Notes on the life of Harriet Crompton, born Phelps, written by her
youngest son, Godfrey Crompton,
20th February, 1925.
Harriet Crompton, nee Phelps, 5th child of Joseph Phelps and his wife Elizabeth, nee Dickenson, of Funchal Madeira and Clapham London, was born on Feb 9th 1828, at Bramblebury, Kent, seat of her grandfather, Capt. Thomas Dickenson, RN, now part of Woolwich Arsenal. She died on Thursday, Feb 19th 1925 in her 98th year.
She married on Nov 25th 1854, the Rev. John Lake Crompton MA (Cantab.) at Funchal, Madeira necessitating two ceremonies which inconvenience had a bearing in after years in the marriage law of Natal; one before the British Consul and the religious one by the Rev. Hosmer, the father of our respected Maritzburg resident Mrs Stockdale.
She sailed from England for Natal with her husband and eldest son, Theodore, on Dec. 1st 1856 arriving at Durban on March 1st 1857 in the good ship Admiral (Capt. Glendenning) after an adventurous voyage: a serious mutiny breaking out which was quelled through the good offices of her husband.
After a sojourn of a month of two at Durban with Canon Mackenzie, afterwards Missionary Bishop to Central Africa, and a few ox-wagon travels, they settled at Pinetown at the then local hostelry known as Fort Funk, owned by the late A. K. Murray, father of Thomas Murray of Cleland, afterwards purchased and renamed Breightmet after a family estate of her husband's family in Lancashire, where she resided for the rest of her life, surrounded with an old-world garden containing many and rare plants from divers climes.
Mrs Crompton had 4 sons and 6 daughters: 3 sons and 3 daughters surviving her, besides which she leaves 18 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.
Mrs Crompton was a lady of great literary attainments, keeping herself abreast of modern developments. She was a very devout churchwoman of the advanced high church school, an admirer of true art, a musician of no mean order, her instruments being the pianoforte and the harp, and the fortunate possessor of a particularly sweet and sympathetic voice.
She was one of the pioneers of the Women's Movement in South Africa being the first president of the Pinetown Suffrage Society. Her benefactions were many and varied among both white and black as testified by the numerous condolences, especially of the coloured inhabitants of the surrounding district.
She was laid to rest beside her husband who predeceased her some 35 years, and next to her daughter Katherine, in the picturesque little churchyard of St Andrews, Pinetown. The service was conducted by the Rev. Frank Stead and the Rev. G. P. Judwine, who married the granddaughter of her husband's great friend and colleague, the late Dean Green of Maritzburg. Her demise will cause a void hard to fill, amongst many of the older generation of Colonists and the coloured races of this province, many of whom had found in her a true and sincere friend.
back to Penelope's Notes