Posts tagged ‘Cantonment’

Bangladore Again – and then Wellington Hospital

William and Lydia’s fourth child was born in Bangalore on May 15, 1874. Her name was Florence Edith, and she died at the Wellington Military Hospital on September 27, 1876, when she was two years old.  She was buried the next day, in the Wellington Cantonment Cemetery. I found this record on Barry Lewis’ site detailing cemeteries in South India. On her death record from LDS, her name is listed as Florence Ada. I don’t know the cause of her death.


Wellington Military Hospital in the 1860s.

Wellington Military hospital was within Wellington Barracks which had been completed as a hill station in 1860. A cantonment town grew up around the barracks taking the name Wellington. It is situated in the Niligris District of Tamil Nadu. The cantonment is still in use by the Indian Army as home to the Madras Regiment and it also houses the Indian Defence Services Staff College. The cantonment had its own cemetery.

This child’s name has particular significance to me and my mom. Jane Hall Gray named one of her daughters Florence Edith. My grandmother Lydia Gray Porter named her second daughter Edith (my mom), but she was called Ada by her family. When my mom wan adult, she needed to get a birth certificate in order to get a passport to travel abroad. She found out her name was Florence Edith and that she had been born on September 15, 1919 and not on September 23 as she had always thought. Her solution was to make her name Edith F. Duffy and to keep September 23 as her birthday. Then when I was born in 1943, she game me her own name of Edith. She really thought she was going to have a boy and would name him after my father James Joseph.

S-o-o-o-o-o, if everyone had known all the facts about family names, I could have been Florence Edith the Fourth!

July 26, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment


James Street, circa 1880, was an important shopping district in Secunderabad.

William and Lydia’s second son James was born in Secunderabad on July 3, 1868. There is no mention in William’s military or medical records that William was ever stationed in Secunderabad, but James’ birth record on Family Search says he was born there. I’ll have to investigate this discrepancy further. It’s another puzzle.

Secunderabad was founded as a British cantonment by the British East India Company in 1806.  The twin cities of Secunderabad and Hyderabad are separated by a man-made lake. Unlike Hyderabad, the official language of Secunderabad was English. Secunderabad was exempted from customs duty on imported good thus making trade very profitable. Various new markets such as Regimental Bazaar and General Bazaar were created. After the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the construction of a seven metre high wall was started at Trimulgherry and completed in 1867.Secunderabad Railway Station one of the largest in India which is also the zonal headquarters of South Central Railway was established in 1874. The King Edward Memorial Hospital, now known as Gandhi Hospital was established in 1851. A Civil Jail (now a heritage building known as Old Jail complex near Monda Market) was also established. Originally constructed in 1860 as the country house of the British Resident at Hyderabad, the Residency House is now known as the Rashtrapati Nilayam, the official retreat of the President of India.

Army grounds at Secunderabad

Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, was posted in Secunderabad during the 1880s as a subaltern in the British Army. Sir Ronald Ross conducted his initial research on the cause of malaria in the city of Secunderabad.The original building is today called the Sir Ronald Ross Institute and is located on Minister Road. Secunderabad Municipality was formed in 1945 and in 1950 this was upgraded to Secunderabad Corporation along with Hyderabad Corporation. In 1964 both these corporations were merged to form a single Municipal Corporation.Today Secunderabad is part of the Hyderabad district. Secunderabad celebrated two hundred years of its formation in 2006.Post-Independence, the Secunderabad Cantonment Board came under the jurisdiction of the Indian Armed forces. Consequently large military units were established.

July 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment


The 69th Regiment of Foot arrived in Madras, India. I think the Madras here refers to the Madras Presidency, not the later city of Madras. William transferred from the 69th Regiment to the 66th Regiment in 1864 and then to the 2nd Battalion, 1oth Regiment in 1865. In 1865, this last regiment was stationed in Bangalore. William and Lydia’s first child, Thomas, was born on March 24, 1866, in Bangalore, Madras, India. William also re-enlisted for another 11 years when he was in Bangalore.

Bangalore is located on India’s Deccan Plateau and is 3000 miles above sea level. The gives it one of the best climates of the cities of India. The British established a cantonment, or military post, in Bangalore in 1801. The Bangalore Cantonment (1806–1881) was a military cantonment of the British Raj based in the Indian city of Bangalore. The cantonment covered an area of 13 square miles. By area, it was the largest British military cantonment in South India.The origin of the word cantonment comes from the French word canton, meaning corner or district. Each cantonment was essentially a well-defined and clearly demarcated unit of territory set apart for the quartering and administering of troops.The heart of the Bangalore Cantonment was the Parade Ground. The Civil and Military Station (CMS) grew around the Parade Ground.

The Parade Ground is in the upper right of this photo.

The British garrison stationed in the cantonment included three artillery batteries, and regiments of cavalry, infantry, sappers, miners, mounted infantry, supply and transport corps and the Bangalore Rifle Volunteers. The Bangalore Cantonment was directly under the administration of the British Raj, while Bangalore City itself was under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Mysore. The Bangalore Cantonment was less crowded than Bangalore City and had a colonial design with a population that consisted of residents from other parts of India and Britain. In the nineteenth century, it had clubs, churches, shops, and cinemas. It also had a strong European influence with public residence and life centered around the South Parade. The area around South Parade was famous for its bars and restaurants with the area known as Backpally becoming a one-stop shopping area.

July 23, 2012 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

My Mom Ada

This blog traces the family history of my mom, Edith Porter Duffy. From the time I was a little girl, my mom would tell me stories about her family, who all called her Ada. I only wish I had asked her more questions while she was still here!

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