MySource:RGMoffat/Letter from Mary Lizzie White Wells, July 21, 1924

MySource Letter from Mary Lizzie White Wells, July 21, 1924
Author Wells nee White, Mary Lizzie
Year range -
Surname Crabbe
Wells nee White, Mary Lizzie. Letter from Mary Lizzie White Wells, July 21, 1924.
Name RGMoffat Personal Papers

Letter written by Mary Lizzie White Wells of Mapua, New Zealand to Annie White Sine in Ontario, Canada. Annie White Sine was the mother of Phyllis Sine of Frankford, Ontario.

"Mount Hope" Mapua, Nelson, N.Z. July 21, 1924

Dear Cousin:

I have heard so much about you and yours from my brother, (Harold Temple White), that I do not feel that you are a stranger to me. I have had the privilege of reading some of your husband's letters to Harold and I have been much interested in them. My brother sent me the one dated April 9th of this year, with the photos of your house and the river-boat. Harold suggested that perhaps I would write and give you any inform¬ation I could in regard to family relationships. As I am seven years his senior I can go back a little further, to be sure, though my knowledge is not as extensive as I would like it to be.

My father's name is John Hobson White, now in his 82nd year. He lives with us, has done so for over four years now, since he retired from his work as a Home Missionary of our N.Z. Methodist Church. His father was George Patchett White, who was an older brother of your father, Thomas Boothby White; thus you are my father's first cousin. He remembers well his uncle Joe, of whom he was very fond, and who, he says, made him a wheel-barrow before he went to Canada. He says that his grandmother (Mary Ann Patchett/Brown) used to speak of her bad boys who broke her heart by going away over the sea to Canada; and she used to get him to read to her the letters that came from them from time to time. But later on she acknowledged that it was in God's providence that they had gone, when, as they prospered, they were able to send her enough to keep her in comfort in her old age, when otherwise she would have had to go to the work-house. Her husband (Michael White), my great-grandfather, and your grandfather, was a farm-labourer earning only 10/- per week, on which they managed to bring up eighteen children (they had twenty-five altogether but seven died at birth). Each of the eighteen children had a little china mug with its name printed on, and as a child I remember how interested I used to be in reading the names, as the mugs stood in a row in the mantelpiece of the thatched cottage where they were all born, and which was then occupied by Uncle Michael, one of that numerous family. 'I believe those mugs are now in the possession of Willie White of Lincoln, only son of Uncle Michael. The latter died a good many years ago. I understand that my great-grandmother, the wonderful mother of that large family, had me in her arms before she passed away. They say that she and her husband were both very tine types of Christian people of early Methodist days, and I am sure you will agree with me that we have much to be thankful for in that we come of such splendid, upright, God-fearing stock. It is worth --more to us and to our children after us, than an inheritance of untold wealth. It is quite possible that you are familiar with much that I have written, but if any of it is new to you I know you will be interested. I know of no members of the family in Surrey. In fact, all of whom I have any knowledge in England now are the aforementioned William S. White of Lincoln, who has been Mayor of the town some years ago and a councillor for many years. He had a wife and a son and daughter, but I have not heard anything of them for some years. He is your first cousin, and though I do not know his exact address, W.S. White, Lincoln, England, would find him. Then my father had a sister, Eliza Jane, who died a few years ago, but her husband, Mr. Joe Cooper and their daughter Edith, are, I believe, now living at Bourne, Lincolnshire... Then my own brother, Sydney Wales White, lives at 5 Logan Place, Kensington, London, S.W. He is an artist, a portrait painter, and stayed in England when we came out here, now 31 years ago. He has a wife whom we knew as a girl, and two children, Charlie, about 15, and Beatrice, about 7, I think. That completes the list, as I know it, of our relatives in England on the White side. July 24th, 1924

I will try once more to finish this letter. I am a very busy person, as you will realize when I tell you that our household consists of my husband; four sons, Howard, nearly 19, Malcolm 15, Stanley 11 and Bernard, nearly 9, a little adopted daughter Beatrice, commonly called Trixie, just 6, my father and myself. As I have no maid, you may be sure I am never feeling the lack of occupation; time for correspondence has to be stolen from sewing and mending. Our oldest boy has been away in Taranaki on a dairy farm for a year, but we are expecting him home very shortly now, and there will be great rejoicing on both sides, but especially in his mother's heart. When we were married over 20 years ago, my husband was a dairy-farmer in Taranaki and we lived there till eight years ago when he bought orchard land here, and we are now growing apples, chiefly, with a limited number of trees of most other fruits that will succeed in our climate, such as pears, peaches, plums, greengages, apricots, prunes, lemons, quinces, cherries, almonds, grapes, gooseberries, black currants, raspberries, cranberries, straw-berries, cape gooseberries, etc. We like Nelson as a place of residence much better than Taranaki, which has a much wetter climate. The climate here is almost perfect, eight to nine months summer, with three to four months winter, the latter largely consisting of beautiful sunny days with blue skies and sea, and sharp, frosty nights. Spring and autumn scarcely exist. The average annual rainfall is about 34 inches here at Mapua, and it mostly comes in good steady rain, so we really get very little damp, miserable weather. My boy Howard writes that he does not think he would ever settle in Taranaki after Nelson, there is so mach rain and wind. Arnold (my husband) keeps the meteorelogical station here, and reports daily rainfall, barometer and thermometer to the Government meteorologist in Wellington. We live in a beautiful situation; the house stands in the m~dd1e of the orchard on a hill about 50 feet in height, the first rise after about half a mile of nearly level land from the beach. We overlook the whole of the beautiful Tasman Bay, as we are right at the head of it and can get a good view of D'Urvillie Island some forty miles distant. Nelson town is about 9 miles in a direct line over the water, and we usually go there by launch (not our own, unfortunately.) The port lights show very brightly at night across the water. The town of Motueka lies on the other side of the bay from Nelson, about 16 miles from us by land. We are surrounded on both aides of the Bay and away behind us, by ranges of mountains which at present look lovely in their winter mantle of snow.

Mapua is itself is a small port, with quite a good little natural harbor. The wharves are about a mile from us. Over 100,000 cases at apples have been shipped over this wharf this season; the orchardists go down and load up the steamers themselves, and it is an interesting and busy scene. The orchards here are still young, so the shipping is expected to increase very largely in the next few years. We expect to begin exporting our own apples next season.

This is a delightful place in summer, lots of bathing. I have learned to swim myself since coming here, also the three elder boys and Bernard could almost swim alone at the end of last summer. A large number at people come here to camp in the holidays. There is good fishing and lots of boating. Harold and his family frequently spend the Christmas holidays here, and as you can imagine, all the young folk have a splendid time together. The bigger boys love to take their swags and go for a few days' tramp up the mountains and come home laden with specimens, or take the rowing boat and go oft for a day on Rabbit Island, etc.

The fruit industry here was very hard hit by the war, and the orchardists have had a long-drawn-out struggle, but things are improving and people are feeling much more cheerful this season. A little further progress in the direction at financial prosperity will make this district the most delightful one in N. Z., for in almost every other respect it is a perfect place to live.

Our young folks are all strong and healthy and happy, too. The boys do well at school, which is within a quarter of a mile. Trixie has just started going and. is proud of her first Primer. I am very glad Janet Crabbe was coming to see you. It will be very nice to hear her tell about her visit, when we see her again. (Janet was probably a sister of Edna White nee Crabbe, Mary's sister-in-law, the wife of Harold Temple White.)

Now, my dear cousin, I shall be very pleased to hear from you at any time and to give any information in my power. We all join in kindest greeting to yourself, your husband and daughter.

Very sincerely yours, /s/ Mary Lizzie White Wells..