Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Further Stories of the Stones


Plan of cemetery, Hiltons Guide to Lucknow


 When a story is unfinished, it is not possible to draw conclusions - so it is for Rebecca Elizabeth Arnow (nee Saunders). Her story ended in Lucknow in 1857, but who was she?




Standing at the far end of the church yard, is an odd looking memorial. The writing is long gone, and graffiti has taken its place. It is the final memorial to one Mrs. Arnow.

"Sacred to the Memory of Mrs. Rebecca Elizabeth Arnow, who departed this life on the 7th of October AD 1857, burnt with a shell ball during the siege, aged 37 years. My great Physician, thy will be done. Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."

In 1832, on the 31st of May, she married William Arnow, a clerk to the Resident, in Lucknow. He was 40 years old, and Rebecca was 19. They had two children, both born in Lucknow -  Rebecca Matilda, born on the 6th of October 1833(baptised on the 5th of November)and Sophia, baptised on the 27th of November, 1836. By the time Sophia was baptised, William is listed as deceased. This is as far as I have come in my research into Rebecca Arnow's life. The resident at Lucknow at the time of her marriage was T.H. Maddock.

In the Calcutta Journal of 1836:

GENERAL REGISTER OF OCCURRENCES, 1836

Administrations to Estates: Arnow, W., 0/Lucknow  C. A- Cantor, Administrator, as constituted Attorney of the Executrix.

 It is also possible that William was married before - Mrs. Mary Arnow died in Lucknow, after a few days illness, on July 5th 1829. She was the daughter of the late Lieut.-Col. M. Macnamara. After this, the trail goes cold. I shall, however, keep looking. Somewhere, someone knows more about the Arnow family and how it came to be that Rebecca Elizabeth, alone, came to be at the Residency in 1857.

The siege had its fair share of heroes - when not in name, then in deeds. Among them, the most illustrious is Sir Henry Lawrence.


His epitaph "..who tried to do his duty" tells us little about the man himself. Appointed Chief Commissioner of the newly annexed province of Oude in 1856, an annexation he never completely supported. Intelligent and compassionate, Henry Lawrence believed the administrators of the empire did too little for the people they were ruling and was often unpopular with his superiors, insisting the government paid too little heed to the welfare of the Indian people. Never doubting for a moment that a mutiny was imminent, it was due to his foresight the residency fared as well as it did and his staunch belief that death was preferable to surrendering, gave many the courage they needed to survive. It his own words, he was a man of almost severe habits: " I keep very early hours, eat sparingly, and scarcely touch wine, beer or spirits. I believe I can stand fatigue of mind or body with any man in India. I have repeatedly ridden eighty and hundred miles in a stretch in the hottest season of the year, and I have worked for weeks twelve and fourteen hours a day at my desk."  He was a living inspiration;  it is no wonder his early death was viewed as a signal disaster.

On the 2nd of July, 1857 a shell burst in a room where he was resting, causing horrific injuries:
“..Sir Henry had had his thigh broken by a shell from the howitzer we lost at Chinhut, and was not expected to live…It appears that, before the shell which proved so fatal, another had been pitched into his apartment, raising a cloud of dust, and his staff had begged him to shift his quarters; but he had answered, in his cheery way, that sailors always consider the safest place in a ship to be that where the shot had last made a hole, and he did not think it likely that such another good aim would be made. But the event proved otherwise. Another shell came pitched precisely as the first, and this time the effect was fatal, and Sir Henry mortally wounded. He was carried to Dr. Fayrer’s house; the wound was in the thigh too high up to allow of amputation, and all that could be done was to give narcotics to ease the pain.”  (Inglis, p.64)  
He died 2 days later, on the 4th of July, buried according to his wishes in a common grave with the others who had died that day. 

His best memorial however, are his schools. During his lifetime he had the idea of establishing schools for the education of the children of deceased and serving soldiers and officers of the British and Indian Army. Four schools were established, two during his lifetime. Intially called the Lawrence Military Asylums, the schools took on new names: Lawrence School at Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh was established in 1847, Lawrence College, Mt. Abu,(1856), the Lawrence School at Lovedale (close to Ootacamund, established in 1858) and the Lawrence College (1860) at Ghora Ghali, near Murree in todays Pakistan. Of the four, only the school at Mt. Abu no longer exists - it now houses the Internal Security Academy.

Grave of Captain Fulton

Captain G.W. W. Fulton, of the Bengal Engineers died young. He 32 years old when he met is much lamented end on the 14th of September. As the garrison's senior engineer,  Captain Fulton was in charge of fortifying the defenses and  providing adequate protection for the powder magazines. His specialty however, was mining. Called a "genius" by some and a "mastermind" by others, Captain Fulton recognized early on in the siege that the greatest threat facing them was not so much an imminent attack from over the walls as much as one from beneath them. A mine dug beneath the walls, compromising any one of the posts and all would have been lost, the garrison would never have been able to withstand a complete breach in their defenses  Captain Fulton took it upon himself to plan elaborate counter mines, digging down with his miners to meet shafts started by the besiegers from outside the walls. In all 20 mines were driven towards the defenses but only three proved to be successful of which only one caused considerable damage. Counter mining on a massive scale was one of the features of the defense of the residency, with over 1 kilometer of of galleries constructed by the end of the siege in November. The shafts were on average 2.4.meters in depth, and the galleries usually, without utilizing timber shoring, were 90 cm high with an arched roof and only 60 cm wide. Some of the fiercest battles of the siege were fought deep in the hot clammy ground, with pistols, shovels and when necessary, fists. Captain Fulton led sorties outside the walls himself and did not shy from battle, be it above or below ground. However, "He did not effect to underestimate the dangers which surrounded us; but neither was he appalled by the them, nor did he lose in contemplating  them in the calm exercise of his judgement. Above all, by his happy, cheerful confidence and unflinching resolve, he succeeded in inspiring others with the same sentiments.” (Gubbins, p. 321).  His death (his head was taken off by a cannon ball) was a severe blow to his wife, Sophia. Her husband, for all his brilliance was penniless and she only received a special pecuniary grant of £70 and £13L 5s  per annum for each of their six children.


Grave of Lieut. Graham
Not all men inspired nor were remembered for great deeds. Lieutenant James Graham is one of these. He committed suicide "in a temporary fit of insanity" following the death of his beloved baby daughter, Fanny Jane. Within a space of three weeks, poor Mrs. Graham lost her whole family - her second baby died only weeks after her father.
The Graham family monument is one of those that has been badly damaged and the inscription is lost - it should read:
"Sacred to the dear and beloved memory of Lieutenant James Graham, 4th Battalion Light Cavalry, who departed this life during the siege of Lucknow on the 5th of September 1857. Also of his two children, Fanny Jane, who died on the 2nd of September 1857, aged one year and seven months, and Georgina Mary Louisa, who died on the 27th of September, aged one month and four days. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels. - Malachi, III,17. This monument is erected by his widow."


Fitzherbert Dacre Lucas

Described as "an Irish gentleman, travelling," Fitzherbert Dacre Lucas was a traveler and a speculator. The outbreak of the mutiny put an end to his journey - by May, it was too dangerous to leave Lucknow by road and impossible by boat as the pre-monsoon Gomti river was nearly dry. For all intents and purposes, Mr. Lucas was stuck. Volunteering his services to Henry Lawrence, his obituary in The Times (February 10th 1858) reads,

"Among the latter I regret to name Mr. Fitzherbert Dacre Lucas, a traveler and speculator, a gentleman of fortune, the son, I believe, of the Right Honorable E. Lucas, of Castle Shane, in Ireland, and who had come to India more for pleasure than business. He had formerly been a captain of militia artillery, and as such had been of great service throughout the siege at Gubbin's battery. His gallantry and coolness under fire were conspicuous, and there was no expedition of danger for which he did not volunteer. He had safely come within our entrenchments from that sortie, but in returning to aid in bringing in the captured guns he was shot. He expired twenty-four hours after his return."

206 years have passed since the guns fell silent over the Residency. Time shall continue to pass and they shall remain, testaments to a moment in history, each with his own tale, many untold, many forgotten - but as I close this chapter,  it is perhaps worth noting they should not be viewed as martyrs, as the Victorians would have liked, or as evil conquerors as present sentiment would have us believe. These were people, flesh and blood and now bones and dust, who once laughed, grieved and suffered, who believed in themselves, loved their families and were loved in return. Innocents were punished here without understanding their crime, the children who perished without knowing why. So let them sleep in peace, and when you visit the Residency cemetery, tread lightly and let them rest quietly.

1 comment:

Tracy Ryan said...

Rebecca Elizabeth Arnow (née Saunders) was mother to Rebecca Matilda Arnow, who married Henry William Bell; that is probably why the first Rebecca was there -- not alone exactly, but maybe as a widow accompanying her married daughter's family. Elsewhere you list an overseer "Bell" whose unnamed mother-in-law died during the siege (the unnamed woman would be Rebecca Elizabeth Arnow). This would be consistent with my information (the Bell baby was my great-grandfather).