Family History Notebook
29th September 2007

Keogh Family Stories (2)

A letter from Franceska Rattray (ne Mhler) to her grand-daughter Daphne Bowman

April 8th 1951

Avondale, SALISBURY, S.R.

My Darling Daphne,
                            Ive written out the family tree as far as I can remember; you must excuse pencil, used because I found Id never get it all in with my thick pen. I never knew all the names of my great-grandmother's children, several of whom died young, I think. She was a marvellous woman; died when I was about seven or eight. I remember going to see her - a tiny pretty old lady in a white starched muslin cap, pink cheeks. Her husband had been married before and had already had six children! He was manager of a mine in Brazil, and Great-Grannie went out to him, with thirteen children in a sailing ship which took six months to get to Rio. Then they had to go a three weeks journey into the interior. Those old enough rode mules, Grannie Keogh and the little ones were carried in what we call machilas - sort of hammocks. Minnie and Fanny were twins, eighteen years old; their father had sent out the mine doctor and the engineer to Rio to meet the family and escort it up. By the time they arrived Minnie was engaged to the engineer, Fanny to the doctor. Fanny and her doctor husband were out at the Crimean war when their first child was born and Florence Nightingale was its godmother. My Grannie also went out to the Crimea, but did not stay there. She was in Spain once when there was a rebellion on, and little Clara nearly got shot for going out on the verandah and shouting ,,Viva Prim" - who was the rebel general! Clara went to Brazil when she married, and died there. She had three children, two boys and a girl, who lived with us for some years after she died. Harry, my grandmother's youngest child, also married and had two children. I think they are still alive, but we lost touch with them years ago.
                         Well now, That's all I can tell you of the family history - I hope it is what you wanted to know.
                         Your pullover for Badminton looks very nice - do you really like shorts better than skirts? I always think a girl looks so smart and dainty in a white pleated or gored skirt for tennis - it has such a jaunty swing to it!
                          It is nice for you to have a pen friend in England. A girl in Australia wrote to me for about three years - she'd seen my name in a Rhodesian Herald in which their butcher had wrapped their meat! She thought I ,,sounded nice" so we wrote to each other till she got married two years ago!
                          Well, 'bye for now - Lots of love to you and all the family.
                                                               ever yours


1    Another version of this story has also been passed down.

2    'Great-Grannie' was Catherine Lewis who married George Drew Keogh who was the manager ('Superintendent') of the Morro Velho gold mine in Brazil from 1846 to 1853. Mary (Minnie) Keogh married (William) Henry Richards  and Frances (Fanny) Keogh married Dr Hugh Birt.

3    The trip to Brazil would have been about 1848.