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Hugh Morrison and Anne Turner

Hugh Morrison and Anne Turner were included on the initial passenger list for the Blenheim with the comment “Recommended by his late Master Mr McLachlan Laudale and his Parish Minister.”:

  • Hugh Morrison, 50, Kinlochaline, shepherd
  • Anne Turner, his wife, 40
  • Hugh Morrison, his son, 18, labourer
  • Duncan Morrison, his son, 16, labourer
  • Anne Morrison, his daughter, 14, housemaid
  • John Morrison, his son, 12, cowherd
  • Margaret Morrison, his daughter, 10
  • Mary Morrison, his daughter, 8
  • Colin Morrison, his son, 6

Spelling: In some records the name is spelled “Morison” in others “Morrison”.  “Eun” was a form of “Ewen” or “Hugh”.

The book Morvern to Glenmorven, by Frank Fyfe and Bebe Douglas, contains considerable detail, background and surmise relating to this family. The Kaiwarra Camerons, by M J Ulyatt, also covers this family.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Hugh Morrison and Anne Turner

Hugh Morrison was born on 28 May 1782 on the Isle of Mull to John Morison and Jannet Cameron.

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded the marriage on 10 July 1819 of Hugh Morison, labourer, and Anne Turner, by Mr N McLeod, Minister.

Anne Turner was born around 1800.

Hugh Morrison worked as a cattle drover, and the family lived initially in the village of Glencripesdale in Morvern until they were cleared around 1820 to the hamlet of Knock on the Lochaline Estate, then at some time after 1830 they moved to the new village of Lochaline, erected by the landlord John Sinclair.  Dugald McLachlan of Laudale and Killiemore (Mull) bought the Laudale estate in 1825.  This estate bordered the Glencripesdale estate in the northern part of Morvern.

Old Parish Registers for Morvern indicate that Hugh Morrison and Anne Turner had other children, not on the passenger list. These included Katrine born on 12 March 1820, and an un-named daughter born on 15 October 1821, who both died at birth, and Katherine, born on 24 August 1823, who stayed behind in Scotland.

Following their arrival in Wellington, the Morrisons lived initially at Kaiwarra, then moved to Evans Bay, where Hugh worked on J C Crawford’s property on Watts Peninsular, which was managed by Archibald Gillies.  They later moved to Mein Street in Newtown.

Anne (Turner) Morrison died on 11 June 1844, following the birth of a daughter, she was aged 44.

In 1846 the family moved to the Wairarapa, and took up their land at Hakeke (later called Glenmorven), near where Greytown now stands.

In The Kaiwarra Camerons, there is a quote from the diaries of the missionary William Colenso describing a visit to Hakeke in 1847:

The settler whose name is Morrison, is an aged Xn [Christian] man in humble life. He gave me a brief outline of the trials he had had since his arrival in the country but not in a repining spirit, although he had been tried severely, having lost his wife, a son grown to man’s estate and a son-in-law, (but recently married), and all within a short time of each other. He acknowledged, however, the Lord’s hand, and all that he did was for good. He still had several sons and daughters about him. He spoke well of the Natives; and of the great injustice to take from them their lands; “which” said he “is doubtless as much theirs, as that of any Scotch laird is his.”

According to New Zealand BDM records Hugh Morrison died on 5 September 1872 aged 87. The Evening Post of 10 September 1872 contained the following:

Intelligence was received at Greytown, on Thursday, of the death, at eight o’clock that morning, at his residence, Glenmorven, of Hugh Morrison, Esq. one of the earliest colonists of New Zealand, having arrived here in 1840. He was also one of the first settlers in this district, coming here in 1846, where he has ever since resided. The deceased was a worthy man, and universally respected. All persons visiting the Wairarapa were ever sure to receive at his house a warm and hospitable reception. He has left two sons and three daughters all of them married and settled, and a whole host of grand-children and greatgrand-children. Deceased was interred in the Cemetery here yesterday, the funeral procession being very large.

After arriving in New Zealand Hugh and Anne had a child, Annie, in 1844.

The Lyttelton Times of 8 May 1858 carried the Death Notice: “On the 6th inst., at Christchurch, Annie Morrison, youngest daughter of Mr Hugh Morrison, of Glenmore, Wairarapa Plains, and sister-in-law of the late Mr William Stewart, Christchurch, aged 14 years.”

Hugh Morrison Jnr

Hugh Morrison was 18 and a labourer when he came to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

Hugh Morrison died in 1843 at Wellington, aged 22, possibly from a fall from his horse.

Duncan Morrison

The Old Parish Register for Morvern for 1825 recorded that Hugh Morison, crofter, Knock, and Anne Turner, had a legal son Duncan, born 27 March.

Duncan Morrison was recorded as a labourer of 16 in the Blenheim passenger list.

Duncan Morison married Mary McPhee on 4 June 1856.  Mary was the sister of Hugh McPhee, Ann Morrison’s second husband.  The McPhee family also came from Knock in Morvern.

Mary (McPhee) Morrison died on 1 November 1883, aged 57.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 3 November 1883 published the following:

The many friends of Mrs. Duncan Morrison, of Glenmorven, Morrison’s Bush, near Greytown, writes the Standard, will regret to hear of her very sudden death, at the age of 57, which occurred on Thursday morning. It appears the deceased, who had been an invalid for some years, did not complain of anything unusual on the morning in question, but on taking her a cup of tea, between 9 and 10 o’clock, it was discovered that she had passed away, and her sudden departure was a painful shock to the family. The cause of death has not yet been ascertained, but it is supposed to have resulted from the bursting of a blood vessel. Mrs Morrison has been many years a resident in Moroa, she having resided there since 1855, and was greatly respected by all who knew her. Mrs Morrison was one of kind-hearted old settlers who was always ready to entertain a visitor, and her household kindnesses will long speak for her. An inquest will be held to-day, and the funeral will take place at 12 o’clock.

The inquest confirmed that Mrs Morrison died from natural causes.

Duncan Morrison died on 29 November 1889 as a result of a fall from his horse.

The Evening Post of 3 December 1889 reported:

Greytown, 30th November. Death has removed two more of our early settlers. Mrs. Jones, who came to the Wairarapa in 1853, died last Wednesday, and Mr. Duncan Morrison, of Morrison’s Bush, was thrown from his horse near Blairlogie and received such injuries that he died shortly after. He came to this colony in the ship Blenheim, and lived for some years at Evans Bay. He then came up to the Wairarapa with his father, and has lived at Glenmorven, his run, ever since. His funeral, which takes place on Monday, will draw together a large number of settlers from all parts of the valley.

The Wairarapa Daily Times of 30 November 1889 provided a more detailed description of the accident:

FATAL ACCIDENT TO AN OLD SETTLER.
In addition to particulars telegraphed and published in Friday’s issue, one of our staff whilst at Blairlogie yesterday gained the following information of the sad accident which befel Mr Duncan Morrison and ultimately led to his death on Friday evening, On his way up to Blairlogie Mr Morrison called at Mr Carswell’s Hotel at an early hour on Wednesday morning. During his stay he intimated he was paying a visit to his late brother’s people at Blairlogie, where he had not been for many years. He seemed in excellent spirits and expressed the pleasure he felt at being able, after such a long interval, to again pay a visit to that locality. His horse appeared to be a very spirited animal, especially for a man of his great weight (over 19 stone) and age to ride. Mr Morrison proceeded on his journey and had scarcely crossed the threshold of the estate, when his horse shied and threw him heavily to the ground. How long he lay there even the poor fellow himself could not afterwards tell, but it must have been a considerable time, The first to notice him lying on the road was the mailman from the East Coast, who jumped off his horse, had a look, and then rode on. It was several hours after this when Mr Urquhart, buyer for the Happy Valley Meat Company came along, and carried the news to Mr A. McPhee, at Blairlogie station, that an old gentleman, very much resembling Mr Duncan Morrison, of the Lower Valley was lying on the road apparently badly hurt. Mr McPhee immediately rode off to ascertain if anything serious had happened. When he came up to Mr Morrison he found him sitting on the roadside. In reply to inquiries, Mr Morrison stated the horse had shied at some object on the road and threw him. That was all that he could remember. Poor Morrison at this time was almost smothered in mud, and drenched with rain. Seeing that be was badly hurt, Mr McPhee, with the assistance of the roadman (who happened to be at work a short distance away), conveyed him to Mr Carswell’s Hotel, This was late in the afternoon. Being under the impression the case was not a serious one, medical aid was not called in that evening. In the meantime everything that could possibly be done to relieve pain was resorted to. On Thursday he appeared no easier, and a wire was despatched to Dr Milne, who promptly attended, and reimained at the hotel all night. On Friday morning the doctor left for Masterton, and returned in the afternoon in company with Dr Hosking. Within a short time of their arrival, although they did everything possible to relieve their patient’s suffering, he expired. Great sympathy is felt with the surviving relatives, this making the third death in the family in the short space of two months, Mrs Strang, a daughter of Mr D. Morrison, having died a month ago, and John Morrison, brother of deceased, on the 27th of September. He leaves a large family of children and many connections to mourn their loss. Deceased came out to New Zealand in the ship “Clydesdale” [sic] forty-seven years, and settled with his parents at Glenmorven where he carried on the pursuit of a grazier in an extensive way.

Duncan and Mary had six children:

  • Hugh Morison, born in 1857, died in 1859.
  • Ann Morison, born in 1858, died in 1891, married Donald McLaren in 1882.
  • Mary Morison, born in 1860, died in 1889, married John Strang in 1883.
  • Hugh Morison, born in 1861, died in 1938, married Isabel Hodge in 1891.
  • Colin Morison, born in 1862, died in 1918.
  • Sarah Morison, born in 1863, died in 1929, married Peter Lee McLaren in 1889.
Anne Morrison

The Old Parish Register for Morvern records that that Eun  [Hugh] Morison, crofter, Knock ,and Anne Turner, had a legal daughter Anne, born 21 March 1827.

Anne Morrison was recorded as a housemaid of 14 on the Blenheim passenger list.

Anne Morrison married Donald Smith on 2 October 1845 in Wellington. The Church Register recorded that Donald Smith, now of Wellington, formerly of Kirkmichael, Perthshire, N.B., and Ann Morison, daughter of Hugh Morison of Morvern parish, Argyllshire, N.B., now of Wellington, were married.  The witnesses were Hugh Morison, Katherine Bethune and Andrew Reid.

Donald Smith was christened in Kirkmichael, Perthshire, Scotland, on 20 April 1826, the son of John Smith and Barbara Watson.

Donald Smith died of fever on 8 January 1846.  He and Anne Morrison had one child:

  • Donald Smith, born in 1846, died in 1920, married Margaret Morrison in 1870.

Ann (Morrison) Smith married Hugh McPhee on 5 June 1855 in a joint ceremony with her sister Mary, who married Alexander Cameron.

Hugh McPhee was the son of Hugh McPhee and Ann Cameron of Knock, Morvern, Argyll, and would have known the Morrisons there.  In 1854, Hugh, with his mother, sister Mary and brother Donald, emigrated to Australia, but in 1855 came on to New Zealand.

According to New Zealand BDM records, Hugh McPhee died on 14 April 1859.

Ann and Hugh had three children:

  • Margaret Ann McPhee, born in 1856, died in 1932, married Thomas Harvey in 1876.
  • Hugh Morrison McPhee, born in 1857, died in 1916, married (1) Margaret Daysh in 1883, (2) Hannah Compton in 1894.
  • Archibald McPhee, born in 1858, died in 1938, married Beatrice Hughan in 1892.
Ann (Morrison) McLachlan, formerly McPhee, previously Smith
Ann (Morrison) McLachlan, formerly McPhee, previously Smith

Ann (Morrison) McPhee, formerly Smith, married Duncan McLachlan on 22 July 1862.

Duncan McLachlan had come to New Zealand on the Oliver Lang in 1858, and was related to the McPhees by marriage.

Duncan McLachlan died on 9 October 1886, aged 58.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 9 October 1886 reported, “A settler on the Taratahi by the name of Duncan McLachlan died this morning at 10 o’clock after a short illness. He was taken ill while at the dairy factory with his milk yesterday morning, and was brought into Carterton to Dr Johnston, and conveyed from their to his home where he died as, above stated. ”

Ann (Morrison) McLachlan died on 28 June 1900, aged 73.

Ann and Duncan had three children:

  • Annie McLachlan, born in 1863, died in [….].
  • Donald McLachlan, born in 1864, died in 1918
  • Colin McLachlan, born in 1865, died in 1939.
John Morrison

The Old Parish Register for Morvern for 1829 recorded that Hugh Morison, Knock, and Anne Turner had a legal son, John, born on 22 March.

John Morrison was described as a cowherd of 12 on the Blenheim passenger list.

John Morrison worked on the Glenmorven property, but was also involved in shipping cattle to the Otago goldfields and purchased land in Christchurch.

John Morrison married Jessie Morrison in 1868.  Jessie Morrison was the daughter of Hugh’s cousin Alexander, who emigrated to New Zealand on the Oliver Lang in 1858.

In 1870 John Morrison purchased the Whareama Station and soon afterwards he bought Blairlogie from the Cameron brothers.  He also owned Bowlands.

John Morrison died on 29 September 1889.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 27 September 1889 reported:

The sufferings of Mr John Morrison of Blairlogie, are over. A few days ago he came up from Wellington in a moribund state to die amongst his own people, He attempted to travel to the Whareama, but became exhausted by the time he reached Otahuao and took shelter at the house of a kind friend, Mr John Drummond. The nature of his malady was such that he was unable to take nourishment, and though doctor after doctor visited him nothing could be done but wait patiently for the inevitable end. This morning he breathed his last, and will long be remembered by a thousand friends as one who always welcomed both rich and poor to his homestead and dispensed hospitality with an ungrudging hand.

The Evening Post of 28 September 1889 reported:

The death is announced yesterday of Mr. John Morrison, of the Wairarapa, one of the oldest settlers in the district, and after whom Morrison’s Bush was named. He arrived in the colony when quite a boy, accompanied by his parents, in the ship Clydesdale [sic], in 1842 [sic]. The emigrants were almost exclusively Scottish Highlanders, and after their arrival at Kaiwarra, near Wellington, their interviews with the Maoris, to whom the Gaelic was an extraordinary tongue, created many an amusing scene. The cause of death was stricture of the gullet, so that really he was starved to death.

Jessie Morrison died on 10 March 1922, aged 77.

John and Jessie had eight children:

  • John Morrison, born in 1869, died in 1902, married Helen Blanche Calders (grand-daughter of Blenheim passengers) in 1900.
  • Alexander Morrison, born in 1870, died in 1892.
  • Jessie Isabella Morrison, born in 1872, married (1) John Chapman Andrew in 1894, and (2) Francis Arnot Bett in 1910.
  • Margaret Ann Morrison, born in 1875, died in 1957.
  • Mary Morrison, born in 1876, died in 1883.
  • Hugh Morrison, born in 1878, died in 1951, married Muriel Stanley Booth in 1908.
  • Catherine Maud Christina Morrison, born in 1882, died in 1950.
  • Rupert Donald Matthew Morrison, born in 1884, died in 1918, married Amy Violet Thompson in 1912, in Australia.
Margaret Morrison

The Old Parish Register for Morvern recorded that Eun Morison, crofter, Knock, and Anne Turner had a legal daughter Margaret, born 20 December 1831.

Margaret Morrison was 10 when she travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

According to New Zealand BDM records, Margaret Morison married William Stewart on 25 June 1850.  The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 29 June 1850 carried the Notice: “On Tuesday, the 25th inst., at the Scotch Church, Wellington, by the Rev. W. Kirton, Mr William Stewart of Wellington, to Margaret, third daughter of Mr. H. Morrison, Wairarapa.”  Apparently the witnesses were Alexander Grant and Donald McLean.

William and Margaret travelled to Canterbury in 1850 with John Macfarlane and his wife Catherine Cameron (see Donald Cameron and Christian McLean).  They landed at Heathcote, and the men became supervisors for the building of the road into Christchurch.  William and Margaret took over the lease of the Heathcote Ferry Arms, then moved into Christchurch in 1853 to establish the Royal Hotel in Oxford Terrace.

William Stewart died on 24 November 1857 aged 34.  The Lyttelton Times of 28 November 1857 carried the following Death Notice: “On the 24th instant, at his residence, the Royal Hotel, William Stewart, aged 35 years, deeply lamented by all who knew him.”

There was one child from the marriage:

  • William Morrison Stewart, born in 1852, died in 1935.

Margaret remarried in 1861. The Wellington Independent of 9 August 1861 carried the following Marriage Notice: “MacKay-Stuart – On the 20th June, at Glenmorven, Wairarapa, by the Rev. Wm Ronaldson, Mr David Mitchell of Wellington, late of Tain, Rosshire, to Margaret, second daughter of Hugh Morrison, Esq., of Glenmorven, and relict of the late Wm. Stuart, Esq., Christchurch, Canterbury.”

David Mitchell Mackay was a clerk in the Immigration office, and after the wedding the couple moved back to Christchurch, where they lived in Antigua Street.  In September 1869 David Mackay, immigration officer, was brought up at the Police Court, Christchurch, charged with embezzlement of public funds of the province of Canterbury.  The Timaru Herald of 11 December 1869 reported the Supreme Court proceedings before Mr Justice Gresson, with the final outcome being that the judge accepted the defence argument that the Crown had failed to establish to his satisfaction that the prisoner was clerk in the strict sense, or at all events, that the money he received was the property of Mr Rolleston [Canterbury Superintendent].  That being the case there was no use in letting the evidence go before the jury, whatever might be the moral guilt of the prisoner, and the judge directed them to return a verdict of acquittal, which they did, and the prisoner was discharged.

It is not clear what happened to David Mitchell MacKay, but at the time of the marriage of his daughter Margaret in 1888 he was described as “the late D.M. MacKay of Christchurch”.

Margaret (Morrison) MacKay died 25 February 1907, aged 73.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 26 February 1907 carried the Death Notice: “Mackay – At the residence of her son, H. Mackay Martinborough, Margaret, relict of the late P.M. Mackay, aged 73.  Christchurch papers please copy.”

Margaret and David had possibly four children:

  • Hugh MacKay, born in 1862, died in 1932, married Catherine Mary Bunny in 1924.
  • Margaret Ann Mackay, born in 1864, died in 1942, married William Andrew in 1888.
  • John Stanley MacKay, born in 1867, died in 1871.
  • Name not recorded [possibly Mary Isabella] MacKay, born in 1869.
Mary Morrison

Mary Morrison was 8 years old when she travelled on the Blenheim to New Zealand with her family.

Mary (Morrison) Cameron
Mary (Morrison) Cameron

On 5 June 1855 Mary Morrison married Alexander Cameron, another Blenheim emigrant, son of Donald Cameron and Christian McLean.

Alexander Cameron died on 19 December 1899 aged 76, and Mary (Morrison) Cameron died on 11 October 1911 aged 77.  See Donald Cameron and Christian McLean for more information about this family.

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.
Colin Morrison

The Blenheim list recorded Colin Morrison as a child of 6.

The Wellington Independent of 9 February 1859 carried the following Death Notice: “On Tuesday evening, the 8th instant, at the residence of Mr. W. F. Mason, Lambton-quay, Colin, son of Mr. Hugh Morrison, of Glenmorven, Wairarapa; aged 22 years.”


Sources:

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Hugh McKenzie and Catherine McDonald

In the initial Blenheim passenger list Donald McDonald noted that this family came from Achatany and “This family have been known to me all my life and have mostly been in my own and my Brothers service”.  The family was:

  • Hugh MacKenzie, 50, labourer
  • Catherine McDonald, 46, his wife
  • Jane, 24, housemaid, his daughter
  • Peggy, 21, housemaid, his daughter
  • Mary, 17, housemaid, his daughter
  • Flora, 15, his daughter
  • Janet, 12, his daughter
  • John, 10, his son

Also on the initial list, but crossed out, was Donald MacKenzie, 27, engineer, noted as “his natural son”.

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan records the births and baptisms of several children who did not travel to New Zealand, and most likely died in infancy.  These include the baptisms of two daughters named Catherine, who likely died in infancy – Hugh McKenzie, crofter, Achtenny, and Catherine McDonald, had a daughter, Catherine, born 10th April 1833, baptized 19th May 1833, witnesses John Stuart, Braynault and Allan McKenzie, Beadle; and in 1835 Ewen McKenzie crofter Achtenny and Catherine McDonald his wife, had a daughter Catherine, born 12th May 1835 baptized 15th May 1855, witnesses Niel McPhail, Kilmory, and John Stuart, Braynault.  There may also have been another daughter, Anna in 1831.

Spelling: The Blenheim passenger list used “MacKenzie” but most other sources have “McKenzie”.


Return to The Blenheim People.


Hugh McKenzie and Catherine McDonald

Hugh McKenzie was recorded as being 50 years old on the Blenheim passenger list, but his Death Notice (and New Zealand BDM records) which put him at 96 in 1877 suggests that his birth year may have been around 1781, which would have made him 59 in 1840.

A McKenzie Family 1840-1990 includes information that Hugh McKenzie was born at Buarbleg, Moidart, in 1781, the son of Malcolm McKenzie and Aleen Stewart.  If this is correct then it is unusual not to find the name Malcolm given to any of his sons.

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan, recorded that Hugh MacKenzie, tenant, Ockill, and Catherine McDonald, Drimintorran, were married on 9 September 1814.

From the birthplaces of the children, it appears that the family moved around the Ardnamurchan Peninsular.  Ockill/Ockle/Ochdal, Braynault/Braenault, Achtenny/Achateny, Swordalmore/Sourdals – are all localities on the north-western coast of the Ardnamurchan peninsular of Argyll.  Buarblaig/Borblaig, is on the southern side of the peninsular.

Hugh McKenzie and his family emigrated to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840, arriving in Wellington on 27 December 1840. The family lived at Kaiwharawhara in Wellington, but also farmed land in the Wairarapa.

Hugh McKenzie worked on the Kaiwarra road building as the paymaster, but in 1848-49 took up farming at Tupurupuru in the Wairarapa, and in 1854 purchased a block at Te Whiti, which he worked on with his son John.

In 1855, it appears that Hugh McKenzie had decided to sell his freehold property of 3 acres in Wadestown, advertising it in the  Wellington Independent of 20 January 1855:

For sale
FREEHOLD PROPERTY delightfully situate in Wade’s Town, commanding a fine view of the harbor, and within an easy distance of Te Aro. There are three acres of land, having a house on each, with a byer, calf house, barn, &c. There is also a beautiful stream of water running through the property. The above presents an eligible opportunity for investment; and is well worthy the attention of the capitalist, as the ground is most suitable for building villa residences on. Parties can view the property, and learn further particulars, on application to Hugh M’Kenzie, Wade’s Town, or James Calder, Kaiwarra.

By 1866 Hugh McKenzie had returned to Wellington to live on his property in Thorndon, between Grant Road and Tinakori Road.

Hugh McKenzie died on 31 August 1877.  The Evening Post of 1 September 1877 included the Death Notice: “M’Kenzie – On the 31st August at Kaiwarra, Hugh M’Kenzie, aged 96 years.”

Catherine (McDonald) McKenzie died on 10 August 1879, aged 87. The Wanganui Chronicle of 14 August 1879, carried the following Death Notice: “McKenzie – On the 10th August, at her residence, Kaiwarra, Katherine McKenzie, relict of the late Hugh McKenzie,  aged 87 years.”  The Wanganui Chronicle of 15 August 1879 published the following obituary:

Another old colonist has passed away from amongst us, in the person of Mrs McKenzie, relict of the late Mr Hugh McKenzie, formerly of the Tuhitu Station, Wairarapa, who died at her residence early on Sunday morning, at the advanced age of 87.  Mrs McKenzie came to the colony with her husband during the year 1840, in the ship Blenheim, one of the first passenger vessels sent out by the New Zealand Company. The deceased lady leaves a large number of relatives and friends, and only survived her late husband about twelve or fifteen months. The late Mr McKenzie also lived to a very advanced age.

Jane McKenzie

Jane McKenzie was listed as a housemaid aged 24 in the Blenheim passenger list, so was born around 1816.

Jane McKenzie married James Calder on 18 September 1844.  The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian of 12 October 1844 included the Notice: “On the 18th ult., James Calder, licensed Pilot, formerly of Cathesshire, to Jane, daughter of Hugh M’Kenzie, formerly of Adnamurchan, Argyleshire.”

In 1848, following an inquiry into the wreck of the barque Subraon at the entrance to Wellington harbour, James Calder was removed from his appointment as Pilot.  He then established the Rainbow Hotel in Kaiwharawhara, before moving to the Rangitikei district.

James Calder died in 1858 near Otaki.  The Wellington Independent of 24 November 1858 carried the following report:

Information was brought into town yesterday morning, that a pocket book and papers belonging to Mr. James Calder, had been found in the Ohau River. Upon enquiry, it was found that he was missing from his residence, and it is therefore presumed that he has been unfortunately drowned. Mr. Calder was formerly pilot at Wellington, and afterwards built the Rainbow Inn, Kai Warra and removed to the West coast a year or two ago.

It appears that Jane continued to run the Rainbow Hotel in Kaiwharawhara for a number of years.  Records indicate that she held the licence in 1861 and 1871, when she transferred the licence to her son David Calder.  It appears that Jane Calder was still the owner of the hotel in 1895, but not the holder of the publican’s licence.

Jane (McKenzie) Calder died on 23 December 1900.  The Colonist of 27 December 1900 carried the Death Notice: “Calders – On December 23rd at the residence of her son, Hugh Calders, Stoke, Jane, relict of the late Captain James Calders, formerly of Wellington, aged 86 years.”  The Colonist also carried the following obituary:

Obituary — On Sunday last there passed away in the person of Mrs Calders, senior, one of the early colonists, the deceased lady’s residence in New Zealand extending to within a few days of sixty years. Mrs Calders landed in Wellington on 25th December, 1840, from the ship Blenheim, together with her father, the late Mr Hugh McKenzie, and the rest of his family, and a large number of Highland passengers. Mr McKenzie was. the first superintendent of road construction on the road from Wellington to the Hutt, and two years after his arrival his daughter married Captain James Calders, who was then pilot and in charge of Wellington harbor, and took a prominent part in the early settlement of Wellington. Captain Calders later entered upon farming in the Rangitikei district, and was in 1859 drowned in the Otaki river. For the last 20 years Mrs Calders has resided with her son Hugh, the present Chief Postmaster of Nelson, and one other son and a daughter survive their mother, who attained the age of 86 years, her father, by-the-way, living to the great age of 98, retaining his faculties to the last. Allusion was made in the Presbyterian Church on Sunday by the Rev. J. H. MacKenzie to Mrs Calders’ death, she having, as far as her years permitted, taken a keen interest in the Church.

It is not clear when the name came to be “Calders”.

Jane and James appear to have had at least four children:

  • David Calders, born in 1846, died in 1880.
  • Hugh Calders, born in 1848, died in 1904, married Marjory McGregor (daughter of Blenheim passengers) in 1873.
  • James Calders, born in 1850, died in 1926, married Florence Emily Cockerell in 1879.
  • Margaret Calders , born in 1852, died in 1902 in Australia, married Henry Tucker in 1866.
Peggy (Margaret) McKenzie

The Old Parish Register for Western Ardnamurchan records the baptism on 8 February 1819 of Peggy, daughter of Hugh MacKenzie, tenant, Ockill, and of Catherine McDonald, his wife.

Peggy was 21 in 1840 when she sailed to New Zealand on the Blenheim.

Margaret McKenzie married James Gee on 8 January 1844.  In the marriage registration James Gee described himself as “formerly boot and shoemaker”, but was at the time a member of the Grenadier Company of the 96th Regiment of Foot.  He was born in Kilkenny, Ireland, and joined the regiment in 1839, being posted to Australia then, by 1845, to Port Nicholson.  The Regiment was sent to Tasmania, where James Gee was discharged in 1847, returned to Wellington, and settled in Kaiwarra as a shoemaker.  By 1855 the family had moved to the Wairau district of Marlborough, but in 1863 James enlisted in the 3rd Waikato Regiment which engaged in action against Maori forces.  In 1865 he was discharged and the family settled in Renwick in Marlborough, where Margaret practised as a midwife.

James Gee died on 15 September 1885, aged 63.  The Marlborough Express of 17 September 1885 published the following obituary:

An Old Colonist.— In the late Mr James Gee, who died at Renwick on Tuesday, aged 63, the colony loses one of its early settlers. He was the second son of the late Sergeant Major George Gee, of the Kilkenny Staff, Ireland. He arrived in the Colony in 1841 with the Grenadier Company of the 96th Regiment of Foot (chief officers, Major Richmond and Captain Eyton), to assist in preventing the Maori outrages taking place at that time at the Hutt. He served through the first and second Maori campaigns. Mr Gee leaves a wife and three children — two sons and a daughter — to mourn their loss. He had been a resident in Renwick for a number of years, and was greatly respected by all that knew him.

Following James’ death the family moved to Wellington, and Margaret (McKenzie) Gee died at Kaiwarra on 14 May 1896.  The Evening Post of 15 May 1896 Death Notice said: “Gee – On the 14th instant, at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr E. Coleman, Kaiwarra, Margaret Gee, aged 76 years.”

Margaret and James had five children:

  • George Gee, born in 1845, died in 1914, married Emma Louise Harford in 1867.
  • Hugh Gee, born in 1849, died in 1920, married Emma Henrietta Grace Ricketts, formerly Sedgwick, in 1877.
  • Catherine Gee, born in 1851, died in 1879, married Donald Munro in 1870.
  • Jessie Gee, born in 1854, died in 1856.
  • Margaret L’Estrange Gee, born in 1857, died in 1923, married Ewen Colman (cousin) in 1888.
Mary McKenzie

In the Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan there was a Mary McKenzie, daughter of Ewen McKenzie, tenant Buarblaig and of Kate McDonald, his wife, baptized on 10 December 1821, who would have been 18 when the initial Blenheim passenger list was compiled.  This Mary may have died and a daughter born in 1823 given the name Mary.

In the passenger lists of the Blenheim, Mary was recorded in the family of Hugh McKenzie, as a housemaid aged 17.

Mary McKenzie married Angus McMaster another of the Blenheim passengers.  For details of their life see Angus McMaster and Mary McKenzie.

Angus and Mary had nine children, and then sadly she died in 1864 as the result of a miscarriage when pregnant with their tenth child.

Angus and Mary’s children included:

  • Hugh McMaster, born in 1846, died in 1902.
  • Duncan McMaster, born in 1848, died in 1896, married Dolina Catherine Drummond in 1874.
  • Donald McMaster, born in 1849, died in 1919.
  • Ann McMaster, born in 1851, died in 1893, married John Stevens (son of Blenheim passenger) in 1880.
  • Bethiah (Bessie) McMaster, born in 1854, died in 1898.
  • Sarah McMaster, born in 1856, died in 1927.
  • John McMaster, born in 1858, died in 1935, married Mary Colman (cousin) in 1895.
  • Jessie McMaster, born in 1860, died in 1884.
  • Mary McMaster, born in 1862, died in 1892.
Flora McKenzie

Flora McKenzie was born on 29 September 1825 in Ardnamurchan, Argyll, and was 15 when she emigrated to New Zealand with her family on the Blenheim in 1840.

A McKenzie Family 1840-1990 notes that Flora was married twice, the first time to a Mr Betts, with a son, John Betts, being born in Wellington on 9 March 1852.  However, New Zealand BDM records show the birth, on 9 March 1852, of John McKenzie, mother Flora, father Henry, suggesting that there was no marriage.

  • John Betts, born in 1852, died in 1920.

The New Zealand BDM records show that Flora McKenzie (not Betts) married Thomas Coleman on 8 February 1854.  They both signed the marriage register with their marks “X”, and the witnesses were John McKenzie and James Calder.

Thomas Colman was born in Kent, England, in 1819, and is believed to have brought the first shipment of horses to New Zealand from Sydney in 1842.

Flora and Thomas settled first in the Rangitikei district but had returned to Wellington by 1873.

Thomas Colman died on 5 July 1889, aged 69.

Flora Colman died on 4 June 1898 aged 73.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 6 June 1898 reported, “Mrs Colman, mother of Mrs J. McMaster, of Tuhitarata, Martinborough, died at Tuhitarata on Saturday..”

Flora and Thomas had at least six children:

  • Thomas Colman, born in 1855, died in 1919, married Alma Greer in 1887.
  • Ewen Colman, born in 1857, died in 1916, married Margaret L’Estrange Gee (cousin), in 1888.
  • Jessie Colman, born in 1859, died in 1891, married Jerome Sinclair in 1884.
  • William Colman, born in 1861, died in 1949, married Bridget Ruane in 1896.
  • Mary Ann Colman, born in 1864, died in 1927, married John McMaster (cousin) in 1895.
  • Catherine Margaret Colman, born in 1868, died in Australia
Janet (Jessie) McKenzie

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan records the baptism on 20 May 1827 of Janet, daughter of Hugh MacKenzie, tenant, Swordalmor, and of Catherine McDonald, his wife.

Janet was 12 when she emigrated to New Zealand with her family on the Blenheim in 1840.

According to New Zealand BDM records, Jessey McKenzie died on 18 July 1857, aged 29. The cause of death on her death certificate was “liver complaint”.

John McKenzie

The Old Parish Register for Ardnamurchan recorded that John, son of Hugh McKenzie, resident, Achatennie, and Cath McDonald, his wife, was baptised on 27 December 1829.

John McKenzie was 10 years old when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

John McKenzie moved to the Wairarapa by 1850, initially to work on Angus McMaster’s property at Tupurupuru, and then on the property at Te Whiti, purchased by his father in 1854. John also served as a Maori interpreter.

John McKenzie and Isabella McKenzie were married on 19 February 1857 at Te Whiti.

Isabella McKenzie (no relation) was born on 2 May 1837 in Urray, Ross-shire, the daughter of Alexander McKenzie and Mary Gollan, who emigrated initially to Australia, then to New Zealand in 1854, and became early settlers in the Wairarapa at Masterton.

In the Wellington Independent of 26 March 1863 there is a report of court proceedings which notes that there was a case of Hugh McKenzie, senior, v John McKenzie, junior, of assault, fined 10s and costs 7s 6d.

Isabella McKenzie died on 5 April 1915, aged 78.  The Wairarapa Age of 6 April 1915 carried the following obituary:

MRS JOHN McKENZIE. It is with deep regret we have to record the death of one of the early pioneers of the Wairarapa, in the person of Mrs John McKenzie, of Masterton, which occurred at the residence of her son, Mr James McKenzie, Te Whiti.  The deceased lady, who had attained the ripe age of 78 years, had been a resident of Masterton for over 60 years. When, just a girl, she came with her parents from the Hutt, and their first residence here was on the Upper Plain. With her husband, she bravely shared the trials of the early pioneering days, and although she reared a family of 18 children (nine sons and nine daughters), she still found time to assist those in trouble, and her many acts of kindness and devotion will long be remembered. Tnose who are left to mourn their loss are Messrs Malcolm, Alex. James, Donald, Kenny, Joshua, J.M., Colin, and Hugh McKenzie. The daughters are Mrs Cade (Pahiatua), Mrs J.G. McDonald (Carterton), Mrs J. Daysh (Newman), Mrs Meenkin (Carterton). The funeral will leave Te Whiti at noon to-morrow (Wednesday) for the Masterton cemetery.

John McKenzie died just over two weeks later on 23 April 1915, aged 86.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 24 April 1915 carried the following obituary:

MR JOHN McKENZIE,
An old and highly respected resident of this district, Mr John McKenzie, of Te Whiti, passed away last night, at the ripe age of 86 years. Mr McKenzie, who came to New Zealand in the ship Blenheim Castle [sic] in the year 1840, has resided at Te Whiti for sixty years. The old gentleman had been in poor health for some time, and for the past two years was confined to his home. His wife died about a fortnight ago. The late Mr McKenzie’s family numbered eighteen, thirteen of whom are living. These are Mr Malcolm McKenzie, Taueru; Mr James McKenzie, Te Whiti; Mr Angus D. McKenzie, Dalefield; Mr H. D. McKenzie, Wairoa; Mr K. D. McKenzie, Matahiwi; Mr Josh McKenzie, Poroporo; Mr J. M. McKenzie, Te Rangitumau; Mr Colin McKenzie, Te Whiti; Mrs R. Cade, Pahiatua; Mrs J. G. McDonald, Carterton; Mrs J. Daysh, Newman; Mrs Baggarley, Hamilton; and Mrs Minton, Carterton. The family will have the sympathy of a wide circle of friends in their bereavement. The funeral will leave Te Whiti at 1 o’clock on Monday, arriving at Masterton at 2.30 p.m.

John and Isabella had eighteen children:

  • Malcolm McKenzie, born in 1857, died in 1952, married Sarah Ann Bland in 1882.
  • Alexander McKenzie, born in 1859, died in 1893.
  • James McKenzie, born in 1860, died in 1945.
  • Catherine McKenzie, born in 1861, died in 1942, married Robert Barney Cade in 1877.
  • Mary McKenzie, born in 1862, died in 1910, married Robert John Baker in 1882.
  • Annie McKenzie, born in 1864, died in 1954, married John George McDonald in 1885.
  • Jessie McKenzie, born in 1865, died in 1913, married Francis John Court in 1885.
  • Jane McKenzie, born in 1867, died in 1952, married James Alfred Daysh in 1890.
  • Angus McDonald McKenzie, born in 1868, died in 1948, married Elizabeth Jane Mulvay in 1890.
  • Isabella Flora McKenzie, born in 1870, died in 1910, married Charles Augustus Alexander McColl in 1909.
  • Johanna Margaret McKenzie, born in 1871, died in 1963, married Samuel Harold Baggarley in 1896.
  • Hugh Donald McKenzie, born in 1873, died in 1964, married Sarah Jane Anderson in 1902.
  • Roderick Colin McKenzie, born in 1874, died in 1966.
  • Kenneth Duncan McKenzie, born in 1876, died in 1916, married Hannah Bella McKay in 1905.
  • Joshua McKenzie, born in 1878, died in 1965, married Minnie Rebecca Bagley in 1908.
  • John Murdoch McKenzie, born in 1879, died in 1916 (WW1), married Ivy Winifred Pilcher in 1915.
  • Jemima Elizabeth McKenzie, born in 1880, died in 1908.
  • Lillian Hannah McKenzie, born in 1882, died in 1928, married John Herbert Minton in 1913.

Sources:

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:

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.”


Sources:

William and Maria Miller

The Miller family were included on the embarkation and arrival lists for the Blenheim as coming from Glasgow.  They were:

  • William Miller, 28, labourer (embarkation), weaver (arrival)
  • Maria Miller, 27
  • Robert Miller, 9
  • Janet Miller, 7
  • Mary Miller, 5
  • Jane Miller, 2
  • Margaret Miller, born at sea

From subsequent documentation it appears that Maria’s name should have been recorded as “Marian”.


Return to The Blenheim People.


William Miller and Marian Leitch

The birth registration for her daughter Margaret and the death registration for her daughter Jane confirm that Marian’s maiden name was Leitch.

After arriving in New Zealand William and Maria had at least one further child:

  • James Miller, born in 1845, died in 1926, married Annie Elizabeth Wright Hopkirk in 1879.

Marian (Leitch) Miller died in 1847 aged 36.

William Miller and Jane Wilson

William Miller married again, to Jane Wilson in 1854.  They had further children, possibly including:

  • Adam Miller, born in 1857, died in 1886.
  • Elizabeth Miller, born in 1859.
  • Francis Miller, born in 1861.
  • Thomas Miller, born in 1864, died in 1866.

William Miller died on 2 August 1879. His death registration noted that he died at Nelson Street, Wellington, aged 67, with the cause of death being old age and general debility.  He was born in Paisley, Scotland and had been in New Zealand for 39 years.  There was only the marriage to “- Wilson” listed as taking place in Wellington, NZ.  Living issue were five males and five females.  The Evening Post of 2 August 1879 contained the following obituary:

One by one the “old identities” of Wellington are dropping off from our midst. This morning another old settler passed away, in the person of Mr. W. Miller, father of the City Councillor of that name. Mr. Miller arrived in Wellington on 27th December, 1840, in the ship Blenheim, which left the port of Greenock, Scotland, in the summer of that year. From that time till the day of his death he was a resident in Wellington. About 20 years ago he took the Commercial Hotel, Willis-street, and held the position of host until about four years ago, when he retired from business. Mr. Miller never took any very prominent part in public life, but was for a short period a member of the City Council during the time that Messrs. Borlase and Quin occupied seats as members of that body. Mr. Miller always enjoyed very good health until about two months ago, when he was seized with a serious illness, to which he finally succumbed early this morning at the ripe age of 68. Mr Miller was well known and very generally respected. The news of his death will be received with considerable regret, especially by the old, original settlers still left among us.

Jane (Wilson) Miller, William’s second wife, died on 24 August 1887, aged 64. The Evening Post of 25 August 1887 reported, “An inquest was held to-day by Dr. Johnston, Coroner, on the body of an elderly female patient at the Mount View Asylum, named Jane Miller, who died on Tuesday evening. The jury returned a verdict of Death from Natural Causes. Deceased, who was an old settler in the district, and formerly kept the Commercial Hotel, had been an inmate of the institution for about a month.”

Robert Miller

Robert Miller was 9 years old when he travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim in 1840.

Robert Miller and Jane Mitchell were married on 24 June 1859.   Jane Mitchell had also been a passenger on the Blenheim, as a 3 year old, travelling with her parents James Mitchell and Jane Stewart.

Robert Miller was a successful baker and businessman, and also served as a City Councillor.

Jane (Mitchell) Miller died on 24 October 1867. The Wellington Independent of 26 October 1867 carried the following Death Notice: “Miller – On October 24, at the residence of Mr James Mitchell, Burnside, Porirua, Jane, the beloved wife of Mr Robert Miller, Tauerue Station, Wairarapa, aged 30 years.”

Following Jane’s death, Robert married Mary Ellen Angell on 22 January 1873.

Robert Miller died on 24 October 1904 aged 73.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 28 October 1904 carried the Death Notice: Miller – On the 24th October, 1904, at his residence “Waiwetu” Tasman street Wellington, Robert Miller, aged 73 years.”  The Manawatu Times of 26 October 1904 reported, “Mr Robert Miller, one of Wellington’s early settlers, who came to Port Nicholson in the ship Blenheim in 1840, died yesterday.”  The Evening Post of 24 October 1904 published the following obituary:

Mr. Robert Miller, one of Wellington’s early settlers, died at his residence in Tasman-street this morning. About a fortnight ago he was seized with a paralytic stroke, from which he did not recover. The deceased gentleman was born at Paisley, Scotland, and came out to Port Nicholson with his parents in the ship Blenheim in December, 1840. The family resided for some time on what is now the site of the Hotel Cecil. Mr. Robert Miller was in business in Wellington for many years, and afterwards went to live in retirement at the Hutt, but for some time before his death he had been a resident of Tasman-street. In years gone by he occupied a seat on the City Council, and he laboured in other ways to advance the interests of the city. He was a director of the Equitable Building and Investment Company, from its formation up till the time of his death, and was also a shareholder in other joint stock concerns. He has left a widow and a family of eleven, the eldest being Mr. W. Miller, of the Greymouth-Point Elizabeth Company. The late Mr. Miller was very highly respected.

Mary Ellen (Angell) Miller died on 20 March 1940 aged 88.

Jane and Robert appear to have had at least five children:

  • William Miller, born in 1860, died in 1940, married Susan McLaren in 1883.  William Miller was an auctioneer, valuer and accountant, became the last clerk of the Miramar Borough Council and for ten years was Town Clerk at Johnsonville.
  • James Miller, born in 1861, died in 1862, aged 3 weeks.
  • Jane Miller, born in 1862.
  • James Miller, born in 1865.
  • Robert Alexander Mitchell Miller, born in 1867, died in 1940, married Evelyn Rose Aitchison in 1925. Farmed at Kopuaranga, Wairarapa with his brother from the early 1900s.

Robert and Mary Ellen appear to have had at least seven children:

  • Emily Miller, born in 1873.
  • Marion Miller, born in 1875.
  • Adam John Miller, born in 1876, died in 1972, married Amelia Alice Helen Nicholls in 1905.
  • Walter Robert Miller, born in 1878, died in 1963, carpenter, moved to Canada in 1905, married Mary Ann Lambert.
  • Oliver Allen Miller, born in 1880, died in 1962.
  • Violet Annie Miller, born in 1881, died in 1965, married Archibald Coulter in 1904.
  • Ethel Janet Miller, born in 1883, died in 1967.
Janet Miller

Janet Miller was 7 years old when she travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim with her family.

Janet Miller married John William Laing in 1854.

John William Laing died in 1909.  The Otago Witness of 6 January 1909 carried the following obituary:

MR JOHN WILLIAM LAING.
Another of the fast diminishing band of early settlers passed to his rest on 2nd inst. John W. Laing, a son of the Manse, was born in Crieff, Perthshire, in 1826. His father was minister of the Established Church there, and his grandfather, Mr Wm. Laing, of Edinburgh, was the well-known collector of rich and rare literary productions, and his opportunity came during the Napoleonic wars, when private and public collections of priceless value were scattered over the continent. During one of the brief intervals of peace, Mr Laing crossed to the continent and secured very many books of great value, and thus laid the foundation of a collection which became unique in Scotland. Mr Wm. Laing was one of the founders and first directors of the Commercial Bank of Scotland. On the mother’s side, Mr John Wm. Laing was descended from one of the most famous of Scottish families, his mother being a daughter of Professor Gregory, of Edinburgh. Professor Gregory’s father also filled the chair of medicine in Edinburgh University, while others of the same family filled the chairs of astronomy and mathematics. His uncle, Dr David Laing, was the well-known librarian of the Advocates Library, Edinburgh, and an antiquarian and scholar, deeply versed in Scottish history and literature. Mr John Wm. Laing was educated at Menzie Boarding School and at the High School and University, Edinburgh. In 1842, he, accompanied by his friend, Mr Wm. Landsborough, sailed in the barque, Duke of Richmond, for Sydney. The young men went to the sheep station of Landsborough’s brother in the New England district. Both young men had been sent out to learn colonial farming. Taking a share in the station, Mr Laing remained there six or seven years. His friend took to exploring the back country, especially Queensland, and subsequently became famous as an explorer. Mr Landsborough returned to the Homeland, where he was honoured by Royalty, but Mr Laing came to New Zealand—a move he always regretted He arrived in Wellington by a trading schooner, and some time afterwards came on to Dunedin to visit his three brothers, who had taken up land in and around Dunedin. Liking the climate of Otago, he went back to New South Wales to wind up his affairs. Having capital, on his return he bought up city and suburban property, and made his home at Brockville, Halfway Bush, where he lived a very retired Iife until within the last ten years, when he removed to Ramsay Lodge, Stafford-street, Dunedin. He leaves a widow, and a family of five daughters and four sons, two of the sons being Messrs W. M. Laing, of “Glencrieff,” Bideford, and David Laing, of New Plymouth.

Janet (Miller) Laing died in 1915, aged 81.

Janet and John had nine children:

  • Jean Gregory Laing, born in 1855, died in 1905.
  • Mary Laing, born in 1857, died in 1918, married Arthur Harding Parkinson in 1901.
  • William Laing, born in 1859, died in 1938, married Jessie Elizabeth Cameron (cousin).
  • Helen Laing, born in 1862,  died in 1943.
  • John Laing, born in 1864, died in 1944.
  • Margaret Laing, born in 1866, died in 1950, married Alexander Durrand in 1894.
  • Wilhelmina Laing, born in 1868, died in 1962.
  • James Miller Laing, born in 1870.
  • David Laing, born in 1873.
Mary Miller

Mary Miller travelled with her family on the Blenheim as a  5-year old in 1840.

In 1857 Mary Miller married William Oliver, and went to live in Napier.  William Oliver, a bricklayer, died in 1882.

Mary (Miller) Oliver died on 20 September 1927. The Evening Post of 27 September 1927 carried the following obituary:

There died at Napier last week Mrs. Mary Oliver, widow of the late William Oliver, at the age of 92. The deceased lady had resided in Napier since 1858. Mrs. Oliver was born in Paisley, Scotland, and was a daughter of the late Mr. William Miller, who landed in Wellington on the ship Blenheim, with a family of six, in 1840. The members of this family have been identified with the Wellington district since the foundation, of the city. Mr. Miller, senior, was well known as the owner of the Commercial Hotel, erected on the present site of the Grand Hotel, Willis street, and was one of the first members of the Wellington City Council, having been elected in 1870. The only remaining member of this family who landed from the ship Blenheim is Mrs. Allan Cameron, now of Pearce street, Seatoun, who was two months old when she was carried ashore at Pipitea Point in December, 1840.

Mary and William appear to have had at least eight children:

  • James Oliver, born in 1858, died in 1923, married Fanny Clara Warwick in 1883.
  • William Oliver, born in 1860, died in 1916, married Mary Jane Mollet in 1885.
  • U/k Oliver, born in 1862, died in 1862.
  • Charles Miller Oliver, born in 1866, died in 1938, [married Harriet Bond].
  • Mary Oliver, born in 1868, died in 1953.
  • Robert Leslie Oliver, born in 1871.
  • Ellen Oliver, born in 1873, died in 1959, married Joseph William Beagley in 1902.
  • Thomas Oliver, born in 1875, died in 1944, married Catherine Croskery in 1921.
Jane Miller

Jane Miller was only 2 years old when she boarded the Blenheim in 1840.

The following information corrects the previous entry, and follows the comment below from Ron Carswell.

Jane Miller married David Carswell on 5 June 1858, at the private residence of Robert Miller, Cuba Street, Wellington.  David Carswell was a baker of 23, a bachelor, and Jane Miller was a spinster of 22.  The celebrant was Rev. John Moir, and the witnesses were James Campbell and Daniel Williams.

In the Hawkes Bay Herald of 28 August 1858, David Carswell, Bread and Fancy Biscuit Maker, Carlyle Street, Opposite Mr Kelly’s Store, begged to intimate that he had commenced business as above, and that no effort would be spared on his part to merit a share of public patronage. Bread would be delivered daily, with country orders punctually attended to.

David Carswell appeared fairly regularly on jury lists and electoral rolls for Napier, identified as a baker, but it appears that he and Jane may have lived apart.  In her will, Jane Carswell of Hastings, storekeeper, noted that she was wife of David Carswell of Nuhaka, settler, and she named John Kerr and Daniel William Harper of Hastings as executors of the will – they were her sons-in-law.  At the time of her daughter’s marriage to Daniel Harper, the notice in the Daily Telegraph of 18 April 1884 stated: “Harper-Carswell. At Hastings, at the residence of the bride’s mother, on April 17th, by the Rev. W, Nichol, D.W. Harper to Jane, second daughter of David Carswell, baker, formerly of Hastings. Wellington and Dunedin papers please copy.”

Jane (Miller) Carswell died on 19 February 1901, at Hastings.  Her death registration records that she was 62 and her parents were William Miller and Miriam Miller, formerly Leitch, trader; she was born in Paisley, Scotland, and had been in New Zealand for 52 years [sic], and was married to David Carswell in Wellington when she was 19; living issue included 4 males, aged between 21 and 42, and 7 females, aged between 23 and 40.  The cause of death was carcinomic tumour, 5 years, and gradual heart failure, 1 week, as certified by J A Macdonell MD.  The informant was J B E Hird, son-in-law, Hastings.

David Carswell died two months later on 19 April 1901.

It appears that Jane and David had at least eleven children (this information remains to be clarified), including the following:

  • John William Carswell, born in 1859, died in 1940, married Catherine Flaws in 1881.
  • David Carswell, born in 1860, died in 1940, married (1) Ada Williams in 1890 and (2) Eva May Williams in 1908.
  • Janet Carswell, born in 1861, died in 1905.
  • James Carswell, born in 1863, died in 1944.
  • Jane Carswell, born in 1865, died in 1943, married Daniel William Harper in 1884.
  • Margaret Carswell, born in 1867, died in 1951, married James Buckman Elms Hird in 1887.
  • Isabella Augusta Carswell, born in 1870, died in 1904, married John Kerr in 1891.
  • Annie Carswell, born in 1873, died in 1959, married James Hay in 1905.
  • Mary Miller Carswell, born in 1875, died in 1950, married John Andrew Frizzell in 1898.
  • Elizabeth Ellen Carswell, born in 1877
  • Charles William Carswell, born in 1879.
Margaret Miller

Margaret Miller was born on the Blenheim on the voyage out to New Zealand.

Jessie Campbell’s journal entry for Wednesday 14 October notes, “A woman delivered of a daughter today both doing well.”  The birth registration in New Zealand, dated 24 January 1841, noted that Margaret, 5th child of William Miller and Marian Leitch, both late of Paisley, was born 12th October 1840.

Margaret Miller and Allan Cameron were married on 17 March 1863.  Allan Cameron had also travelled to New Zealand on the Blenheim as a 5 year old with his parents Allan Cameron and Janet (Jessie) Grant.  The Wellington Independent of 26 March 1863 carried the Marriage Notice: “Cameron-Miller – March 17, at Wellington, by the Rev. John Moir, Allan Cameron, Esq., sheepfarmer, Province of Wellington, to Margaret, daughter of William Miller, Esq., proprietor of the Commercial Hotel.”

Margaret and Allan had six children:

  • Jessie Elizabeth Cameron, born in 1864, died in 1946, married William Miller Laing (cousin) in 1887.
  • William Allan Cameron, born in 1866, died in 1902, married Margaret Lang in 1895.
  • Charles Archibald Cameron, born in 1869, died in 1943, married Mary Crawford in 1903.
  • James Hugh Cameron, born in 1870, died in 1939, married Fanny Alexander Christina Wheeler Ahradsen in 1898.
  • Alexander John Cameron, born in 1873, died in 1926, married Helen Gregory Laing in 1899.
  • Robert Allan Cameron, born in 1876, died in 1954, married Euphemia Duncan Sutherland in Scotland in 1903.

Allan Cameron died on 23 November 1915.  The Wairarapa Daily Times of 24 November 1915 carried the following obituary:

One of the pioneer settlers of New Zealand, in the person of Mr Allan Cameron, died at Masterton yesterday, at the age of 83 years. The deceased arrived in the Dominion from Scotland in the ship Blenheim, which reached Wellington in December, 1840.

After residing in Wellington for some years, and experiencing exciting times, the deceased came to Wairarapa, taking up his residence at Te Whiti. Later he owned Bowlands station, and subsequently Spring Hill and Rewa Rewa.  He had resided in Masterton for the past sixteen years.

The late Mr Cameron was held in high esteem by all who met him, on account of his many sterling qualities, and his death will be deeply regretted. He is survived by four sons (Messrs C. A. Cameron, Masterton, J. H. Cameron, Masterton, A. J. Cameron, Makuri, and Dr. R. A. Cameron, Wellington), and one daughter (Mrs W. M. Laing, of Masterton), who will have the sympathy of a wide circle of friends in their bereavement. The funeral will take place on Thursday afternoon at 2 o ‘clock.

Margaret (Miller) Cameron died on 7 November 1934.  The Evening Post of 8 November 1934 reported:

The death occurred yesterday at Seatoun of Mrs. Allan Cameron, an old resident of the Wairarapa. Mrs. Cameron, who was in her 95th year, arrived in Wellington, with her parents, by the sailing ship Blenheim, on December 31, 1840. After her marriage, Mrs. Cameron went to the Wairarapa, and resided successively at Te Whiti, Bideford, and at “Rewa Rewa,” near Tinui. The late Mrs. Cameron is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Wm. Laing, Seatoun, and three sons Mr. Charles Cameron, Flat Point, Masterton; Mr. James Cameron, Tinui; and Dr. R. A. Cameron, Paraparaumu. Two sons predeceased her.  She is survived by twenty grandchildren and thirty-two great-grandchildren. The interment is taking place, at Masterton.

James Miller

James Miller was born in 1845 in Wellington.  In 1879 he married Annie Elizabeth Wright Hopkirk, and they went on to have at least seven children:

  • Isabella Agnes Miller, born in 1880, died in 1966.
  • Marion Margaret Miller, born in 1881, died in 1913, married Joseph Alfred Renall in 1906.
  • Grace Annie Miller, born in 1883, died in 1928, married John William Archibald Falloon in 1908.
  • Frederick James Miller, born in 1885, died in 1943.
  • Hugh Alexander Miller, born in 1887, died in 1968.
  • Ronald Miller, born in 1890, died in 1985.
  • Janet Laing Miller, born in 1892, died in 1971, married Clarence Villiers Smith in 1922.

James Miller died on 13 February 1926. The Evening Post of 15 February 1926 carried the following report:

The death is reported from Masterton, of Mr. James Miller, of Renall street, a pioneer settler who was closely associated with the welfare and advancement of the district. He took an active part in local politics, notably in connection with the Taueru Road Board and the Masterton County Council, Born in Wellington in 1845, he went to the Wairarapa in the early days of its settlement, and took up land in the Upper Taueru district 55 years ago. He retired twenty years ago to Masterton, The deceased leaves a widow, three sons (Messrs. F. J. Miller, Masterton, and H. A Miller, Waikato, and Rev. R. Miller, of Te Kuiti), and three, daughters (Miss Isa Miller, Masterton, Mrs. C. V. Smith, Waverley, and Mrs. J. W. Falloon, of Bideford). Another daughter (Mrs. J. A, Renall) died a few years ago.

Annie Elizabeth Wright (Hopkirk) Miller died on 4 February 1928, aged 76. The Evening Post of 8 February 1928 carried the Death Notice: “Miller – On the 4th February 1928, at her residence, 114, Renall street, Masterton, Annie, relict of the late James Miller, and eldest daughter of the late Robert Home Hopkirk; aged 76 years.”


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.

Commemorating Scottish Heritage

BlenheimLogo2Scots settlers played an important role in Wellington’s early years and their descendants are planning to celebrate the richness of that heritage.

On 27 December 2015 it was 175 years since the Blenheim arrived in Wellington with migrants of mainly Highland farmers and their families. To mark the occasion, and to provide an opportunity for all the community to share in the commemoration, a picnic day was held with suitably Scottish themes and events.

The passengers from the Blenheim disembarked at Kaiwharawhara, where they were welcomed and supported by Ngati Tama and their chief Taringakuri, so the family picnic  was held on the 27th of December 2015. Events included Scottish dancing, kilt-making, children’s games, bagpipes and displays.

The venue for the picnic was Onslow College, Burma Road, Khandallah.  Because of access and parking difficulties it was not possible to hold the picnic at Kaiwharawhara Park as in 1990.

See the Picnic Programme and Information Sheet for details of the picnic.

Other functions were held in Auckland and in Wanganui to commemorate the departure of the Blenheim on the 25th of August 1840.  See the posting Whanganui Dinner – Toast to the Emigrants and the comments and photographs on the Facebook Blenheim175 page.

Photographs from the Dinner are available at http://www.traceygrantphotography.co.nz/the-barque-blenheim-gathering/
Password : Blenheim

Memorabilia in the form of brooches, key rings and fridge magnets are also available for purchase – see Blenheim175 Memorabilia.

Many of the settlers eventually moved to the Wanganui, Turakina and Wairarapa districts to take up land.

Contacts:

December 27th, 2015 Picnic at Onslow College:

Hugh McPhail, 7 Westland Road, Mt. Cook, Wellington 6021. Tel. 04 970 9851, email: blenheim175@gmail.com

Wanganui dinner:

Roz & Ewen Grant, Tullochgorum, 2153 SHW3, Turakina, R.D.11, Wanganui 4581. Ph. 06 327 3861. email: tullochgorum@xtra.co.nz

Auckland dinner:

Norman Cameron, 31/37 Natzka Road, Ostend, Waiheke Is. Auckland 1081. Ph. 372 8442. email norman.cameron37@gmail.com

Information about the events and some historical background about the Blenheim and other Scottish people and places in New Zealand can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/Blenheim175

Follow the link to the Blenheim People and to more information about the people who came to New Zealand on her.

Follow the link to Jessie Campbell’s Journal and Letters to get a day-by-day account of the voyage and of how one family settled into life in New Zealand.

Much of the information on this website has now been published as a book – for details go to The Blenheim People As A Book.