Seeking safety from the troubles in Johannesburg, the Hudsons move to the family farm at Zesfontein. His brother, Neville, eventually
persuades Vernon to take his family away from the city and to the safety of the Transvaal. Vernon’s father, George, and his mother Lettie, plan to build four houses on the estate for four of their children
and their families so that they can all live and work together.
The move is a happy one for young George and Molly who have the company of their six cousins and for Vernon, whose business opportunities
prosper in the safe environment. It is not such an ideal situation for Ann, who does not feel welcomed by Vernon’s large family. Gwen is also unhappy and is sent
to boarding school in the Free State. It is a tough time for Ann, who finds herself more and more ostracised from her husband and the rest of the Hudson clan.
Chapter 7 Vernon finds himself able to leave the day-to-day tasks of running the family farm to his two brothers:
“So, how’s the brick making business, Vernon?” George asked
his son, as they walked their horses home through the shade of the fruit trees. “Off the ground yet?”
“Certainly is, Pa, it’s
really taking off! And with Neville’s contacts in the building trade, I am having no difficulty in finding outlets.”
Indeed, Hudson bricks are now being sold throughout the Transvaal and into the Cape. In just over a year, the venture has become a huge success and Vernon is already looking at other ways of expanding his empire.
He has met a wealthy mining engineer and they design an ingenious mobile plant that will enable them to recover worthwhile quantities of gold dust from the old mines.
Although his relationship
with Ann is still strained, Vernon is able to convince her that they should stay at Zesfontein. He encourages Ann to seek out her family who live nearby; the Louw family had come to the Cape from Belgium in 1806 and whilst her grandparents had remained there,
the younger members of the family moved to the Transvaal and are living on a nearby farm. However, she is on uneasy terms with her mother-in-law, Neville’s wife, Elizabeth and Colley’s wife, Marjorie. Unhappy and missing her eldest daughter most
dreadfully, Ann starts to seek refuge in the bottle…
photo caption: George & Molly's grandfather, George Hudson