Kwazulu-Natal, BYRNE VALLEY, St. Mary Magdalene Church

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The foundation stone: Harriet M(aria) Watson (nee Mack) was the youngest daughter of Robert Gazley Mack (and Lucy Laxen), pioneer sugar farmer who arrived in Natal with the Byrne Settlers in 1850. He did not take up his allotment in the Byrne Valley but returned to Durban to farm. He bought some farm land at Isipingo off Dick King and was one of the pioneer sugar farmers in Natal. Dick King lived at Isipingo and is buried there. Harriet Maria Mack married William Watson in Isipingo in 1863 in the St James Church (which no longer exists.) William and Maria settled on William's farm in the Byrne Valley called Newborough Grange. They however were childless. In 1867, Harriet's eldest brother, William Gazley Mack and his wife Mary were expecting their 8th child. During childbirth complications set in and Mary died but the child lived and was named Thomas. This left William with his 7th child, Mary Ann, barely 3 years old and Thomas a baby. To help him out, William and Mary Watson "adopted" Mary Ann and raised her at Newborough Grange as their own daughter. Harriet Watson died in 1917 at Newborough Grange her husband predeceasing her in 1915. In her will Harriet left an amount of 1000 Pounds to be spent on erecting a new church in the Byrne Valley. Building started about 1922 and in 1923 the foundation stone was laid. Mary Ann Mack (now married as Mrs M.A. Dennill) laid the foundation stone. Mary Ann Mack actually married her cousin Robert Dennill. They too were childless. On a visit to his daughter Mary Ann at Newborough Grange in 1912, William Gazley unexpectedly died. His body was taken back to Isipingo and laid to rest next to his wife Mary who had died in childbirth. They are buried at the St James Cemetery in Isipingo and his gravestone indicates "died at Byrne". My interest in the Mack family is that my wife on the maternal side is descended from the Isipingo Macks. Harriet Watson's church stands today. Gerald I live in the historic Byrne Valley wherein lies the Settler Church called St Mary Magdelene. Bron / Source: Gerald Buttigieg
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