Sunday, August 4, 2019

Smiths in Natal 1890s

William Smith is listed in the Natal Almanac's Postal Directory for the Colony, 1897 as:

'Smith, Wm. Dickson, blacksmith, Umzinto'.

In William's records his middle name is not always given but where it is, it's spelled 'Dixon', as now generally used by the family. The Dickson spelling is probably an error by the Almanac.

His occupation is given as 'blacksmith' at Umzinto (on the Natal South Coast). At this stage William was operating his carriage-building and smithy business on the banks of the Umzimai River in Umzinto.

He had by then been resident at Umzinto for some years and had met and married Charlotte Anderson, widow of Farquharson Anderson, in 1886. 

By 1897, the date of this Almanac, their eldest son Ernest John Smith was about 10 years old. Their daughter Ruby and younger son Vere had been born in 1888 and 1889 respectively.

Little did they know that their peaceful life would be shattered by war with the Boers and that William was to die far from home during the Siege of Ladysmith in January 1900.

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