Tag Archives: weaver

Donald Cameron and Christian McLean

The Blenheim passenger list noted that this Cameron family came from Ormasaigmore, and Donald McDonald commented that “This man and his family have been known to me for many years, he is very industrious.”  The family included:

  • Donald Cameron, 46, weaver
  • Christian, 40, his wife
  • Dugald, 18, labourer, his son
  • Alexander, 17, labourer, his son
  • Donald, 16, labourer, his son
  • Catherine, 14, housemaid, his daughter
  • Ann, 12, his daughter
  • John, 10, his son
  • Duncan, 8, his son

In order to distinguish the various Donald Camerons, the senior Donald Cameron in this family was nick-named “Weaver” on account of his occupation, and his son Donald Cameron was nick-named “Piper”, because he was a bagpiper.

A detailed history of this family and their life in New Zealand can be found in The Kaiwarra Camerons, by M J Ullyat.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Donald Cameron and Christian McLean

Donald Cameron was born at Ockle, Ardnamurchan, Argyll, probably around 1784.

Christian McLean was born in Ockle, probably in 1791.

Donald and Christian were married around 1820, and went on to have at least the seven children who accompanied them on the Blenheim. One child, Allan, born in 1827, died the same year.

Ormasaigmore is a locality on the Ardnamurchan peninsular of Argyll.  The  parish of Ardnamurchan was partly in the county of Argyll, and partly in the county of Inverness, and comprised the quod sacra districts of Aharacle and Strontian.  As discussed in The Kaiwarra Camerons, the family probably moved to Ormasaigore, on the southern side of the peninsular, in the mid-1830s, from Ockle,  on the northern side, where the children were born.

Following their arrival in Wellington in 1840, the family lived at Kaiwharawhara (“Kaiwarra”). In 1842 Donald and his son Donald joined a New Zealand Company expedition led by the surveyor Charles Kettle and including Alexander Grant, another Blenheim passenger. While exhausting, the expedition did confirm that there was a lot of land in the Wairarapa that would be suitable for farming.  Donald and his sons made further trips to the Wairarapa, and also, in 1856, bought a section of land at Waiwhetu in the Hutt Valley, where Donald and Christina made their permanent home.

There is a suggestion in some histories that in 1843 Donald set up a rope-making business and a flax dressing school in Wellington, at the corner of Molesworth and Murphy streets.  However, this is incorrect, since in fact it seems to have been the activity undertaken by a Mr Robert Cameron, a rope-maker from Durham, England, who emigrated to New Zealand on the Himalaya in 1843 with his wife and six children, and established himself as a rope and sailmaker, ran a flax and rope-making school in Thorndon, and later owned a flour mill in Ngauranga.  Contemporary newspaper reports and advertisements, and juror lists, confirm this.

Donald Cameron and Christina McLean
Donald Cameron and Christina McLean

Donald Cameron and his family had taken up land in the Wairarapa by 1846, at Pahaoa on the Wairarapa coast, which was initially leased from local Maori. In 1854, following the Government purchase of land in the district the leaseholders were able to buy the land. Donald Cameron purchased the homestead block, while the licence for the remainder of the Pahaoa property was in the names of his five sons. By 1858 Donald had also bought land at Parewanui in Rangitikiei to secure a property for his daughter Annie and her husband James McDonell.

In an 1867 court case involving the estate of his son Donald, it was noted that Donald Cameron, the elder, the father of the intestate, died about February, 1860, having devised his freehold land near Pahaua and “Blairlogie” at Whareama to his five sons, their heirs and assigns, as tenants in common. He also bequeathed all his sheep unto, and to be equally divided between, his said five sons. The sheep bequeathed were depasturing upon the devised land. The case goes on to state, that the five brothers took possession of the lands and sheep, and carried on, thereon and therewith, the business of sheep-farmers together, without any agreement in writing.

Donald Cameron died on 12 February 1860 aged 75, apparently as a result of a logging accident at Waiwhetu. and his wife Christina died on 18 December 1872 aged 81.  The Evening Post of 18 December 1872 carried the Death Notice: “On the 18th inst, at the residence of Mr. David Smith, Mulgrave-street, Mrs Donald Cameron, relict of Mr Donald Cameron, of Kaiwarra, aged 81 years. (Canterbury papers please copy.)”

Dugald Cameron

Dugald Cameron was born around 1822 in Ardnamurchan.

In the Blenheim passenger lists Dugald was described as a labourer of 18.

The Wellington Independent of 8 April 1862 carried the Marriage Notice: “Cameron-Jeffs – On 12th March, at Kai-warra-warra, by the Rev. John Moir, Mr Dugald Cameron to Miss Anne Jeffs, both of this City.”

Annie Jeffs was a schoolteacher in Wellington, who was born in Wellington on 1 July 1842 and baptised on 26 June 1845 at St Paul’s in Wellington.  She was the daughter of George Jeffs and Anne Bilton, who arrived in Wellington on 30 October 1841 on the Gertrude, having sailed from Gravesend on 19 June 1841.  The Jeffs came from Coventry in England, and in the 1841 census for the parish of St John the Baptist were listed as living in Spon St, Coventry, Warwickshire.  George, aged 40, was a ‘plush weaver’, born in the county, his wife Ann was 35 born outside the county, daughter Louisa was 12 and son Francis was 8.  The steerage passenger list for the Gertrude had George as a labourer of 35, with a note that he was a cook, possibly meaning on the voyage, his wife Ann was 32, daughter Louisa was 12, an un-named son was 7, twins were born on board on 10 July 1841, with Charles dying on 23 July 1841 and Ann dying on 5 August 1841. At the time of Anne’s baptism their address was given as ‘on the Waiwetu River’, and George’s occupation was ‘labourer’.

Anne (Jeffs) Cameron died on 30 April 1870, aged 26.  The Wellington Independent of 3 May 1870 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On April 30, Ann, the beloved wife of Mr Dugald Cameron, Kaiwarawara. Aged 26 years.”

The Wellington Independent in April 1871 published  advertisements for the auction by Dugald Cameron Esq. of freehold and leasehold property at Kaiwarra, “comprising 8½ acres of freehold land and 20 acres of leasehold land, including a four-roomed dwelling house, large stable, and piggery; also, a very fine garden, well stocked with fruit trees, in splendid order.”

The Wellington Independent of 17 March 1873 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – On March 16, at Kaiwarra, Mr Dugald Cameron, aged 50 years.”  In the same newspaper on 19 March 1873 it was reported that at the inquest on Dugald Cameron, Dr Grace who carried out the post-mortem examination, certified to death having been produced by apoplexy, and a verdict to that effect was returned. The Evening Post of 17 March 1873 reported more fully on the death:

A case of sudden death occurred yesterday at Kaiwarra. Mr Dugald Cameron, an old settler, went at about nine o’clock into the Waterloo Hotel, and having obtained a drink, lay down apparently to sleep. After some time, those in the hotel went to wake him, but found that he was dead. An inquest was to have been held this afternoon on the body.

Dugald and Annie had five children:

  • Christina Ann Cameron, born in 1862, died in 1877.
  • Donald Francis Cameron, born in 1864, died in 1943 in Scotland, married Elizabeth Charlotte Margaret Burles formerly Mathie in 1908 in Scotland.
  • Catherine Lyons Cameron, born in 1866, died in 1908, married George Herbert Humphrys in 1890.
  • George Alexander Allan Cameron, born in 1867, died in 1897.
  • William Duncan Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1890.
Alexander Cameron

Alexander Cameron was born around 1823 in Ockle, Ardnamurchan, Scotland, and travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840, being described as a labourer of 17 in the passenger list.

On 5 June 1855 Alexander Cameron married Mary Morrison, another Blenheim emigrant, daughter of Hugh Morrison and Anne Turner. This was a joint ceremony with Anne Morrison ‘s second marriage to Hugh McPhee.

Although Alexander Cameron was a partner with his brothers in their Wairarapa farming activities, it seems that he remained primarily in Wellington and handled matters from there as their Wellington agent.

Alexander Cameron died on 19 December 1899 aged 76.  The Evening Post of 21 December 1899 published the following obituary:

The funeral of the late Mr. Alex. Cameron, one of the oldest and most respected residents of Kaiwarra, took place this afternoon, and was very largely attended. The interment was made in the Sydney street cemetery. The deceased, who was a native of Argyllshire, and was 76 years of age, came out to New Zealand by the ship Blenheim in 1840, and has resided in the colony ever since. He was in New Plymouth when the first immigrants arrived there, and later on he walked from that township to Wellington. He went down to Otago with the first party of surveyors sent to that district, the journey occupying six weeks. Later on he worked under the Hon. Captain Russell’s father in forming the military roads near Johnsonville. Mr. Cameron was for some time in partnership with his brothers as station owners in the Wairarapa, but for the last 21 years he has been out of business. Amongst many public offices which he had held were those of Mayor of Onslow, Chairman of the local Licensing Bench, Vice-President of the Caledonian Society, and Chieftain of the Gaelic Society. The deceased, who leaves a widow and nine children, one of whom is the wife of Captain Cameron, Marine Superintendent for the Union Company, was possessed of a genial and generous disposition, and was deservedly popular.

Mary (Morrison) Cameron
Mary (Morrison) Cameron

Mary (Morrison) Cameron died on 11 October 1911, aged 77. An obituary was published in the Wairarapa Daily Times of 12 October 1911:

The death of Mrs Cameron, wife of the late Alexander Cameron, of Kaiwarra, occurred at her son’s residence “Okar,” yesterday afternoon, at the ripe age of 77. The deceased lady was one of Wairarapa’s earliest pioneers. She came out with her father, the late Hugh Morrison, of Glenmorven and Morrison’s Bush in the year 1840, by the ship “Blenheim.” After residing in Wellington for a short time, when quite a young girl, she came to Wairarapa with her father, who had taken up a run known as Morrison’s Bush. They made the journey from Wellington in an open whaleboat, and after a very rough and exciting passage, during which they narrowly escaped shipwreck, they landed on the open beach at Te Kopi. It was in the days when quicker modes of transit were unknown in these parts, and through the roughest of country she made the way to her future home, all on foot. She was the only surviving sister of the late John Morrison, of Blairlogie, well known in this district. Mrs Cameron was a fine type of the early pioneer, facing the difficulties of the early times with undaunted courage; and at the same time had a kindly disposition and was greatly beloved by all who came in contact with her. She leaves three sons and five daughters to mourn her loss. The funeral takes place to-morrow at Wellington.

Alexander and Mary had ten children:

  • Donald Douglas Cameron, born in 1856, died in 1937, married Annie Ida Storey in 1880.
  • Annie Cameron, born in 1857, died in 1949, married Captain Angus Cameron in 1882.
  • Christina Cameron, born in 1859, died in 1878.
  • Mary Cameron, born in 1861, died in 1929.
  • Hugh Cameron, born in 1863, died in 1910.
  • Alexander Cameron, born in 1865, died in 1937.
  • Jessie Cameron, born in 1867.
  • Catherine Margaret Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1934.
  • Isabella Jane Cameron, born in 1871, died in 1945.
  • John Duncan Cameron, born in 1873, died in 1957, married (1) Ellen Jane Kibblewhite in 1906, and (2) Helen Annie McBeath in 1939.
Donald (Piper) Cameron

Donald Cameron was born around 1824 in Ockle, Ardnamurchan, Scotland.

Donald Cameron was a labourer of 16 when he emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

Donald (Piper) Cameron
Donald (Piper) Cameron

On 28 December 1853 Donald Cameron married Isabella Glasgow.  Isabella was the daughter of Robert Glasgow and Mary Lamb, and had arrived in New Zealand in 1842 on the Bombay.  The Glasgow family went on to become early settlers in Turakina.

Donald Cameron died on 26 June 1866.  The Wellington Independent of 14 July 1866 carried the Death Notice: “At his residence, Waiwetu, Hutt, Donald Cameron, Esq., on the 27th of June, 1866, aged 40 years. Deeply lamented by a large circle of relatives and friends. He was one of the oldest settlers of this province.”

Isabella (Glasgow) Cameron remarried in 1868 to William Lowes, and died in 1920 aged 86. The Wairarapa Age of 6 July 1920 published the following obituary:

MRS. WILLIAM LOWES. Residents of the Wairarapa will learn with deep regret of the death of Mrs Lowes, relict of the late Mr William Lowes, which occurred on Sunday night. The deceased lady arrived in New Zealand with her parents (Mr and Mrs Robert Glasgow) in 1841, and resided for some time in Wellington. She came to Masterton in 182, and later went to Wanganui, where she married the late Mr Cameron. Returning to Masterton in 1877, the late Mrs Lowes went on to a farm with her husband at Te Ore Ore, and endured many of the vicissitudes of the pioneer settlers. She was a woman of sterling character, and endeared herself to a large circle of relatives and friends by her kindly disposition. The deceased lady was twice married, her second husband being Mr William Lowes, who predeceased his wife some years ago. The family of the first marriage are Messrs Duncan (deceased), Robert, D. J., William, Walter and Allan Cameron, of Masterton, while Messrs F. B. Lowes and J. P. Lowes (Rongomai), Mrs Gledstone, Mrs F. C. Lewis, and Mrs F. F. G. Cooper, of “Westbrook,” Queensland, are the family of the second marriage. The funeral will leave the residence of Mr H. Graham, Gladstone road, Manaia, at 2 o’clock this afternoon, for the Masterton cemetery, the processional route being by the Te Whiti road and Johnstone street.

Donald and Isabella had six children:

  • Duncan Cameron, born in 1854, died in 1918, married Evelyn Barker in 1881.
  • Robert Cameron, born in 1856, died in 1931, married (1) Eliza Clark in 1895 and (2) May Ellen Baigent in 1899.
  • Donald John Cameron, born in 1859, died in 1942, married Anna Robina Woodroofe in 1886.
  • William Lamb Cameron, born in 1861, died in 1933, married Elizabeth Shaw in 1891.
  • Walter Cameron, born in 1862, died in 1946, married Madeline Stewart Baldwin in 1902.
  • Allan Alexander Cameron, born in 1864, died in 1934.
Catherine Cameron

Catherine Cameron was born around 1826 in Ockle, Ardnamurchan, in Scotland.

Catherine Cameron was 14, and described as a housemaid, when she travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

Catherine married John Macfarlane on 30 December 1848.

John Macfarlane was born on 9 February 1817 at Letter, Port of Menteith, Stirling, Scotland, and came to New Zealand in 1842, landing at Nelson.  His brothers Daniel and Malcolm followed him to New Zealand some years later.  John Macfarlane was a field man with the survey team at Wairau, and made haste into Nelson to bring news of the massacre there.

John Macfarlane moved to Wellington and by the time of his  marriage to Catherine Cameron he was managing White Rock station in the Wairarapa.  In 1850 he sold out his interests to his in-laws and moved to Canterbury. The family established themselves in North Canterbury, where John Macfarlane and his sons became leading pastoralists.

John Macfarlane died in 1884.  The Press of 24 October 1884 carried the following obituary:

THE LATE JOHN MACFARLANE.
We have to record the decease of Mr John McFarlane, of Rangiora, which took place at his residence, Coldstream, near Rangiora yesterday morning. The deceased gentleman landed in Wellington about thirty-eight years ago, and we believe married there, and then came to Canterbury. He settled first at Loburn station, near Rangiora, and afterwards removed to White Rock, a few miles further up country. He subsequently, bought a large quantity of the best land near Rangiora, and took up his residence on it where he remained until his death. As a sheep farmer he had a most successful career, being able of late years to purchase for his sons several very large stations in the north of this island, The deceased took very little interest in’ political matters, but for some time was a member of the Ashley County Council. He was President, for a number of years of the Northern Agricultural and Pastoral Association, in which, he took great interest, giving liberally towards the prizes and encouraging the shows with large exhibits of stock of various kinds.
For the past two or three years Mr Macfarlane has been failing in health, and hence has resigned the position he has so worthily filled in connection with the above Society. He leaves a widow and a family of six sons and three daughters, all of whom, except the three youngest sons, are married. The funeral will take place on Saturday.

Catherine (Cameron) Macfarlane died on 24 April 1908 at Christchurch. The Star of 25 April 1908 carried the Death Notice: “Macfarlane – On the 24th inst., at the residence of Mrs Nicholls, Papanui, Catherine, widow of the late John Macfarlane of Coldstream, Rangiora; in her eighty-third year.” The Dominion of 28 April 1908 carried her obituary:

AN EARLY SETTLER.
Christchurch, April 27. Mrs J. MacFarlane, of Coldstream, North Canterbury, who died on Friday night, ranked among the very earliest colonists, having arrived in Wellington with her father, Mr Donald Cameron, in the ship Blenheim in 1841. Seven years later, she married Mr. John MacFarlane, who had landed in Nelson in 1842, and afterwards removed to Wellington. In 1850, three weeks before the arrival of the first four ships; she and her husband came to Canterbury and took up the Loburn run, where they lived until 1862. They then removed to Coldstream, where Mr. MacFarlane died in 1884. Mrs. MacFarlane has left six sons, four of whom are well-known Amuri pastoralists, while the eldest has Coldstream.

Catherine and John had eleven children:

  • Malcolm Macfarlane, born in 1849, died in 1911, married Anna Mary Chisnall in 1883.
  • John Donald Macfarlane, born in 1851, died in 1921, married Margaret Hart Gibson in 1880.
  • Catherine Macfarlane, born in 1852, died in 1934, married John Fulton in 1881.
  • James Macfarlane, born in 1853, died in 1931, married (1) Stephana Mary Tylee in 1876, (2) Isabel Louise Scully in 1916.
  • Agnes Macfarlane, born in 1854, died in 1924, married George Jameson in 1874.
  • Walter Macfarlane, born in 1856, died in 1914 in England, married Minnie Margaret Wilson in 1889.
  • Helen Macfarlane, born in 1857, died in 1922, married Walter Charles Nicholls in 1881.
  • Christina Ann Macfarlane, born in 1858, died in 1875.
  • David Duncan Macfarlane, born in 1860, died in 1914, married Mary Frances Newton in 1893.
  • Frederick Graham Macfarlane, born in 1862, died in 1863.
  • Alexander Macfarlane, born in 1863, died in 1913, married Sarah Helen McRae in 1896.
Annie Cameron

Annie Cameron was born around 1829 in Ockle, Ardnamurchan, Scotland.

Ann Cameron was listed as 12 years old when she travelled on the Blenheim to New Zealand in 1840.

Anne Cameron married James (Big Mac) McDonell on 18 December 1849 at Kaiwarra.

James McDonell was born in Auchlauchrach, Glengarry, Inverness, Scotland, in 1818.  He went first to Australia with other members of his family, and then became  one of the first settlers in the Rangitikei district.

James McDonell died on 4 September 1875 at Parewanui.  The Wanganui Herald of 16 September 1875 published the following obituary:

The death of James McDonnell, which happened on Sunday, has cast a gloom over the whole District. The deceased who has been gradually declining for some mouths past, arrived in the Colony of New South Wales as long ago as 1838, when he came to Wellington, being engaged in the shipping of horses and cattle to the above port. He subsequently determined to make New Zealand his home, and was one of, if not the, first, settler in Rangitikei, where he has remained, living at Inverhoe ever since. The deceased in the early days was known throughout the Province for his unbounded hospitality, and never was there a case of want or distress but what “Mr Big Mac” as his friends fondly called him, came forward to assist and alleviate. The funeral, which took place yesterday, was attended by settlers from all parts and as the procession, which started from Bull’s, neared the family burial ground at Inverhoe, its ranks were gradually swelled by young and old, by Maoris and others, all wishing to pay the last tribute of affection and respect to the once free-hearted settler, until it was at least half a mile long. In passing Parawanui I noticed that nearly all the Maoris who were themselves unable to follow, had adopted the usual symbol of their grief, viz—a garland of green creepers wreathed round their brows. The funeral service, which was performed by the Rev. Father Kirk, was admirably adapted for the occasion, and the address afterwards, pointing to the uncertainty of life and the wonderful mysteries of the never ending future, will long be remembered by the hundreds surrounding the grave where the remains of James McDonnell now rest in peace. Much sympathy was expressed for the widow and the large, though happily grown up family, thus suddenly left in sorrow, which let us hope will soon give way to a feeling of thankfulness in that death in this case was not only painless but peaceful.

The Wanganui Chronicle of 18 September 1875 published the following:

Big Mac has passed away. I know that no irreverence attaches to this old familiar name, with which every one of the pioneers on this coast is so well acquainted. Many will miss his warm hearty greeting, and many will remember his open hearted hospitality. In days of yore, the deceased, Mr James McDonnell, was engaged pretty extensively in cattle trading, Poneke being then the only market. His life has not been without its adventurous incidents, and many and hairbreadth have been the dangers which he encountered and surmounted triumphantly in the early days of colonization in this province. Many an old identity will feel a pang of regret to hear that the genial host of Inverhoe, who was never happier than when his hearth was surrounded with guests, has left the old familiar scenes, where his cheery presence was a welcome in itself. A large family is left behind. His funeral was one of the most touching demonstrations I have ever witnessed Maori and Pakeha seeming to vie with each other in showing respect for the departed.

Annie (Cameron) McDonell died in 1919.  The Wanganui Chronicle of 19 April 1919 carried the following obituary:

BULLS NOTES.
(From Our Own Correspondent.)
I have to record the passing of the last of the pioneers of the Lower Rangitikei, in the person of Mrs. Annie McDonnel, who reached the bend, in the road of life early on Wednesday morning The deceased lady will be sincerely mourned, especially by those’ to whom she was such a friend in the days of long ago. It is a far cry to the year 1840, when she landed in New Zealand in the ship Blenheim. She was a member of one of the Cameron families on board, and to distinguish her family from the others they were known as the Piper Camerons. The deceased lady was the last surviving member of that family. She lived in Wellington for about nine years after her arrival, and was then married to the late Mr. McDonnel, and came up to “Inverhoe,” on the Rangitikei, where she has resided ever since. She is survived by three sons and six daughters, viz., Mr. John McDonnel (Marton), Mr. James McDonnel (Wairoa), and Mr. A. A. McDonnel (Lower Rangitikei), Mrs. Hugh Fraser (of Kauangaroa), Mrs. Gray (Wellington), Mrs. Smith (Palmerston North), Mrs. Daniels (Foxton), Mrs. Morse (Bulls), and Miss K. McDonnel, who lived with her mother. Twelve of her grandsons served at the front, viz., Capt. Daniels (killed), Laurie and Denis Daniels, William, Eric, and Dan Gray, also Lionel, Claude, George, Keith, and Wilson McDonnel, and Jack Fraser. Many of them were wounded. She also had three grand-daughters in the nursing staff—Nurse Gray, at the Front, and Nurses E. Gray and I. Daniels on the nursing staff in New Zealand. The two latter were both able to assist in nursing their grandmother at the last. Mrs. McDonnel would have been 90 years of age on Saturday.

Annie and James had at least eleven children:

  • Archibald McLean McDonell, born in 1850, died in 1917, married Elizabeth Ann Wheeler in 1884.
  • Christina Ann McDonell, born in 1852, died in 1922, married Hugh Fraser in 1874 (New Zealand-born son of Duncan and Marjory Fraser).
  • Flora Jemima McDonell, born in 1855, died in 1938, married Joseph George Smith in 1895.
  • Donald Cameron McDonell, born in 1857, died in 1884.
  • Catherine  McDonell, born in 1858, died in 1921.
  • James Angus McDonell, born in 1862, died in 1924, married Mary Jane Nicholls in 1883.
  • Elizabeth McDonell, born in 1863, died in 1942, married George Gray in 1888.
  • Mary McDonell, born in 1864, died in 1936, married Percy Edward Daniell in 1888.
  • John McDonell, born in 1866, died in 1936, married Ellen Brookie in 1891.
  • Aeneas Alexander McDonell, born in 1868, died in 1930, married Elizabeth Burne in 1896.
  • Selina Priscilla McDonell, born in 1872, died in 1960, married Ernest Walford Morse in 1904.
John Cameron

John Cameron was born around 1830 in Ockle, Ardnamurchan, Argyll, and travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim as a 10 year old.

John Cameron married Ann Stewart in 1868.

Ann Stewart was the daughter of Duncan Stewart and Anne McPherson, and was born in Ardnamurchan, Scotland in 1841.  The family came to New Zealand on the Oliver Lang in 1858.

In October 1873, a number of newspapers, e.g. the Southern Cross of 15 October 1873, carried advertisements for the sale of station properties in the Province of Wellington in the estate of the Cameron Brothers, noting that in consequence of the death of two partners in the firm, two stations were to be sold at public auction in Wellington on 1 December 1873.  The stations were “Blairlogie” in the Whareama District and the station at Pahaua in the East Coast District.  At the auction they were purchased by the surviving members of the firm.

In 1878 there was a further sale of the Blairlogie and Pahaua stations, with the former purchased by Mr John Morrison and the latter by Messrs J and D Cameron.

The Evening Post of 2 October 1890 reported “The house of Mr John Cameron, at Pahaua, East Coast, was totally destroyed by fire on Sunday last.”  In the Evening Post of 4 October it was further reported that the day after the fire, while returning from the funeral of his nephew William Cameron, John Cameron suffered serious injuries when his buggy overturned as a result of the horse shying at a cow in the road, and he was dragged for a hundred yards along the road.

John Cameron died on 8 December 1900 aged 68.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 8 December 1900 carried the following obituary:

DEATH OF MR JOHN CAMERON.
From one end of Wairarapa to another, the news of the death of Mr John Cameron, of Opaki, will be learned with deep regret. He passed away this morning, at the age of 68. The deceased was born in Argyleshire, Scotland, and came out to New Zealand in 1840, in which year he arrived at Wellington. He lived at Kaiwarra for some little time, and eventually settled at Pahaou, where he has a station, which his son John now manages. He leaves a large family, nearly all of whom are grown up.
The late Mr John Cameron was a brother of Mr Duncan Cameron, of the Coast, and father of Mr Robert Cameron, who joined the Masterton Contingent of the New Zealand force which went to South Africa. The deceased was one of the few remaining pioneers of settlement in this part of the Colony—and was one who had earned the esteem of all who knew him for his integrity and his sterling qualities as a colonist of many years standing. The grieving relatives will have the sympathy of a large number of settlers in their bereavement, The funeral will take place on Monday afternoon.

Ann (Stewart) Cameron died on 13 October 1918, aged 76.  The Wairarapa Age of 14 October 1918 carried the Death Notice: “Cameron – At the residence, Cole Street Masterton on October 13th, Mrs John Cameron, relict of the late John Cameron, Opaki, aged 76.” The paper also published the following obituary:

Mrs John Cameron: Another old resident of the Wairarapa, in the person of Mrs John Cameron, died at her residence at Cole street, Masterton, on Sunday evening. The deceased, who was seventy-six years of age, had been ailing for about five weeks. She was born at Argyllshire, Scotland, and came to New Zealand in 1857 in the «hip Oliver Laing.  For a number of years she resided at Pahaoa, East Coast, and later on the Opaki. She leaves a family of six sons and four daughters. The sons are Messrs Donald Cameron (Hinakura), Duncan A. Cameron (Hunterville), John Cameron (Dunedin), Robert A. Cameron (Mauriceville), M. D. Cameron (Sydney), and E. P. Cameron (France). The daughters are Mrs H. Hamlin (Auckland), Mrs W. Roberts (Whakatane), and Misses C. and M. Cameron (Masterton). The funeral will take place to-morrow afternoon.

John and Ann had at least ten children:

  • Donald Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1945, married Elizabeth Sutherland in 1898.
  • Flora Anne Cameron, born in 1871, died in 1940, married Henry William George Hamlin in 1905.
  • Christina Cameron, born in 1872, died in 1967.
  • Duncan Alexander Cameron, born in 1873, died in 1937, married Ethel Walton in 1909.
  • John Cameron, born in 1875, died in 1928.
  • Mary Stewart Cameron, born in 1877, died in 1949.
  • Robert Allan Cameron, born in 1878, died in 1942, served in South African War, married Florence Jessie Young in 1914.
  • Dugald Stewart Murray Cameron, born in 1880, died in 1967 in Australia, married Ethel Norah Shepherd in 1916 in Australia.
  • Ernest Percival Stewart Cameron, born in 1882, died in 1967, married Donalda Ross Sutherland in 1921.
  • Maud Isabella Katherine Cameron, born in 1884, died in 1970, married William Clare Roberts in 1909.
Duncan Cameron

Duncan Cameron was born in Ockle, Ardnamurchan, Scotland around 1832, and was 8 years old in 1840 when he sailed for New Zealand on the Blenheim with his parents.

Duncan married Mary Gillies in 1863 (daughter of Isabella Turner and Archibald Gillies). They spent the rest of their lives farming in the Wairarapa, although not without mishap. The Evening Post of 29 April 1880 reported that Mr Duncan Cameron of Moroa met with a serious accident at Featherston, when his trap capsized going around a corner, causing cuts and bruises and a broken collar bone.

Duncan Cameron died on 21 April 1915.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 22 April 1915 carried the following obituary:

MR DUNCAN CAMERON
The: death occurred yesterday morning, at Moroa, near Greytown, of a highly respected and pioneer settler of the Wairarapa, in the person of Mr Duncan Cameron, who had reached the ripe ago of 84 years. Deceased came to New Zealand with his parents, and landed, at Kaiwarra on Christmas Day, 1840. In the year 1846 his father, Mr Donald Cameron, entered into possession of the sheep station, on the East Coast, known as Pahaoa, which later was taken over by the five sons, Messrs Dugald, Alexander, Donald, John and Duncan Cameron. Later again Messrs Duncan and John Cameron bought out their brother’s interest in Pahaoa, and divided the property into two parts, one of which was renamed Glen Dhu, and became the property of Mr Duncan Cameron.
Deceased leaves a widow, who is a daughter, of the late Mr Archibald Gillies, of Otaraia, and there were ten children, as follows:—Messrs William, (deceased), Thomas (deceased), Alan (at Castlepoint), and Jack Cameron (at Glen Dhu), Misses Annie, Nellie. and Grace Cameron, and Mrs Cecil Kebbell, Mrs Fred Pearce, and Mrs J. Goring Johnston. The relatives will have the deep sympathy of a wide circle of friends in their bereavement.

Mary (Gillies) Cameron died on 16 February 1916 at Moroa, Greytown, aged 73.

The Wairarapa Daily Times of 30 July 1919 reported that the Misses Cameron had instructed Messrs Levin & Co to sell by public auction the well-known Moroa homestead, together with fine old home of 15 rooms and outbuildings which, with slight alteration, could be made into a good boarding school.

Duncan and Mary had nine children:

  • Annie Isabella Cameron, born in 1864, died in 1934.
  • Donald Thomas Cameron, born in 1866, died in 1913, married Mary Bulkley in 1910.
  • Mary Christina Cameron, born in 1867, died in 1943, married Cecil Kebbell in 1896.
  • Catherine Ellen Cameron, born in 1870, died in 1956.
  • Jessie Cameron, born in 1871, married Frederick Pearce in 1896.
  • William Duncan Cameron, born in 1872, died in 1901 while serving in the South African War.
  • John Alexander Cameron, born in 1874, died in [1941?] married Helen Gough in 1920.
  • Alice Margaret Cameron, born in 1876, died in 1936, married John Goring-Johnston in 1899.
  • Allan Archibald Cameron, born in 1878, died in 1928, served in South African War, married Kathleen Meredyth Meredith in 1912.
  • Constance Evelyn Grace Cameron, born in 1879, died in 1970.

Sources:

  • Blenheim passenger lists at FamilySearch website
  • Family trees on Ancestry.com
  • PapersPast website
  • NZ BDM records
  • The Kaiwarra Camerons, M J Ullyat, 2009
  • Morvern to Genmorven, Frank Fyfe and Bebe Douglas, 2000
  • The Sons and Daughters, Shona McRae, 1991
  • Hardy Highlanders in New Zealand, Jennifer Macdonald, 1991
  • The Early Canterbury Runs, L G D Acland, 1930, 4th ed. 1975, available online at the Victoria University NZETC site.

Photographs:

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Dugald McLachlan and Jane Cameron

The initial passenger list for the Blenheim included the McLachlan children – Catherine, 13, housemaid, Alexander 11, Hugh, 8, and Duncan 3 – in the names added at the end, but no parent.  The embarkation list included an additional line for a Jane McLachlan, 13, Hugh’s age given as 10 and Duncan’s age given as 4, and with Dugald, 40,  and Jane, 35, on the same line, with a later line for them both crossed out, including Dugald’s occupation, possibly “weaver”.  The next list had Jane McLachlan, 32, wife of Dugald, several pages away from the others, while the arrival list had them all together again, except for Catherine, who was separated by several lines from the rest of them.  Jane’s age was given as 30.

The initial list also included a Janet Cameron, 26, dairymaid, as the daughter of Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson.  First versions of this list may have been prepared as early as January 1840, and Jane Cameron and Dugald McLachlan were not married until 11 February 1840 (second marriages for both of them).

In summary, the family was as follows, bearing in mind that Jane was not the mother of the four older children:

  • Dugald McLachlan, 40
  • Jane McLachlan, 30
  • Catherine McLachlan, 15
  • Alexander McLachlan, 11
  • Hugh McLachlan, 10
  • Duncan McLachlan, 4
  • Isabella McIntyre McLachlan, born at sea.

Return to The Blenheim People.


Dugald McLachlan

Dugald McLachlan was born on 27 November 1793 in Corpach to Louis McLachlan, a weaver, and Isabella McIntyre.

Based on information contained in Dugald’s Family Bible,  Dugald married Ann Abercromby Cleghorn on 31 January 1816.  She was born on 11 January 1797. Their first child was John Cameron McLachlan, born on 27 April 1817, who did not travel to New Zealand.  A son, Ewen, was born in 1820 but probably died before 1831.  There were a number of other sons who did not live beyond infancy.  The other surviving children travelled with their father on the Blenheim.

From family tree information on Ancestry.com, Mary Ann Abercrombie Cleghorn died in 1838.

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness), recorded that Dugald McLachlan, weaver, Fort William, and Jane Cameron, Trishlaig, were married on 11 February 1840.

The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 8 February 1845 and 10 February 1847 published lists of persons qualified to serve as jurors for the district of Port Nicholson, which included Dugald M’Lachlan, Thorndon Quay, labourer.

In April 1852, Dugald McLachlan, landholder, was one of many signatories to a Memorial sent to the Governor, George Grey, expressing concern about the passing of legislation affecting the price and availability of land.

The Wellington Independent of 8 April 1854 in reporting on the inquest into the death by drowning of Private John Dunn, noted that Dugald McLachlan had found the body.

A few weeks later Dugald McLachlan was himself drowned at Wellington on 24 May 1854.  The Wellington Independent of 27 May 1854 carried a report of the inquest:

On Wednesday afternoon, an inquest was held at the Crown and Anchor Inn, Lambton Quay<, touching the death of Dugald M’Lachlan, who had been found lying dead on the sand above the low water mark, opposite the above Inn, about seven o’clock that morning, by a native policeman. From the evidence produced, which was very meagre, it would appear that the deceased was seen to leave the Queen’s Head, Thorndon, about half past nine o’clock, the preceding evening, and that he was the worse for liquor; and that the sentry on duty at the Colonial Treasury, about eleven o’clock, heard a person walk rapidly by the Government House Guard House, and straight down into the sea. It was too dark for him to distinguish who it was and he supposed it to be some maori; not having seen him return, he related the circumstances to a policeman, who obtained a lamp and proceeded to the spot, but found nothing. There was no evidence to show that the person heard going into the water was the deceased. After some deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict to the effect, that the deceased was found lying dead on the beach that morning, apparently drowned; but how he came by his death there was no evidence before the jury to show.

Jane Cameron

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Inverness) recorded that Jean, daughter to Donald Cameron and Mary McPherson, Inverscaddle, was born on 21 December 1808.

Jane Cameron’s death registration in New Zealand indicates that her first husband was a John McPherson, and they were married when she was 25, i.e. around 1834.  No other record is available nor is it known if there were any children from this marriage.

As noted above, Jane Cameron married Dugald McLachlan on 11 February 1840, and they emigrated to New Zealand in August 1840 with Dugald’s children.  It seems likely that Jane had planned to emigrate on the Blenheim with her parents and siblings anyway.

Jessie Campbell’s Journal entry for 27 October 1840 notes, “An addition made to our number by the birth of a daughter to MacLachlan from Portobello, it is the poor woman’s first child, both doing well.”  [In fact, McLachlan was not from Portobello but from Fort William, and the child may not have been Jane’s first (at 31).]

In addition to the birth at sea, Dugald and Jane had at least five children after their arrival in New Zealand:

  • Mary McLachlan, born in 1841, died in 1932, married William Crawford in 1863.
  • Female infant, born and died in 1842.
  • Annie McLachlan, born in 1843, died in 1925, married James Coombe in 1864.
  • Dugald McLachlan, born in 1848, died in 1918, married Christina McPherson in 1883.
  • Louis McLachlan, born in 1849, died in 1906, married Alice Cameron in 1877.
Grannie Brabazon - Jane (Cameron) Brabazon formerly McLachlan, previously McPherson
Grannie Brabazon – Jane (Cameron) Brabazon, formerly McLachlan, previously McPherson

After Dugald’s death in 1854, Jane and the children moved to Turakina where her parents lived.  Jane married her third husband, Robert Brabazon, on 25 June 1856 and lived at Turakina until her death on 6 August 1897 at Fern Flats, Marton.  The Feilding Star of 9 August 1897 carried the Death Notice: “Brabazon – At Fern Flats, on Friday 6th August, at the residence of her son-in-law (James Coombs), Jane Brabazon, relict of the late Robert Brabazon, Turakina, Aged 88 years.”

Jane’s death registration noted that at the time of her death her daughters were 50 and 48, and her sons were 57, 54 and 52, although this is an error and the sexes of the children were the other way around.

Robert Brabazon died on 9 March 1879. The Wanganui Chronicle of 17-24 November 1879 carried an advertisement inviting tenders “for the lease or purchase of the property of the late Robert Brabazon, of Turakina, consisting of five acres of excellent land, with house thereon, excellently situated, midway between the township and the railway station.”

Margaret Perry’s Diaries include references to the Brabazons and McLachlans – “So almost our only friend was old Mrs Brabazon her and Auntie used to talk Gaelic together, which I did not like…” [Mrs Brabazon and Auntie (Marjory Cameron, m John McQuarrie) were first cousins]; “Old Mr and Mrs Brabazon lived next door to Chapmans.  Mr Brabazon was Lewis McLachlans step-father; I used very often to go there of an evening after tea, generally the old man would go to bed and Mrs B would sit by the fire and tell me love-tales about the days when she was young…”.

Catherine Robertson McLachlan

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) recorded the baptism on 5 December 1825 of Katherine Robertson McLachlan, daughter to Dugald McLachlan, weaver in Correbeg, and Ann Abercromie Cleghorn, born 17 November last. The Family Bible has her birthdate as 16 November.

CatherinePoppelwell2
Catherine Robertson (McLachlan) Poppelwell

In 1840 Catherine travelled with her father and step-mother to New Zealand on the Blenheim. There is a family story that soon after disembarking, Catherine pulled from a stream a small boy who was in danger of drowning. He grew up to become Archbishop Francis Redwood, New Zealand’s first home-reared Catholic Archbishop.

Catherine Robertson McLachlan and William Bell Poppelwell were married on 7 March 1843 at the Wellington Courthouse.  William was a seaman from Berwick, and commanded coastal vessels around New Zealand until 1845 when they returned to Scotland for two years, coming back to settle in Otago in 1848, and eventually taking up land at Tokomairiro (now Milton).

The Bruce Herald of 31 August 1883 carried the Death Notice: “Poppelwell – On the 29th inst., at The Glen, Fairfax, William Poppelwell, late of Sunwick, Tokomairiro, after a lingering illness; aged 64 years.”  The same edition carried the following obituary:

DEATH OF AN OTAGO PIONEER.
One of the oldest New Zealand identities, Mr William Poppelwell, breathed his last at his residence, the Glen, Fairfax on Wednesday morning, at the age of 64. Mr Poppelwell arrived at Wellington at the latter end of the year 1841, the ship Tyne, of which he was chief officer. He did not return by that ship, but assumed the command of a vessel trading on the coast, which occupation he followed for about four years. In 1843 he married Miss M’Lachlan, who arrived in Wellington by the ship which brought the second survey party. Mr Poppelwell brought the first vessel up the Dunedin Harbor. She was named the Governor Hobson, and he was commissioned by her owners to deliver her to a Native named Toby, but better known as “Bloody Jack,” at Black Jack’s Point. In 1845, Mr Poppelwell, accompanied by his wife and son, paid a visit Home, taking their passage on the David Malcolm. Among their fellow-passenger’s were Governor Fitzroy, and suite. It was found impossible to round Cape Horn, in consequence of the vast quantity of ice, and it was decided to shape a course through the Straits of Magellan. The captain being ignorant of the locality handed over the command of the ship to Governor Fitzroy, who safely navigated her through. They arrived at the Old Country just six months to a day from the date of their departure. After a stay of a couple of years at Home, Mr Poppelwell and family returned to Otago, arriving here on September 23, 1848, by the ship Blundell. During the voyage out he contributed numerous articles to a manuscript newspaper published on board, copies of which are, we believe, in the Dunedin Museum. After residing about five years in North-East Valley, he came to Tokomairiro, and settled upon a farm, which he named Sunwick, after his father’s place at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and resided there until six years ago. It may be interesting to state that when Mr Poppelwell first came here, there was only one house on the Tokomairiro plain, that he brought the first dray into the district, which took nine days to bring from Dunedin. It had to be got across the Taierii River in sections, the bullocks swimming. Mr Poppelwell years ago took an active part m public matters, but for a long time past he has been confined to his home through illness. He leaves a family of ten, all of whom are grown up, and of whom three daughters and two sons are married.

The Mataura Ensign of 10 March 1900 carried the Death Notice: “Poppelwell – On the 8th March, at Dunedin, Catherine Robertson, relict of the late William Poppelwell, Milton; aged 74 years.  The same edition carried the following obituary:

Concerning the death of Mrs C. R. Popplewell -(mother of Mr D. L. Poppelwell, of Gore), the Bruce Herald states: The deceased lady landed at Wellington in 1840, at the time of the foundation of the Wellington settlement. Here she was married to the late Mr W. Poppelwell, who at that time was mate of the ship Tyne which he afterwards commanded, trading down the coast, and subsequently returned with Mrs Poppelwell to the Old Country. They, however, came back to the colony in the ship Blundell, which arrived at Port Chalmers in 1848, and took up land in the North-East Valley, where they resided till 1853. Mrs Poppelwell and her husband then came to this district, and settled on the well-known property of Sunnick. Here they resided for a number of years. The death of Mr Poppelwell, which occurred in 1883, left a big gap in the family, and in 1885, two years later, Mrs Poppelwell returned to Dunedin, where she has since resided. Mrs Poppelwell’s hospitable and charitable nature is too well known by all the old residents of Tokomairiro to require reiteration here; indeed, the manner in which any person in poor circumstances was treated was a household word amongst the early settlers, and her death will be deeply regretted by all with whom she was acquainted. It might not be out of place to mention that deceased’s husband was the first person to drive a wheeled vehicle from Dunedin to Tokomairiro— a journey which occupied nine days. Mr Poppelwell was also the first chairman of the Tokomairiro Agricultural Society, now the Tokomairiro Farmers’ Club. Mrs Poppelwell leaves a family of eleven to mourn her loss.

Catherine and William had twelve children:

  • George Matthew Bell Poppelwell (1st), born in 1844, died in 1860.
  • Elizabeth Annie Poppelwell, born in 1846 (in Scotland), died in 1929, married James Alexander Henderson in 1871.
  • Catherine Mary Poppelwell, born in 1849, died in 1904, married Dr Alexander J Ferguson in 1869.
  • William Poppelwell, born in 1850, died in 1934, married Elizabeth Henry in 1861.
  • John Poppelwell, born in 1852, died in 1933, married Margaret McCormick in 1879.
  • David Poppelwell, born in 1855, died in 1937.
  • Ann Abercrombie Poppelwell, born in 1857, died in 1935.
  • Charlotte Mary Veronica Poppelwell, born in 1858, married Augustus Henry Syme Mansford in 1882.
  • Sebastian George Alexander Poppelwell, born in 1861, died in 1939, married Margaret Dorothea Pearse in 1891.
  • Dugald Louis Poppelwell, born in 1863, died in 1939, married Norah Greene in 1894.
  • George Matthew Bell Poppelwell (2nd), born in 1864, died in 1910, married Ellen Hartnett in 1892.
  • Mary Frances Poppelwell, born in 1866, died in 1916, married (1) Robert Boyle Monkman in 1890, (2) William Dempster in 1906.
Alexander Cleghorn McLachlan

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) recorded the baptism on 10 September 1828 of Alexander son to Dugald McLachlan, weaver in Fort William, and Mary Ann Abercromie Cleghorn, his wife. According to the Family Bible, he was born on 2 July 1828.Alexander travelled on the Blenheim to New Zealand in 1840 with his father and step-mother.

On 13 August 1861, Alexander Cleghorn McLachlan married Mary Argyle Naismith at the Stapleton Registry Office, Coromandel. Mary was the daughter of Henry and Mary Naysmith, and was born at sea on the Duchess of Argyle, which arrived in Auckland from Greenock in October 1842.

Alexander settled in Thames and worked as a sawyer in the Shortland mill. Electoral Roll information has him living at Mackay Street in the Thames electorate from 1875-76 through to 1900. Alexander Cleghorn McLachlan died on 20 March 1902 at Thames.

Mary Argyle Naysmith died on 9 November 1918 in Auckland.

Alexander and Mary had nine children:

  • Richard Louis McLachlan, born in 1862.
  • Henry Alexander McLachlan, born in 1865, died in 1920, married Bridget Sheehan in 1903.
  • Annie Catherine McLachlan, born in 1868, died in 1939, married John Spraggon in 1893.
  • John James McLachlan, born in 1870, died in 1948, married Marie Andersen in 1898.
  • Elizabeth Mary McLachlan, born in 1873, died in 1939, married Edward Donovan in 1904.
  • Janet Isabella McLachlan, born in 1875, died in 1876.
  • Mary Christina McLachlan, born in 1876, died in 1955, married Thomas White in 1909.
  • Margarita Ewena McLachlan, born in 1879, died in 1937, married (1) Bertram von Rotter in 1897, (2) William Cate in 1910.
  • Janet Scott McLachlan, born in 1882, died in 1944, married Charles Henry Stent in 1920.
Hugh (Ewen) McLachlan

The Old Parish Register for Kilmallie (Argyll) records the baptism on 18 December 1831 of Ewen McLachlan, son of Dugald, and Ann Cleghorn, Fort William. The Family Bible records that Ewen McLachlan was born on 4 August 1831.

Ewen McLachlan emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim with his family. He was listed as “Hugh” which is an anglicised version of their common Gaelic origin. Around 1858-59 Ewen went to live at Tokomairiro with his sister Catherine and her husband.

Ewen McLachlan married Margaret Brown on 25 June 1862.  They had two daughters surviving infancy:

  • Mary McLachlan, born in 1863.
  • Catherine McLachlan, born in 1865.

Following Margaret Brown’s death, Ewen married Margaret Glancey on 21 November 1877. They had several children, possibly including:

  • Lewes [Lewis Dawson] McLachlan, born in 1878, died in 1943.
  • Ewen McLachlan, born in 1880, died in 1966, married Priscilla Isabel Calvert in 1921.
  • Margaret Ann McLachlan, born in 1881, died in 1974, married William Simon Saunders in 1901.
  • Dugald McLachlan, born in 1885, died in 1918 (WW1).
  • Annie McLachlan, born in 1889.
  • Elizabeth McLachlan, born in 1891, died in 1919.
  • Linda McLachlan, born in 1894, died in 1970.
  • John Cameron McLachlan, born in 1895, died in 1966, married Mary Ellen McDougall in 1922.
  • Agnes McLachlan, born in 1897, died in 1944, married Robert George Catherwood in 1927.

Ewen McLachlan died in 1906 at Owaka. In mid-June 1906 a number of newspapers around the country carried the Press Association message that a man named Hugh McLachlan, 74 years of age, was found dead on the railway line near Owaka. Death was believed to be due to natural causes. The Otago Daily Times of 20 June 1906 reported, “The late Ewen M’Pherson M’Lachlan, of Owaka, whose body was found on the railway, was one of the first white men to set foot in the North Island. He had been about 70 years in the colony.” A letter in the Otago Daily Times of 23 June 1906 provided some history of Ewen McLachlan and his family:

“OLD HUGH.” TO THE EDITOR.
Sir,—l saw a paragraph in yesterday’s Daily Times which made reference to the death of an old friend of mine, and I ask permission to correct two mis-statements which it contained. The paragraph says—”The old man Ewan McPherson M’Lachlan, who was found dead on the railway near Owaka, was one of the first white men to set foot in the North Island, He had been about 70 years in the colony.” I have known the man intimately since 1863, and I never heard of his name being “Ewan M’Pherson” but always “Hugh.” Hundreds of the old man’s acquaintances at a distance when they read this remark of mine will be satisfied about the fact of his death—a conclusion they could hardly arrive at when they read of him as “Ewan.”
The other mis-statement, which says that he was one of the first white men to come here, corrects itself, to people who know the history of New Zealand, when it adds that “he had been about 70 years in the colony.” There were white men in this country long before 1836.
My poor old friend, both from his character and his history, deserves a longer obituary notice than has yet been given him. He came with his father and other members of the family to Wellington by the ship Blenheim in 1840, under the auspices of the old New Zealand Company. Often I have heard him tell with a look of pride in his eye where he came from, for he was a Scottish Celt to the core. “I am a Lochaber man, and left Fort William to come here.” the geographical names were music to his ear. He was born in 1831. and was consequently only nine years of age when he arrived in Wellington. The site of the now fine city was then either dense bush or under water, and it had just had its name changed from Britannia to that which it now bears, in compliment to the Duke for services rendered to the New Zealand Company in Parliament. For playmates “old Hughie” as he was called by his friends, had Maori boys. He taught them to spin tops and play marbles, and in the process managed to acquire a knowledge of their language — a knowledge much extended in after years. He used often to speak of the great chiefs he had known in his youth; men whose names have long ago passed into history. Amongst these were the celebrated Ta Rauparaha and his terrible fighting nephew Rangiatea, the leaders in the awful massacre at Wairau, Tamata Waka, and E. Puni, the latter a chief who was mainly instrumental in selling the block on which Wellington now stands. His love for the Maori people was almost a passion up to the day of his death, and his knowledge of them and their ways greater than that of any man I have ever known. The medical adviser of the M’Lachlan family, in those early days, was Dr Knox, one of the two brothers who a decade or so previously had earned an unenviable notoriety through their dealings with the Edinburgh resurrectionists, Burke and Hare.
With pardonable pride Hughie used to tell how he once had a conversation with Sir George Grey. They were each on a pedestrian tour, and met in a disturbed part of the country – I think in Hawke’s Bay. Sir George had a small escort, Hughie was alone, and carrying a swag. When they met and had exchanged greetings, the Governor put his question – “Are you not afraid to travel alone amongst so many disaffected Natives?” and strongly advised my friend to turn back. “I know the Maoris so well, Sir George, that I have no fear,” was the reply. His journey was accomplished in perfect safety.
In 1858 or ‘9 he came south, in charge of some sheep, landing them at Oamaru, their destination. From there he walked to Tokomairiro, and took service with his brother-in-law, the late Mr Poppelwell. In August, 1861, he was mining in Gabriel’s Gully, and since then has been simply a labouring man. He was twice married, and by his first wife had two daughters born to him. By his second wife he had a large family of sons and daughters nearly all grown up.
Speaking of such a man as this, Carlyle, in a noble passage, says:-“0, hardly entreated brother, thou wer’t our conscript on whom the lot fell; in fighting our battles thou wer’t so marred.” In this sense my old friend was emphatically “a conscript.” From early youth until, at the age of 75, he lay down to die, he was engaged in the struggle for bread. Honour sometimes peereth from under the meanest habit, it has been said. How often have I seen and admired it peering from under the soiled and frayed working dress of Hugh M’Lachlan. Light lie the turf on his breast! I am, etc., N
Royal terrace, Caversham, June 2l

Duncan McLachlan

Duncan McLachlan was a child of 4 when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim. According to the Family Bible, he was born on 15 December 1835.

It appears that in 1852, even before his father’s death, Duncan moved south to Tokomairiro to live with his sister Catherine.

Duncan McLachlan married Honora Lynch on 20 April 1862 at Dunedin.

Duncan and Honora had at least five children, possibly including:

  • William McLachlan, born in 1869.
  • Annie McLachlan, born in 1871.
  • Catherine McLachlan, born in 1875, married John Aloysius Henley in 1912.
  • Alice Genevieve McLachlan, died in 1949, married Charles William Henry Chilcott Bremner in 1902.
  • Thomas Duncan McLachlan, born in 1878, died in 1957, married Augusta Mary Duffy in 1915.

Honora Lynch died on 24 June 1891.

Duncan McLachlan died on April 1896. The NZ Tablet of 1 May 1896 reported, “Duncan McLachlan died recently; resident in Milton; born 15 December 1835; native of Fort William, Inverness, Scotland; an old and highly respected resident of Milton; in 1840 his father and family emigrated to Wellington; most of his life was spent in Otago whither he came in 1852, and where his sister had married the late Mr William Poppelwell; a convert for very many years.” The Bruce Herald of 5 May 1896 reported “The funeral of Mr Duncan M’Lachlan took place on Friday afternoon last, the cortege leaving St Mary’s Chapel for Fairfax Cemetery. The late Mr M’Lachlan was a very old resident in Milton and a considerable number of residents attended the funeral. Father Ryan officiated at the grave.”

Isabella McIntyre McLachlan

Isabella McIntyre McLachlan was born on 27 October 1840 on board the Blenheim at a point in the middle of the South Atlantic, and named for Dugald’s mother. The New Zealand birth registration notes that Isabel, daughter of Dugald McLachlan and Jean Cameron both late of the Parish of Kilmallie, spouses, was born on 27th October 1840. The registration was made on 24 January 1840.

Isabella McIntyre married Isaiah Wade Leigh on 15 August 1862.

Isabella Leigh died on 26 September 1914 at Turakina. The Wanganui Chronicle of 28 September 1914 carried the death Notice: “Leigh – On the 26th inst., at her residence, Turakina, Isabella, widow of the late Isaiah Leigh, aged 74 years.” Isaiah Wade Leigh had died in 1900, aged 84.

Isabella and Isaiah appear to have had at least five children:

  • Mary Wade Leigh, born in 1863, married Martin Lee in 1879.
  • Charles Ernest Leigh, born in 1865, died in 1942.
  • Ann Eliza Leigh, born in 1868, married Charles Alexander Whale in 1891.
  • Robert Leigh, born in 1870.
  • George Alexander Leigh, born in 1872, died in 1946, married Annie Kennerley in 1895.

Sources:

Photographs:

  • McPhail/McLachlan/Cameron Album: Jane (Cameron) Brabazon, formerly McLachlan, previously McPherson.
  • Otago University, Hocken Library, Hocken Snapshop (10th Jul 2012): POPPELWELL, Catherine Robertson. In Website Hocken Snapshop. Retrieved 13th Apr 2015 15:23.