John C. Anton - McLeod & Co 1924

Thank you. to John Anton-Smith for these details of his uncle -


John Anton – nicknamed Jack – was 29 when he died in India, three months before he was due to come home on leave after four years working there.

Full details of his life are on this website -

Click here for website

The anguish this caused his family was so great that 90 years later, as his nephew, I am impelled to create this website to honour his life and work, and as a resting place for all the photos and letters that have come down to me.

I am the last person alive who was able to speak to anyone who knew him.

Like all attempts to rewrite the past, one regrets missed opportunities to question those who knew him.



John Anton, when he started at McLeods, resolved to work hard and look after his family financially. Every letter breathes love and care for his two sisters and his parents.

It is not known how John came to be employed by McLeods but there is no doubt he was favoured because he was a Scot. He probably had a good recommendation from his father’s brother, also John Anton, who was Assistant Manager of the Assam Oil Company, Digboi. This John Anton had no children of his own, but took an interest in his brother William’s family, leaving the two daughters a legacy in his will. (See Appendix for John’s Uncle John)

It is also possible that he gave a recommendation to another nephew, Alec (Alexander) Anton, a younger son of his older brother, who stayed on to manage the family farm – Redhill, Rothiemay. In a letter home, John Anton says he is going to meet Alec on December 16th 1925, when his ship docks and spend an evening or so with him. Alex was in India, running tea estates in Assam, ending up at Deamoolie Tea Estate, Doom-Dooma, leaving in 1948. (See Appendix for Alec Anton)

Early photographs at McLeods show him as a slight, eager young man becoming in the four years that he was there (1925-1928) a substantial, confident man with a pipe in his mouth and both hands on his hips.