Mrs. Francis Davids - 101 years Young!

In 1982, living in Apple Orchards was one of the oldest residents of the Transvaal. Her name was Mrs. Francis Davids and she lived with her grandson, Mr. Les Davids and his wife, Hermoine, whom older residents of Walkerville will remember as the postmistress of Walkerville.

The daughter of an early English settler, Francis Kidson was born on the 15th of November 1881 in Queenstown, where she spent her childhood with her 8 brothers and sisters. It was then that she met a young ox-wagon driver named Michael Davids and, in between his trips transporting supplies to and from Johannesburg and Queenstown, their romance blossomed. They were married at the turn of the century. Although an immigrant, Michael vehemently believed himself a South African and he fought against Britain in the Boer War. During the 14 years after their marriage Francis bore 8 children and then, tragically, Michael fell victim to the flu epidemic that swept the country in 1914.

Left a widow with no source of income and 8 children to provide for, Mrs. Davids turned her hand to any task which would enable her to keep her family together. She took in washing and sewing; baked for several households; made and sold clothes. Her unshakeable faith that God would provide for her was rewarded when one of her brothers, Henry, bought a large farm near Vryburg and invited the Davids family to live in one of the cottages there. The children were able to attend the local farm school for a fee of 5s a month and, of course, joined the Sunday School.
There was little time for recreation in those days. There was the farm to attend to, clothes to make, washing and cooking to be done but it reflected much of the character of Frances, that the family remained together until, one by one, they married and started their own families.

In 1928 the youngest daughter, Lillian, had lost her sight and her mother decided to move to Johannesburg to look after her. This she did until 1976, when at the age of 95 her strength began to fail. The decision to care for such an indomitable person as Frances, even at that age, was a very big one but the Davids family of Apple orchards must have inherited some of her own spirit Both Frances and Lillian came to live with them.

With lots of love and unlimited patience, each member of the family took turns sitting and talking to the two old ladies. "Granny", as they called her, would still join in the singing of the Twenty Third Psalm with her great grand daughter, Priscilla. She loved to have the Bible read to her and if, as sometimes happens, Les Davids struggled to identify a word without his glasses, granny would supply it. By 1982 Mrs. Frances Davids spent most of her time resting and although her health was failing, she still had the indestructible faith, which had, without doubt, been the driving force throughout her life.

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