2 May 2012

Part 19: Ruth Cuff comes to England

It was really good to meet recently with Ruth Elizabeth Cuff, who lives in Tasmania, during her visit to England. She was touring the places in England where her ancestors lived.

Geoff Swinfield & Ruth Cuff

Di and I had the pleasure of having lunch with her in Dulwich and sharing what we have discovered about the Swinfield line of her ancestry. She is part of Family 4 and her ancestor, John Swinfield, and his family left Warwickshire for New South Wales on the “Beejapore”, which arrived in early 1853. He lost his wife and one of his sons through disease soon after they had arrived. Ruth is his great-great-granddaughter.

Letter to Mary pages 1 & 4
Her great-grandmother, Mary (1838-1918), was the younger sister of Edward Swinfield who did not travel to the Antipodes with the rest of his family. Instead he found a job as a planter on the West Indian island of St Kitts. He became manager of the Willetts Estate on the north coast and even took on the role of Registrar of births and deaths for the parish of St Paul. Whilst there, he wrote to his siblings in Australia. Two letters dated 27th August 1861 were sent to Mary and her brother John from the Ogee Estate and Ruth still has them. In the one addressed to his brother, Edward recounts the recent story of taking his fiancĂ©e, whose name is not recorded, for a ride when the horse took fright and the gig overturned. Neither of them was badly hurt but she was severely bruised and took great fright.

Letter to Mary pages 2 & 3
It may be that this incident precipitated the end of their relationship. It was not until 1866 that he returned to Atherstone in England to marry Emily Rowley. The newly married couple went to St Kitts where they had three children, two of whom survived to adulthood. It is not known what became of Edward, who ceased to be registrar at the end of June 1873. His wife, son and daughter were to return to Staffordshire.

Letter to John recounting the accident with his fiancee

Mary and her three siblings, the brother and two sisters, all moved to Hobart in Tasmania as they did not get on with their father’s new wife. Their descendants still live there today. Ruth has been back to England to revisit their ancestral home. How nice it was to meet her here.  

1 comment:

  1. It was a pleasure to meet you, Ruth. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay.