The initial passenger list for the Blenheim included the McLachlan children – Catherine, 13, housemaid, Alexander 11, Hugh, 8, and Duncan 3 – in the names added at the end, but no parent. The embarkation list included an additional line for a Jane McLachlan, 13, Hugh’s age given as 10 and Duncan’s age given as 4, and with Dugald, 40, and Jane, 35, on the same line, with a later line for them both crossed out, including Dugald’s occupation, possibly “weaver”. The next list had Jane McLachlan, 32, wife of Dugald, several pages away from the others, while the arrival list had them all together again, except for Catherine, who was separated by several lines from the rest of them. Jane’s age was given as 30.
The initial list also included a Janet Cameron, 26, dairymaid, as the daughter of Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson. First versions of this list may have been prepared as early as January 1840, and Jane Cameron and Dugald McLachlan were not married until 11 February 1840 (second marriages for both of them).
In summary, the family was as follows, bearing in mind that Jane was not the mother of the four older children:
- Dugald McLachlan, 40
- Jane McLachlan, 30
- Catherine McLachlan, 15
- Alexander McLachlan, 11
- Hugh McLachlan, 10
- Duncan McLachlan, 4
- Isabella McIntyre McLachlan, born at sea.
Return to The Blenheim People.
Dugald McLachlan was born on 27 November 1793 in Corpach to Louis McLachlan, a weaver, and Isabella McIntyre.
Based on information contained in Dugald’s Family Bible, Dugald married Ann Abercromby Cleghorn on 31 January 1816. She was born on 11 January 1797. Their first child was John Cameron McLachlan, born on 27 April 1817, who did not travel to New Zealand. A son, Ewen, was born in 1820 but probably died before 1831. There were a number of other sons who did not live beyond infancy. The other surviving children travelled with their father on the Blenheim.
From family tree information on Ancestry.com, Mary Ann Abercrombie Cleghorn died in 1838.
The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness), recorded that Dugald McLachlan, weaver, Fort William, and Jane Cameron, Trishlaig, were married on 11 February 1840.
The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 8 February 1845 and 10 February 1847 published lists of persons qualified to serve as jurors for the district of Port Nicholson, which included Dugald M’Lachlan, Thorndon Quay, labourer.
In April 1852, Dugald McLachlan, landholder, was one of many signatories to a Memorial sent to the Governor, George Grey, expressing concern about the passing of legislation affecting the price and availability of land.
The Wellington Independent of 8 April 1854 in reporting on the inquest into the death by drowning of Private John Dunn, noted that Dugald McLachlan had found the body.
A few weeks later Dugald McLachlan was himself drowned at Wellington on 24 May 1854. The Wellington Independent of 27 May 1854 carried a report of the inquest:
On Wednesday afternoon, an inquest was held at the Crown and Anchor Inn, Lambton Quay<, touching the death of Dugald M’Lachlan, who had been found lying dead on the sand above the low water mark, opposite the above Inn, about seven o’clock that morning, by a native policeman. From the evidence produced, which was very meagre, it would appear that the deceased was seen to leave the Queen’s Head, Thorndon, about half past nine o’clock, the preceding evening, and that he was the worse for liquor; and that the sentry on duty at the Colonial Treasury, about eleven o’clock, heard a person walk rapidly by the Government House Guard House, and straight down into the sea. It was too dark for him to distinguish who it was and he supposed it to be some maori; not having seen him return, he related the circumstances to a policeman, who obtained a lamp and proceeded to the spot, but found nothing. There was no evidence to show that the person heard going into the water was the deceased. After some deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect, that the deceased was found lying dead on the beach that morning, apparently drowned; but how he came by his death there was no evidence before the jury to show.
The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) recorded that Jean, daughter to Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson, Inverscaddle, was born on 21 December 1808.
Jane Cameron’s death registration in New Zealand indicates that her first husband was a John McPherson, and they were married when she was 25, i.e. around 1834. No other record is available nor is it known if there were any children from this marriage.
As noted above, Jane Cameron married Dugald McLachlan on 11 February 1840, and they emigrated to New Zealand in August 1840 with Dugald’s children. It seems likely that Jane had planned to emigrate on the Blenheim with her parents and siblings anyway.
Jessie Campbell’s Journal entry for 27 October 1840 notes, “An addition made to our number by the birth of a daughter to MacLachlan from Portobello, it is the poor woman’s first child, both doing well.” [In fact, McLachlan was not from Portobello but from Fort William, and the child may not have been Jane’s first (at 31).]
In addition to the birth at sea, Dugald and Jane had at least five children after their arrival in New Zealand:
- Mary McLachlan, born in 1841, died in 1932, married William Crawford in 1863.
- Female infant, born and died in 1842.
- Annie McLachlan, born in 1843, died in 1925, married James Coombe in 1864.
- Dugald McLachlan, born in 1848, died in 1918, married Christina McPherson in 1883.
- Louis McLachlan, born in 1849, died in 1906, married Alice Cameron in 1877.
After Dugald’s death in 1854, Jane and the children moved to Turakina where her parents lived. Jane married her third husband, Robert Brabazon, on 25 June 1856 and lived at Turakina until her death on 6 August 1897 at Fern Flats, Marton. The Feilding Star of 9 August 1897 carried the Death Notice: “Brabazon – At Fern Flats, on Friday 6th August, at the residence of her son-in-law (James Coombs), Jane Brabazon, relict of the late Robert Brabazon, Turakina, Aged 88 years.”
Jane’s death registration noted that at the time of her death her daughters were 50 and 48, and her sons were 57, 54 and 52, although this is an error and the sexes of the children were the other way around.
Robert Brabazon died on 9 March 1879. The Wanganui Chronicle of 17-24 November 1879 carried an advertisement inviting tenders “for the lease or purchase of the property of the late Robert Brabazon, of Turakina, consisting of five acres of excellent land, with house thereon, excellently situated, midway between the township and the railway station.”
Margaret Perry’s Diaries include references to the Brabazons and McLachlans – “So almost our only friend was old Mrs Brabazon her and Auntie used to talk Gaelic together, which I did not like…” [Mrs Brabazon and Auntie (Marjory Cameron, m John McQuarrie) were first cousins]; “Old Mr and Mrs Brabazon lived next door to Chapmans. Mr Brabazon was Lewis McLachlans step-father; I used very often to go there of an evening after tea, generally the old man would go to bed and Mrs B would sit by the fire and tell me love-tales about the days when she was young…”.
Catherine Robertson McLachlan
The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) recorded the baptism on 5 December 1825 of Katherine Robertson McLachlan, daughter to Dugald McLachlan, weaver in Correbeg, and Ann Abercromie Cleghorn, born 17 November last. The Family Bible has her birthdate as 16 November.
In 1840 Catherine travelled with her father and step-mother to New Zealand on the Blenheim. There is a family story that soon after disembarking, Catherine pulled from a stream a small boy who was in danger of drowning. He grew up to become Archbishop Francis Redwood, New Zealand’s first home-reared Catholic Archbishop.
Catherine Robertson McLachlan and William Bell Poppelwell were married on 7 March 1843 at the Wellington Courthouse. William was a seaman from Berwick, and commanded coastal vessels around New Zealand until 1845 when they returned to Scotland for two years, coming back to settle in Otago in 1848, and eventually taking up land at Tokomairiro (now Milton).
The Bruce Herald of 31 August 1883 carried the Death Notice: “Poppelwell – On the 29th inst., at The Glen, Fairfax, William Poppelwell, late of Sunwick, Tokomairiro, after a lingering illness; aged 64 years.” The same edition carried the following obituary:
DEATH OF AN OTAGO PIONEER.
One of the oldest New Zealand identities, Mr William Poppelwell, breathed his last at his residence, the Glen, Fairfax on Wednesday morning, at the age of 64. Mr Poppelwell arrived at Wellington at the latter end of the year 1841, the ship Tyne, of which he was chief officer. He did not return by that ship, but assumed the command of a vessel trading on the coast, which occupation he followed for about four years. In 1843 he married Miss M’Lachlan, who arrived in Wellington by the ship which brought the second survey party. Mr Poppelwell brought the first vessel up the Dunedin Harbor. She was named the Governor Hobson, and he was commissioned by her owners to deliver her to a Native named Toby, but better known as “Bloody Jack,” at Black Jack’s Point. In 1845, Mr Poppelwell, accompanied by his wife and son, paid a visit Home, taking their passage on the David Malcolm. Among their fellow-passenger’s were Governor Fitzroy, and suite. It was found impossible to round Cape Horn, in consequence of the vast quantity of ice, and it was decided to shape a course through the Straits of Magellan. The captain being ignorant of the locality handed over the command of the ship to Governor Fitzroy, who safely navigated her through. They arrived at the Old Country just six months to a day from the date of their departure. After a stay of a couple of years at Home, Mr Poppelwell and family returned to Otago, arriving here on September 23, 1848, by the ship Blundell. During the voyage out he contributed numerous articles to a manuscript newspaper published on board, copies of which are, we believe, in the Dunedin Museum. After residing about five years in North-East Valley, he came to Tokomairiro, and settled upon a farm, which he named Sunwick, after his father’s place at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and resided there until six years ago. It may be interesting to state that when Mr Poppelwell first came here, there was only one house on the Tokomairiro plain, that he brought the first dray into the district, which took nine days to bring from Dunedin. It had to be got across the Taierii River in sections, the bullocks swimming. Mr Poppelwell years ago took an active part m public matters, but for a long time past he has been confined to his home through illness. He leaves a family of ten, all of whom are grown up, and of whom three daughters and two sons are married.
The Mataura Ensign of 10 March 1900 carried the Death Notice: “Poppelwell – On the 8th March, at Dunedin, Catherine Robertson, relict of the late William Poppelwell, Milton; aged 74 years. The same edition carried the following obituary:
Concerning the death of Mrs C. R. Popplewell -(mother of Mr D. L. Poppelwell, of Gore), the Bruce Herald states: The deceased lady landed at Wellington in 1840, at the time of the foundation of the Wellington settlement. Here she was married to the late Mr W. Poppelwell, who at that time was mate of the ship Tyne which he afterwards commanded, trading down the coast, and subsequently returned with Mrs Poppelwell to the Old Country. They, however, came back to the colony in the ship Blundell, which arrived at Port Chalmers in 1848, and took up land in the North-East Valley, where they resided till 1853. Mrs Poppelwell and her husband then came to this district, and settled on the well-known property of Sunnick. Here they resided for a number of years. The death of Mr Poppelwell, which occurred in 1883, left a big gap in the family, and in 1885, two years later, Mrs Poppelwell returned to Dunedin, where she has since resided. Mrs Poppelwell’s hospitable and charitable nature is too well known by all the old residents of Tokomairiro to require reiteration here; indeed, the manner in which any person in poor circumstances was treated was a household word amongst the early settlers, and her death will be deeply regretted by all with whom she was acquainted. It might not be out of place to mention that deceased’s husband was the first person to drive a wheeled vehicle from Dunedin to Tokomairiro— a journey which occupied nine days. Mr Poppelwell was also the first chairman of the Tokomairiro Agricultural Society, now the Tokomairiro Farmers’ Club. Mrs Poppelwell leaves a family of eleven to mourn her loss.
Catherine and William had twelve children:
- George Matthew Bell Poppelwell (1st), born in 1844, died in 1860.
- Elizabeth Annie Poppelwell, born in 1846 (in Scotland), died in 1929, married James Alexander Henderson in 1871.
- Catherine Mary Poppelwell, born in 1849, died in 1904, married Dr Alexander J Ferguson in 1869.
- William Poppelwell, born in 1850, died in 1934, married Elizabeth Henry in 1861.
- John Poppelwell, born in 1852, died in 1933, married Margaret McCormick in 1879.
- David Poppelwell, born in 1855, died in 1937.
- Ann Abercrombie Poppelwell, born in 1857, died in 1935.
- Charlotte Mary Veronica Poppelwell, born in 1858, married Augustus Henry Syme Mansford in 1882.
- Sebastian George Alexander Poppelwell, born in 1861, died in 1939, married Margaret Dorothea Pearse in 1891.
- Dugald Louis Poppelwell, born in 1863, died in 1939, married Norah Greene in 1894.
- George Matthew Bell Poppelwell (2nd), born in 1864, died in 1910, married Ellen Hartnett in 1892.
- Mary Frances Poppelwell, born in 1866, died in 1916, married (1) Robert Boyle Monkman in 1890, (2) William Dempster in 1906.
Alexander Cleghorn McLachlan
The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) recorded the baptism on 10 September 1828 of Alexander son to Dugald McLachlan, weaver in Fort William, and Mary Ann Abercromie Cleghorn, his wife. According to the Family Bible, he was born on 2 July 1828.Alexander travelled on the Blenheim to New Zealand in 1840 with his father and step-mother.
On 13 August 1861, Alexander Cleghorn McLachlan married Mary Argyle Naismith at the Stapleton Registry Office, Coromandel. Mary was the daughter of Henry and Mary Naysmith, and was born at sea on the Duchess of Argyle, which arrived in Auckland from Greenock in October 1842.
Alexander settled in Thames and worked as a sawyer in the Shortland mill. Electoral Roll information has him living at Mackay Street in the Thames electorate from 1875-76 through to 1900. Alexander Cleghorn McLachlan died on 20 March 1902 at Thames.
Mary Argyle Naysmith died on 9 November 1918 in Auckland.
Alexander and Mary had nine children:
- Richard Louis McLachlan, born in 1862.
- Henry Alexander McLachlan, born in 1865, died in 1920, married Bridget Sheehan in 1903.
- Annie Catherine McLachlan, born in 1868, died in 1939, married John Spraggon in 1893.
- John James McLachlan, born in 1870, died in 1948, married Marie Andersen in 1898.
- Elizabeth Mary McLachlan, born in 1873, died in 1939, married Edward Donovan in 1904.
- Janet Isabella McLachlan, born in 1875, died in 1876.
- Mary Christina McLachlan, born in 1876, died in 1955, married Thomas White in 1909.
- Margarita Ewena McLachlan, born in 1879, died in 1937, married (1) Bertram von Rotter in 1897, (2) William Cate in 1910.
- Janet Scott McLachlan, born in 1882, died in 1944, married Charles Henry Stent in 1920.
Hugh (Ewen) McLachlan
The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) records the baptism on 18 December 1831 of Ewen McLachlan, son of Dugald, and Ann Cleghorn, Fort William. The Family Bible records that Ewen McLachlan was born on 4 August 1831.
Ewen McLachlan emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim with his family. He was listed as “Hugh” which is an anglicised version of their common Gaelic origin. Around 1858-59 Ewen went to live at Tokomairiro with his sister Catherine and her husband.
Ewen McLachlan married Margaret Brown on 25 June 1862. They had two daughters surviving infancy:
- Mary McLachlan, born in 1863.
- Catherine McLachlan, born in 1865.
Following Margaret Brown’s death, Ewen married Margaret Glancey on 21 November 1877. They had several children, possibly including:
- Lewes [Lewis Dawson] McLachlan, born in 1878, died in 1943.
- Ewen McLachlan, born in 1880, died in 1966, married Priscilla Isabel Calvert in 1921.
- Margaret Ann McLachlan, born in 1881, died in 1974, married William Simon Saunders in 1901.
- Dugald McLachlan, born in 1885, died in 1918 (WW1).
- Annie McLachlan, born in 1889.
- Elizabeth McLachlan, born in 1891, died in 1919.
- Linda McLachlan, born in 1894, died in 1970.
- John Cameron McLachlan, born in 1895, died in 1966, married Mary Ellen McDougall in 1922.
- Agnes McLachlan, born in 1897, died in 1944, married Robert George Catherwood in 1927.
Ewen McLachlan died in 1906 at Owaka. In mid-June 1906 a number of newspapers around the country carried the Press Association message that a man named Hugh McLachlan, 74 years of age, was found dead on the railway line near Owaka. Death was believed to be due to natural causes. The Otago Daily Times of 20 June 1906 reported, “The late Ewen M’Pherson M’Lachlan, of Owaka, whose body was found on the railway, was one of the first white men to set foot in the North Island. He had been about 70 years in the colony.” A letter in the Otago Daily Times of 23 June 1906 provided some history of Ewen McLachlan and his family:
“OLD HUGH.” TO THE EDITOR.
Sir,—l saw a paragraph in yesterday’s Daily Times which made reference to the death of an old friend of mine, and I ask permission to correct two mis-statements which it contained. The paragraph says—”The old man Ewan McPherson M’Lachlan, who was found dead on the railway near Owaka, was one of the first white men to set foot in the North Island, He had been about 70 years in the colony.” I have known the man intimately since 1863, and I never heard of his name being “Ewan M’Pherson” but always “Hugh.” Hundreds of the old man’s acquaintances at a distance when they read this remark of mine will be satisfied about the fact of his death—a conclusion they could hardly arrive at when they read of him as “Ewan.”
The other mis-statement, which says that he was one of the first white men to come here, corrects itself, to people who know the history of New Zealand, when it adds that “he had been about 70 years in the colony.” There were white men in this country long before 1836.
My poor old friend, both from his character and his history, deserves a longer obituary notice than has yet been given him. He came with his father and other members of the family to Wellington by the ship Blenheim in 1840, under the auspices of the old New Zealand Company. Often I have heard him tell with a look of pride in his eye where he came from, for he was a Scottish Celt to the core. “I am a Lochaber man, and left Fort William to come here.” the geographical names were music to his ear. He was born in 1831. and was consequently only nine years of age when he arrived in Wellington. The site of the now fine city was then either dense bush or under water, and it had just had its name changed from Britannia to that which it now bears, in compliment to the Duke for services rendered to the New Zealand Company in Parliament. For playmates “old Hughie” as he was called by his friends, had Maori boys. He taught them to spin tops and play marbles, and in the process managed to acquire a knowledge of their language — a knowledge much extended in after years. He used often to speak of the great chiefs he had known in his youth; men whose names have long ago passed into history. Amongst these were the celebrated Ta Rauparaha and his terrible fighting nephew Rangiatea, the leaders in the awful massacre at Wairau, Tamata Waka, and E. Puni, the latter a chief who was mainly instrumental in selling the block on which Wellington now stands. His love for the Maori people was almost a passion up to the day of his death, and his knowledge of them and their ways greater than that of any man I have ever known. The medical adviser of the M’Lachlan family, in those early days, was Dr Knox, one of the two brothers who a decade or so previously had earned an unenviable notoriety through their dealings with the Edinburgh resurrectionists, Burke and Hare.
With pardonable pride Hughie used to tell how he once had a conversation with Sir George Grey. They were each on a pedestrian tour, and met in a disturbed part of the country – I think in Hawke’s Bay. Sir George had a small escort, Hughie was alone, and carrying a swag. When they met and had exchanged greetings, the Governor put his question – “Are you not afraid to travel alone amongst so many disaffected Natives?” and strongly advised my friend to turn back. “I know the Maoris so well, Sir George, that I have no fear,” was the reply. His journey was accomplished in perfect safety.
In 1858 or ‘9 he came south, in charge of some sheep, landing them at Oamaru, their destination. From there he walked to Tokomairiro, and took service with his brother-in-law, the late Mr Poppelwell. In August, 1861, he was mining in Gabriel’s Gully, and since then has been simply a labouring man. He was twice married, and by his first wife had two daughters born to him. By his second wife he had a large family of sons and daughters nearly all grown up.
Speaking of such a man as this, Carlyle, in a noble passage, says:-“0, hardly entreated brother, thou wer’t our conscript on whom the lot fell; in fighting our battles thou wer’t so marred.” In this sense my old friend was emphatically “a conscript.” From early youth until, at the age of 75, he lay down to die, he was engaged in the struggle for bread. Honour sometimes peereth from under the meanest habit, it has been said. How often have I seen and admired it peering from under the soiled and frayed working dress of Hugh M’Lachlan. Light lie the turf on his breast! I am, etc., N
Royal terrace, Caversham, June 2l
Duncan McLachlan was a child of 4 when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim. According to the Family Bible, he was born on 15 December 1835.
It appears that in 1852, even before his father’s death, Duncan moved south to Tokomairiro to live with his sister Catherine.
Duncan McLachlan married Honora Lynch on 20 April 1862 at Dunedin.
Duncan and Honora had at least five children, possibly including:
- William McLachlan, born in 1869.
- Annie McLachlan, born in 1871.
- Catherine McLachlan, born in 1875, married John Aloysius Henley in 1912.
- Alice Genevieve McLachlan, died in 1949, married Charles William Henry Chilcott Bremner in 1902.
- Thomas Duncan McLachlan, born in 1878, died in 1957, married Augusta Mary Duffy in 1915.
Honora Lynch died on 24 June 1891.
Duncan McLachlan died on April 1896. The NZ Tablet of 1 May 1896 reported, “Duncan McLachlan died recently; resident in Milton; born 15 December 1835; native of Fort William, Inverness, Scotland; an old and highly respected resident of Milton; in 1840 his father and family emigrated to Wellington; most of his life was spent in Otago whither he came in 1852, and where his sister had married the late Mr William Poppelwell; a convert for very many years.” The Bruce Herald of 5 May 1896 reported “The funeral of Mr Duncan M’Lachlan took place on Friday afternoon last, the cortege leaving St Mary’s Chapel for Fairfax Cemetery. The late Mr M’Lachlan was a very old resident in Milton and a considerable number of residents attended the funeral. Father Ryan officiated at the grave.”
Isabella McIntyre McLachlan
Isabella McIntyre McLachlan was born on 27 October 1840 on board the Blenheim at a point in the middle of the South Atlantic, and named for Dugald’s mother. The New Zealand birth registration notes that Isabel, daughter of Dugald McLachlan and Jean Cameron both late of the Parish of Kilmallie, spouses, was born on 27th October 1840. The registration was made on 24 January 1840.
Isabella McIntyre married Isaiah Wade Leigh on 15 August 1862.
Isabella Leigh died on 26 September 1914 at Turakina. The Wanganui Chronicle of 28 September 1914 carried the death Notice: “Leigh – On the 26th inst., at her residence, Turakina, Isabella, widow of the late Isaiah Leigh, aged 74 years.” Isaiah Wade Leigh had died in 1900, aged 84.
Isabella and Isaiah appear to have had at least five children:
- Mary Wade Leigh, born in 1863, married Martin Lee in 1879.
- Charles Ernest Leigh, born in 1865, died in 1942.
- Ann Eliza Leigh, born in 1868, married Charles Alexander Whale in 1891.
- Robert Leigh, born in 1870.
- George Alexander Leigh, born in 1872, died in 1946, married Annie Kennerley in 1895.
- Blenheim passenger lists at FamilySearch website
- Family trees on Ancestry.com
- ScotlandsPeople website
- PapersPast website
- NZ BDM records
- Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters.
- Diaries of Margaret Perry, originals in Whanganui Museum
- Poppelwell Descendants website
- NZMuseums website
- NZ Archives Archway website