FLETCHER FAMILY ARCHIVE.   The Jura, Scotland - Southern African branch.
Data capture and research notes. A work in progress. ZIMBILIANA. Anecdotal. CONCERNING DYKE WRIGHT While watching a TV documentary recently on Hoover, the mining engineer and American president, who spent considerable time on the gold mines in Western Australia, I was suddenly taken back to an insignificant gold mine in Africa, on Zimbile farm in Rhodesia, and to a character remembered there for many years. His name was Dyke Wright, one of the many backvelders who eked out an existence in the colonies. He was able in his later years to squat in the western corner of Zimbile on his mine - a shallow shaft, to which he did the minimum amount of work required to keep the claim and live on it. This was a common abuse of the mining laws, and enabled people to live more or less rent free. His claim was one of many small reefs outcropping in the area, often called stringers or squibs, and in many cases mined by .the Ancients.. They are often very rich in places, but by their nature fizzle out and cannot bear the weight of investment. He lived here with his wife. My father used to say she was the Earl of Derwentwater.s daughter. He also said she was a Miss somebody or other, the daughter of an important engineering family in Britain. But the name I had forgotten. Bembesi Station, in those days an important railhead for mines on both sides of the watershed, was about 3 miles away. There was a post and telegraph office, a heavy crane for unloading mining equipment onto ox waggons, and a goods shed. Here each month a large flask of whiskey, .a stimulant. from England, as well as a selection of society magazines, would arrive for the Wrights. They must have lived like elderly Babes in the Wood, reading the magazines, sharing a drop or more of stimulant, and just gazing out at the veld. There was nothing much else for them to do. Each day they sent a boy to the farmhouse to get some milk for their tea. It was a round trip of 3 miles or so. Dyke Wright himself could not walk much. At some stage in his past he had been allowed to drop down a shaft in a windlass bucket. When he hit the bottom, standing in the bucket, his legs had snapped on impact. They mended, but were very crooked. Peter, getting on for ninety years of age, did a wonderful imitation of Dyke Wright receiving visitors. Peter.s legs themselves were by now pretty bowed, but he managed to impart a further element of asymetrical ricketyness to them, - just like Dyke Wright.s. He would then dodder out of the pantry into the kitchen, leaning forward, an arm outstretched for a handshake, beaming .Welcome, welcome.. Not long before Peter died I went with him to have pointed out the precise site of Dyke Wright's house. It is near a crest on a slight slope rising from a small watercourse to the north, and a small stream to the east. The immediate area is scattered with broken epidiorite, scrub and short sour grass. Here and there could still to be seen the odd fragment of Made In England stuff lying around in small thickets of maminyela, favourite midday hideouts of kudu. According to what I always heard, the house was more or less just one small room. Perhaps no bigger than say 6x4 metres. No walls remained - but there were never any real walls in the first place. Peter said that hessian had been stretched between the trunks of a few trees in a rough rectangle, and splashed with cement wash. It seems Dyke Wright was liked by our family. Ida would not have supplied them with milk, had the case been otherwise. Once D.W..s wife complained that the milk was watered . quite a serious matter. Peter said he could guess what the problem was, and went and hid in the grass near the drift which bears D.W..s name. After collecting the milk the boy on the way back lay down on the sand by the pool at the drift, had a good drink of milk, and topped up the pail with water. This area of the farm was called Dyke Wrights, - the two paddocks, the dam, and an irrigated land. The blacks used the word Msubukala, and I think this is what they also called him. I had almost forgotten about Hoover. - What jogged my memory in the TV programme was the statement that Hoover was either working for, or financially supported in some way in Australia by the British firm of Bewick, Moreing. Then I remembered clearly what my father used to say: .DW.s wife was a Miss Moreing.. [Neil Fletcher. Nannup, Western Australia. 28.02.2007. © ] ======== POSTSCRIPTS: This version modified: 8 May 2016. ------------------------------------------ The position of Dyke Wright's house was near the wall of the dam built during WW2, and which was referred to as DW's dam. The paddocks in that area were also called after him. The dwelling was 100 metres or so north of the NW end of the dam wall. The GoogleEarth co-ordinates are approximately: 20 deg 02' 09" S, 28deg 55' 27" E There has been extensive destruction and devastation of the landscape since 2002. ============== Recently come to light (see below) are some intriguing snippets of information on the Internet researched by Ellen Stanton, viz: " ....... These are from my database of Natal marriages and Cape Province marriages. If any further information is required on any, let me know and I will do a complete transcription. Dates follow American convention of MMDDYY. From: "Ellen Stanton" Subject: [ZA-IB] Looking for Mr. (and Ms.) WRIGHT Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2003 .........." and " ....http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/SOUTH-AFRICA-IMMIGRANTS-BRITISH/2003-10/1067649975 Entry #471 Husband: Geoffrey Dyke Drage WRIGHT, of Barberton, Bachelor, 38, born Thetford, Norfolk, England Wife: Blanch Louisa MOREING, Spinster, 36, born Beardwood, NSW, Australia. Date: 8/13/1888.........." ======================
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