Sarah Harris to sister Emma Jane Hill. Weekeston, New Plymouth, 2 May 1844
Weekeston May 2 1844
My dearest Sister
Your long expected letter of August 17 1843 reached us by the Theresa March 20. It was just 8 months since we heard from England and you may easily suppose we were delighted to receive some account from our friends together with the Box of treasures. I scarcely know how to thank you all sufficiently for such desirable and useful things at a time when it was so much wanted and winter is now commencing and the children are now nicely clad to pass through it with comfort. For though we have no snow yet it is at times very cold. We are also much exposed having so much to do out of doors. You will I think ere this have I think have seen Mr Norway who came out as Surgeon of the Blenheim and returned about 8 months since with Mr Carrington. He was in Bad circumstances here, was often at our house so that he can tell you about us at that time.
As I intend giving you a general account I shall commence as follows. 1st with the Children: Emily I know you are most interested about. She is much grown, the Buff dress except its being too long (as she wears her clothes very short), fits her exactly. She is now a little useful in taking care of Baby. She can sew a little but not read though strange to say with more facility than her brother and will sit beside him for hours to hear him read which he does very well. Her remembrance of dear Aunt Emma is kept alive by our often talking of you. She is a very intelligent child. Had she [been] brought up by you I am [sure] she would have done you great Credit. Corbyn is always engaged in the garden and works very well. They have each a little spot which is beautifully clean and full of various things. All I can say of Corbyn is that he is a Good Boy and fears God. It is quite a punishment to any of them if I tell them they shall not say their prayers for by their disobedience they do not love God. Katie little fatty is like what Ann might have been as a Child, light hair Curling all over her head. Frances Emma (whose first name was Edwin’s choice and the second after you) is papa’s pet. She is one of the prettiest Children you can think of, like the Harris’s about the eyes. She is nearly two years old and I have only weaned her three weeks, I could not well do it before as we never afford ourselves milk. Will you recollect the three born in England as I have lost the paper
Handwritten transcript of MS letter to sister Emma Jane Hill, Plymouth, England. Written in Weekeston, New Plymouth, NZ, 2 May 1844. Breaks off. Copying date unknown. Puke Ariki. ARC2019-112. Letter 2.
Your long expected letter of August 17 1843 reached us by the Theresa March 20
Sarah also responds to the box and letters brought by the Theresa. The date of her letter may be a transcription error.
Mr Norway who came out as Surgeon of the Blenheim and returned about 8 months since with Mr Carrington
Samuel Norway, surgeon superintendent of the Blenheim, kept a journal of the voyage that is now part of NZ Company records. Frederick Carrington was advised by Wicksteed that his employment as chief surveyor would cease on 31 March 1844. In the event Carrington with his wife and family left Taranaki for England in August 1843 and did not return until 1857 (Te Ara).
She can sew a little but not read
Emily, now seven years old, has no formal schooling but listens to Corbyn, aged nine, reading his book. It seems likely that both children were being taught by their mother.
Had she [been] brought up by you I am [sure] she would have done you great credit
The Liskeard school where Emma Hill taught was a boarding establishment. England Census results 1841-1861 show girls in residence ranging in age from 7 to 18. At least one family member attended the school: Emma and Sarah’s niece Mary Paddon, aged 12, was a boarder in 1861.