A group included on the initial list of Blenheim passengers was as follows:
- Catherine Cameron, Borline, 40, dairymaid
- Angus McQueen, her son, 21, labourer
- Catherine McQueen, his wife, 17
- Angus Cameron, his brother-in-law, 20
- Mary Cameron, his sister-in-law, 15
In the body of the initial list all of these names were crossed out, but added again at the end were:
- Angus Cameron, 21, labourer
- Catherine Cameron (widow), 45
- Mary Cameron, 15, housemaid
- Archibald McQueen, 21, labourer
- Catherine Cameron, 17, housemaid
They were similarly described in the other lists, although Angus was an agriculturalist.
This post covers all of this family.
Updated information on this family has been provided through the comments below from Jacqui Gee, which have been incorporated into the description.
Return to The Blenheim People.
Catherine Cameron (widow)
Catherine Cameron was listed on the Blenheim arrival list as a widow of 45.
Family tree information on Ancestry.com shows a range of possible marriages. These include to an Angus Cameron (from Mary’s death registration) or to a Ewen Cameron (OPR records show a potential marriage and births, with Catherine’s maiden name as MacPherson or, possibly, McPhee).
No further information on this Catherine Cameron has been established.
Archibald McQueen and Catherine Cameron
According to the Old Parish Register for Bracadale, a parish on the Isle of Skye, Archibald McQueen was born or baptized on 4 February 1819. His parents were Donald MacQueen and Mary MacLeod, and the witnesses were John and Mary Shaw.
As noted above, the Old Parish Register for Bracadale recorded the birth, on 18 April 1823, of a Catherine, daughter of Ewen Cameron, Brittle, and Catherine McPherson his wife.
The Old Parish Register for Bracadale records the marriage on 14 March 1840 of Archy McQueen to a Christian Cameron, and this marriage has been listed in family trees on Ancestry.com as relating to Catherine Cameron.
While it is not clear why Archibald McQueen and Catherine Cameron chose not to travel as a married couple, they both emigrated on the Blenheim in 1840, with Catherine Cameron listed in the arrival list as a housemaid of 17 and Archibald McQueen 21, listed next to her.
It appears that Archibald McQueen and his wife travelled to Canterbury in March 1844 to work for the Greenwood Brothers, and then for the Rhodes Brothers in 1847. They then took up land near Lake Ellesmere in what became known as McQueens Valley.
The Lyttelton Times of 3 November 1855 carried the Birth Notice: “On the 29th ult., the wife of Mr McQueen, Ellesmere Station, of twin sons, one of which survived but a few minutes.”
The Lyttelton Times of 12 September 1860 carried the Death Notice: “Sept 11, at his residence, Ellesmere Station, Mr Archibald McQueen, aged 41 years.”
Catherine McQueen married her second husband John Apps Dockery on 19 June 1865. Newspapers carried reports of legal action relating to the estate of Archibald McQueen with questions relating to sales of trustee estates (see in particular, the Star of 19 October 1885).
The Star of 2 January 1895 carried the Death Notice: “Dockery.— Dec. 31, after a long and painful illness, Catherine Dockery, of 294, St Asaph Street west; aged sixty-five years. Deeply regretted.”
Catherine Dockery’s death registration noted that her father’s surname was Cameron and he was a shepherd, and her mother’s name was given as Mary. It was also noted that Catherine was twice married, first in Scotland to Archibald McQueen when she was 16, and second in Christchurch to John Dockery when she was 42. There was one living male child from her first marriage, aged 45, and five living females aged 31, 33, 35, 38, and 49, while from her second marriage there was one living male aged 27, and one living female aged 24. [These ages don’t seem to match up]. The informant was her daughter Catherine McQueen.
Catherine (Cameron) Dockery, formerly McQueen, was buried in Addington Cemetery in Christchurch. The tombstone notes that she was from Lake Ellesmere Station, McQueen’s Valley, Banks Peninsular, born Inverness 1824, died Christchurch 1894, and buried with her are her second and third sons, John McQueen 1851-1884 and Charles McQueen 1857-1889, and her third daughter Catherine.
Based on family tree information on Ancestry.com and New Zealand BDM records, Catherine had at least ten children with Archibald McQueen and two with John Apps Dockery:
- Marion (Sarah) McQueen, born in 1841, died in 1907, married John Hart in 1860.
- Hugh McQueen, born in 1843, died in 1927, married Martha Upton Waller in 1879.
- Mary McQueen, born in 1848, married William Bevins in 1865.
- Catherine McQueen, born in 1850, died in 1946.
- John McQueen, born in 1851, died in 1884.
- Christina McQueen, born in 1853, died in 1903, married John Thomas Radford in 1870.
- Jane McQueen, born in 1854, died in 1939.
- Charles Donald McQueen, born in 1857, died in 1880.
- Jean Dean McQueen, born in 1860, died in 1897.
- Isabella McQueen, born in 1861, died in 1950, married Joseph Hart in 1882.
- William Robert Apps Dockery, born in 1866, died in 1929, married Carolina Annie Davies in 1886.
- Lucy Ann Dockery, born in 1868, died in 1902, married Robert Ferguson in 1884.
Mary Cameron was listed on the Blenheim arrival list as a housemaid of 15. This would make her birth around 1825.
It seems likely, from Jessie Campbell’s Journal, that Mary Cameron was Jessie’s maid (but was not the “Skye woman” who was “always sick”, causing Jessie to engage Mary’s sister Catherine). It appears, therefore, that Catherine also worked as a maid for Mrs McDonald.
On 7 September 1840 Jessie Campbell wrote:
Catherine had Susan at the window and allowed her to throw the lid of the tin pan overboard in which we keep the fresh water, very vexed about it. Mary defended her sister very impertinently, told her to hold her tongue I did not want to hear her opinion about it, Mary continued to answer very impertinently, said a letter would reach Dr. Macleod yet to tell how she was used, told her instantly to walk out of my cabin that Dr. Macleod forgot his duty when he did not teach her the respect due to a Mistress, that I would oblige her to make out the time she was engaged with me after that she might go about her business. Had preserved soup, roast ducks and fowls for dinner. Capt. said if the breeze continued we would be in the latitude of Madiera tomorrow, did not think we would see land. Lat: at noon 36-5 N., Long: 16-46 W.
On 29 October 1840 she noted, “Mrs Macdonald discharged one of her servants for insolence, she is sister to my Mary Cameron, they are a forward, pert set. My maid has been quite spoiled, she has been tolerably obedient and submissive since she and I had a row soon after coming on board; I will not keep her after her six months are out. My Skye maid has improved very much, she is so careful and interested in the children.”
Mary Cameron married Donald Ross in Wellington on 15 October 1845. One of the witnesses was Alexander McQuarrie who also travelled on the Blenheim.
In 1846 Donald Ross and his family sailed on the Mary Catherine to Otago with Charles Kettle’s survey party. The group included Mary’s brother Angus Cameron and Alexander McQuarrie. When the survey was completed around June 1847 many of the party returned to Wellington in the cutter Leven, but were drowned when it was lost after calling at Port Levy on the Banks Peninsular. Most of the married men, including Donald Ross and his family, had stayed behind in Otago.
Donald Ross died on 9 February 1880. An obituary was published in the Illustrated New Zealand Herald of 27 February 1880:
Mr Donald Ross, of Roslyn, who died early on February 9, at the age of seventy-seven, was a native of Ross-Shire, Scotland. He arrived at Wellington from Cape Colony forty years ago. After residing there for six years, he came to Otago with the late Mr Kettle in the year 1846. Mr Edward Martin and Mrs Duthie of Tokomairiro, were of the party. Mr Ross, then newly married, was among the first who reared a roof-tree in Dunedin. After a time he entered the service of the Government, and latterly served as bailiff of the Supreme Court.
Mr Ross was a great walker, making the journey to Invercargill, when the rivers were unbridged and the roads there were none, in three days. Once and again he all but accomplished the journey to Oamaru in a day.
Mary (Cameron) Ross died in 1886. The death registration shows that Mary Ross, relict of the late Donald Ross, died on 19 February 1886 at Roslyn, in the district of Dunedin. She was 60, the daughter of Angus Cameron, shepherd, and Catherine Cameron, maiden surname not known. Mary was born in Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland, and had been in New Zealand for 42 [sic] years. She was married in Wellington at 18 to Donald Ross. Mary’s living issue were three males aged 40, 34 and 29, and two females, aged 38 and 25. The cause of death phthsis pulmonalis, two years, and exhaustion. The informant was the undertaker. Mary Ross was buried at Dunedin’s Southern Cemetery with her husband and many of her children.
Mary and Donald had at eleven children:
- Robert Ross, born in 1846, died in 1923, married (1) Mary Beckett in 1869 and (2) Sarah King in 1880.
- Catherine Ross, born in 1847, died in 1848, married James Familton in 1868.
- Elizabeth Ross, born in 1848, died in 1869 (drowned in Cobb & Co coach accident).
- Mary Ross, born in 1850, died in 1872.
- Isabella Ross, born in 1852, died in 1879, married Daniel Forbes Ross in 1875.
- Sarah Ross, born in 1855, died in 1872.
- Angus Cameron Ross, born in 1853, died in 1920, married Elizabeth Hopwood in 1897.
- John Ross, born in 1857, died in 1909.
- Janet (Jessie) Dunn Ross, born in 1860, died in 1941, married James Dick in 1887.
- William Ross, born in 1862, died in 1864.
- Barbara Ross, born in 1864, died in 1874.
Angus Cameron was listed in the Blenheim arrival list as being 21 years old. Other sources suggest that he was born in 1822, so would have been 18 when he travelled on the Blenheim.
The Old Parish Register for Bracadale records the birth on 27 September 1818 of Angus, natural son of Ewen Cameron, Crackinish with [Ket McPhee – name not clear on record].
From information summarised in From Alba to Aotearoa, after working as a roadbuilder in Wellington, Angus travelled to Port Chalmers in February 1846 with his sister Mary and her family as part of the Kettle survey party, and remained in Otago. He became a shepherd and stockman at Kelvin Grove on the Otago Peninsular owned by Archibald Anderson. By May 1848 Angus was a member of the Armed Constabulary, becoming a senior constable in 1851.
On 25 June 1852, Angus Cameron married Mary Niven at the house of his brother-in-law Donald Ross in Dunedin. Their first child was born two days later.
Mary Niven was born on 11 February 1834 at Bonhill, Dumbarton, Scotland, to Dugald Niven and Christian Swan. She travelled to New Zealand on the Philip Laing with her parents, sister, and two brothers, one born on board, arriving at Port Chalmers from Greenock on 15 April 1848.
Angus left the Armed Constabulary in January 1853 and became a shepherd on the Otepopo property of Charles Suisted, and in 1856 moved to the Papakaio Run, then owned by Richard Filleul, where Angus was a shepherd and Mary a cook. By 1858 Angus had purchased land at Otepopo (now Herbert, about 22 km south-west of Oamaru), part of the property where he had previously worked, then a store, and served as postmaster as well as working as a shepherd and drover.
The Otago Witness of 2 July 1859 reported that Angus Cameron of Otepopo, drover, was charged with unlawfully driving 200 sheep through the property of Alexander Fraser at Moeraki without the notice required by law. He pleaded guilty and was fined at the rate of 6d per head with costs.
Angus Cameron died on 3 April 1873 at Otepopo. His death registration noted that he was “about 50 years”, and described him as a settler. The North Otago Times of 8 April 1873 carried the following report:
Sudden death – A well-known resident of Otepopo, named Angus Cameron, died very suddenly on Thursday morning last, He had been, some days previous, on a visit to Oamaru, and left for home by coach on Thursday. Shortly after his arrival he dropped dead. An inquest was held the following day, at the Royal Hotel, by T.W. Parker, Esq., District Coroner, and a jury, of whom Mr Robert Frame was foreman. Dr Haynes deposed to having made a postmortem examination of the deceased, and found that he had died of syncope, congestion of the lungs, and enlargement of the heart, The heart was double the natural size. The jury returned a verdict of “Died from natural causes”.
Mary (Niven) Cameron died on 27 April 1884, at Invercargill. The Southland Times of 29 April 1884 carried the Death Notice: “CAMERON. — At Ythan street, Invercargill, on the 27th inst. Mary Cameron, widow of the late Angus Cameron, Otepopo, aged 50 years.” Mary died at the house of her mother, Mrs J. Kelly, and is buried in the Kelly/Niven plot at Invercargill’s Eastern Cemetery.
Based on family tree information on Ancestry.com and New Zealand BDM records, Angus and Mary may have had at least nine children [this information requires further clarification and checking]:
- Elizabeth Nivin Cameron, born in 1852, died in 1935, married James Stark Anderson in 1868.
- Hugh Cameron, born in 1855, died in 1934, married Margaret Hunter Brown in 1886.
- Christina Cameron, born in 1857, died in 1857.
- William Cameron, born in 1858, died in 1958.
- Christina Cameron, born in 1860, died in 1940.
- John Cameron, born in 1862, died in 1929, married Elizabeth Susannah Palmer in 1899.
- Mary Cameron, born in 1864, died in 1940.
- Alexander Angus Cameron, born in 1867, died in 1922 (on gravestone as Alexander Angus Cameron-McNeil), married Rose Winifred Dykes in 1902 (with registration in names of both Cameron and McNeil).
- David Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1929.
- Blenheim passenger lists at FamilySearch website
- Family trees on Ancestry.com
- ScotlandsPeople website
- PapersPast website
- NZ BDM records
- Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters.
- From Alba to Aotearoa, Rebecca Lenihan, 2015