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William Nicol and Janet Jamieson

William and Janet Nicholl and their family were described in the embarkation and subsequent lists for the Blenheim as coming from Paisley.  The family was listed as follows:

  • William Nicholl, 47, labourer
  • Janet Nicholl, 35
  • John Nicholl, 18, labourer
  • William Nicholl, 16, labourer
  • Charles Nicholl, 13
  • James Nicholl, 10
  • Janet Nicholl, 8

In all lists their name was spelled “Nicholl”.  However, in most documents prior to departure and subsequent to their arrival in New Zealand the spelling “Nicol” was used.

Return to The Blenheim People.

William Nicol and Janet Jamieson

William Nicol was born around 1793, and Janet Jamieson around 1805.

The Old Parish Register for Paisley High Church, Renfrew, for October 1804, records that a Janet Jamieson, legal daughter of John Jamieson and Janet Cochran, was born 22 ult. and baptized 5 inst, i.e. she was born on 22 September 1804.

The Old Parish Register for Paisley High Church, Renfrew, records the proclamation of William Nicol and Janet Jamieson, both in this Parish, on 17 June 1821, and the payment of one shilling for three proclamations. The proclamation of banns was the notice of contract of marriage, read out in the Kirk before the marriage took place. Couples or their ‘cautioners’ (sponsors) were often required to pay a ‘caution’ or security to prove the seriousness of their intentions. Forthcoming marriages were supposed to be proclaimed on three successive Sundays, however, in practice, all three proclamations could be made on the same day on payment of a fee.

William Nicol was described as a labourer of 47 when he emigrated to New Zealand.  William Nicol, Pipitea, labourer, was included on the list of persons qualified to serve as Jurors for the district of Port Nicholson in 1845, and in the 1847 to 1849 lists he was described as a tapkeeper,  Lambton Quay.

Janet Nicol died on 19 October 1848.  The Wellington Independent of 25 October 1848 carried the following report:

Died.—At her residence, Lambtonquay, on Thursday last, Mrs. Janet Nicol, aged 43 years.—An Inquest was held the following day at Barrett’s Hotel, on view of the body, before J. Fitzgerald, Esq., M. D., Coroner.—Mr. Nicol being called in stated, on Thursday the 19th instant, I found my wife lying on the floor (about 3 o’clock) apparently in a fit, but unfortunately she was dead; she had not five minutes before served the coxswain of the Fly’s gig, with a bottle of grog; when I went into the room she was lying on the floor amongst broken dishes and water, which must have been capsized at the time she had fallen by the severe shock of an earthquake the large cask in which we kept our, water having been upset. The Jury after a short consultation returned a verdict, died of apoplexy.

The Wanganui Chronicle of 19 March 1878 carried the Death Notice: “Nicol – On the 17th inst., at the residence of his son, Mr Charles Nicol, Marton, William Nicol, formerly of Paisley, Scotland, aged 80 years.  The funeral will take place today, at half-past 2 p.m.”

John Nicol

John Nicol was described as a labourer of 18 on the Blenheim passenger list.

The Old Parish Register for November 1821 for Abbey, Renfrew, recorded that John, son of William Nicol and Janet Jamieson was born on 21 October and baptized on 18 November.

The following information remains to be confirmed as applying to this John Nicol.

New Zealand BDM records show the marriage of a John Nichol and E Rori Kapiti on 4 November 1841.  The records also show a birth, name not recorded, parents Betty and John Nicol, on 17 June 1848.

The Wellington Independent of 24 April 1847 published a Notice from the Treasury, Wellington, dated 23 April 1847, giving notice of the issue of Special Publican’s Licences to, among others, John Nicol, Pukarua [Pukerua?]. A John Nicol was also included in the list, published in the Wellington Independent of 13 August 1853,  of Gentlemen who had consented to act as a Committee to secure the return of W B Rhodes, Esq., to represent the Wellington Country District in the General Assembly.  The Electoral Rolls for Wellington and Wellington Country for 1853-64 included a John Nicol, Paekakariki, publican, qualification a household near Wainui.

The Wellington Independent of 16 September 1869 carried a lengthy report of legal proceedings relating to the lease of an accommodation or public house at Paekakariki, on land owned by Betty Nicol, the Maori wife of John Nicol – apparently known as “Scotch Jock”.  The Nicols lived at Waikanae.

William Nicol

William Nicol was a labourer of 16 on the Blenheim passenger list.

William Nicol Jnr, Lambton Quay, servant, was included on the list of persons qualified to serve as Jurors for the district of Port Nicholson in 1847.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 9 July 1847 carried a report of a case in the Resident Magistrate’s Court where William Nicol appeared on a summons to answer the charge of having refused to support the male infant of Caroline Gooden, of which it was alleged he was the father.

The New Zealander of 9 April 1851 published the list of applications for Publicans’ Licenses, noting that if they were all to succeed the number of public houses in Auckland and its neighbourhood would be nearly doubled at once, and suggesting that they should be as much as possible confined to the leading thoroughfares since “In the back and little frequented streets they too frequently become rather nuisances and receptacles of vice.”  William Nicol, Black Bull, Albert St, was on the list of new applicants.  In 1855, William Nicol, Masonic Hotel, Princes street, was on the list of applicants.

William Nicol married Jane Harriet Brown on 9 April 1853 in Auckland.

The Electoral Rolls for Auckland, Southern Division, for 1853-1864 included William Nicol, Princes street, hotel keeper, freehold estate.

William Nicol retired from the Masonic Hotel in 1869, the occasion being recognised by the United Service Lodge of Freemasons, as reported in the New Zealand Herald of 1 April 1869.

Jane Harriet Nicol died in 1875 aged 49.  The Daily Southern Cross of 12 August 1875 carried the Death Notice: “Nicol – On August 10, at her residence Grey-street, Harriett Jane, the beloved wife of Mr William Nicol, aged 49 years.”

The Wanganui Chronicle of 2 May 1877 noted, “We regret to learn that Mr William Nicol, eldest brother of Mr Charles Nicol, of Marton, died at Auckland on Friday last.  He was for some time the proprietor of the Masonic Hotel at Auckland, but retired into private life some time ago.”  The Auckland Star of 27 April 1877 had carried the Death Notice: “Nicol – On the 27th instant, at Grey-street, Auckland, William Nicol, in the 56th year of his age.”

William and Harriet had at least seven children:

  • William Henry Nicol, born in 1855, died in 1880, married Rachel Darby in 1875.
  • Emily Elizabeth Jane Nicol, born in 1856, married Edgar Patteson Hulme in 1876.
  • Frederick Thomas Nicol, born in 1858, died in 1927.
  • Harriet Annie Nicol, born in 1859, died in 1887.
  • James McNeill Nicol, born in 1861, died in 1904.
  • Alfred Alexander Nicol, born in 1863, died in 1947.
  • Lucy Isabella Nicol, born in 1865, married Donald Alexander McLeod in 1893.

Charles Nicol

Charles Nicol was 13 when he set out with his family on the Blenheim in 1840.

Charles Nicol and Catherine Jane Murray were married on 20 April 1852 at Wanganui.

In 1865 Charles Nicol founded  a bakery business in Marton, which was taken over by his son John Murray Nicol in 1895.

The Wanganui Chronicle of 5 April 1883 included the Death Notice: “Nicol – On the 3rd April, at Marton, Charles Nicol (brother to Mrs. John Cudby, Lower Hutt), aged 55 years.”  An obituary was published in the same issue:

The funeral of the late Mr Charles Nicol took place yesterday afternoon at the Mount View Cemetery, near Marton. The burial service over the grave was performed by the Rev. Mr Stewart and a great number of friends from Wanganui and all parts of the district paid a last tribute of respect to the memory of the deceased by attending his funeral rites. The late Mr Nicol was a very old and respected settler. He came to Port Nicholson in 1840, in the good ship Blenheim (Captain Gray), which landed its passengers at Kaiwarra. Amongst Mr Nicol’s fellow-voyagers were Captain Cameron, of Marangai, Mr Gregor McGregor, and many other of our leading settlers. Mr Nicol learned the trade of baker in Wellington, and in 1848 came to Wanganui, and was employed to bake for Messrs Taylor and Watt. He subsequently became the possessor of the property in Wickstead Pace now owned by’ Mr Henry Churton and here he carried on his business very successfully for many years, during which he held the bread contracts for the troops stationed in Wanganui. Misfortunes, however, came thick upon him due to his own easy good nature, and the misplaced confidence he reposed in his friends. Taking his large family with him, Mr Nicol went some years ago to try his fortune in the new and rising township of Marton, and there he remained until his death on Tuesday last, at the comparatively early age of 54. Mr Nicol leaves behind him many children, all of them growing up, and having before them every prospect of doing well. As a man and a citizen the deceased gentleman was greatly respected, and he will long be missed by his old friends who knew his amiability of temper, unfailing good nature and sterling worth.

Catherine Jane (Murray) Nicol died on 16 July 1919 at Marton, aged 89.

Charles and Catherine had at least six children:

  • Mary Nicol, born in 1853, died in 1926, married Thomas Stoddart Lambert, architect, in 1871.
  • Janet Nicol, born in 1854, died in 1919, married John Aitken in 1876.
  • John Murray Nicol, born in 1861, died in 1918, married Emma Sophia Bensemann in 1883.
  • Margaret Kate Nicol, born in 1868.
  • Annie Harriet Nicol, born in 1869, married William Williams in 1903.
  • Ellen McFarlane Nicol, born in 1871, died in 1954, married Robert Joseph Carter in 1895.

James Nicol

James Nicol was 10 years old in 1840 when he sailed on the Blenheim to New Zealand with his family.

James Nicol and Isabella Smith were married on 5 March 1861.

James Nicol died in 1918.  The Wairarapa Age of 23 October 1916 carried the following obituary:

MR. JAMES NICOL. Another of the very early settlers of New Zealand, in the person of Mr James Nicol, passed away at his residence in Church Street, Masterton, about eight o’clock on Saturday morning.  The deceased, who had reached the great age of 85 years was born in Paisley, Scotland, in 1831. With his parents he arrived in Wellington in the ship Blenheim on Christmas Day, 1840.   When quite a lad he became associated with horses, and was employed for some time in the stable of the late Dr. Fitzgerald. He afterwards had the mounts on the j horses of Mr St. Hill. In 1846 he rode the mare Bella at Bunham Water, Wellington, and was just defeated on the post.  In 1847 he rode the winner of the Te Aro Steeplechase. Later he owned Retribution, the winner of the first New Zealand Steeplechase, since called the Grand National Steeplechase. He also owned the stallion Riddlesworth, one of the first thoroughbred horses to be imported to the Dominion. In 1852 he went to Australia, and was present at the Bendigo gold rush. For a number of years he drove cattle for Wairarapa settlers round the. “Rocks” to Wellington, before the road was constructed over the Rimutaka. Subsequently he became part owner, with the late Mr Hume, of the Blairlogie station, and later resided at the Lower Taueru. In 1870 he came to Masterton, where he has resided ever since. He owned for many years the freehold of the Empire Hotel and possessed other property interests in the town. He was a splendid judge of horseflesh, and a skilled veterinarian. He was the oldest vestryman of St. Matthew’s Church, and was scrupulously conscientious in all his dealings. He was a member of the Scotch Lodge of Freemasons, and was a Sergeant in the Cavalry in the early days. In 1862 the deceased married Miss Isabella Smith, daughter, of the late Mr John Smith, one of the earliest engineers in Wellington. He leaves a widow, two daughters, and four sons The daughters are. Mrs Vincent Hooper (Auckland) and Mrs W. C. Cargill (Morrinsville). The sons are Messrs John Nicol (Te Aroha), George Nicol (Picton), Private Arthur Nicol (on active service), and Mr Len. Nicol, jeweller, of Masterton. The deceased was highly respected by all with whom he was acquainted, and his death will be deeply, regretted. The funeral takes place to-morrow (Tuesday) afternoon, at 3 o’clock.

James and Isabella had eight children:

  • William Smith Nicol, born in 1863, died in 1865.
  • Harriet Jane Nicol, born in 1864, died in 1941, married Vincent Hooper in 1885.
  • John Robert Nicol, born in 1867, died in 1959, married Elizabeth Barratt in 1892.
  • George William Nicol, born in 1869, died in 1943, married Katrina Neilson in 1903.
  • Isabella Emily Nicol, born in 1871, married William Clement Cargill in 1894.
  • Frederick James Nicol, born in 1873.
  • Arthur Charles Nicol, born in 1876, died in 1941, married Lillian May Jackson in 1900, divorced in 1910, married Caroline Fanny Whyatt in 1920.
  • Leonard Spencer Nicol, born in 1883, died in 1950, married Stella Maud Clark in 1919.

Janet Nicol

Janet Nicol was 8 when she travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

BDM records show the marriage of Jane Nicholl to John Francis Cudby on 9 November 1849.

John Francis Cudby was born on 28 February 1830 in Ingrave, Essex, England, to John Cudby and Henrietta Clampin.  He emigrated to New Zealand in 1842, aged 13, on the Thomas Sparks.  John’s brother Charles also emigrated to New Zealand in 1857 on the William and Alfred.

John Cudby established a contracting business for earthworks and construction, then added a coaching business, which was taken over by his sons George and Walter.

Janet Cudby died in 1907 aged 74. The Manawatu Standard of 2 November 1907 published the following obituary:

Mrs Janet Cudby, a much-respected resident of the Lower Hutt, died at the family residence yesterday morning, aged 74. The deceased lady, who is survived by her husband, Mr John Cudby, had lived in the Hutt district for a great many years, and went through all the trials of the early settlers. She had been ill for some time. The members of her family have been identified with the Hutt all their lives, and with their father have taken a prominent part in the development of the district.

John Francis Cudby died in 1920, at the age of 90.  The Evening Post of 8 June 1920 carried the Death Notice: “Cudby – On the 8th June, 1920, at his late residence, Railway-avenue, Lower Hutt, John Francis Cudby, relict of the late Janet Cudby, in his 91st year. R.I.P.”  The paper also had the following obituary:

An early settler, who grew up with the Hutt district, Mr. John Francis Cudby, died at his residence, Railway-avenue, Lower Hutt, early this morning. Mr. Cudby’s interests from early youth had been in the Hutt Valley, and his history was the history of this fertile district. No one could tell its history better than he himself, for he had experienced the events and times of which he spoke and remembered them, even when he had reached the age where, with many men, the memory becomes dim. He was born in Essex in 1828, and came out to New Zealand with Lord Petre as a lad in 1843 in the ship Commerce Sparks. From the time of his arrival in the country to the day of his death, he resided at Lower Hutt. At first he lived and worked on the Woburn estate. Afterwards he became the owner of large livery stables near the railway station. He retired from active participation in the business some forty years ago, but continued to take a very lively interest in the affairs of the district. He possessed the hard, commonsense which was a distinguishing trait of many early settlers, and this made him a valued member of the Lower Hutt Borough Council for many years. He was also a member of the Licensing Committee, and as a Justice of the Peace for over thirty years was a familiar figure on the Hutt Magistrate’s Court Bench. He resigned from the Commission of the Peace two years ago. In the early days of the Wellington Racing Club he held the office of Clerk of the Course. In friendly society work he was a staunch supporter, and he held the record of seventy years’ membership of the Oddfellows Lodge. Mr. Cudby enjoyed good health, in spite of his years, until two years ago. He leaves a family of five sons and three daughters. The sons are: James, living at Lower Hutt; Charles, at Dannevirke; Henry, Alfredton; George, Rangiora; and Walter, Lower Hutt. The daughters are Mrs. J. Fleet, Petone; Mrs. Turner, Lower Hutt; and Mrs. E. D. Dunne, Wellington. Mrs. Cudby, who was also an early settler, having come out from Paisley, Scotland, in the Janet Nicol [sic], died twelve years ago. At the meeting, of the Hutt County Council this morning, a motion of sympathy was passed with the deceased’s relatives, the members standing as a mark of respect.

Jane and John had nine children:

  • James Cudby, born in 1852, died in 1923.
  • William Cudby, born in 1851, died in 1908, married Emily Frances Rivers in 1883.
  • Charles Cudby, born in 1854, died in 1942, married Emma Catherine McIntosh in 1882.
  • Emma Frances Cudby, born in 1858, died in 1941, married Joseph Frederick Fleet in 1884.
  • Henry Cudby, born in 1860, died in 1946.
  • George Cudby, born in 1862 (registration 1913), died in 1934, married Jane Muirhead in 1896.
  • Henrietta Cudby, born in 1864, died in 1955, married James Turner in 1890.
  • Walter Thomas Cudby, born in 1868, died in 1926.
  • Ada Winifred Cudby, born in 1871, died in 1958, married Edward Dowling Dunne in 1898.


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.”

William and Elizabeth McConnel

The initial passenger list for the Blenheim, did not include the McConnels. They did appear in the embarkation and subsequent lists. There was also a child born at sea:

  • William McConnel, 22, Paisley, baker
  • Elizabeth McConnel, 21, Paisley
  • Helen McConnel, born at sea

Return to The Blenheim People.

William McConnel and Elizabeth Armstrong

Helen’s birth registration establishes that Elizabeth’s maiden name was Armstrong, and that the family came from Stanraer in the county of Wigtown. However, it also suggests that Helen was the couple’s eighth child, which is not consistent with the ages they gave, not the absence of any other children on the voyage. It is possible that their attribution to Paisley is also an error.

No further information has been established for the McConnel family.

Helen McConnel

Jessie Campbell’s Journal entry for 28 October 1840 noted, “A Paisley woman delivered of a daughter, the woman do not seem to suffer much as home.  Lat 33°9 S Long 9°59 W.” This puts the location in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.  

The New Zealand birth registration notes that Helen, eighth child of William McConnell and Elizabeth Armstrong, both late of Stanraer, was born on 28 October 1840.

No further information has been confirmed for Helen McConnel.


George and Mary Easton

The entry for the Eastons in the Blenheim embarkation list describes George as 22, a baker from Paisley, and his wife Mary as 21.

Return to The Blenheim People.

George Easton and Mary Wood

George Easton and Mary Wood were married in Glasgow on 24 August 1840, the day before the departure of the Blenheim.   The Old Parish Record for Edinburgh noted that George was a baker living at No 4 Howe Street, St Stephen’s parish, and Mary, who resided at the same place and parish, was the daughter of Lieutenant James Monypenny Wood of the Royal Navy.  The celebrant was the Rev Dr James Henderson of St Enoch’s, Glasgow.  Although the wedding was in Glasgow, the registration was in Edinburgh.

It appears that George and Mary did not stay long in Wellington, moving to Auckland in 1841 where he continued his career as a baker, before moving to Pukekohe in 1862 to take up a farm at Cabbage Tree Swamp. After arriving in New Zealand they had one son, James Hume Easton, in 1842.

George, Mary and James appear to have had a busy time breaking in their farm in Pukekohe East. In 1863 during the Maori Wars, George and James were part of a small group of militia and settlers besieged in the local church.  The action was described in The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Period: Volume 1: 1845-1864, by James Cowan.

The New Zealand Herald of 10 July 1876 records a serious accident at Pukekohe East when George Easton suffered a broken leg while felling trees.

James Hume Easton married Mary Elizabeth McHayle on 19 July 1870.  According to the Marriage Notice in the New Zealand Herald of 22 July 1870 the wedding was at her father’s residence in Pukekohe East, with the celebrant being the Rev Thomas Norrie.  Both bride and groom were their parents’ only child. James and Mary went on to have nine children, including Annie (1870), George (1871), Elizabeth (1873), Mary Jane (1875), William James (1877), Sarah (1878), Alfred (1881), Walter (1884), Eleanor (1888).

George Easton died on 31 August 1894. The Press Association Telegram, carried in a number of newspapers on 7 September 1894, provided the following obituary:

AUCKLAND, September 6. The death is announced of Mr George Easton, an old settler at Pukekohe East, aged 75. The deceased came to Wellington from Glasgow in 1840 by the ship Blenheim, and in 1841 arrived in Auckland. In 1865 he removed to Pukekohe district with a few other settlers, and fought for his homestead, successfully resisting attacks of the Natives. In commendation for this event he was awarded a medal.

Mary Easton continued to live in Pukekohe East with her son and daughter-in-law, who both pre-deceased her, and died on 17 November 1917 in her 99th year.  The Pukekohe & Waiuku Times of 20 November 1917 included an obituary:

In the death that took place at her residence at Pukekohe East on Saturday last of Mrs Mary Easton, wife of the late Mr George Easton, the district of Pukekohe loses another of the few remaining of its earliest settlers. The deceased lady, who was in her 99th year of age, was born in Scotland and in company with her husband, who died some 24 years ago, came out to New Zealand in 1841. They first lived in Wellington and then in Auckland, the late Mr Easton following his trade as a baker. Farming, however, duly engaged his attention and he next took up a section at Cabbage Tree Swamp. In 1862 Mr and Mrs Easton made their way to Pukekohe East where they acquired a bush farm. When the Maori war was in progress in 1863 Mrs Easton went for safety to Drury but her husband and only son, the late Mr James Easton, who died some three years ago, formed part of the small knot of settlers that were gathered together in the Pukekohe East Church when it was besieged by the natives. On the conclusion of the war Mrs Easton returned to Pukekohe East and has resided there ever since. Despite her advanced age and the trials and vicissitudes of life she naturally went through in the early days the late Mrs Easton retained her faculties up to the very last. She is survived by nine grandchildren, including Private Alfred Easton, who is at the front and who also took part in the Boer war, and Privates Walter and William Easton, both of whom are in camp, and eleven great-grandchildren. The funeral took place yesterday at Pukekohe East Cemetery, Mr R. Begbie (Church of Christ) officiating, in the presence of a large assembly of settlers from all around the district.

George and Mary Easton are buried together at the Pukekohe East Church.