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Duncan and Marjory Fraser

The initial passenger list for the Blenheim included the family of Duncan Fraser, his wife and nine children, with the note from Donald McDonald, “Has been long known to me and has excellent certificates.”

The initial list included entries for Simon and John Fraser from Kumachroch which were crossed out, as was a Francis Fraser, 22, a housemaid from Fort William, noted as “Niece to D Fraser Smith Corran and will be a member of his family.” The embarkation list also included a Jane Fraser, 20, housemaid,  along with this family, but the next lists including the arrival list had Jane Fraser located separately from the family.  Her age indicates that she was not a daughter of Duncan and Margaret.

The Fraser family on the Blenheim included:

  • Duncan Fraser, 40, Corran, blacksmith
  • Margaret Fraser, his wife, 36
  • John Fraser, his son, 17, blacksmith
  • Catherine Fraser, his daughter, 16, sempstress
  • Isabella Fraser, his daughter, 15, housemaid
  • Margaret Fraser, his daughter, 14, housemaid
  • Elizabeth Fraser, his daughter, 13, housemaid
  • Ann Fraser, his daughter, 12
  • Alexander Fraser, his son, 8
  • Donald Fraser, his son, 7
  • Duncan Fraser, his son, 4
  • Thomas Fraser, born at sea.

Spelling: The embarkation passenger list for the Blenheim used “Frazer” but the initial list, other documents and subsequent usage have “Fraser”.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Duncan Fraser and Margaret (Marjory) Fraser

Duncan Fraser was born around 1795 in Dalcataig, near Invermoriston in Invernesshire to Donald Fraser and Katherine McDonell, and at a young age moved to Fort Augustus where he worked as a blacksmith. Apparently his father was 107 years 7 months and 7 days old when he died.

Marjory Fraser was from the Lovat family of Frasers, her grandfather being a Captain in the 42nd Highlanders (the Black Watch). Her father was Alexander Fraser and her mother was Elizabeth McDonell.  Marjory’s younger sister, Jane Fraser, also emigrated on the Blenheim.

Duncan Fraser and Margaret (Marjory) Fraser were married on 24 November 1821 at Fort Augustus, Inverness. After five years they moved to Corran, on Loch Linnhe, where they managed a small trading store and post office.

Duncan and Margaret had one child who died in Scotland in infancy. The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour, recorded that Thomas, son of Duncan Fraser and Marjory Fraser, Corran, was born on 12 October 1839. This Thomas died 26 days after his birth.

In 1840 the Fraser family sold up their business and emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim.

In Wellington, Duncan Fraser established a farm at Wadestown on his country section, and on his town section built the Highlander Inn, a smithy and related buildings. His home was built at the top of what is now Hanover Street towards Wadestown Road.

The Highland Inn was one of Duncan Fraser’s commercial activities, and in 1849 the Wellington Independent of 23 June reported that he was fined 40 shillings for “having supplied liquors and suffered the same to be drunk on the premises, between the hours of 10 o’clock of the night of the 13th, and 6 o’clock of the morning of the 14th instant, contrary to the provisions of the Licensing Ordinance.”

In 1849 Duncan Fraser had purchased land in Rangitikei which formed the basis for the property called “Pukehou”. Initially John and Alexander Fraser settled the property in 1851, then Duncan and Marjory followed later. Sir James Wilson, in Early Rangitikei, wrote,”The family which, undoubtedly, had the greatest effect upon the settlement in Rangitikei was that of Duncan Fraser and his wife Marjorie.”

Duncan and Marjory had more children after they arrived in New Zealand:

  • Hugh Fraser, born in 1843 (twin), died in 1934, married Christina Ann McDonell (descendant of a Blenheim passenger) in 1874.
  • Margery Fraser, born in 1843 (twin), died in 1868, married Francis Morris Deighton in 1868.
  • Catherine (Kate) Fraser, born in 1846, died in 1935.
  • Jane Crosby Fraser, born in 1848, died in 1886, married James Richardson (younger brother of Thomas Furner Richardson) in 1871.

Duncan Fraser died on 6 August 1879, aged 84, at Parewanui.  The Wanganui Chronicle of 11 August 1879 published an obituary:

Death of an old Settler – Referring to the death of Mr Duncan Fraser, of Lower Rangitikei, who died on Tuesday and was buried on Saturday last, the Advocate says: We are not aware of his exact age, but should say his years must have numbered considerably over four score. He was one of the first settlers in the lower district, which is now to a great extent peopled by his decendants. The old gentleman lived to see his grand-children and great-grand-children, many of the latter being well-grown young men and women. It is doubtful if there is another settler in the North Island whose direct decendants are so numerous – not to speak of the connections by marriage which altogether represent almost a young colony. The late Mr Fraser was one of the hardy type of colonists, who settled down in the unknown country, and made his home in his adopted land. Courageous, persevering and industrious, reclamation of wilderness was to him the daily work of his life as a colonist. That he and his prospered, and spread themselves over the land, is not matter for surprise, when the stern stuff of which they were composed is remembered. Till comparatively recently, the late Mr Fraser was a vigorous, hale, hearty, old man; but a long life brought with it declining health and strength, and finally dissolution. It makes one melancholy to have to pen these notices on the passing away of one and another of the old colonists – the men and women who had resided for forty years and upwards in the district, and who had been associated with it from the first days of settlement. Soon none, of the sterling old colonists of half a century ago will be held in reverence by the succeeding generations. The funeral, which, we expect, will compose a very numerous assemblage of mourners, will leave Parawanui at 1 o’clock on Saturday.

Marjory Fraser died on 30 January 1893, aged 89. The Wanganui Chronicle of 3 February 1893 carried the Death Notice: “Fraser – On January 30th, at her residence, Fraser Field Cottage, Pukekoe, Lower Rangitikei, Marjorie, relict of the late Duncan Fraser, and mother of Mr Donald Fraser, aged 80 years.” The Manawatu Herald of 2 February 1893 published an obituary:

Death of Mrs Duncan Fraser.
Another link in the chain that binds the days of first settlement of the colony to the present was broken on Monday evening, by the death, at her residence, Fraserfield, Parewanui, of Mrs Marjorie Fraser, relict of the late Duncan Fraser, and mother of John, Donald, Thomas and Hugh Fraser. The deceased lady was born at Inverness, in Scotland, on the 30th of October 1803, and died, as we have said, on Monday evening at the ripe old age of 89 years. The late Mr and Mrs Fraser arrived at Port Nicholson on the 27th December, 1840, with a family of 10 children, one of whom was born in the Bay of Biscay on the voyage to the colony. After a residence in Wellington of 12 years, Mr and Mrs Fraser came to Rangitikei in 1852, and took up their abode. At that time the settlers in the district, or rather the European male inhabitants of Rangitikei were Thos. Scott, at the ferry; James McDonell at the Hoe; Adam Keir, the first owner of McKelvie’s property on the Rangitikei side of the river; Andrew Green (father of Mr William Green of Bulls), who owned the land where Mr Pitt’s house stands; Thomas Tiley, who owned the place on which now stands the residence of Messrs Keiller Bros; Laurie Daniell and a manager of Killymoon; James Bell, on what is now Woodendean, then the property of Mr Skipworth, for whom Bell had brought up some sheep. In the upper portion of the district the only settlers were Wm. Swainson, on Tututotara, and Mr H. Ross, father of Mr Alfred Boss, of Marton. These settlers had come to Rangitikei in 1850 and 1851. During 1851 Hugh and Donald Fraser came up, and Donald, who arrived six months after his brother, had been here six months before the arrival of his father and mother. From this it will be seen that the settlement was almost in its infancy when Mr and Mrs Fraser cast in their lot with it, and for over 40 years the deceased lady has watched its rise and progress. Mrs Fraser was a lady who was devoted to her Church, and attended with great regularity until a short time before her death. She was a very well read woman, and possessed a most retentive memory being able to relate with great accuracy incidents connected with her childhood’s days. One of these, and one which she was very fond of telling, was of the stratagems to which the residents of Inverness resorted in order to evade the press gangs who traversed the country in the days of George III for the purpose of pressing men into the service to fight for their country against Napoleon. In addition to incidents of her early Scottish life, Mrs Fraser could rehearse as correctly as if reading from a book the geneaology of nearly the whole of the leading Highland families. Just prior to her death Mrs Fraser spoke with great clearness and distinctness of many incidents in her early history. In the early days of Rangitikei, when no houses of accommodation existed, the kindly and generous nature of the now departed lady was shown by the liberal hospitality which she so freely extended to travellers. This gained for her the esteem and regard of all with whom she came in contact, and everywhere she was spoken of in terms of the highest praise. After their arrival, the family increased to 14, of whom six daughters and three sons were married in the colony. The deceased’s grandchildren now number 92, her great grandchildren 201, and her great great grandchildren 6. On the day of the Auckland Jubilee a rather remarkable incident happened at deceased’s residence, Fraserfield, Pukehoe, when some of the numerous older relatives paid her a visit. When seated at dinner, it was discovered that there were present Mrs Fraser, her eldest son, a daughter, a granddaughter and a grandson, a great grandson, and a great great grandson and daughter five generations all dining around the one table. Mrs Fraser’s death was by no means unexpected, her health having been in a very precarious state for some time past. At a few minutes past seven on Monday night she passed peacefully away. Very general sympathy is expressed for the relatives in their bereavement, in which we sincerely join.

In his memoir, Alexander McDonald, writing around 1905, said, “The family of Mr Duncan Fraser and his wife who came out with us must now number fully one thousand souls…I do think it will be very remiss on the part of Mr Donald Fraser and his brothers and sisters, if they do not before it is too late construct a proper Whakapapa, or family tree of the descendants of Duncan Fraser and his wife who came out to New Zealand in the year 1840.” The book Pukehou: The Frasers of the Lower Rangitikei, published in 1996, does just that.

John Fraser

John Fraser was born on 1 November 1822 at Fort Augustus, and was described as a blacksmith of 17 on the Blenheim passenger list.

In Wellington, John worked with his father at the blacksmith’s shop they established on their town section, near where Tinakori Road now starts from the Hutt Road.  John left to join the armed police under Major Durie. In 1851 John and his brother Alexander went up to the Rangitikei district to work on the land their father had purchased.

John Fraser died on 21 January 1898 at Bulls. The Feilding Star of 25 January carried the Death Notice: “Fraser – At Karaka Terrace, Matahiwi, on 21st January, 1898, John, eldest son of the late Duncan and Marjory Fraser, aged 77.” The Manawatu Herald of 27 January 1898 reported, “Mr John Fraser, 77 years of age, who was one of the pioneers of the Rangitikei district, died on Friday last at Matahiwi.”

Catherine Fraser

The Old Parish Register for Boleskine and Abertarff or Fort Augustus recorded that Catherine was born on 2 December 1823, the daughter of Duncan Fraser, smith, Fort Augustus, and of Marjory Fraser his wife.

Catherine Fraser was a sempstress of 16 on the Blenheim passenger list.

Catherine Fraser married Gregor McGregor, a fellow-passenger on the Blenheim, on 6 November 1841, a month before her 18th birthday.

Further details of their life can be found at the post for Gregor McGregor, while the following lists their children:

  • Helen McGregor, born in 1842, died in 1876, married Isaac Sargeant in 1865.
  • John McGregor, born in 1844, died in 1916, married (1) Christian McDonald McGregor in 1871, (2) Florence Ann Beaver in 1896.
  • Duncan McGregor, born in 1845 in NSW, Australia, died in 1923, married Annie Norah Smith in 1869.
  • James McGregor, born in 1847 in NSW, Australia, died in 1849 in NSW, Australia.
  • Jane McGregor, born in 1849, died in 1943, married Gregor McLeod in 1871.
  • Alexander McGregor, born in 1851, died in 1909, married Alice Handley in 1890.
  • Catherine McGregor, born in 1853, died in 1920, married Nathaniel Sutherland in 1874.
  • Margery McGregor, born in 1855, died in 1940, married Hugh Calders (son of Blenheim passengers) in 1873.
  • Gregor McGregor, born in 1857, died in 1942, married (1) Te Pura Manihera in 1879, (2) Paurina Haami in 1921.
  • James McGregor, born in 1859, died in 1925, married Florence Ellen McIlvride (formerly Maplesden) in 1924.
  • Donald McGregor, born in 1861, died in 1864.
  • Matilda McGregor, born in 1863, died in 1894, married Angus MacIntosh in 1891.
  • Mary McGregor, born in 1866, died in 1936.
  • Donald McGregor, born in 1869, died in 1953, married Henrietta Isabella Burr in 1895.
Isabella Fraser

The Old Parish Register for Boleskine and Abertarff or Fort Augustus recorded that Isabella was born on 10 May 1825, the daughter of Duncan Fraser, Smith at Fort Augustus, and of Mary Fraser his wife.

Isabella Fraser was a housemaid of 15 when she embarked on the Blenheim with her family in 1840.

Isabella Fraser married James John Hopkins Stevens on 20 July 1847.

James John Hopkins Stevens was born in England, possibly in Bath, Somerset, England, around 1826.

The birth registrations of the children born in Petone give James’ occupation as boatman. The family moved to the Rangitikei district in 1855 where, in 1859, they took over the Handley Arms Hotel.

James John Hopkins Stevens died on 18 August 1860 at Parewanui, aged 42.  The Wellington Independent of 21 August 1860 carried the Death Notice: “On the 12th instant, at Rangitiki, Mr J.H.Stevens, Publican, aged 42 years.”

As outlined in Pukehou, James’ will suggests that Isabella’s two oldest children, who were born before the marriage were not his although they took his name. The will contained, “…and education of my children Robert, Isabella, Amelia, Duncan, Alexander and James as likewise of two natural children begotten of my said wife named Eliza Pain and John Bell…”

Isabella (Fraser) Stevens married Philip Bevan on 11 April 1863.

The Wellington Independent of 6 December 1866 noted that the stockyard on the property of Philip Bevan, in the Lower Rangitikei District, had been proclaimed a public pound, and Philip Bevan was appointed the keeper thereof. Philip Bevan died on 10 February 1869. The Evening Post of 15 May 1869 noted, “Taranaki boasts of a lady auctioneer, and Lower Rangitikei, not to be outdone, has acquired a lady poundkeeper, his Honour the Superintendent having conferred that office on Mrs Isabella Bevan.”

Isabella (Fraser) Bevan, formerly Stevens, married Joseph Watkins on 18 September 1871.

Joseph Watkins was a carpenter, born around 1830 in Lincolnshire, England.

Joseph Watkins died on 8 June 1889, aged 59.

The Wairarapa Daily Times of 30 September 1901 reported:

RANGITIKEI NEWS.
(By Telegraph—Special Daily Times). Bulls, This Day. I am sorry to say that Mrs Watkins, mother of Mr John Stevens, M.H.R., continues in a very low state, and is not expected to recover. Her serious condition has necessitated the absence of Mr Stevens from his Parliamentary duties for a considerable time, Mr James H. Stevens, postmaster Hawera, has also been down to see his mother. Mrs Watkins is related to nearly every settler in the Lower Rangitikei district, of which she and her family, the Frasers, were among the oldest identities.

Isabella (Fraser) Watkins, formerly Bevan, previously Stevens, died on 6 November 1901, aged 76.  The Hawera and Normanby Star of 11 November 1901 reported:

The Rangitikei Advocate says: The death of Mrs Isabella Watkins, which took place at her son’s residence, Bulls, is announced. The deceased lady was the mother of Mr John Stevens, M.H.R., Mr J. H. Stevens, of Hawera, and Mr Robert Stevens, of Palmerston North. She was the daughter of the late Duncan Fraser, of Pukehou, and arrived in Wellington in the Blenheim on Christmas Day, 1840, after a voyage of nearly five months, which was then thought to be fairly good time. Mr Fraser’s family settled in Rangitikei about 1849, where they have grown in numbers probably far exceeding tbat of any family in the country. Mrs Watkins, during some months of suffering, had shown a fortitude and cheeriness which reconciled her friends to the parting.

Isabella had possibly eleven children:

Before her marriage to James John Hopkins Stevens:

  • Eliza Stevens (Pain), born in 1843, died in 1878, married (1) Richard Howard in 1863, (2) Malcolm Walker in 1871.
  • John Stevens (Bell), born in 1845, died in 1916, married (1) Margaret Campion (cousin) in 1870, and (2) Annie McMaster (daughter of Blenheim passengers) in 1880. He was MHR for Rangitikei 1881-1884, 1893-1896, for Manawatu 1896-1902, 1905-1908.

With James John Hopkins Stevens:

  • Isabella Stevens, born in 1848, died in 1929, married (1) Frederick Manuel Gilbert Richards in 1865, and (2) William Henry Sly in 1909.
  • Robert Richard Stevens, born in 1849, died in 1930, married Marjory Campion (cousin) in 1874.
  • Duncan Hopkins Stevens, born in 1851, married Annie Louisa Davy in 1882.
  • Amelia Stevens, born in 1854, died in 1876, married Thomas McKay Drummond in 1872.
  • James Hopkins Stevens, born in 1856, died in 1946, married Delia Richardson in 1881.
  • Alexander Stevens, born in 1858.

With Philip Bevan:

  • Philip Bevan, born in 1863, died in 1929, married Elizabeth Leech in 1888.
  • Alice Bevan, born in 1864, died in 1946, married Adam Bissett in 1884.
  • Margaret (Margery) Bevan, born in 1867, died in 1942, married Arthur Vaughan Wynn Kirkby in 1887.
  • George Frederick Bevan, born in 1866, died in 1921 in Sydney, Australia, married Amelia Barnes in 1893 in Sydney, Australia.
Margaret Fraser

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie, listings for Corran, recorded that Margaret, daughter of Duncan Fraser and May Fraser, Corran, was born on 26 September 1826 and baptised on 10 October 1826.

Margaret Fraser was a housemaid of 14 on the Blenheim passenger list.

The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 6 September 1843 carried the Marriage Notice: “On the 7th August, Thomas M’Kenzie, formerly of Roskeen, Ross-shire, farmer, to Margaret, daughter of Mr. Duncan Frazer, blacksmith, Ballahalish.”

The story of the family of Thomas McKenzie and Margaret Fraser is told in Poyntzfield, by Rob Knight.

Thomas Urquhart McKenzie was born on 6 July 1820 at Arboll, Parish of Tarbet, Black Isle, Ross-shire in Scotland, the son of Robert Bruce Aeneas McKenzie and Harriet Ross.  He emigrated to New Zealand on the Oriental, arriving in Wellington on 31 January 1840.  After working as a shepherd for a year in the Wairarapa he bought a horse and cart and began a carrying business between Wellington and Petone.

The family lived initially in Kaiwarra, then at Porirua in 1849, before moving up the coast to Turakina in 1850.  In January 1855 they moved to Parewanui in the Lower Rangitikei district.   In 1897, following severe flooding of the Rangitikei River and their Poyntzfield house, Margaret and Thomas moved to Feilding.

Thomas Urquhart McKenzie died on 16 May 1904 aged 83.  The Manawatu Standard of 17 May 1904 published the following obituary:

T. U. McKenzie.
Another old and respected colonist —Mr T. U. McKenzie —has passed away. The late Mr McKenzie, who was one of the earliest settlers on this coast, died at his residence, Feilding, last night, The deceased gentleman arrived in Wellington in 1840 by the ship Oriental, and after having resided at the Upper Hutt, Turakina, and Parawanui (lower Rangitikei), he took up his residence in Feilding a few years ago. Prior to going to Feilding the late Mr McKenzie, who was one of those sturdy pioneer settlers who have made this colony what it is, resided on his estate, known as Poyntsfield, at Parawanui for many years, and be became widely known and highly respected by all those with whom he came in contact, and his demise will be regretted by a wide  circle of friends, especially those who are numbered amongst the early settlers of the lower Rangitikei and Manawatu. The end was not unexpected for the deceased gentleman, who was between 83 and 84 years of age, had been in failing health for some time. The deceased leaves a large grownup family of sons and daughters to mourn their loss. The funeral will leave his late residence, Kimbolton road, Feilding, at 11 a.m. to-morrow for the Fraser private cemetery at Parawanui.

Margaret (Fraser) McKenzie died on 9 April 1909, aged 82.   The Feilding Star of 10 April 1909 published an obituary:

MRS. MARGARET McKENZIE. The death occurred at her residence, Kimbolton-road, yesterday, of Mrs Margaret McKenzie, relict of Mr T. U. McKenzie, at the age of 82 years. The deceased lady had been gradually sinking for some time, and her relatives were quite prepared for the end. Mrs McKenzie was the daughter of the late Mr Duncan Fraser, of Pukehou, Parawanui, and was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, in 1826. She came with her parents to New Zealand in the ship “Blenheim” in 1840, landing at the Hutt. Port Nicholson in those days was nothing but bush and Maori pas. In 1842 she married Mr T. U Mackenzie, and resided in Wellington till 1849. Mr and Mrs McKenzie then lived for a year at Porirua, and from 1850 to 1853 at Turakina. The family then took up their residence at “Poyntsfield,” Lower Rangitikei, where they lived till 1897, when they came to Feilding. Mr McKenzie died here in May, 1904. The deceased lady went through all the experiences of the early settlers, roughing it as only the bush pioneers had to, feeling the terrors of the Maori wars, and braving all the dangers of the vanguard of civilisation. The house at “Poyntsfield” was known far and wide for its hospitality to both the friend and the stranger, and it was no uncommon occurrence for the inmates to be called up in the night to provide for some needy stranger. The garden was also looked on as a mark on the country side. Mr and Mrs McKenzie kept “open house” for the whole district for which they have long been remembered by visitors and old residents of the Rangitikei and adjacent districts. Of a family of twenty-one, there are seven sons and seven daughters living, who also have numerous children. The funeral will take place at 12.15 p.m. on Monday.

Margaret and Thomas had at least nineteen children!

  • Eliza McKenzie, born in 1843, died in 1939, married Gustav August Hermann Rockel in 1866.
  • Margaret McKenzie, born in 1844, died in 1921, married William Hair in 1863.
  • John Alexander McKenzie, born in 1845, died in 1863.
  • Robert Bruce McKenzie, born in 1848, died in 1914, married Grace McAdam Bryce in 1876.
  • Duncan Daniel McKenzie, born in 1849, died in 1901, married Alice Eugenia Campbell in 1876.
  • Thomas McKenzie, born in 1851, died in 1914, married Caroline Amelia Amon in 1875.
  • Harriet Ann McKenzie, born in 1852, died in 1885, married Allan Tamberlain Campbell in 1873.
  • Daniel McKenzie, born in 1854, died in 1891.
  • Marjorie (Mysie) McKenzie, born in 1856, died in 1892, married Duncan Campion (cousin) in 1877.
  • Alexander McKenzie, born in 1857, died in 1941, married Eliza Fox Clouston in 1884.
  • William McKenzie, born in 1859, died in 1942, married Elizabeth Bryce in 1882.
  • Charles McKenzie, born in 1860, died in 1943, married Amy Aldrich in 1897.
  • David Hogg McKenzie, born in 1861, died in 1953, married Eva Redfern-Hardisty in 1911.
  • Joan McKenzie, born in 1863, died in 1926, married Charles Edward Levien in 1883.
  • Annie McKenzie, born in 1865, died in 1959, married John Deroles in 1891.
  • James Alexander McKenzie, born in 1866, died in 1947.
  • Mary McKenzie, born in 1868 (twin), died in 1946, married Arthur Hunter in 1897.
  • Katherine McKenzie, born in 1868 (twin), died in 1919, married Charles Fitzherbert in 1889.
  • Jessie Ross Monro Isabel McKenzie, born in 1871, died in 1855, married Edgar Percy Binns in 1896.
Elizabeth Fraser

Elizabeth Fraser was born on 29 January 1828, at Corran, and on the Blenheim passenger list was described as a housemaid of 13.

The Wellington Independent of 21 June 1848 carried the Notice: “Married – By license, in the Wesleyan Church, Manners Street, on Tuesday June 20, by the Rev.S. Ironside, Mr Cornelius Campion, to Miss Elizabeth Frazer, all of Wellington.”

Cornelius Campion was born in Leinster, Ireland in 1818. In 1837 he enlisted in the 65th Regiment. In 1846 the Regiment provided the guards for a convict shipment to Hobart, was then posted to Sydney, and then to Port Nicholson when disturbances with Maori broke out in the Hutt Valley. In May 1846 Cornelius Campion purchased his own discharge from the Regiment.

Following the marriage, the couple remained in Wellington for three years or so, with Cornelius noted as a licensed victualler in his children’s birth registrations. They moved initially to Wanganui, then to the Rangitikei district, eventually purchasing a section later called Raumai.  Around 1868 the Campions shifted to Pine Creek at Carnavon.

Cornelius Campion died on 28 March 1872, aged 53. The Wanganui Herald of 17 April 1872 carried the Death Notice: “Campion – At his residence, Pine Creek Carnavon, Manawatu, on the 28th March Cornelius Campion, aged 53 years.”

Elizabeth remained at Pine Creek until 1904 when she moved to Palmerston North to live with her daughter Elizabeth.

Elizabeth (Fraser) Campion died on 11 October 1904. The Wanganui Chronicle of 17 October 1904 reported, “A well known Rangitikei, settler, Mrs. Campion, sen., who lived for more than 30 years at Pine Creek, Carnarvon, died on Tuesday at Palmerston, at the residence of her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Bryce. Mrs. Campion was the widow of Mr. Cornelius Campion, who held a large tract of land at Parewanui in the early days.”

Elizabeth and Cornelius had at least ten children:

  • Margaret Campion, born in 1849, died in 1879, married John Stevens (cousin) in 1870.
  • Margery Campion, born in 1850, died in 1941, married Robert Richard Stevens (cousin) in 1874.
  • James Campion, born in 1853, died in 1936, married Janet McGregor McDonell (daughter of Blenheim passenger) in 1883 .
  • Duncan Campion, born in 1855 (twin), died in 1928, married Margery (Mysie) McKenzie (cousin) in 1877.
  • Elizabeth Campion, born in 1855 (twin), died in 1949, married Frederick George Bryce in 1883.
  • Cornelius Campion, born in 1858, died in 1879.
  • Alexander Campion, born in 1859, died in 1929, married Margaret Gleeson in 1885.
  • Mary Campion, born in 1863, died in 1942, married Joseph Penny Hammond in 1884.
  • Kate Ellen Campion, born in 1866, died in 1924.
  • Evelyn (Eva) Jessie Campion, born in 1869, died in 1951, married John Joseph Bryce in 1893.
Ann Fraser

Ann Fraser was born on 12 September 1829 at Corran, and was 12 years old when she travelled with the family on the Blenheim to New Zealand in 1840.

The Wellington Independent of 26 December 1849 carried the Marriage Notice: “On Christmas Day at St. Peter’s Church, Te Aro, by the Rev. Robert Cole, Mr. T.F.Richardson of Wellington, to Ann, fifth daughter of Mr Duncan Frazer, of Rose Mount, Wade’s Town.”

Thomas Furner Richardson was born in Hastings, Sussex, England, on 1 April 1825. he accompanied his parents, Thomas and Delia Richardson, on the Arab

Thomas Furner Richardson died on 10 October 1904, aged 80.

Ann (Fraser) Richardson died on 8 October 1907, aged 78. The Wanganui Chronicle of 11 October 1907 provided an obituary:

It is with regret we announce the death of a very old resident of Bulls, in the person of Mrs.Thomas F. Richardson who passed away at her residence, Kanaka Terrace, on Tuesday, at the good old age of 78 years. Deceased was one of the few remaining old colonists. She arrived at Wellington, New Zealand, in the ship Blenheim, in 1840, landing with her parents, the late Duncan and Marjorie Fraser. Mrs. Richardson married at the age of 21 and resided in Wellington for some years, and then came to Rangitikei, in which district she has lived for 47 years. The late Mrs. Richardson (says the “Advocate”) leaves a grown-up family of 13 children, three sons and ten daughters, to regret their loss. The sons are Thos. F. Richardson, Mangamahoe; G. W. J Richardson, Manawatu; W. B. Richardson. Karaka Terrace. The daughters are — Mrs. J. M. Broughton, Bulls; Mrs. F. Thomas, Rangitikei; Mrs. S. Bellve, Auckland; Mrs. W. Richards, Manawatu; Mrs. C. Richards, Rangitikei; Mrs. H. Ryder, Petone; Mrs. J. Cockburn, Manawatu; Mrs. F. Simpson, Manawatu; and Miss Richardson, of Karaka Terrace. There are 61 grandchildren living, and 19 greatgrandchildren.

Anne and Thomas had at least fifteen children:

  • Delia Sarah Richardson, born in 1850, died in 1883, married Richard Bernard Nolan in 1872.
  • Thomas Fraser Richardson, born in 1852, died in 1928, married Unaiki Wairaka Karemihana.
  • Caroline Ann Richardson, born in 1853, died in 1934, married John Markwick Broughton in 1876.
  • John Alexander Richardson, born in 1856, died in 1898.
  • George Wellington Jennings Richardson, born in 1858, died in 1933, married Helena Paul in 1892.
  • Margery Elizabeth Richardson, born in 1860, died in 1931, married Frederick Henry Paap in 1885.
  • William Burgess Richardson, born in 1862, died in 1913.
  • Mercy Olivia Richardson, born in 1864, died in 1950, married Stephen Bellve in 1884.
  • Kate Gertrude Richardson, born in 1867, died in 1956, married Walter Joseph Richards in 1891.
  • Mary Emma Richardson, born in 1869 (twin), died in 1956, married Henry Edmund Ryder in 1894.
  • Magdalene Fraser Richardson, born in 1869 (twin), died in 1944, married Charles Montrose Richards in 1902.
  • Jessie Furner Richardson, born in 1870, died in 1966, married George Frederick Yorke in 1909.
  • Mabel Minnie Richardson, born in 1872, died in 1963, married Henry William Cawood Henderson in 1894.
  • Clara Florence Richardson, born in 1874, died in 1957, married John Cockburn in 1902.
  • Beatrice Gordon Richardson, born in 1875, died in 1950, married Fred Thomas Simpson in 1902.
Alexander Fraser

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour, listings for Ardgour, recorded that Alexander, son of Duncan Fraser and Marjory Fraser, Corran, was born 22nd September 1833 and baptised on 30 September 1833.

Alexander Fraser was 8 years old when he traveled to New Zealand with his family on the Blenheim.

Alexander Fraser died in on 30 December 1858, aged 25, of tuberculosis.  The Wellington Independent  of 1 January 1859 carried the Notice: “Died – At his father’s residence, Rangitikei, on the 30th ultimo, Mr Alexander Fraser, aged 25 years, after a long and painful illness.”

Donald Fraser

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour, listings for Ardgour, recorded that Donald, son of Duncan Fraser and Marjory Fraser, Corran, was born February 28 1835 and baptised on March 1 1835.

Donald Fraser was 7 years old when he sailed to New Zealand on the Blenheim.

In 1852 he travelled up to the Rangitikei district, moving stock to the land purchased by his father.    Donald Fraser spent some time seeking his fortune at the goldfields of Victoria and Otago, and also spent some time in Hawkes Bay, before returning to Rangitikei to manage Pukehou, and to purchase adjoining properties.

Donald Fraser married Margaret Smith on 11 April 1864.

Margaret Smith was born at Colchester, Essex, England, in 1842, and arrived in Wellington with her family around 1847. Her parents established a general store business on the corner of Molesworth and Hill Streets, and her brother, Francis Wilson Smith, became a friend of Donald Fraser.

Margaret (Smith) Fraser died on 3 December 1888, aged 46.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Wellington Provincial District), 1897, included the following description of Donald Fraser:

Fraser, Donald, Farmer, Pukehoe, Rangitikei. The subject of this sketch was born in Argyllshire Scotland, in 1835, and came to the Colony with his parents in 1840 in the ship “Benbow,” [sic] his father having an appointment with the New Zealand Company. Mr. Fraser received his education in Wellington, where he remained until 1851, leaving Wellington for Rangitikei to work on his father’s farm. In 1856 he went to the Victorian diggings, and two years later returned to Rangitikei, which he again left early in 1859 for Hawkes Bay, where he remained till August, 1860. Leaving Hawkes Bay he went to the Otago diggings, where he spent six months with better success than on the Victorian diggings, returning to Rangitikei to manage his father’s farm. Mr. Fraser subsequently bought land adjoining that of his father, and now possesses a fine estate. He has always taken a keen part in the public matters of his district. As a breeder of blood stock, his name is well known in the North Island. In 1893 Mr. Fraser unsuccessfully contested the Otaki seat with Mr. J. G. Wilson.

The Manawatu Standard of 31 December 1912 published a letter from Donald Fraser to the Rangitikei Advocate, recalling his memories of Christmas Day 1840:

CHRISTMAS DAY, 1840.
Mr Donald Fraser writes to the Rangitikei Advocate as follows, under date December 25th: — With your approval I enclose a few notes that this day brings to my memory of Christmas, 1840, which I spent in Wellington Harbour on board the ship Blenheim. On Boxing day we landed at Kaiwarra. There were six or seven whares built by the natives at Taita of raupo, and partitioned off in about four rooms each with blue blankets for the doors. The families were allotted one or two rooms according to the number of them. They were principally Highlanders. At that time there must have been some 400 Maoris there in two pahs, one on each side of the stream. The head chief was Taringi Kuri or “Dog’s Ear.” We lived there for about i year and then shifted to Wellington. There were no roads, only foottracks from Wellington to Petone and to Porirua at that time. There must have been at least 5000 natives within an area of 12 or 13 miles of Wellington; now I suppose 100 or less would include all, and there were no half-castes in that 5000. The changes in the short space of 72 years are most wonderful. The ladies of the early 40’s when they went to dances had to go in bullock drays as there were no buggies or traps. Mr Thomas Kempton and Mr Peter Hume each had bullock drays and were the principal carriers of goods and passengers. There are still living 10 or 12 of the Blenheim people, myself, my sister, Mrs Gregor McGregor, Mrs James McDonald, of the Lower Rangitikei, her brother, Duncan Cameron, of Greytown, Wairarapa, Mrs Cumberland McDonald, of Wanganui, and her brother, Mr Dugald Cameron. There is also my brother, Thomas Fraser, of Longburn, who was born on the voyage in the Bay of Biscay; and Mr Alexander Ferguson, of the Upper Tutaenui, was also born on the voyage, of whom all are alive; and Mrs Thomas Kebble, of Wellington. She was born in Scotland, and is now, I should think, over 80 years.

The Feilding Star of 10 August 1917 recalled an incident from the life of Donald Fraser:

FRASER AND SALISBURY.
An incident in the career of the late Mr Donald Fraser is related by a contemporary. In 1897 the late Mr Fraser went to England to attend the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. After a great deal of difficulty he had an interview with Lord Salisbury, then Prime Minister. The latter failed to recognise Mr Fraser till the latter reminded him of an incident which had occurred many years before in New Zealand. It appears that one day Lord Salisbury was walking from Wellington to Rangitikei and in stopping on the way had lunch with a boy (Mr Fraser) on the beach. Lord Salisbury, when reminded of the incident, accorded a hearty welcome to Mr Fraser, in consequence of which the latter had a most enjoyable time, witnessing the jubilee celebrations from the best vantage spots.

Donald Fraser died on 4 August 1917 aged 82. The Wanganui Chronicle of 6 August 1917 carried the Death Notice: “Fraser — At his residence, Pukehou. Bulls, on August 4, Donald Fraser, aged 82 years. The funeral of the late Mr Donald Fraser will leave his late residence, Pukehou, Bulls, for the private cemetery at Parewanui to-day (Monday).” The same issue published his obituary:

DEATH OF MR. DONALD FRASER.
An old, highly esteemed, and widely-known pioneer settler of the Rangitikei district passed to his rest on Saturday morning last, in the person of Mr. Donald Fraser. The deceased gentleman, who had attained the ripe age of 82 years, was born in Coron, Argyle, on Loch Linne, Scotland, in February, 1835. Mr Fraser was wont to describe his father as being “one of a family of fifteen, his mother one of fifteen, and himself one of fifteen.” They left Greenock in August, 184O, in the 450 ton barque Blenheim. and arrived in Wellington on Christmas Day of the same year. The passengers were mostly from the Highlands, and landed at Kaiwarra on December 27th. The father, Mr Duncan Fraser, set up as a blacksmith on the beach near Tinakori Road, Wellington. When the Rangitikei block was purchased from the natives he went to look at it, riding on subsequently to Wanganui, where his daughter, Mrs Campion, was living. On his return he purchased 200 acres from the Government at 10s. per acre. The family then went to live in the Rangitikei. Mr Donald Fraser came up in 1852 with some cattle, he and his brother driving them all the way from Wellington, and travelling on foot themselves, The family had the greatest influence upon the settlement of the Rangitikei, its descendents some years ago numbering well over a thousand, and embracing the McGregors, the McKenzies, the Stevenses, the Campions, and the Richardsons, besides those bearing the name of the clan itself. Mr. Donald Fraser lived at Pukehou ever since he went there in 1852, with the exception of brief intervals when he caught the spirit of the goldfields, and made trips to the diggings in Victoria and Otago. He became widely known throughout the surrounding districts as a farmer on a large scale, though taking little part in public affairs. He was best known, perhaps, for his connection with the turf, wnich extended right back to the early days. His first recollections of racing were of rough and ready meetings on Petone beach and Te Aro flat, in Wellington. He had a vivid memory of such old-time champions as Figaro, Riddlesworth, and Sharkie. Mr Fraser used to do some long tides at different times before the days of trains, and on several occasions rode from Wellington to Pukehou by the old beach road from Paekakariki in 15 or 16 hours. He had a favourite horse by Peter Flat called Cracker, a wonderful horse with easy paces. He bred and owned many good animals, and raced horses for over forty years. Among some of those he bred were Fifeshire. Don Juan, St. Albans, Armourer, Barbarian, Gun Cotton, Bay Leaf, Laurel, Daphne, Lorelei, Laurestina, Glory, Flora McDonald, Titokowaru, Plain Bill, Speculation, Ngatuera and Brown Spec. The greatest of all his horses, however, was the champion Advance, by Vanguard—Laurel, who in his day won the finest prizes of the New Zealand turf. Laurel was subsequently owned and raced by Mr T. G. Collins, of Rangitikei Line, and Plain Bill was raced by Mr Tom Scott of Parewanui.
For many years Mr Fraser had held the position of elected patron of the Rangitikei Racing Club. One of the first horses he raced was Fifeshire, who ran at Wanganui in 1864, so that for over forty years he has been the owner of racing stock. Mr Fraser had only been ill tor a fortnight before his death, and previously had scarcely a day’s illness in the course of his long life. Up till a month ago he was attending the stock sales and buying and selling with as much keenness and acumen as he had ever done. A family of nine are left to mourn their loss. The sons are Mr Duncan Fraser and Mr Alexander Fraser (who left New Zealand with the 23rd Reinforcements), and the daughters Mrs Thomas Scott (Wanganui), Mrs D. H. Guthrie (Feilding), Mrs Frank Gorringe (Palmerston N.). Mrs Mervyn Gorringe (Wellington), and three single daughters — Misses Marjorie, Kate and Sidney Fraser. The funeral will take place this afternoon, when the remains of the sturdy pioneer will be laid to rest in the family burial-ground of the Fraser Clan at Parewanui.

The Feilding Star of 8 August 1917 reported on the funeral:

BURIAL OF DONALD FRASER.
Settlers for many miles round attended the funeral of Mr Donald Fraser on Monday at Parawanui. Over 60 motor-cars left the house, and others assembled at the cemetery. Kawana Ropiha, on behalf of the Ngatiapa tribe, gave the ancient Maori chant for the departure of the chieftain. The Maori women wore wreaths of green leaves, and six young Maori lads bore the coffin on their shoulders. A number of valuable Maori mats were buried with the coffin. These were offerings of the tribe, to whom he had been a friend for 60 years. Sir James Carroll, Sir James Wilson, Mr James Colvin. M.P.. and Mr D. H. Guthrie.M.P. (son-in-law) were present.

Donald and Margaret had eleven children:

  • Margery Fraser, born in 1868, died in 1950.
  • Susan Fraser, born in 1869, died in 1957, married Thomas Scott in 1894.
  • Duncan Fraser, born in 1871, died in 1921.
  • Agnes Fraser, born in 1872, died in 1966, married David John Henry Guthrie in 1907.
  • Kate Fraser, born in 1874, died in 1942.
  • Alexander Fraser, born in 1876, died in 1917 (WW1).
  • Margaret Fraser, born in 1878, died in 1967, married Mervyn Hugh Egerton Gorringe in 1904.
  • Alice Fraser, born in 1880, died in 1880.
  • Edith Fraser, born in 1881, died in 1980.
  • Helen Fraser, born in 1883, died in 1971, married Frank Herbert Rollins Gorringe in 1909.
  • Frances Sydney Fraser, born in 1884, died in 1964.
Duncan Fraser

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour, listings for Corran of Ardgour, recorded that Duncan, son of Duncan Fraser and Marjory Fraser, Corran, was baptised on 27 September 1836.

Duncan Fraser was a child of 4 when he accompanied his family on the voyage to New Zealand in the Blenheim in 1840.

Duncan Fraser died on 26 August 1863, aged 26, of tuberculosis.

Thomas Fraser

Thomas Fraser was born at sea on the Blenheim, somewhere in the Bay of Biscay.

On 3 September 1840, Jessie Campbell wrote in her Journal, “First thing we heard in the morning that Mrs Fraser the smith’s wife from Ardgour had been brought to bed of a fine stout boy, both doing well as possible. Capt. Gray said she must have had a rolling time of it. Child gets no other name than Blenheim.”

The New Zealand birth registration noted that Thomas, eleventh child of Duncan Frazer and Marjory Fraser, both of the Parish of Ballachulish, Argyllshire, a son, born 3 September 1840. The registration was made on 24 January 1840.

Thomas Fraser married Elizabeth Jane Gardiner on 16 November 1875.

Elizabeth jane Gardiner was born in Kent, England, in 1855, and emigrated to new Zealand in 1870 with her parents on the Star of India. The family settled at Campbelltown, later called Rongotea, in the Manawatu district.

Thomas and Elizabeth farmed initially at Carnavon, then in 1880 moved to Awahuri, and in 1888 to Stoney Creek, near Palmerston North. Thomas late moved to Longburn where he built a hotel.

Thomas Fraser died on 9 December 1915. The Manawatu Times of 10 December 1915 carried the Death Notice: “Fraser – At a private hospital, Palmerston North, on Thursday, December 9, 1915, Thomas Fraser, of Longburn, aged 76 years.” The Manawatu Standard of 13 December 1915 published the following obituary:

THE LATE MR THOMAS FRASER.
The funeral of the late Mr Thomas Fraser took place yesterday, the interment being at the Fraser burial ground at Parawanui. There was a large attendance of friends and relatives to pay their last tribute to his memory. The Rev. Mr Nicholson, of Bulls, was the officiating minister, and the pall-bearers were deceased’s three sons, two nephews (Messrs Duncan and Alex Fraser) and Mr Duncan Campion. The late Mr Fraser was one of the Fraser clan of Rangitikei, a family which has taken a prominent part in the settlement and development of this coast. Their progenitors were Mr and Mrs Duncan Fraser who came from Fort Augustus, on the Caledonian Canal, Scotland. They made he voyage to New Zealand in the barque Blenheim, 450 tons. She sailed from Greenock and after a voyage of four mouths and ten days arrived in Wellington harbour on Christmas Day, 1840. Their children numbered fourteen, and there are over a thousand descendants from them. The late Mr Thomas Fraser was born in the Bay of Biscay, on the voyage to New Zealand. He lived for a number of years at Wellington, and then removed to Rangitikei with the family. He followed farming pursuits for a number of years at Rangitikei, Awahuri and Stony Creek, afterwards taking up hotelkeeping at Petone and Longburn, and finally living in retirement at Longburn. He is survived by two brothers and one sister, viz., Messrs Donald Fraser (Pukehoe, Bulls) and Hugh Fraser (late of Pohangina) and Miss Kate Fraser (of Palmerston North). He is also survived by his wife, daughter and three sons, Miss Kate Fraser, Mr W. G. Fraser (of Duthie and Co., Wellington), Mr C. D. Fraser (of the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Co., of Wanganui) and Mr J. D. Fraser (of the clerical branch of the Railway Stores Department, Dunedin). The late Mr Fraser saw many stirring times in connection with the early days, and many times he made the journey from Rangitikei to Wellington and back on foot through the hostile Maori tribes. He also had some exciting experiences hunting wild cattle in the Lower Rangitikei, at which dangerous pastime two of his brothers were killed. He took a keen interest in volunteering and was a member of the old Rangitikei Cavalry, which was famous for its proficiency in those days. In his prime he was a man of prodigious strength and performed some extraordinary feats of lifting before block and tackle was imported.

Following Thomas’ death, Elizabeth moved to Petone to live with her son William and daughter Kate.

Elizabeth Jane (Gardiner) Fraser died on 7 September 1936.  The Evening Post of 8 September 1936 carried the Death Notice: “Fraser – On September 7, 1936, at 114 Hutt Road, Petone, Elizabeth Jane Fraser, relict of the late Thomas Fraser; aged 81 years.”

Thomas and Elizabeth had four children:

  • Kate Fraser, born in 1876, died in 1946.
  • William Gardiner Fraser, born in 1878, died in 1941.
  • Cornelius Duncan Fraser, born in 1880, died in 1940, married Emma Catherine Voss in 1906.
  • John Douglas Fraser, born in 1882, died in 1963, married Mary Maud Stubbs in 1912.

Sources:

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George Ross

George Ross was listed as a blacksmith aged 21 in the Blenheim passenger lists.  His name appeared at the end of the embarkation list, after the Paisley families, but it is not clear if he was from Paisley himself.


Return to The Blenheim People.


George Ross and Annie Hogg

George Ross married Ann Hogg on 30 December 1842 in Wanganui.  It is probable that this is the marriage mentioned in Jessie Campbell’s letter of 4 December 1842 to her sister Isabella, when  referring to the difficulty in obtaining good servants:

I fear I shall be obliged to make this a shorter letter than usual. When I tell you my reason you will not complain, for the last fortnight I may say I have had no servants, the damsel I’ve had since coming here chose to get a beau and left me at 10 minutes notice to prepare for her marriage. I cannot get her place supplied here, the only help I have is from a smart little girl about 12 years old who comes in every evening. You may believe I have very little time –I have tried to write at night when all were gone to rest but felt so sleepy and tired I was obliged to give it up. I wrote some time ago to Wellington, I hope Mrs. McDonald has succeeded in getting a servant for me, the one I had was a most ill tempered gypsy and she is to be married to an excellent steady tradesman, a blacksmith who came out in the Blenheim. I often think what a host of admirers Flora Kennedy would have here—where such drabs get good husbands.

Ann Hogg may well have been the Ann Hogg, aged 17, who arrived in Wellington on the Arab on 15 June 1841, in the company of her parents John Hogg, 37, and Elizabeth Hogg, 39, and her brother John Hogg, 15.

George Ross, a blacksmith, died on 14 April 1870 at Greymouth, aged 51.  The Grey River Argus, of14 April 1870 reported that, “A man named Ross, a blacksmith at Nelson Creek, who has been suffering from swamp fever for some time past, was last right brought down by his mates, and admitted to the Hospital here.”   It appears that George Ross may have been looking for work in the goldfields, while his family stayed in Wanganui.  An advertisement which ran in the Wanganui Herald from 16 April to 3 May 1870 carried the Notice:

BY DEED, bearing date the 16th March, 1870, I, George Ross, of Nelson Creek, in the County of Westland, revoked the power of Attorney given by me to Henry Williams, of Wanganui, horse-dealer, and I hereby warn all persons that the said Henry Williams has no longer my power to act as my agent or otherwise. GEORGE ROSS. Signed by the said George Ross, in the presence of JOHN D. ROBB, M.D.F.R.C.S., Edinburgh.

George and Ann had at least five children:

  • Elizabeth Ross, born in 1843, died in 1931, married (1) Robert Day in 1861, (2) John Champion Young in 1869.
  • George McGregor Ross, born in 1845, died in 1910, married (1) Frances Trice in 1869, (2) Caroline Sancto in 1872.
  • Ann Munro Ross, born in 1847, died in 1873, married Harry Orlando Williams in 1870.
  • Isabella Rosetta Agnes Ross, born in 1849, died in 1910, married Richard O’Halloran Albert Ross in 1869.
  • John Hector Ross, born in 1851, died in 1940.

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