Arnold Muschett was born St. Elizabeth in 1882 and married Amy Houchen in 1909. Although they had no children they were both very involved in several charitable bequests for the children of the area including several scholarships, and they donated 25 acres of land for the erection of a school in Wakefield. My thanks to Donald Lindo for the photo and information about Mr. Muschett.
According to Inez Knibb Sibley's book, Dictionary of Place-Names in Jamaica (Kingston: Institue of Jamaica, 1978), Vale Royal in Trelawny consisted of a number of small estates including Georgia, as well as others that I'm not familiar with.This old postcard of Vale Royal Estate probably dates from between 1910 and 1913. Uncle Rodney would also go quite often to Long Pond Estate, as well as Vale Royal and Georgia. The Great House at Georgia was very beautiful and we would often go to visit the Muschetts there.
My memories of how I actually travelled to Trelawny from St. Andrew are somewhat vague. Sometimes we went by car when Uncle Rodney came up to town to fetch me and we would drive the route from Kingston through Spanish Town and Bog Walk (over the scary Flat Bridge),on to Linstead and Ewarton, over Mount Diablo... a steep, winding, narrow road over the mountain... then down through the green pastures of St. Ann through Moneague and Walkers Wood, towards Ocho Rios, then along the coast road through St. Ann's Bay, Runaway Bay, Rio Bueno,and then to Duncans. From there we climbed a hill on a marl road which eventually took us to "Friendship".
Once or twice, though, I would travel by train, probably accompanied by my mother. We would board the train in Kingston at the railway station
and then begin the exciting trip going through places with strange and exotic names -- Balaclava ... Maggotty ... Catadupa ... Montpelier ... Anchovy ... ending up at the station in Montego Bay. The train would probably have looked something like this:Olive Senior, in her excellent book, The Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage (Red Hills: Twin Guinep, 2003), reports that early travel on the train one way from Kingston to Montego Bay could take an entire day. I know that we always packed a lunch! By 1952 diesel rail service was instituted and the round trip between Kingston and Montego Bay could be done in a day. In September 1957 a horrendous accident on the railway line at Kendal caused the deaths of 175 people with 400 people injured. You can read about it at the Jamaica Gleaner's Pieces of the Past. Rail service was ended in 1992, after running for 150 years.
More often than not, however, we would travel by car. Going over Mount Diablo was the highlight of the trip. Since one could not see around the hairpin bends it was necessary to blow the horn loudly at every curve. All along the way we would pass vendors selling fruitand we would stop to buy oranges and mangoes in season. I remember that my poor mother suffered terribly from car sickness and we had to stop a few times along the route when she felt ill.
But at last we would arrive at "Friendship" and the holiday would begin. Next time I'll write about what it was like to be in "the country" ... so different from my life at 5 Holborn Road.