East Coast Hussars

[First published in the Genealogix of June 2016]

My Scottish-born gg-grandfather Robert Johnston was no stranger to the militia.  He spent time working as a tailor in Shanghai.  When not racing horses, he was a member of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps.  He returned to Ireland in the late 1870s where he married Elizabeth Foster.  The newlyweds headed to New Zealand on the Duncraig and settled in Gisborne, Poverty Bay.

It was a peaceful time in New Zealand.  The New Zealand Land Wars were over.  But in 1883, Māori leader Te Kooti was pardoned by the government and started travelling around New Zealand.  His announcement that he would like to return to Poverty Bay was greeted with horror by the locals.  They remembered the massacre of 54 settlers and Māori at Matawhero in 1868, just after Te Kooti escaped from the Chatham Islands.

The Poverty Bay area was already well served by militias.  They had an artillery corps and various rifle corps to defend the locals and a “Naval Volunteer Artillery and Torpedo Corps” to defend the port.  By 1887, they had decided that they were missing one thing – a cavalry.

A petition was started to ask for a cavalry – to be named the East Coast Hussars.  Robert Johnston was one of the signatories.  On April 7, 1887 the petition was sent to the government.  It noted there were 50 signatories and likely to be 30-40 more.  A further letter, the next day, adds “The movement is a genuine one each man being supplied with horse and equipment and depositing £5 towards cost of uniform”.

petition-1
Robert’s signature is just under the crease!  Held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington

Petition 2

Letter 7-4-1887
Letter accompanying the Petition. Held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington

Letter 8-4-1887 1

Letter 8-4-1887 2
Following letter on April 8 1887. Held at Archives New Zealand, Wellington

On May 2, 1887, the Poverty Bay Herald notes that the East Coast Hussars have been gazetted by the Governor General.  It noted the entrance fee was £5 5s and the annual subscription was £1 1s.

Hussars accepted - The Gazette 29-04-1887 - cropped
The Gazette – 29 April 1887

The nominal roll shows members started being enrolled on April 27, with Robert becoming an official member on May 12.  They were ably led by Captain George J Winter.

Their first parade took place on the evening of May 17.  Thirty members turned out for squad drill, sword and carbine exercise.  Over time, reports have that the cavalry became “an efficient unit”.

As is usual with these things, Robert, being a trooper and not an officer, got little mention in the newspaper reports of their exploits.  In April 1888, he does get a mention.  The Hussar’s training camp was attached by a bunch of young men.  “Three or four men were wounded, the most serious case being that of Trooper Johnston.  He received a charge of powder from a rifle right in the face.” (Poverty Bay Herald, April 3, 1888).  He was sent home.  My Grandad noted that he remembered his grandfather’s powder burns.

Powder burns - Poverty Bay Herald - 3-4-1888
Poverty Bay Herald – 3 April 1888

But what about Te Kooti?  It wasn’t until February 1889 that he seriously started to head towards Poverty Bay.  Reports had him at Waioeka near Opotiki with up to 250, possibly armed, followers.  The locals and therefore the government were having none it.  They mobilised a force which included artillery, Navals from Auckland, Ponsonby and Waitemata, Police and 65 East Coast Hussars.

The contingent, numbering around 200, marched north.  If you believe the city newspapers of the time, the effort proved ridiculous.  They portrayed Te Kooti as a drunk and not much of a threat.  He was quickly arrested and taken to Auckland.

This was the only active service the Hussars saw.

A newspaper report on January 28, 1892 from the AGM of the Hussars noted the Defence Minister had suggested a change from a cavalry to a mounted rifles unit.  Captain Winter agreed that it seemed like a good idea and wouldn’t involve much change to their drill.  They decided to leave the matter for another year – “Their uniforms were not worn out yet, and the change would mean new uniforms.”

In May 1892, the East Coast Hussars successfully hosted their annual ball.  It is the last heard of them.  They were quietly disbanded before the end of the year.

***********************

Membership of a militia is usually one of those things that you know you know.  It can be quite difficult to find out if you don’t.  Newspaper articles rarely name troopers or riflemen unless they’ve been naughty or injured.  However, if your family came from a small town, it’s likely someone was in the local militia.

If you know the name of the militia, have a look on Archway.  Archives New Zealand hold a large array of records on militias including correspondence and nominal/capitation rolls which you can view here in Wellington.  Newspapers can help you understand what they got up to once you know they were members.

Other sources include:

NZETC – New Zealand Electronic Text Collection

www.nzhistory.net.nz

Advertisements

What if they were friends?

One aspect of our lives that rarely appears in our family trees are our friends.  Unless someone marries one, or the child of one, you really don’t know much about your family’s friends.

My gg-grandparents Robert William Black and Emily Kinley Wilson are alleged to be cousins of some sort.  Unfortunately, due to the paucity of records about their families, this has never been proven.  However, a new theory has come to me recently.  What if their fathers were friends?

Robert William’s father Robert lived and worked in Dungannon until he immigrated with his family in 1863.  He was a draper by trade.  His marriage certificate says his father Joseph was a farmer, so it was not a family trade.  So where did he learn it?  Most likely with another draper in Dungannon.

One of the drapers in Dungannon around the time Robert would have been looking for an apprenticeship was Thomas Kinley.  He seems to have been quite a wealthy man, as directories from 1824 have him associated with various businesses including as agent for an insurance company and the East India Company.

Thomas was the son of John Kinley and Mary Carr.  His sister Anne married John Wilson, the minister at Lecumpher Presbyterian Church.  Their son William E Wilson immigrated to Pennsylvania where he had a daughter Emily Kinley Wilson.

So put it simply, Robert William’s father may have worked for Emily’s great-uncle.

So would Robert (Snr) and William E ever met?  It seems likely.  Thomas Kinley’s oldest daughter (and William’s cousin) was called Emily and she lived in Dungannon.

And if we want to add some soap to all of this, perhaps William E wanted to marry Emily but wasn’t allowed, so he immigrated to Pennsylvania.  She married Rev. Robert Hamilton in 1848, shortly before William E left.

So far, all of this is supposition.  How do we prove it?

With great difficulty, is the answer.  Although the thought did come to me tonight, that I have never researched William E in Ireland.  I’ve always been busy looking for him in Pennsylvania.  So off to search!

My Pride and Prejudice Moment

There are always stories about art imitating life and life imitating art.  It’s always amusing when doing your family history to find an event that seems to come out of one of your favourite books.  In this case, Pride and Prejudice.  We all remember the delight of Elizabeth Bennet’s younger sisters when the army came to town and that in the end it resulted in her sister Lydia running off with the less than appropriate George Wickham.

So imagine my amazement when, on a whim, I went looking for the Greacen name in the British (rather than Irish) newspapers and found this report in the Morning Chronicle of 24 August 1824:

MONAGHAN ASSIZES, AUGUST 3 – An action for damages was brought by Mr N. Greacen, a printer in Monaghan, against the Ensign Unit [think this may be a name, not a military unit], for the seduction of the plaintiff’s daughter.  Damages were laid at 3,000L.  The case was opened by Mr Holmes in a most eloquent speech.  The direct and cross examination of the female (who stated herself to be only sixteen years of age) occupied a considerable time; and the case having closed for the prosecution, Mr Bell proceeded to address the Jury for the defendant, who declined calling any witnesses.  The Jury having consulted for some time without coming to any satisfactory decision, it was at length agreed on the recommendation of the Learned Judge, to withdraw a Juror, each party paying its own costs.

Why I didn’t find this in an Irish newspaper?  The OCR which indexes newspapers really doesn’t like the word ‘Greacen’ and so it’s one of those things that you need to know you need find!  But searching in August 1824 for ‘seduction’ got a lot of results (and not just this case – seduction appears to have been popular in 1824).  Most of the Irish newspapers of the time carried the story – word for word as above.  Only the Dublin Evening Post of 12 August adds this tantalizing part to the story:

Although this story seemed to have excited extraordinary interest in Monaghan and the neighbourhood, we have, partly out of tenderness to one of the parties concerned, but more particularly from a conviction that its publication would be hurtful to public morals, determined to suppress a report of it which had been prepared for the press.

The other newspapers seem to have followed suit.

Like the long suffering Mr Bennet, my 4x gt-grandfather Nathaniel Greacen had lots of daughters – 7 in total (unlike Mr Bennet, he also had 2 sons).  My research on the family so far has managed to find names for all the children, but only details on a few of them.

If we take the 1821 Census Fragment that lists the Greacen family as being fairly accurate in its ages of the children (and that is up for debate as no two documents seem to be the same on this!), then the Miss Greacen is probably daughter Nancy (aged 14 in 1821) or possibly Ellen (aged 11).  Neither sister has appeared subsequently in any records I’ve found – so far but the OCR is conspiring against me here.

There is no sign in the newspapers that Miss Greacen married her Ensign.  But I have no marriage details for the middle Greacen sisters.  But you do have to feel sorry for her as it all went very public and her father’s solution was to sue for damages.  At least they didn’t name her.  But as we all know from Pride and Prejudice:

Loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex. – Mary Bennett

As an aside, the lawyer Mr Holmes also presents some interesting suggestions for further research.  There was allegedly a marriage between one of Nathaniel’s daughters and a Holmes (and Nancy and Ellen are two I don’t have husbands for!).  The Northern Standard, the local Monaghan newspaper, was founded in 1839 by Arthur Wellington Holmes and later run by his bachelor brother John.  Just before his death, John sold the newspaper to a William Swan.  This may have been Nathaniel’s grandson, son of his daughter Elizabeth and her first husband James Swan.

 

Children of Nathaniel Greacen and his wife Jane

From the 1821 Census Fragment we have the following children:

James – age 17 in 1821, born c.1804

Newspapers report James’ death in 1845, have not found evidence of family – yet.

Elizabeth – age 15 in 1821, born c.1806

Married James Swan around 1730 and had 4 children.  James was tragically killed when a beam in his drapery shop collapsed on him in 1839.  Elizabeth then married Richard Foster Blakely in 1841.  His will lists 3 sons whom I am currently assuming are hers.

Elizabeth’s daughter Jane Elizabeth Swan married missionary Samuel Kelso and they immigrated to Australia.  Her son Nathaniel Walter Swan followed his sister not long after and was a renown author.  (See Rootsweb post for further details of their families).

Nancy – age 14 in 1821, born c.1807

Ellen – age 11 in 1821, born c.1810

Sarah – age 9 in 1821, born c. 1812

Jane – age 7 in 1821, born c. 1814

She is referred to in her brother-in-law Richard Foster Blakely’s will in 1891 as being alive and unmarried, but nothing further is known.

Hanna – age 5 in 1821, born c.1816

Newspapers report Hannah’s death at the age of 19 in 1839…

Rachel – age 3 in 1821, born c.1818

My 3xgt-grandmother – family records here in New Zealand have her birth around 1824…

Her brother-in-law Richard Blakely was a witness at her marriage to Robert Black in 1847.

And additionally, post 1821:

Nathaniel – born around 1823 and died in 1877

He married twice.  Firstly to Eleanor Henry and then to an Esther who outlived him.

The Faces of War

Photo of entrance to Gallipoli: The scale of our war
Photo of the entrance to “Gallipoli: The scale of our war” at Te Papa, Wellington until 2018

There has been quite a lot of press in the last two years about World War I (WWI) due to the centenary of events that occurred.  One recurring theme seems to be that everyone (male) went to war and most of them died or were tragically injured either mentally or physically.

That’s not quite true.

Which is good news for people like me who don’t really feel connected to WWI.  My grandfather did get there for the last 3 weeks (I’m not kidding) but he was married to his first wife then and it seems like it’s part of their history, not mine.

I did a quick presentation for the Kilbirnie branch of the NZSG on my Gran’s 5 maternal uncles and their war experiences in WWI.  Here’s the edited condensed version with some links.

The O’Callaghan Brothers

My gg-grandparents Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan and Winifred Alice Baker had 9 children.  Four girls including my g-grandmother Greta followed by 5 boys.  This post is the story of those brothers.  I’m going to do them in order of length of military service, rather than chronological age.

Jasper Warner O’Callaghan 1880-1933 – military service 4 years 112 days

Jasper Warner O'Callaghan - military uniform - cropped

Jasper, the second son, joined up in August 1914, less than a month after war had been declared.  He was a chemist living in Dunedin at the time.  By the beginning of December he was a Lance Corporal in the Otago Mounted Rifles and in Egypt.  He soon ended up in the NZ Medical Corps.

On May 20, 1915 he left Alexandria for the Dardenelles aka Gallipoli.  He was part of the Field Ambulance at Anzac Cove.

Jasper followed the war to France in 1916.  On 30 June, 1917, he was awarded the Military Medalion for acts of Gallantry in the field.  I haven’t managed to find any online detail of his actions.

To understand his war, you should read his service record in conjunction with the New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War 1914-1918.

In February 1918, Jasper was made a Sergeant.  On 13 December, 1918 he was officially discharged back in New Zealand.

In 1926 he married Alexis Allardyce and had two children before dying prematurely in 1933 of appendicitis (pre-antibiotics).

Thomas Robert O’Callaghan 1879-1944 – military service 2 years 129 days

Winifred and Thomas Robert O'Callaghan 1930s - cropped

Thomas and his wife Winifred in the 1930s

Thomas left his wife Winifred and three children to enlist in June 1916 – just before the Military Service Act 1916 was enacted allowing conscription.

When you read Thomas’ medical report on enlistment, you get the impression that given the choice, the Army would have said no due to eye problems.  But in 1916 they were so desperate for men they said yes and Thomas was in England for Christmas on the way to France.

But first, in January, Thomas spent time in hospital with conjunctivitis.  One of the amusing parts of his service record is the letter pointing out that he was in a Military Hospital at this point, not a Venereal Disease Hospital!  The stigma of a Venereal Disease Hospital was very great!

He joined up with the NZ Rifle Brigade in France.  To understand his war, you should read his service record in conjunction with the Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

In April 1918, Thomas was admitted to hospital with diarrhea and this heralded the end of his war.  In August he was on the Ionic heading back to New Zealand.  His continuing eye problems had given him a medical discharge.

Gerald Charles O’Callaghan 1882-1947 – military service ? days
Gordon Harcourt O’Callaghan 1884-1953 –military service 318 days

Photo of Gordon and Gerald O'Callaghan

Gordon & Gerald

Gerald and Gordon are known to their mother’s side of the family as “Winifred’s bad boys”.  I’m putting them together because their military experience was very similar.  In 1916, both were drafted.  Like around half of draftees, they appealed their drafts.

Gerald was living in Strathmore in Taranaki.  His appeal was reported in the Hawera & Normanby Star on 2 February, 1917:

Gerald Charles O’Callaghan, settler, Strathmore, appealed on the ground of undue hardship and religious objections, and asked for three months’ exemption. There was no appearance of-appellant, and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

Records after that are very thin on the ground. For a while I couldn’t find anything and thought maybe he had just gone bush – his occupation on the electoral roll at that time being bushman.  And then on Archive NZ’s Archway appeared his ballot, attestation and medical papers – in Christchurch, 22 May, 1917.

Gordon was clerk at Akaroa County Council.  His appeal was reported in the Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser on 17 April, 1917.  The chair of the military board was not impressed with Gordon and the Council asking for 3 months to get affairs in order before he went off to service:

Mr Bishop said it was a much fairer thing to the Empire that they should take over such men to help them in the field. He alluded to the need of men which was pressing and even greater than the need for food. The Acting Prime Minister was urging the Board to send more men and it was his clear duty to send as many as possible.

Gordon was attested on 18 May, 1917 – four days before his brother.

Both were classed C2 – not suitable for active service overseas, but suitable for home service.  The reason given was their health – VDH.

VDH is Valvular Disease of the Heart.  It results from contracting rheumatic fever as a child, and is usually associated today with poverty and living in cramped conditions.  Given their father died when they were 13 and 11 respectively leaving 9 children, this was not unexpected.

For Gerald, this appears to be the end of his war.  He has no further records.

Gordon was given “leave without pay” until 14 January 1918 (9 months!), when he was expected to turn up for service.  He served until 30 November, 1918 when he was given a “Certificate of Leave in lieu of Discharge”.  He started out as a Private and ended up as a T/Cpl (Transport Corporal?)

Gerald and Gordon became “billiard hall proprietors” together in the 1930s.  Neither married nor had any (known) children.

William Bell O’Callaghan 1885-1960 – military service 0 days

William did no military service at all.  Like many others, he was given a Reservist classification in the draft.  In his case “Class C – Reservists who have two children”.

The O’Callaghan casualties

Winifred was lucky – she ended the war with all her sons still alive.  Her sisters-in-law were not so lucky.  The O’Callaghan brothers lost 2 of their cousins in the war:

Lest we forget.

Upping Sticks: What happened to the Black children?

Updated: 2 January 2016

I recently spent time reading through my Grandad’s notes on the Black family again.  I thought I might detail what happened to Robert and Rachel Black’s children – both from Grandad and his second cousin Jane’s research and what I’ve subsequently found out.

Robert William (1848-1931)

My gg-grandfather was sent back to Ireland in 1872 to marry my gg-grandmother Emily Kinley Wilson who had been born in Pennsylvania.  I’ve detailed their life and his partnership with Robert Beattie in Black, Beattie & Co at the Criterion.

Greacen Joseph (1850-1932)

Greacen was Jane’s grandfather.  And while Grandad has great notes about his children (Jane’s father, aunts and uncles), he hasn’t written anything on Greacen himself.  So this is a potted biog from my own notes.

Greacen lived in Akaroa for many years, farming there and running a shop  named Criterion like his father’s in Christchurch.  From local paper reports it would appear his brother Richard on and off too.

Greacen diversified his farming activities to the East Cape and moved to Gisborne in 1905.  He was a noted collector and his collections can now be found in the Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne.

Greacen married Mary McKay in 1879 and had 8 children at Akaroa, of whom 6 survived to adulthood.  I’m in touch with Jane’s family, so if you’re after more information on Greacen, get in touch and I’ll pass it along.

Henry / “Harry” (1852-1899)

Harry started out working for his father and then went out on his own.  A letter dated 9 July 1879 from Greacen says:

Harry is on his own hook now, but I don’t think he is making a pile.  I think he flirts a good deal up in Christchurch.  I don’t see much of him myself.

Grandad didn’t find much more on Harry in or near Christchurch, but his alleged womanizing ways were compounded by his drinking (shock! horror! to the teetotal Black family).  Later, Harry moved to Australia and ended up in Hobart where he was thought to have died around 1894.

From Grandad’s notes, Henry does seem to have left the most amusing impression on his nephews and nieces.  I quote:

By family tradition Harry died of the booze.  His death is known to have been held up to his nephews as an awful warning of the results of the demon drink.

To achieve this by age 42 would require quite diligent application.  The writer therefore wonders whether in Robt Wm’s certainly teetoal and possibly dour Presbyterian household Harry’s thirst may have been exaggerated.  The lack of a death certificate, which might cast some light on the matter, is regretted.

Grandad was looking in the wrong time period for Harry’s death.  A family story that his uncle Tom has been sent to Hobart to pay Harry’s debts after his death.  Tom just missed catching the Wairarapa home.  The Wairarapa wrecked on Great Barrier Island with the loss of 121 of the 235 people on board.  This occurred on 29 October 1894.  Grandad spent a great deal of time looking for Harry’s death around then but could not find it.

Because he died in 1899.  The death entry in Hobart matches with family notices in Christchurch newspapers stating that he died at his sister’s house.

So did he die of the demon drink?  Official cause of death is “caries of the spine” which I believe is a form of TB.  His occupation is listed as “tutor”.

George Wilson (1853-1868)

The existence of George was unknown to Grandad and Jane until 1979 when Grandad found Robert and Rachel’s grave in Christchurch.  George was buried with them.  His death certificate shows he died of consumption (TB) at Akaroa.  Grandad’s notes state there was no medical facility in Akaroa for consumptives at the time, so the location of his death is unknown.  Greacen is believed not to have moved there until 1871.

Richard Blakely (1855-???)

I have a separate post about my hunt for Richard.  He allegedly left New Zealand in 1879 for the US to study at a seminary college in Kentucky!!  I think he might have ended up in Victoria, Australia, but details are still sketchy.  No one in New Zealand currently knows what happened to him and the possible suspect in Australia left no children.

Before he left, Richard spent time in Akaroa with Greacen.  They were members of the Akaroa Mutual Improvement Society.  In April 1877, he presented a paper on “Courtship and Marriage“.  Richard’s departure soon after was mourned by the Society who noted “He would doubtlessly have been a tower of strength to the society, being enthusiastic in the cause, and possessed of superior debating power” (Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 20 April 1877).

Elizabeth Rachel (1857-1901)

Grandad made the following notes on Elizabeth:

In 1879 she married Charles F Creswell, a seed merchant in Sydney and went to live there.  Nothing more is known of her husband nor how she met him nor of her life in Australia.

She died of peritonitis at Hobart on 3.9.1901, aged 45.  The Creswells are not thought to have had any children.

Elizabeth and Charles married in Christchurch.  He was the son of Charles Frederick Creswell which makes things confusing, but they ran a well respected and successful business in Tasmania.  I still know nothing of how they met.

As for the no children….  A tree on Geni has suggested they had 3.  Trove online newspapers quickly filled in the blanks and confirmed:

  1. Harvey – 1884-1945 – born in Sydney
  2. Laurie May – 1892-? – born in Sydney – married Arthur William Henry Stallwood
  3. Arthur Robert – 1897-1974 – born in Hobart

I’ve found Arthur’s birth record and his WWI service record.  He was last heard of by the military in 1967 in Sydney.  His record includes a letter from his sister Laurie in 1919 wondering where he has got to.  I wasn’t sure if Arthur had any children (his siblings did), but as noted below in the comments, he did.

Harvey inherited his parent’s house at 67 Arthur Street, Hobart.  There’s still a house there of about the right era.

Sarah (1861-1863)

The existence of Sarah, like George, was unknown.  Jane found her on the Fiery Star’s passenger list.  Further research found the Fiery Star newsletter which details Sarah’s early death at sea and her burial.

Can Alien Ladies Vote?

Updated 19 September 2017 (124th Anniversary of the Suffrage Vote)

New Zealand is very proud of the fact that it was the first “country” (it was still really a British colony) to give women the vote.  The Electoral Act 1893 was enacted on 19 September 1893 in preparation for 28 November elections.

My gg-grandmother Emily Kinley Wilson, Mrs Robert William Black had signed the 1893 Petition and was likely a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as the Black family were noted as being teetotal (some more research is needed here!).

But I couldn’t find her on the 1893 Electoral Roll.  I originally thought that perhaps she just signed the petition because everyone else was, until I realised one small detail – Emily was an alien.

No, not a little green man, but a person who was not born a British subject.

Emily had been born in Pennsylvania and as an American was an alien.  However, under section 6 of New Zealand’s 1866 Aliens Act, upon her marriage to Robert William (born in Ireland therefore a British subject) she became a naturalised British subject by marriage (under s14 of the Aliens Act 1880).

So why, on 26 September 1893, did she lodge naturalisation papers?  In order to vote?  Surely she didn’t need to?

Photos 2015-11-18 003

This letter to Canterbury’s Star newspaper (from Papers Past) on the same day shows that there was some confusion over alien women and naturalisation by marriage:

Star - 26-09-1893 Can Alien Ladies Vote - header

Star - 26-09-1893 Can Alien Ladies Vote

Another news item in the Bruce Herald (Otago) on 6 October indicates that the question came up in Parliament on 2 October.  The Hon Sir Patrick Buckley confirmed the right of alien women married to British Subjects to vote.

NZ Hansard 2-10-1893 Snippet
Extract from the Hansard – 2 October 1893

Which is interesting, because when you search the Hansard, you find the Premier Mr Richard “King Dick” Seddon answering the same questions and promising to send a circular to Registrars to set them straight – on September 29.  There is where I could make some comment about men and their listening….?

I asked Graham Langton, previously of Archives NZ, about the situation.  He said that firstly I should check the Supplemental Rolls for the 1893 Electoral Roll.  Many women voters were listed on the Supplemental Rolls because some of the main Rolls had been finalised months before the new legislation allowing them to vote had been enacted.

He was right – there was Emily.  So she was able to vote in that election.

He also suggested that I check back at Archives to see when Emily’s naturalisation was granted.  Which I have done.  And it wasn’t (see below for how to access the naturalisation list).

So, it would appear that Emily did not need to be naturalised to vote.  As she already was, by marriage.  But briefly a mountain was made out of a molehill!

Some further sources

Women, the vote and the 1893 election – New Zealand Parliament

Search the 1893 Suffrage Petition for you ancestress

Archway – search for naturalisation papers

Archives NZ Guide to Citizenship

Archives NZ – Register of Persons Naturalised in New Zealand before 1949 – listed alphabetically by surname – click on the relevant page number on the left – remember married women generally were not naturalised as they got their citizenship through their husbands

New Zealand Historical Hansard – once you’re in a parliamentary session you can search the text.

Six Degrees of Separation

The theory of Six Degrees of Separation was first set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929.  Here in New Zealand there is a joke that there are no more than two degrees of separation.  Sometimes it’s true.  Other times you get back to 6.  This post is about how my paternal and maternal branches have overlapped at times, but didn’t hook up until my parents.  It’s one that may expand over time!

[And if this doesn’t interest you, you can click over to the Oracle of Bacon which calculates the degrees of separation of anyone on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) from actor Kevin Bacon.]

Akaroa

Akaroa is a lovely town on the Banks Peninsula, 75 km from Christchurch.  It’s noted for its French influence due to it being New Zealand’s only French settlement.  But my connections here are more English/Irish!

From around 1877 when she arrived in New Zealand with her husband’s brother Alfred, until 1907 when she and Alfred retired to Christchurch, my paternal gg-grandmother Rose Anne Maria Mrs James E Nicholls lived in Akaroa.  It’s where my g-grandfather Alfred James Nicholls grew up (and won school prizes – see the Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser on Papers Past for details!).  Alfred snr was Headmaster at Akaroa School during this time.

It was also the home to my maternal gg-grandfather Robert William Black’s brother Greacen Joseph Black (1850-1932) for a number of years before he sold up and moved to Gisborne.  Amongst other things, he is likely to have run into Rose, Alfred and family at his store – Criterion House where following family tradition he sold drapery.  His entry in the 1903 Cyclopedia of New Zealand gives you some idea of his activities.

Alfred snr and Greacen were also members of the Akaroa Mutual Improvement Association.  It seems to be a variation on Toastmasters where they practised public speaking!  There is also a Richard Black who attended these meeting – likely to be Greacen and Robert William’s since lost brother.

They both were pillars of the community being also members of:

  • the Akaroa Regatta Committee in 1877
  • the Presbyterian Church
  • won prizes at the Horticultural and Industrial Exhibition in 1878

And Greacen’s oldest son Robert won a prize in the infants class of the school in 1887, awarded by Headmaster Alfred.

Kilmore Street, Christchurch

My maternal 3x g-grandfather Robert Black built a house at what now is about 214 Kilmore Street, not far from the intersection with Barbados Street.  This is the house referred to in the 1949 book Old Christchurch in Picture and Story by Johannes C. Andersen (which lead to my The Old Lady in the Garden post).

Amongst my Grandad’s papers there are copies of the title deeds for this block of land.   It originally started out as blocks 511 and 513 on Kilmore Street and blocks 512 and 514 on Chester Street.  After Robert’s death, it was inherited by his son and my gg-grandfather Robert William Black.

Robert William sold part off in 1895 to Arthur Chigley and the rest in 1896 to Cornelius Cliff.  Deeds show that in 1899 Arthur Chigley owned all of blocks 511 and 513 and a smidgen of 512.  In 1905, Chigley sells an L-shaped part of 511, all of 513 and smidgens of 512 and 514 to James Haswell Wood (snr).

And this is where the connection comes in – James’ son James Haswell Wood (jnr) married May O’Callaghan in 1917.  May was the daughter of my paternal gg-grandparents Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan (the Spanish Grandee) and Winifred Alice Baker and sister of my g-grandmother Greta.

The land in Kilmore Street passed from James H Wood snr to his two spinster daughters Kate Selina Wood and Elsie Haswell Wood who passed away in 1961 and 1969 respectively.  It then passed to Beryl Haswell Wood (1913-2002) until it was taken by the council under the Public Works Amendment Act 1948.

Grandad wrote that the house his g-grandfather built there was still standing in 1981 when he visited:

In 1981 this house (renumbered 214 Kilmore St) still existed and the writer has been in it.

It is a single storey timber framed weatherboard house with a slate roof. As there is no slate in NZ, the slate would have been imported from Britain. [Deleted: With increasing availability of other materials, this practice had ceased before the end of the century, so slate roofed houses are now rare.] There is a roofed verandah across the whole front with cast iron filigree ornamentation between the posts.

It is quite a large house, about 200m2, but the interior shows signs of considerable past alterations, so how it was laid out originally remains doubtful. In 1970 the property was compulsorily acquired by the Ministry of Works, apparently with eventual intent to erect a public building on the site. Meanwhile it remains in use as a tenanted dwelling, but it is very dilapidated and really fit only for its prospective demolition.

Nearly, but not quite

In my post Death in Print there is an item on the Black Beattie & Co Accident which took place in my maternal gg-grandfather’s shop in High Street, Christchurch.  The unfortunately victim of this accident was Margaret Pyne.  My paternal gg-grandfather Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan’s mother was Sarah Pyne of Ballyvolane, Ireland.  However, it would appear that Mrs Pyne’s husband Henry was from England.  While the Irish Pyne’s are likely related to the English ones, the connection is currently unknown.

Near neighbours

This is the one that got me thinking about this post first.  But it’s also the one I have no evidence for.

Te Kuiti is the “shearing capital of the world” located in the King Country, part of the Waikato region.  About 18kms away is Waitomo, famous for its glow-worm caves and caves in general.

In the 1910s, Te Kuiti was home to my paternal grandfather Walter and his first family – he lived there when he commenced his WWI service.  Up the road in Waitomo, my maternal Grandad was a small child growing up on a farm his father Harold was hacking out of the bush.  Did they ever cross paths?  Who knows?

Te Kuiti is the seat for the Waitomo District Council.  And Walter was a mechanic so he may have fixed something of Harold’s.  Unfortunately, there is no one left to ask.

But fortunately, my grandfathers went on to have my parents who did meet.