My sister and I are doing research for our rellies which we will print up with pictures and stories for Christmas presents. Today I came across this incredible obituary. I’m not related to the subject, William Kither, but the obit is so good I wanted to share it. I’m not sure if William is buried in St Judes cemetery in Brighton, South Australia or if the headstone is a memorial.
THE LATE MR. WILLIAM KITHER. DEATH IN LONDON. A FINE CAREER. LONDON, January 23, 7.5 p.m.
THE LATE MR. WILLIAM KITHER.
DEATH IN LONDON. A FINE CAREER LONDON, January 23, 7.5 p.m.
The death has occurred suddenly in Lon don of Mr. William Kither, of Adelaide. The immediate cause was heart failure, following on pneumonia, which occurred
after a long illness. Mr. Kither took a nurse with him when he left South Aus tralia for England early last year. The portly form and benign countenance of Mr. William Kither were familiar to most Adelaide citizens. He was the proprietor of one of the oldest busi nesses in Rundle street; he had lived 55 years in South Australia, and was known by his many close friends as a man of large generosity, whose gifts were bestowed in such a quiet manner that his left hand hardly knew what the right hand did. He was a self-made man, too, and his career has been one of steady progress, to which, as he proudly admitted, the energetic assistance of his wife largely contributed in the early days of struggle against forces that ruined many businesses. Mr. Kither had been married more than 40 years, and his wife, formerly Miss Elizabeth Morcom, was the daughter of an Adelaide coachbuilder well blown in the early days of the State.
THE LATE MB. WILLIAM KITHER.
—Prosperous in Business.-— Mr. Kither was a Londoner, born at Bow, in 1843. His mother was a Quaker, and a personal friend of Elizabeth Fry. He remembered the funeral of the Iron Duke, saw the exhibition of 1831, and the Great Eastern, the first leviathan vessel, being built at the Isle of Dogs. He came to South Australia in 1855 with his father, mother, and six brothers and sisters in the ship Constance. On the way down the Thames a man painting the figurehead of a vessel turned to watch the Constance pass by, fell off the staging, and was drowned. The 12-year-old lad, as soon as the family reached Adelaide, walked along Rundle and Hindley streets asking if any one wanted a boy. A draper named C'hristie, whose shop was where the Coffee Palace now stands, engaged the bright, sharp, young cockney at 3/ a week, and his first duty was to weigh pins into 1-oz. packets. Ere long Master Kither apprenticed himself to a butcher, whose premises in Rundle street stood where afterwards he himself for so long earned on business. Twice he felt compelled to run away from his employer. Shortly after his second bolt for freedom the shutters were yut up, and the appren tice persuaded his father to reopen the shop. That was about 1857. Mr. Kither, senior, died in 1869. For two or three years the son and the widow were in part nership, then Mr. Kither began business on his own account. His operations rapidly expanded, and he found it necessary to pull down the old shop, and build the more commodious place which still bears his name, and of which for many years he has possessed the freehold. ''Life in those early days," he said to a representative of The Register in February last, when he left for his visit to England, "was hard. There was no water service, no deep drainage, and water from the Torrens was carried around in tanks and sold at 1/ per butt.' Mr. Kither had always been enterprising. In 1884 he installed the first refrigerating plant used in Adelaide, a fact attested by the newspaper reports of the day. His shop was also the first in Adelaide to be lighted by electricity. In later wars he inaugurated reinforced concrete buildings in the city with the magnificent pile in King William street, where Botting's Auc tion Mart had long stood. —A Public-spirited Citizen.— In the early eighties Mr. Kither became Councillor for Hindmarsh Ward in the City Council, and in 1883 was chosen as Alder man. He wore the robes for 10 years, and his business acumen was of the utmost value to the corporation. It was therefore not surprising that lie should have been asked by an influential deputation to offer (himself for the position of Chief Magis trate, but he reluctantly declined the honour. lie always took a keen interest in the welfare of the City Beautiful, and was a stanch advocate of asphalting in prefe rence to woodblocking for street pavements. Kindhearted to a degree, he wa3 a life member of the Children's Hospital and the Blind and Deaf and Dumb Institution. For many years he supplied of his bounty all the meat required by the Children's Home at Walkerville. When he was in London in 1887 he bad a thousand shoeless waifs gathered together, took them to the Colo nial Exhibition, gave them dinner and tea, then sent them home, probably happier than they had ever been before in their cheerless lives. A generous deed, which was warmly applauded by citizens, was done by him in the winter of 1884. Unfor tunately there was then much poignant dis tress among the working classes. Following a series of descriptive articles by a special reporter of The Register, 'he announced that on May 27 he would distribute soup free to deserving persons, and 53 adults and 139 children were supplied the first day.: The distribution continued. The Register at once began a public relief movement, some thousands of pounds were subscribed through its columns, a committee was formed to control the funds, and until July 31 tho soup kitchen- worked in connection with The Register Fund, kept bodies and souls together in the homes of many tem- porarily indigent people. —An Ideal Employer.— The late Mr. Kither was an ideal em plover, and in the interview referred to an enquiry whether he had ever had trouble with his men evoked from him the story of a novel Court. 'I had a man who was troubling me.' he said. ''I warned him that he was doing wrong. One day I caught him. I charged him wjth embezzle ment. This is how he was tried. I selec ted six of my employes to act as a jury. They heard the case, and their verdict was that the guilty man should return my money and a letter of reference I had pre viously given him, be instantly dismissed, and never enter the yard again. Truly that man was tried by bis peers.' One of Mr. Kither's employes was seized with a severe illness, which confined him to his home. For perhaps two years till the man's death, his wages were sent to his home weekly, and the regular provi- sion of meat for the family was kept up
until the widow relinquished housekeeping prior to remarriage, and no account was ever sent in by the considerate employer far the goods supplied. —Never Ask for Credit.— Asked on one occasion to what he owed his success, Mr. Kither replied:— 'Never asking for credit. I saw the evils of the credit system in my early days here, and vowed that I would have none of it in my dealings. I never have done. A business man may go to his banker, and then it is character that counts. My father, before he died, said to me, 'William, I haven t much money to leave you, but let me give you this advice --If you get a shilling, get it well, and it will wear well;' and my dear old mother said, 'a pennyworth of comfort is always worth a penny.' I have always tried to remember father's advice, and I say to lads starting in life, 'Let principle be your watchword.' They are sure# then to succeed and gain the esteem of their fel- lows. I would like to see young men get married earlier. So many of them won't marry until they can keep up what, they call a bit of 'style.' When we were mar ried 43 years ago we had nothing. But my little lady believed in me, and I be- lieved in myself. I felt in the vigour of my young manhood that if it were neces- sary I would move mountains. That is the spirit in which the rising generation should face life in this grand country, where there are boundless possibilities for every one. Mr. William Kither was a man who al ways bought the best beasts for his busi ness, and was proud of the goods he turned out from his shop. Thus, at the beginning of his last visit to London, he wrote back that England might be able to build Dread noughts and overawe the nations, but there was one thing she could not do, she could not make a sausage! —John Cox and His Master.— Mr. Kither had a beautiful garden at Mount Lofty, which was one of the show places of that charming district, with its wealth of lovely flowers and thriving shrubs. Not so many years ago it was a wilderness on a rocky hillside. He would point to the perfect system of pipes which conveyed the water to every part of the garden, to the self-contained sanitary sys- tem at the home, then tell you, 'That's John Cox's work.' You found that John Cox was the gardener, and were he a bro ther in blood he could not have been nearer to Mr. Kither's heart. He said John had been with him since the day he landed at Glenelg from England 55 years before. John could apparently do anything. He was a scientific floriculturist, and designed, planted, and reared this perfect garden; he
organized the irrigation scheme, drew plans and built valuable outhouses; patented a windmill and an artesian borer. Clearly master and man valued each other._ The second man had been 22 years with his em ployer. Long service like this betokened a good master who treated his employes well. They are typical of others. Prior to Mr. Kither's departure for England, his employes in the city presented him with a complimentary address, and among them were between 30 and 40 who averaged 20 years of service. Mr. Kither had ideas concerning the relationship of master and man, and on the question of labour generally. He said:— 'The present attitude of labour intimidates me, and I am afraid it is frightening many men from investing money in new enterprises. There is a great lack of skilled labour, and nc are not getting enough apprentices. The lads want too much money to spend, and don't seem to care about putting in the hard work necessary to learn a trade. They, aye and men too, are too fond of play. They are enthusiastic about games at the expense of their later lives as busi ness men or mechanics. In my young days we had to work longer and harder and had less time for play. I was apprenticed for five yeara at a salary which began at 2/0. There was not much to spend out of that. In my time I have worked from 4 o'clock on Friday morning until Saturday midnight without a break. Hard? Yes, but it had to be done. Men don't like that now. The minimum wage is too high. It makes the good, industrious, man dissatisfied be cause he earns so little more than his less capable and less skillful fellow. The weaker brother is driven to the wall.' -The Family.— Mr. Kither has left a widow and nine children. The sons are Messrs. J. M. Kither, H. Kither (of Messrs. Bennett & Fisher),' W. Kither, J. S. Kither, and C. M. Kither. The lastnamed was manager and attorney in South Australia for his father. The daughters are Mesdames J. Vicars (Syd ney), H. L.- Jackman, Leslie Taylor, and Roy Taylor. The widow is in London. —Close of Establishments.— The establishments of the late Mr. Kither will be closed to-day. Source: Trove