Rosa Isabella Bate (Wright)

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Rosa Isabella Bate (Wright)

Also Known As: "Rosa Isabella"
Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Grahamstown, Western District, Cape Colony, South Africa
Death: October 31, 1897 (63)
Queenstown, Stormberg District, Cape Province, South Africa (Hepatic Cirrhosis)
Place of Burial: Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Wright, (2), SV/PROG and Rosa Wright, SM/PROG
Wife of Frederic Calder Bate
Mother of Arthur William Wright Bate; Gertrude Blanche Isabel Craig (Bate); Henry Gilman Bate; George Frederic Bate and Constance Eileen Mary Rae (Bate)
Sister of Martha Caldecott; William Wright, (3); Eliza Julia Greathead; Emily Gadd; Eliza Jane Spackman and 3 others
Half sister of Emily Aycliffe

Managed by: Irene-Helen Ohlssen
Last Updated:

About Rosa Isabella Bate (Wright)

The ninth and youngest child of William and Rosa Wright, 1820s settlers. Married Frederic Calder Bate (born in Faversham, Kent, son of merchant John Bate, mayor of Faversham 1851-53) in 1856 in Grahamstown. They had five children. Her husband went into business with her sister Julia Greathead's husband James, Greathead & Bate, one of the most successful businesses in South Africa until 1870. In the depression of 1870, Greathead & Bate went bankrupt. The family lost everything, including their house "Mayfield," West Hill, Grahamstown. They moved to Queenstown where her husband became manager of the Oriental Bank Ltd. Rosa Bate's son George Frederic Bate writes in his diary, "The Oriental Bank had a double story house near the Market Square in Queenstown, the lower portion facing Cathcart Road, was the Bank & the back portion & the upper story became our new home."

Rosa must have had a resilient character. Here is a description of a trip from Grahamstown to Queenstown taken circa 1870, "On another occasion I was travelling with Mother & we got to the same River [the River at the bottom of the Koonap Heights]. The Bridge had been washed away & we had to cross the River, which was full, in a box slung on a wire and pulled backwards & with a rope attached to the Bed. When we were half way across the towing rope broke and we had to sit there for a considerable time. Eventually a man came hand over hand hanging on to the wire rope on which our box hung, with a new towing rope round his waist. And we were all pulled safely over the river."

From her son's descriptions of his upbringing, the family home appeared to be a casual, lively one: "when ... we went to live in Queenstown, Joseph Gadd & Aunt Emily [Rosa's sister, older by a year] were farming about 30 miles south of Queenstown. They had two lovely farms (Oxton Manor & Ox Kraal) near Whittlesea. And I and Harold & Montie Gadd spent most of our childhood together taking it in turns to live in Queenstown & on the farm. My Uncle & Aunt used to come in to Town about once a month & change us about."

When her third child, Harry, was hit on the back of the head with a catapult , while at school and when he came home he said he could not see out of one of his eyes.(apparently the optic nerve must have been damaged). Rosa and her husband took him to England to see specialists, leaving the other children with family and friends in Grahamstown, The doctors could not help. The eye,which was blue, as were both, turned later years in his transport ridings days, he caught a whiplash end in the same eye. He managed to reach an African family ,who treated him with great kindness and helped him on his way. The eye was then removed and Harry wore a glass eye.

According to her death notice, she died on October 31, 1897 at the age of 61 of hepatic cirrhosis after a three-month illness. She died at home, "Ebdrn" Street, Grahamstown, with her husband in attendance.


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Rosa Isabella Bate (Wright)'s Timeline

February 6, 1834
Grahamstown, Western District, Cape Colony, South Africa
March 9, 1834
Grahamstown, Cape Colony, South Africa
October 27, 1858
Age 24
Faversham, Kent, England, United Kingdom
December 11, 1861
Age 27
Grahamstown, Western District, Eastern Cape, South Africa
December 28, 1864
Age 30
Grahamstown, Albany, Cape, South Africa
August 6, 1866
Age 32
Grahamstown, Western District, Eastern Cape, South Africa
March 21, 1868
Age 34
Grahamstown, Western District, Eastern Cape, South Africa
October 31, 1897
Age 63
Queenstown, Stormberg District, Cape Province, South Africa
Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa