In the initial passenger list for the Blenheim, this family was noted by Donald McDonald as coming from Borline, and were “Recommended by Hugh MacAskil Esq. of Tallasker in whose Family MacQuarrie has ever been – Tallasker is to pay for the children.”
In the initial list the family comprised of:
- Donald MacQuarrie, 54, labourer
- Margaret McEachern, 53, his wife
Mary MacQuarrie, 32, his daughter, dairymaid
- Rachael MacQuarrie, 27, his daughter, housemaid and cook
- Jane MacQuarrie, 25, his daughter, housemaid
- Angus MacQuarrie, 23, his son, cooper
Donald MacQuarrie, 21, his son, sailor
- John MacQuarrie, 19, his son, joiner
- Alexander MacQuarrie, 17, his son, labourer
- Hugh MacQuarrie, 14, his son, cowherd
Isabella MacQuarrie, 3, his grandaughter
- Mary MacQuarrie, 7, his grandaughter
- John MacQuarrie, 3, his grandson
Subsequent lists did not include or crossed out daughter Mary, son Donald, and grandaughter Isabella. However, Isabella was probably the McQuarrie child who died on 6 October 1840 while at sea, as noted in Jessie Campbell’s Journal, so it may well be the case that she travelled anyway.
The entries for Jane McQuarrie, daughter, and Mary McQuarrie, grandaughter, should probably have been recorded as Jane Fraser and Mary Fraser, since Jane was the widow of a Fraser. Information relating to this family has been drawn from the diary of Margaret Barrett, nee Perry, a daughter of Mary Fraser and grandaughter of Jane McQuarrie.
Return to The Blenheim People.
Donald McQuarrie and Margaret McEachern
Borline, the place where the McQuarrie family lived at the time of the compilation of the initial Blenheim passenger list, is in the parish of Bracadale, Isle of Skye.
Donald McQuarrie died on 7 October 1860, aged 85, and is buried in Turakina.
Margaret McQuarrie died on 12 May 1850, aged 70.
In her Diary, Margaret Perry notes, “I remember once father taking me out to Turakina to Aunties when she lived with Uncle in a nice large house in the gully; and I have a faint recollection of seeing my great-grandfather, Donald McQuarrie, a greyheaded man sitting in the corner in an arm-chair.”
Rachael McQuarrie was a housemaid and cook of 27 when she travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.
It seems likely that Rachael was Jessie Campbell’s Skye servant as described in her Journal. Early in the voyage the Skye servant was often sick and Jessie was not very kind in her descriptions of her, “she is so stupid and heavy she makes herself worse than she really is, wonder Mrs Mac? could recommend such a person even if she is a good cook,” and “Capt. Gray said he never saw much a hulk of a woman, if I put jacket and trousers on her she would do better for a sailor than a nurse.” Jessie Campbell also noted, “My Skye woman made her appearance in wretched plight, think she is not so ill as she says, told her father I must engage another,” so her father was on the ship. Also, an entry on 30 September 1840 noted, “A niece of my Skye maid very ill, threatened with water in the head, she was very sickly when she came on board, she is about 3 years old.” Subsequent entries comment on the health of the McQuarrie child and death on 6 October 1840. Once the Skye servant, who is never given a name, improved her health, there were kinder remarks, “My Skye maid has improved very much, she is so careful and interested in the children,” and “I forgot to mention that when a sheep is killed my Skye maid is employed to make a haggis, and very good she makes it,” although she also records that Captain Grey was “very angry” when the Skye maid refused to make a haggis on Sunday.
In a letter to her sister Isabella, written from Petone on 8 November 1841, Jessie Campbell says, “My Skye servant has got married, she was so plain looking I thought I was sure to have her for some time. Her husband is a smart good looking young man who came out in the Blenheim from Skye.”
In 1841 Rachael McQuarrie married John MacKay who was also a Blenheim passenger. New Zealand BDM registration records that John McKay, agricultural labourer, formerly of the island of Egg, and Rachael McQuarrie, daughter of Donald McQuarrie parish of Bracadale, Isle of Sky, now of Port Nicholson, were married on 11 August 1841. The celebrant was John McFarlane, Minister.
According to New Zealand BDM records, a Rachael MacKay died on 17 August 1855, although the registration year was 1848 and her age was 36.
It appears that Rachael and John may have had a daughter, Christina, born on 9 October 1849 in Wellington.
Jane (McQuarrie) Fraser
As noted above, Jane McQuarrie or Fraser, was the widow of a Fraser. In the Blenheim passenger list she was listed as a housemaid of 25.
From Margaret Perry’s diary, it seems that Jane Fraser lived in Wellington, with occasional trips to Turakina to stay with her daughter.
Jane Fraser died on 6 July 1863, aged 47.
In the Blenheim passenger list, Angus McQuarrie was identified as a cooper, with his age given as 23, meaning he was born around 1817.
In the Electoral Rolls for the Napier district of Hawke’s Bay in the 1850s, Angus McQuarrie is listed as a stockholder living at Petane, with his qualification being leasehold property at Petane.
An Angus McQuarrie died in 1859, aged 45. The Hawkes Bay Herald of 12 February 1859 carried a report of the inquest into Angus McQuarrie’s death by drowning at Petane (now Bay View). It appears that Angus and his companion, William Henry Thompson, had been drinking. Angus had passed out on the beach and when Thompson and some local Maoris found him in the morning he had drowned.
John McQuarrie was listed as a joiner of 19 in the Blenheim passenger lists.
John McQuarrie married Marjory (Mysie) Cameron on 1 January 1844. Mysie Cameron was the daughter of Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun, and had also been a passenger on the Blenheim. The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 3 January 1844 carried the Notice: “On the 1st inst., by the Rev. John Macfarlane, Mr John M’Quarrie, formerly of Invernessshire, carpenter, to Marjory, daughter of Mr Hugh Cameron, formerly of Ardgone, Argyleshire, now of Wellington.”
The list of persons qualifying as jurors for the District of Port Nicholson in 1845, 1847-1848, and 1850 included John McQuarry, Kai Warra, carpenter.
In Electoral Rolls for Wanganui and Rangitikei in the 1850s and 1860s, John McQuarry was listed as a settler at Turakina, owning freehold land there.
John McQuarrie died on 10 December 1865.
After his death Marjory (Cameron) McQuarrie married George Perry in 1867.
The Wanganui Chronicle of 13 April 1899 reported, “In the Supreme Court (in Chambers) yesterday, before C.C. Kettle, Esq., Registrar, in re John McQuarrie, late of Turakina, farmer, deceased, on the motion of Mr Watt, probate was granted to Margery Perry and Charles Cameron, the executors named in the will. Date of will, 4th February 1860; date of death, 10th December, 1865.”
Marjory (Cameron) Perry, formerly McQuarrie died in Devonport on 26 March 1903, aged 87.
Alexander McQuarrie was a labourer of 17 when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.
Alexander McQuarrie was a member of the Kettle survey party to Otago in 1846-47.
The list of persons qualifying as jurors for the District of Port Nicholson in 1845 and 1848 included Alexander McQuarry, Tinakori Road, carpenter, in 1849 listed at Lambton Quay, and in 1850 listed at Kai Warra.
It seems likely that Alexander McQuarrie and his brother Hugh spent some time in the militia.
In the Electoral Rolls for Franklyn and Thames in 1870-71 and 1875-76, Alexander and his brother Hugh were listed at Tapu Creek, Thames. In 1890 they were both at Whangaruru in the Bay of Islands and described as carpenters. In 1896 they were at the same place but now described as settlers.
Alexander McQuarrie died in 1907, aged 80.
Hugh McQuarrie was listed as a cowherd of 14 in the Blenheim passenger lists.
From Electoral Rolls it appears that Hugh lived with his brother Alexander, first in the Thames area, then in Northland.
Hugh McQuarrie died in 1901, aged 73.
Isabella McQuarrie, granddaughter of Donald and Margaret McQuarrie, was crossed out in the interim and arrival lists and did not appear on the embarkation list. However, a female McQuarrie child, aged 3, did die at sea on 6 October 1840. In her Journal, Jessie Campbell noted on 30 September 1840, “A niece of my Skye maid very ill, threatened with water in the head, she was sickly when she came aboard, she is about  years old.” The next day she noted “Macquarrie’s child rather better,” and four days later “the Macquarrie child better.” However, on 6 October she reported, “The Macquarrie’s child has just expired, her complaint general debility and latterly water in the head.”
On this basis, the assumption must be that although crossed off the list, Isabella did in fact make the voyage. The alternative is that the child who died was John McQuarrie, also 3 years old, but that would assume a significant error by Jessie Campbell that does not seem reasonable.
It is not clear who Isabella’s parents were.
Mary [McQuarrie] Fraser
As noted above, Mary was the daughter of Jane McQuarrie and a Mr Fraser. In the Blenheim passenger list her age was given as 7 years old, and she was the grandaughter of Donald McQuarrie.
In 1852, Mary Fraser married Robert Perry, a private in the 65th Regiment.
Mary Perry died on 29 June 1879 at Makirikiri, Turakina.
Mary and Robert may have had 10 children:
- Alexander (Sandy) John Perry, born in 1852, died in 1894, married Maria Hempseed in 1878.
- Margaret (Maggie) Perry, born in 1855, married Edwin Barrett in 1890.
- Jane Perry, born in 1856, died in 1932, married Walter Taylor in 1874.
- Margery Perry, born in 1859, married Thomas Riley Taylor in 1876.
- Mary Perry, born in 1862, married William Gibson in 1882.
- Douglas Robert Rogers Perry, born in 1865, died in 1922, married Mary Mitchell in 1889.
- John Perry.
- George Perry, born in 1868, died in 1918?
- Edward (Ted) Perry, born in 1873.
- Emily Florence Perry, born in 1875, married Edwin Miller in 1896.
John McQuarrie, grandson of Donald McQuarrie, was 3 years old when he travelled to Wellington on the Blenheim in 1840. It is not clear who his parents were.
No other information has been established for John McQuarrie.
- Blenheim passenger lists at FamilySearch website
- Family trees on Ancestry.com
- PapersPast website
- NZ BDM records
- Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters.
- Diaries of Margaret Perry, originals in Whanganui Museum