John Charles Weldon

Link to Ancestry UK

John Charles *1878 – 1934) was the youngest son of Matthew Weldon and Catherine Quinn. Both were Irish immigrants who had arrived separately, and married in Port Elizabeth, Their other children, three of whom died in childhood, were

  • Margaret (b. 1861, died the same year)
  • Catherine (1862 – 1956)
  • Richard Stanhope (1864 – 1919)
  • Margaret (1866 – 1937)
  • Patrick Matthew (1868 – 1900). Patrick died at Spioenkop, fighting for the British in the Anglo-Boer War.
  • Mary (1869 – 73, the second of their children to die very young)
  • Henry Francis (1871 – 1918)
  • Elizabeth (1874 – 1937)
  • John Flood (1876 – 1877, the third child to die very young – within his first year).
  • Mary / Marianne / Marion (1880 – 1934) Variously known by three variations on “Mary”, she was married three times, and later moved to England, where she was a “musical comedy actress”.

Note the three repeated names. This was a common practice where a child had died – their first name was often repeated for a later child of the same sex, but with a different middle name. So, John Flood was repeated as John Charles.. Also note that Flood, used here as a middle name, was originally the name of Matthew’s mother, Margaret Flood. There were also other (male) descendants who adopted it as a middle name.

This family photograph, which must be from the early 1880’s, shows the full Weldon/Quinn family, including supposed spouses of the eldest children. John Charles will be one of the little children at the back. The man reclining at front right is Patrick Matthew, who died at Spioenkop.

Clarence Sussens

Link to Ancestry UK

The records show that Clarence’s family had been in South Africa for at least a couple of generations. On this father’s side, those records do not go back too far, but on his mother’s side, they go back many centuries to a long history in England, with one line running through Hampshire and a title family in Suffolk way back to as far as the Norman Conquest. Another line leads London, including a Lord Mayor.

Elsa Lillie Martha (Lilje /Wierck) Weldon

Link to Ancestry UK

Elsa was born in Hamburg on October 29 1881 in Hamburg, Germany, to the “Gastwirt” (landlord) Heinrich Willem Lilje and Charlotte Louise Wilhelmina Lilje (born KÓ§nig). However, for reasons that are not clear, she was raised by a different family, the Wierck’s.

As a young woman, she left, “to go into service” in London. There is a record of her at an address in Mayfair, where she was listed as “a servant”. There, she met Archibald McNeilage, who she is said to have married about 1902. In 1907 they emigrated to South Africa with the three oldest of her four children. The last of their children, Kate, was born in South Africa, in Zeerust.

In 1915, she married John Charles Weldon, with an address in Queen Street, Kensington. (It’s not clear how the relationship with Archibald McNeilage had ended: he was still alive until the 1950’s). Later they moved to Frere St, Bertrams. With John Charles, she had three further children – Margaret Lillian, John Charles , and Patrick Joseph.

John Charles died in 1934, leaving Elsa a widow to raise three children alone, during the depression years of the 1930’s. Margaret at that time would have been about 15, John Charles II about 11, and Patrick just 7. As a consequence, all the children had their schooling interrupted, either by leaving early to find full=time employment, or by working part-time alongside their schooling, or both.

After all three children had married and left home, Elsa would have been left living alone in Bertrams. At some stage, she must have moved in with Patrick and Doreen, because when the family moved to Cape Town sometime in about 1953/54, she joined us, and until her death in 1954 lived with us in Fish Hoek. I have a few memories of her from that time, and definitely recognise her in this picture: