A Childhood in 19th Century St Helena

If you are reading this blog, you probably know that Napoleon Bonaparte spent his last six years in exile on St Helena Island in the remote south Atlantic Ocean. I visited  the island in 2011 and I’m always interested in learning more about its fascinating connection to Napoleon.

I owe this blog post to one of my readers, Roger Knights. Roger’s been researching his ancestors who were members of the Moss family on St Helena. They married into the Solomon family, prominent merchants whose name still graces the largest retail business in Jamestown, St Helena. You can see one of their establishments in the background of my photo of the St Helena Day parade in 2011.

St Helena Day with Solomon's store in background

Roger’s great aunt saved this clipping of a Melbourne newspaper article, which he believes his ancestor, Walter Frederick Moss, wrote around 1940.  In it, Moss reminisces about his childhood on St Helena during the 1860s. I love the part where he describes how his elderly nursemaid, who in her youth had been in Napoleon’s household, professed a strong dislike for the Great Man.

(Readers, please forgive the old-fashioned views of the ethnic groups that peopled St Helena. Authentic documents from the past often leave us modern readers uncomfortable with our history.)


Article in Melbourne journal circa 1940


Part 2 - Article in Melbourne journal circa 1940


Thank you, Roger, for providing this material. 


  • Rebecca Barnes
    January 10, 2015 - 12:40 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for publishing this article which may have been written by my great grand uncle. It has given me an insight into how my family lived. It all sounds so wonderful and life seemed carefree not like today. From this information I now can close some doors on some questions on the Moss family but it has also opened others. Thank you again.

  • mrodenberg
    January 30, 2015 - 8:13 am | Permalink

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the article. I did, too. I love the family connections to Napoleon, especially the ones involving St Helena. Take care!

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