Cattle Chosen/Chapter 5

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I N December 1831 John Bussell discovered the fine natural pastures, sixty miles north of Augusta, on the south side of Geographe Bay. Twenty years earlier, M. Vasse, botanist on a French vessel of exploration, had gone ashore there to look for specimens, and had vanished. In all likelihood he was speared by the natives who were attracted in great numbers by the abundant game there. John Bussell was at once impressed by its fertile appearance, but took care to visit the Vasse again 'in the heat of summer and in the depth of winter, to ascertain the capabilities of the port for shipping in stormy weather, and the state of herbage in droughts.' There exists an undated account of one of these later journeys, evidently during spring, probably that undertaken at Captain Molloy's instance in November 1832. If identical with 'a journal of an expedition to the Vasse River', a copy of which John sent to Wells, it was 'written rather for the amusement of my private friends in England than for public perusal.' His eyes, accustomed to the rough grassless floor of the jarrah forests, feasted on the pastures growing, between tuart and peppermint, from the limestone soil. 'The country as we advanced improved rapidly; the ground on which we trod was a vivid green, unsullied with burnt sticks and blackened grass trees. Not that it was covered with a decided turf, but the vegetation seemed more succulent than woody, and the plants growing to about the same height presented to the eye a smooth surface,

'With daisies pied and violets blue
'And ladies' smocks all silver white.

'Though the flowers were perhaps not precisely the same that characterise an English meadow, they were not the less beautiful in appearance, varied in form, and brilliant in colour. Grass was in plenty and the clover (?) I have noticed above, with its bright scarlet and yellow flower, the daisy, the buttercup and a purple marigold. The whole effect reminded me of that confusion of rich tints that is produced in the Indian loom, and as I looked upon it I could not but feel inclined to believe that such a scene as this must have presented to the imagination of the Hindoo the high colouring of his fabric and the prototype of the gaudy chintz.

'Half a mile brought us to a small river deep and so slow that I could hardly ascertain the existence of a current. I concluded it to be, as it afterwards proved, the Vasse. The sound of rushing waters proclaimed a rapid near. Walking therefore a short distance up the stream we found what we sought, a passage over.

'Here was a spot that the creative fancy of a Greek would have peopled with Dryad and Naiad and all the beautiful phantoms and wild imagery of his sylvan mythology. Wide waving lawns were sloping down to the water's edge. Trees thick and entangled were stooping over the banks. One in the centre of the rapids had taken root among the very rocks over which the waters tumbled; its bended trunk and tortuous roots seemed to indicate that it had struggled more than once to regain the perpendicular from which it has been thrust by the rude torrents which at certain periods evidently bear down this obstruction. This scene seemed to me perhaps more striking from its recalling a beautiful line engraving, the subject of which is drawn from Theocritus, where the nymphs are represented as bearing away Hylas, and hurrying him down the stream to which be has been sent for water by the Argonauts.

'About a hundred or two hundred yards on the other side we obtained a sight of the sea, bearing N.W. The country here was so clear that a farmer could hardly grudge to the fine spreading trees of red and white gum and peppermint the small portions of ground that they occupied only to ornament. The soil was always good, sometimes very light — a red sandy loam — at other times stiff, particularly where the white gum prevailed. After walking about three miles in a north by west direction along the banks, we began to observe evident tokens of the proximity of the sea, such as Hottentot figs and rock spinach. Of the latter we prepared a mess when we arrived on the edge of the large flat into which the river falls.'

As farmers the Bussells were certainly in need of fresh fields. The failure of their attempts at wheat-growing, through the ravages of smut, threw back the settlers at Augusta upon hunting and fishing like the blacks, and each attempt to advance from this to dairying and a pastoral economy had been frustrated by the inveterate instinct of the stock to look for something better. Early journals kept at Augusta tell of twenty-five pigs, four goats and numerous sheep lost by the Turners and Molloys, of Jack the pony 'also gone to the bush', of a cow 'which cost forty pounds', and had been tethered, strangling itself by falling down a declivity. No other beast showed any sign of the attachment which seems to have prompted the suicide by drowning of 'Bessie the sow', when the Bussells retreated from 'The Adelphi', and, as we shall see, 'Bessie' was probably moved by blighted affection.

'The loss of our cattle', wrote Charles in December 1833, 'is a subject on which I cannot speak with an equal degree of philosophy.' (He had been noting the relative success of the wheat-crop when compared with previous ones.) 'They' — the cattle — 'were the rock on which I had in prospect built a flourishing dairy. Regarding the affair in any light it is a sad, sad visitation. Had we retained them, in a year from the present we might have calculated on four cows of the choicest breed in the colony. What a grand assistance in such a family as ours! And how soon the produce would have been doubled! But I must not lament the loss as irretrievable, for we are about to set another expedition on foot to recover them. Probably the last of many may be more successful. If it be not, indeed, we must replace them by another purchase, as without a beginning there can be no consummation. Had we from the beginning of our career been the possessors of two cows, forty sheep and two mares, and had our success been tolerable, we should by this time have had at our disposal flocks and herds. As it is, we have everything in the way of stock to obtain after the expiration of four years. O ye who wish to profit by the experience of one who has been long engaged in colonisation, break not the earth's surface until you possess stock to till and to amend it.[1] It is lost time. Let building and fencing occupy all your labours until an opportunity for purchasing arrives, or at all events let the cultivation of a garden be the extent of your occupation in the field.' No doubt the chequered memories of the Augusta-Adelphi experiments seemed long to Charles. John, however, had formed the intention of transferring to the Vasse immediately after his first discovery of it, and had been granted a location of 3,573 acres there on the 13 July 1832, on the usual condition of reclamation from its wild state to the satisfaction of the Government. Writing to Capel Carter, after the fire at 'The Adelphi,' in November, he sums up his decision to transfer in these terms:

'I shall not again build my house on the spot where it was. Its distance from Augusta, the troublesome navigation by which it must be approached, its heavy timber, invincible shade so pernicious to crops, but more than all, the necessity of redeeming by expenditure and improvement the most beautiful grant of land in the whole colony, which we possess on the Vasse river, lead me to think that the fire is not such a misfortune as first sight would estimate it. A rolling stone, they say, collects no moss, but from the first time I found this fine tract of country I was impressed with the conviction that the sooner we commenced our labours on so fair a field the better, — a spot where more was done by the benignant hand of Nature than years, I may say centuries, could effect in these wooded districts.'

Mary, 'a well-known croaker', as she confesses herself, at the Swan, and Charles the Augustan storekeeper, shook their heads at the scheme, not having seen the promised land. Even Governor Stirling doubted until he had seen and been conquered. At the first opportunity after the retreat from 'The Adelphi' to Augusta, however, John, Charles, Lenox, Vernon and Alfred, with old Phoebe Bower (who had come out with the sisters) and George Layman were transported to Geographe Bay by Captain Toby in the 'Ellen', April 1834. The landing was commemorated by John in verses, part of which he succeeded in committing to paper for Fanny's amusement, after midnight one chilly night in July: 'I am too sleepy, for it is past midnight, to finish them':

'Yet once again, amidst an untamed wood
Have I a blazing hearth and cheerful home.
Now may the winter wing her stormy brood,
The winds may whistle and the floods may come,
The ocean bellow and his boundaries foam,
Safe is our roof. Late from yon desert shore
A houseless stranger I essayed to roam
These woods, if chance some well I might explore
Where never social man had quenched his thirst before.
'Welcome as lover to the maiden's eye
Passed a wild native in his own wild land,
His friendly guidance shewed the spring hard by
We filled our pails to cheer the thirsty band.
With curious glance, our goods around he scanned
Where they lay spread between us and the sea
Nor grudged our habitation on the sand,
Nor frowned to see our tent beneath his tree
The earth he held alike to self and stranger free.
'What time the vessel speeds before the gale
And leaves us lonely on an unknown coast
'Tis a drear sight to see her lessening sail
Sink on horizon's line: the link is lost
That binds us to mankind....'

Fanny scribbles on the margin : 'Mr. Toby, who is a good creature and took the boys round to the Vasse, after hesitating and lingering as long as he could ' — a nor'-nor'-west wind was rising —'burst out "Well, boys, I have done what you wished. Hang it! I can't leave you here, it quite slews a fellow round."' Lennox least literate of the family, tells in sailor fashion, the toil of the first days:

'At our first landing we had everything in our favour. At daybreak we commenced disembarking from the "Ellen." We had landed all our goods by nine o'clock... We had not landed long before we observed a native coming towards us. We began rolling things clear of high water. The boat's crew and Captain Toby wished us goodbye, but not without receiving the hearty thanks of all hands round. He went on board and was very sorry he could not stop and assist us up with the goods. He wanted us to come on board and dine, but we refused. An hour afterwards he was under sail, and we lost sight of the "Ellen", about an hour before sunset. The native which I mentioned took Alfred, Dawson and myself to show us a native well. The other natives who were there did not like the look of us. They shook their spears and appeared to be in a great rage. We had a gun, however, and after saying "Arba, Arba", three or four times they came close to us, shook hands and showed us to the native well. We had to go back to the beach for a quarter of a mile for a spade. The natives took us exactly to the place. We got one and returned to the well, leaving the natives on the beach. We enlarged it, waited till it got full, and then filled the breaker. Dawson carried it home, but not without getting wet from the shoulders to the shoes, through our not having a bung. When we returned we found John had Phœbe's tent fixed. We all stayed there that night. She made some dough-boys, and we had some pork for supper, which was very acceptable, for we had not eaten anything since the morning, when we breakfasted on the "Ellen." We began to be uneasy about Mr. Layman. He had not returned from his hunt. We went to bed very early and had not slept long, when Alfred roused us up by singing out "Here's a health to Captain Gibberson", but much to our surprise and disgust found that it was the middle of the night. After giving him a blowing up they went to sleep again. I did not sleep that night for reasons best known to myself.

'April ?. The next day, no "Ellen", nothing but ourselves and Chapmans. We all turned to at daybreak, began loading the boats and taking them higher up the beach' (southward) 'to the place which is just opposite the river, which made the land carriage much shorter. Mr. Layman had lost himself, and came home (sic) with Mr. Chapman and the soldiers, whom he met on their way from Augusta. Left them as guards over the stores while we brought round the remainder. We got all our things to the second landing place, moved Phœbe. John pitched her tent away from the beach, and glad we were to go from it, for all our eyes were so much inflamed with looking at the white sand that it was quite painful to look at anything a light colour. The Chapmans have not yet decided what part of the country they intend going to. They made several expeditions to the Inlet, but thought they had better come and settle near us, the natives being so very numerous on the Sabina.

'We saw the same natives to-day as yesterday.... Dawson fried some pork, and Phœbe cooked some dough-boys for dinner. Before we went to bed we had some pork, bread and cold water.

'Saturday. We were employed getting our goods as far as Phœbe's tent, which we did by two o'clock.' This was necessitated by sixty yards of sandhills, impassable to the truck. 'John was employed fitting the truck, and I was his cad. The rest were making a road to the river ' — the first formation of what is now the shady main street of Busselton. 'Dinner, pork and bread. Phœbe was very amiable, and gave John and myself some sugar for our colds. All the party were suffering from the same complaint. The road was finished by dinner-time. The clouds were gathering and the wind rising, and before sunset we had some rain. John, Vernon and Alfred slept in the tent with Phœbe. Charles and Dawson pitched a sort of a tent with the sails. I rigged the truck with my hammock, and it kept the rain off beautifully. It blew, rained, thundered and lightened tremendously. Most of them got wet a little. Charles and Dawson were the worst off, but fortunately Charley slept so well he knew nothing about it.[2] Charles, Vernon, Alfred, and Dawson, with the soldiers, were employed, after finishing the road, in putting up a hut for the stores. After finishing the truck, John and myself walked to see how they got on with the hut. Found it getting too dark to make out the road. Returned, but not without some alarm, as we heard the barking of dogs, and were afraid they were hurt by the natives. It proved to be Mr. Chapman's pups. The party came from the hut; we had some wheat-coffee, pork and bread. Went to bed at eight o'clock.

'Sunday. It was a case of necessity, and much against our usual practice, that we worked on this day. We commenced at daybreak, loaded the truck,[3] conveyed our things to the hut, not ten yards from the river. We had four trips before breakfast, which made us very voracious when we began eating the old thing, pork and bread. We had two more trips before sunset, dined at six o'clock. After dinner I smoked a pipe and had some wheat-coffee.

'Monday and Tuesday. Up as usual at daybreak. Had four loads before breakfast, which diminished our things greatly. Moved Phoebe and her tent to the hut. We carried both of the boats overland to the river which, I can assure you, hurt the poor soldiers (? shoulders), and some of us have not yet lost the galls and bruises. We were two hours getting them across to the river, which was only a little more than half a mile. We launched her by the name of the "Frances Louisa", after our dear mother. The hands that carried her had some grog, it being the first boat launched on the Vasse. They were our five selves, two soldiers, two Chapmans, Dawson and Layman.' Alfred gives another account of his part in conveying the boat: 'After the goods were put in order at the hut, and the flour stored away, every hand was mustered to carry the boats overland also. I was left behind to guard the property as being the weakest. I had not long been left alone when I fell into a sound sleep, and did not wake again until the return of the party with the "Frances Louisa" on their shoulders.'

Before Charles's time to return overland to his official duties at Augusta, all the stores had been transported up the Vasse by boat to the selected site, a store had been erected, and a new house was well under construction. A time of strenuous building, well-sinking and gardening enabled the little group to weather in relative comfort the wet season, of whose breaking the storm at their landing was the sign. On the 9 July John found time to write to his mother: 'We are now comfortably settled in four small cottages. The girls live in the old house at Augusta with Charles, whose office obliges him to reside there. At this moment, however, he is on a visit to us, and is now hunting with Vernon. A pistol shot from afar has, while I am writing this, proclaimed a successful expedition. It is a large buck, otherwise the dogs could have mastered it. This, the produce of the chase, is one of the main attractions of our new abode. It completely supplies our family with animal food, so that on our first planting our feet on the sod we found more done for our subsistence than our long residence on the Blackwood had effected. An opportune fire which, without much regret I saw consume our four years' labour, was the immediate cause of our removal; you will hear this accident bewailed by the others as a calamity. To you, accustomed to acquiesce in the decrees of Providence, it will appear a seasonable stimulus to efforts in a more profitable field.'

The spirits of the party at Augusta must have been raised by each packet of letters brought overland from the Vasse group. 'As the Vasse is only sixty miles from Augusta', wrote Fanny to Uncle John Bussell at Henley, 'we have frequent visits from the different members of our infant colony. A walk of two days and a night in the bush is compensated by a short spell of home society.'

Later, when the family was re-united, Fanny was to learn of some trying privations experienced during that first winter on the Vasse. 'Pepper', she told Cape! Carter, 'is invaluable. During the scarcity season last winter the boys were constantly sick after their meal, and it was supposed this effect was produced by the want of some stimulant with their vegetable diet.' They had lived mainly on fish and 'fat hen', or native spinach, when pork and flour had run low. Few notes in a minor key, for all that, are struck in the letters that came to Augusta, by soldiers changing guard or by the overlanding members. This is one by Alfred: 'My dear Bessie, Charley has written us such a nasty exaggeration of evils that I have nothing but the horrors of ruin before me. My imagination is replete with destruction — "sale of houses, land, horses, cows," — "separation, misery" — "we are eaten up by disorganization" — "our family must be brought together in some way to prevent the expense of two establishments," "The Governor will not aid us." This is all humbug. We are the most thriving, though the most infant part of the colony. Look at our garden, our cows! How fat they are! pretty things! Their udders are twice as big as any other cows'. They are all in calf and will increase. If they do not there is a Jonah among us, and we will oust him after trial by Bible and key.

'I dreamt the other night that His Excellency blew my brains out. After I had taken a fearful leap to save his life, he pretended to mistake me for an assassin. He had five pistols — one for each of us, no doubt — but I, as if a loadstone for lead, received them all. My head was crushed. I staggered, reeled, and in my sleep died. Farewell. Alfred Bussell.'

But what means this talk of cows? The family luck with stock had turned. True Captain Molloy lost their best draught horse during a journey back from the Vasse, but it was recovered after some weeks. Two cows were found again near Augusta. Another, Yulika, turned up at the new homestead, and was responsible for its curious name 'Cattle Chosen'.

There had been much argument about a name for the new house. In May '34 Fanny addresses a letter 'The Pleasaunce', Vasse River, but this found no favour. The Augustan 'Thatched House' had degenerated into 'Datchet', obviously an aboriginal rendering. What would Wooberdung and Company make of 'The Pleasaunce'? In the same month Fanny writes to Capel Carter,'We know not what name to give our estate there? 'On 20th September, however, a few days before Mrs. Bussell's passing visit in the 'Ellen' on her way to Augusta, John Bussell and a native boy came upon the tracks of cattle half a mile above the house. 'Yungera, yungerunga', cried the boy, 'a cow and a calf'! No further trace was found until on the 28th, the day of the Lady Mamma's visit. Within half an hour of her coming, Yulika walked into the farm with a yearling heifer.[4] 'Was it not singular', comments Fanny to Capel Carter (21st October 1834), 'that our long truant Yulika should have walked into their farm at the Vasse on the very day that Mamma paid them her passing visit. It seemed as if she had waited to welcome her liege lady. John has also purchased three horses and another cow.' The truant proved faithful to the land she had independently discovered, and in her honour they gave the homestead the name 'Cattle Chosen', which it still bears. She remained for several years a fruitful asset though still fond of the bush. In Fanny's journal for 10th May 1840, appears the entry: 'Yulika calved in the bush, a bull "Hudson."'

In striking contrast with the honours paid to Yulika[5] was the hard lot of Billy the Boar, who had evaded capture when the retreat from 'The Adelphi' was in preparation. A year later he arrived at Augusta, lean and savage, seeking his lost 'Bessie'. Fanny reports to John: 'I forgot to tell you — and I think I see how happy old Ally will look — that Billy the Boar came from 'The Adelphi', and one morning was found in Heppingstone's pigstye. He was dreadfully savage and was obliged to be shot. He was grown such a great creature. We did not like the meat at all fresh. It had no fat on it, only a tremendous horsey rind. We salted all the rest except a little the military had, and we now like it better than anything we have had out here.' Posthumous honours only.

Throughout 1835 'Cattle Chosen' continued to delight its ownets. In September Fanny laughs at her dear 'Tippoo's' fears about it. 'We find cause to rejoice in it daily. One year in the fertile region of "Cattle Chosen" has effected more in the way of agriculture than ages would have produced upon the vast forests of the Blackwood. The Vasse butter is unrivalled, and we anticipate in a few years an extensive and productive dairy farm.' In November Bessie Bussell rode over from Augusta with John, Vernon, Alfred, and big Dawson, a sawyer, as escort. (See Appendix for her account of the journey.) On 19 January Mrs. Bussell, Mary and Fanny arrived in Geographe Bay, and were escorted to the homestead with great rejoicing.

Fanny's pen was soon at work, picturing for the fair Capel the scene which greeted them. 'It is indeed a sweet place and improvements are daily springing up around us. The house we now occupy would strike at a distance as a comfortable substantial-looking mansion. It is white, and the four upper windows in the upper storey give it a cheer ful and finished look, which perhaps it does not quite deserve.

'As you approach it the garden, well fenced and productive in all English vegetables, would almost make you forget that you are in Australia. You would stop to admire Phœbe's[6] cottage, first building after the barracks in the precincts of "Cattle Chosen" John's house, near the garden, very comfortably fitted up as a bedroom for himself and Vernon, and ornamented with shelves containing his books, would almost make you in love with his little hermitage. By following the garden fence you approach the cottage shared between Lenox and Alfred. All these buildings have chimneys, and as winter is now approaching a bright fire not infrequently blazes on their hearths.

'I have now brought you to our own house, which you gain by skirting the stockyard bounded by a fence on two sides and by the river on the others. Our sitting-room is a well-sized and well-proportioned room which we are gradually rendering comfortable and civilized. The walls of wattle and daub have been most beautifully plastered, so that not a crack is visible. The floor is of clay and the front door opens upon a pretty, cheerful pasture land, ornamented with some magnificent trees, but not heavily timbered, like Augusta. Our books are now arranged on shelves extending the whole length of the room. By the front door we have manufactured a species of couch, covered with your drugget, dear Capel.

'The piano occupies its place under the window; our two sea-chests which Vernon has painted white, stand in a corner. Our noble chimney occupying nearly one side of the room gives promise of many a brilliant winter blaze. This is as yet our only finished room. The room upstairs forms a dormitory for all the females of the family. The windows command on one side a pleasant view of the river, with the country in its unredeemed state, which is so completely parklike that you would scarcely believe that a year and ten months only have elapsed since the improving hand of the European was first extended over its glades. This side of the prospect is full of beauty, and yet I dwell with more interest and delight on the opposite scene where offer to view the little hamlet, our garden, our hayrick and our stock-yard. It is more essentially English, and it bears the marks of daily improvements.

'My dear boys, having rested from our labours are standing round the cooking fire, which, according to Colonial custom, is kindled out of doors. Our fowls have been duly fed and are at roost. The geese have returned from their evening stroll, and the ducks, my peculiar charge, have quacked their last quack, and are settling themselves to sleep. Bessy has penned up her turkeys, young and old. At a short distance the cowbells are heard, and, almost at the same moment, Alfred's voice pealing forth some favourite song, surely never meant for cow herd's lips. "Wilt thou say farewell, love" and "The Bushman's Dream." are the rage at present. As the sounds approach, the gates of the stock are thrown open, and the business of milking commences.

'I wish you could see our beautiful sleek cattle, amounting to 15 in number. Our pretty goats, too, have long been waiting admittance, and after a few graceful antics have thrown themselves beneath our windows, or close to the door for the night.

'The horses are sometimes tethered at a short distance for the night, but often in the summer season suffered to run loose, as they are sure to return for water from the pond in our stock-yard.

'The little filly ("Capel") is really a beauty, and a more animated and interesting spectacle than our farm yard in the cool soft evening hour is surely not often to be seen. I turn from it with an emotion of gratitude and happiness which only requires the participation of those we love in England to be rendered complete.'

A year later, when Fanny was revisiting the Swan River, she reported from Richard Brown's: 'The Governor is in high spirits with the Vasse and all connected with it. He looks forward to raising a thriving population soon around us. Mr. Scott is going down to superintend a farm of the Governor's at Wonnerup, where Mr. Bunbury is settled about five miles from us. Mr. Layman has already removed thither. The Chapmans also intend removing in the spring to the Sabina. The Molloys are also coming over.'

'Augusta', John told Capel Carter in a letter written on Christmas Day 1836, 'I think on the eve of dissolution. It will be deserted by everyone except Mr. Turner, who feels himself bound to the spot by the costly nature of his improvements, consisting of fences, buildings, etc. For him, as he went there encouraged by Government, a small number of soldiers will be stationed there. Captain Molloy is dark and mysterious in his actions. He upholds the prospects of a devoted settlement in the presence of one or two labourers who cling with hopeless perseverance to the small improvements they have effected with great labour; but like a skilful general he has provided for his own retreat. Leschenault has been added to our district in order that the Government Resident may move to his grant on the Vasse, without incurring the odium of absenteeism.'

  1. From a reference in a letter of Mary Bussell's to the drudgery of spade labour, it is evident that they dug their field for wheat-growing!
  2. Alfred thus described the night in his journal: 'The lightning and thunder began to be tremendous. The moon was not entirely concealed , but sometimes shone brightly on the dark and lurid clouds to windward. How beautiful they were you cannot think.
    "They were not black, they were not blue,
    A gilded mixture of the two,
    For the moon shone bright in rear
    And the thickest clouds were clear."'
  3. There had been doubts of the truck. Thus Alfred to Fanny: 'I felt a degree of satisfaction in seeing the machine in use. You remember the wheel made by John which interested us all so much at Augusta. As soon as we were all harnessed in, it answered beautifully. I think there was scarce an eye that did not at times turn a little back to watch it rolling on unyielding to the bulk of hundredweights.'
  4. Yulika had been lost in June 1833. Thus Fanny Bussell's diary:
    'June 21st, 1833. John and Vernon departed in quest of Yulika and vagrant child. Charles too at Augusta with four soldiers commenced a similar expedition in quest of the government bull and cow, missing some months.
    Saturday 22nd. John and Vernon returned with the calf. No Yulika. Tuesday 25th. Intelligence that the bull and heifer have been discovered with the assistance of natives, and that they promised to track Yulika in a similar way.'
    Heavy rain followed, however, and Yulika was not tracked.
  5. The name suggests that she had been purchased from Mr. Yule in Perth. The Bussells had also a hen called Molloynie, and a cat Hillmania, evident derivatives of Molloy and Hillman.
  6. Near the site of this cottage is now a tombstone 'Sacred to the memory of Phœbe Rolls, the faithful servant of the Bussell family, and first Englishwoman in this district, who departed this life 1842, age unknown.' It is a monument incidentally, to the untrustworthiness of local traditions. The strictly contemporary record, An estimate of the population of the Vasse District, August 1840,' included in Fanny Bussell's diary for 1840-41, gives her name as Phœbe Bower.