Interesting facts of my family NICHOLLS and ANDREWS
Both my parents grew up in orphanages.
First my mother's side.
In 1918 there was a huge flu epidemic in Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa. My grandfather Isaac NICHOLLS caught it and was pronounced dead. In fact according to him he could hear everything going on and said around him, but was unable to respond in any way. finally when he was in his coffin, he managed somehow to sit up and say"I am alive", and scared the mortitians. One left never to return and Isaac lived to see the other one die.
On retuning home he told his wife "I never want to be buried,I want to be burned." Her reply was "Over my dead body I'll let you be burned."
Well thats excatly what happened. Grandmother Alice Lucy Maud (WARE) died 7 years before he did. My aunt said she asked the doctor how to have her father burned. She was told there was no crematorium built yet, and she had to ask the Indians, who lived in Fordsburg,near where they lived in Turfontien. On going there she was told it would cost her 2/6d, and a sheet to wrap his body in.
She was told he was the first european to be cremated by them, and the first in Johannesburg.
Aunt Winnie then took his ashes and put them on her mother's grave. Alice's words came true.. he was burned over her dead body. My mother and her younger siblings were put into a home. Unfortunetly my aunt never knew where her parents were born. She told me they were Irish as far as she knew, but had no documents,and she too never really wanted to talk about them.
The next story is of my father's side. In 1917 my grandfather Alfred Henry ANDREWS who was a policeman, was asked to do point duty at a warehouse that had caught fire. He had 2 daughters and a nieghbour had 7 daughters, so he stole a roll of material, for dresses to be made. Well he was caught and was sent to prison for 2 years.
While he was there, grandmother Rita Maria (KEET) had a nervous breakdown, and was committed to an institution. my father and his siblings were also put into a home. The sad part is that Rita never ever came out. I got to meet my grandfather Alfred and a step granny.
It was only when I started doing research, I found the facts in the Archives. I had thought my grandmother was dead, but much to my surprise I found that she was still alive. I contacted the last place that she had been sent to, only to my surprise to find she still alive, but a vegetable, so was told not to visit. She was about 800 miles from where I was. I kept in touch and Granny finaly died in 1970. 53 years locked up.
Alfred contacted TB and knew he was dying, so he had to divorce Rita to enable him to marry his common law wife, my step-granny. He wanted her to be able to recieve his pension from the mines when he died. He had to marry her. So after 46 years of waiting for Rita to die, he divorced her.
Another sad fact was that one of thier daughters, was an epileptic. So she too was placed in an institution, and never came out. I actually visited her in 1983 when I found where she was,she died in 1986. (79 years.)
I am so grateful for joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who ask us to find our roots. I would never have found these stories, as we were brought up not to be in grown ups company, and especially not to ask personal questions. I now have my most family lines coming from Rita, I really am glad to find and know her as a person.