Joy Clist, d. 1935

The Argentine branch

The next generation is forming Betty, Lydia, Edith, Priscilla and Dorothy, 1964

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 George and Mary's eldest child emigrates to Argentina

by Roger Clist, with help from Allan Easdale

This page is the story of my great-aunt Edith Mary Clist and that branch of the family which took root in Argentina.

Edith was born on 29 December 1884 being the first child of my great-grandparents George and Mary Clist, of Shoreditch, Taunton, England. Within our family, she was known as Auntie Edie. Although she had three younger sisters, she was the only daughter in the family to have children.

Edith was almost 25 when she emigrated to Argentina on 14 October 1909. She was one of 12 passengers on board the freighter SS Guardiana of the Argentine Cargo Line, on a 28-day voyage from Cardiff to Buenos Aires via the Spanish ports of Corunna and Vigo. I guess this was exciting for her, and wonder how long she planned to stay. On the passenger list she is described as "Marital Status: Single, Occupation: Missionary". She was travelling with three other missionaries: George Langran and his wife Margaret, and another single girl named Ellen M. Hesse, who was about 3 years older than Mary. This raises some questions: Were they all bound for the same mission station? Were Ellen and Edith long-time friends? And in what capacity was Edith going to serve?

But another question intrigues me: Did she know of Alfred Jenkins before she left England?

Because Edith became Mrs Alfred Jenkins, and they were married on 24 March 1910 in Rosario, Santa Fe. There are no passenger records for any Clists going to Argentina for the wedding, so this must have been sad for Edith.

 What we know about Alfred Jenkins

At first we knew very little about Alfred Jenkins and his origins, but the family knew that he was an orphan. We now know that he lived for a time in Muller's Orphan Homes, Bristol (Ref. 1). The census records reveal that he was second youngest in a family of eight children living in Bedminster, Bristol, that his mother was widowed before age 45, and that his father George was a general labourer and his grandfather Samuel was a shipwright. There must be many descendants of this family yet to be discovered.

Regarding Alfred's emigration, I have found a record of a Mr A Jenkins, single, departing 31st May 1907 on board the Aragon from Southampton to Buenos Aires. This must have been a passenger ship as it carried 118 adults and 9 children aged 12 or under. Alfred's memoriam booklet (Ref. 1) confirms that he arrived in Argentina about August 1907.

 Alfred and Edith's children

Alfred and Edith Jenkins were blessed with a family of four girls, Lydia, Priscilla, Dorothy, and Betty. They lived at one time in Rosario (second largest city in Argentina) where Priscilla was born, also in Villa Maria (Cordoba province) and Cordoba city.

They visited England together as a family before Betty was born, as there is a record of Alfred and Edith departing from Southampton for Buenos Aires on 27 April 1923 on board the Flandria of the Royal Holland Lloyd line. I suspect this was a cargo ship, as it only had 34 passengers including 11 children 12 and under. Alfred is listed as Missionary aged 38, with last UK address being 46 Grange Gardens, Cardiff. Edith is 38 too, and the children Lydia M aged 10, Edith P. (Priscilla) aged 6, and Ida D. (Dorothy) aged 2 years. The three girls are classed as Aliens, no doubt because they had Argentine passports.

 Edith is widowed and raises her girls alone

Sadly, Edith was widowed when Alfred died on 16 September 1927. Her daughters were still quite young, and the eldest, Lydia, was 12 years old and at boarding school in England. I have seen a scan of Alfred's last letter written to Lydia, written from Córdoba on 3rd July 1927, when he appeared hopeful of making a recovery. He mentions that Priscilla was attending school at Quilmes, so that just Dorothy and Betty were at home.

I also have a scan of Alfred's memorial booklet written by Mr J. Clifford. It says that Alfred's illness was typhoid fever, but "another trouble" caused his death. Lydia's daughter Nessie (Lydia) told me that she thought it was pneumonia. The booklet says that Alfred was frequently away from the family in the course of his work. It also speaks of Alfred and Edith having "four little girls, and one in Heaven" so there was a fifth daughter. The family lived in Tucuman for three years during the war, Santiago del Estero, Cordoba, Villa Maria, Quilmes, Catamarca, Rosario and Beunos Aires.

It was hard for Edith to raise the family on her own. Her brothers Sidney and John used to send her financial support from New Zealand, and they communicated regularly by letter. Edith and girls visited England on several occasions, but I do not think any of the Clists ever visited her in Argentina. It appears that she never met her brothers face to face after leaving home in 1909. Sad, but this was the reality of emigration before air travel became available and affordable.

 Edith's closing years

At one stage Edith decided to go and live in he U.S. as her daughters Dorothy and Lydia had emigrated there. So she sold the family home in Unquillo to her daughter Priscilla and husband (name?) Easdale. (Unquillo is about 30km from Cordoba, and this house is still in family ownership.) But Edith's move to the U.S. was not for long, for in less than a year she was back in Unquillo(?) as she didn't adapt to the U.S. She then spent her last years with her daughter Priscilla, and also with Betty.

 References

(1) In Memoriam of Alfred Jenkins, by J. Clifford (12 pages)
(2) Certified copy of the Marriage Certificate of Alfred Jenkins and Edith Clist (4 pages)
(3) Alfred's last letter to his eldest daughter Lydia in England (3 pages)
(4) Descendancy history for John and Elizabeth Clist by Dorothy Jenkins (2 pages)

Under construction More to come!