Correspondence; John H Bates, 1894; 1894; 2010.188.28


Correspondence; John H Bates, 1894

About this object

Transcript of original letter sent by John H Bates of Woodland, Cattlins River, Otago in August 1894 to his uncle, Charles Bates of Nortonville, Kansas, USA.

In his letter John Bates describes the family's farmland in the Catlins and lists prices for meat, dairy products, stock, crops and horses and daily working class wages. The farm is 500 acres, all in bush when they took it up three and a half years ago. Now about 70 acres have been felled and in grass. The trees stumps will be left for a few years for the roots to rot. [The clearing would have all been done by hand].

John also describes access to transport and a newly formed road which is clay without any metal.

He enquires about his unknown aunts, uncles and cousins in America and writes that "there are ten of us here besides Father and Mother. I have one brother older than myself, he is between 23 and 24 years of age." He also enquires as to the availability of work in the area where his uncle lives as he would like to visit them and would like to work while there.

He comments with some humour at the end of his letter that if his uncle is too busy to reply to his letter, he could get some of [John's] unknown cousins to answer it, supposing that 'they are not so bashful as me'. Especially the girls, commenting that he doesn't have anything to do with them as a rule as they 'always get the best of me'. [Transcript sent by Mrs Robert Tatham, USA].

Date Made


Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, The Catlins

Medium and Materials

processed material, paper



Subject and Association Keywords

history of Oceania, New Zealand, local history and description

Subject and Association Keywords

agriculture, reclamation of agricultural land. melioration

Subject and Association Keywords

genealogy, personal and family names

Credit Line

From the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika, The Meeting Place "a rest on your journey".

Object Type


Object number



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