This is a transcription of a letter from Arthur Bennett's son Francis Henry (age 25) to Henry's daughter Laura Ellen (age 23) in New Zealand.

Transcription supplied by Doug Bennett who is descended from William Bennett, below. Henry and Joseph later followed him to New Zealand. Charles went to Australia and Edmund to the US.

Doug Bennett has transcriptions of 68 other letters dated prior to 1899.


Nutley House
Penmartin Road

Sun 16 April 1899

My Dear Cousin Laura,

I really should have written this letter long ago, for on re-reading your last I notice that you ask for Uncle Edmund's address and Ethel's. Ethel's address is as follows: Mrs Wallie Dyke, Box 344, Elyria, Ohio, USA. Uncle Edmund's is: 1209 Versailles Avenue, McKeesport, Pa., USA.

Ethel informed us a few weeks ago that we were to be grandfather, grandmother, uncle or aunt, as the case may be, to just the finest little boy you ever saw. A fact we hope to verify some day by taking a trip across the water.

On making a call on Janet one day this week, I found just a ditto case of affairs there, which completely took my breath away, and I am not sure yet that I have completely recovered. I was invited to nurse the little rascal, but declined hurriedly, having considerable doubts regarding my qualifications in that direction. That is Janet's number two.

You remark that Uncle Henry's age was 69, but according to the entries in Grandmother's Bible we think it should be 71. I will just copy the entries right through:

William Bennett and Ellen Solomon married August 30th 1822. Children of the above

William Bennett born Jul 29 1823
Sarah " " Feb 6 1826
Henry " " Dec 26 1827
Ellen " " Oct 22 1829
Ann " " Mar 9 1831 died Aug 11 1831
Charles " " Mar 8 1832
Joseph " " Aug 23 1833
Emily " " Sep 24 1834 died Feb 11 1835
James " born May 1 1836 died Jan 5 1837
George " born Jan 11 1838 died Apr 5 1838
Edmund " born May 8 1839
Arthur " " Dec 23 1840
(These entries are all in Grandmother's own writing.)

I am managing one of our branch shops now in the West End of London, a good spot amongst the wealthy people. Having been sent up to take charge of the place, the late manager leaving hurriedly, I took a fancy to the place and asked for the management. I had been mainly in the counting house for nearly 12 months and was beginning to tire of it. I hope to do some good at this place, it having been much neglected by two previous managers. Piano practise I am not able to continue, and being obliged to live close to my work, have sent the piano to Janet, who is pleased to have it.

Father has just come in from seeing Janet and has been minutely questioned as to what the new arrival was like. "Oh!" says Father, "It's a rare ugly little chap and its head seems as if it would wobble off!" How are you all getting on? I hope things are all going satisfactorily, and no doubt you are very busy. I must apologise for keeping you waiting for those addresses you asked for. It was careless of me to have overlooked them.

What a terrible affair the wreck of the Stella was. You no doubt have read the particulars. It would seem that a little care would have quite prevented the accident.

Do you have Sunday papers? Here they are quite common now. Two have been started recently and both are good, the Sunday Daily Mail and the Sunday Daily Telegraph. In addition to carrying on the news of the week, they contain articles by well-known and popular writers.

Love to you all, from your affectionate Cousin,

Francis H Bennett


The location of both the Bible and the original letter are no longer known.

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Page's Author: Richard Torrens
First published: Saturday the 18th of August, 2018
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Last modified: 2019