F3/5[G] Aletta (she preferred to be known as Jill) Freemantle, was the seventh child and fourth daughter of William Roberts Freemantle and Martha Margaretha Freemantle nee Joubert. She was born in Cala in the Cape on 22nd.February, 1898. However, her parents moved to Indwe in 1900 when she was only two years old, and again in 1904 to Johannesburg. So, presumably her schooling was mainly obtained during the time her mother and the children (not including the eldest, Arthur) lived in central Johannesburg and in Braamfontein, which coincided with the time their father went off on his own to live in Potchefstroom. Finances were, of course, very restrictive with the family being split up in this way. From Braamfontein, the family all moved to Malvern with their mother and, later, to Gardens, whereas her father went to Kroonstad and finally died in the Marico district of the Transvaal. The family were living in Norwood in 1915.
On 21st, April, 1921 Aletta (Jill) Freemantle married Thornton Archer in Johannesburg. He was born on 4th December, 1892 in Molteno and was the son of Dr. William Archer Isaacs, but the family decided to drop the 'Isaccs' part of his name and eventually the next generation used the name Thornton Archer more or less as a double-barrelled surname. Dr. William Archer Isaacs was born at Coagh, Ireland, married in 1903 in London and died 4.9.1949 in Cape Town. The Thornton Archer family have a detailed and well-documented family tree and to quote from a letter from Jill, this 'was compiled and authenticated (is that the right word?) by his sister. It was very expensive to do and took her some 20 years, involving visits to the county home in Ireland, which had been burned down, (but from which she retrieved a stained glass window with the family crest and motto) and from the remaining relative some beautiful silver' which was passed on to Jill and now belongs to her daughters, Irene and Patricia. 'It [the tree] also required visits to the College of Heralds who demanded proof and documents of all kinds. Irene has this [tree in her home] in Cape Town.'
Thornton Archer's mother was killed when thrown from a horse when he was only four years old. His stepmother, Ann May Archer Isaacs nee Broster, the second wife of Dr. Archer Isaacs was the daughter of Charles Broster and Lois Emma Broster nee Freemantle. As Lois Emma Broster was Jill Freemantle's aunt [Jill's father's sister] Thorton's step-mother, Ann May Archer Isaacs was Jill's first cousin.
Thornton was a farmer and also a mine production manager. He died on 16.10.1964 in Grahamstown and his wife erected a wooden cross above the church in Bathurst in remembrance of him. It can still be seen there . They had been living in Bathurst for some years prior to his death.
Soon after they were married, Jill started a correspondence school for the children of farmers, or those living in rural areas who had difficulty in attending regular primary or pre-primary schools. This was the first enterprise of this kind in South Africa and proved to be remarkably successful, though it required considerable work on her part.
[All the Freemantle girls were very enterprising and determined to make their way in life at a time when this was not easily done - women being expected to fulfil the roles of wife and housekeeper only]
In later life they moved to the Grahamstown area, living as mentioned, for some years in Bathurst, where in 1970, Jill was made mayor of that town. Some time after Thornton's death, Jill moved to the Rustenberg district, living on a small holding not far from the home of her daughter, Patricia and her family. She eventually died there on 5.2.1979, aged 81. Her other daughter, Irene trained as a nurse and lived for many years in Cape Town. The details of the two children from this marriage are as follows:
6.c.1 Irene Thornton Archer, born on 10.2.1926 in Johannesburg, married on 17.11.1962 in Cape Town to Charles Frederick Miles. He was born on 31.10.1888 in London and died on 31.10.1963 in Cape Town. He was previously married to Sylvia East and his children were: (i) David James Miles, who married Irene's sister, Patricia Thornton Archer; (ii) Jack E. Miles, born Rayleigh, Essex; and (iii)Patricia Miles, also born in Rayleigh, Essex.
6.c.2 Patricia Thornton Archer, born 9.5.1931 in Louis Trichardt, married on 6.2.1954 in Springs to David James Miles, son of Charles Frederick Miles and Sylvia Miles nee East. David was born on 20.1.1928 at Rayleigh, Essex and he became Underground Manager on the Union Corporation Mine, Rustenberg. Patricia and David Miles had three children: 7(a) Ann Jennifer Miles (born 8.1.1955); 7(b) Peter John Miles (born 27.10.1957) and 7(c) Susan Elizabeth Miles (born 1.6.1958). All three were born in Springs, Transvaal.
Written by Ruth May:
During the 1970's, when visiting Grahamstown, we met Aunt Letty (Jill) [my father always insisted on calling her 'Letty'] who was staying at the same hotel as we were. She was having difficulty arranging accommodation for her African driver, whom she always had with her as a bodyguard, helper, chauffeur et al and would not have undertaken her journey down to Grahamstown from Rustenberg without him. We had a most friendly chat with her about the Albany district, which she had grown to know well and about the problem she was experiencing on this particular visit. From all accounts, she had set the town about its ears, but that is actually the only occasion on which we happened to meet from the time I was married in 1949.
Later, in Cape Town, we contacted her daughter, Irene, who lent us the 'famous' Archer-Isaacs tree and gave us some assistance over compiling the information for this one. She was living in Maitland at the time.