Friday, April 26, 2013

Doris Moss, Napoleon and St. Helena

I am adding this Post to the Olney Family Archives Blog because the story is most interesting and a good lesson for all family history researchers to never give up.

Sue was “googling” around and came across the Olney Family Archives Blog as that was her maiden name.  She was quite emotional to see a photo of her “Narnie” who died when she was a young child. Up until that moment, Sue had never seen her face,  and as she read the caption underneath - Doris Gwendolyne Moss 1896 - 1961, she realised that apart from knowing her as "Narnie", she didn't even know her name.  Sue also saw a photo of her father at the age of 2 with very fair hair, for she never knew he had fair hair as a child. Sue emailed me with questions about her “Narnie”, Doris, as she is the grand-daughter of Arthur and Doris Olney (nee Moss). Those photos are attached below.

Doris Gwendolyne Olney nee Moss 9 June 1896 - 27 July 1961
Roy (born 1917), Allan (born 1919) & Keith Olney (born 1915).

The family knew very little about “Narnie”.  About all we have known is that Doris was born in New Zealand on 9 June 1896, her Mother was a Glasson and died when she was about 3, and she was brought up in an Orphanage in Sydney.  We know Doris worked with a Mrs Ruth Vane and her daughter Isobel Vane in a Pastry shop in Sydney before coming to Melbourne. Doris married Arthur Olney in 1915 in Melbourne when she was nearly 19 years of age.  Sue seemed to think there was a connection with South Africa. 

Over the next few weeks Sue and I had found a lot of information about the Moss family.  It seemed the more we found, the more we wanted to keep going, as it was all so interesting. The purpose of this post/blog is to share what we have found, because it is all very interesting. We still have many unanswered questions.

Firstly there was the announcement of the marriage between Arthur and Doris in “The Argus” on Wednesday 14th April 1915.
Marriage: Olney – Moss.  On the 16th March 1915 at St.Leonards Presbyterian Church, Brighton Beach by the Rev Hume Robertson BA, Arthur Edgar Olney, 2nd son of David and Annie Olney of “Lipson” Elm St, Hawthorn (late of Yea, Victoria) to Doris Gwendolyne Moss, daughter of Clem and the late Tilley Moss, late of New Zealand.  Present address St.Johns Avenue, Camberwell.

"Lipson" 44 Elm Street, Hawthorn where Arthur Olney was living with his parents in 1915.
44 St Johns Avenue, Camberwell, the first home of Arthur and Doris Olney.

We now had the names of Doris Moss' parents - Clem and Tilley Moss.

Tilley was short for Matilda! “Geni” was very helpful with a large family tree for Matilda Louisa Smith who was born in Hamilton, Tasmania on 29 October 1857 to parents Henry and Henrietta Smith. They had 9 children and moved to New Zealand late 1860s. The Smith family ancestors have been researched back to 1778 in England and 1770 in Ireland. Thank you to Maria in New Zealand who managers the Smith tree on “Geni” and “Ancestry”.

Matilda Louisa Smith married Arthur Evelyn Glasson (born 1856 in Boreham, Hampshire, England) on 5 February 1880 in St John, Leeston, Canterbury, New Zealand.

Together they had 4 children:
Leonard Arthur Glasson, born 17 December 1881 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Winifred Lucy Glasson, born 21 September 1883 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Lionel Evelyn Glasson, born 5 October 1885 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Stillborn son, born 1 June 1892 at 60 Matheson’s Rd, Linwood, to wife of late Arthur E.Glasson. (Same address that Clement George Moss was living at in 1896 – NZ Electoral Roll).

Arthur Evelyn Glasson died 18 January 1892 in Leeston, Canterbury, New Zealand, leaving Matilda with 3 young children – 11, 9 & 7.
What happened to Arthur and Matilda’s three young children after their Father and Mother died in 1892 and 1898?

Leonard married Myrtle Jessie Waghorn (born 1889) on 27 November 1912 in Claremont, Perth, Western Australia. Leonard died 1963 at Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia and Myrtle died 1972 in Malvern, Victoria, Australia. They had a son Edgar Leonard Glasson born 1914 & died 1972.

Winifred married John Addy (born 1882) on 23 February 1914 in Kensington & Chelsea, Middlesex, England. Winifred died October 1970 in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England and John died 1972. They had 2 sons - Alleyne John Addy (1917 – 1994), and Robert Francis Addy (1919 – 1993).

Lionel married Elizabeth (Elsie) Mary Hume (born 1886) at 61 Hope St, Spotswood, Victoria, Australia. Elsie died 20 June 1916 at Bendigo, Victoria, Australia with no issue. Lionel married Eileen Lucy Mackin in 1927. They had a son Lionel Keith Glasson born and died in Murrumbeena in 1928.

Matilda Glasson (nee Smith) married Clement George Moss on 30 June 1894 at Church of the Good Shepherd, Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand.

New Zealand Newspapers 12 July 1894 and 6 August 1894 gave us - 
Marriages: Moss – Glasson. On June 30th 1894 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Linwood, by the Rev.H.J.C.Gilbert, Clement George, 5th son of the late Walter B.Moss of Ashburton and the nephew of F.J.Moss esq. British Resident at Raratonga, to Matilda Louisa, widow of the late Arthur E.Glasson.

Together they had 2 children:
Doris Gwendolyne Moss, born 9 June 1896 in Nelson, New Zealand. Her birth Certificate says her father Clement George Moss, 25 years, was born in St. Helena. Where is St.Helena?

Doris Gwendoline Moss born 9 June 1896 in Nelson, New Zealand.

Claude Clement Moss, born 10 August 1898 in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

When and why did Clement & Matilda Moss leave New Zealand and come to Adelaide?  Did Doris ever know she had 3 Glasson step-siblings?

23 October 1898 Matilda Louisa Moss died in Adelaide. She was buried on 25 October 1898 at West Terrace Cemetery Adelaide (Road 3, Path 29, Site 14).

Deaths:  Moss- October 23rd 1898 at “Morton”, Adelaide, South Australia, Matilda Louisa wife of Clement G.Moss and the widow of the late Arthur E. Glasson, aged thirty nine years. (New Zealand “Star” 26 October 1898).

What happened to Doris (2 years) and Claude (2 months) now that their mother Matilda had died?


Clement Moss went to England and married again.

Clement George Moss 1870 - 1933

Clement George Moss was on U.K. 1911 Electoral Roll, 38 years, born 1873 at St. Helena, lodger at 50 Oxford Road, Islington, widower, 1 child, Commercial Traveller in Stationary.

Clement George Moss, 40 years, born about 1873, widower, married Emily Swift, 34 years, spinster on 1 September 1913 at Holy Trinity Dalston Borough, Hackney, London.  A Confectioner, father Walter B Moss (dec), Solicitor. Bride’s father Frederick James Swift.

Clement and Emily Moss had 2 daughters and 2 sons:
Vera Emily Moss, born 6 October 1914, Clement Frederick Moss, born 10 June 1916, Cyril Herbert Moss, born 25 July 1919, and Kathleen Marjorie Moss, born 6 December 1922.

Clement George Moss died March 1933, aged 60 years, at Edmonton, England.

I have now had a contact with some of Clement's grandchildren in England which is rather exciting so I am looking forward to learning more about the Moss family in England. Clement's two daughters are still alive. 

Did Doris ever know her father went to England and married Emily Swift and that she had 4 step- siblings?


Claude Moss grew up in New Zealand

What happened to Claude Clement Moss after his mother died when only 2 months old?  It would appear that Claude was “adopted” (whether officially or not is unknown) by his father’s eldest brother Valentine Rofe Moss who married Elizabeth Ellen Fricker on 21 June 1884 in Greymouth, New Zealand. 

Valentine Moss died at the Bank of New Zealand, Westport on Christmas Eve – 24 December 1912. Claude would have been just 14 years old when Valentine died.  I appears that Claude continued to live with and look after Elizabeth Moss in her older years, even after he married Marjorie Huai Shepherd in 1926.

Claude & Marjorie Moss.

24 September 1926 Claude & Marjorie Moss performed at “The Sailors Friendly Society”.  Claude lived at 55 Kainui Road, Wellington, New Zealand from 1919 – 1949 (at least). Claude Moss was a Captain in the N.Z. Army in 1942 (No.69403). On 8 March 1940 Savage Claude Moss captivated “the boys” at camp. Claude got a “hole in one” 23 September 1937.  

Claude teaching Barry to play golf.

Claude Moss with son Barry

Marjorie Moss with son Barry.
Claude & Marjorie Moss with son Barry

Elizabeth Ellen Moss died 2 May 1933 in Wellington, Marjorie died 1972 in U.K. and Claude died 1989 in New Zealand.
Claude Moss aged 52, Marjorie Moss aged 52, and son Barry Moss aged 19 years sailed on “Akaroa” from Wellington to Southampton, U.K. on 6 October 1950.

Barry Hereward Shepherd Moss (born 1931) became a talented Musician.

1958 Barry Moss: "Essay" for strings (Publisher Novello). Commissioned by the New Zealand Music Society,  this is written in a modern dissonant style but is clear enough in design and quite well written.
1958 The Monthly Music Record Volume 88-89 Page 114.(Publisher Novello) Barry Moss: "Essay" "This is a solid piece ... will be most effective in performance".
1958 "The Chesterian" Barry Moss has given us a very fine op.3 in his "Essay" for strings.
New Zealand Herald 27 December 1961. "New Zealand composer Barry Moss, currently working in London as a music copyist, has received a commission from the Wind Music Society, London, following on from his twice winning the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize.  In 1957 the New Zealand Music Society commissioned his "Essay" for strings which was first played at Wigmore Hall, conducted by fellow New Zealander John Matheson".
1961 British Broadcasting Corporation. Barry Moss: Title "Essay" for string orchestra, Category String Orchestra. 
1961 British Music Collection. An archive of Scores, recordings and information for U.K. Contempary music.
1971 "London Calling" Barry Moss born 1930 in New Zealand.  He came from New Zealand in 1950 as composition scholar to Royal Academy of Music.  Twice awarded Royal Philharmonic Society Prize.  Music performed at I.S.C.M. Festival (Stockholm) 1956 and by BBC and NZBC. 

We now know what happened to Clement and baby Claude, but what happened to Doris Moss between 1898 and 1915?

The Moss family in St.Helena.

Where is St Helena?   It is an island 17km x 11 km in the South Atlantic Ocean, 960 Kms south of Ascension Island and 2400 kms from Angola on the African coast.   St.Helena is only accessible by sea - on board the island’s own ship RMS “St Helena” which sails from Capetown, South Africa 2880kms North West to St Helena, taking 6 days. Or it is possible to fly to Ascension Island and sail south for 2 ½ days to St Helena.  An Airport is currently under construction on St Helena and is scheduled to open in 1916.

St Helena in South Atlantic Ocean

Island of St Helena in South Altantic Ocean

St Helena's Coat of Arms

St Helena's flag

With a population of 4255, most are from the descendants of slaves that were brought in from Madagascar and Malaysia. They are extremely friendly and warm.  St.Helena was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.  It was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502.  There is just one town on the island, Jamestown, and it is the Capital. There are only a few streets, one is called Napoleon Street. 

Napoleon was exiled to St.Helena in 1815 and died there in 1821.  He lived at “Longwood House”, and today it is a Museum. The appearance of the house is just as it was in Napoleon’s day. Citizens of St. Helena hold British Overseas Territories Citizenship, hence why Clement said his Nationality was British on his marriage certificate. It is Britain’s 2nd oldest remaining colony after Bermuda.   

After discovering the Moss, Rofe and Britton families were long time inhabitants of St. Helena one starts to ask where they there in the time of Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile on the Island of St Helena.  They actually lived in “Longwood House”, the house where Napoleon was in exile from 1815 – 1821. Wow, how interesting!

Let us discover the three generations going back from Doris Moss to her father, Clement George Moss and his siblings, to his father Walter Britton Moss and his siblings, and to his father Isaac Moss, all from St Helena. 

Walter Britton Moss 1836 - 1891

The parents of Clement George Moss were Walter Britton Moss, born 1837 in St. Helena and died 20 June 1891 in Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand and Elizabeth Amy Rofe, born 16 February 1833 in St Helena and died 10 February 1895 in Ashburton, Canterbury, New Zealand.

They had 7 children, all born in St. Helena.  “Ancestry” records the children as:
Valentine Rofe Moss, born 1859, died 27 December 1912 in Westport, New Zealand.
Walter Moss, born 1861.
Amy Mary Louise (Emilie) Moss, born 30 September1863, died 1905.
Florence Moss, born 1865.
Arthur Basil Moss, born 25 June 1865 in Longwood, died 8 July 1935, Melbourne, Australia.
Herbert James Moss, born 7 November 1870, died South Africa.
Clement George Moss, born 7 November 1870, died March 1933 Edmonton, Middlesex, England.

Shipping Record shows Walter and Elizabeth Moss travelled from St. Helena on “Bk Prince Alfred” on 7 October 1872 to New York with 7 children – Valentine 14, Walter 12, Emilie 10, Clement 2, Florence 8, Arthur 5, Herbert 2. There is a slight discrepancy here with names and birth dates.

Walter and Elizabeth Moss and family travelled from St Helena to New York on 7 October 1872.
Another child, Gilbert Williamson Moss was born 19 September 1873 in Cook, Illinois, U.S.
He married Ellen Mary Breen in 1899 in Victoria. They had 3 children - Amy May Moss born 1900 and died in United Kingdom, Walter Lewis Moss born 1902 and died 1975, Gilbert Britton Moss born 1903 and died 1986. Gilbert & Ellen Moss & family settled in Melbourne, Australia.

More about Herbert James Moss 1870 - 1946

Herbert was a twin brother to Clement George Moss. It appears Herbert ran away from home at a young age.  He jumped on a passing sailing vessel and made the journey to Australia as a cabin boy. He never made any attempt to contact his family again as far as we know! 

He was a lumberjack for some time, and he joined the prospectors at Coolgardie in Western Australia, made a little money, lost it drinking and gambling, and eventually left with nothing but his clothes and a shovel.  In Australia he learnt the elements of accountancy and called himself an Accountant thereafter.  I suspect this training was basic, but enough to earn some sort of living.  He was always hard up, and always had itchy feet.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century he moved to New Zealand. He worked and lived in several locations, but was certainly in Dunedin at the time of the great earthquake in about 1897. He married Beatrice Annie Gates on 5 September 1894 and had 2 children - a daughter Miriam Moss and a few years later a son Rofe Britton Moss born 6 November 1901 who married Cora E.Morrison in 1929.

The second Boer War broke out in 1902 and Herbert decided to take the whole family to South Africa to join the forces. He settled his family in Pietermaritzburg while he fought for the British in the Natal campaign.

After the war finished Herbert he took up an agency to sell fertiliser, but war-ridden South Africa yielded poor pickings.  Leaving his family in Natal, he travelled to India and the Far East for the same fertiliser company. He covered a vast area, made little money, neglected his family disgracefully and found himself in Darjeeloing at the outbreak of World War 2.

Herbert returned to South Africa in 1914 to join the forces again, and did not leave the country after that.  He sold more fertiliser, did more accounting, and ended up as the advertising manager for the Natal Witness, a newspaper in Pietermaritzburg.

Herbert James Moss died of bronchial carcinoma with cerebral secondaries in about 1946.  However badly he neglected his family, he was a great personality, independant, tough, determined and in any company a character who stood out from others.

More about Clement George Moss 1870 - 1933

Clement and Herbert Moss were twin brothers.  Clement's parents left St Helena in 1872 and migrated to Chicago, then migrated to New Zealand in about 1876. 

As recorded earlier, Clement George Moss married Matilda Louisa Glasson nee Smith in 1894 in Christchurch, New Zealand.  They had a daughter Doris Gwendolyne Moss on 9 June 1896 in Nelson, New Zealand.  Claude Clement Moss was born in Adelaide in August 1898.  Matilda Moss died in Adelaide on 23 October 1898, leaving Clement with 2 young children. What happened to Doris is still a mystery.  Claude was brought up by his Uncle Valentine Moss in New Zealand. What happened in the next few years to Clement after Matilda died is also a mystery.

At the 2nd outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa (1899 - 1902), a regiment of troops was formed in Australia, which Clement joined.  He went to South Africa and fought in the Boer War on the British side, remaining in South Africa until 1908. Captain Clement George Moss received a Queen's South Africa Medal.

Clement was able to speak the Zulu language quite fluently. He had a reputation as an amateur singer and often played his own accompaniment on the piano.

In 1908 Clement emigrated to England where he remained for the rest of his life. Clement Moss married Emily Swift on 1 September 1913, and together they had 4 children - Vera Emily Moss born 6 October 1914, Clement Frederick Moss born 10 June 1916, Cyril Herbert Moss born 25 July 1919, and Kathleen Marjorie Moss born 6 December 1922.

Clement became the proprietor of one or more confectioner's shops in Dalston area North London. A health breakdown, including the development of Goitre, caused him to give up the business. He was rejected for Army service at the outbreak of the 1914 - 1918 war on health grounds. In June 1916 Clement entered into employment with Armour & Co as a Shipping Clerk in their London canned meat export division warehouse, where he remained until his death in 1932.

Clement's health started to deteriorate a couple of years before his death. He developed pneumonia, the illness and subsequent convalescence persisted for about six months before recovery to something approaching normal health was achieved.  Not long after this he developed jaundice and was found to have a tumor, a carcinoma of the head of the pancreas.  This had spread to involve the surrounding organs, and further treatment could only be of a palliative nature.  Deterioration was rapid, and he died on 25 February 1933.

Rofe family in St Helena

Elizabeth Amy Rofe's parents were Thomas Rofe (pastry cook) and Martha Gigney.  They married on St.Helena in 1831. Martha was born in Southwark London in 1812. Thomas was born in 1812.

There was another Moss/Rofe wedding!
Moss - Rofe: On the 23 April 1862 at St James, St Helena, by the Rev Henry Whitehead, George William Moss, fourth son of Isaac Moss, to Susannah Martha, third daughter of the late Thomas Rofe.

Isaac Moss and his family

Isaac Moss born 18 February 1796 in England, died 15 October 1862 in St Helena.

Walter Britton Moss was one of eight children to Isaac Moss, born 18 February 1796 and died 15 October 1864, and Sarah Caroline Merchant Britton born 1805 and died 7 March 1855 at “Longwood House”, St. Helena.

Frederick Joseph Moss, born 1827 St. Helena, died 8 July 1904 New Zealand (more on him later).
Emma Jane Moss, born 19 May 1829 St. Helena, died 10 September 1910 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA.
Charles Phillip Moss, born 1830 St. Helena, died 8 February 1895 Middlesex, England.
Rose Adelaide Moss, born 1834 St. Helena, died 12 December 1916 Dunedin, New Zealand.
Walter Britton Moss, born 1837 St. Helena, died 20 June 1891 Ashburton, New Zealand.
George William Moss, born 1838 St Helena, died 12 February 1920 Masterton, New Zealand.
Valentine Henry Moss, born 1840 St. Helena, died 1859 St Helena.
Agnes Geogina Moss, born 1843 St.Helena, died 28 November 1915 Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand.

“Longwood House” was the home where Napoleon was in exile in 1815 – 1821 and also where Isaac and Sarah Moss lived 1834 - 1857. Isaac secured a 14 year lease from the British and turned it into a farm.

"Longwood House", the home where Napoleon was held in exile 1815 - 1821 and where Isaac and Sarah lived and many of their children were born.  Photo taken 1863.

“Longwood House” & Isaac Moss in mid 1850s (from

The room in which Napoleon died in “Longwood House”, St Helena contained a thrashing machine, a cowshed, a pigsty and a poultry- house.

On the restoration of the Napoleonic dynasty, attention was again directed to the house in which the founder had died.  A French visitor spoke with indignation of the degradation he had witnessed, and an English officer of the Navy, Lieutenant Stack, published a number of water colour sketches he had made on the spot, showing the thrashing machine, and the farm outbuildings. 

In 1854 Napoleon 111 made overtunes, through the French Ambassador in London, for the purchase of the house, with 2 acres of land.
At that time the Longwood farm was leased to Isaac Moss for twenty one years from the 29th July 1852.  Moss obtained an entrance fee from every visitor whom he could persuade to give him a shilling for a sight of the thrashing machine at work in the room in which Napoleon died, and the horses and cows in their glory in the rooms in which he lived.  As compensation for surrending the remained of his lease over the house and 2 acres of land – a small portion of the Longwood farm – Moss demanded and obtained no less a sum than 3,500 English pounds. 

The transfer was made with a deed dated the 20th July 1857.  The property was placed in the hands of the Emperor of the French and his heirs, by an ordinance of the Governor and Council of St Helena, on the 18th March 1858, and this act was ratified by a Privy Council, presided over by the Prince Consort at Buckingham Palace, on the 7th May 1858.

On the 7th July 1858 Baron de Rougement arrived and formally took possession of the property on behalf of Napoleon 111.  It was decided to restore the house as nearly as possible to its former condition, and Captain Massellin, of the Engineers, arrived on the 1st March 1859 to carry out the work.  He did it in the most conscientious manner.

I understand the original agreement between Isaac Moss and Queen Victoria is currently on display in the Malmaison Museum in Paris.

The Last Will and Testament of Isaac Moss dated 17 February 1863 Page 1

The Last Will and Testament of Isaac Moss dated 17 February 1863 Page 2

To make it easier to read! A typed version of Isaac Moss' Will dated 17 February 1863.

"St Helena Guardian" 27 October 1864 re Death of Isaac Moss.

Moshe Moss and his family.

Moshe Moss was the father of Isaac Moss (1796-1864). 
Moshe had 6 children:
Samuel Moss (1785-1859) who had a daughter Amelia Moss (1818-1911) who married Henry Marks.
George Moss (born 1790) who had a son George Moss (1815-1898) who married Susannah Rofe (1819-1869) in 1843.
Hannah Moss (1793-1858) who married Joseph Solomon (1789-1861) and had 9 children.
Isaac Moss 18 February 1796 - 15 October 1864 who married Sarah Caroline Merchant Britton at The Great Synague in London on 25 October 1826 and had 8 children.
Phoebe Moss (born 1799 and married George Bagshaw 25 April 1822).
Joseph LeMoss (dates unknown).

George Moss (born 10 February 1815 and died 14 November 1898), became the French vice–consul in St Helena from 14 July 1847 - 1 January 1889. (It was the French Embassy that Napoleon spent one night on his arrival in St Helena in 1815, before going to the "The Briars", and finally "Longwood House"). George Moss Esq. was also the Consul for His Majesty the King of Sardinia from 1857. George as French Vice-Consul lived at "Longwood House" from 1858.  George married Susannah Rofe in 1843 and they had 9 children. This George Moss and Hannah's son Saul Solomon were business associates and owned "The Briars" for half a century.

Both George Moss Esq. and Thomas Edmund Fowler were Members of the Executive Council, appointed by the Queen.  Fowler published "Views of St Helena" with photos included in this Post.

Members of the Executive Council in St Helena 1888 - T.E.Fowler on left and Geo Moss Esq on right.

The Honourable George Moss born 1815 and died 14 November 1898 in St Helena.  England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations) 1858 - 1966 grants Probate on 19 May 1899 to George Nathaniel Moss farmer and Thomas Edmund Fowler .  Effects 4,493 Pounds, 11 shillings.

 This was the residence of the French Vice-Consul, George Moss, Esq.,in the main street of Jamestown, taken in 1863.

George Moss 1815-1898 married Susannah Rofe 1819-1868 in 1843.
Together they had 9 children:
Katherine Sarah Moss born 18 March 1845.
Elizabeth Esther Moss born 1848.
George Nathaniel Moss born 2 November 1849 and died 19 March 1914 in St Helena.
Phoebe Moss born 30 March 1851.
Robert James Moss born 28 May 1856.
and another 4 daughters - Helena Moss, Margaret Moss, Agnes Moss and Louisa Martha Moss.

When did the first Britton, Moss, and Rofe families come to St.Helena, where from & why? 

Isaac Moss came to St. Helena around 1817. The Indian Office (British Library) Family Research has a listing that makes reference to Isaac being a passenger to St.Helena. In 1826 there is another document regarding Isaac applying for a covenant to reside on St.Helena. That same year there is a passenger listing for a Mrs Sarah Moss and nephew George Moss. Was this Sarah Britton and did Isaac Moss slip back to marry Sarah? They did marry 25 October 1826 at The Great Synagogue, London.  Isaac had a brother George Moss (born 1790) who had a son George Moss (1815-1898).

Isaac's sister Hannah Moss (1793 - 1858) married Joseph Solomon (1780 - 1861) on 7 July 1814 in St. Helena. They were betrothed before Joseph went to St.Helena. Together they had 9 children. Nathaniel Solomon born 3 June 1815 St Helena and died 4 June 1815 St Helena.
Henry Nathaniel Solomon born 1816 St Helena, died 27 June 1900 Sea Point, Cape Town, S.Africa.
Saul Solomon born 25 May 1817 St Helena, died 16 Oct 1892 Kilcreggan, Dumbartonshire Scotland.
Richard Prince Solomon born 1818 St Helena, died ?
Benjamin Solomon born 1819 St Helena, died ?
Edward (Rev) Solomon born 25 Dec 1820 St Helena, died 15 September 1886 Sea Point, Sth Africa.
Isabella Solomon born 1826 St Helena, died 4 February 1897 Cape Town, South Africa.
Margaret Solomon born 1 April 1828 St Helena, died 25 October 1905 Rondebosch, Cape Town.SA Rose Solomon ?

                                                           Saul Solomon (1817-1892)

The 3rd son of Hannah and Joseph Solomon, Saul Solomon (1817-1892) married Georgina Margaret Thomson (born 1823 Scotland). Together they had 4 children.
William Gladstone Solomon born Capetown, died India.
Saul Solomon born 1876. 
William E.G.Solomon born 1880 Colonsay, Cambridgeshire, England.
Daisy Solomon born 1882 Cape Town, South Africa.

Saul Solomon (1876) was a High Court Judge, therefore known as Hon.Saul Solomon.
1845 Saul was Founder of Mutual Life Society of Cape of Good Hope for 28 years.
1854 Saul was a Member of the first  Parliament of Cape of Good Hope.
1857 Saul was Founder of "Cape Argus" daily newspaper.

 Joseph Solomon (1780 - 1861)

Joseph Solomon (1780-1861) was born into the family of Nathaniel Solomon (1735-1793) and Phoebe de Metz (1744 -1834). Nathaniel Solomon was born 1735 in Margate, Kent, England and died 1793. Phoebe de Metz was born 1744 Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands and died 1834 in Chatham, Kent, England. Together they had 10 children.
Hanna Solomon
Richard Solomon
Edward Solomon born 1774 Margate, England, died 10 May 1855 Southwark, Surrey, England.
Saul Solomon born 25 December 1776 Margate, died 6 Dec 1852 Portishead, Somerset, England.
Charles Solomon born 1776 Margate, England, died ?
Benjamin Solomon born 1777 Margate, died 10 May 1855.
Joseph Solomon born 1780, Kent, England, died 1861 Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.
Elizabeth Lenie Solomon born 1780 Margate, England.
Lewis Gideon Solomon born 1789 Canterbury, Kent, England, died 10 May 1868 Marybone, Eng.
Deborah Solomon born 1793 London, died 30 June 1869 Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales.

Saul Solomon (1776 - 1852)

The 4th child of Nathaniel & Phoebe Solomon, Saul Solomon (1776 - 1852) had 3 wives.
1st marriage to Margaret Lee born 1 October 1782 Holland, died 14 June 1815 St Helena.
7 Children - Benjamin Solomon born 23 June 1801 St Helena.
Phoebe Elizabeth Solomon born 20 May 1804 St Helena, died December 1877 Kensington, London. Henry Robert Solomon born 28 July 1806 St Helena, died 17 September 1847 St Helena.
Miriam Solomon born 8 July 1808 St Helena.
John Blenham Solomon born 2 December 1810 St Helena.
Margaret Sarah Solomon born 5 January 1813, West square, London.
Lee Solomon born 29 March 1815 st Helena, died December 1891 Cape Town, South Africa.

Further research in 2017 discovered that Miriam Solomon at the age of 56 and a Spinster was recorded as the Parent of Ada Annie Solomon on her Baptism document in 1870.  Henry and Susan Solomon and Ann Knipe were witnesses at the Baptism. (It is presumed that Henry was Miriam's brother and Susan was the birth mother). Ada Annie Solomon was born 1865 in St Helena, married John Dunstan and died 1926 in Maitland, Cape Town.  It is presumed that Miriam was the daughter who secretly brought her father's body back to St Helena for burial.

2nd Marriage on 2 December 1815 to Mary Chamberlain born 1790 St.Helena, died 23 June1823.
2 Children - Saul Solomon born 12 August 1818 St Helena, died 24 November 1861 St Helena.
Nathaniel Lee Solomon born 5 June 1822 St Helena, died 18 September 1874 23 Westbourne Square, London.

3rd Marriage on 24 June 1823 to Harriett Bryan born 1800.
2 Children - Mary Chamberlain Solomon born 8 May 1825 St Helena, died 13 September 1828 St Helena.(named after the 2nd wife).
William Solomon born 6 December 1827 St Helena.

re Saul Solomon (1776-1852) & Napoleon

Extract from Solomon family archives ......... Amongst Napoleon's ardent sympathisers and admirers was Mr. Solomon, and it is said he connived at the attempted escape of the Emperor from St Helena. The plot was laid, the boat was waiting  at the foot of a precipitous cliff to convey the illustrious prisoner to an out lying vessel, and a clerely constructed ladder of silken rope, strong and light introduced to the island no doubt in some merchandise had been conveyed to Longwood, and received by those in the scheme.  Happily for the peace of Europe, when all seemed ready, the silken ladder was discovered and the escape frustrated.  These and my father's talk of the French soldiers, the occupation of Longwood by Napoleon's death & burial, and being lifted as a little child to see the great man lying pat still, the bending of our Grandmother to kiss the dead hand of the Emperor, all made an impression on our minds that never faded..........

The Solomon and Moss families were closely linked during this period of St. Helena's history. The Solomons built quite a business empire and the Mosses were involved somehow – often listed as business partners (sometimes Isaac, sometimes George, sometimes both) and at some point the company Solomon, Gideon and Moss was established. Isaac Moss was listed as a master shoemaker, a farmer, a merchant, and an auctioneer. It is thought they came because of Napoleon's exile (1815) and were intent on building their businesses because of it. In 1863 "The Briars" was the property of Solomon and Moss (see photo below). Isaac Moss and Saul Solomon joined the Jewish community on the island. Business on the island changed after the Suez Canal opened in 1869.  At this point the sea route Europe via the Cape to the Far East, ceased to be viable, and as such, the ships routing via St Helena all but stopped.

"The Briars" and Pavilion was intimately connected with the Emperor Napoleon during the first 2months of his captivity before "Longwood House" was ready for his occupation. The Balcombe family owned "The Briars".  In 1863 it was the property of Solomon and Moss.

More about Frederick Joseph Moss 1829 - 1904

Frederick Joseph Moss, was the eldest son of Isaac & Sarah Moss. Frederick was born at "Longwood House" in 1829 and died 1904 in New Zealand.

Frederick married Emily Ann Carew (13 November 1831 in England - 21 March 1906 in New Zealand) in 1853/54 in St.Helena and they had 8 children:

Frederick George Moss born 10 December 1854 in St Helena.
Edward George Britton Moss born 5 August 1856 in St Helena and died 9 March 1916.
Charles Hartley Moss born 15 March 1858 in St Helena and died 26 August 1880.
Rose Helena Brunet Moss born 1860 in New Zealand and died 6 February 1915.
Annie Emily Moss born 1862 in New Zealand and died 26 February 1901.
Amy Elsie Moss born 4 March 1863 in New Zealand and died 23 August 1945.
William Edmund Carew Moss born 8 October 1864 in New Zealand and died 27 July 1931.
Mabel Moss born 1868 in New Zealand and died 1933.

Frederick and Emily Moss arrived in Lyttleton, Christchurch, New Zealand, on 12 November 1859 on the “Zealandia”. Frederick made quite a name for himself in New Zealand and Cook Islands. He supported proposals for the construction of a tunnel between Lyttleton and Christchurch.
The following year they went to Dunedin and in May 1863 Frederick was elected on the Otago Provincial Council, becoming the Provincial Treasurer.
In 1868 Frederick tried to establish a cotton plantation in Fiji but had to return to New Zealand because of ill health.
In 1873 Frederick was appointed Secretary of Auckland Education Board.
1876 – 1890 Frederick was elected to the House of Representatives.
On 18 September 1886 Frederick sailed on “Buster” for 7 months, visited 40 islands and crossed the equator 6 times.
1888 Raratongo was proclaimed British.
October 1890 Frederick was appointed the British Resident in Raratongo, Cook Islands and took up duties there in April 1891.
September 1898 Frederick mishandled a Federal Court Bill and was recalled to New Zealand.  

Frederick lived in Parnell and spent much of his embittered retirement writing to newspapers. He was a prolific writer.
”A Planter’s experience in Fiji (1869)”.
“Through atolls and islands in the great south sea (1889)”.
“A school history of New Zealand (1889)”.
“Notes on political economy from the colonial point of view (1897)”.
“The Moss Papers” are held at the Library of the Auckland Museum & Institute – Cook Island History.
Frederick Moss was a prominent Freemason and Vestryman at St.Mary’s Anglican Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.

8 July 1904 Frederick Joseph Moss died, survived by his wife Emily who died 1906, and 5 of his 8 children.

Frederick Joseph Moss 1829 - 1904

More about George William Moss 1838 - 1920

The sixth child of Isaac and Sarah Moss was George William Moss, Senior Partner of the firm of G.W.Moss & Company, established the present business in the year 1865, when he came to Greymouth as an Agent for the old Panama Company's boats.  He afterwards represented Messrs.McMeekan and Blackwood's line of Steamers for a few years.  Mr. Moss was born in St Helena in "Longwood House" in the year 1838 and married Susannah Rofe in 1862 in St Helena.  Two years after arriving in New Zealand he removed to the West Coast.  Mr.Moss was a member of the first Education Board in the district, and was for two years Mayor of Greymouth.  He was for a number of years on the local Hospital Committee, and was at one time a member of the Licensing Bench.  Mr Moss retired from public life in the year 1885. George & Susannah Moss had 7 children.

More about Walter Britton Moss  1837 - 1891

"Obituary" of Walter Britton Moss (from

The late Mr Walter B. Moss, whose death occurred somewhat suddenly on Saturday morning last, was born in the island of St.Helena in 1837.  He was the son of Mr Isaac Moss, of Helena, and nephew of Mr George Moss, who for some time was the Acting Governor of the island. 

Acquiring the rudiments of his education in St Helena, he went to the Cape of Good Hope, where he finished his education, and read for the law.  Returning to St Helena, he practised there as a Barrister and Solicitor until 1871, in which year he went to Chicago.  In that city he joined a Mercantile House, and after a sojourn there for five years he came to New Zealand in 1876. 

His first settled residence was in Greymouth, where for three years, he carried on with fair success the business of an Auctioneer and Sharebroker.  He joined the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company and in 1881 was sent to open the branch of that Company in Ashburton.  Afterwards he was transferred to Lyttelton, and after a term of service there with the Company, he severed his connection with it and came back to Ashburton, opening business on his own account as an Auctioneer of success, however, did not attend his efforts in this direction, and after a somewhat varied experience he tillered (money managed) the office of Mr J. G. Restell as Bookkeeper, which position he held until his death, at the age of fifty five. 

The deceased was brother of Mr Frederick J Moss, the late member for Parnell in the New Zealand House of Representatives, and now British Resident at Raratongo, and also of Mr George Moss of Greymouth.  He leaves a widow and six sons and two daughters, all grown up.  His eldest son Valentine R Moss is Manager of the Bank of New Zealand at Cromwell, another son Mr Arthur Moss holds an important position in a Mercantile House in Melbourne, while the others are still in Ashburton. 

The deceased was a man of large natural ability, and a keen observer of men and things.  Possessed of a ready wit and a rich fund of humour, and travelled much, and in a good use of his faculties of observation during his travels, a chat with Mr Moss was always enjoyable.  Few men could tell a story with the charm that he could lend to it, and in congenial company he was ever the source of amusement.  His merry laugh and cheery smile, his large hearted kindness that was ever apparent in his very countenance, will be muchly missed in the district where he was known to all the population, young and old. 

This notice would be incomplete without some reference to Mr Moss’s connection with the volunteer movement.  During the Russian scare, when volunteering took a great spurt and new corps were formed everywhere and the Ashburton Guards were called into existence.  Mr Moss had held in a commission for some time in St Helena corps, and his knowledge of drill he acquired during that time proved of great value to the Guards. He took commission of Quarter Sargent in the company and spent much time and energy in bringing his communities up to the mark in drill - an easy task, as most of them were recruits who had pulsed through the hands of the Drill Sargent. 
The funeral takes place tomorrow.

  "Obituary" of Walter Britton Moss in “The Canterbury Times” 25 June 1891.

Early on Saturday morning there passed away in the person of Mr Walter Britton Moss, one of the best known of Ashburton’s residents.  For some time he had suffered from a severe cold, and on Friday further symptoms manifested themselves, and despite all that medical skill could do, the malady increased in severity, and terminated fatally on the following morning. 

Mr Moss who was fifty five years of age, was born in St Helena.  He was educated for the legal profession, and though he practised for some time in his native place, Jamestown, his attention was mainly directed to other persuits, and at one time he did considerable business in the purchase and dismantling of slaving vessels, captured off the Africa coast and sold in St Helena.  With the opening of the Suez Canal, and the consequent diversion of the Indian trade, St Helena’s palmy days passed away, and the decay of the prosperity of his native colony led Mr Moss to try his fortunes in America.

His great ability as an Accountant gained him a high position in a large Mercantile establishment in Chicago, a position he held for several years, until he decided to relinquish in order to come to New Zealand where several of his relations lived. 

He settled at Greymouth in 1870, but sometime afterwards entered the employ of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, opening the Ashburton branch of which he was the Deed Manager, and afterwards filling a similar position at the Lyttelton office.  He left the Company’s service in order to start business as an Auctioneer in Ashburton, but the new venture not proving successful was abandoned, and Mr Moss turned his attention to Accountant’s work, an occupation in which he was engaged till the time of his death.

A rare geniality, and unfailing good humour and a sturdy manliness were characteristics which won for his a wide esteem, and his death will leave a gap which, to those who knew him, will never quite be filled.  Mr Moss who was a brother of Mr F.J.Moss, the M.H.R. and the lately appointed British Resident at Raratonga, leaves a widow and six sons and two daughters.

"Obituary" of Walter B.Moss in “Ashburton Guardian” 20 June 1891.

Sudden Death: We regret to have to record the sudden death this morning of Mr Walter Britton Moss, one of the best known of our residents.  Mr. Moss had been suffering from a cold for some time, and yesforenoon symptoms of quinsy manifested themselves and he went to bed.  In the evening the complaint became so distressing Dr.Tweed was called in, and he recognised that the case was dangerous.  Everything possible was done, the doctor being in almost constant attendance, but at ten minutes to six this morning a violent paroxysm carried the sufferer off.  Universal sympathy was expressed in town today for the bereaved wife and family.  The deceased was fifty five years of age.

More about Valentine Henry Moss 1840 - 1859 

Valentine was the seventh child of Isaac and Sarah Moss, and he introduces a tragic element in the family history.  It seems that he was an intelligent and studious young man who became a medical student.  However, when he was in his 20th year, illhealth overtook him.  He may have been ailing for some time and was seen to be in a dying condition. On the 3rd of October 1859 he was baptised, probably because of his deteriorating condition, and in conformity with a recently acquired Christian faith, (the family had been of the Jewish faith), just eight days before he died on 11 October 1859.

Napoleon:  Born 15 August 1769 Ajaccio Corsica

Coronation as Emperor of the French 2 December 1804

Exiled to St.Helena 17 October 1815

Died St.Helena 5 May 1821

Emperor Napolion at his Coronation 2 December 1804, wearing the collar of the Legion of Honour he founded in 1802.

Important dates that relate to Napoleon and St Helena.

1804 The Emperor Napoleon laid plans to capture St Helena from the English.  Decres, the Navy Minister, had organised 8 ships and 1500 men, but before they set sail the Emperor altered the destination to Surinam.
1815 Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to the British after his defeat at Waterloo and was interned on St.Helena.  He stepped ashore from HMS Northumberland on 17 October 1815.  In order to prevent any escape the military presence was increased and the population doubled in size.  In the following year Governor Wilks was replaced by a British Government appointee, Lieutenant-General Sir Hudson Lowe.
1818 Following an incident when a slave owner was fined for whipping a young slave girl, Hudson Lowe convened a meeting of the inhabitants, urging the abolition of slavery on the island.  As a first measure, all children born of a slave woman after Christmas Day were to be free, but considered as apprentices until the age of 18.  Masters were also to enforce the attendance of these free born children at Church and Sunday School.
1821 Napoleon died at “Longwood House” on 5 May.  Most of the troops were sent away and Hudson Lowe sailed for England.
1828 Ladder Hill Observatory was built – a tramway up to it was built.
1830 For the next 4 decades, St.Helena became the centre of the South Atlantic whaling industry.
1832 East India Company finally abolished slavery on the island, purchasing the freedom of the 614 slaves.
1833 Under the India Act dated 28 August, the island was no longer to be ruled by the Honourable East India Company, but from 22 April 1834 by His Majesty’s Government.
1836 First Colonial General, Major General George Middlemore arrived 24 February and took possession of the island in the name of King William IV.  The Company flag was lowered and replaced by the Standard of General Britain.
1840 The body of Napoleon, which had been buried at Sane Valley in 1821, was removed and transferred with appropriate ceremony to the French frigate “La Belle Poule” on 15 October and taken back to Paris.  Her Majesty’s Government established a Vice-Admiralty Court at the Island for the trial of vessels engaged in the slave trade on the west coast of Africa.  Large numbers of ships were captured and brought to St.Helena during the following 10 years.  The ships were to be sold or broken up while the human cargoes were fed, clothed and kept at the Liberated African Depot in Rupert’s Valley.  Most of the slaves who recovered were given passage to the West Indies or British Guiana as labourers, some chose to remain as servants or on various public works.  White ants in ships caused problems for many decades, having to rebuild property in the town.
1858 Queen Victoria grants the right to buy and hold “Longwood House” and the tomb of Napoleon to Napoleon III of France and his heirs in perpetuity.  The tricolor still flies over these two small patches of “French Territory”.


Ben Weider, CM, PhD of “The International Napoleonic Society” gave a lecture at the 27th Consortium on Revolutionary Europe, Louisiana State University, Louisiana, USA.  This lecture gives us great insight into the life of Napoleon, St.Helena, and “Longwood House”, as a result of Ben Weider’s visit there in 1975.

As you read extracts from this report just imagine the Moss family living there! When Sue and I started researching the Moss family we never imagined we would be going back to Napoleon! 



If ever a ruler owed his position to what is called the “will of the people, Napoleon did. Napoleon won it by his success with the sword, not the sword of execution, not the sword of the guillotine, but the sword of battle against the enemies of France. The people of France elected Napoleon as the Emperor, because he saved France from its enemies and he defended the gains of the Revolution at home.
Napoleon established the Bank of France and the French Stock Exchange as well as the National and Departmental Tax Boards, to ensure equitable taxation for all.  Consequently, the income of the French peasants skyrocketed.
Napoleon established awards such as the “Legion of Honour” to reward those whose services to the nation merited special recognition; the recipient could be a scientist, composer, legislator, clergyman, writer, or a soldier.
In the area of public works, over 32,000 Kms of imperial and 20,000 kms of regional roads were completed, almost 1,600 kms of canals were built, the Great Cornice Road was constructed along the Mediterranean coast, mountain roads were constructed across Alps by ways of Simplon Pass and Mont Cenis, and harbours were dredged and expanded at many ports, including Dunkerque and Cherbourg. Not only was Paris beautified with the construction of boulevards, bridges and monuments, but the National Archives received a permanent home.  Napoleon also saved the Louvre.  Monument buildings were constructed throughout the Empire and structures, such as the Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, made famous by Luther were preserved while work on the spires of the great cathedral of Cologne were continued on Napoleon’s orders.  In fact, Napoleon’s architectural handiwork can be found scattered across Europe, from Rome to Vienna.
“Think tanks” and research centres were established in France to work on projects vital for national economy.  An industrial Board was organised to provide data and information to French Industry, as exemplified by the success of the sugar beet farming and the canning industry.
For religion, Napoleon ended the schism and restored the Catholic Church to France by the Concordat in 1801.  He insured freedom of religions and equality to the Protestant sects, and he declared France the homeland of the Jews, after it became obvious he could not establish their national home in Palestine.
In the Code of Civil Procedure Napoleon established equality before the law, emphasized the sanctity of the family, and assured the legal gains of the Revolution.  The Code of Civil Procedure insured widespread user of mediation in the courts and the laws, and the courts were secularized.
Napoleon created the Imperial University to administer French Education.  Specialized engineering and technological schools were established along with the famous lycees to insure a scientific education.  The establishment of a Professional School of Midwifery and the first School of Obstetrics were formed during the consulate and the School of Veterinary Science was professionalized under Napoleon.
In the Military, Napoleon pioneered in what we describe today as the “principles of war” which are studied by almost every military academy in the world.  The armies of today are based on the organisation created by Napoleon for his Grand Army and it has been used ever since.
Many historians claim that Napoleon created his own legend on St.Helena.  The truth is that his legend started in Toulon in 1793.
Lord Holland, speaking in the British House of Peers, spoke about the deceased Emperor in August 1833.  He stated: “The very people who detested this great man have acknowledged that for 10 centuries there has not appeared upon the earth a more extraordinary character”.
This is indeed a tribute to the Emperor.

“Longwood House”

"Longwood House" where Napoleon was exiled from 1815 - 1821.

Entering the main door, you come into the Billiard Room.  This is where General Bertrand or the Count de Montholon received visitors, before presenting them to Napoleon. Here he dictated “The Campaign of Egypt”. 

Numerous other works and maps were spread out on the billiard table.  On the right are windows with shutters.  A circular hole, which was about two inches in diameter, was cut in the shutters.  These shutters were closed when Napoleon was in the room and he used to look out of this opening to see if British guards were around the home.  If they were, he did not leave.  In the same room is the original wooden circular map of the world.  On the 6th May 1821 the post mortem was also carried out in this room by his personal surgeon, Dr.F.Antomarchi, and in the presence of several British doctors and various government representatives.
Then we went into the Drawing Room, known as “Le Salon” where Napoleon, standing by the fireplace, his hat in his hand, would receive his official guests, often Count Las Cases acted as the interpreter.  It is also in this room where Napoleon and the companions of the exile met before going into the dining room.  After dinner, they would again meet here to talk about events, play checkers and have an after-dinner drink.  On the right, are two large sets of windows and it is between these windows where the Emperor died on the 5th of May 1821.  A plaque was placed on the floor showing where his bed was.
Knowing the history of this house, I was able to visualise the many events that happened here.  It was Consul General Martineau who worked diligently to restore everything in “Longwood House” and made sure its original character was maintained.
The room directly to the left was the Dining Room where Napoleon often dictated.  Here, after the autopsy, his body was laid out waiting the funeral. In this room, the Abbe Vignali conducted his prayer while the companions looked on with great sadness.  His Army bed was moved back into this room.  Here the doctors, under the leadership of Antomarchi, made the famous death mask, and Napoleon’s body was placed into four coffins, one inside the other.

Napoleon's famous death Mask.

At the extreme right of this room was Napoleon’s Bathroom.  It still contains the original copper bathtub where Napoleon took long baths in hot water.  At times, even when the weather was nice and warm, Napoleon suffered from severe chills and therefore taking long baths would give him some relief.  He would stay in his bath for hours.  He often read while in the bath and sometimes dictated to one of the companions.  Chills Is one of the side effects of arsenical intoxication.

This original bathtub was taken to France and then returned to St Helena in 1840, when some of the companions, headed by the Prince de Joinville, returned this bath back to its original place
At the opposite side of the house, the very small room where Napoleon dictated his last Will is situated.  This original Will is now in the French archives, but was kept in England at the Court of Canterbury until March 1853, when it was returned to France.
Visiting the dining room also evoked memories and deep emotions.  I can visualise Napoleon sitting at this original dining table where he ate regularly with the Count and Countess de Montholon, Baron Gourgaud and Las Cases as well as Marshall Bertrand.  They were served by two valets, Ali and Noverraz.  After the departure of Las Cases, Baron Gourgaud and the Countess de Montholon, Napoleon often ate in his room or in the garden.  

Sketch of Baron Gourgard, General Marshal Bertrand, Napoleon, Interpreter Las Casas, Count de Montholon hanging in "Longwood House".

We then visited the gardens that were built around “Longwood House” by Napoleon himself, as well as some of his campanions in exile.  It was in 1819 that Dr.Barry O’Meara urged and encouraged Napoleon to work in the newly proposed garden because he felt that Napoleon needs the exercise.  The trenches of the garden still exist today, as well as the water basin.  Napoleon told Count de La Cases “one day, perhaps a hundred years from now, people will visit this area and admire our garden”.

Napoleon in the gaden at Longwood House".

“The Geranium Valley”
We went on another emotional experience when we visited the Valley of the Tomb, better known as “Geranium Valley”. Napoleon died on the 5th of May 1821, the funeral services were conducted by Vignali and held on the 9th of May. 

The English soldiers of the 20th Regiment, all 3000 of them, lined the route as Napoleon’s funeral procession passed by.  Twenty four soldiers carried the coffin down the narrow path that led to Geranium Valley, where his burial place was already prepared.  Napoleon selected this place himself, as he found it peaceful.  Water from this brook was brought to “Longwood House” every day for Napoleon’s use.
A metal fence surrounded the burial area and a large cement slab covered most of the burial area.  The companions wanted to inscribe “Napoleon” on the slab of cement but Sir Hudson Lowe, the British Governor, refused.  He insisted that they inscribe “Bonaparte” instead.  Since they didn’t agree, the slab of cement was left without a name for 19 years.

Napoleon's Tomb 5 May 1821

Mr.Gilbert Martineau, the Consul General of France on the island and world-renown Napoleonic historian gave my sons and me the pleasure and honour of planting a tree near the tomb. It was near this place that the Prince de Joinville, the son of Louis Philippe, with some of the companions of the exile, opened the tomb in order to identify the Emperor before returning the body to France.
Imagine their surprise when the tomb was opened to identify Napoleon, he was in a perfect state of preservation, Napoleon laid there as if he were asleep.  They did not know at the time that the arsenic he was fed over the years caused the preservation of his body.  Whereas, arsenic could kill, it could also preserve tissue.
Napolion was placed in 4 coffins, one inside the other.

In 1854, at the time of the great friendship between Napoleon III and Queen Victoria, the land around “Longwood House”, and the tomb area was purchased by France for 7100 English pounds and is now considered a Consulate so the area is protected politically.

“The Briars”
The only time that Napoleon was happy on the island was during his stay at “The Briars”.  This was the teahouse that belonged to the Balcombe family, and where Napoleon lived during the first two months he was on the island while “Longwood House” was being repaired and put into reasonable condition for Napoleon to use.  Every effort was made to remove the hordes of huge rats that infested the grounds.

"The Briars" owned by the Balcombe family - 2 miles from Jamestown.

William Balcombe, a local businessman offered to have Napoleon and his companions stay in the main house and suggested that he, his wife and his two daughters would move into the teahouse.  Napoleon insisted that he did not want to displace them and thanked them for their generosity in allowing him to use “The Briars”. The teahouse today is exactly as it was during the time that Napoleon lived there between 16 October 1815 – 10 December 1815.
During his stay at “The Briars”, Napoleon became friendly with Balcombe’s youngest daughter.  Young Betsy, aged fourteen, was a real tom-boy who spoke some French.  She constantly teased Napoleon and they soon became good friends.  Through this friendship, her name became associated with Napoleon and she became a world famous celebrity when she returned home to England.  Years later, Napoleon III gave her a property of several dozens of acres in Algeria.
When “Longwood House” was ready to be occupied and Napoleon was ready to leave “The Briars”, Betsy cried uncontrollably and Napoleon tried to console her.  He took out his hanky and wiped her eyes and told her to keep the hanky as a souvenir of their friendship.  He then had Santini cut a lock of his hair and give it to her.  This lock of hair was tested at the Harwell Nuclear Research Laboratory, and the result showed extremely high levels of arsenic.

Napoleon and Betsy Balcombe became very close friends.

William Balcombe always felt that Napoleon was poisoned and this story was handed down his family to the present generation.  Napoleon, during this period at “The Briars” was feeling in good health and spirits.
It is interesting to note that William Balcombe’s son Alexander Beaston Balcombe settled in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  He was named Beaston after a Governor of St.Helena.  Alexander bought property in the Mornington and Mount Martha area in the mid 1800s. He named Snapper Point.  ”The Briars” was subdivided and became the suburb of Mentone.  Balcombe Road, Mentone is named after Alexander B.Balcombe.
Dame Mabel Brooks, a direct descendant of the Balcombe family, donated “The Briars” and land around it to the French Government in 1959. “The Briars” is the 3rd property on St.Helena that is owned by the French Government (“Longwood House” and Napoleon’s Tomb are the other two properties).

In 2017 a Post entitled "Napoleon's Picnic at "The Briars" 200 year later" was added to the Solomon/Moss Family Archives Blog.

“Plantation House”
I also received an invitation from the Governor of the island, Sir Tom Oates, to have dinner at “Plantation House”.  This is the same house where Sir Hudson Lowe, the Governor of the island during Napoleon’s exile lived.  I was able to visit the various rooms and office where Sir Hudson Lowe wrote his numerous dispatches about Napoleon to the British Government.

"Plantation House", the country residence of Govener Sir Hudson Lowe, with St Pauls behind on the hill.
While visiting the island, I was amazed to see a cemetery where numerous Zulus were buried.  They were exiled to St Helena after the war between the Zulus and England.  The Zulu Chief is also buried there.

A variety of Sketches of Napoleon from his time at "Longwood House" at St Helena.

"Longwood House"

Watercolour of Napoleon after his death on 5 May 1821 at "Longwood House", St Helena.

Lock of Napoleon's hair taken the morning after his death on 5 May 1821.

Sketch of Napoleon taken the morning after his death on 5 May 1821 at "Longwood House".

Additional "Views of St Helena", published by T.E.Fowler in 1863 gives the Moss ancestors an insight as to what St Helena was like when our ancestors lived there.

View of the main street of Jamestown, the Capital. Napoleon spent his 1st night in this residence.  In 1863 it was the residence of the French Vice-Consul, George Moss, Esq.

Oak Bank, property of the See and Residence of the Lord Bishop.

"Longwood House" on top of the hill with Napoleon's tomb in Geranium Valley below.

New "Longwood House" was built by the British for Napoleon but he did not live to reside there.

Jamestown in 1863 showing inclide and Jacob's Ladder 700 ft and 665 steps to top.

Jacob's Ladder - 700 feet and 665 steps to the top.

Jamestown and harbour in 1863.

More current photos of places of interest in St Helena.

Jamestown from top of Jacob's Ladder
Jamestown today.

"Longwood House" where Napoleon was exiled 1815 - 1821 and later the residence of Isaac & Sarah Moss and family.

"Longwood House" today is a Museum.

Dining Room at "Longwood House" - now a Museum.
Drawing Room at "Longwood House" where Napoleon died on 5 May 1821.
Napoleon's bath at "Longwood House".

Billiard Room at "Longwood House".

Billiard Room at "Longwood House".

Court Yard at "Longwood House".

"The Briars", home of Balcombe family who hosted Napoleon for the first two months of his exile in St Helena.
Interior "The Briars".
Interior "The Briars".

Napoleon's Tomb (died 5 May 1821).

My research will continue so keep tuned!
Doris not only had a father, but also a mother, so you must look at my "Doris Moss, Convicts and Norfolk Island"  blog. "Doris Moss and her extended family" is a continuation of the previous 2 blogs about Doris Moss. Where there are discrepancies between the earlier blogs about Doris and the most recent blog, it is because new information has came to light.

I suggest you take a look at my Solomon/Moss Family Archives blog. Because the Moss and Solomon families were related through marriage and were in business together in St Helena, I have written a blog about the Solomon family. 

I have now been to Norfolk Island where Doris had a First Fleeter convict, so take a look at my Norfolk Island, First Fleeters and families blog.

If you have any information that needs to be added or any corrections, please contact the author Joy Olney by email -


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