William and Maria Miller

The Miller family were included on the embarkation and arrival lists for the Blenheim as coming from Glasgow.  They were:

  • William Miller, 28, labourer (embarkation), weaver (arrival)
  • Maria Miller, 27
  • Robert Miller, 9
  • Janet Miller, 7
  • Mary Miller, 5
  • Jane Miller, 2
  • Margaret Miller, born at sea

From subsequent documentation it appears that Maria’s name should have been recorded as “Marian”.

Return to The Blenheim People.

William Miller and Marian Leitch

The birth registration for her daughter Margaret and the death registration for her daughter Jane confirm that Marian’s maiden name was Leitch.

After arriving in New Zealand William and Maria had at least one further child:

  • James Miller, born in 1845, died in 1926, married Annie Elizabeth Wright Hopkirk in 1879.

Marian (Leitch) Miller died in 1847 aged 36.

William Miller and Jane Wilson

William Miller married again, to Jane Wilson in 1854.  They had further children, possibly including:

  • Adam Miller, born in 1857, died in 1886.
  • Elizabeth Miller, born in 1859.
  • Francis Miller, born in 1861.
  • Thomas Miller, born in 1864, died in 1866.

William Miller died on 2 August 1879. His death registration noted that he died at Nelson Street, Wellington, aged 67, with the cause of death being old age and general debility.  He was born in Paisley, Scotland and had been in New Zealand for 39 years.  There was only the marriage to “- Wilson” listed as taking place in Wellington, NZ.  Living issue were five males and five females.  The Evening Post of 2 August 1879 contained the following obituary:

One by one the “old identities” of Wellington are dropping off from our midst. This morning another old settler passed away, in the person of Mr. W. Miller, father of the City Councillor of that name. Mr. Miller arrived in Wellington on 27th December, 1840, in the ship Blenheim, which left the port of Greenock, Scotland, in the summer of that year. From that time till the day of his death he was a resident in Wellington. About 20 years ago he took the Commercial Hotel, Willis-street, and held the position of host until about four years ago, when he retired from business. Mr. Miller never took any very prominent part in public life, but was for a short period a member of the City Council during the time that Messrs. Borlase and Quin occupied seats as members of that body. Mr. Miller always enjoyed very good health until about two months ago, when he was seized with a serious illness, to which he finally succumbed early this morning at the ripe age of 68. Mr Miller was well known and very generally respected. The news of his death will be received with considerable regret, especially by the old, original settlers still left among us.

Jane (Wilson) Miller, William’s second wife, died on 24 August 1887, aged 64. The Evening Post of 25 August 1887 reported, “An inquest was held to-day by Dr. Johnston, Coroner, on the body of an elderly female patient at the Mount View Asylum, named Jane Miller, who died on Tuesday evening. The jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes. Deceased, who was an old settler in the district, and formerly kept the Commercial Hotel, had been an inmate of the institution for about a month.”

Robert Miller

Robert Miller was 9 years old when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

Robert Miller and Jane Mitchell were married on 24 June 1859.   Jane Mitchell had also been a passenger on the Blenheim, as a 3 year old, travelling with her parents James Mitchell and Jane Stewart.

Robert Miller was a successful baker and businessman, and also served as a City Councillor.

Jane (Mitchell) Miller died on 24 October 1867. The Wellington Independent of 26 October 1867 carried the following Death Notice: “Miller – On October 24, at the residence of Mr James Mitchell, Burnside, Porirua, Jane, the beloved wife of Mr Robert Miller, Tauerue Station, Wairarapa, aged 30 years.”

Following Jane’s death, Robert married Mary Ellen Angell on 22 January 1873.

Robert Miller died on 24 October 1904 aged 73.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 28 October 1904 carried the Death Notice: Miller – On the 24th October, 1904, at his residence “Waiwetu” Tasman street Wellington, Robert Miller, aged 73 years.”  The Manawatu Times of 26 October 1904 reported, “Mr Robert Miller, one of Wellington’s early settlers, who came to Port Nicholson in the ship Blenheim in 1840, died yesterday.”  The Evening Post of 24 October 1904 published the following obituary:

Mr. Robert Miller, one of Wellington’s early settlers, died at his residence in Tasman-street this morning. About a fortnight ago he was seized with a paralytic stroke, from which he did not recover. The deceased gentleman was born at Paisley, Scotland, and came out to Port Nicholson with his parents in the ship Blenheim in December, 1840. The family resided for some time on what is now the site of the Hotel Cecil. Mr. Robert Miller was in business in Wellington for many years, and afterwards went to live in retirement at the Hutt, but for some time before his death he had been a resident of Tasman-street. In years gone by he occupied a seat on the City Council, and he laboured in other ways to advance the interests of the city. He was a director of the Equitable Building and Investment Company, from its formation up till the time of his death, and was also a shareholder in other joint stock concerns. He has left a widow and a family of eleven, the eldest being Mr. W. Miller, of the Greymouth-Point Elizabeth Company. The late Mr. Miller was very highly respected.

Mary Ellen (Angell) Miller died on 20 March 1940 aged 88.

Jane and Robert appear to have had at least five children:

  • William Miller, born in 1860, died in 1940, married Susan McLaren in 1883.  William Miller was an auctioneer, valuer and accountant, became the last clerk of the Miramar Borough Council and for ten years was Town Clerk at Johnsonville.
  • James Miller, born in 1861, died in 1862, aged 3 weeks.
  • Jane Miller, born in 1862.
  • James Miller, born in 1865.
  • Robert Alexander Mitchell Miller, born in 1867, died in 1940, married Evelyn Rose Aitchison in 1925. Farmed at Kopuaranga, Wairarapa with his brother from the early 1900s.

Robert and Mary Ellen appear to have had at least seven children:

  • Emily Miller, born in 1873.
  • Marion Miller, born in 1875.
  • Adam John Miller, born in 1876, died in 1972, married Amelia Alice Helen Nicholls in 1905.
  • Walter Robert Miller, born in 1878, died in 1963, carpenter, moved to Canada in 1905, married Mary Ann Lambert.
  • Oliver Allen Miller, born in 1880, died in 1962.
  • Violet Annie Miller, born in 1881, died in 1965, married Archibald Coulter in 1904.
  • Ethel Janet Miller, born in 1883, died in 1967.
Janet Miller

Janet Miller was 7 years old when she travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim with her family.

Janet Miller married John William Laing in 1854.

John William Laing died in 1909.  The Otago Witness of 6 January 1909 carried the following obituary:

Another of the fast diminishing band of early settlers passed to his rest on 2nd inst. John W. Laing, a son of the Manse, was born in Crieff, Perthshire, in 1826. His father was minister of the Established Church there, and his grandfather, Mr Wm. Laing, of Edinburgh, was the well-known collector of rich and rare literary productions, and his opportunity came during the Napoleonic wars, when private and public collections of priceless value were scattered over the continent. During one of the brief intervals of peace, Mr Laing crossed to the continent and secured very many books of great value, and thus laid the foundation of a collection which became unique in Scotland. Mr Wm. Laing was one of the founders and first directors of the Commercial Bank of Scotland. On the mother’s side, Mr John Wm. Laing was descended from one of the most famous of Scottish families, his mother being a daughter of Professor Gregory, of Edinburgh. Professor Gregory’s father also filled the chair of medicine in Edinburgh University, while others of the same family filled the chairs of astronomy and mathematics. His uncle, Dr David Laing, was the well-known librarian of the Advocates Library, Edinburgh, and an antiquarian and scholar, deeply versed in Scottish history and literature. Mr John Wm. Laing was educated at Menzie Boarding School and at the High School and University, Edinburgh. In 1842, he, accompanied by his friend, Mr Wm. Landsborough, sailed in the barque, Duke of Richmond, for Sydney. The young men went to the sheep station of Landsborough’s brother in the New England district. Both young men had been sent out to learn colonial farming. Taking a share in the station, Mr Laing remained there six or seven years. His friend took to exploring the back country, especially Queensland, and subsequently became famous as an explorer. Mr Landsborough returned to the Homeland, where he was honoured by Royalty, but Mr Laing came to New Zealand—a move he always regretted He arrived in Wellington by a trading schooner, and some time afterwards came on to Dunedin to visit his three brothers, who had taken up land in and around Dunedin. Liking the climate of Otago, he went back to New South Wales to wind up his affairs. Having capital, on his return he bought up city and suburban property, and made his home at Brockville, Halfway Bush, where he lived a very retired Iife until within the last ten years, when he removed to Ramsay Lodge, Stafford-street, Dunedin. He leaves a widow, and a family of five daughters and four sons, two of the sons being Messrs W. M. Laing, of “Glencrieff,” Bideford, and David Laing, of New Plymouth.

Janet (Miller) Laing died in 1915, aged 81.

Janet and John had nine children:

  • Jean Gregory Laing, born in 1855, died in 1905.
  • Mary Laing, born in 1857, died in 1918, married Arthur Harding Parkinson in 1901.
  • William Laing, born in 1859, died in 1938, married Jessie Elizabeth Cameron (cousin).
  • Helen Laing, born in 1862,  died in 1943.
  • John Laing, born in 1864, died in 1944.
  • Margaret Laing, born in 1866, died in 1950, married Alexander Durrand in 1894.
  • Wilhelmina Laing, born in 1868, died in 1962.
  • James Miller Laing, born in 1870.
  • David Laing, born in 1873.
Mary Miller

Mary Miller travelled with her family on the Blenheim as a  5-year old in 1840.

In 1857 Mary Miller married William Oliver, and went to live in Napier.  William Oliver, a bricklayer, died in 1882.

Mary (Miller) Oliver died on 20 September 1927. The Evening Post of 27 September 1927 carried the following obituary:

There died at Napier last week Mrs. Mary Oliver, widow of the late William Oliver, at the age of 92. The deceased lady had resided in Napier since 1858. Mrs. Oliver was born in Paisley, Scotland, and was a daughter of the late Mr. William Miller, who landed in Wellington on the ship Blenheim, with a family of six, in 1840. The members of this family have been identified with the Wellington district since the foundation, of the city. Mr. Miller, senior, was well known as the owner of the Commercial Hotel, erected on the present site of the Grand Hotel, Willis street, and was one of the first members of the Wellington City Council, having been elected in 1870. The only remaining member of this family who landed from the ship Blenheim is Mrs. Allan Cameron, now of Pearce street, Seatoun, who was two months old when she was carried ashore at Pipitea Point in December, 1840.

Mary and William appear to have had at least eight children:

  • James Oliver, born in 1858, died in 1923, married Fanny Clara Warwick in 1883.
  • William Oliver, born in 1860, died in 1916, married Mary Jane Mollet in 1885.
  • U/k Oliver, born in 1862, died in 1862.
  • Charles Miller Oliver, born in 1866, died in 1938, [married Harriet Bond].
  • Mary Oliver, born in 1868, died in 1953.
  • Robert Leslie Oliver, born in 1871.
  • Ellen Oliver, born in 1873, died in 1959, married Joseph William Beagley in 1902.
  • Thomas Oliver, born in 1875, died in 1944, married Catherine Croskery in 1921.
Jane Miller

Jane Miller was only 2 years old when she boarded the Blenheim in 1840.

The following information corrects the previous entry, and follows the comment below from Ron Carswell.

Jane Miller married David Carswell on 5 June 1858, at the private residence of Robert Miller, Cuba Street, Wellington.  David Carswell was a baker of 23, a bachelor, and Jane Miller was a spinster of 22.  The celebrant was Rev. John Moir, and the witnesses were James Campbell and Daniel Williams.

In the Hawkes Bay Herald of 28 August 1858, David Carswell, Bread and Fancy Biscuit Maker, Carlyle Street, Opposite Mr Kelly’s Store, begged to intimate that he had commenced business as above, and that no effort would be spared on his part to merit a share of public patronage. Bread would be delivered daily, with country orders punctually attended to.

David Carswell appeared fairly regularly on jury lists and electoral rolls for Napier, identified as a baker, but it appears that he and Jane may have lived apart.  In her will, Jane Carswell of Hastings, storekeeper, noted that she was wife of David Carswell of Nuhaka, settler, and she named John Kerr and Daniel William Harper of Hastings as executors of the will – they were her sons-in-law.  At the time of her daughter’s marriage to Daniel Harper, the notice in the Daily Telegraph of 18 April 1884 stated: “Harper-Carswell. At Hastings, at the residence of the bride’s mother, on April 17th, by the Rev. W, Nichol, D.W. Harper to Jane, second daughter of David Carswell, baker, formerly of Hastings. Wellington and Dunedin papers please copy.”

Jane (Miller) Carswell died on 19 February 1901, at Hastings.  Her death registration records that she was 62 and her parents were William Miller and Miriam Miller, formerly Leitch, trader; she was born in Paisley, Scotland, and had been in New Zealand for 52 years [sic], and was married to David Carswell in Wellington when she was 19; living issue included 4 males, aged between 21 and 42, and 7 females, aged between 23 and 40.  The cause of death was carcinomic tumour, 5 years, and gradual heart failure, 1 week, as certified by J A Macdonell MD.  The informant was J B E Hird, son-in-law, Hastings.

David Carswell died two months later on 19 April 1901.

It appears that Jane and David had at least eleven children (this information remains to be clarified), including the following:

  • John William Carswell, born in 1859, died in 1940, married Catherine Flaws in 1881.
  • David Carswell, born in 1860, died in 1940, married (1) Ada Williams in 1890 and (2) Eva May Williams in 1908.
  • Janet Carswell, born in 1861, died in 1905.
  • James Carswell, born in 1863, died in 1944.
  • Jane Carswell, born in 1865, died in 1943, married Daniel William Harper in 1884.
  • Margaret Carswell, born in 1867, died in 1951, married James Buckman Elms Hird in 1887.
  • Isabella Augusta Carswell, born in 1870, died in 1904, married John Kerr in 1891.
  • Annie Carswell, born in 1873, died in 1959, married James Hay in 1905.
  • Mary Miller Carswell, born in 1875, died in 1950, married John Andrew Frizzell in 1898.
  • Elizabeth Ellen Carswell, born in 1877
  • Charles William Carswell, born in 1879.
Margaret Miller

Margaret Miller was born on the Blenheim on the voyage out to New Zealand.

Jessie Campbell’s journal entry for Wednesday 14 October notes, “A woman delivered of a daughter today both doing well.”  The birth registration in New Zealand, dated 24 January 1841, noted that Margaret, 5th child of William Miller and Marian Leitch, both late of Paisley, was born 12th October 1840.

Margaret Miller and Allan Cameron were married on 17 March 1863.  Allan Cameron had also travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim as a 5 year old with his parents Allan Cameron and Janet (Jessie) Grant.  The Wellington Independent of 26 March 1863 carried the Marriage Notice: “Cameron-Miller – March 17, at Wellington, by the Rev. John Moir, Allan Cameron, Esq., sheepfarmer, Province of Wellington, to Margaret, daughter of William Miller, Esq., proprietor of the Commercial Hotel.”

Margaret and Allan had six children:

  • Jessie Elizabeth Cameron, born in 1864, died in 1946, married William Miller Laing (cousin) in 1887.
  • William Allan Cameron, born in 1866, died in 1902, married Margaret Lang in 1895.
  • Charles Archibald Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1943, married Mary Crawford in 1903.
  • James Hugh Cameron, born in 1870, died in 1939, married Fanny Alexander Christina Wheeler Ahradsen in 1898.
  • Alexander John Cameron, born in 1873, died in 1926, married Helen Gregory Laing in 1899.
  • Robert Allan Cameron, born in 1876, died in 1954, married Euphemia Duncan Sutherland in Scotland in 1903.

Allan Cameron died on 23 November 1915.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 24 November 1915 carried the following obituary:

One of the pioneer settlers of New Zealand, in the person of Mr Allan Cameron, died at Masterton yesterday, at the age of 83 years. The deceased arrived in the Dominion from Scotland in the ship Blenheim, which reached Wellington in December, 1840.

After residing in Wellington for some years, and experiencing exciting times, the deceased came to Wairarapa, taking up his residence at Te Whiti. Later he owned Bowlands station, and subsequently Spring Hill and Rewa Rewa.  He had resided in Masterton for the past sixteen years.

The late Mr Cameron was held in high esteem by all who met him, on account of his many sterling qualities, and his death will be deeply regretted. He is survived by four sons (Messrs C. A. Cameron, Masterton, J. H. Cameron, Masterton, A. J. Cameron, Makuri, and Dr. R. A. Cameron, Wellington), and one daughter (Mrs W. M. Laing, of Masterton), who will have the sympathy of a wide circle of friends in their bereavement. The funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon at 2 o ‘clock.

Margaret (Miller) Cameron died on 7 November 1934.  The Evening Post of 8 November 1934 reported:

The death occurred yesterday at Seatoun of Mrs. Allan Cameron, an old resident of the Wairarapa. Mrs. Cameron, who was in her 95th year, arrived in Wellington, with her parents, by the sailing ship Blenheim, on December 31, 1840. After her marriage, Mrs. Cameron went to the Wairarapa, and resided successively at Te Whiti, Bideford, and at “Rewa Rewa,” near Tinui. The late Mrs. Cameron is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Wm. Laing, Seatoun, and three sons Mr. Charles Cameron, Flat Point, Masterton; Mr. James Cameron, Tinui; and Dr. R. A. Cameron, Paraparaumu. Two sons predeceased her.  She is survived by twenty grandchildren and thirty-two great-grandchildren. The interment is taking place, at Masterton.

James Miller

James Miller was born in 1845 in Wellington.  In 1879 he married Annie Elizabeth Wright Hopkirk, and they went on to have at least seven children:

  • Isabella Agnes Miller, born in 1880, died in 1966.
  • Marion Margaret Miller, born in 1881, died in 1913, married Joseph Alfred Renall in 1906.
  • Grace Annie Miller, born in 1883, died in 1928, married John William Archibald Falloon in 1908.
  • Frederick James Miller, born in 1885, died in 1943.
  • Hugh Alexander Miller, born in 1887, died in 1968.
  • Ronald Miller, born in 1890, died in 1985.
  • Janet Laing Miller, born in 1892, died in 1971, married Clarence Villiers Smith in 1922.

James Miller died on 13 February 1926. The Evening Post of 15 February 1926 carried the following report:

The death is reported from Masterton, of Mr. James Miller, of Renall street, a pioneer settler who was closely associated with the welfare and advancement of the district. He took an active part in local politics, notably in connection with the Taueru Road Board and the Masterton County Council, Born in Wellington in 1845, he went to the Wairarapa in the early days of its settlement, and took up land in the Upper Taueru district 55 years ago. He retired twenty years ago to Masterton, The deceased leaves a widow, three sons (Messrs. F. J. Miller, Masterton, and H. A Miller, Waikato, and Rev. R. Miller, of Te Kuiti), and three, daughters (Miss Isa Miller, Masterton, Mrs. C. V. Smith, Waverley, and Mrs. J. W. Falloon, of Bideford). Another daughter (Mrs. J. A, Renall) died a few years ago.

Annie Elizabeth Wright (Hopkirk) Miller died on 4 February 1928, aged 76. The Evening Post of 8 February 1928 carried the Death Notice: “Miller – On the 4th February 1928, at her residence, 114, Renall street, Masterton, Annie, relict of the late James Miller, and eldest daughter of the late Robert Home Hopkirk; aged 76 years.”

7 thoughts on “William and Maria Miller”

  1. I believe your information on Jane Miller 2yrs old arrived on ship Blenhiem 1840 is incorrect. She married David Carswell and settled in Napier circa 1856. David Carswell operated a Bakery business in Carlyle St. Her sister Mary Miller/Oliver also settled in Napier as you have correctly published.
    Jane was my Great Grandmother.


  2. I have a photo of William Miller, dug out of old Wellington council archives. My partner is Ian Carswell, great great grandson of William Miller, through William & Marian’s daughter Jane who married David Carswell. If anyone would like it, please email me samscott1040@gmail.com


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