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Samuel Cron Cronwright (Bedford District, Cape Town, January 26, 1863 - Rondebosch, 8 [1] or 9 [2] September 1936) was a South African public figure, farmer, lawyer, businessman, politician and biographer [3] of his first wife, Olive Schreiner, whose surname he made his marriage in February 1894 to four years after her death in 1920, when he became known as Samuel Cron Cronwright-Schreiner. It was even more unusual at the time than it is today, but he did so at her request because he shared her beliefs about women's rights and women's liberation.

Over the years, Cronwright became a controversial figure because of his biography of his wife, The life of Olive Schreiner (1924), and especially because of the way he selected, edited and cut her letters before publishing them as well as publishing them. some of her works that she explicitly asked for in her will should not be published. He was also accused of having no understanding of his wife's genius. [4] He is described as an emotional man, rather than a literary man, and although he was intelligent and appeared in his pen many works, he is rarely considered a writer at all, especially not one with merit. His approach to his wife's writings is also described as "unimaginative" because he constantly wanted to separate facts from inventions, something she was never asked about.

Yet, especially during the first years of their married life, he sacrificed almost everything to advance her writing career and always remained true to her. It also appeared for a time that he was able to bring stability to her life, especially when the certainty of motherhood gave marriage more appeal. Yet, after barely a year at his rental farm, Krantz Plaats in the Cradock district, she could no longer stand because of her constant asthma attacks and because she wanted silence and seclusion while the farm was swarming with the workforce. he gave up the farm he had built on his own over nine years so that they could live elsewhere. Several critics have suggested over the years that her asthma, which she cited as the main reason for her restlessness, was caused by herself and was the result of a deep-seated emotional volatility. [5] However, no one doubts that the physical suffering she had to endure was genuine.

When, shortly after their departure from the farm, she insisted on living in Kimberley instead of on a rental farm where Cronwright could still practice the only occupation he knew, he had to abandon her wish. A few years later, when he was practically a lawyer in Johannesburg, he had to relocate again because of her health. According to Schreiner's biographer Vera Buchanan-Gould, [6] Olive was a burden to Cronwright by about 1910, claiming that he no longer showed much self-sacrificing dedication and even that he, the first man on De Aar was the owner of a motor car, so frivolous that he refused to treat her to rides in his car and that she was only allowed to admire it from afar. However, another biographer, Johannes Meintjes, argues that, although he worked hard on his business, he did not have a problem with her many eccentricities, that it made him even more fond of her and though she was fiercely pressing on his nerves, he still cared for her with the greatest patience.

Biographers differ over the last decade of their life. Some claim the couple became more and more distant from each other until they were virtually estranged from about 1913 until her death in 1920. According to them, the two first reconciled (in London) during the last month of her life before returning to her homeland to die there. However, Meintjes writes that they constantly wrote love letters to one another and sincerely longed for each other when, because of the First World War, they were forced to divorce.

Origin Samuel Cron Cronwright's mother, Zipporah Featherstone (January 3, 1835, Fort England, Grahamstown - June 8, 1912, Muizenberg [8]), whose parents were Lucy Finaughty and Robert Featherstone. Miss. Finaughty, who is of Irish origin, was a child of one of the early British Settlers who settled in Lower Albania (between Grahamstown and the sea). She came to South Africa with her parents as a young daughter and is married to Robert Featherstone, the son of an English farmer near Bristol who was a soldier in the British Army. Robert Featherstone was stationed with his division in Grahamstown. After his marriage he left the army and went to farm. His old farm near Grahamstown is still called Featherstone Kloof today. Cronwright's mother was born in Grahamstown in 1835 and has never traveled outside the Cape Colony for her life. His father's parents were Rev. John Wright and Margery Cron. They are married in England. Miss. Cron was partly of Scottish origin and her family came from Dumfries. The couple was quite young when, in 1822, shortly after their marriage, they were sent by the London Missionary Society to work among the natives of South Africa. They lived for two years at Theopolis near Grahamstown and were then moved to Griqua City to work under the Griquas and the Bechuanas. Finally, in 1842, they were relocated to Philippolis in the southern Free State.

Cronwright's father, Samuel Cron Cronwright (1834-1888), was born in Cape Town while his parents traveled there from Griqualand West with the Griqua chief Waterboer to speak to the imperial authority on one matter or another. Cronwright later wrote that it is remarkable that his grandfather and Olive Schreiner's father, Gottlob, worked at the same mission at one point.

None of Cronwright's grandparents, after settling in South Africa, also visited England again. All their children were also born in South Africa. Three of them were buried in Grahamstown and the missionary Wright in Philippolis. Cronwright's father, also Samuel Cron Wright, was 13 when he was sent to England to attend school there. He was 17 upon his return to South Africa and never left the country again. After his schooling, he first became a businessman and later went on farming, during which time on May 15, 1860, in the Anglican Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Grahamstown [9] is married to Miss. Featherstone. He was mayor of Grahamstown for four consecutive years and represented Albania twice in the old Cape Legislative Assembly from 1866 to 1884.

Although the family name was actually Wright, in 1857 Samuel Cronwright changed his and his family's surname to Cronwright after he signed his name up to that point anyway as "Cron wright" with a lowercase "w". He kept his two baptismal names, Samuel Cron, and thus his son was also known as Samuel Cron Cronwright, who was the second of his parents' eight children.

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