I was absolutely delighted to receive an email from Dodi Turney in North Carolina containing photos of a metal trunk which she had recent acquired. Dodi has an Esty shop for her antiques and collectables business, and more photos of the trunk are also featured on her Instagram account.
Dodi wondered if the Mrs W. Fitz-Henry, whose name was painted so elegantly on the front of the trunk, could have been Barbara Morrison, wife of Captain William Fitz-Henry of the 60th Royal Rifles Regiment (see this post here), and owner of this beautiful beetle-wing dress.
It would have been brilliant if this had been possible, but unfortunately "Griffiths, McAlister Ltd. of London & Liverpool" the company who made the trunk wasn't formed until 1880, three years after Barbara's death.
Barbara and William's eldest surviving son Dr William George (or George William, he used the names interchangeably) Fitz-Henry married Isabella Cooper and spent some years in Lyttleton, New Zealand.
They had four children and the eldest son William Cooper Fitz-Henry spent his professional career in the British Colonial Service in the former Rhodesia. William Cooper Fitz-Henry married Mary Christine ("Lassie") MacDonald in London, England in 1919 and I believe this trunk belonged to Lassie during her posting in Rhodesia. I have previously written about Lassie and William in the "Out of Africa" series.
Lassie and William had one child, Mary Isabel Christine ("Christine") Fitz-Henry, who married George Prendergast in Surrey, England in 1941. The Prendergasts subsequently settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. Christine either took the trunk with her, or inherited it on Lassie's death in 1971. Christine died in 2012.
If any of the Prendergast family wish to contact me with more information about the trunk or wish to be put in touch with their Fitz-Henry cousins in England and Canada, please contact me directly or leave a comment below.
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