Subject:    The Dunn Family
Date:              Thu, 2 Apr 98
From:            lordings@argonet.co.uk  (Henry Ayre)

Ref. your request for information on the Dunns of Swimbridge & Chittlehampton.

I found your interesting website whilst searching for information on my own family background. I have a little which might interest you. I am a (very) distant relative of the Snow family of North Devon. Some years ago a great-aunt of mine died. She had been born at Filleigh where her father, John Rew, worked on the estate. Their family moved to Sheepwash Farm, near Molland, and in 1914 the elder daughter married my grandfather, Robert Ayre, of Aller. Amongst my Aunt's possessions were a few letters which had been handed down through the generations from mother to daughter. They were written to members of the Snow family from Australia where Elizabeth Jane Snow had emigrated to with her husband, Henry Dunn. They had journeyed from Plymouth to Adelaide on The Sir Thomas Abuthnot around 1855. Perhaps this is the Henry Dunn listed in the 1851 census of Chittlehampton as being aged 22 and living at Melhuish's Leary?

The letters convey the fortitude and strength of faith of these pioneers who had sailed to the other side of the world and who were reconciled to never seeing their families again. Unfortunately I was unable to decipher all of the writing and I apologize for the gaps in the text.



Barton Hill
Near Black Springs
2nd September 1877

My dear sister,

Its a long time since I heard from you but I hope you are all quite well. I am happy to say we are better than we have been. Henry has been under the doctors care for 3 months, he had to undergo an operation. I am happy to say he is better now but I am afraid it will come on again. It is a chronic imflammation in the privites. It is a very dangerous part to be afflicted. I am afraid it will always mind him. We went to Adelaide to get the operation done. I have never been in Adelaide since we landed, that is 21 years and 11 months ago. I did not know the place again, its a splendid city now. I have had a dreadful cold for the last fortnight, the cough nearly takes me to pieces. I am a little better now. We had our likenesses taken when we were down to Adelaide. It is not as nice as I should wish. That is our youngest on my lap. She is 2 years and a half old. She is a fine little thing of her age. She is sitting in so much of a shrump on my lap and is not sitting very well but I think the features is very good of all of us so you will have we both and the oldest and the youngest. I hope to send home some of others likenesses shortly. I suppose it is all you will ever see of us again in this world. I should like to see you again and poor dear Mother. It is a great comfort to her that you and Ephriam is with her. Give our kind love to her and tell her to try and get her likeness taken and your husband and your children. I should very much like to have them. I will 3 of ours, one for John and one for Thomas and one for you and Mother and Ephriam at present. When I write again I will send you one for yourself. Please to send them with our kind love. I hope to hear from you soon.

I conclude with kind love to you all from your affectionate brother and sister.

E.J. and Henry Dunn
Good bye, God bless you all.



Barton Hill
Near Black Springs
1st September 1878

My dear sister,

I now write you a few lines and I hope it will find yourself and your family and dear Mother quite well. I am happy to say we are all quite well with the exception of bad colds the .... baby .... poorly I think it is her teeth troubling her, she has no teeth yet she is nearly 8 months old. I have been very poorly for the last two or three months with a pain in my right side and I spit up blood sometimes but I am thankful to say I am much better now I hope when the warm weather comes. I have been very busy lately preparing for the marriages of our oldest son and daughter. They was married both in one day so Eleanors name is Turner. He is a farmer. She has got a comfortable home about 1 mile from us and George is living nearer to an out farm of ours and works as usual for 2 or 3 years. Father gives him a hundred a year and then I suppose he will go in business for himself. It was a large wedding, there was between 60 and 70 people there. The dancing was kept up until daylight. I trust they may both live happily together and the lord give them health and strength according to their need. They have been two good hard working children. I thought I should break my heart when dear Eleanor went away, she being the oldest of the girls. I thought how many hard days me and her have worked together and now she is gone altogether dear soul may the lord be with her. I hope to send home their likeness soon; I will send home a bit of their wedding .....

.......... Since I commence this letter the dear baby is much worse and I am very poorly indeed .............

With kind love from your affectionate sister,

E.J. Dunn



Note: There are two further letters which I will not send unless requested as I do not wish to burden you with long e-mails.

Henry Ayre


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This page first produced 4 April 1998

This page last updated 11 February 2015