A name that I occasionally do a search for is that of William Eaton Rusher. John Hughes Van Cooten was Mr Rusher’s “amanuensis” for about four years from about 1870 (when John would have been about 15) to 1874 (when John was about 18 and migrated to Australia). The collection of Van Cooten family letters contains a reference from Mr Rusher dated September 1874 – presumably carried by John on his voyage. There is also a reference dated 1876 – presumably posted. Another curious item is correspondence from Mr Rusher where each letter has been formed by a matrix of pin pricks forming the shape of capital letters. This form of writing was a competitor for braille, and a description of it can be found in section 6 of chapter 3 of a thesis on printing for the blind. The existence of this letter implies that Mr Rusher had a sight impairment.
I have always wondered what the connection was between the Mr Rusher and the Van Cooten family.
I have recently discovered that Mr Rusher spent time on Guernsey. He was a student at Elizabeth College. His alumnus entry reads:
Trinity Term, 1835. 526. William Eaton Rusher, born Oxford, Jan 13th 1820, son of Dr. William Rusher (Oxford). Left 1837 Magdalen Hall, Oxford, B.A. (3rd class Classics) 1842, M.A. 1852. Afflicted with blindness and unable to follow any profession.
This makes William Rusher a contemporary of John Lucius Van Cooten. John Lucius’ eldest son John Rodolphus Van Cooten became a teacher at Elizabeth College from about 1878.