Extracts from the Walter Edward Alexander Skinner Journals 1878 – 1939
10/10/1875 Died at Newlands our dear mother Mrs Joseph Knowlden nee Skinner born Topp age 67 interred at Rondebosch.
[The year 1877 found the railway through the Hex River Mountains, with the line opened to Montague Road now Touws River which is 67 kilometers from Worcester. With this section the railway had broken out dramatically from the confined quarters of the Western Cape, and the way was now open across the Great Karoo. By 1877 over 2000 immigrants , the “Navvies” , from Europe were under contract to work on the railways ]. [ from Early Railways at the Cape.]
06/02/1878 Died at Newlands our dear mother Mrs Martha Ann Witney nee Knowlden age 43 interred at Claremont.
03/04/1878 Fine day. Mr and Mrs Collins paid us a visit they are at present in Stellenbosch on leave young lennox came up to day from Hex river east. I had a narrow escape this evening. I had been out shooting.on my return while in the act of removing it from my shoulder to the ground it suddenly went off with a loud report, tearing a piece of the zinc roof about six inches square completely off and carrying it away.at the time of the accident I was standing in the kitchen talking to Mrs Cardinal wife also present it gave us a great fright no harm done only the ugly hole in the roof..it is rather foggy this evening with NW[ This happened at Mulders Vlei junction.]
01/05/1878 fine day, alterations in the running of Trains commence today. Stellenbosch has separate Train for running between there and junction we have a new driver fireman and guard, McKinnon, Sawyer, Smeader
01/06/1878 fine day. The mountains opposite covered with snow. Thermometer down to 42. Hail showers. I went to Newlands this evening with special train from Sbosch to C Town. Leaving C Town at 12.30 am came home next morning with Engine.
09/06/1878 fine day, set out to walk to Paarl, with the intention of coming back in the evening by ballast Train, got as far as Klapmuts where Mr Lewis persuaded me to stay. Stayed there all day, came home half past ten night.
13/07/1878 Sun. fine morning. Mountains opposite junction covered with a pure sheet snow Simons Berg perfectly white including Canon Berg . Eerste River mountain covered with snow. and Old Table Mountain also covered with a sheet of snow a very unusual thing. this morning water covered with ice .Thermometer in office at 42, splendid day.
15/06/1878 fine day Smeader on leave. Larkins of S Bosch requested me to act as guard for today NW for this last few days had severe racking pains in head with bleeding at nose when washing with either hot or cold water. Liz Bought a pack of cards or rather they were given to her by Mrs West repaired two clocks repaired watch for October in Blysted gang very high wind blowing today fm NW.
19/07/1878 Wet day. wind most violent. Two ships wrecked in Table Bay.some lives lost Thunder and lighting The thunder was most appaling wind NW. Mrs Janson slept here.
liz went to Sbosch with train on Thursday with Mrs Carr, who has got her passage to [diamond ] fields I went same day to SBosch with Mr Brinks cart, went into Hunts mill had a look around cold mng [ morning .] [Sbosch is Stellenbosch ]
23/07/1878 Wet day terrible weather six ships wrecked to print.
01/08/1878 Fine day. Mrs Carr left for fields this morning took train to Klapmuts where she joined wagons. Moon light night Jupiter rises before sunset cold night and mornings.
J Gainfords child nearly three weeks old wind NW.
03/09/1878 Willy Smith married to Mary Witney.
Liz gone to C Town no one having come to relieve me! Went up to Klapmuts & Wired the traffic manager for advice received answer, no one to spare to relieve me must defer until next week lovely weather SE.
08/09/1878 Sunday fine day overcast wind northwest, on Saterday the head shunter in town station named Watson was shot dead by accident by a platform shunter Kemble every sign of rain NW.
24/09/1878 fine day went to C Town liz slept at Mary’s I went to theatre slept at West’s wind northwest and cold.
01/10/1878 fine day. Went by first train from Kalabas Kraal to Malmesbury went round the villiage, was present at a wedding. Visited the mineral spring,dined at Mr Bell’s had tipper at Mr Comarfords and returned to K Kraal by last train leaving Malmesbury. Slept at Roper ‘again.’
02/10/1878 fine day returned to C Town by first train, out to Newlands. Went and saw George Knowlden [ liz’s mothers father or brother ]
13/10/1878 Sun. fine day went up Simons Berg Mountain over its highest peak to Robbers cave. Mr Lewis with the ports forman……. went as far as Canon Kopp but young Muller, Bell and myself kept on and reached the cave about noon. Reached Muller’s farm at half past four.
14/10/1878 Past Saterday 12th was Sarah’s birthday age twenty three, Jack Hopkins was twenty one on Friday the eleventh October.
16/10/1878 Father married to Mrs West by special licence at the Kemms Claremont. Very wet day wind blowing a hurricane at times, very cold.
18/10/1878 wet day heeled wifes boots also my own, made slippers for lewis last week. Lucy came home on Tuesday after being away since Sunday. Bleeding at nose while washing , fine afternoon, clear night SE. news by last mail of a fearful steamboat accident by which some seven hundred lives were lost on the Thames, a fearful colliery explosion in Wales several hundred lost. Versuvius burning furiously.
24/10/1878 Mary [Witney ] 21. Kuilsriver station is to be opened to Goods traffic next month. The Australian steamer ….. arrived from England passage twenty – three days.cold miserable day.NW.
28/11/1878 fine day went to Cape Town this evening by goods train went and saw Amelia and Lydia gave Amelia bottles honey. Stayed with them until nine slept at Father .
14/12/1878 received letter from Traffic Manager about Hex River East.
23/12/1878 fine day went to …. by first train liz at …. Went to telegraph office and commenced to learn got pass to lodge in Newlands.go out at one pm
24/12/1878 Staying with Father at mill ( Christmas day ) [ Probably Letterstedt’s.]
01/01/1879 fine day went in evening to see pantomime Father went also Edwin Neustedt.
02/01/1879 fine day. Went to see new Wesley chapel on Greenmarket Square, windy
03/01/1879 fine day still going to office to learn telegraph.
07/01/1879 received orders to leave for Hex River East
10/01/1879 took charge.
14/01/1879 Sarah married today to Jack Hopkins.
04/02/1879 fine day. Fearfull accident to special material train which arrived here at seven and left at 7.5 the train appears to have reached very near to Triangle [ later called Matroosberg station where the Engine that used to push the train up the Hex River Pass turns round, to return to Hex River East station ] when for some purpose the Engine was uncoupled from train by firemen.when the whole train came to run away from the Engine guard was unable to do anything and he jumped out and let it go.it ran several miles when it came to a sharp curve and left the rails and made a complete wreck. Inspector Saul arrived here at 12 thirty and woke us up.steam was got up in pilot and they left with Inspector Saul and men.
10/02/1879 Fine day Son born about ten in the morning [ at Hex River East Station now De Doorns]
17/03/1879 Went to Constable with Smeeton Special train from here to Jan Boers, liz went with baby Mrs Elsly mrs Smeeton and two children , her cousin we enjoyed ourselves very much. Saw at Jan Boers spoke to Geyer at Mroad [ Montaque Road now Touws River] went and saw Mrs West. Got home safely at seven PM nice warm day.
06/04/1879 Sunday Went round breakwater and docks while in docks saw steamer Enterprise sink also cargo boat lying alongside of her Enterprise got hole in bottom.
08/04/1879 Fine day baby christened by Rev. GM Slade at Mowbray chapel there were present Father ( wifes ) E Witney Mary and Willy Smith Amelia and Tom Osbourne also Lydia, and John Lutgens and wife and little Robert.
10/04/1879 Went out to see Father and Grandfather [Joseph Knowlden] for whom I cleaned a watch which was formerly poor dear mothers also heard that aunt Topp had died at Diamond fields.
12/04/1879 fine day snow on mountain .left for Groot Fontein by first train . Train arrived Groot Fontein at seven o’clock PM found Jack and Sally jolly.
13/04/1879 Sun fine day. Went for a walk with Jack over hills. Enjoyed myself indeed. Jack and Sally treated us verry Kindly. Saw Kleinsmit. Slight rain in evening very hot. Saw Minister also mrs Taylor.
14/04/1879 fine day. Left Grootfontein at 7 o’clock one hour late. Through fireman lighting engine up minus Water. Boiler Burnt. Had to light up another engine.
15/04/1879 fine day I took over Station on arrival yesterday mr Marais left for Worcester by no 9 up on Monday.
04/10/1879 fine day, working night and day 21 hours today ever since August 11th 1879.
08/12/1879 fine day wet during night. Very heavy rain. Mr Clarke of Traffic Managers Office CTown sent to England for a acme Telescope.per last mail oct31.
09/12/1879 fine day. Mrs Sawle came down and spent the day here on Thursday Nov 6th Fine evening we went for a walk down to DeVos farm.Plucked green figs for ……I got a letter from Joseph Witney last week [ wife’s brother]
10/12/1879 Fine day. Went for a walk this morning. Denton gone by first train as per orders. Mrs West gone to C Town.
13/12/1879 Fine day but cloudy and dull. Signs of rain High Wind from North West. Lizzy went up mountain with special to Triangle.hot but cloudy day NW.
14/12/1879 Sun I went up mountain on left hand side of Water Kloof.hurt my thumb with gun.while firing in deep Kloof. Got Fixed in Groot Kloof unable to get out for a long time. Fearfully hot got face burnt very severely. Skin all coming off.
17/12/1879 Fine day. Mr and Mrs Logan,her mother and father came down with trolly from M Road [ now Touws River ] to see Mountain and go to W Meiring’s farm. Cart came to fetch them. Mr and Mrs Sawl also came down.wind fearfully hot.
18/12/1879 Fine day went up mountain with train Sam pretty tight.
21/12/1879 Sun. had dinner with Mr and Mrs Sawl at Triangle and came down with Trolly in afternoon a splendid ride arrived home at 6 PM wind NW.
25/12/1879 Fine. Christmas day. Mr and Mrs Sawle came and spent day with us also Mrs Elsly and Joe.enjoyed ourselves very much.
01/01/1880 Fine day. A happy new year to all. Special excursion from Worcester run today to this station [ Hex River East now De Doorns ]. A great many people came out
02/01/1880 fine day, about this time cement to make path up mountain, very hot weather, cool nights.
08/01/1880 Wet day very cold. Raining hard all day. Lizzie sick. Very cold at night.
09/01/1880 Wet day. Mountains covered with snow far down, very cold. Frost in early morning .lizzie very ill today, expect to have to send for doctor. Today Smeeton harmed his wife.
11/01/1880 fine day liz much worse medicine given by Doctor E [?] of no use, in evening wife so bad that I intend to go to Worcester to get another doctor, Dr Cloete if possible.in the evening Smeeton volunteered to take me to the …….cottage to get trolly,when we got there no one there…………..got into Worcester, 3 doctors in Worcester but all out, obliged to come home without, got home by train liz very bad tried some medicine I got in Villiage of no avail. Very hot night. fine day liz growing worse and worse at noon made up my mind to go to Worcester for doctor, got a horse from Wouter de Vos and left H R East for Worcester at 3.5 pm arrived in Worcester 5.25 found dr Cloete out….on his arrival home, engaged a cart to take us up to HRE for thirty shillings from one Jaapie. Left Worcester with Doctor at 8 pm and arrived HR East 12.30 am. Dr at first gave no hope for wife but promised to make an attempt to save her.
13/01/1880 fine day Dr Cloete unable to say yet if liz will recover left Worcester by first train. And returned in evening to see how liz is , has now some hope of recovery though faint, telegraphed for father [ hers] to come and see liz, very sad on account of………..poor baby Walter weaned by Mrs Elsly and Mrs Smeeton .telegraphed to Jack.
14/01/1880 fine day Father came up by first train to see liz.
15/01/1880 Fine day. Liz showing some signs of recovering stil dreadfully weak.
16/01/1880 fine day. A man at Wouter de Vos farm burnt himself very severely. Dr Cloete came out by last train to see liz who is much better, dr Cloete says liz will soon be all right again, very hot weather, snow all gone again.
25/01/1880 This is the anniversary of my dear mothers birthday. [ born 1808 .]
26/01/1880 fine day. Sent Mr Francis. Liz gone to Triangle for the night.
05/02/1880 fine day. His excelency and party went down to B West [ Beaufort West ] to open same today by no 5 down train, sent Logan yesterday a truck load of evergreen to make an arch at Montague Road. Grand days there fine night rather cold NW.
[By the end of 1878 the line had reached Grootfontein station 58 kilometers beyond Matjiesfontein. Grootfontein is hardly known today, whereas Laingsburg, 32 kilometers nearer to Matjiesfontein, is a well – known town. In 1878, however Laingsburg was a little siding called Buffelsrivier. Laingsburg was named in honour of the Commissioner of Crown Lands, John Laing. The railway line reeled steadily on over the Karoo, reaching Fraserburg Road on 11th August 1879, and arriving at Beaufort West on 5th February 1880, the formal opening being performed by the Governor, Sir Bartle Frere. It was a big occasion and no less than three trains,of which the Governors train was the first, made the journey from Cape Town to Beaufort West. In the second train was Thomas Bain, two of his daughters and a niece. The weather was fearfully hot, and the country dried up and dusty.]
06/02/1880 fine day. Beaufort West Extension opened today the military and other dignitaries to pick up his Excelency at Uitkyk today, this was the opening train,fine night.
09/02/1880 fine day. Comet much higher has a very long tail, the longest ever seen.
20/02/1880 Wet day. Heavy rain all day, more rain fell today than the whole of last year, half a flood.
22/02/1880 fine warm day, about this time Joe Elsly bought ……. For thirty shillings. Jenny West Married a few weeks Jack Holoway Married. Both sent us some Wedding cake. I made a pair of slippers for liz yesterday,also a pair of slippers for myself last Tuesday yellow leather. Smeeton bought a lot of goats Friday. Petersen away on leave.Railway accident last week at Ceres, Comet gone. Father sent us on Friday cake flour and bread .went to Triange yesterday.
26/03/1880 fine day. Repaired my Thermometer.
30/03/1880 fine day. Snow still to be seen on Matroos Kop
14/04/1880 wet day. Audit clerk Mr Goodisen, was here to balance books.
20/04/1880 fine calm day.Miss ……came down to beg for Fifty pounds to get married to a chap named …Carlson as he had promised to marry her if she could muster the above amount, she is everdently up the spout and is in a fix. Of course I did not lend it her not any of the sum. they are the wrong sort for this child.
02/05/1880 fine day, took baby Wally up to hill to end of path, near top of Kop.
10/05/1880 fine day. Jack Fairleigh has left loco dept. he has left his mark on Smeeton’s face. Grand Mamma sent little Wally an high chair.
13/05/1880 Fine day. Mrs Smeeton’s baby born, a daughter strong and healthy
19/05/1880 fine day. Path nearly finished, clear frosty night.
21/05/1880 Fine day, lizzy gone to Cape Town per excursion train also baby Walter to see regatta on Queen’s birthday.
22/05/1880 Fine day, Mrs Smeeton’s child eight days old.
23/05/1880 Sun. Fine day went to top of Matroos Kop the highest summit in the district. from where I had a glimse of table bay and …districts, a good quantity of snow on top placed my name and address with those of Rev Bond and Mr Lloyd in a bottle in cairn left HR East at 4 am reached summit at 10.30 am arrived home at 5.30 pm tired.
30/05/1880 fine day went to Triangle [Matroosberg ] on horse back left HR East at 9.30am arrived at 11.45 am. Left Triangle at 2.45 arrived home 5.30pm. Went by way of main road, returned by road along railway.
30/06/1880 fine day John Lutgens left for C Town by 2nd train with 3 partridges I shot 2 buck both got away.
03/07/1880 fine clear day, Mrs Martin’s child born down at Engine shed. J Smeeton expecting his wife from Ireland.
06/07/1880 fine day sent by W Smith yesterday to C Town for a Singer sewing machine to present to liz on her birthday.
07/07/1880 Lizzie birthday 27. left for C Town by 2nd train.Saw eclipse of sun from Klapmuts station.
14/07/1880 fine day Wally very sick slept at Amelias Cape Town. Went out to Mowbray , went to Theater with liz and tom and Amelia an alarm of fire given and a …..rush made to door it was quickly extinguished and play proceeded.
29/07/1880 fine day Mrs Sauls staying in Worcester. Liz bought from her mother a new mattress, paid thirty shillings for it, she knows how to charge for things, and also who will pay, she makes us pay more than anyone else.
30/07/1880 got paper from John Lutgens. Beautiful weather now. Barometer falling Mr Knee returned to his duties. Charly Potts suspended for going to Stellenbosch without permission,
NW. Potter was at diamond fields last month Mrs Farrels her son George also daughter Mariah been at fields 2 months.
31/07/1880 fine day ,Barometer still falling . Joe Elsley gone to Montague Road to spend Sunday there. Mr Logan and Photographer came down with trolly , had photos of the place taken
[Hex river east ] I went up in evening to Triangle. Fine clear warm night wind NW.
05/08/1880 fine day. Shot died or rather Shot was sick and Joe got Jack , J Smeeton’s Man of all work to shoot and skin him. He is going to have the skin cured. Barometer at 29.80
10/08/1880 Wet day, a great quantity of snow has fallen in mountains the snow fell last night right down to the farms Willy Smith brought a large snow ball he made at Triangle
12/08/1880 fine day Mountains are one mass of snow ……reports rails at Triangle under snow about a foot deep on top of rails. Water all frozen very cold.
20/08/1880 fine day, clear cold night. I went with special up to Triangle took height of summit at Triangle found it about 3147 feet above sea level.
24/08/1880 fine day. Mrs Sawle got son on Sunday last. Jack awfully tight ever since wetting childs hair.
06/09/1880 fine day. War at observatory Road station between Father and Jack. Going to fight over Lydia who was persuaded by Jack and Sarah to leave her situation on first of September and has been staying with Jack up to yesterday when the old man marched her off home, so its war to the knife.
17/09/1880 fine clear day Mountains buried in snow, a very pretty sight, would like to go up but too cold yet.
29/09/1880 fine Joe Elsly gave baby Walter a little sucking pig, yesterday morning the number twelve train came into collision with Number ten up No damage done beyond a few Black eyes and bloody noses.
14/11/1880 fine day Burghers expected tomorrow.
15/11/1880 fine day. Paarl Burghers passed today a rough lot mostly substitutes [?] among them was Jack formerly at J Smeeton’s.
16/11/1880 fine day cloudy afternoon Malmesbury Burghers passed today.
20/11/1880 fine day. Burghers still keep passing.
23/11/1880 Wet day. Worcester Burghers went today.
24/11/1880 Wet to fine day. Stellenbosch Burghers went today Saw Mr P Myburgh of Elsenburg Mulders Vlei.
04/01/1881 fine clear day. About this time a severe collision between a light engine and a goods train near Observatory. Jack Hopkins came with Sarah and spent a day here on their way to Buffels River which they took in preference to Observatory.
10/01/1881 fine day very hot.Beautiful moonlight night on Saterday 8th ….or rather Sunday morning an accident happened to no 9 down seven miles this side M Road through the breaking of an axle of one of tanks. Line was blocked up to …..morning two Tanks left Road and three Trucks.
15/01/1881 fine day, Willy Smith brings news of Father that is wifes Father leaving for England next Tuesday week for three months. Very hot weather.
20/01/1881 fine day fruit very scarce here this year through want of rain.
22/01/1881 fine day, there was about this time two attempts to throw Train off road near Breede River for which a hundred pound reward has been offered.
23/01//1881 fine day. Liz had Wallys Photo taken when in Cape Town one set to Father.
25/01/1881 Father ( wifes ) left by Grantully Castle, sent telegram wishing him Godspeed and a safe voyage.
07/02/1881 fine day. My January returns went in to audit on the 3rd.
14/02/1881 Expect Father arrived today, had a dream about steamer being burnt andwrecked.
15/02/1881 fine day. Heavy thunder clouds all round S Smeeton bought B….s Piano . J Smeeton killed bullock today.Building a goods platform here now. D…..and Grant shot 2 Wild buck yesterday. Smart ballasting from the 14th of present month to 26th next Thermometer today at 98. Petersens wife got son last week.
17/02/1881 fine but rough cloudy windy and Thundery day. Yesterday a child of five (girl) was nearly killed between Goudini and Worcester by falling out of train on Worcester side of train,it is aledged to be caused by guard Smeeton leaving door open at Breede River the child lies in an unconscious state. Guard Heins married.
19/02/1881 fine day. Guard Cutting came down to Ceres Road by no5 down yesterday and left for Cape Town by 6up. Report in circuit that driver Thompson had got sack. Coal been discontinued at Buffels River. Got letter from Jack [Hopkins] also bskt with some pears and peaches.
26/02/1881 fine day. Early this morning a man belonging to …..gang Hex River fell off truck and was run over cutting his leg off below the knee. Was at once conveyed to Worcester on the way to Worcester the cylinder cones of B Engine was blewn off . this morning also GM of Railways came here from M Road .driver Thompson and guard …..arrived here 49 minutes before time and came into yard against all signals this was reported.
04/03/1881 fine day. Sent Amelia a basket of fruit by Willie Smith. Large fire at W de Vos….General Colley killed at war in Transvaal last week.
04/06/1881 Father arrived safe back from England ——— of last month he brought me a book titled a Tramp abroard by Mark Twain.
05/06/1881 Sam Smeeton going to live at Triangle. Myself very sick ………
08/06/1881 fine day rain during night. Another large comet visable in the mornings going in towards the sun. sent to Webster for to enquire if he can get me Telescope fm England.
09/06/1881 fine day.very cold morning during last week Thermometer was frequently below zero. Ice 1 ½ inch thick.
10/06/1881 fine day comets still to be seen both large
13/06/1881 fine day.still feeling verry poorly.our Goods came had our passenger Platform done up. (lengthened )
14/06/1881 fine day. Glass falling. Sent to England for an astronomical Telescope. Webster …. ….importing it for me.advanced five pound as requested by him no. of Worcester bank note sent to him is (2723).
15/06/1881 fine day. Comets are not visable on account of moonlight.
18/06/1881 fine day very warm weather liz hurt her finger yesterday (Jenny Married yesterday). Sam Smeeton gone to live at Triangle.
03/07/1881 fine day cousin Mark [Witney] and I went to top of mountain to right of three Kings lots of snow up there. Fine ….country.
21/07/1881 Willie born at Hex River East [ now De Doorns ] at 10.30 am.[William Eden ]
26/09/1881 fine day. Came to Breede River Station, liz came in morning with things, myself arrived by last train. Jenny came in morning but got lost.
27/09/1881 fine day here at Breede River but very windy. Wilkins and wife arrived at Hex River East as surly as ever. His better half looks very ……. Ganger Gilbert assisted wife to put house in order, when I arrived I found everything in apple pie order. Much better quarters than Hex River East.
30/09/1881 fine day very windy.the assistant stationmaster name ( here ) is Barret, of the same clique as Clarke.
08/10/1881 fine day, found lots of Colloses [?] growing wild , also red ones. Today Larkin arrived to take Mr Barret’s place he having been appointed to be assistant S Master at Fraserburg Road. Fine but windy day.
09/10/1881 fine day. Mr Barret left by 5 down today before he left he borrowed thirty shillings in addition to his owing for a weeks board making in all two pounds twelve shillings and sixpence,a tremendrous wind blew today
10/10/1881 fine day Mr Vine went out quail shooting.
11/10/ 1881 fine, sent Mrs Kemms Opera glass home.
13/10/1881 fine day. My Telescope arrived today, by five down, nice cool afternoon.
16/10/1881 fine day. Amelia’s child born today ( a girl ). Sent her a telegram congratulating her.
29/10/1881 fine day calm night, got a splendid observation of Jupiter, Saturn Ring fully open now. Jupiter Belts plainly visible. Wrote to Jack Hopkins at Buffels River
31/10/1881 fine day very cold. Mountain opposite covered with snow.
05/11/1881 fine day. Windy day.received letter from Lydia. Birthday yesterday 30 years [ incorrect ]
liz gave me a beautiful guitar a present, Wally a nice cake and Willie a bottle of wine. Lydia sent me a birthday cake.
09/11 1881 fine day,fine clear day, got a splendid view of Jupiter and belts, also of Saturn and ring division in ring also shadow of Planet very plain, time of observation1.30 am to 2 am air very clear, commenced with much flare, which passed towards SE. moon also seen, light rather strong.
11/11/1881 cold dull looking day. Wind northwest to west. Little pigs nearly six weeks old. Glass still falling, on night duty, about this time Wilkins gone to Constable [ stn. ] he could not manage Hex River East ….. I wrote to father last week but received no reply as yet the Sun glass not finished yet, to cost 4/6. the guards running at present past here are Carr and Cutting the Worcester trains and Smeeder Birch and Bradley the 5 down. Tom Raaff and Whelan the 13 down. Whelan sick and …. running in his place.
12/11/1881 fine day very windy from north west. Cloudy night Hex River East station burnt down at midnight. [ sabotage ? see 11th ].
13/11/1881 Sunday. Fine clear day, went for a walk in afternoon Parker, Curtis & Campbel came up with us to see Fotheringham. Went over to Lategaan in afternoon Splendid sight Jupiter in …. Got a splendid observation of her Rings very distinct, noticed also the shadow of one of satellites crossing body of Planet appeared like a round black shadow, observed with full power180
20/11/1881 fine day went with Fotheringham to a Grotto in Bains Kloof very hot
21/11/1881 fine day sent paper to cousin Robert [Topp] in America.
26/11/1881 fine day, very warm. Yesterday I went up as far as the manganese mine past Botha’s farm then up through the Kloof and over the neck and round the hill in which the mine is situated and back to mine went inside but could not explore for want of light. After leaving mine on way back passed all the farms viz …. Herolds geber…. Also the school, felt very tired on getting home. I left station at 10.30 and got back again at 3.30 great smash occurred to no 5 down train today in the Tulbagh Kloof. Train had in Piquet Berg as per report about 30 vehicles – 25 Trucks 4carriage & van 2 engines. When nearing cutting at Tulbagh end of Kloof and near toll house the third truck from engine left the track and all the rest followed except the carriages and van which kept the Road,the trucks were smashed to pieces their contents being scattered far and wide no one was hurt. Line was broken and road blocked rest of day all day Sunday up to Monday morning about 3 am we were on duty all day
27/11/1881 fine day. Station open all day account of accident at Tulbagh.
01/12/1881 fine day,anniversary of South African Slaves being freed. Several large spots crossing sun.Jupiter belts seen to perfection with low power. Shadow of satellite seen also large red spot.
04/12/1881 Sunday fine day. Mr Fotheringham and myself paid a visit to Mr Botha at the manganese mine, got some nice apricots rather green as yet, went over the mine with Mr Botha .
06/12/1881 fine day , sky very thick and murky. Eclipse last night was not visible here on account of thick cloud obscuring moon. Last Tuesday was payday, Mr Fotheringham received no pay through his having drawn same before he arrived here, in consequence he owes us now for three weeks board and 10 /- he borrowed.
07/12/1881 Wally sent sucking pig to Father by 10 up this morning
15/12/1881 Mr F went by 2 up this morning to Cape Town in order to be present at the presentation. Baby Willie cut his first tooth today, we have all got a severe cold , myself a nasty cough. I went to Worcester by 13 down and returned here by 2 up, driver Brindly . I rode van going but on Engine coming back.
17/12/1881 Wet morning very cold indeed, quite …. . Mrs Elsly passed here yesterday in 5 down she gave Wally her photo, she lost her hat between here and Ceres Road wife lent her one which she returned.
02/01/1882 fine day, there were over 60 people picknicking here at oak trees.
04/01/1882 fine day, I went to Hex River East by 13 down found Tom. Went up to Triangle saw Joe who is assisting Stationmaster at Triangle.
08/01/1882 Sunday, liz and I went as far as Zeeman in Bastian Kloof, very warm walk, got back alright.
11/01/1882 fine day, went up in afternoon as far as Mr Gerber came back in Mr Zeeman cart, peaches ripe now got some Mealies pumpkin and grapes.
15/01/1882 Sunday, Mr Fotheringham and I went to Ceres Road station [ next stn. to Breede River stn. ] dined with Mr Parker. Saw several of the …. Adams. Wrote to Father yesterday. Sent letter on Tuesday. On leaving Ceres Road we went round by Kloof over Bridge, we reached bridge just at sunset reached home at 9.30 pm.very tired and sore. Mr F suffering very much,had a small horse from Lategan & a large one from Brink which Mr F rode. Beautiful clear night only very hot.
17/01/1882 fine. Stephens arrived with van to repair scale and weight
18/01/1882 fine day, went out with stephens on a hunting expedition, went with Mr Fall to see the carcase of calf Tiger [?] killed
21/01/1882 fine, went to Piquet Berg Road on return in evening Curtis Pietersen Campbell and Mr Parker came up and played cards here at Breede River, they all left by 2 up the game penny nap.
( very hot nights ).
22/01/1882 fine day, Woman found drowned in Breede River near Botha’s farm , her husband had some words on Thursday last about a jacket, when he said that he wished she quit his and not come back, that evening she disappeared and her body was found today in a hole in river, the husband was frantic on finding the body [ murder? ]
01/02/1882 Fine day, very hot. About this time great storm at Montague Road line washed away near Constable.
07/02/1882 Fine but very hot. Man here cleaning Telegraph instruments.
09/02/1882 Fine day, Liz gone to Cape Town to have baby christened.
10/02/1882 fine day, about this time Sarah’s son born.
12/02/1882 Sunday, went over to Fall had dinner there returned in evening, Wally accompanied me, very hot day. Willie Christened today at Mowbray, his mother Christened him William Eden.
13/02/1882 fine day, Liz returned home. I do not acknowledge the Willy name to be any other than William Eden Bethridge.
07/03/1882 Fine day, received a paper from couzin William in America, his address is
WR Topp 91 East Genisen street Syracuse New York USA.
09/03/1882 Fine day, rather cold. Therm average 65 during day nice warm night. Saw for first time with new Telescope, Nebula in Centaures no 482 . also no 388 also no 3548 . Beautiful clear night, saw U Forty too splendid all power used.
10/03/1882 Fine day. Weather better now, got our Tank full of water.
13/03/1882 Fine day. Father ( Liz’s ) arrived by 5 down this morning I went down to Ceres to meet him. Mother poorly.
15/03/1882 Fine day went as far as Manganese mines walked part of the way there, and rode rest, rode whole way back. Had coffee at Mrs Mullers near Botha’s, Farm bought….
Some…. Mrs van Zyl’s birthday. A Grand turn and then.
16/03/1882 Fine day, went up with father to see the Gerbers. Mr Roderich the assistant Stationmaster went in evening to Worcester for a run by 9 down, Lewis very ill with consumption . Mr ……. Had a fit….. I sent to England today for a Webster Celestrial Objects for common Telescopes through Webster agent.
26/03/1882 wet day, heavy thunder all day, reports of very severe weather in Cape Town.
03/04/1882 Fine day. Will [Smith ] gone to Kalabas Kraal to see Hopkins. Weather on the change glass also going down.
06/04/1882 very wet all day, caught a nice lot of water.
07/04/1882 Fine day, thunder during night again. Father sent us some beer today also flour & ……. .
10/04/1882 Fine day went with Liz and Wally to river took Neptune [ his dog ]with us. In the afternoon went to van Zyl’s.
11/04/1882 Fine day, went with W Gerber to Claver vlei to his brother H Gerber, W Gerber promised to get me a horse to go up Kloof when I got to H Gerber, he W Gerber made so much jaw about it that I would not have horse at all I walked home in evening. Saw them sheep shearing or rather torturing.
16/04/1882 Sunday Fine day, went out in afternoon as far as Falls about this time Zeman in Kloof very ill.
17/04/1882 Fine day. New moon today very windy. Beautiful sight, Scorpio rises about 8.30 pm
18/04/1882 Fine day, saw Venus this evening low in the west. Heroldt very ill. Mr Roderick gone to Worcester for the day, this is also pay day. Baby Willy has commenced to crawl and has five teeth. We sent today a box with 5 phesants to father. Paid Neustedts on Friday 7th got a splendid view of Jupiter which ……. Follow one very dark belt south of Planets equator, its southern border very rough and broken. One very dark oblong spot just over its Equator a little east of centre of Planet also several whitish spots between belts. Remainder of body of Planet of a grey colour four moons in sight, time of observation 7.30 pm.
26/04/1882 Fine day Roderick gone to Piquet Berg Road on a visit, got a geel beck fish from leroux D from guard Tom 13 down.
28/04/1882 fine day wet night our Tank full to within 6 inches.
29/04/1882 Men getting ballast out near Gilbert cottage got newspaper from Polly Witney England yesterday. Went to Hermon by 14 up & returned by 9 down took the book borrowed from Mrs Sawyer. Paid 4/- to forma puts [?] at tulbagh for meat had some time ago. Having our one at from Adams ceres.
04/05/1882 Fine day Engineer went shooting. Roderick went to Wellington through Kloof on foot. Herman and Burrows last night, Herman went to Wellington with Roderick.
10/05/1882 fine day went to Cape Town per 2 up, went to father by 8 am train from C Town stayed there until 9.45 returned to C Town went to Boekgen [?] to Irwin. Singer Machine company to Webster agency, in afternoon to Amelia’s saw Mary & Edwards.
In the evening I paid a visit to the docks to see the Electric light, then to Theatre. I went out by11.45 train to Newlands found it rainy there, slept at fathers.
15/05/1882 Wet day very cold I went to Wray & Co today for Eyepiece his address is Lancet House …. Highgate London England, the boat goes on Wednesday. About this time reports of a severe shock of Earthquake in Namaqualand last week.
16/05/1882 Wet day rained hard all day and all night. tank full & river full Glass still low.
19/05/1882 Fine day. Mrs L Leroux and miss Leroux spent an hour with us, an accident happened to no 13 down last night at Hex River 3 trucks off road caused by cattle straying on line.
22/05/1882 fine day, Received a summons to appear as a witness in a case between Botha and V Harris Worcester, summons also ……to bring book.
24/05/1882 Fine day. Queen’s Birthday.
D Leroux & wife came with covered cart & took us for a drive through Bains Kloof, made a regular picnic of it. Enjoyed ourselves immensely. We arrived back at 4.30
25/05/1882 Fine day. Went to Worcester to appear as witness in Botha’s case,by 13 downlast night went by cart from station to central hotel had bed and breakfast and dinner next day. Went and saw Mrs Smart, hear that Miss Smart contemplates matrimony. Having finished at court at 1.30 pm and not being able to get back to Breede River till 2 next morning I made up my mind to go as far as Triangle at station I met Mr Helps, Smart,….. and others, saw Barret at Hex River, Lennox at Hex River East and Mr Palmer at Triangle, Mr S Smeeton Mr Sawl who was light/tight [?] as usual. I found it very cold up at Triangle, had tea at Mr S Smeeton’s and left there for home at 9.15 pm. Made a bed up in first class compartment and rolled myself up in k…. never woke until Hex River was reached, there Barret joined as far as Worcester, he returned by 13 up there M r D…. joined us on his way to Cape Town on the 23rd I omitted to say that the driver of one down
took his train round Stellenbosch in error, through points at D…. Road by …..let, he carried away 2 pair of gates and he arrived at Klapmuts burnt a tube and so did not arrive in Worcester until 4 next morning, train was delayed at Goudini one hour and fourty minutes S Master tight. Arrived home tonight from Triangle.
31/05/1882 wet day Great storm today,Snow on all mountains near Breede River , Heavy Thunderstorm at 6.30pm compelled to …. to earth. Rain and wind terrific reports of three wrecks round coast, very cold.
02/07/1882 Sunday, fine day. Heavy thunderstorms, went up mountain in kloof picking Red Everlasting flowers.
04/07/1882 wet day, river full, Thunder and lightning & hail.
06/07/1882 wet day rain night and day.liz birthday t…… .
08/07/1882 wet still raining night and day, river like a sea.
09/07/1882 Sunday fine though Showery, river level with bridge. Roderick and I went down and got a line over sent over letters and papers to Mr Fall, and got back with tin a bottle of ale ‘ English’.
11/07/1882 fine day, very cold. Sent vegetables to Joe Elsly who is now stationed ay Triangle station.( note: Triangle has become a Station! )
13/07/1882 Fine day, glass nice and high. War between Britian and Egypt. Mr Lategan came
31/05/1882 wet day Great storm today,Snow on all mountains near Breede River , Heavy Thunderstorm at 6.30pm compelled to …. to earth. Rain and wind terrific reports of three wrecks round coast, very cold.
22/07/1882 Fine day. Yesterday was babys birthday ( Willy ) One year old, the following persons were invited to tea. Mr and Mrs D Leroux Mr and Mrs T Leroux Mr and Mrs R Leroux & Miss E Leroux. Mr and Mrs Zeeman, Mrs Lategan, Mr Rodriguez & Mr Fall. The following persons were invited but were unable to attend, Mr and Mrs Van Zyl, Mr and Mrs Van der Merve.
A very pleasant afternoon was spent, Mrs Fall was also present.
23/07/1882 Fine day. Went up mountain as far as Falls hotel. Wind very light in evening.Glass very low at 8 pm ( note in journal astronomical observations ).
29/07/1882 Fine day. Parker of Ceres on leave of absence, Barret relieving him. I went to Ceres Road today to get a post office order for 25/- for Wray optician Highgate London which I am sending them for eyepieces for Telescope.
….. Smart, E, was married to Mr Gents on Thursday at noon. Lizzy went in evening. Gilbert still working in Cape Town, also Skippers. Gilberts wife went to C Town today to him, he paid for his watches also on Friday last. I have been on day duty this week.
02/08/1882 fine day. Venus passed so near Mars as to appear to naked eye one.
03/08/1882 fine day. Went to Ceres to see Joe at Hill’s. at Wool washery went on horseback had Fall’s nag. Hill wanted to keep Nip our dog, on arriving at level crossing train was passing when by some means or other the nag fell throwing me over his head onto mine, rendering me senseless for a time. I managed to get to platelayers cottage to get them to take horse home or otherwise relieve me they however refused, and I had to make my home the best way I could. I arrived home at 9.40 pm extremely bad.
04/08/1882 fine day. I’m in bed all day and all night, Rodrigues was kind enough to do my duty which it was Imposible for me to do.
05/08/1882 fine day. In bed all day. Got up in afternoon. Face fearfully disfigured.
07/08/1882 Fine day, re Mr Hill, I found him extremely Kind and hospitable. Sawyer up by 13 down to go shooting with Rodrigues tomorrow.
08/08/1882 Fine day, I was vaccinated today, baby [ Willy ] was vaccinated on saterday.
W Lennox child very ill. Smallpox still Plaging.
09/08/1882 Fine day. Face still very bad.
10/08/1882 Fine day. Face getting better, got clock to repair from Van Zyl.
18/08/1882 Fine day. Van Zyl’s clock finished this two day also his watch. Got a squint at luna yesterday with 2 inch obje…. Definition very bad air too unsteady. Recd. Letter from Father telling us of Bessie’s [ Kemms ] illness, not expected to live more than two days. Went to Worcester & paid Bull, saw Mr Smart.
19/08/1882 Fine day, liz making preparations for going to C Town to see Bessie, the fields are now covered with blossoms. Flowers on every hand a deal of snow fell on mountains opposite with last rain. Stephens came here last Saterday to repair scale, he stayed to Monday. On the 15 guard Raaf ? fell off top of carriage while engaged in lamping trains on to ….. of Bogies flat, breaking two Ribs and hurting his back. I had take Train to tulbach where Matheson p….. guard took charge I went as far as Paarl and returned by one down.
20/08/1882 Sun. fine day. Mr Parker and wife & ….A Adams came by last train to spend the day with us. Rodriquez gone to Hermon to spend Sunday.
24/08/1882 Fine day. Glass very low. Beautiful mirage off Goudini way. Our new audit clerk came to audit books today, Morgan our former a clerk having got sack last week.
25/08/1882 Fine day verry hot Glass low. Mirage repeated at 6.30 pm towards Bosmans vlei to Goudini very ….. effect.
26/08/1882 Fine day, Joe gone to Capetown today. Bessie Kemms died today. Mrs Van Zyl’s brouch stolen we did know of it until days after. Saw it in paper.
20/09/1882 Fine, great comet seen in mornings with naked eye and also at 11.30 am, must be of immence size, it shines with a light equal to Venus. Weather very bad for observation.
21/09/1882 Fine day. Wet day or rather showery, small pox very bad in Cape Town
11 today Amelias second baby died, death caused by teething.
22/09/1882 Wet day. Received a telegram from Tom Osbourne relating to death of child. Received letter and invoice from england re eyepiece cost 1/1/- postage 4/-. The eyepiece was sent to the customs to be examined and being unable to go myself, I wrote to Father to ask him to go.
25/09/1882 Fine day. Mrs Sawyers came up by 9 down also Sawyer Mr Sawyer came up by
13 down all returned by 2 up [ train ], after they were gone had a good look at Saturn air very steady saw Jupiter but he was too low. Noticed his belts four moons visible.
28/09/1882 Fine day,tremendrous wind S East,eyepiece arrived by 5 down. Weather very rough indeed. Imposible to judge of eyepiece at present. Made Wally an Engine of tin yesterday, also cover for chum’s [ Liz ] sugar box.
30/09/1882 Fine day, cold windy day.Weather very much upset. Small pox broke out at platelayers cottage No 19 gang.
04/10/1882 Fine day, weather on the change, saw comet at 4 am, high in heavens.
07/10/1882 Wet day, tremendrous hail storm, yard quite white, mountains covered with snow all round. Small pox at Gilberts cottage.
13/10/1882 Fine day, 2 young chaps by name Freeman Checker and Delaney came here on the Booze yesterday made an Engine for little Willy Smith as a present from cousin Willy to him.
[ note that on 03/09/1878 Willy Smith married Mary his Liz’s sister and they had a son William ].
Ivan & Vini Came here today, clock on hand of Herolds to repair. [Hand on clock].
14/10/1882 Fine day. Finished Willies engine today, repaired kettle for Lategan.
22/10/1882 Sunday. Fine day, went to Mr ? Leroux in afternoon. Most people at farms sick myself suffering with severe cold, Willy with his eye teeth. Old Gerber in Elands Kloof made William a pair of yellow boots 3/6 he made them large enough for Walter.
27/10/1882 wet, went to Triangle yesterday by 5 down, saw comet, tail appear to lengthen.
29/10/1882 wet Sun, cold day, lots of snow on mountain opposite.
30/10/1882 wet day very cold,dull weather, bad for crops.
31/10/1882 fine day.Baby taken ill, through eating something.
02/11/1882 fine day , Mrs Lewis came to see us. Dr came to see Willie who is ill.
03/11/1882 fine. Willie much worse, sent for Dr Beck again, saw comet.
04/11/1882 Fine day. Birthday age 33. Baby still very ill.
08/11/1882 Fine day. Commenced Engine for Wally, baby better.
09/11/1882 Fine day, got good view of Saturn, air rather unsteady power 100. d220. Went to Mr D Leroux in afternoon, last week got 2 doz Lemonade from H Ball Worcester 2/6 per dozen.
10/11/1882 Fine day, saw Venus, now a splendid cresent, showed her to Raaf, Lent Mr Sawl other day L 1/10/-. Dora received Notice to leave in December. Glass very low,this evening rather windy night.
14/11/1882 Fine day. Went with Wood ( Mr ) to Fotheringhams Grotto. Tremendrous wind blowing.
24/11/1882 Fine day. Went to H Gerber, Elands Kloof Klaverfontein came back by cart gave his Botha’s order for pair Veltskoen, received letter from Willis M Road [ now Touwsriver]. Another comet to be seen in Muscan[?] near star Eta, large comet still visible.
28/11/1882 Fine day, about this time had row with Rodriquiz, making the second since he is here, without counting several moans.
30/11/1882 Fine day, recd. Telegran from J Hopkins Kraaifontein that Sarah very ill & wants assistance, wired back liz should go next day.
01/12/1882 Fine day,very hot. Liz went by 10 up to Kraaifontein to see Sarah. Recd. 2/6 worth strawberries fm SBosch , what I had ordered, comet rises 9 pm.
03/12/1882 Sunday, fine day. New facing points & crossing put in Worcester side, old one broken last week by one down train.
06/12/1882 Fine day very clear. Saw the transit of Venus, watched it from its commencement till sunset, we first noticed Venus in ….. at about 3.10 pm and saw the last of it at 6.45 pm sun then setting behind Mountains, the Planet was Wonderfully distinct on the face of sun appearing as a round black ball. I used several powers on Glass viz 60. 80. 100. 200. I had also fitted my opera glasses with coloured glass, so we also had them to see.
09/12/1882 Fine day liz got home last Thursday 7th int. I was away at Gerbers. Made and gave him a Wine pump as they call it.
10/12/1882 Fine day, lots of Blackberries ripe now.
11/12/1882 F, had a blackberry pie for dinner on Saterday last. Dora left us on Saterday last for good, liz bought us some books from Mr Wood, also a dozen of beer, reports about that Mr Marley of Letterstedt’s [now Josephines mill ] had absconded. Mr Hill of the Wool washery has also left and gone to England for good.
12/12/1882 Wet day I am now on day duty. We are very short of water. Rained all day, from about 2 am till 3 pm. Dark cold & cloudy
02/07/1883 Fine day, wrote to father to come up to spend day on liz B day.
August 1883 Still at Breede river.
01/08/1883 Fine day. …. Whelan died lately at BW [ Beaufort West ]. Dr Cloete made railway Dr this month, the mountain opposite this covered with snow, had Rheumatic fever, at end of March went to Kalk Bay for a week went to salvation army meetings, while there saw Amelia and others. Mack spent a fortnight with us in February he was married a few weeks back we were not invited…….I was on sick leave 24 March to 6 Apr
02/08/1883 Fine day. Signs of rain again, it has rained with very little internium [interuption?] Since First of May. Rhoderics left here 24 Jan 83. I saw a great many meteors this evening as many as 30 fall at same time 9.30 pm bearing slightly north of east.
03/08/1883 Wet day, raining hard all day, reports of Earthquake in Italy and shocks in England.In January 83 Walked with Sawyer through Bains Kloof. Time as follows left Breede river stn 5.25 am left falls 5.55 am Bastiaan Kloof 6.30 am 1st Toll Hamans 7.15 am. Top Paarl in sight
8.45. Reach 2nd Toll 8.50 am alicedale 9.25 am.
Breakfast. Wellington 12 noon Dinner at Commercial 2/6 arrived home by 7 pm train…
Tweede Toll is on the Worcester side of the Kloof, not far from Breede River Station.
05/08/1883 Sunday. Wet part of day. Went for a walk in the afternoon, met policeman dobbins of Ceres hunting for a man said to have broken out
of tronk at Ceres Rd, saw new moon this evening.
06/08/1883 Wet day, raining all day. Men fitted Windlass on well today. Mr W Lategans mother died today.
11/08/1883 Wet day, very cold and miserable weather, recd letter from father, informing us of his leaving Lettersteadts Mills. [uncertain whether this is his or his wife’s father].
12/08/1883 Sunday, went for walk with children in afternoon to pick flowers.
16/08/1883 Fine day, audit Inspector here today.
18/08/1883 Wet day very cold. Hail fell all last night. Gilbert Sawyer away on leave.
19/08/1883 Sun Fine day. Barometer very high. Thermometer down to 42 this morning.
20/08/1883 Wet day intensely cold. Inspection train today. Willy very poorly slight attack of Bronchitis had doctor twice. Many shooting stars seen about this time.
21/08/1883 Fine day. Mountain covered with snow all round. Heavy frost this morning.
…….E Leroux came home from Hermon this evening per Final train, on Saterday last young man from C Town in walking from Wellington here, had to walk Through River with his clothes got wet through, he got a change here and went to Worcester by last train. “He promised to send me some work on astronomy”.
25/08/1883 Fine day. Inspection train stopped here to inspect, stayed here thirty minutes. Zodical lights plainly visible at 9 pm, wrote to Jack re cyclones stars come today. .
29/08/1883 Fine day, Bar 30.20 Wind blowing a high gale s east with driving rain, 9 am 2 Books arrived from young man, present, see 21st day.
30/08/1883 Fine day, Mr Jones manager of manganese mine took Tube of Telescope to be repaired in Town. Koos Fredericks Lategan man severely injured.
01/09/1883 Fine day. Koos verry bad, a strange man made a murderous attack on him cleaving his scull with an a…….axe, had DR beck. Mr Van Zyls eldest boy very ill some days with Fever. Cloudy evening every appearance of rain, wind NW.
02/09/1883 Sunday. Fine, dull cloudy, slight rain after 10 pm remained in all day, did monthlys. Liz having nasty vomiting fits every evening. Barometer falling.
03/09/1883 Wet day. Raining off and on all day. 2 am yesterday large shooting stars near or between Corona and Lyre.
11/09/1883 Wet day. Rain slightly all day, expecting manganese daily from mine.
15/09/1883 Fine warm day, watched spots on and off all day. Liz and miss Adams went to Ceres Rd with 16 up train & returned with 9 down, Wally accompanied them. Hannah “ servant” looked after Willy.
22/09/1883 Fine day, Mrs Lategan got daughter at 5 am. Glass rising heavy s east wind blowing all day, & heavy clouds rolling over sky all day, got glimpse of sun at 4 pm spot B approaching western rim of sun disc. Mail in last night fron England, wrote to father this morning got new uniform last week, some sort at last, Wally is now finally in to short britches.
23/09/1883 Sun fine. Thunder and lightning all day, with low glass Therm high 80 at noon. Dirty night wind mainly SE which turned round during day to NW. Went to lower farms with trolly returned at 1 pm. Went for a walk with Liz to out……in afternoon. Wet night. E Mechanic now due no tools as yet.
27/09/1883 Fine day. Bar very low, got glimpse of sol spot still advancing long narrow No pen yet?, spot surrounded with white ridges Noticed 2 smallish spots near centre of disk not discerned yesterday. Our dog Neptune died today, had him skinned, “ cause unknown “. Died in office about 2 am. “ Bar low, air from N “.
30/09/1883 Sun. Fine warm day. Went for a walk near cottage in forenoon with Wally, went for a walk in afternoon with Lizzy & child bar going up.
07/10/1883 Sun wet day. Thunder all day, had night thunder and lightning set in at 11 pm a wretched day, very hot, wet, heavy clouds in 2 layers, SE below NW above and very black. Sun not seen here all day. Snow still lying amoung crevices on mountains. Wrote to Lydia on 4th Oct.
18/10/1883 Fine day. New spot verry large indeed and surrounded with a very large perimeter, large hallow round moon tonight. Wind from N & West air thick and hazy. A Dr Logie and a Jill From Worcester here today. Saw Mr Sawyer in train tonight wrote to Amelia yesterday. News recd of Tom joining the Salvation Army. News of earthquakes in various parts of the World viz America , western Africa,Greece. Turkey.Colombo wonderfull extension of Zordial light spoke of Earthquake at Marf…..Besutoland?
Kimberley and other places, would almost lead one to believe that there was a close connection between the great outbursts on the sun and the very Zoidical displays and the great Earthquakes in Java ……and elsewhere. Today it is very close and sultry.
29/10/1883 Fine day, our flowers in bloom now.
04/11/1883 Sun.Fine day. Birthday 34. Mary informs us that Lydia very poorly Amelia well and Father gone over to Salvation army. Have written sent letter to Amelia and Lydia as they have not replied yet shall not trouble them again, am very well children got slight colds.
06/11/1883 Fine day. Will and Mary left us, their eldest boy Will is the Naughtiest child I ever saw, and he is completely spoilt by his mother. No parent can see Faults in his own children. Willy Smith is the essence of naughtiness itself. Got a letter from Jack informing me of his promotion to DurbanRoad stn [now Bellville]. I congratulated him heartily he deserves it. A sort of fence was put round Trees a few weeks ago.
11/11/1883 Sun fine day. Went over to Mr Falls with Wally and Willy, chum stayed home, arrived home again at 1.30 pm. Had a long chat there went over his garden, had a bottle Lemonade and a glass Pontac[?] Beautiful evening. Reports of Blakesley & Forester having been runin for running in to C Town on the quiet.
15/11/1883 Fine day, clear day. Cold dull night wrote Jack yesterday. Platelayers Lifting Yard, Norris audit inspector here today, any amount of Red bulbs in bloom now, also the green collone?, took lizzie up to footpath on trolly en route to Leroux farm. Bar rising.
25/11/1883 Fine day. Went to Slang Hoek, took Wally with me.
28/11/1883 Fine day. Lizzy went to Ceres with Trolly with Mr Van [ Zyl ] took Wally and Willy. Made Sail for Trolly yesterday. Saw Saturn 3 moons …………. saw also Jupiter, splendid evening liz returns by 9 down at 10.30 pm.
29/11/1883 Fine day. W Gerber wife got son on Tuesday. Old Nips skin spoiled, got new dog from Worcester named pencar[?]. Had pigeon for dinner, wild.
07/12/1883 Fine day. Turned out at 5 am for Pay train, rather cool mornings.
15/12/1883 Fine day. Cool mild weather wet all night L doing well.
22/12/1883 Fine but windy. L up today for the first time, any amount of apricots brought also blackberries. Excursion tickets all the go. Young Herr…arrived today to spend the christmass holidays. Van Zyl went yesterday to Bok Veldt For some purpose. Young ….. went to M fontein
[ Matjiesfontein ].
23/12/1883 Wet day. Rained hard all day with thunder and lightning.
24/12/1883 Wet day, rained all day. A good lot snow fell on mountains.
25/12/1883 Christmas day.Fine very dull christmas no pudding or dinner L too unwell to attend to anything. Baby well.
01/01/1884 Fine day. Excursion Train Worcester to Ceres, Brought a large party of People from Worcester here.
03/01/1884 Fine day, on the lookout for Pons comet.
04/01/1884 Fine day, liz still verry ill, with all L’s illness not a soul came to see her, had to wait on her alone.
08/01/1884 Fine day, percular Sunsets still continue, got a line fm Willis of Hanover, had a look at moon had a splendid sight of Cape Lapl…..,shadow of mountains at end of Cape, thrown out with Wonderful distinctness yesterday night, saw straight w…..also 2 small craterlets.Brown Bear, Saturn rings a fine sight now. Jupiter rises about 8.30 pm.
12/01/1884 Fine day. Mr Jones gone to Wellington,
Mr & Mrs Areson on leave, Mr Larkin relieving him at Sn.
13/01/1884 Sun, fine day, Mrs Conner came up to m…..
from Ceres road yesterday she has promised on her return to Ceres road on Tuesday, to send one of her daughters to help Liz who is very ill.
16/01/1884 Fine day, picked up Comet last night to NE of Venus
Dr Beck arrived, cut lizzies breast, the poor child has suffered a great deal of pain. Comet seen well tonight, had no time to fix position.liz still needs constant attention.
04/02/1884 Fine day, repaired watch for Krigler. Wind verry high from south East.
05/02/1884 Fine day, Wind fell to calm. Mrs Lewis & Mrs Lord came to see lizzie returned to Worcester by last train at 10.30pm. Wet night air very cool. liz has a Klip Wood plaster got from Mrs Lateganon her breast which seems to do more good than anything else, sent JD Hersholts map per 3 dn today our granidillas growing fine now, old Lategan often…. Our garden. Killed a snake “ Yellow Cobra” in Well Bar low.
13/02/1884 Wet day, nice showers during day, our water in well low, sent a paper to Rodriques last week to his address in NSW Bowerfells Station?, plenty of Grapes now.
15/02/1884 Fine day, Mrs Hannah the person who left pcl [ parcel ] here for 6/3 on way to Worcester,with two Daughters
she states her daughters will come for pcls and pay amount.
19/02/1884 Fine day, overcast. Wind N West. Comet plainly seen here.
20/02/1884 Fine. Audit Insp Norris here today. Lategans made wine today, on the 19th at 8.30 am heard heavy firing about 20 guns at great distance off. L and I listened for some time to it.
22/02/1884 Fine day. Lategan pressed his Muscatel grapes yesterday, heard from guard Abels, that a salute was fired in Table Bay on Monday morning about 8 am, I conclude therefore that the firing we heard must have been the sound or echo of same.Comet still visible here beautiful clear night.
23/02/1884 Fine day. Sleeping outside every night now, its too hot inside.
27/02/1884 Fine day. Wind still very high, wrote to J Lutgens
a day or two ago sent 15/6 in postage stamp in settlement of WM Webster ac to Law agent O’ Reily. Webster insolvent, I was correct in my conclusion re firing of guns in T Bay on 21st , it proved to be the American Man of War named – [ Alabama? ].
06/03/1884 Fine day. Ballast train commenced to run yesterday, Worcester Wellington. Making wine at Lategans now. S East wind, raising a penny faithfull.
07/03/1884 Fine day,Pay day,up at 5.30 to attend to it, air cool.
09/03/1884 Sun,Fine day. Went to Bastian Kloof with liz and children. S Samson came and Fetched us with cart afternoon Solomons, ali and myself went up mountain to shoot,
Solomons shot a buck ‘Klip’ visited a large cave.
11/03/1884 Fine day, alterations in staff circular recd. S Lewis of Worcester has orders to go to Victoria West. C Lewis to De Aar as it is to be called Broungers junction, which is to be opened in April.
12/03/1884 Fine day, very windy.but close.sleeping on stoop of a night.
13/03/1884 Fine day, commenced to clean and Take to pieces liz’s sewing machine yesterday. Finished today, after putting all together it worked splendidly. It was fearfully dirty. Calm night.
16/03/1884 Sun Fine day, stayed in all day. Van Zyl Schoolmaster going to leave soon.
22/03/1884 Fine day. Kriglars farm put up to auction, no bid. Mrs Parker gone to Ceres also chum and baby Eden. Mrs P and Mrs S went to Goudini & returned by 18 up yesterday large fire near Leroux tonight. Wally got toothache.
30/03/1884 Sun fine day Went to Falls hotel and back with Wally Home at 1 pm getting our milk fm Sylvester. Line to Port Elizabeth opens tomorrow.
31/03/1884 Fine day, New Rates New Time Table commences today our hours 6 am to 6 pm. Since the remarkable sunsets commenced, have found Telescopic observation very difficult air seems thicker or denser than prior to these remarkable events.
03/04/1884 Fine day Bar low. Rain not far off, Well dry our tank empty. Wrote to TM about leave of absence.
16/04/1884 Wet day, heavy rain all day. Lightning at times 5 poles blown down and wire broken at 91¼mile …. Went down in afternoon and fixed the wires so that communication was positively restored at 3 pm, tremendrous rain all day.
21/04/1884 Fine day,saw that beautifull phenomenon, just before daybreak a lovely rose coloured Flame seemed to start frm the horizon, reaching nearly to the zenith lighting everything up with a red glow, after a while say 30 minutes it slowly faded it then became quite dark then about ¾ of an hour it had disappeared day began to break along opposite mountains. Fine day cool night.
03/05/1884 Sun Fine day, took baby Eden down to lower farms
11&12/05/1884 Wet day. Heavy rain all day, very cold done Krighers watch ……. Mrs Fall came over.Walter B Skinner Junior went to School for the first time today.
25/06/1884 Fine day, intense frost. Therm in bed Room reg at 8 am 41 in frm Room 41. 2 men digging ground at back of house paying 1 bob & tommy?. Baby still poorly.
28/06/1884 Wet day. Heavy thunderstorm last night, lightning struck wire near station was partially knocked down by force of stroke.
29/06/1884 Wet day. Snow and hail laying on mountains round.
30/06/1884 Fine day, very dull cold weather. Broke my large Therm. Got back my book Tramp abroad. Mr Edgecombe lent me Byrons Works. Paid 7/6 For papers to Ross Worcester.
02/07/1884 Fine day. Nice warm Bar fell last night but recovered all it lost this morning.got slips of cats tail from D…
of Newlands. Mr Fall spent the day here yesterday. No sign of leave of absence yet Wally home for holidays. School commences 22 July 1884.
07/07/1884 Fine day, Mountains got snow all round.
21/07/1884 Fine day. Bar going down very fast, lots of snow on mountains.
22/07/1884 Wet day. Heavy rain all day. Bar very low.
25/07/1884 Fine day heavy clouds still Rolling up fm W & NW.
noticed at about 2 pm an unusual appearance in region of Sol
similar to that observed after eruptions on Java, at night is verry
marked, the clouds and all objects near Sun where tingedwith a percular colour viz Violet at night.there was a grand display up to about 7.30 pm I took a glance at Sol with low power. Instant shewd a long row of spots cresent shaped, nearly central, on account of clouds observation was difficult.
27/07/1884 Sun Fine day “warm and comp…..” , Went to Prayer meeting at school in evening. reading now Mildreds Wedding. Wally got sore chin, which the cold weather agrevates Evas working for Elsley at present.
28/07/1884 Fine day, Mariah Adams came up for a few days heard that crankshaw who married …. Maggie Adams at Ceres rd and who was For some time Station Master at Lady Gray Bdge, and who got the bag the … has absconded with 600 pound belonging to charles adams his father in law at Ceres Rd, he is supposed to have left with his wife for England in the Mexican.
29/07/1884 Fine day.Mariah made a plaid coat for Willie.
31/07/1884 Fine day. Bar [ barometer ] going down. Yesterday Wally came home with bad ear, boxed by esterhuizen the school master, to be seen into yet at Breede river it is nothing but prayer Meetings Fm morn to night had a look at equatorial
……… of moon at 7 pm definition splendid at 150, on 3 inch.
03/08/1884 S Fine day. Bar low, signs of rain in the air,went for a long walk with Perambulator with baby Eden & Wally.
04/08/1884 Wet day. Dr Cloete came to see woman at cottages very ill after child birth. Very wet & showery all day.
08/08/1884 Fine day. Had go at school master re Wally’s ears.
Mrs Fall borrowed 2 pound.
15/08/1884 Fine day, had a look last evening at the Ring Nebula in the …… saw it very well, air rather unsteady with 80.
Ordered this week the english mechanic from Juta Wale street Cape Town. 14/- per annum
18/08/1884 Fine day. Mr Brink of Buffels River called today, gave us a Biltong.
23/08/1884 Wet day, slight rain on and off all day. Jack leaving line togo into business. Planted Watermellons and cucumbers.
28/08/1884 Fine day, chum Poorly all night, was yesterday at Falls, whole day.
29/08/1884 Fine day.nice warm weather calm clear night, reports are being circulated that Breede River stn is to be closed up, Kraaifontein to be closed up from tomorrow.
Mclear at observatory lost his wife last week.
02/09/1884 Wet day, rain heavily, got Telegram leave granted.
04/09/1884 Fine day Bar low, left for C Town by 14 up Train, ard. C Town 7.45 am went with Cab straight to amelia’s Found her in bed and Thomas at work,today buyd armashant[?] 5/6
wally, Willie& baby well. Went out to Willie by last train, took Will quite unawares, found them all well except Will who is poorly. My own leg rather troublesome. Slight rain when left Breede River.
05/09/1884 Fine day but cloudy at Retreat,Went to Father at Mowbray with Walter found them all well, saw Jenny Bobbit, Joe, Blanche, all well returned to Retreat with last Train, went first to C Town, to Docks saw Mexican coming in Took Wally round, across with Ferry boat went both ways with Tram Car, every sign of rain in the air.
07/09/1884 S Fine day. Father and Mother [ his wife’s, his own Mother died in 1875 ] and Jenny came to spend the day with us at Retreat. Myself took ….. and was very unwell all day, all in the head.
09/09/1884 Wet day, left last night For Port Elizabeth by
11 down slept all the way to Touws River, rained at Touws River rained all the way to Beaufort West, got there at dark arrived at Victoria West Road during night arrd at de aar next morning, left de aar Wednesday morning arrd at PE at 7.45 am Thursday morning and put up at Temperence Hotel. Saw Mr Lewis at de Aar changed carriages at de Aar for PE at Hanover Rd made enquiries for Wills learnt that he had left for Colesberg with circuit court, at same stn SM Had a squabble with a big burly Farmer, veldt here extremely dry. Saw thick ice near Hanover Road stn on pools water on ground. I sent liz a Telegram from Brounger or de Aar
10/09/1884 on the way to PE saw young Powel at Prince Albert Road
04/10/1884 Fine day. Witnesed the splendid total Eclipse at
10 pm of the moon.
15/10/1884 Fine day liz went to C Town by 9 up also Wally and Eden.
16/10/1884 Wet day Willie home with papa.
Entries during visit to UK and Europe
Friday 1/7/1898 got up at 10.30 am . Went out up Mt Chillum ? Hills with Annie and Elsie Witney . Went for a jolly ramble through the woods past old Roman way .Slight showers in afternoon . Sat chatting with Polly ( Mary Ann ) up to 12.30 am .
Sat 2/7/1898 Fine day sat ready all morning , went with Annie afternoon up Chillum ? hills , round top saw place where people on hill get water in summer . Went through woods saw wild strawberries just ripe , had black currents & red currents also ripe gooseberries .Such a quantity of shells snails on herbage ————————- Had Tea then went round village via Church saw half the Witneys in Chinner Church yard , saw some very old Tombstones . Went into Church which is many hundred years old , had a very musty smell was being swept and got ready for Sunday . Bought some cuffs for sleeves . Went to bed at 1.30 am noticed it was quite light at 10.30 pm . Air cool am glad of a fire . WS
15th January 1914 Fine day. Ma left by 6pm train for Walter’s at Albertinia. We saw her pass at crossing. It’s very dull at home now. Our garden is very dryand require constant wateringto keep it going at all. I went to C Town yesterday. Fowls still laying at 3 a day. Bar 29.91. Garden very dry.
21st Jan Wet, raining heavily all dry garden all day garden flooded, poor fowls swamped. Got note from Violet Osbourne. C Times saws bottle been found upcoast re the lost Waratah. Note included says Waratah on her beam ends, boats jammed or smashed, signed by James Dingle. Bob and I played cards. Kate and miss Lloyd gone bioscope.
29th July Wet. Stormy weather, and very cold. Bar rose a bit in morning, but dropped again in afternoon. Eden came in evening. He took Kate to the Tivoli. Bob went to drill, and ma and I to Amelia where we played cards until 10.30pm. Lightning to eastward. Dress not yet arrived. Laid in bed all afternoon, too wet rain, rain, rain. Bob got PTO for me.
31st July Wet day. Bob got pd Kate’s dress this morning. Eden gone C Town. Paper full about war between Austria and Servia, War Proclaimed Yesterday. Kate got her Ball dress this morning. Lot of damage done “ by gale “to Maitland in the last few days. Went with Eden to bioscope. Kath went to her first Public Ball at town hall Maitland, enjoyed herself immensely got home at 4 next morning.
29th July 1914 Wet. Stormy weather and very cold. Bar rose a bit in morning but dropped again in afternoon. Eden came in evening. He took Kate to Tivoli. Bob went to drill, and ma and I to Amelia where we played cards till 10.30 pm. Lightning to eastward.Dress not yet arrived. Laid in bed all afternoon, too wet, rain rain rain. Bob got PTO for me.
31st July Wet day. Bob got pd Kates dress this mng [morning]. Eden gone C Town. Papers full about war between Austria and Servia, war proclaimed yesterday. Kate got her Ball dress this mng. Lot damage done “by gale” to Maitland in the last few days. Went with Eden to bioscope. Kate went to her first Public Ball at Town Hall Maitland enjoyed herself immensely got home at 4 next mng.
1st August Wet day.
12 Fine, overcast. War still going ahead. Germany going strong ———————- . Went to Bob’s at Milnerton Fort George. Wind NW. Went bioscope, some piece where the “chosen” “wanted a house”; the special band.
13 Fine day, but cloudy. NW. Bar at 10 am. 29.710, Th. 72. Dull overcast. Went to Woodstock bioscope, the Globe. Ma and K [Kate] went Town saw Trk to bioscope. Got telegram from Norman re his transfer to DeAar on Saturday. Ma got card from Mrs.Barnes.
14 Sunday. Fine, but cloudy and overcast. Ma gone to Church. Children’s anniversary Sunday. Bar at 6.30 pm. 29.710. Th 75. Ma & K to Cape Town.
15 Fine day. Panic in Constantinople. Bar falling. Ma & K and I went for a walk to Salt River and back. Saw Mr. ——————– who has been ill, hear Mrs. Brooks has got Railway cottage No. 74, top of row near Station. [Maitland]
16 Wet day. Rain commenced to fall at 5.30 pm. There is a Chameleon taken up its abode in the white Ceylon rose tree. Rain all night. Ma making jam, also canning peaches. Cold at night now.
17 Wet day. Heavy showers all morning. At noon Bar 29.710 Th. 69. Cleaned stove. ———————– came in evening. Dull cold night.
18 Wet day. Men repairing —————— sliding doors of lavatories here. Got letter from Defence Dept. for Bob, addressed here. Took it down in afternoon. Hear nearly 2 inches rain fell. Water will now last till May. Mrs. Nelson married to Mr. Gibbons. Ball at Town Hall. Ma & K went to Salt River.
19 March Wet showery morning. I went to bioscope last night ————————– . Bar. At noon 29.98 Th. 69. Ma & K went to Fernats.
20 March 1916 Fine day. Washed my trousers last night. Eden came this morning. Bob came home in afternoon, left at 6.30 pm. Ma got eiderdown for Kath. Ma & K went to Cape Town. I went to Woodstock Globe. Saw ———- & K at Maitland Station. Two British and one French cruisers sank in Dardenells. Fight struck floating mines in the Narrows.
21 Sun. Fine day. Orange tree been taken up next door. Sun on Equator today going north. Ma & K gone to Cape Town in evening. Mabel 26 years old yesterday.
22 Fine day. Received letter from Norman [my father] at De Aar. Been big fight atWindhoek. Glass falling. Brought a basket of grapes. Ma gave him big ben ,he left at 5pm took his concertina. Ma hurt her foot severely underneath. Ball of left foot , for all this Ma and Kath went to C Town to concert on the pier. ( Ma saw uncle Bill in Maitland yesterday and returned by last train.) Eden is now on light duty, changes over on Wednesdays.
2 April Fine day. Ma, K ( Kate ) and Schaapwaghter went to Kalkbay bathing in the afternoon got back allright at six pm. Had look at Saturn.
3 April Fine day. Very hot th 84 at noon in shade. Wrote to Bob ma posted. Ma also wrote to him. School children got holiday “ Easter “. Kate did not go work in afternoon. Steamer still ashore on Robben Island.
6 May Wet day. Cora came alone after breakfast went to C Town. Reports in papers of much rain and snow up country. The sixth our wedding day 42 years. Cora left by the Malmesbury train at 6.18 for Kraaifontein. Johan got the scarlet —————— on the brain. Shifted begona into new tin at door.
6 June Fine day. Kate got today official invite through post to military ball at Town hall next Thursday the eighth. Got monthly Church news today. News rcd. of Lord Kitchener’s Death by the sinking of a war steamer Hampshire he was on board en route to Russia. News was rcd. about 7pm all places of amusements were closed at once in sympathy. Nora’s baby died late at night. Parliament closed at once till tomorrow. Wet cold night.
4 July Fine day. Men here put in new stove “ the Modern Mistress in kitchen. Bill Smith called yesterday, hear Amelia has been at Filmer’s for the last 7 weeks ill. It seems that Scaapwachter demanded from Shaw 2 pound compensation for dog biting his wife including damages to dress. Yesterday Mrs S took the 2 pound back and agreed to accept 5/- for damage. Our new stove a success. S got another check.
9 July Wet day. Light showers, Kath’s birthday 26. Got T’gram from Norman [my father] at Mafeking. War still raging. Sunday air raid over London.
17 July Wet day. Bar 29.84 aneroid 29.8 , at 10pm Bar 29.85 aneroid 29.7 . Mrs Collins came also Mrs Court, Mr Shaw. Dr came in mng., Kate a little better. Cora and kiddies came in afternoon. Rain came at 7pm. Very cold . Bar rising.
24 July Fine day though overcast. Kotze been away 3 days. Mrs Shaw came in evening. Kate and Ma to Sarah in afternoon. Wrote and posted 2 letters one to Norman and one to Walter. Elsie the wash girl came with her baby a boy. Dark overcast night. Any amount of loquats on tree.
28 Nov 1916 Fine day. Eden did not come mng. , Ma went down. Nancy down from T’vaal. Wilfred and her going to England, he to Railway Contingent on Continent in the war zone. Put sticks to tomatoes. Died on 27th the Rev Charles Pattison of Clanwilliam. Rev Pattison was instrumental in getting me confirmed in the English Church at Wellington in 1865 by Bishop Gray, 1st Bishop of S. Africa.
17/02/1917 Fine day. Ma got letter from Norman. Nora came in afternoon. Connection Water and Tank now in order again. Water very scarce. Reports of end of the World on April 17. Saw and spoke to Mr Rev. Davies, the English Church being enlarged “St Anns”. Yesterday Ma and Kate with Cora and Shelah and Nora to pictures last night.
8 Apr Fine day. Easter Sunday. Ma went to memorial service at Maitland Town Hall. Kate and I went for a walk. Noticed hospital ship in bay by her green lights at night.
9 Apr Fine day. High south easter afternoon. Morning north west wind. Bar high. Kate and B ( Big Ben ) went to Kalkbay. Ma to Cora’s I stayed in. Uncle Sam and Klondyke went Kalkbay to fish. America ( USA ) has now proclaimed war against Germany., also Cuba has proclaimed war against Germany. Ma poorly.
1 Dec Fine day . Bob came for weekend. Eden at Woodstock night. Bob and I went to Globe called at B Tilleys. Came home by 11.18 from C Town. Saw while at Woodstock large Meteor traveling from SW to NE very long trail of fire behind. Came out below Orion. Had peep at Jupiter and Lunar. Eden had offer to go to Great Berg stn. Mrs JH Barnes’s baby died yesterday buried today.
05/12/1917Fine day. Got Telegram from Bob, been transferred to Moreesberg 79 miles from here Malmesbury way. Apricots ripe, cabbages nearly done. Onions coming on. Gooseberries ripe. Hear Annie Killey expecting. Mabel said to be living in Jack Killey’s bungalow at Clifton on sea. Got new pair boots, nice 42/- War time ! Provisions are twice the pre war times. Pension no bonus !