Schneider Mystery - Kokstad 1885

December 2008

Dear Mr Balson

I was very interested to find and read your article about Kokstad, as my father lived there from his birth in 1897 (though he was actually born in East London) to 1917 when he left to fight in WW1. His father had been a dispensing chemist, who also took many photographs including several of Kokstad in the late 90s, though all trace of him dries up - the last photo I have taken by him is dated 1904; thereafter his wife (or ?widow) and 4 sons lived in "The Rectory, Kokstad, East Griqualand". I don't know why she lived there, or who the Rector was. But I do have a photo of a big sort of Sunday School picnic, lead by a Dean Barker, in about 1901, with them all in it, except the father, who possibly took the photo. My grandmother's name was Mrs Emma Schneider. My father's eldest brother Harry, born in 1886, worked in Maseru at Morum Brothers Imporium, and sent a weekly letter home to his mother from 1912 til he went to the War, but was killed in France in 1918; there is no mention of his father in any of them. My father died in 1970, and sadly I did not ask him very much - I was 19 years of age, and not interested, and he was not forthcoming about it.

I am trying to find out about my grandfather - he was married in Holy Trinity Church, Kokstad in 1885, where he was resident; it was also his wife Emma (nee Cotes)'s 17th birthday, so I assume her family lived there too. He was born in London in 1859, the eldest of 4 boys, and there is a photo of one of his 3 brothers, Frank, (after whom my father was named) on a day out in Victoria Park, Durban, with all my grandmother's 4 sisters and their families, so he was in South Africa too. But I don't know when or why they went there, or where or when my grandfather died, and would love to find out.

I should very much like to hear from you, to ask whether you have any suggestions for looking for answers to these questions, and I could email you those photographs of Kokstad, if you were interested.

Yours sincerely

(Mrs) Julia Simmonds

West Newton Grange
Oswaldkirk
York
YO62 5YF