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Donald and Mary Ferguson

The Blenheim embarkation and subsequent passenger lists included the family of Donald and Mary Ferguson:

  • Donald Ferguson, 36, miller
  • Mary Ferguson, 35
  • Marion Ferguson, 9
  • Donald Ferguson, 7

A John Ferguson from Skye, 50, miller and wright, with his wife of 46 and 2 children, were included on the initial passenger list for the Blenheim, but this family was not on the embarkation or subsequent lists.

Spelling: The name has been spelled both “Ferguson” and “Fergusson” in the sources used.


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Donald Ferguson and Mary McLean

Donald Ferguson was described as a miller of 36 in the Blenheim passenger list, while his wife Mary’s age was given as 35.

Donald and Mary came from Skye.

From the death registration of their son Alexander, it can be confirmed that Mary’s maiden name was McLean.

In Early Rangitikei, Sir James Wilson, noted (pp 85-86):

The Fergussons, whose land joined his [Mr Paulin] on the north, came out in the same vessel as the Frasers. They came from Skye. Donald and Sarah came with their people in the Blenheim, and Alexander was born in Wellington. Donald and Alexander Fergusson were very good settlers and much respected: Donald has departed, and all their descendants have left the district, but Alexander Fergusson still lives in the neighbourhood.

Lists of persons qualified to serve as jurors for the district of Port Nicholson, published between 1845 and 1850, included Donald Ferguson, Kai warra Road, cartwright, and in 1850, wheelwright. In 1847, Donald Ferguson, cartwright, published a notice in the Wellington Independent of 24 February advising that he would not be accountable for any debts contracted by his wife.

It is possible that Mary Ferguson died before the family moved to the Rangitikei district.

The Wanganui Herald of 15 February 1888 published, as an historical document, an 1864 petition from the electors of Wanganui and Rangitikei to the Governor, Sir George Grey, seeking to establish a separate province. The petition had 273 names attached to it, including Donald Ferguson, senior, farmer, and Donald Ferguson, junior, farmer.

Donald Ferguson died on 15 April 1880, aged 75. The Wanganui Herald of 22 April 1880, reported: “The funeral of an old identity (Donald Ferguson) passed along the principal streets to the Clifton cemetery on Monday. As I noticed many old and toilworn pioneers in the cavalcade, it is to be presumed that he was one of the early emigrants to the Colony. He had been bedridden for many years prior to his death, so he was deprived the enjoyment of participating in or even witnessing the progress his adopted country had made in telegraphs, railways, and steamboats during his location in it.”

Donald and Mary had a further child, Alexander, with some question as to whether he was the sixth child born on board the Blenheim on its voyage.

In her Journal, Jessie Campbell wrote, on 15 December 1840, “A woman delivered of a son last night, this makes the sixth child born on board and all very fine, thriving children, this woman with all her former confinements had long and difficult labours, yesterday evening she did not feel herself very well, the Dr. desired her to go into the hospital, she thought they would have plenty of time to remove after she was taken ill, however matters came so quick upon her that the child was born before she could be removed: Dr C was very angry at her and no wonder, think how unpleasant for him going about her before so many women and married men who sleep in the same place. To crown all not one stitch had she prepared for the child, it was rolled in an old petticoat of the mother’s. She is a carpenter’s wife from Skye. All the other women had their baby things so neat and tidy particularly the low country woman.”

In a letter to the Rangitikei Advocate, published in the Manawatu Standard of 31 December 1912, Donald Fraser, in listing the surviving Blenheim passengers, said. “…and Mr Alexander Ferguson, of the Upper Tutaenui, was also born on the voyage…”

However, Sir James Wilson, in Early Rangitikei, as quoted above, suggests that Alexander was born in Wellington, and the age and place of birth given for him in his death registration would appear to confirm this. One possibility could be that the Alexander born on the voyage died, and the name was given to the next born.

Electoral Rolls show that Alexander Ferguson was in the Rangitikei district with his father and brother in 1875-76, and was a farmer at Silverhope, north-east of Marton, in 1905-06, and at Calico Line, Marton in 1911 and 1914.

Alexander Ferguson died on 7 August 1917 at Marton, with his age given as 73.  His parents were Donald Ferguson and Mary McLean, he was born in Wellington and he was not married.

Marion (Sarah) Ferguson

Marion Ferguson was 9 when she boarded the Blenheim, putting her birth year around 1831. Sarah is the anglicized form of Marion.

From the reference in Early Rangitikei it seems likely that Sarah Ferguson went to the Rangitikei district with her father and brother.

There is a record of a Sarah Ferguson marrying George Douglas in 1853 in Christchurch.  George Douglas had settled in Canterbury in 1850 and managed several runs before purchasing his own at Broomfield.  George and Sarah had at least three children before she died in 1867 aged 36, so the birth year is about right.  However, it has not been possible, to date, to confirm whether or not this is the Marion (Sarah) Ferguson who travelled on the Blenheim.

Donald Ferguson

Donald Ferguson was 7 years old when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim with his family.

The Wellington Independent of 3 May 1864 carried the Wedding Notice: “Ferguson-Sutherland – At Lyall’s bay, April 22, by the Rev John Moir, Mr Donald Ferguson, of Rangitikei, to Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Sutherland, Esq.”

Elizabeth Sutherland was born around 1845, the daughter of  Alexander Sutherland and Elizabeth MacKay who arrived in Wellington on 31 January 1840 on the Oriental. As outlined in The Streets of My City, Elizabeth’s father, Alexander Sutherland, was allotted his one hundred acres at Lyall Bay, and subsequently bought more land from absentee owners as well as from adjoining neighbours. He obtained sheep from Australia, and farmed at Lyall Bay successfully for some years, but felt the need for more pasture, and in the late 1850s purchased a block in the Pahaua Valley of Wairarapa (Ngaipu).

The Wanganui Chronicle in June and July 1876 in a number of items from their Bulls correspondent, reported on the death of the eldest daughter of Mr Donald Ferguson from diphtheria, and shortly afterwards the death of his little boy, aged 10, from the same cause. They are buried at Bulls with their grandfather.

Donald Ferguson died on 4 October 1894, aged 59. The Feilding Star of 6 October 1894 reported, “The death is announced of an old and respected Rangitikei settler, Mr Donald Fergusson, of Upper Tutaenui. He had been resident in New Zealand for 53 years.”

Elizabeth (Sutherland) Ferguson died on 25 June 1929, aged 84.  The Evening Post of 29 June 1929 carried the Death Notice: “Ferguson – On the 25th June, 1929, at the residence of her daughter (Mrs D. Matheson, Wanganui) (late of Stanley street, Wellington), Elizabeth, relict of the late Dr. Ferguson, and last surviving daughter of the late Alexander Sutherland of Lyall Bay, Wellington; aged 84 years.  Deeply regretted.”

Donald and Elizabeth had at least five children:

  • Katherine McLean Ferguson, born in 1865, died in 1876.
  • Donald Ferguson, born in 1866, died in 1876.
  • Elizabeth Jane Ferguson, born in 1869, died in 1939, married Joseph Warring in 1892.
  • John Douglas Ferguson, born in 1872, died in 1963, married Catherine Matheson in 1897.
  • Marion Alice Ferguson, born in 1874, died in 1943, married Dugald Matheson in 1895.

Sources:

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Alexander Grant and Mary Cameron

Alexander Grant was not on the initial passenger list for the Blenheim, but was on the embarkation list as a mason of 30, and the arrival list as a quarrier of 30.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Alexander Grant and Mary Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Urquhart and Glenmoriston in Inverness, records that on August 12th 1808 John Grant and Catherine Grant, Balnacarn, had a male child born and baptized this day called Alexander.

Alexander Grant was 31 when he emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

According to New Zealand BDM records, Alexander Grant and Mary Cameron were married on 29 January 1841, barely a month after the Blenheim’s arrival in New Zealand.

Mary Cameron was the daughter of Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson, sister of Jane Cameron (see Dugald McLachlan and Jane Cameron) and of Annie Cameron (see Donald McDonald and Anne Cummings).

Alexander Grant worked initially as a surveyor for the New Zealand Company, which included a move to New Plymouth for a period, then undertook an exhausting trip to the Wairarapa with a survey team in 1842.  In 1850, the family headed to the Rangitikei district where they purchased land and established a farm called Tullochgorum.  The property continues to be farmed by the Grant family today.

Alexander Grant
Alexander Grant
Mary (Cameron) Grant
Mary (Cameron) Grant

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Wellington Provincial District), 1897, included the following in its section on Turakina:

Grant, Alexander, Sheepfarmer, Turakina. At the time of writing—1896 this old colonist was in his eighty-ninth year, having been born on the 12th of August, 1808, at Glen Morison, Inverness, Scotland. He landed in Wellington per ship “Blenheim” in 1840, and ten years later settled in Turakina, purchasing 700 acres of land, on which he resided for the best part of fifty years. Mr. Grant considered New Zealand the best country in the world and held the opinion that all who have health, and are careful and industrious, may make a fair living in the Colony. He enjoyed robust health till just before his death, and in 1894 paid a visit to a married daughter in Gippsland, Victoria, with whom he remained three months. Mr. Grant was married in February, 1844 [sic 1841], to a daughter of Mr. D. Cameron, of Argyllshire, Scotland, and left three sons and four daughters, a great many grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. (Mr. Grant died in January, 1897).

The Wanganui Chronicle of 4 February 1891 reported, “Mr and Mrs Alexander Grant, of Tullachgorum, Turakina, celebrated their golden wedding on Thursday last, when a large number of children and grandchildren, as well as a host of friends were present to do honour to the occasion. We are glad to hear that Mr and Mrs Grant are in the best of health and likely to enjoy a good many more years of a happy contented life.”

Mary (Cameron) Grant died on 21 April 1895, aged 82.  The Feilding Star of 23 April 1895 contained the Death Notice: “Grant – On the 21st instant, Mary (Cameron) Grant, beloved wife of Alexander Grant, of Tullochgorum, aged 82 years.”

Alexander Grant died on 10 January 1897, aged 88.  The Feilding Star of 12 January 1897 contained the Death Notice: “Grant – At his residence, Tullochgorum, Turakina, on the 10th of January, 1897: Alexander Grant, aged 88.”  The newspaper also reported, “Mr Alexander Grant, whose figure has for many years been one of the best known in Rangitikei, died on Sunday at his residence, Tullochgorum, near Turakina. Death was due to old age and failure of the heart’s action. Mr Grant took an interest in public affairs to the last, and was Mr Bruce’s seconder at the recent election for Manawatu.”  The Evening Post of 12 January 1897 included the following report:

ANOTHER OF THE PIONEER BAND GONE.
Marton, This Day. Mr. Alexander Grant, of Tullochgorum, Turakina, who died on Sunday at the age of 88, was one of the earliest settlers in the Provincial District. He arrived in Wellington in 1840, and was for some time inspector of works for the New Zealand Company. Mr. Grant led an exploring party through the Manawatu Gorge, and after an absence of ten weeks returned to Wellington via the Hutt River, he and his followers being in a half-naked state. One of the incidents of the journey was an attack by Maoris, who fled wildly in terror on Mr. Grant feigning uncontrollable madness. The deceased has lived on his estate at Turakina for 50 years.

Alexander and Mary had nine children, not all surviving infancy:

  • John Grant, born in 1841, died in 1843.
  • Catherine Grant, born in 1843, died in 1918, married Robert Kirkpatrick Simpson in 1863.
  • John Archibald Grant, born in 1845, died in 1845.
  • Ewen Grant, born in 1846, died in 1920.
  • Mary Cameron Grant, born in 1848, died in 1938, married James McDonald in 1874.
  • John Grant, born in 1850, died in 1942, married Mary Shove in 1885.
  • Elizabeth Grant, born in 1851, died in 1878.
  • Duncan Donald Grant, born in 1853, died in 1900.
  • Betsy Grant, born in 1857, died in 1947 in Australia, married Alexander Fraser McRae in 1891.

Sources:

Images:

  • Grant Family

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:

Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun

This family were noted as coming from Trishilaig in the initial Blenheim passenger list, with Ewen being the brother to Donald Cameron, the subject of Donald McDonald’s comments, “This man and his family have been known to me all my life & are a very industrious family.  The same remark applies to his brother and his family who is next to him but one in this list, they have besides excellent Certificates.”

The large family was made up of:

  • Ewen Cameron, 50, tailor
  • Maria Colquhoun, his wife, 46
  • Mary Cameron, his daughter, 28, chambermaid
  • Flora Cameron, his daughter, 24, housemaid
  • Marjory Cameron, his daughter, 24, housemaid
  • Jane Cameron, his daughter,22, housemaid
  • John Cameron, his son, 20, shepherd – crossed out on initial list, and not included in subsequent lists
  • Charles Cameron, his son, 18, labourer
  • Sarah Cameron, his daughter, 16
  • Allan Cameron, his son, 14, cowherd
  • Donald Cameron, his son, 12, cowherd
  • Margaret Cameron, his daughter, 9
  • Anne Cameron, his daughter, 7
  • Catherine Cameron, his daughter, 4

Ewen and Maria’s son John Cameron did not travel on the Blenheim – he married Catherine Black in 1840. The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) for 1820 records that John Cameron, son of Ewen Cameron at Gearidh and Maria Colquhoun his spouse was born 4th and baptized 9th April.  John Cameron died on 16 December 1872 at Bailevolan, Lismore.  The registration in the parish of Lismore in the county of Argyll noted that he was a lime burner of 53, married to Catherine Black, and his parents were Hugh Cameron, teacher, deceased, and Sarah Colquhoun.  The informant was his son, Hugh Cameron.

Return to The Blenheim People.


Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) for 1783 recorded the birth of Ewen Cameron, son to Angus Cameron and Mary Cameron, Corvig, on 11 June.

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) recorded the marriage on 28 February 1811 of Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun, at Inverscaddle.

Information from the birth registrations of their children shows that Ewen and Maria lived in Ardgour, the southern part of the Kilmallie parish to the west of Loch Eil.   Inverscaddle was at the mouth of Glenscaddle, north of the Corran Ferry, and Gerridh was to the south, on Linnhe Loch.  Despite the notation in the Blenheim passenger list, it does not appear that they lived at Trislaig, which was at the northern end of Ardgour, opposite Fort William.

Ewen Cameron was actually 57 when he sailed on the Blenheim. A record of Maria’s birth has not been confirmed.

Ewen Cameron, sometimes known as Hugh Cameron, lived in Kaiwarra and worked as a tailor, as confirmed by Juror lists.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 9 December 1848 reported the death of Ewen Cameron as follows:

A fatal accident occurred on Wednesday last to Mr. Ewen Cameron, who resided on the road to Kaiwarra. On his return home about eight o’clock in the evening, in walking too near the edge of the steep ravine or gulley in front of his house his foot unfortunately slipped, and he fell head foremost, and his head striking a projecting piece of rock he was killed on the spot. The body was discovered by his family the next morning lying in the ravine. An inquest was held on the body by Dr. Fitzgerald the Coroner, yesterday, when a verdict of Accidental Death was returned. The deceased was very much and deservedly respected as an honest man and an industrious settler, and had brought up a very numerous family with great credit and propriety.

As recorded in Poyntzfield, Eliza McKenzie recalling her Kaiwarra memories, wrote, “By far the most tremendous episode of that period was the death of ‘Cameron, the Tailor’. He was found dead on the rocky path leading up from the beach to his house. Inquiries showed that he had left the ‘Highlander Inn’ at about nine in the evening and was not seen again alive. He had evidently slipped in the darkness, and struck his head against the wall of rock bordering the way.”

After Ewen’s death most of the younger members of the family appear to have moved to Auckland with their sister Jane and brother-in-law Alexander Alison, and where several of the daughters married mariners. In 1861 Sarah and Catherine went to the Otago goldfields with their husbands, apparently taking their aged mother with them, because Maria Cameron died at Blue Spur, Otago, on 28 December 1874. Blue Spur was in Tuapeka County, near Lawrence.

The Tuapeka Times of 7 January 1874 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On the 28th December, at the residence of James Campbell, Blue Spur, Maria Cameron, relict of the late Ewen Cameron, of Kaiwarra, Wellington.”  The death registration contains no information, other than the date of death, her name and age, 85, and cause of death, “old age”.  The informant was the local undertaker.

Mary Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll), records that Mary, daughter of Ewen Cameron and Peggy Colquhoun of Glenscaddle, was baptized on 24 January 1812.

Mary Cameron was described as a chambermaid of 28 in the Blenheim passenger list.

New Zealand BDM records show the marriage on 5 February 1841 of Mary Cameron and Peter McGrigor, barely six weeks after the arrival of the Blenheim.

The New Zealand Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser of 16 August 1842 reported on a narrow escape from drowning, “Last Thursday, a boat laden with wood from Petoni, bound for Te Aro, with Charles Cameron, Peter M’Gregor, and a sailor; it was blowing very hard at the time and the boat being deeply laden, Cameron recommended M’Gregor not to leave, and if he did he might go by himself, as he (Cameron) would walk it, M’Gregor said he would chance it and left accordingly with the other boatman. They proceeded as far as Ngaurangi in safety, when a gust of wind upset the boat, and the men were thrown into the sea, the upper part of the cargo being washed away, the boat again righted, and the men got into her, although she was full of water, and were drifting out to sea all night, sometimes clinging to the outside of the boat, being frequently washed overboard. About nine o’clock the following morning, some natives rescued them from a watery grave, near Barrett’s reef, and brought them ashore more dead than alive. ”  It is not known if the Charles Cameron referred to was Peter McGregor’s brother-in-law.

Peter M’Gregor, Kai Warra, road, labourer, was on the list of prospective jurors for Port Nicholson in 1845.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 15 July 1846 carried the Death Notice: “Died – on Saturday, the 11th inst., Mary, the wife of Mr. P. M’Gregor, and eldest daughter of Mr. Ewen Cameron, Tailor, of Kai Wara.”

Mary and Peter appear to have had one child:

  • Mary McGregor, born in 1842.

Little further information has been established for Peter McGregor or his daughter Mary. However, Margaret Perry, in her diary covering the period between 1865 and 1867, in talking about her Auntie (Marjory Cameron, see below), mentioned a Dan Richardson who had married a niece of Auntie’s and she had died.  A Daniel Richardson married a Mary McGregor on 2 April 1861. A Mary Richardson died on 7 March 1865 aged 22. A child, Ellen Mary Richardson, daughter of Daniel and Mary Richardson, was born on 17 September 1864 and died on 18 January 1865, aged 4 months.

Flora Cameron

In the Blenheim passenger list, Flora was described as a housemaid of 26, suggesting that her birth was probably in 1814.

Flora Cameron and Thomas Ritchie Simson were married on 3 October 1844 in Wellington.  The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 19 October 1844 included the Notice: “Married – On the 3rd instant, by the Rev. J. Macfarlane, Mr Thomas Richie Simpson, formerly of Glasgow, to Flora, daughter of Hugh Cameron, formerly of Ardgour, Invernesshire.”

It seems from Electoral Roll records that the Simsons farmed at Turakina for a period, but by the time of their mother’s death in 1886 the sons had moved to Opunake, although their father was in Wanganui.

The Hawera and Normanby Star of 26 November 1886 included the Death Notice: “Simson – on the 21st instant, at the residence of her sons, Taungatara, near Opunake, Flora, the beloved wife of Mr Thomas R Simson.  She was the second daughter of Mr Hugh Cameron of Kaiwarra, Wellington, who has long preceded her to the grave.  The family arrived in Wellington in 1840; and she has passed away at the age of 66 years.”

Thomas Ritchie Simson died in 1907 aged 88, at Wanganui Hospital.  The Wanganui Herald of 3 September 1907 carried the Death Notice: “Simson – At the Wanganui Hospital, on Sunday, 1st September, Thomas Simson, aged 88 years.”.

Flora and Thomas had at least two children:

  • Charles Simson, born in 1849.
  • David Cameron Simson, born in 1851, died in 1901, married Elizabeth Putt in 1888.
Marjory Cameron

Marjory (Mysie) Cameron was described as a housemaid of 24 in the Blenheim passenger list., indicating she was born around 1816.

Marjory Cameron married John McQuarrie in 1844.  John McQuarrie, son of Donald McQuarrie and Margaret McEachern, was also on board the Blenheim, described as a joiner of 18. The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 3 January 1844 carried the Married Notice: “On the 1st inst., by the Rev. John Macfarlane, Mr John M’Quarrie, formerly of Invernessshire, carpenter, to Marjory, daughter of Mr Hugh Cameron, formerly of Ardgone, Argyleshire, now of Wellington.”

Marjory Cameron was the “Auntie” referred to in Margaret Perry’s diaries. The couple moved to Rangitikei, and Margaret Perry wrote, “I used very often go and stop with Uncle and Auntie in the Valley, Uncle like all the McQuarries used to drink heavily; when he would come home, he was a perfect madman, he would set to work and throw chairs tables and crockery outside the door, Auntie and I used to run and hide, in the bush till the storm was over and all was quiet, then we would go in and find him fast asleep; then we would set to work and gather up the pieces and put all straight.  After a while they left the Valley, and went to live in a four-roomed cottage in Turakina.  Uncle got very ill and the doctors told him that drink was killing him.”

John McQuarrie died on 10 December 1865.  Mysie McQuarrie married George Perry on 14 February 1867.

According to New Zealand BDM records, Marjory Perry died on 26 March 1903 aged 87.  Her death registration indicates that she was a widow, and died at Devonport from heart failure and senility.  Her parents were listed as Hugh Cameron, tailor, and her mother’s maiden surname was Colquhoun.  Marjory was born in Argyleshire and had been in New Zealand for 63 years.  She was married first in Wellington to Hugh [sic] McQuarrie when she was 22, and secondly in Turakina to George Perry.  There were no living children.  The informant was W H Burgess, authorised agent.  William Henry Burgess was Marjory’s brother-in-law, the widower of her sister Margaret.

Jane Cameron

Jane Cameron was listed as a housemaid of 22 when she travelled on the Blenheim in 1840.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 22 November 1845 contained the Marriage Notice: Married, on the 17th November instant, Mr Alexander Allison, formerly of Inverness, Shipwright, now of H.M. Colonial Brig “Victoria,” to Jane, third daughter of Mr Ewen Cameron, formerly of Ardgour, Agyleshire.”

Alexander Alison was a ship’s carpenter who came to Nelson in the early 1840s.  The family moved to Auckland in 1848, settling in Devonport in 1854, where Alexander continued his trade as a boat-builder.

Alexander Alison died in 1887.  The New Zealand Herald of 27 June 1887 carried the following obituary:

DEATH OF MR. A. ALISON, SEN.
It is with much regret we have to announce the decease of another of the old identities of Auckland, in the person of Mr. Alexander Alison, sen., who has been ailing for some weeks past, and who died peacefully at his residence, Devonport, yesterday morning, at half-past eleven, at the advanced age of 7S years. The deceased gentleman, who was a native of Inverness, Scotland, arrived at Nelson some fifty years ago, but shortly afterwards chose Auckland as his place of residence, and has lived at Devonport over thirty years. The deceased was a man of sterling qualities, of a warm-hearted and genial disposition, and highly respected by a wide circle of friends. He leaves a widow and three sons, each of whom are grown up and married, and hold prominent positions, to mourn his loss. The funeral is announced to take place at Devonport to-morrow (Tuesday), at three o’clock.

The New Zealand Herald of 6 February 1893 carried the Death Notice: “Alison – On Saturday, February 4 1893, at her late residence, Beach Road, Devonport, Jane, relict of the late Alexander Alison, Esq., aged 78 years. Interred at Devonport Cemetery.”

Jane and Alexander had at least four children who lived beyond infancy:

  • Alexander Alison, born in 1846, died in 1923, married Annie Stokoe in 1868.
  • Roderick Alison, born in 1850, died in 1882.
  • Ewen William Alison, born in 1852, died in 1945, married Mary Ann Coleman in 1876.
  • Duncan Donald Tobias Alison, born in 1856, died in 1935, married Emma Lyons in 1884.

The New Zealand Dictionary of Biography has an entry for Ewen William Alison, noting that he was born in Auckland on leap day, 29 February 1852, the son of Jane Cameron and her husband Alexander Alison, a shipwright. At the age of 15 Ewen went off to look for gold in the Thames goldrush, and made sufficient money to join his brother in a butchery partnership in Devonport.  He went on to become a businessman involved in shipping and property, and was active in local and national government.  Ewen married Mary Ann Coleman on 26 July 1876, and they were to have four sons and two daughters.  His main claim to fame was to found and develop the Devonport Steam Ferry Company Limited, with his brother Alexander.  Ewen Alison died on 6 June 1945 at the age of 93.

Charles McLean Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) for 1822, records the baptism of Charles McLean Cameron son to Ewen Cameron and Margaret Colquhoun in Gearidh on 28 July, born on 20th Curr. [of the current month].

In the Blenheim passenger list Charles McLean Cameron was described as a labourer of 18.

It seems that by the late-1840s Charles was travelling around New Zealand and was in partnership with Robert Waitt (who married Catherine McDonald) in a contract to supply British troops.  After working with John Wade at the Wellington Brewery, Charles established the Kaiwarra Brewery, but passed it on to his brother Allan, apparently when he took up trading with the Chatham Islands and then Australia.  He returned to New Zealand and purchased a farm at Karaka, near Auckland, but a letter from Duncan Campbell to his brother-in-law Donald McKinnon in July 1861 reported that “Charles Cameron sold his farm in New Zealand 2 years ago for £2,000 he went to Twofold Bay and he lost all.”

The John Cameron Letters include a letter from John Cameron of Marangai to Charles McL Cameron Esq., 35 Great Castle Street, W. London, dated 9 September 1882, which reads:

My Dear Charlie
Your letter of the 24 June I recd about a fortnight ago. I was delighted to hear from you and so was all your old friends and acquaintances about Turakino. We all thought that you had your departure taken to the other world long ago, never hearing from you. We are all much pleased to think that we were wrong, and that there is a chance of seeing you again. Well – in reply to your queries. Your sister that was married to John McQuarie is married again to a man named Perry and I believe is very comfortable I haven’t seen her for a long time. Hitherto they have been living at Turakino but I was told a few days ago that they had shifted down to near Rangatikei on the road to Bulls – I was told that he had taken a small farm there. Mrs Perry – near Bulls – Rangatikei – Wellington – N.Z. I think will find her – of your brother Donald I know nothing or next to nothing – I was asking Charlie Cameron a few days ago if he could tell me anything about him. He says that at one time he heard that he left Hokitika and went to Tauranga but that he heard afterwards that he went back again to Hokitika – that was all he could tell me about him. Of your cousins Donald Bane’s family there are only three of them alive Mrs Grant, Mrs McDonald and Mrs Brabason, all the sons are dead. The Grants have a very nice place at Turakino and are thoroughly independent, Alec McDonald and his family have a fine place on the Oroua Stream about halfway between the Rangitikei and Manawatu Rivers. This is all I know about your relations, of your other fellow passengers on the Blenheim there are several of them still in Turakino – Old John Cameron and wife only died last year within a few weeks of each other. I believe the old man was quite 100 years old – his eldest son John was killed by a tree falling on him when he was felling – Charlie and Archi have both got fine places in Turakino with large grown up famileis and thoroughly independent.
If you ever come to see us again you will find the country very much altered. We have a fine bridge across the Wanganui river opposite the centre of the Town. And a railway opening from Manawatu to Patea and will soon be open all the way to Waitara on the north side of New Plymouth. There is also a railway in course of being formed from Wellington to the Manawatu to join on to the New Plymouth railway, and there is a line to be taken somewhere from the West Coast right up through Taupo into the Waikato to join on to the Auckland railway. Altogehter the country is going ahead notwithstanding the very slack times that Farmers are having and all those public works going ahead make it all the wose for the poor Farmers for it helps to keep the price of labour up sa high as ever. Sheep and cattle are lower now than they have been for many years and the wool market is exceedingly low the lat sales were the lowest we have had for years notwithstanding which land keeps up its price – It is not unusual to hear of properties changing hands at from £10 to £20 an acre. We are looking forward to be able to get ris of our surplus beef and mutton by this freezing process several cargoes have been sent home with great success – some sent from Dunedin was sold in London as English Down mutton. Native difficulty I think is settled now I dont think there is much dange of any more disturbances of any consequence. We are geting too strong for them our volunteer and militia corps are well trained and well armed and amount in the agregate to several thousands and the Maories know it and are afraid of them. They are also wide awake enough to see that in all the wars they have had with Europeans that tho thye may occasionally have a success in the long run they have always the worst of it – they are beginning to find out there is more to be gained by legislating than fighting. Write me on receipt of this and let me know if there is any chance of your coming back to New Zealand, and as you say that tou are still a Batchelor you might be able to pick up a buxom hussey that would keep you comfortable in your old age.

It is not clear when Charles McLean Cameron returned to New Zealand.

The 1905-1906 Electoral Roll for Eden in Auckland, records Charles McLean Cameron, inmate, at Costley Home.  The Costley Home for the Aged Poor, was originally located within the Auckland Hospital grounds, but in 1890 moved to Epsom.

New Zealand BDM records have the death of a Charles McLean Cameron on 1 April 1909, aged 87.

Sarah Cameron

Sarah Cameron was 16 when she sailed on the Blenheim with her family.

In 1851, Sarah married Duncan Campbell, a master mariner.  The Wellington Independent of 27 September 1851 carried the notice: “Married – On the 29th inst., by license, at St Paul’s, by the Rev. J.F. Churton, Mr Duncan Campbell, of Auckland, to Sarah, fifth daughter of the late Mr. Ewen Cameron of Wellington. ”

Duncan Campbell was born in Perthshire, Scotland and was a half-brother of James Campbell who married Sarah’s sister Catherine Cameron.  It is not clear when he came to New Zealand.

In the early 1850s Duncan Campbell was the skipper of the Benlomond, a 35 ton schooner in the coastal trade. According to Electoral Roll records the family was living at Nelson Street, Auckland, in 1856.

It appears that the family moved to Gabriel’s Gully, Otago in 1861.

Sarah Campbell died on 24 February 1863 in Lawrence, Otago, a few weeks after giving birth to Mary.  The Daily Southern Cross of 21 March 1863 carried the following Death Notice: “On February 24th, at the Molyneux, Province of Otago, Sarah, the beloved wife of Mr Duncan Campbell. She leaves six children with her sorrowing husband to lament her loss.”

In 1872 Duncan Campbell was appointed to be teacher at the Tuapeka Mouth School.  An inspector’s report noted that he was untrained and only on trial, and it was doubtful if he would succeed as a teacher.  He then took up farming in the district.

Duncan Campbell died in October 1875.  He was found drowned in the Molyneux River in Otago.  The Tuapeka Times of 6 October 1875 reported:

MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF A SETTLER.
We learn that Mr. Duncan Campbell, settler at Tuapeka Mouth, has disappeared in rather a mysterious manner. It appears that on Sunday evening Mr. Campbell crossed a man from the west side of the river to Dalhousie, and remained with the boat whilst the passenger went up to the township, promising to return in a few minutes. The man was longer than he anticipated, and on his return to the river bank was surprised at not to find either the boat or Mr. Campbell who has not yet been seen or heard of. Search was made by the residents of Dalhouse without avail, and up to the hour of our going to press, neither Campbell nor the boat had been heard of. Mr. A. M’Beath gave information to the police last evening, and they started away to assist in the search.

The Tuapeka Times of 9 October 1875 was able to shed more light on the disappearance, noting that Duncan Campbell provided a ferry service and on the day in question had brought over two men then adjourned to public house at Tuapeka Mouth, and was observed as being “slightly the worse for liquor.” It appeared that he may have gone to sleep in the boat while awaiting the later passenger and been carried down by the current, and somehow fallen in the river. The report went on to note:

The missing-man was an old resident in the district having come from the North Island about the first the Gabriels Gully rush. He followed digging for sometime, and subsequently became a mining agent in Lawrence. Being a man of good education, and possessing a fair share of natural talent, he was subsequently appointed Schoolmaster at Tuapeka Mouth, a situation which he resigned only a few months ago, when he took to farming, following it up to the time of bis disappearance. He was well known throughout the district; his obliging disposition and genial character rendering him generally well liked in the place.
A correspondent writes: Not a few in and about the district of Gabriels will read with feelings of melancholy interest the circumstances attending the sad end of poor old Duncan Campbell. He was in many respects of the word a coupling link between New Zealand of the past and New Zealand of the present. The date of his advent in this colony is somewhat obscure, but it is understood he got here about the latter part of the decade ending ’30 or beginning of ’40. When I say here, I mean Auckland, as you must be aware the southern provinces were little known of in those primitive days. The last time I saw him was only a few weeks ago, and he then presented all the animated appearance of a hale hearty old man who had yet many days to live. Nothing delighted him better than to recall the old times and early associations, when British rule was to a great extent subservient to Maori custom. On the occasion to which I allude he was in company with another of the old New Zealand School a resident about Tokomairiro. To hear these two old “fogies” recite their early adventures in the Northern territory was a perfect treat. The name and surname of a leading minister of the Colonial Cabinet was mixed up with one of their exploits the burden of the narrative being that they had only one blue blanket amongst the three of them, and that thus gaudily attired they set out to pay court to a tatooed damsel, possessed of great personal attractions. The conclusions indulged in by these two worthies in drawing parallels between the third occupant of the blue blanket engaged upon this escapade, and his present occupation as leader of the House of Representatives, were whimsical in the extreme. With their recollection still fresh upon my memory the intelligence of his sad end comes home to me with all the force and effect of one of those rude shocks which teaches us too truly that in the midst of life we arc in death.

The Otago Daily Times of 24 November 1875 reported:

Our Lawrence correspondent inform us by telegraph that the body of Duncan Campbell was found on the bank of the river at the mouth of a small! creek 13 miles below Tuapeka Mouth by Mr John Tyson some days ago. The body was brought up to Tuapeka Mouth, an inquest was held by the Coroner, and a verdict returned, ”Found Drowned.” A large number of friends followed the remains to the Lawrence Cemetery.

Sarah and Duncan had at least seven children:

  • Margaret Campbell, born in 1852, died in 1917, married John Glass in 1871.
  • Maria Campbell, born in 1854, died in 1947, married Andrew McBeath in 1875.
  • Donald Campbell, born in 1855.
  • Duncan Campbell, born in 1857, died in 1938, married Mary McFadzien in 1885.
  • Euphemia Campbell, born in 1859, died in 1942, married George Anderson Laidlaw in 1879.
  • Sarah Campbell, born in 1862, died in 1862.
  • Mary Campbell, born in 1863, died in 1944, married William Rainsford Bennett in 1884.
Allan Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) for baptisms from Corran in 1826, recorded the baptism on 3 September of Allan, son of Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun in Girah, Ardgour, born on the 22nd of August.

On the passenger list for the Blenheim in 1840, Allan was described as a cowherd of 14.

The reference in Early Wellington to the death in 1846 of a son of Mr Hugh Cameron, who died of consumption, aged 21, which is confirmed by Bolton St Cemetery records, is not this Allan Cameron.  Advertisements in Wellington newspapers in 1850 show that “A D C Cameron” was taking over the Kaiwarra Brewery from his brother Charles.

Bolton St Cemetery records include a reference to “A I C Cameron”, but no further information has been established for Allan Cameron.

Donald Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) in listing baptisms from Corran and Balacolish, recorded that Donald, son of Ewen Cameron and Maria Colquhoun in Ginah, was born on the 25th of December 1828 and baptised on 4 January 1829.

Donald Cameron was a cowherd of 12 in the Blenheim passenger list.

No further information has been established for Donald Cameron, apart from a suggestion that he may have gone to the Victorian goldfields.

Margaret Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour recorded that Margaret, daughter of Ewen Cameron and Margaret Colqhuhon, Gearradh, was born 1st April 1831, and baptised on 24 April 1831.

Margaret Cameron was 9 when she travelled on the Blenheim with her family.

New Zealand BDM records show that Margaret Cameron married William Henry Burgess on 26 March 1862.

William Henry Burgess was the son of James William Burgess and Elizabeth Blackburn, and was born in London on 14 March 1834. He became a mariner, like his brother Isaac Burgess, who was the Auckland Harbourmaster for many years, and also lived on the North Shore.

Electoral Rolls for 1870-1876 show that William Henry Burgess lived at North Head, on Auckland’s North Shore, and from 1880 at Devonport, when his occupation was given as pilot, and mariner from 1890 to 1906.

According to New Zealand BDM records Margaret Burgess died on 18 November 1894, aged 60. The New Zealand Herald of 20 November carried the following Death Notice: “Burgess – On Sunday, November 18, at her residence, Devonport, Margaret, the beloved wife of Captain W.H.Burgess, aged 60 years.”

William Henry Burgess died on 8 March 1912, aged 77. The New Zealand Herald of 13 March 1912 carried the following obituary:

Captain William Henry Burgess, brother of the late Captain Isaac Burgess, for many years harbourmaster at Auckland, died at Devonport on Friday, in his 78th year. Born in Limehouse, London, in 1834 deceased, like his forefathers, took to the sea, and shipped as boy on the ship City of Poonah, bound for India. On his return he joined the barque Lord William Bentinck, which arrived in Auckland with troops on board on August 26, 1850. After serving in various capacities in the brigs Invincible and Kestrel, the steamer William Denny, and the brigantine Despatch, he entered the pilot service in 1858, remaining there until 1884 – a service of 26 years. Many of the early arrivals will remember Captain Burgess as being the first person they met in the new land, when he came aboard to pilot them in. After leaving the pilot service he served on the coast in the steamer Waitaki, and then in the Devonport lorry service. Retiring on account of ill-health he lived quietly at his home at Devonport. Captain Burgess passed through all the hardships of the early seafaring days, from ship’s boy to the holder of a deep sea ticket. At Parnell, in 1862, he was married to Margaret Cameron, of Argylshire, Scotland, by the Rev. Dr. Bruce. He leaves two sons, four daughters, and nine grandchildren.

Margaret and William had at least seven children:

  • Alice Maria Burgess, born in 1863, died in 1954, married Charles Frederick Taine in 1895.
  • Clara Margaret Burgess, born in 1865, died in 1950, married Henry Dugald McKellar in 1890.
  • William Isaac Burgess, born in 1866, died in 1869.
  • Flora Cameron Burgess, born in 1868, died in 1945 (Australia), married George William Phillips in 1905.
  • James William Burgess, born in 1870, died in 1952, married Bertha Lucie Barlow in 1904.
  • Maud Jane Burgess, born in 1871.
  • Herbert Donald Burgess, born in 1876, died in 1966.
Ann Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour recorded that Ann, daughter of Ewen Cameron and Margaret Colqhuhoun, Gearrigh, was born on 8th April 1833, and baptised on 15 April 1833.

The Blenheim passenger list recorded Anne as 7 years old in 1840.

Annie Cameron, married Donald McLeod McKinnon in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, on 23 January 1853.

Donald McKinnon was born on the Isle of Skye, the son of Malcolm McKinnon and Euphemia McLeod.  The family emigrated to Australia on the Midlothian in 1837, and settled in the Maitland area of New South Wales. Donald went to school for a while before leaving to go to sea, working in the whaling industry off New Zealand, and presumably met Ann in Auckland, possibly through her brother-in-law Duncan Campbell.

Ann McKinnon died on 21 June 1881 at Wingham, NSW, aged 45.

Donald McKinnon died on 21 April 1891.  The Australian Town and Country Journal of 2 May 1891 carried the following Notice:

Taree – April 27th
Death.- On Tuesday morning, at his residence, Glen Ora, Clarksons Crossing, after a somewhat protracted illness, died Mr. Donald M’Leod M’Kinnon, at the age of 67 years. The deceased gentleman was a native of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and had resided on the Manning from about 1856 until 1862, when he removed to the Walambra district, where he lived up to the time of his death.
His wife has been dead for several years, but four sons and daughters, all grown up, are left to mourn their loss. The departed gentleman was the father of Mr. Hugh M’Kinnon, commission agent, of Sydney, and was well known and much esteemed and respected.
The funeral, which was very largely attended, took place in the Taree Estate Cemetery, when the Rev. S. P. Stewart officiated at the grave.

Ann and Donald had at least eleven children:

  • Malcolm McKinnon, born in 1853, died in 1908, married Catherine Emily Brewer in 1887.
  • Hugh McKinnon, born in 1855, died in 1930.
  • Donald McLeod McKinnon, born in 1857, died in 1922, married Sarah Jane Cox in 1884.
  • Euphemia McKinnon, born in 1859, died in 1915, married Thomas Richard McCartney in 1883.
  • Charles William McKinnon, born in 1861, died in 1940, married Catherine Taylor in 1923.
  • John McKinnon, born in 1863, died in 1863.
  • Maria Flora McKinnon, born in 1864, died in 1935.
  • Ann McKinnon, born in 1867, died in 1952, married Henry Miles in 1902.
  • Harriet Frances McKinnon, born in 1870, died in 1948.
  • Mary Jane McKinnon, born in 1873, died in 1948.
  • Catherine Mary McKinnon, born in 1879, died in 1962, married Eric Hugh Stuart McMaster in 1911.
Catherine Cameron

Catherine Cameron was 4 years old when she sailed to New Zealand on the Blenheim.

The Daily Southern Cross of 21 April 1857 carried the Notice: “Married. At the North Shore, on the 16th instant, by the Rev. Mr Heywood, Mr James Campbell, youngest son of the late Mr Alexander Campbell, farmer, Dundaree, Grandtuly, Perthshire, Scotland, to Catherine Cameron, youngest daughter of the late Mr Ewen Cameron, of Wellington, N.Z.”

James Campbell was born in 1835 in Grandtuly, Perthshire, and was a half-brother to Duncan Campbell, who married Catherine’s sister Sarah.

The family was living in Whangaparoa, Auckland, and James was described as a farmer, when the first three children were born. They then moved to Gabriel’s Gully in Otago, and James Campbell was described as a miner in the birth registrations of his children.

Catherine Campbell died on 23 February 1898 at Gabriel’s Gully, Tuapeka, Otago.

James Campbell died on 22 October 1898 at Blue Spur, Otago, through the accidental discharge of a gun.

Catherine and James had at least eleven children:

  • James Campbell, born in 1857, died in 1882.
  • Charles Campbell, born in 1858, died in 1941, married Isobel Patterson Cousins in 1884.
  • Alexander Campbell, born in 1862, died in 1922, married Emma Ida Daniel in 1891.
  • Margaret Campbell, born in 1865, died in 1934, married Samuel Edward Portman Vernon in 1907.
  • Catherine Campbell, born in 1866, died in 1946, married Andrew Barr in 1903.
  • Archibald Campbell, born in 1868, died in 1869.
  • Anne Campbell, born in 1870 (twin), died in 1943, married John McDonald in 1903.
  • Jane Campbell, born in 1870 (twin), died in 1923, married Andrew McGregor in 1900.
  • Maria Campbell, born in 1873, died in 1950, married Albert Swanwick in 1897.
  • Sarah Campbell, born in 1875, died in 1955, married Robert Henry Ledlie in 1898.
  • Isabella Campbell, born in 1877, died in 1882.

Sources:

John Cameron of Marangai

John Cameron was a cabin passenger on the Blenheim, so was not included on the list of assisted passengers.  Newspaper accounts of the departure and arrival of the Blenheim note that John Cameron was one of the cabin passengers.


Return to The Blenheim People.


John Cameron was a member of the family of Camerons of Callart. According to Somerled MacMillan in Bygone Lochaber, he was born at Lochmaddy, North Uist, on 7 October 1817, the son of Allan Cameron and Mary Campbell, daughter of Duncan Campbell of Ardgour House.

Callart lies on the northern shore of Loch Leven, directly opposite Glencoe, but was forfeited to the Crown because of the participation in the 1745 rising by Allan Cameron, 9th of Callart.  His son John Cameron, 10th of Callart, recovered the estate by payment of a fine, but he then sold Callart to Ewen Cameron of Fassiefern, and was succeeded, as representative of the family, by his brother James.  James’ second son Allan succeeded him as representative of the family, and after serving as Captain and Paymaster of the Lochaber Fencibles, Allan Cameron was factor for Lord MacDonald in North Uist for a period of 27 years and resided at Lochmaddy, where John Cameron was born.

In their history of the Wanganui County, From Sand to Papa, Rex H Voelkerling and Kevin L Stewart devote a chapter to John Cameron as a case study of an early settler in the district.  In this book it is noted, “John initially took up medicine as a career but decided that he was unsuited to this work and studied surveying instead.  Hearing the persuasive propoganda put out by the New Zealand Company and being attracted to the idea of starting afresh in a new country, Cameron travelled to London and purchased a land order.”

John Cameron’s grandmother, Mary Cameron, wife of James Cameron and daughter of Alexander MacSorlie-Cameron, 12th of Glenevis, was the aunt of Jessie Cameron, who married Moses Campbell, making John Cameron and Jessie Campbell first cousins, once-removed. John Cameron and the Campbells were fellow-passenger on the Blenheim, and neighbours and business partners in Wanganui, New Zealand.  Jessie Campbell made no overt reference to the family relationship in her Journal or letters, although she was full of praise for his character and hard work.

In Wanganui John Cameron lived with the Campbells for a period. In a letter of 4 December 1842, Jessie Campbell wrote, “John Cameron has gone to Wellington on business of his own, also to purchase cattle for the section, if he can get any to his mind. We miss him very much, he makes himself very useful, he sleeps on a sofa in the sitting room, makes his bed every evening and in the morning clears everything away and even sweeps the room. I often tell him, what would his friends at home say if they could see him with a scrubbing brush cleaning his canvas trousers or in the evening mending them, he can patch as neatly as I can,” and “Cattle are the only thing that pay here, but it requires judgment, experience and money. Of all this John Cameron is possessed, so that instead of being a burden upon us as George would be, he is a very acquisition. He was busy making oars for the boat when he went away, he intends making some of the doors for our new house, in short he can put his hand to anything, even to the nursing of Willie who is an immense pet of his, besides he is well enough informed to support his own side of an argument rather stiffly which makes him a pleasant companion for the Capt. he is quite au fait in all farming matters and gardening.” In March 1843 she wrote,”John Cameron is still an inmate of our house, and a valuable acquisition he is. He provides so much for the house, such as tea, flour etc. that his living with us is a great assistance besides his own labour which he does not spare. He is the person to do well here, he has so much prudence, good sense, energy of mind and of activity of body. My better half was most fortunate to get him for a partner. He has worked as hard at that new house of ours as if it were his own, I hope it will be his house until he gets a wife.”

Survey work and the allocation of sections of land in Wanganui took longer than expected because of the failure of the New Zealand Company to finalise purchase arrangements in Wanganui with the Maori tribes concerned.  It took until 1848 before Governor Gray brokered a solution and Donald McLean negotiated the details of the purchase.  Up until then John Cameron and Moses Campbell had been working on the land they had selected, although troubles with Maori in 1847 meant that their cattle had to be moved to Waitotara.  Once the land purchase was settled, the Campbells built a house at Wiritoa and John Cameron lived with them and supervised the running of both that property and his adjoining section of Marangai.

In 1853 the partnership with Moses Campbell was terminated, and John Cameron built his own house at Marangai.  In 1863 problems with the Maoris re-emerged.  John Cameron raised a troop of volunteer cavalry from the local area and a blockhouse was constructed.

John Cameron of Marangai
John Cameron of Marangai

In 1863 John Cameron had employed a housekeeper and eventually he married her.  John Cameron and Annie Sutherland were married on 6 June 1865 at Marangai. Annie Sutherland was born in Nova Scotia on 22 October 1832 to Hector Sutherland and Jessie Ferguson.  The family moved to Australia and then to the New Zealand settlement of Waipu, in Northland, in December 1852. Annie (Sutherland) Cameron died on 20 August 1884. The Wanganui Chronicle of 21 August 1884 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On the 20th instant, at Marangai, Annie, the beloved wife of John Cameron.”

John Cameron died on 6 November 1892, aged 75. The Wanganui Herald carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – At Marangai, Wanganui, on November 6th, John Cameron, aged 76.” The Wanganui Chronicle of 7 November 1892 published the following obituary:

It was with deep regret that we heard yesterday of the death of Captain John Cameron, of Marangai. None of our readers, we are sure, will read of his death without concern, for a kinder heart was not known in the district nor one more entitled to the respect of either rich or poor. Mr Cameron was one of our oldest settlers, and at such a juncture one cannot avoid the thought that the sturdy race of pioneers who have been the very backbone of the country are surely and swiftly passing away from amongst us. Mr Cameron arrived in New Zealand in 1840, over half a century ago, and we believe that at least 50 years of that time have been spent in Wanganui. In the early days of his colonial life the deceased was in partnership with the late Captain Campbell, and the two estates of Marangai and Weretoa were held between them. In the time of the wars Captain Cameron did good service as captain of the Wanganui Cavalry, but for many years before his death he had ceased to take any active interest in Volunteering. He was President of the Wanganui Jockey Club, and a successful horse breeder, although he never ran any of his horses at the races. In character he was quiet and unassuming, and he preferred the quietude of private life to the stir of public business. He was a kind and hospitable friend, and his family of four sons and one daughter will in their bereavement have the sympathy of all with whom he was ever brought into contact. The funeral takes place to-morrow afternoon, leaving Marangai at 1 o’clock.

John and Annie had five children:

  • Allan Cameron, born in 1865, died in 1950, married Maude Mary Ralston in 1892.
  • John Cameron, born in 1867, died in 1915 (WW1, also served in Boer War).
  • Hector Sutherland Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1944, married Eleanor Grierson Robertson in 1906.
  • Mary Cameron, born in 1871, died in 1954, married Henry William Wilson in 1897.
  • James Cameron, born in 1873, died in 1916 (WW1, Australian Forces).

Sources:

Photograph:

  • Mr Cameron. Harding, William James, 1826-1899 : Negatives of Wanganui district. Ref: 1/4-008083-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23503123

Donald McDonald and Anne Cummings

The Caledonian Mercury of 29 August 1840, in reporting on the departure of the Blenheim, noted, “The ship is commanded by Captain Gray, and the emigrants amount to betwixt 150 and 200. They are all from Lochaber, Morvern and Skye, with a few Lowlanders. The families consist of the parents, and from six to ten children each, and they are all under the kindly and fatherly care of Mr M’Donald of Drimintoran, a genuine and highly respectable Highlander, who, to prove his confidence in the benefits to be derived from emigration, and the trust that might be put in his sincerity, goes out along with his family and friends to the land of hope, which we understand, is Wellington, Port Nicholson.”

Because they were cabin passengers the family was not on the passenger lists of those receiving free passage. From newspaper reports the family included:

  • Donald MacDonald, Esq., 51
  • Mrs MacDonald,
  • Catherine MacDonald, 17
  • Donald MacDonald, 16
  • Adam MacDonald, 15
  • Flora MacDonald, 13
  • Alexander MacDonald, 12
  • Campbell MacDonald, 10
  • Thomas MacDonald, 5
  • Duncan MacDonald, 18 mths

Spelling:  The variations used in documents and other sources include “MacDonald”, “Macdonald”, “M’Donald”, and McDonald”.  In this post “McDonald” has been used unless the source indicated otherwise.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Donald McDonald and Anne Cummings

Donald McDonald was described in the New Zealand Journal of Saturday August 29 1840 as “a large landholder in the colony, and nearly the whole body of emigrants by the Blenheim was composed of his own and the neighbouring clans, near Fort William, in Inverness-shire.”

Alexander McDonald wrote a memoir which included some of the history of his family. He noted that he had documentary evidence sufficiently conclusive to himself, that he belonged to the Glencoe branch of the MacDonald Clan.

Alexander’s grandfather’s name was Donald MacDonald, and while he was too young to join the clan in the rising of 1745, he ran after and overtook the Glencoe men and marched with them to Culloden. After Cullodon, this Donald McDonald escaped with others to France, but returned to Scotland while he was still a young man and took to farming. His son Donald (Alexander’s father) followed in the same pursuit, and was presented with a silver cup in 1829 by the Highland Agricultural Society in testimony of the best managed farm in the West Highlands (this cup, and another awarded to the senior Donald MacDonald, have been recovered by descendants of Alexander MacDonald and are their treasured possessions). Donald MacDonald was in the Commission of the Peace, and Deputy Lieutenant of Argyleshire for 22 years. The cup was not the only recognition received by Donald McDonald. The Caledonian Mercury of 31 January 1828, in its publication of premiums adjudged by the Highland Society of Scotland, reported that Mr Donald MacDonald, Tenant in Drimintoran, Sunart, received five Sovereigns for the best two Quays [heifers] of two years old in the District of Morvern, Ardnamurchan etc, and in 1833 the Caledonian Mercury of 31 January reported that he received eight sovereigns for the best bull exhibited at the Competition held in Strontian in August 1832.

Donald McDonald was born around 1781.

Donald McDonald had an early marriage to Jane Kennedy, who died a few years after the marriage.  It seems unlikely that there were any children.  The Caledonian Mercury of 19 February 1814 carried the Marriage Notice: “At Keppoch, on the 3rd current, Donald McDonald, Esq., of Drimintoran, to Miss Jane Kennedy, only daughter of the late Rev. Mr John Kennedy, of Auchterer.”

A few years later, Donald McDonald married Anne Cummings.  The Old Parish Register for Coldstream in the county of Berwick recorded that Donald McDonald of the parish of Ardnamurchan, and Ann Cummings of this parish, were registered for proclamation on the 23rd September and married the 9th October 1820.

The New Zealand Company employed Donald MacDonald to arrange with a number of Scottish families to emigrate to New Zealand, and a large number from the West Highlands agreed to make the trip. There were some late withdrawals and the ship could take more, so several families of Paisley weavers were also enlisted for the voyage.

Jessie Campbell’s Journal includes many references to the McDonald family, given that they lived cheek by jowl for several months on the voyage to New Zealand.  Not all of the remarks were charitable.

In talking of the McDonald’s plans, Jessie wrote, “Capt. Gray told Capt. C today that he knew all Mr Macdonald’s history, that he had failed for £10,000 and of his intemperate habits. Mr Macdonald told Capt. C that he has hopes of getting a situation from the company as he had letters from some of the Directors to Col. Wakefield; he says it will be useless for him to go to his land as he has no subject to stock it or improve it. (Of course we are very doubtful however time will soon shew). His wife and daughter are to keep school he says in Port Nicholson. Catherine is fit to teach none but mere beginners, what her mother means to teach I cannot fancy. ”

Before leaving Scotland Donald McDonald, and others, had bought land at Wanganui from the New Zealand Company, but remained in Wellington at Kaiwarra where he had charge of the road-making from Wellington to Petone, Porirua and Karori. The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 3 March 1841 noted, “We walked out on the Porirua road a few days since, and were much gratified with the rapid progress which had been made. About three miles of the road are now as good as need be for the present. Mr. M’Donald has shown great judgment in the management of this important undertaking, and the colonists may consider themselves fortunate in having among them a gentleman so evidently well qualified to perform the task he has in hand.”

Jessie Campbell’s letters home included much gossip about the McDonalds, including Donald McDonald’s reversion to intemperence and the effect it had on his health.  In a letter of 4 December 1842, she wrote, “I wrote to my mother about Drimantoran having lost his situation, alas miserable man, the accounts we had a few days ago are still more wretched, he is a ruined man. Everything he has was seized for debt. His son Adam, saved him from being sent to jail by giving up the little pittance he had saved. God help his poor wife, I feel deeply for her, with all her faults she is well principled. He, poor wretch, is lying dangerously ill, scarcely expected to recover, I think his death would be a happy release to his family, he has brought such disgrace upon them. Adam is very steady and a sensible lad. Donald’s death was blessing, he was as drunken as his father without his abilities when sober. Catherine’s intended has not returned from Auckland, all this blow up has occurred during his absence. I wonder what he will feel about it when he hears of McDonald’s disgrace. The Capt. and John Cameron were thankful to be at such a distance from him, they would not like to have intercourse with a man spoken of as he is.”

As outlined by Alexander McDonald in his memoir, his father, once a first-class farmer and magistrate, fell “victim to the intemperate use of intoxicants,” which broke him down but not irretrievably before leaving Scotland, but after a year or two in New Zealand he gave way to the habit.

Donald McDonald died on 26 July 1849. The Wellington Independent of 28 July 1849 carried the Death Notice: “At Glengower near Wellington, on Thursday Evening the 26th inst., Donald M’Donald, Esq., late of Drimintoran, Argyleshire, and Deputy Lieutenant of the same County, Aged 68 years.”

Anne (Cummings) McDonald died on 7 April 1870 at Christchurch under the name of Agnes McDonald.  The death registration noted that she was 70 years old and died of “general vital failure consequent on old age”, with the informant being Llewellyn Powell MD, Christchurch, but with no other information.  It is likely that she was living with her daughter Catherine at the time.   The Press of 8 April 1870 carried the Death Notice: “McDonald—At Christchurch, on the 7th April, Agnes, widow of the late Donald McDonald, Esq. Drinintoran, Argyleshire, and of Wellington, N Z, aged 74.”

Catherine McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records the baptism on 27 October 1823 of Catherine, daughter to Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings.

Catherine was 16 when she boarded the Blenheim in August 1840. She appears to have given lessons to the younger children, occasioning Jessie Campbell to remark that she had a very good method with young children.

In a letter of 27 June 1843 Jessie Campbell wrote, “…but my servant, who was with them for some time, says Catherine was quite the fine lady, did nothing to assist her mother. Her intended has not yet returned from Auckland, she hears from him regularly. From a reduction of the surveying staff he lost his situation, he has been wanting the acting Governor to fulfil his promise of giving him another place, by the last accounts he was on the eve of being appointed Protector of the Aborigines either here or at Kafia, a place further down the coast. I do not know what his salary will be, probably 200 pounds a year. Catherine has been very fortunate. Mr. Campbell has been highly spoken of by all. Mr. Spain told me he was a most honourable well principled young man.”

The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator for 14 October 1843 carried the following Marriage Notice: “At ‘Kai Wara Wara, on the 10th October, by the Rev. J. Macfarlane, first minister of the Scotch Church, N.Z., John Campbell, Esq., formerly of Edinburgh, now Protector of Aborigines at Taranaki, to Catherine, daughter of D. M’Donald, Esq., formerly of Druim-an-Soran, Argyleshire, N.B.”

However, the New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 15 November 1843 reported:

Died. At Wellington, on the 2nd instant, John Campbell, Esq., formerly of Edinburgh, aged 29. Mr. Campbell was originally bred to the profession of the Law, but having emigrated to New Zealand, he was employed as a Surveyor by the Local Government, for which his scientific acquirements particularly fitted him. Subsequently he was appointed Protector of the Aborigines at Taranaki, and it is much to be regretted that the liberal and enlightened views which he entertained as to the relative position of the European’s and Natives, and his anxious wish to promote the interest of both, have been frustrated by his premature death. He was much respected by all who knew him his funeral was attended by most of the officials connected with the Government and the New Zealand Company, and upwards of a hundred Natives.

Catherine (McDonald) Campbell remarried, to Robert Waitt on 5 June 1844.

Jessie Campbell wrote on 9 September 1845, “Catherine seems quite wrapped up in her baby and Grandmama not less so.” and in another letter, “The last time I heard from Mrs. Macdonald, Mrs. [Waitt] was so ill with rheumatism she was preparing to go to Sydney in hopes of the warm climate benefiting her, her baby is a very fine child, Catherine is so thin and haggard John C, says I would hardly know her.”

The family moved to Christchurch in 1854 where Robert Waitt carried on business as a merchant in Lyttelton and leased a sheep station at Double Corner at Motunau. By 1857 he had purchased the Casterton Estate in the Heathcote Valley.

Robert Waitt died on 14 September 1866. The Lyttelton Times carried the Death Notice: “Waitt – Sept. 14, at Opawa, Robert Waitt, aged 50 years.”

Catherine (McDonald) Waitt died on 23 December 1877. The Press carried the Death Notice: “Waitt – On the 23rd December, Catherine, widow of the late Robert Waitt, Esq., aged fifty-four years.”

Catherine and Robert had at least five children:

  • Mary Douglas Waitt, born in 1845, died in 1865, married Llewelyn Price Traherne in 1863.
  • Robert McDonald Waitt, born in 1847, died in 1879, married Janie Emerald White in 1876.
  • Agnes Isabella Waitt, born in 1850, died in 1882, married Andrew Jameson in 1869.
  • Flora Margaret Waitt, born in 1851, died in 1885, married Thomas Dyke Acland in 1874.
  • George Caverhill Waitt, born in 1855, died in 1867.
Donald McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Donald, son of Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born the 26th September was baptized the 1st October 1824.

Donald McDonald was 16 when he travelled to New Zealand in 1840.

It appears from Jessie Campbell’s letters that Donald McDonald died before December 1842, but details have not been found.

Adam Cummings McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Alexander, son of Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born 27th March, baptized the 5th April 1829.

Adam Cummings McDonald and Margaret Wallace were married in Wellington on 10 June 1852.

Adam Cummings McDonald died in Wellington on 20 September 1858 at the age of 35.

In his memoirs, Alexander McDonald wrote that after his father’s death:

His place was nobly filled by my elder brother, Adam Cummings McDonald, who at the time of my father’s death was a valued clerk in the Union Bank of Australia.  It pleased God however, that he should also be taken from us.  He died very suddenly in 1858, leaving a widow and two sons, and two daughters.  He was then Manager of the Wellington Branch of the Union Bank of Australia.  On his sudden death the directors of the Bank wrote a letter of sympathy to his widow, enclosing also a whole year’s salary £400 of their late Manager in testimony of their appreciation of his worth.  The Directors also expressed a wish that the two boys of their late Manager would be kept at school, with a view to commercial life, and that a place would always be open to them in their Bank when of suitable age.  In due time the eldest boy Adam was taken into the Bank, and the youngest, George, went into the office of Messrs. Turnbull.
Let me say here to you young people that there never was in this world two young men who gave greater promise of a beautiful, useful, Christian life.  And yet it pleased God to take both these fine young men before they reached the prime of life.  They both died of typhoid fever within a fortnight of each other.  It had been found impossible to prevent the younger from nursing the elder brother, who was first taken ill, and the former caught the infection and they were both taken.  The youngest sister Amelia, without exception the most delightful child I ever saw in my life, also caught the infection and died within a few weeks of her brothers.

[The reference to the date of Amelia’s death is not consistent with BDM information.]

Adam and Margaret McDonald had four children:

  • Adam Campbell McDonald, born in 1853, died in 1879.
  • George Robertson McDonald, born in 1854, died in 1879.
  • Agnes Jane McDonald, born in 1856, died in 1924.
  • Amelia Jessie McDonald, born in 1858, died in 1875
Flora McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Flory, daughter of Donald McDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born the 6th and baptized the 17th day of March 1828.

Flora McDonald was 13 when she emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim.

Flora McDonald married Thomas Kebbell on 8 November 1848. The couple moved to the Manawatu district, where Thomas Kebbell and his brother John built the first steam sawmill. After returning to Wellington following the 1855 earthquake, Thomas Kebbell carried out duties as a J.P. and was active in business.

Thomas Kebbell died in 1890 by drowning during a yacht race on Wellington Harbour. The incident was reported by the Feilding Star of 23 January 1890:

Terrible Drowning Accidents
It is with deep regret that we record the death by drowning of Mr Thomas Kebbell, a well known citizen, which occurred during the progress of the First Class Yacht Race at the Regatta yesterday. Mr Kebbell, who has taken great interest in yachting for many years, was engaged in sailing the Florence, whicb was owned by him, when the accident occurred. The yacht, which was leading, had completed her second journey round the course, and shortly after passing the flagship Mr Kebbell took the tiller from Dr Fell, who formed one of the party, remarking, strangely enough, “that this would be the last race he would ever sail.” He was sitting on the weather gunwale of the boat holding on to the tiller lines, when he was observed by the doctor to suddenly fall backwards into the water. The yacht, which was travelling at a great rate, was put about as speedily as possible, and in the meantime Mr Cecil Kebbell jumped overboard with the intention of assisting his father. A small rowing boat, manned by two boys, which had been cruising about, had been brought up alongside Mr Kebbell, and the lads succeeded in holding his head above water until the Florence was brought up alongside. The unfortunate gentleman was then hauled into the boat as speedily as possible. Mr Kebbell had evidently been dead some time before he was taken out of the water.
The deceased gentleman was 71 years of age, arrived in New Zealand by the ship Mandarin in 1841. In co-operation with his brother he built a steam sawmill (afterward a flour mill) in the Manawatu, from which place he was driven by the earthquake of 1855, which destroyed the mill. He leaves a widow and six children. Three sons are living in the Wairarapa. and the three daughters are Mesdames H. P. Higginson, A. de B. Brandon, and Tilley (Wanganui). Inspector Thomson received the following telegram from Otaki last night Catherine Mary and Dora Ann Kebbell, 10 and 8 years respectively daughters of Mr J. Kebbell, J.P., Ohau, were drowned while bathing in the Ohau river at 11 a.m. to-day.” Mr J. Kebbell, father of the two children who have thus met with a terrible death, is a nephew of Mr T. Kebbell who was drowned yesterday. We feel sure that the people of Wellington generally will sympathise with the members of a highly esteemed family in their severe bereavement.

Flora (McDonald) Kebbell died on 20 December 1919, aged 91. The Dominion of 22 December 1919 carried the Death Notice: “Kebbell – On December 20, 1919, at her residence, No [..] Hobson Street, Flora, widow of the late Thomas Kebbell, Esq., in her 92nd year.” The Wairarapa Age of 24 December 1919 noted:

Many people will regret to hear of the death of Mrs. Flora Kebbell, widow of the late Mr. Thomas Kebbell, both being much respected and popular pioneer residents of Wellington, Mrs. Kebbell passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday morning early, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Tilly, of Hobson Street. She was in her 92nd year, and had enjoyed wonderfully good health, considering her advanced age. Mrs. Kebbell leaves three daughters, Mrs. Higginson, who is resident in England, Mrs. A. de B. Brandon, and Mrs. Tilly, both of Wellington. Her sons are Messrs William, Richard, and Cecil Kebbell.

The Dominion of 24 December 1919 published the following obituary:

AN INTERESTING MEMOIR
THE LATE MRS. THOMAS KEBBELL. On January 22 next it will be 80 years since the pioneers of the New Zealand Company landed at Petone, and laid the foundation of the settlement of New Zealand. Ship after ship followed in succession’ laden with immigrants and stores, and among them was the Blenheim, which cast anchor in Port Nicholson on December 27, 1840, welcomed by bright sunshine. Among her passengers was a girl twelve years of age accompanying her father, mother, brothers, and sister, who had left the home of their ancestors to found a new home in a new land, M’Donalds of Druimantorran, in Scotland, they sought a favourable turn of fortune’s wheel in New Zealand. The people of to-day cannot really form any conception of travel as it was in those days. The Blenheim was a ship of 378 tons burthen, and on that voyage carried 197 passengers, besides officers and crew. Salt meat and biscuits were the staple food, and the voyage lasted four months.
The excitement of the child on waking one morning and finding the, ship at anchor may be imagined, and her joy at seeing the beautiful harbour of Port Nicholson surrounded by hills, bush-clad to the water’s edge and alive with singing birds, created an impression which lasted her lifetime. For eight years she saw forest disappear to give place to dwellings and pasture during the infancy of the city of Wellington. Towards the end of 1848 she married Mr. Thomas Kebbell, who was then a pioneer settler on the banks of the Manawatu River, but in the meantime she had experienced the awful earthquake of that year. That convulsion so disturbed the peace of mind of some of the settlers that they chartered a schooner to take themselves and their goods and chattels to Sydney. They set sail at the earliest moment, and among them was one of three men prominent in the call for constitutional government, and who were known as “The Three F’s.” The wreck of the schooner at the heads put an end to the desire of Dr. William Fitzherbert to cast the dust of New Zealand from off his feet, and he subsequently did great service to the colony in helping to adjust the differences between Downing Street and its distant protege, ending in the launching of the “self-reliant” policy which quickly brought an end to the Native troubles that hitherto, under the Imperial control had seemed interminable.
The bride accompanied her husband to the Manawatu, making the journey on horseback, which at that time was the only alternative to walking. Riding along the Old Porirua Road, and passing the Porirua Harbour on the west side, they swam their horses across the entrance to the harbour at the ferry east of where Plimmerton now stands. Following the Maori track through the bush over the Pukerua hill and down to the seashore, they rode along the coast to the Manawatu River, and thence to their home.
Few nowadays know of the difficulties which then beset travellers on that coast – high spring tides, the rivers Waikanae, Otaki, Manakau, and Ohau each liable to flood, and each with a deep channel running back into sandhills. Many a traveller had been compelled to wait for hours or even days until the flood had subsided or the tide had ebbed sufficiently to allow of a passage in comparatively shallow water near the line of the breaking waves; or in the case of the Otaki the traveller might have made a laboured journey inland and sought, the assistance of a friendly Maori who would take him across the river in canoe and tow the horse behind. In those days the beach was the main road northward from Paekakariki as far as Scott’s Ferry on the Rangitikei River.
The earthquake of 1856 and unprecedented floods in the river ended the Manawatu venture, and the bride of ’48, with three children out of four (one having met the “New Zealand death” — drowned in the river) were brought to Wellington, where she saw further great changes in the development of the city. She had already seen forest removed for dwellings and pastures: later she saw shops and stores replace dwellings, and still later she saw dwellings displace horses and cows.
Nurtured in times when “woman rights” were motherhood and home management, home life was the life of the late Mrs. Kebbell. With all her faculties clear to within a few hours of death, she lived loved by children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. With her death it might almost be said that the foundation of this Dominion has now passed from the ken of the eye-witness into the domain of tradition.

Flora and Thomas Kebbell had at least seven children:

  • William McDonald Kebbell, born in 1850, died in 1933, married (1) Charlotte Ellen Willock in 1882, (2) Annie Hassell Liddle in 1902.
  • Ann Kebbell, born in 1852, died in 1854 (drowned in the Manawatu River).
  • Florence Kebbell, born in 1853, married Harry Pasley Higginson in 1874.
  • Louisa Kebbell, born in 1858, died in 1941, married Alfred de Bathe Brandon jun. in 1879.
  • Edith Kebbell, born in 1861, died in 1929, married Henry Johnston Robinson Tilly in 1883.
  • Cecil Kebbell, born in 1866, died in 1938, married Mary Christina Cameron in 1896.
  • Richard Cummings Kebbell, born in 1868, died in 1940.
Alexander McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Alexander, son of Donald MacDonald, tacksman of Drimintoran, and Anne Cummings, was born 27th March baptized on the 5th April 1829.

In a letter of 2 August 1843, Jessie Campbell wrote, “I think I mentioned in former letter that one of Drimantoran’s sons had gone to be herdboy with his old servant, Angus McMaster, is not this terrible?”

In his memoir, Alexander MacDonald wrote:

In some respects I was a precocious boy, in other respects I was extremely slow in assimilating wisdom, of which I fear I have not a very large stock even now. As an example of my best qualities I will mention that coming out on the “Blenheim” I made the acquaintance of a Highland lassie of about my own age. We forthwith became sweethearts and agreed that when our respective parents would permit, or we became of age to act for ourselves, we certainly would marry. Well through thick and thin we stuck to that agreement, until I was a little over 22 years of age, and then my little sweetheart was foolish enough to become my wife. This is the only act of my life in which I showed absolutely just discrimination.

Alexander MacDonald and Annie Cameron were married on 13 January 1852. Annie was the daughter of Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson, sister of Jane (see Dugald McLachlan and Jane Cameron), and Mary (see Alexander Grant and Mary Cameron).

In Poyntzfield, Eliza McKenzie’s memories of the wedding day are recorded:

Though this was Mr Hogg’s first there, it was not the first Turakina marriage, because our beloved ‘Little Annie’ and Alick had gone to Wanganui before Mr Hogg had arrived. I think it was by ‘Missionary Taylor’ so well known and liked – but it might have been Mr Nicholl. I remember her coming to our house, accompanied by Mysie who introduced her as ‘Mrs MacDonald’ at which everyone laughed, and Annie blushed, looking lovelier than ever. Both ladies were bewildering in the beauty of their attire, culminating in the wreath of ‘orange blossom’ round the vivacious face of the bride, and some sprays on the outside of the bonnet mixed with ‘blond’ lace. Annie carried a nice little kit in her hand from which she presently took a parcel of wedding cake saying to Mother “This is something for you, somebody gave it to me and I have a bit for Mrs McGregor” with which they went on to ‘Annbank’, a vision of brightness to us.

Alexander McDonald’s memoirs provide an informed assessment of the issues arising in first few decades of settlement in New Zealand, and in particular his views and engagement in issues relating to Maori land purchases and the relationship with Maori. The memoir also provided a history of the various places he lived in and the people there, and was quoted extensively by his friend Sir James Wilson in his book Early Rangitikei.

It was as a result of his support for the rights of some Maori in relation to purchases that Alexander McDonald was imprisoned after shooting a horse pulling a mail coach to prevent it crossing Ngatikauwhata land. The iwi supported Alexander and his family with land and money during his imprisonment.

Ann Christian (Cameron) McDonald died on 26 February 1898. The Feilding Star of 1 March 1898 carried the following obituary:

Mrs A Macdonald: On Saturday night, at Shannon, there died one of the best-natured and truest-hearted women it is the lot of human beings to meet, Mrs Macdonald, wife of Alexander Macdonald, at the age of 69. Few women have had a more stirring life, and few have retained their natural kindness and love for their fellow-creatures to the same extent as Mrs Macdonald. As Miss Cameron, she came to the colony when quite a child, in the ’40’s, and both before and after marrying Mr Macdonald lived at Kaiwarra. From thence they went to the Wanganui district, subsequently removing to Turakina, Bulls, Kopani, Awahuri and Shannon. Coming to the bush districts years in advance of settlement, Mrs Macdonald had every opportunity of displaying that hospitality for which she was so well known, and very many can testify to her kindness even to those who had not the slightest claim to consideration. Her death leaves a good wife, a loving mother, and a kind friend the less in the world, and her relatives have our heartfelt sympathy in their loss. Mrs Macdonald had five married daughters (Mesdames Dundas, Scott, Lyons, Macintyre, and Nethercliffe), one single daughter, two sons (Adam and Donald), and a number of grandchildren. The funeral took place yesterday and was very largely attended.

Alexander McDonald died on 25 March 1905 at Shannon, aged 76.

The Manawatu Standard of 27 March 1905, contained the Death Notice: “McDonald – At his late residence, Shannon, Alexander McDonald, late of Rangitikei and Turakina, aged 76 years.”  The newspaper also included the following obituary:

On Saturday last at Shannon, Mr Alexander McDonald, one of the best known settlers on this coast, died at the age of 76 years. Mr McDonald, who descended from the McDonalds of Glencoe, of historic fame, was born at Drimmentoran, in Argyleshire, in 1829. He came to the colony in the early forties, and after his marriage with Mrs McDonald (nee Miss Cameron), who predeceased him eight years ago, lived at Kaiwarra. From there he removed to Turakina and, subsequently, at different stages of his life, lived at Bulls, Kopani, Awahuri and Shannon. From his earliest days Mr McDonald was an authority in all native matters. He was created a chieftain by the Awahuri natives and dowered with a large acreage of land just adjacent to the township. Mr McDonald lived there for several years but, subsequently, owing to legal informalities at the time of the gift from the natives, had to re-transfer the property to the natives. He then removed to Shannon, where he has resided for the past ten years. There was, probably, no better Maori linguist in the colony, and for years the deceased gentleman acted as Native Assessor for the Government and Maori Interpreter. In the latter capacity he was engaged in several of the most important subdivisions of native property that have taken place on this coast. He was a keen friend of the natives, and possessed their confidence in a high degree. His life in the early days of the colony, during war time, was particularly adventurous, much more so than the average colonist of that time, and many a stirring tale the deceased gentleman could tell of the trials, tribulations and adventures of those historic days. As stated, his wife predeceased him eight years ago, but he is survived by five married daughters, Mesdames Dundas, Scott, Macintire, Lyons, and Nethercliffe, one unmarried daughter and two sons, Adam and Donald. Deceased was a man of splendid physique and bore his years remarkably well up to the last twelve months, when he aged considerably, and showed signs of failure of the heart. On Saturday he complained of feeling unwell and went to lie down. His son going to his room a few minutes later was just in time to be with him in the closing moment. The funeral will take place to-morrow, the 76th anniversary of his birth.

Annie and Alexander had eight children [details require confirmation and completion]:

  • Mary McDonald, born in 1854, died in 1939, married Alexander Dundas in 1878.
  • Annie McDonald, born in 1855, married (1) Henry Seegers Palmerson, (2) George Latta Rodaway Scott in 1891.
  • Donald McDonald, born in 1857.
  • Adam Alexander McDonald, born in 1860, died in 1940, married Mary Helen Sarah Dundas in 1898.
  • Ada McDonald, born in 1863, married John Henry Lee Macintyre in 1887.
  • Catherine McDonald.
  • Georgina McDonald, born in 1866, died in 1945, married Alfred Richard Lyons in 1889.
  • Margaret McDonald, born in 1869, died in 1924, married Edward Cyril Morley Netherclift in 1897.
Campbell Riddell McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian records that Campbell Riddell, son of Mr Donald MacDonald of Drimintoran, was born 22nd July and baptized 30th ditto 1830.

Campbell McDonald was 10 years old when he embarked on the Blenheim.

In 1845 Jessie Campbell wrote in a letter, “Campbell Macdonald has determined on going to sea and is bound apprentice to Capt. Dawson of the Skiro Castle when his contract with the Government expires, she is to go home and will be at least 5 months at Home. Campbell is to spend that time with his friends in the Highlands, he is at present with the ship in Auckland, he is a very steady boy.”

Campbell Riddell MacDonald died on 11 January 1853 aged 22.  The Wellington Independent of 12 January 1853 carried the Death Notice: “On Tuesday, the 11th instant, at Wellington, Mr Campbell Riddell McDonald, aged 22 years.”

Thomas McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan and Strontian recorded that Thomas, son of Donald MacDonald and Anne Cumming, was born September 9th 1835.

Thomas McDonald was 5 years old on the voyage of the Blenheim.

Thomas McDonald moved to North Canterbury and worked on a number of farms before moving to Waikuku. He was active in community affairs, especially the Waikuku School Committee.

Thomas McDonald married Annie Ford, formerly Adams, in 1864.

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District], 1903, carried the following entry:

McDonald, Thomas, Woolscourer and Farmer, Waikuku Woolworks, Waikuku. These works were established in 1869, by Mr. W. Bailey, the present proprietor having acquired them in 1872. Mr. McDonald was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, in 1835, and arrived in Wellington with his parents in 1840, by the ship “Blenheim.” As soon as he was old enough he became a cadet on a station. Having qualified as a manager, Mr. McDonald was in charge of Horsley Downs estate for about eighteen years, and settled at Waikuku in 1872. He has for many years served on the Waikuku school committee, and for a long period held the position of chairman. Mr. McDonald is a member of the committee of the Northern Agricultural and Pastoral Association. He was married, in 1864, to the widow of the late Mr. T. K. Adams, and has four sons and four daughters.

Thomas McDonald died on 2 August 1907. The Press of 3 August 1907 published the following obituary:

DEATH OF AN OLD COLONIST
MR T. McDONALD,
The many friends of Mr T. McDonald, of Waikuku, will learn with regret of his death, which occurred at an early hour yesterday morning. He had been ill three weeks, and a few days ago underwent a serious operation, which afforded temporary relief. Mr McDonald was a native of Argyleshire, Scotland, and arrived, with his parents by the ship Blenheim, at Wellington, in 1840. Shortly afterwards Mr McDonald came to Canterbury, and, as a cadet, was well known. For some years he was at Motonau, and took charge of Cheviot when that country was first taken up by Mr J. S. Caverhill. He became manager for Messrs J. W. Mallock and J. D. Lance at Horsley Downs, on which large run he remained for about eighteen years. About 1872 Mr McDonald took over the Waikuku wool scouring works, which had been started by Mr Joseph Bailey, of Christchurch. Mr McDonald was chairman of the Waikuku School Committee and manifested a very keen interest in the education of the children of his district for twenty-five years. He likewise held a position as a warden of the Woodend Church, and was foremost in matters intended for the benefit of the district. He was a most valuable supporter of the local Agricultural Show, and one of the earliest members of the North Canterbury Racing Club, being an admirer of good honest sport. He was a gentleman of thoroughly genial and open-hearted disposition, and through life won the highest respect and loyalty from all whom he employed. His business transactions were characterised by irreproachable methods in conducting the same. He married in the early sixties, and leaves a widow, four sons, and four daughters. His sons are: – Messrs H. McDonald (Pyne and Co.), J. McDonald (North Canterbury Stores), R. McDonald (Waikuku), and G. McDonald (Hawarden). Flags were flown at half-mast in Rangiora yesterday, and at the horse fair general regret was expressed on all sides on hearing of Mr McDonald’s death.

Thomas and Annie had nine children:

  • Flora Agnes McDonald, born in 1865, died in 1950.
  • Harry Donald McDonald, born in 1867, died in 1924, married Mary Agnes Buss in 1895.
  • John Glencoe McDonald, born in [1868, died in 1938, married Edith Nora Steele in 1902].
  • Thomas Campbell McDonald, born in 1870, died in 1877.
  • Catherine Annie McDonald, born in 1872, died in 1934, married John Pratt Andrews in 1902.
  • Constance May McDonald, born in 1873, died in 1946, married Joshua Henshaw in 1897.
  • Ronald McDonald, born in 1875, married Alexandrina Agnes Palmerson in 1903.
  • Isabel Margaret McDonald, born in 1876, married William Charles Frank Lukis in 1906.
  • Duncan George McDonald, born in 1878, died in 1953, married Elsie Annie Archer in 1903.
Duncan Campbell McDonald

The Old Parish Register for Ballachulish and Corran of Ardgour recorded that Duncan Campbell, son of Donald McDonald Esq., and Ann Cumming, Calchenna, was born 3rd July 1839 and baptized on 9 August 1838.

The electoral roll for Kaiapoi in 1890 listed Duncan Campbell McDonald, Waikuku, accountant.

The Feilding Star of 20 July 1900 carried the following Death Notice: “McDonald — On July 16th, at Waikuku, Canterbury, at the residence of his brother, Duncan Campbell McDonald, youngest son of the late Donald McDonald of Druimintorran, Argyleshire, Scotland aged 60 years.”


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Alexander Thompson and Helen Gollan

Alexander and Helen Thompson were not on the initial passenger list for the Blenheim, but did appear on the embarkation and subsequent lists:

  • Alexander Thompson, 28, Paisley, labourer
  • Helen Thompson, 26, Paisley

Spelling: Although the Blenheim passenger lists used “Thompson” most other records have “Thomson”.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Based on the details in the Blenheim passenger list, Alexander Thomson was born around 1812 and his wife Helen around 1814.

The Old Parish Register for Paisley Middle parish records that Alexander Thomson, lawful son of Alexander Thomson and Margaret Robertson, was born on 27 October 1812 and baptized on 15 November 1812.

The Old Parish Register for Barony in Lanark, recorded the marriage on 15 May 1836 of Alexander Thomson, cotton spinner, Calton, and Helen Gollan, residing there.

From the reports below, it appears that Alexander and Helen moved to Auckland shortly after the arrival of the Blenheim, and eventually settled on a farm in West Tamaki.

The Auckland Star of 14 June 1886 provided a full report of the Golden Wedding celebrations for the couple:

A GOLDEN WEDDING.
The golden wedding of Mr and Mrs Alex. Thomson was celebrated on the evening of Thursday, the l0th inst., in the Presbyterian Church of Tamaki West. The little church was very artistically decorated for the occasion with evergreens, white and pink camellias, and other flowers of the season. About three hundred visitors were invited, and the church was literally crowded. An excellent repast was provided, chiefly by Mrs Thomson. Tables the whole length of the inside of the building were liberally spread with the daintiest viands. A number of ladies of Tamaki and neighbouring settlementa courteously waited at the table. After a bountiful tea, the Rev. John Macky took the cbair, supported by Mr and Mrs Thomson, Mr William Thorne, and immediate relations. The proceedings opened with the hymn “Praise Ye Jehovah” and prayer by Rev. R. F. Macnicol. The Chairman then made a few appropriate remarks upon the auspicious event, and called upon the Rev. Mr Steele to read apologies from well-wishers who were unavoidably absent, viz., the Revs. David Bruce, A. Carrick, T. M. King (St. John’s College), Mr James Bell, of Wairoa, and several others. The Chairman proceeded and expressed the pleasure he felt in the position which he had been called upon to occupy. He felt sure that in wishing Mr and Mrs Thomson much happiness on the event of their golden wedding day, every heart would respond to the prayer that their kind friends might be spared many years longer in their career of usefulness in connection with the locality and the church. He had known Mr and Mrs Thomson intimately ever since he was first introduced to them thirty three years ago. Having spoken at some length in eulogistic terms of the amiable qualities of his friends, he would call upon Mr Thomson to speak for himself and his aged partner. Mr Thomson, on rising, was greeted with prolonged applause, and proceeded to say that he had frequently said that if it should please God to spare him and Mrs Thomson to see fifty years of married life, he would have all Tamaki and half Auckland present to celebrate the happy event. He had not much to say to married guests upon the subject of matrimony, but he hoped they would all live to see their golden wedding, and be able to look back over half a century with as much retrospective pleasure and satisfaction as he looked over his past. He then gave some advice to unmarried men, enforcing the words of the highest authority, “It is not good for man to be alone,” the truth of which he and his partner had proved in their early colonial struggle by being united. They had found in their mutual endeavours that “two heads are better than one.” The speaker then gave a pleasing sketch of his life from tho time when he started with others from Glasgow, in 1840, by the good ship Blenheim for Wellington, and of his arrival in Auckland with Sir William Martin, the Hon. William Swainson, Mr Outhwaite, and others. He and his partner worked hard, and at length saved sufficient money to purohase Water Yett, Tamaki, the farm upon which he and Mrs Thomson had laboured 40 years. He now occupied the building which formed the first Presbyterian Church in the province. A preacher, still living in Scotland, characterised the church as a barn, and the pulpit a tea chest. He did not approve of the terms. The little church, however, had boen of real service to the people of the district, and the ministrations from that so-called “tea chest” had proved a blessing to many. Mr Thomson then sketched the history of the church and the Sunday school and Bible class, with which he had been closely connected, for the long term of forty-five years, concluding with several suggestions for practical work and general improvement. At Mr Thomson’s request, Rev. Mr Steele read the marriage lines, which showed that Alexander Thomson, bachelor, and Ellen Gollan, spinster, were married on the 2nd of June, 1836, by the Rev. John Edwards, in the Monteith Row Church, Glasgow. (Loud cheers.) Short congratulatory addresses were successively given by Rev. T. G. Carr, D. W. Runciman, G. E. Monro, K. F. Macnicol, Thomas Norrie and Mr Hunter. Between these brief speeches several sacred selections and songs ware sung. Mrs Kimpton, of Otahuhu, sang the old but very appropriate song, “Darby and Joan,” with telling effect. The same lady, with Miss Wallace, sang a duet, and subsequently the fine lyric entitled “Charity.” Miss Pulman sang “Too Late,” with pianoforte accompaniment. Mr James Wallace gave a recitation, “The Young Man Leaving Home,” with much elocutionary skill. Miss Lily Pulman then recited “The Golden Wedding Song,” written for the occasion by Mr John Blackman, which was received in a kindly spirit. This effusion was distinctly and clearly enunciated by the reciter. A splendid picture of the aged pair, photographed by Pulman, Shortland-street, was then exhibited to the audience, elegantly framed. The wedding cake was then cut by the bride with the silver knife and distributed to the assembled visitors. The cake was the gift of Mrs Carr and Messrs W and A, Thorne. The Rev. Mr Steele, on behalf of the company, expressed thanks to Mr and Mrs Thomson, to the ladies of the tea tables, and to all who had assisted in contributing to the entertainment, and the whole closed with the Benediction pronounced by the Chairman.

His death registration shows that Alexander Thomson died on 3 August 1886 at St Andrews Church of Scotland. He was a farmer of 73, the son of Alexander Thomson, stonemason, and Margaret Robertson, was born in Paisley, had been in New Zealand for 46 years, and had been married in Glasgow at 25 to Helen Gollan. There were no living children. The cause of death was apoplexy.

The Auckland Star of 4 August 1886 carried the Death Notice: “Thomson – On August 3, Alexander Thomson of West Tamaki.” The New Zealand Herald of 4 August 1886 included the following account of his life and death:

SUDDEN DEATH AT THE MEETING OF THE AUCKLAND PRESBYTERY.
At the meeting of the Auckland Presbytery, yesterday afternoon, a very sad event occurred. After the Presbytery had concluded the business before it, Mr. Alexander Thomson, an elder residing at Panmure, and representing the church at West Tamaki, rose, having taken no part in the business previously, and asked that the Presbytery should proceed then to inquire whether the collections for the foreign missions appointed by the Assembly had been made by the several congregations. To this the Presbytery at once agreed, out of respect to Mr. Thomson, and was about to carry nut the request when he was observed to have fallen back in his chair in what appeared to be a fainting fit. He was immediately unconscious and, a pallor coming over his features, it became evident that death was at hand. The Moderator and the other members near him did all they could to ease his position, but the heart had ceased its pulsations. Dr. Kenderdine was present in a few minutes, and pronounced life extinct, the cause being apoplexy. After some time had elapsed, and the body had been removed into the vestry, the Presbytery met for a few minutes, and Mr. Carrick, at the Moderator’s request, engaged in prayer, the Presbytery adjourning its meeting until to-day, at ten a.m.
The deceased gentleman was 75 years of age, and on the 10th of June last celebrated his golden wedding. It appears that about two years ago he received injury in the chest from the kick of a horse, which at the time caused a very dangerous illness. Since his recovery he had been subject to fainting fits, and yesterday morning, when coming to the Presbytery meeting, he complained of not feeling well. Mr. Thomson came to Wellington in 1840, and after remaining there for about a year he came to Auckland, where he has been ever since, on a farm at the Tamaki. He leaves a widow, but no children. Deceased was an active member of the Presbyterian Church, and took a great interest in the Sunday schools and in other departments of Church work. He was kindly, frank, and hospitable.

The Auckland Star of 14 August 1886 also provided an obituary:

Mr Alexander Thomson, a very old settler of Tamaki West, and an elder of the Presbyterian Church, died on Tuesday, August 3, at the sitting of the Presbytery in St. Andrew’s Church. Mr Thomson came into town early and transacted a considerable amount of business,and while dining at a friend’s house in Shortland street said he feared he had overdone it. He felt somewhat weary, and his breathing was difficult. He left for the meeting of Presbytery at St. Andrew’s, and was speaking upon the subject of the collections of the churches for Foreign Missions, when suddenly he staggered and fell back unconscious upon the seat. A pallor immediately overspread his features, and it was evident that the hand of death «as upon him. Mr Lennox ran for Dr. Kenderdine, and that gentleman, on arrival, pronounced life extinct. The cause of his death was apoplexy. The body was removed at the moderator’s request into the vestry, and subsequently was placed in a shell and removed by Mr Wm. Thorne, solicitor, a nephew of deceased, to Mr Thomson’s late residence. Deceased was born in Glasgow in I811, so that he had reached his 75th year. In early life Mr Thomson was a cotton weaver in his native city, and was of a quiet and religious disposition. He was married June 2, 1836, to Ellen Gollan, in Glasgow, and four years from that auspicious event, in 1840, the young pair left Glasgow in the good ship Blenheim, for the city of Wellington, and after staying there for some months, sailed for Auckland, and filled in this city and suburbs several positions of trust. Mr Thomson and his partner settled on a small farm at West Tamaki, known as Water Yett, where they lived for more than 40 years. Mr Thomson told the story of his colonial struggles with graphic force on the occasion of the celebration of his “golden wedding” in June last. The funeral of the deceased was very largely attended, several hundred persons joining in the procession. A short service at the house was conducted by the Rev. John Macky, sen., minister of the united charge of Otahuhu, Tamaki, and Howick, and the Rev. T. G. Carr, Wesleyan minister (nephew of the deceased by marriage). On arriving at the cemetery the coffin was carried into St. Enoch’s Church, where service was performed by the Revs. J. Macky and T. Norrie, the former giving an appropriate address, in which he spoke of the Christian character of the deceased, and the good services he had rendered in the district for many years, especially to the younger members of the resident families, and concluded by urging all to follow his example. The Rev. D. Bruce and Rev. Mr Steele conducted the service at the grave, near the church.

Helen Thomson, widow of 84, died on 14 May 1898, at Pakuranga. No details of her parents were included in death registration, although it was noted that her father was a schoolteacher. Helen was born in Glasgow, and had been in New Zealand for 58 years. She was married in Glasgow at 18 to Alexander Thomson. There were no living children. The cause of death was senile decay.

The New Zealand Herald of 16 May 1898 carried the death Notice: “Thomson – On Saturday May 14, Helen, the widow of the late Alexander Thomson, of West Tamaki, aged 84.”

The reports above refer to a nephew, William Thorne, solicitor, and nephew by marriage, the Rev T G Carr. William Thorne and Matilda Carr were the children of William Thorne and Mary Gollan, Helen’s sister, who were married in 1846. Mary Gollan emigrated to New Zealand on the Duchess of Argyle which sailed from Greenock to Auckland in 1842. She was 30. There was another family of Gollans from Glasgow on this ship, headed by James Gollan, 33, and including his wife Abigail and several children.


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