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Name: WATCHAM, Sarah Louisa Ida

Nee: dau of Sarah Watcham

Birth Date: 11 Jan 1875 Bangalore

Death Date: bet. 1938 and 1949, Kenya

First Date: 1902

Profession: 1938 dairying, Thomson's Falls. Coffee planting

Area: Nairobi, Riverside

Married: No

Book Reference: SE, HBEA, Cuckoo, Land 1903, Advertiser, Gazette

General Information:

Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Aberdare Voters List - Ida
SE - Miss Watcham - Oct 1908
Cuckoo - they were plucky women, for they lived in an area surrounded by villages of the Masai and Kikuyu. Their nearest European neighbours were some miles distant. They farmed their own lands, employing a fair number of native labourers, and met with quite reasonable success. ....... They ruled their labour and surrounding villagers with a rod of iron, brooking no nonsense from any of them and enforcing respect. The only trouble they ever experienced with the natives was in the matter of thefts of stock and suchlike.  I always found them brave, cheerful, hard working, resourceful and the soul of hospitality.  
Land Grant 1903 - Miss Doris Watcham - Agricultural, 160 acres - Between Ruaraka and Karura - Sept. 7 - Freehold - Homestead.
Advertiser - 19/6/1908 - Watcham Case - Crown versus 1. Dora Watcham, 2. Ida Watcham, 3. May Watcham - for committing robbery near Riverside, Nairobi - stole 130 sheep from one Masondo - + dacoity + rioting
Advertiser - 10/7/1908 - Watcham case - Ladies acquitted of all charges
Gazette - 12/11/1919 - Register of Voters - Nairobi, South Area - Miss Ida Watcham - Coffee Planter - Riverside
Patricia Lott Page - The Watcham family were in Kenya, first arriving in Mombasa in 1899 from the Straits Settlements, originally from Bangalore. They were variously coffee planters and farmers, at the 'Riverside' plantation in Nairobi (the subject of the famous law case, which is often quoted in boundary disputes), Gilgil and Thomson's Falls.
Sarah Louisa Ida Watcham - known as Ida/Iola - probably did not marry
Josephine Mary Watcham - possibly known as May - possibly married
HBEA has 'The Misses' Watcham.
Cuckoo - 1904 - mentions the Misses Watcham and their brother as very early settlers from India. Ran a small farm just outside Nairobi close to the Dagoretti road. They lived there all alone with their aged mother.
Info from Noel Clark: Sarah Louisa Ida Watcham (SLIW) has left almost no footprint. She was known as “Ida” but as explained above she is occasionally referred to as “Iola” – most likely an error in interpretation of handwriting. In 1912 she spent a short time in the U.K. with PEW and DMW (described as a ‘Planter’ from Uganda) and from 1919 to 1936 she was listed in the Gazette as a voter in the Nairobi South electorate and described as a ‘Coffee Planter, Riverside.’ It appears that she moved to the Rift Valley in late 1936, when she was first listed as a ‘Farmer’ of Gilgil, and then in 1938 she was listed as ‘Dairying, Assistant.’72 I have found no reference to her acquiring land, but on 8th February 1949 after her death the Gazette referred to ‘…a transfer to Maurice Pastor of Nairobi of all her right, title and interest in Land Reference 4275/1 situated west of Nairobi Municipality held under a Crown grant…’ and went on to say that the grant had been lost and that the Registrar of Titles proposed to proceed with the proposed transfer.73 Presumably this transfer arose out of her will, so it is assumed that she died shortly before the notice was issued.

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