Josephine Butler to Rhoda Butler

Scope and Content

Photocopy letter. Written from Hotel Gibbon, Lausanne

'The two eldest boys of Peter and Christian Grey are coming here' to perfect their French and she has offered to help them to find pensions etc.

The Couvrens of Vevey are hosting a large party for her of about 80 people who are interested in reform of laws, etc.

Mrs Walker is helping Josephine with her Federation correspondence. She is a granddaughter of Sir Powell Buxton and great niece of Elizabeth Fry. Says that Captain Fletcher Vane, of the Vane Company for which Charlie was working, has written to her and explained that the reason for stopping Charlie's Christmas leave was that there was a report of a gold reef there. He was therefore ordered to go to the 'North Pole' a name given ironically to this burning hot place north of Bamboo Creek.

'How amusing it is about all your mama's three unmarried sons being engaged'

[Emily had two de Pledge sons and two Bolton sons]

Administrative / Biographical History

Peter and Christian Grey

In the genealogical table of the Greys of Milfield there is a George Grey of Milfield (1851-1915) son of George Annett (brother of Josephine Butler). [Josephine Butler may have called him Peter instead of George or he may have been known in the family as Peter to avoid confusion with other George Greys] and Christian Margaret, daughter and heiress of George Grey of Middle Ord married on 24 Jul 1878

The two eldest sons were John Neil Grey of Milfield b 1879 and George Henry Ivan Grey b 1882

'The famine and the plague in India are very very sad. I wonder if Aunt Mary Butler is anxious about Harcourt and Monty.'

Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler (b 1869 and Sir Montagu Butler (b 1873) the first ending his career in India as Lt Gov of the United Provinces and the 2nd after a brilliant career in the LCS becoming Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

'Aunt Mary Butler' Their mother was Mary Kendall married Spencer Percival Butler (1828-1915) and had 12 children. He was a brother of Rev George Butler married to Josephine E Grey.

'I heard from Capt Fletcher Vane' Further note to this later. He belonged to the 'Company' mentioned in Charlie's cable saying that he had been sent back to his post in Western Australia by the cussedness of Vane's Co. (See letter from Josephine Butler to Stanley Butler dated Jan 1 1897)

Emily had two de Pledge sons Claud and Henry and two Bolton sons Thomas and Arthur William. (For Arthur's engagement see note to letter of JB to Stanley about Aunt Emmy's news Jan 10 1897)

'I heard from Captain Fletcher Vane' Josephine Butler had written to the Company about Charles being recalled when he had started for home on Christmas leave (1896) from one of the Company's mines in Western Australia. Charles after being at home with his mother for some months went out to a mining job in Western Australia in May 1895. In letter dated 13 Jun 1895 Josephine Butler gets a letter from him just as he landed at Albany (W Australia). Also letter dated 29 Jun 1895 and 1 Jan 1896. He was expected home for Christmas 1896 but a cipher telegram arrived from him Christmas Eve to all the family to say he had started homewards but was recalled by telegram from Vane's Co and had to return to the burning desert at Bamboo. Hence Josephine Butler's letter to Captain Vane.

Letter dated 18 Jan 1897 Josephine Butler to Rhoda explaining the letter she had received from Captain Vane to say that the Company believed Charles would not be detained long.

Letters of 23 Jun 23 and 28 Jul 1897 when Charles landed sick and had to be taken to St Thomas's Hospital.

Letter of 1 Aug Josephine Butler to Miss Priestman; Charles still very ill

Letter of 11 Aug Josephine Butler to Miss P Good news of Charles

Wedding took place on 31 Aug 1897.

'She [a Mrs Walker who has been helping Josephine Butler with her letters] is a granddaughter of the Anti-Slavery Sir Fowell Buxton and grandniece to Elizabeth Fry and the Gurney people; so some sort of connexion of yours'

Elizabeth Fry was the daughter of John Gurney of Earlham and Catharine Bell. Catharine's brother Jonathan Bell had a daughter Eliza (1800-1867) who married Thomas Bolton (1797-1853). The Bell family were linked with two leading Quaker families: The Barclays and Gurneys.

Thomas and Eliza had 6 children: the eldest was Emily Mary (17 Sep 1834-31 May 1864) and she married Charles Grey (1825-1915). The eldest son of John Grey of Dilston and brother of Josephine Butler.

The 5th child of Thomas and Eliza was Jasper (1841-1871) and he married in 1861 Emily Georgina, daughter of John Grey of Dilston and sister of Charles Grey and Josephine Butler.

Emily was a widow having married in 1856 William de Pledge. He died in 1860 leaving her with 3 children.

(Taken from 'The Bolton Family from Northumberland and its connections' by ARC Bolton 1971. A typed copy 'For Private Circulation')

Biog: John Neil Grey, George Henry Ivan Grey, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, Elizabeth Fry, Capt Fletcher Vane, Mrs Mary Butler (wife of Spencer Percival Butler), Sir Spencer Harcourt Butler, Sir Montagu Butler