Monday, 19 October 2009

Edgar Fitz-Henry - New Zealand to Chile (Part 2)

So continuing from the previous post, Wendy writes:

The following information is held in the Australian Archives, of which I have requested the contents of a further file
In February 1946 my grandmother Louisa (Edgar’s sister) wrote to the Australian Prime Minister seeking help in finding her brother in Chile.
Obviously the family here in Australia and New Zealand were worried that something had happened to him, probably because his letters had ceased.
It wasn't until 30th July the following year that she was told the following...
Dear Madam,
Furthur to my letter of the 24th September last, regarding your enquiries concerning the whereabouts of your brother, the following is a copy of a memorandum received from the Australian Legation in Chile, on the subject:
"Mr. Edgar Fitz-Henry died at the British and American Hospital, Valparaiso, on 22nd January, 1945, and was buried on the following day at No. 1 Cemetery,Valparaiso. Mr. Fitz-Henry's postal address was Casilla 48, San Francisco de Limache. His widow was recently, and probably still is, residing at a mining property - Minas de la Campana, Los Granizos, via Olmue, Chile.
We are informed that Mr. Fitz-Henry's estate consisted of mines, the chief of which has been proved to contain a large body of gold ore which, with suitable equipment, would be a very valuable property, but unfortunately, he died owing over 2,000,000 resos to his creditors (£A.20,000). The chief creditor is the "Caja Nacional de Ahorras" (National Savings Bank). It is understood that his widow endeavours to raise money by selling material, etc from the mines, but unless some entity is willing to put up the necessary capital to work the mines, their value will never be realised."
I don't know what transpired in the months following the above letter as the next letter from the Prime Minister is dated 2nd November 1948...

Dear Mrs Charles,
I am in receipt of your letter of the 26th October in which you ask whether it would be possible to secure information concerning the widow of Mr. E. Fitz-Henry of Chile. I will make enquiries into the matter and advise you later.

Then 28th January 1949.....
Dear Mrs. Charles,
Further to my letter to you of the 2nd November, the First Secretary at the Santiago Legation has advised me as follows:- "As far as is known to this Legation Mrs. Isabel Fitz-Henry still lives at Olmue, where she is undoubtedly living very cheaply, as she is almost certain to have a small farm attached to the mine property. I expect to be in the district in February when I will endeavour to obtain further information about Mrs. Fitz-Henry."

A few more letters are exchanged, one states that photographs of the mine were sent to Mrs Charles (grandma). But the following one from grandma was most interesting and I wonder if she was sincere in her thoughts for Edgar's widow or that the $ cost in persuing a claim on the estate changed her mind .....
May (5 or 6th) 1949.
Dear Sir,
I am very much obliged for your letter received yesterday with copy of a memorandum received from the Australian Legation in Chile regarding the estate of my late brother in Chile. I am also indebted to the Australian Charge d'Affairs for considering my interests in the matter.
In the limited time before the Legation closes, ie 16th May 1949, I am unable to consult the sole remaining member of our family besides myself, in New Zealand, re protecting our interests in the estate. However I feel that it would be robbing his widow were I to put a claim (though in his letters he always wanted us to share) and asked for the names of all his nephews and nieces so as to include them in his will). She has shared with him all the trials and tribulations, financial worry and frustrations through all the years. I may have a legal right but have I a moral one? I would like to hear what eventuates, but there seems to be no way now except by communicating with the lawyer - Mr. Juan Eduardo Barrie M.
Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,
(Mrs) L. Fitz-Henry Charles.

So, that is the story thus far. Most importantly I now have Edgar's death date and where he is buried - a closure, to his life.

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