Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan – Spanish Grandee

Updated: 25 April 2015 – photos!

I should start by saying that ‘Spanish Grandee’ is a description of what Jasper looked like from GR MacDonald – “tall, lean and dark – had the look of a Spanish grandee” – not an indication of his personality or nationality!  And here he is!

Photo of Jasper Pyne O'Callaghan

This photo was taken by Standish & Preece between 1885 and 1890 – the duration of their partnership. I’ve known about Jasper’s ancestors since I was about 11.  When my Gran died there were genealogies of the O’Callaghan’s amongst her possessions.  Only recently have I come across further papers which show her interest in her grandfather who died 9 years before she was born.  Included amongst them is a letter from GR MacDonald (creator of the GR MacDonald Dictionary of Canterbury Biographies – a very important resource for people with Canterbury ancestors!) and what I believe is her response.  Both have given me a starting point to write about Jasper’s life which is going to be quite long winded.  Most people in MacDonald’s have a short paragraph. Jasper’s entry takes up a whole card!  He certainly seemed to be in the middle of everything!

Fermoy, Ireland

Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan was born around 1839 in Fermoy, Ireland.  Not many specifics are known about him or his siblings in Ireland.  He was the fourth son of Denis O’Callaghan (1787-aft 1863) and Sarah Pyne (1804-?).

Denis O’Callaghan’s ancestry is document in Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry and other similar volumes available online (page 517).

Sarah Pyne was the daughter of Arthur Pyne of Ballyvolane House in County Cork.  Her family have been detailed in a series of articles by HF Morris in the Irish Genealogist (available on CD-Rom – try your library).

My Gran notes that he was educated at Trinity College, Dublin but had no information on when or if he graduated with a degree.  An online copy of “A Catalogue of the Graduates in the University of Dublin who have proceeded to degrees” lists Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan, Jasper’s older brother but not him, so no degree.  Jasper’s attendance there is still up for debate.  The 1924 version of the Alumni Dublinenses only goes to 1845 and the 1935 version is not available online, so it’s on the list of things to find out!

Upping Sticks

Jasper and his younger brother Thomas Robert were the first of Arthur Pyne’s many grandchildren to immigrate to New Zealand in 1861.  Why is not specifically known, but the O’Callaghans and Pynes were Protestents in a largely Catholic country which had recently seen famine, so it was certainly a sensible idea.  And at 22 and 19 respectively, the O’Callaghan brothers must have found it quite an adventure.

They arrived in Lyttleton, New Zealand in 1861 on the Chrysolite under Captain McIntyre.  She sailed from the Downs on April 18, 1861 and arrived on July 27.  The Lyttleton Times published a list of immigrants on July 24.  The O’Callaghan’s are not on it.  The July 31 issue clarifies – there were two Callaghans in the chief cabin.  Obviously these passengers were not immigrants in the poor sense! GR MacDonald backs this identification up with an article in the Star newspaper on 8 October 1875.

Giving evidence in a sheep rustling case (Mr MacDonald points out Jasper was not the defendant!), Jasper says that he has “fourteen years’ experience of sheep in the Colonies”, dating his arrival to 1861.

He and Thomas kept in touch with home, although not always remembering to add postage. In 1865 they were joined by their siblings Arthur Pyne, Elizabeth Pyne and Emily Christiana.

Finding references for Jasper in newspapers becomes difficult after this point.  Rev Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan got a lot more press!  And it can be hard to ascertain when only the surname is given which sibling (or other unrelated person!) it is.


Jasper settled in Fendalton (now a suburb of Christchurch) where he ran sheep and grew some crops. He went into partnership with John Leslie Henry Hendry.

Lyttleton Times - 26 Sep 1868

The auction above may not have been a normal business sale.  A meeting of the Riccarton Road Board in October 1868 mentions them being asked to collect the “Education Rate in Aid” for the district.  They decline as “the collection of their own Road rates being, in consequence of the present depression, already attended with great difficulty”. The same meeting finds Jasper tendering “for gravelling Fendallton and Riccarton Junction Road, 15 chains”.  He tendered 2s 9d and was outbid by C Lewis who tendered 2s.  His attempts to increase his income this way failing.

The Hendley/O’Callaghan partnership managed to survive the depression for a while but ultimately went bankrupt in July 1870.  A further court hearing in October Jasper gives more details of their problems:

we had a quantity of wet grain and we were not able to put in the crops for the following year on account of the river overflowing

If the economy was depressed, then nature had been the last straw.  Although JLH Hendry being named as co-respondent in the first divorce case in Canterbury may have also contributed.  The aggrieved husband Mr Ferguson was asking for £1,000 damages!  Infuriatingly, there is no report of what ultimately happened in the case.  It does not appear to have been resolved before the bankruptcy.

According to GR MacDonald went bankrupt a further 2 times – in July 1876 and March 1883.  Mr MacDonald’s letter to my Gran expresses a hope that she won’t be too upset by this.  It would have had a very negative effect on her family.


Farming and bankruptcy must have kept Jasper busy because he didn’t find time to marry until 1872 – eleven years after he arrived and at the age of 33. According to my Gran, her grandmother Winifred Alice Baker was a pupil at Mrs Sale’s School at Oxford.  Winifred was the only known child of Charles Baker and Emma King to be born in New Zealand.  Near her school was the farm of Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan.  At some point on a visit to his brother, Jasper met Winifred and charmed her into marriage.  She was only 19 when they wed.

Photo of a young Winifred Alice Baker

From the information provided by Walter Cook, it would appear that this photo dates to the 1890s.  It was taken by Wrigglesworth and Binns. Jasper and Winifred would go on to have 9 children – they’re listed below.

The Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry (CYC)

Jasper’s younger brother Thomas had joined the CYC in 1873.  The CYC was the local militia, although once you read some of the newspaper reports you wonder if it wasn’t just boys playing with horses and guns!  The CYC later evolved to become the Canterbury Mounted Rifles which first saw overseas service in the Boer War.  Among those who served then was Jasper and Thomas’ nephew Leslie George O’Callaghan (1879-1917) who survived the Boer War, only to be killed at Ypres in WWI.

Thomas was tragically killed in June 1874 when his horse shied and the wagon he was driving fell on top of him.  [The foreman of the inquest jury was ET Revell, doubtless a member of the Revell family Thomas’ 2 sisters had married into.]  Captain Stouts of the CYC encourages friends of Thomas’ to attend the funeral:

Funeral Notice - Press 9 Jun 1874 - TR O'Callaghan

Very soon after, Jasper joined the CYC.  This snippet from the Star on 16 May 1878 shows the sort of things they got up to…

Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry - Star 16 May 1878

And why did they miss the train?  I’ll leave that up to your imagination! I’m not trying to denigrate the CYC, but when Jasper turns up in the papers, there always seems to be alcohol involved!  They do turn up in the papers without him (and sober!).

Later life

Jasper joined the Papanui Cricket Club in 1874 – probably as my husband does – to get away from the family and (then) play cricket!  And in 1886, he became a member of the Christchurch Amateur Swimming Club. My Gran wrote the following to GR MacDonald:

The O’Callaghan family of nine, who were to lose their father early, must even in his lifetime known some vicissitudes.  He was of a generous disposition, had not been trained to practical farming, and after several bankruptcies and an unfortunate  gold-mining venture, was probably glad to accept  a position as Inspector with Selwyn County Council.

His generous nature is evidenced by his efforts to collect grain for the Irish Famine in 1880.  He was obviously very persuasive as the Timaru Herald reports him saying that “he had not met a single farmer who had not promised grain” (5 Feb 1880). GR MacDonald’s letter says this about the gold:

He was a Provisional Director of the North Creek Gold Mining Company and reported to the shareholders on a journey he had made up the Wilberforce River. (This was a hopeless affair) Jan ’84.

This was obviously Jasper’s next big idea after he went bankrupt in 1883! Press reports show that Jasper’s brother Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan was also involved.  The Company issued a prospectus in January 1884:

Press - 21 Jan 1884 - North Creek Mining Company

Two years later the company went into liquidation: Press - 5 Jan 1886 - North Creek Mining Company - liq

This had been agreed at a extraordinary meeting of the shareholders in July 1885. Jasper was appointed Inspector of Slaughterhouses in Selwyn County in December 1885.  He beat out 72 other people for the role.

Jasper died in 1895 of stomach cancer.  His children were aged 22 down to 10.  His wife Winifred died in 1932 aged 79.

Photo of Winifred Mrs O'Callaghan in old age

Children of Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan and Winifred Alice Baker

[+ had descedents; – no descendents; ? don’t know]

– MAY O’CALLAGHAN was born on 01 Jun 1873 and died in 1935. She married JAMES HASWELL WOOD (1874-1954) in 1917, son of James Haswell Wood and Susan Mrs Wood.

May O'Callaghan       May O'Callaghan and her nephew Gerald Nicholls

+ DORA SARAH O’CALLAGHAN was born on 28 Oct 1874 in Christchurch and died on 22 Jun 1922 in Christchurch. She married JOSEPH WILLIAM ATHA WALKER (c1871-c1944) on 12 Jan 1899 in St Matthew’s, St Albans, Christchurch, son of William Henry Walker and Anna Maria Esther Pearce.           Photo of Dora O'Callaghan

+ GRETA MARION O’CALLAGHAN was born on 15 May 1876 in Christchurch and died on 19 Mar 1949 in Wellington, New Zealand. She married ALFRED JAMES NICHOLLS (1874-1949) on 26 Feb 1901 in St Albans, Christchurch, son of JAMES EBENEZER NICHOLLS and ROSE ANNE MARIA BUXTON.

+ EDITH EMMA O’CALLAGHAN was born on 01 Oct 1877 and died in 1933. She married WILLIAM HENRY COLLINGTON SWAN (1879-1950) in 1904, son of William George Collington Moore Swan and Helen Sarah Spratt.

+ THOMAS ROBERT O’CALLAGHAN was born on 01 Mar 1879 and died in 1944. He married WINIFRED LONG (c1874-1944) in 1901.

+ JASPER WARNER O’CALLAGHAN was born on 14 Sep 1880. He died in Aug 1933 in Napier, New Zealand. He married ALEXIS BERYL ALLARDYCE (1903-?) in 1926, daughter of William Morrison Allardyce and Janet Angus Russell.Jasper Warner O'Callaghan - military uniform

– GERALD CHARLES O’CALLAGHAN was born on 22 Mar 1882 in Christchurch and died on 27 Nov 1947 in Christchurch, unmarried.

– GORDON HARCOURT O’CALLAGHAN was born on 8 Mar 1884 in Christchurch and died on 3 Jun 1953 in Christchurch, unmarried.

Photo of Gordon and Gerald O'Callaghan
Gordon on the left, Gerald on the right

+ WILLIAM BELL O’CALLAGHAN was born on 11 Oct 1885 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. He died in 1960.  He married (1) MARION HILLIARD WHITE (c1888-1922) in 1911, daughter of George Henry White and Marion Painter and (2) ELSIE GLADYS DAVIS in 1923.

I’ve added another blog post about their son’s experiences in WWI


Upping Sticks: The O’Callaghan siblings

Updated: 25 March 2013

I’ve already noted in a previous post the number of Arthur Pyne’s grandchildren who immigrated to New Zealand.  This post is about my specific branch of his grandchildren – the O’Callaghan’s.  See the Arthur Pyne grandchildren post for any photos I currently have.

The Pyne’s and O’Callaghan’s are not your normal members of the Irish Diaspora.  They were relatively well off.  After all, my gg-grandfather Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan (JP O’C) came to New Zealand in the chief cabin.  He was not down in the hold with the peasants!  So why leave?

The answer is probably the rising Irish nationalism.  Irish Catholics were beginning to assert their rights as the majority population.  Protestant landowners like the Pyne’s and O’Callaghan’s were, in the bigger scheme of things, usurpers.  Historically there was too much English in their ancestry and worse still, they weren’t Catholic.  I suspect they could see which way things would eventually go.

And added to this was the issue of inheritance.  As I’ve noted in ‘Where’d the money go?‘, having lots of children significantly dilutes individual holdings.  Land gets sliced down until no one has anything of real value.  This was not a problem in 1860’s New Zealand (unless you were Maori).

So in total, 6 of Denis O’Callaghan and his wife Sarah Pyne’s 11 children ended up in New Zealand (the oldest son and 4 daughters stayed).  Here are their stories – the edited condensed versions!

The first to arrive – Jasper and Thomas

Denis O’Callaghan and Sarah Pyne’s two youngest sons JP O’C and Thomas Robert O’C sailed to Lyttleton, New Zealand in 1861 on the Chrysolite underCaptain McIntyre.  She sailed from the Downs on April 18, 1861 and arrived on July 27.  They were 22 and 19 years old respectively.

The Lyttleton Times published a list of immigrants on July 24.  The O’Callaghan’s are not on it.  The July 31 issue clarifies – there were two O’Callaghans in the chief cabin.  Obviously these passengers were not immigrants in the poor sense!

The Chrysolite was also bringing some ‘mod cons’ to Christhchurch.  JM Heywood & Co of Norwich Quay were expecting cargo on the Chrysolite including East India pale ale, Barclay’s best stout porter (ie beer), tapioca, macaroni, red anti-corrosive paint, “permanent green in three shades” and perfumery.  Cookson, Bowler & Co were expecting shoes, Whitbread’s ale and bibles.  Obviously a brewery was needed!  But my family was not the one to provide it.  Frederick J Moss stayed off the beer but received brandy, whiskey, sherry, rum and tobacco – the temperance movement obviously hadn’t gotten started yet!

Interestingly the two brothers must have been kept busy building farms for themselves because neither married until eleven years later in 1872.

In April JP O’C married Winifred Alice Baker who was 19 to his 33.  She was the only known child of Charles Baker and Emma King to be born in New Zealand.  They had 9 children.  In the GR MacDonald Dictionary of Canterbury Biography he is noted as having gone bankrupt in 1870, 1876 and 1883, having joined the Papanui Cricket Club in 1874 and is described as “tall, lean and dark – had the look of a Spanish grandee”.  Most people in MacDonald’s have a short paragraph.  JP O’C’s entry is a page and a half!  He certainly seemed to be in the middle of everything!  JP O’C died in 1895 of stomach cancer.

Thomas married Anna Tubman in May 1872.  Her brother Richard was charged in April 1874 with obtaining money under false pretences by pretending to represent Thomas.  It is unlikely that either Thomas or Anna were alive to see the final outcome.  Thomas was killed in June when his horse shied and his wagon fell on him.  Anna died in September, cause as yet unknown (ie not an accident).

Arthur, Elizabeth and Emily

The brothers must have put in a good word somewhere because the Lyttleton Times reports on April 25, 1865: “The Rev. A. O’Callaghan, one of the clergymen engaged for Canterbury by Mr. H. Harper, sailed in the Greyhound from London for Lyttelton”.  Arthur arrived on May 7 with his sisters Elizabeth Pyne O’C and Emily Christiana O’C aged 29 and 19 respectively.  Arthur was 28 and engaged to his cousin Dorothea Louisa Pyne – back in England.

Emily was the first off the shelf of all her siblings.  In 1867 she married William Horton Revell.  He was only 17 years older.  She was probably living with one of her brothers in the Kaiapoi area where the Revell’s owned a farm.  William was a policeman and later a magistrate.  During the West Coast gold rush they lived in various towns on the West Coast as he was Superintendent of Police.  Revell Street in Hokitika was named after him.  After other positions around the South Island including magistrate they retired to Timaru, back on the east coast.

Elizabeth took a bit longer to get hitched – the second last of her siblings, in 1877.  But like her mother, she married her (younger) sister’s husband’s brother – John Charles Revell – his younger brother, but the same age as her.  It’s likely she was living with either her brother Denis or sister Mrs Revell in Kaiapoi around that time.  Despite both of them being in their early forties, they went on to have two sons.

Arthur went back to England to marry Dorothea in 1869.  They returned to New Zealand via Melbourne.  They had 3 children before she died in 1874.  In December 1875, in Greymouth, he married Florence Hindmarsh.  His sister Emily probably introduced them as she was living in Greymouth at the time.  Arthur and Florence went on to have 11 children.

Arthur was the most publicly successful of the siblings.  He went on to become an MP for Lincoln.  Google him if you’re interested in more.  He died aged 94 in 1930.  He would have seen Christchurch go from a muddy settlement to a paved metropolis.

The black sheep – Denis Jnr

Denis and Sarah’s third son Denis was actually the first to leave Ireland.  Around 1838-9 he ran away to sea aged 14 and was not much heard of.  Arthur’s daughters recall his return:

Ada Mrs Cull:

One day in Lincoln (Canterbury NZ) a visitor told APO’C (my father) that he had seen a man “the dead spit” of APO’C working on the Adelaide wharves. Enquiries were made & the upshot was that Denis came to NZ & was in that rather straight-laced society a bit of a shock.

According to Emily Mrs Collingwood he arrived like a bearded down-at-heel tramp at the fence where her father was gardening, quite unrecognised.  ‘Hello Tad!’ he said using Arthur’s boyhood nickname.  Arthur always said he nearly jumped out of his skin!!

He married Elizabeth’s servant Martha Jane Phillpot aka Jenny in 1877.  They went on to have 11 children.  Their son Denis William O’C is my only relative to have died at Gallipoli – we’ve been to see his memorial at Chanuk Bair.

Dennis & Sarah’s children

This list comes from Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry so it’s boys, then girls.  The birth dates may not be entirely accurate!

Cornelius O’Callaghan (1836 – 1881, Ireland)

Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan (1837-1930, NZ)

Denis O’Callaghan (1838-1920, NZ)

Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan (1839-1895, NZ)

Thomas Robert O’Callaghan (1842-1874, NZ)

Mary O’Callaghan (? – ?, Ireland)

Elizabeth Pyne O’Callaghan (twin) (1836-1908, NZ)

Barbara O’Callaghan (twin) (1836 – ?, Ireland – never married)

Sarah O’Callaghan (? – ?, Ireland – never married)

Dora O’Callaghan (? – ?, Ireland)

Emily Christiana O’Callaghan (1846-1920, NZ)

Finding the Lost Children

Updated: 18 June 2012

Photos of your ancestors are great!  Until you have one (or ten) where you don’t know who the subjects are.  This post is dedicated to some photos I have in my possession of children who I didn’t know who were!  And now I do.  And it’s to remind everyone out there that if you know who someone in a photo is, write it neatly in pencil on the back!  Then questions won’t get repeated!!!

Photo from the Pyne family collection

The search for these children can be categorised under “famous last words”.

This photo is in the possession of one of my Pyne cousins in Ireland.  He generously let us borrow the albums and scan the photos.  Many his mother had identified, but this one she had not.  Probably because it was taken in Christchurch, New Zealand.  This narrowed the field of potential subjects a bit – they had to be one of the descendents of Arthur Pyne in NZ – one who was still keeping in touch with the Irish side of the family.

With some pointers from the Helpful People on Trade Me’s Genealogy forum, I have found a few things that might help.  Firstly, there is an interesting information on Meers & Co on the Early New Zealand Photographers blog which helps with dating.  So secondly, it was likely that the photo was taken some time between 1886 and 1900 – give or take.

So who were they?  The combination of boy/girl (can’t tell who’s oldest), boy, girl (and assuming they’re siblings and not a combination of cousins – this is the famous last words bit) is quite unusual. Interestingly, many of the Pyne g-grandchildren were runs of girls or boys, not alternate as the photo would suggest.

Tentatively they have been 4 of the children of Denis O’Callaghan and his wife Martha Jane Phillpot, as they had alternate boy/girl children.  But this was a bit hard to believe.  Denis was the first Pyne grandson to leave Ireland and was long thought dead at sea until he turned up in NZ.  Contact with the family in Ireland doesn’t seem all that likely!

I recently got in contact with one of Denis and Martha’s descendants.  She says all her family is blonde or red so the children are too dark to be hers.

So I went back to another Arthur Pyne descendant I hadn’t been in touch with for a while.  And after her reply, I sat there thinking I’m pretty sure I asked her about this before!  And like before she came up with the answer.

They are Francis Arthur Pyne (1874-1930) and his sister Fanny Pyne (1877-1941) who are the children of William Beynham Pyne and Agnes Walker Smith.  With them are their younger cousins (famous last words!) Arthur Charles Beynham Pyne (1880-?) and Ida May Pyne (1882-1852) the children of Charles Frank Masters Pyne and Caroline Chisholm Smith. Interestingly, they’re double cousins as their fathers were brothers and their mothers were sisters.

Arthur and Ida’s parents both died within months of each other in 1885.  They were either living with their uncle and aunt or were grouped for a photo that would have gone to their half-uncle George Masters Pyne of Ballyvolane.

Boys dressed as girls

For a while my train of thought expanded to – but what if the smallest child is a boy…?

Yes, boys wore dresses in those days.  As my husband likes to point out – it’s amusing that all the upper class men who fought in the Great War grew up wearing pink dresses.

The only family with that many boys in a row is that of Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan and his wife Winifred Alice Baker.  They had 12 children in total so which 4?  And why only them??  And Jasper has never struck me as one to write home either…?

Further consultation on Trade Me resulted in me going back to Plan A – she’s a girl.

It was suggested that she had been ill not long before the photo was taken.  Apparently it was quite common to cut the hair of sick children.  This would make it easier to wash and/or would stop it “draining the nutrients”.   It might also explain why she looks tired compared to her siblings.

The Lost Children in Auckland

This is another one where asking your distant cousins will find you an answer.  I have the original of this photo which I knew came from my Mum’s side of the family.  Since it was taken in Auckland that meant it came from her father’s side (her Mum being a Pom/English).

I recently re-established contact with my Johnston cousins.  Various members of my family have been in touch with them over the years (and I suspect asked exactly the same question I asked!), but no one ever writes the important things (like who’s in that photo) down.  Anyway, my Johnston cousins have confirmed that it is from my Mum’s side of the family and more specifically the Johnstons.

These are the first three children (of four) of Robert Johnston and Elizabeth Foster – (from l to r) Ena Nellie Johnston (1891-1920), Robert Foster Johnston (1883-1954) and May Elizabeth Johnston (1885-1940).  It was probably taken around 1893.

My gg-grandmother Elizabeth Foster immigrated to NZ with her husband Robert Johnston in 1882.  Not long after her parents William Foster (c.1839-1904) and Isabella/Elizabeth Corrigan (c.1836-1919) immigrated with all her siblings and they settled in the Gisborne area.  So here are the details of William and Isabella’s children:

  1. ELIZABETH FOSTER was born on 01 Jan 1860 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland and died on 18 Sep 1940 in Mt Eden, Auckland, New Zealand. She married ROBERT JOHNSTON on 04 Oct 1881 in Garvary Church of Ireland, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland, son of JOHN JOHNSTON and HELEN YOUNG. He was born about 1844 in Falkirk, Stirling, Scotland and died on 20 Jan 1925 in Auckland, New Zealand.
  2. “MAGGIE” MARGARET FOSTER was born about 1861 in Fermanagh, Ireland and died on 07 Oct 1933 in Auckland, New Zealand. She married JAMES JOHNSTON on 01 Mar 1881 in Garvary Church of Ireland, Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. He was born about 1860 and died on 22 Oct 1917 in Auckland, New Zealand.
  3. ANNE JANE FOSTER was born on 18 Jun 1864 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. She married DAVID DAWSON in 1888 in New Zealand. He was born in 1863 in New Zealand.
  4. WILLIAM FOSTER was born about 1867 in Fermanagh, Ireland and died before 08 Dec 1895 in Auckland, NZ.
  5. “JACK” JOHN FOSTER was born on 19 Feb 1869 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland and died about 1950. He married (1) RACHEL GREENE on 28 Aug 1896 in Gisborne, New Zealand. She was born on 10 Mar 1873 in Te Arai, Gisborne, NZ and died on 16 Mar 1950 in Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand. He married (2) “LIL” ADA LILLIAN MORGAN on 28 Aug 1945 in Masterton, New Zealand. She was born about 1881 in New Zealand and died in 1956 in New Zealand.
  6. SARAH FOSTER was born on 22 Jun 1870 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland. She married JOHN WILLIS in 1899 in New Zealand.
  7. JAMES FOSTER was born about 1877 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh, Ireland and died in 1948 without marrying.
  8. MABEL FOSTER. She married MR SMITH.

Famous Namesakes

This page is a bit like my post “houses my family doesn’t own anymore” – this is “famous people that could be my ancestors but aren’t”.  It could also be subtitled “What you can find in ten minutes on Google.”  Or “the people that always turn up first on Google when you’re searching for your family”.  More will follow later.

Frederick Hewitt

My ggg-grandfather’s namesake, Frederick William Hewitt (1857-1916) was an anesthesiologist who looked after the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, helping remove his appendics in 1902.  He got a knighthood for his troubles and a ward is named after him at St George’s Hospital (now in Tooting, London).  According to an article on the Life & Health Library, he “later designed the first oral airways, probably as a result of taking care of the king, an overweight, bearded man”.  Whatever that means.  He also “designed an early anesthesia machine to administer variable portions of nitrous oxide and oxygen, a combination used widely for dental procedures and short surgeries from the late nineteenth century until today” (Modern Anesthesia Is Developed).

The Royal College of Surgeons also have an annual Frederick Hewitt Lecture.

His family came from Badbury in Wiltshire so is, so far, not related.

Jasper Pyne

My gg-grandfather was Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan, named for his uncle Jasper Richard Masters Pyne (1797-1860) (along with 4 other O’Callaghan’s).  Uncle Jasper also inspired another sibling to name a son after him – Jasper Douglas Masters Pyne (1848-1888).

JDMP (for short) sounds like a very entertaining personality.  He was also an MP who (like other family MP’s) got into a bit of trouble and when a warrent was issued for his arrest went into hiding.  From the Old Waterford Society newsletter Spring 1990:

A furious District Inspector Wynne of Cappoquin denied that there was a single word of truth in the Freeman’s account. ‘Mr. Pyne has not returned to Lisfinny Castle‘, he explained, ‘ for the simple reason that he has never left it. He merely pretended to do so. He had hidden himself in his room, but had been overheard talking and joking by the night patrols. Pyne’s accent and laugh were such, Wynne assured his superiors, that they could not possibly be mistaken.

On 2 January 1888 District Inspector Bourchier of the Special Branch confirmed that Pyne was safely within the castle and a police patrol properly posted without.  There was no possibility of escape, except by means of an underground passage, but, he added hastily, none such existed.  District Inspector Barry corroborated his colleague’s report that Pyne was hemned in on every side and that all avenues of escape were sealed off.

The police, however, had underestimated Irish nationalist ingenuity. On the evening of Friday, 13 January, some 200 cattle were stampeded in the vicinity of the castle. While the 20 constables on duty contended with this bovine diversion Pyne scampered down the exterior wall and made his way to a waiting car that set off immediately for Cork.   The telegraph wires at Tallow had been cut and when the police eventually realised that they had been duped they were unable to raise the alarm.  The fugitive boarded a cargo ship bound for Plymouth whence he proceeded to London on the afternoon on 16 January.

The Star newspaper of Canterbury, New Zealand (perhaps knowing of all of his cousins here in NZ?) reports as follows on 18 January 1888 (page 4):

The Escape of Mr Jasper Pyne.

LONDON, Jan. 17. It has transpired that Mr Jasper Pyne has effected his escape to England. Mr Pyne, who is the member for West Waterford, was charged with inciting resistance to the Sheriff, and in order to prevent his being arrested he fortified his residence, Lisfarny Castle, and after holding out for  some time succeeded in escaping.

You could just imagine the scene in a movie!

JDMP was arrested entering the House of Commons and served six weeks in prison.  He later was declared dead after disappearing off the Holyhead to Dublin ferry in mysterious circumstances.

And nowdays there’s even a racing horse named called Jasper Pyne.

GG-Grandparents – Paternal Side

Updated: 30 March 2016

My father’s side is where the majority of the scandals are.  I suspect this is not because they were any more scandalous, but because they were more affluent and things got written down!

General note: children with a ‘+’ are known to have descendents, those with a ‘-‘ are known not to.  If there is neither, then I don’t know.

Please post a comment if you have further information or if there are any errors.  Child(ren) in caps are my ancestors.  Further posts with more information on each will follow in due course.


b. 30 Apr 1831 in Clapham, Surrey, England to Frederick Hewitt (1793-1883), son of John Hewitt and Clapham Brewery Owner , and Elizabeth Turner (1800-1874)

d. 15 Feb 1888 in Surbiton-hill, Surrey, England

m. 28 Aug 1861 in St Matthew’s Church, Brixton, London, England


b. c. May 1831 to Jonathan Muckleston Key (1806-1888) and Susanna Birch (1807-1872)

Mary’s uncle was the Other John Key

d. 28 Dec 1891 in Surbiton-hill, Surrey, England


+ Charles Augustus Hewitt


+ Walter Ernest Hewitt

+ Reginald Key Hewitt

+ Elsie Maud Hewitt

– Sophie Beatrice Hewitt

? Constance Ada Hewitt

– Kathleen Emily Hewitt

A Hewitt cousin has provided some photos of the Hewitt family and their Key connections.


b. 10 Jul 1838 in London, England to William Webb Venn (snr) (1810-1894) and Jane Wilson (c1807-1884)

d. 12 Apr 1896 in Greenwich, London, England

m. 07 Jan 1858 in St Mark’s, Clerkenwell, London, England

divorced 16 Nov 1869


b. 16 Jun 1837 in Tottenham, Middlesex, England to John Keeling (1796-1884) and Maria Howard (1800-1880)

d. 16 Sep 1915 in Axbridge, Somerset, England

m. (2) 1869 William Frederick Ebbs (c1836-1880) in New Zealand and had two further children Charles Frederick Ebbs (1870-1908) and Alice Emily Ebbs (1872-?)

(3) 1886 William Henry Phillips in Lancashire, England



+ William Eustace Venn

– Ethel Mary Venn


b. 17 Feb 1850 in Bermondsey, London, England to John Nicholls (1802-1890) and Elizabeth Ludwell (1803-1873)

d. 28 Feb 1924 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia

m. 07 Jun 1869 at Parish Church, Parish of Woolwich, Kent, England

abandoned by wife in late 1876 in Melbourne, Australia


b. 05 Oct 1849 in Middleton, Norfolk, England to Robert Buxton (1822-1884) and Frances Maw (or Man or Shaw???) (1823-aft 1881)

d. 20 Apr 1925 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

immigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1875 on Samuel Plimsoll as assisted immigrants

Rose immigrated to NZ, via Tasmania, with her children and James’ brother Alfred – they never married (links to my half-cousin Ruth’s blog on this).  NZ records give the impression that all the children were Alfred’s.

Children of James and Rose:

+ John Robert Nicholls

+ Louisa Elizabeth Nicholls


Children of Alfred and Rose:

+ Ethel Nicholls

– Dora Nicholls

– Harold Nicholls

– Gareth Nicholls

+ Aldyth Nicholls

– Son Nicholls


b. 1839 in Fermoy, Ireland to Denis O’Callaghan (1787-1867) (see Burke’s Irish Landed Gentry for his lineage) and Sarah Pyne (1804-1881) daughter of Arthur Pyne

immigrated 1861 to Christchurch, NZ on the Chrysolite – Chief Cabin with brother Thomas Robert O’Callaghan

d. 20 Jun 1895 in Christchurch Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand

m. 18 Apr 1872 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand


b. 03 Feb 1853 in Lyttleton, Canterbury, New Zealand to Charles Baker (1806-11 – 1868) and Emma King (1810-1889) who came to NZ on the Duke of Bronte in 1851 – the 8th ship into Canterbury

d. 21 Nov 1932 in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand


– May O’Callaghan

– Dora Sarah O’Callaghan


+ Edith Emma O’Callaghan

+ Thomas Robert O’Callaghan

+ Jasper Warner O’Callaghan

– Gerald Charles O’Callaghan

– Gordon Harcourt O’Callaghan

+ William Bell O’Callaghan

Houses my family doesn’t own anymore

Updated: 23 February 2012

This is a silly-ish post.  When doing your family tree, you always come across houses which your family lived in but no longer own.  This post provides links to some of those that my family have lived in.  I’ll add to them as I find links.

So in no particular order:

Castle Masters aka Carrignacurra, Cork, Ireland

Briefly the home of the Masters family, this Tower House has a long history as part of the O’Leary Clan’s holdings.  It passed to the Pyne family when Mary Masters inherited it and married Arthur Pyne.  When we visited in 2003 it was owned by some missing Pole, but you could have a look around if you found the right person to ask.  There’s a lovely view from the top.

Ballyvolane House, Cork, Ireland

Home of the Pyne family (who were another English import to Ireland).  In 1955 it was sold to the Green family who have done a wonderful job of preserving it and have turned it into a hotel.  The third generation of Green’s continues to run the hotel.  And it’s a lovely place to stay!

Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland

Home of the Blarney Stone, the Castle was owned briefly in 1703 by Richard Pyne, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland.  Worried that the MacCarthy’s would want their castle back, he sold it.  Sir Richard died without surviving heirs and his fortune passed to his sister Jane’s son Robert Wakeham Pyne – ancestors of the Pyne’s in New Zealand.

Oxted Place, Oxted, Surrey, England

Built by William Masters Pyne c.1825 as the rectory at Oxted.  Thanks to Tim for the Photo.

William was the son of Arthur Pyne and many of his children immigrated to New Zealand.  Another son was the infamous Jasper Douglas Masters Pyne.  Apart from being the rector at Oxted and his numerous children, the only information I’ve dug up about William is that he tried to dispossess his sister-in-law (and nieces) of Ballyvolane (above) when her husband, his brother Jasper Pyne died.  He didn’t succeed and she got life possession of that house.

South Street, Great Torrington, Devon, England

Whenever I google my ancester Giles Cawsey, all I ever find is his house.  Nice plasterwork!  It’s now owned by the Landmark Trust, so you can stay there too!

Point House, 18 West Grove, Blackheath, London, England

This house was owned by William Webb Venn in the second half of the 19th century.  You can see the current outside of this lovely house on Google Maps Streetview – the ivy has certainly grown!

Chesney Wold, Wellington, New Zealand

Famous as where Katherine Mansfield lived in the late 19th century.  My grandfather owned the house in the early 20th century with his first wife.  Then it was named Alderholt after the family home in Dorset, England.  It’s now the home of the Mexican Ambassador.

NZ Descendants of Arthur Pyne of Ballyvolane

Arthur Pyne (c. 1747 – 1839) was the owner of the lovely house at Ballyvolane, outside Cork in Ireland.  In 1794, he married Mary Masters of Castle Masters (aka Carrignacurra) near Inchigeela, Cork, Ireland.  They had eleven children (that I’m aware of!) and at least 32 grandchildren.  What is most interesting to me, is the number of those grandchildren who immigrated to New Zealand – I’m up to 11 so far.

So this post is an attempt to round up the NZ descendants of Arthur and Mary.  All of whom are my cousins.  So if you are descended from any of the grandchildren listed below, please comment below and let me know.  I have a few already, but there are bound to be more!

I’ve added a Facebook Group to allow descendants to post things of interest to all.  It’s a “secret” group (for privacy) so you have to get in touch with me to join.

And thanks to cousin George for letting us scan the family photos!

Children of Sarah Pyne and Denis O’Callaghan

(I’m putting them first because they got to NZ first and I’m descended from this branch!)

Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan (1837-1930) m. (1) Dorothea Louisa Pyne (1846-1874) – see below  (2) Florence Hindmarsh (c.1857-1953)

    A P O'Callaghan and Florence Hindmarsh on their Golden Wedding Anniversary


Denis O’Callaghan (1838-1920) m. Martha Jane Philpott (1852-1932)

Jasper Pyne O’Callaghan (1839-1895) m. Winifred Alice Baker (1853-1932)

Photo of Jasper Pyne O'Callaghan

Thomas Robert O’Callaghan (1842-1874) m. Anna Tubman (?-1874) (I don’t believe they had any children?)

Elizabeth Pyne O’Callaghan (1836-1908) m. John Charles Revell (1837-1906)

Emily Christiana O’Callaghan (1846-1920) m. William Horton Revell (1829-1893)

This photo is enigmatically described as E. O’Callaghan – so it’s either Elizabeth or Emily!

Children of William Masters Pyne and Marian Pyne Maxfield

Arthur John Pyne (1843-1909) m. Caroline Maud Kingshott (1853-1874)

William Baynham Pyne (1845-1894) m. Agnes Walker Smith (?-1891)

Dorothea Louisa Pyne (1846-1874) m. (as his first wife – see above) Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan (1837-1930)

Charles Frank Pyne (1849-1885) m. Caroline Chisholme Smith (c.1855-1885) – sister of Agnes above

William and Agnes and Charles and Caroline are the parents of my ‘Lost Pyne Children‘ – a photo taken in Christchurch currently in the possession of the family in Ireland.

Children of William Masters Pyne and Anne Tamplin

Francis William Pyne (1864-1926) m. Berthan Faith Picken

(I think this is Francis William – the others in my tree are too old or were born in NZ)

So if any these are your ancestors, please leave a comment.  I am angling for a reunion.  There was one of the descendants of Arthur Pyne O’Callaghan before I was born, so it must be time for another!