would like you to do to write to me 2 or 3 times a year. I consider it not being right for us to forget one and another. I would like to know if you are the daughter or son on account of the way you signed your name. It is simply E. G. so explain next letter and if you have any Pho (photo ?) of your dear old mother, be kind enough to send me one. I will be pleased.
My dear cousin be kind enough to let W. J. Moir know that I have written a letter to him addressed.
And remain your loving Cousin
[Written in the corner of page]
Compiler Note: It seems likely Edward "Ned" Garmonsway was the letter recipient and "W. J. Moir" his cousin William James Moir. The writer of the condolence Harry Fulford would have been Henry Fulford son of Maria Fulford née Gordon who was the sister of the recipient's late mother Letitia Garmonsway. It would seem the corner note reference to December 6, 1892 could not have been to the first anniversary of Leititia's death as the Garmonsway Family genealogy compilation has her death as occurring seven weeks later on 25 Jan 1892! The inscription on her headstone in Pirongia Cemetery, about 11 kms to west of Te Awamutu, has only the year "1892".