Settler Kaponga 1881–1914 — A Frontier Fragment of the Western World
Appendix 1 — Biographical Notes
Astbury, David Abbot Lyon (1865–1952). B. Edinburgh; assisted immig. (nominated), arriv. Nelson July 1876 with his widowed mother, a school-mistress from Edinburgh; family shifted to Manawatu where he mar. Mary née Roberts of Palmerston North; took land at Mahoe 1888, moved to Eltham Rd 1912; served 12 years on Stratford County Council; stood unsuccessfully for Parliament several times.
Barleyman, Willoughby John (c. 1861–1912). B. Blenheim; ed. Nelson College; worked briefly for Customs Dept, then at his father's large flaxmill interests in the Manawatu; on sale of these mills family moved to Taranaki and he bought his Rowan Rd section in Dec. 1881; mar. 1887 Catherine (‘Kate’) née Somers (c 1870–1955), b. County Kerry, arriv. NZ 1883.
Betts, Charles Edward (1868–1947). B. Brighton, Kent; arriv. Canterbury April 1874, assisted immig. by Rakaia; educ. & farmed experience in Canterbury; farming at Okaiawa before starting seed business at Kaponga 1900; later a Kaponga garage owner; mar. 1908 Hilda Habgood née Hollard (1882–1963).
Campbell, Robert Henry. B. Ireland; arriv. NZ 1870; farming and farm contracting in Canterbury; to Parihaka 1882 with govt contract to convey troops and Maori prisoners; conducted hotels in Greymouth, Hawera, Woodville & New Plymouth; took over Commercial Hotel, Kaponga, Aug. 1903; left Kaponga mid-1906; wife Florrie (?-1904).
Canning, Frank Stephen (c. 1841–1921). Arriv. Dunedin 1858; Otago career included carpentery, journalism and business ventures, also active in public affairs; to Kaponga 1892, shifted to Normanby 1895; mar. Jessie née McMaster of Saddle Hill; survived by 12 children.
Childs, Thomas (1865-?). B. London; arriv. NZ 1876 with parents in Christchurch; entered govt telegraph service, then joined his brother at blacksmithing; two years in Sydney; returned and took over his brother's page 348 Christchurch business; sold out and moved to Kaponga; sold his Kaponga business on acquiring the Albion Hotel, Patea; later owned Palmerston North's Commercial Hotel.
Cleland, Catherine née Burt (c. 1849–1941). Widow of Robert Cleland (c. 1851–1893). In 1893 Robert, a well-to-do Lower Hutt grocer, led a family migration to Taranaki, intending to farm at Toko. He soon decided to shift to Kaponga on account of the poor roads to Toko, but died suddenly before making the move. Catherine then led her family of two daughters and seven sons, the oldest being Harold (q.v.), to take possession of the farm on Upper Manaia Road. She saw all of her sons established on farms, six in Taranaki, one in the Waikato. She herself continued farming on Palmer Rd.
Cleland, Harold William (c. 1873-?). Came from Lower Hutt c. 1894 with his widowed mother Catherine Cleland (q.v.); mar. 1905 Vida Maud née Anderson (c. 1884-?); after farming on Opunake Rd he took a farm on Gordon Rd, Toko.
Coxhead, Arthur. Came with wife and family from Dunedin to Taranaki in 1891; took up his Palmer Rd property May 1892; moved to Tahora near Whangamomona 1901; member Taranaki Land Board 1913–16; moved to the Waikato 1916.
Davy, Henry Whitworth (?-1942). Bought Kaponga land 1882–84 in partnership with Yorkshire immig. J.H. Bentley, whom he bought out a year or two later; mar. Agnes née Hutchinson of Skeet Rd, Kapuni, Aug. 1887; left Kaponga for Feilding Dec. 1892; back at Kapuni as a storekeeper by 1902; by 1910 a grain and coal merchant, first in Hawera and by 1920 in Wanganui; later a grocer's assistant in New Plymouth.
Dingle, Richard (1851–1930). B. New Plymouth; mounted volunteer in the land wars; contracting near Hawera in 1870s; ‘father of Methodism’ in Hawera early 1880s; took land on Waimate Plains; moved to Rowan 1888; to Stratford 1900; wife Hannah.
Fitzgerald, Daniel (1835–1922). B. Rossmore, County Tipperary; at 19 years to Ballarat gold fields, then to NZ gold fields, first Otago, then West Coast; mar. 1889 Mary née Power (1854–1938), b. Bansha, County Tipperary, who came to NZ aged 14; Kaponga district's first RC mass celebrated in their home; in 1894 moved from Neill Rd to a farm in Kaponga; bought more land on Palmer Rd in 1900.page 349
Fitzgerald, Maurice (1856–1941). B. Rathmore, County Kerry; arriv. Canterbury by Hereford 1878 as a 21-year-old assisted immig. farm labourer; met at Rangiora his future wife Julia Patricia née Whyte (1855–1932), b. Kyle, Cloughjordon, County Tipperary and arriv. NZ 1877 by Cardigan Castle; mar. Hawera Jan. 1883. In the Waikato the family settled at Mangaiti.
Frethey, John Henry (1866–1932). B. Lower Hutt, educated there and brought up to farming; to Kaponga 1886 when his father, Thomas Frethey, bought land there; mar. Ellen Maude née Hollard; sold his farm 1908 and moved to New Plymouth, where he and Ellen established private gardens at Frankleigh Park.
Gapper, Frederick John Ernest (1868-?). B. Nelson; had business experience in Nelson district and for five years in Sydney; came to Kaponga c. 1894; worked first as a storeman; mar. Lillian née Mellow, daughter of R.T.B. Mellow; 1904 bought W. Gruar's store; emig. to Sydney 1909.
Gibson, Robert (1849–1931). B. Edinburgh, Scotland; served gardener's apprenticeship on several Scottish and English estates; mar. Barbara née Wilson 1876; arriv. NZ 1878, Barbara followed 1882; farmed 20 miles up Wanganui River for about seven years, then moved to Riverlea. Left a bequest of £5000 and a farm property to the Methodist Church for a boys' orphanage in south Taranaki.
Grace, Allan (1860–1932). Arriv. NZ from England as an infant 1860; lived successively in Wellington and near Sanson, where his father was an original settler of the Sandon Small Settlement Block; took his land on Rowan Rd c. 1890; mar. Annie Eliza née Fairhall of Wakefield, Nelson; office-holder (synodsman, warden, lay reader) of St Mark's 1897–1925; retired to New Plymouth 1925, where he was active at St Mary's.
Guy, Alfred Henry (c. 1878–1965). B. Normanby; ed. Opunake and New Plymouth; worked as blacksmith in Dunedin, Canterbury, Wellington, Opunake, Otakeho, Hawera; bought Kaponga smithy and wheelwright business in 1902; mar. Mabel née Pepperell; made a JP 1911; left Kaponga 1920.
Harwood, J.L. To Kaponga c. 1893, probably from Otago; left Kaponga 1902 for Stratford, where he was in business for some years; later a grocer in Picton; from c. 1922 till mid-1930s a grocer in the Square, Palmerston North; wife Mary.
Hayes, James (c. 1844–1890). Arriv. Wellington Apr. 1874 by Euterpe, assisted immig. general labourer from County Carlow, with wife Catherine née Curran (c. 1845) and three children (Mary 9, Joseph 8, John 7).page 350
Hobbs, Alfred Samuel (1831–1913). B. Swan Port, Tasmania, third son of Commodore James Hobbs; mar. 1863 Mary Ann Lura née Low (1839– 1912) of Hobart, b. London, daughter of first principal of Boys' School, Hobart; farmed in Victoria till 1877, then emig. to NZ; had a native lease at Meremere, east of Hawera, before moving to Palmer Rd c. 1893.
Howitt, William King (1868–1956). B. Okato, son of a military settler; family moved to Patea where he learned baker's trade with his father; 14-month trip to Scotland and England c. 1889, again to Scotland in late 1890s; postmaster, Cromar, Aberdeenshire, 1899 and Cromar town councillor 1900–03; mar. Jessie Skinner née Souter 1897; had store and bakery at Awatuna East 1904–9; to Auckland 1909, where he served on local bodies, inc. Hospital Board 1920–41; published three books (see Bibliography).
Hughes, Daniel J. (1845–1916). B. County Tipperary; emig. to Victoria c. 1861; crossed to West Coast gold fields; moved to Wanganui, then Patea; took part in war with Titokowaru; mar. Miss Ward at Patea in 1868; 10 children.
Hutchinson, William Seward (1831–95). B. Windermere, Westmorland; mar. 1857 Mary née Mounsey (1838–1904) of Windermere; arriv. Auckland by British Empire Feb. 1880; took land to farm near Mercer, it proved so worthless that he turned to teaching the local school; after five years moved to New Plymouth and then to Kaponga, having learnt of the quality of the land from their surveyor son Robert, who was with H.M. Skeet's survey party in the district. Though the family had stronger links with Kapuni than Kaponga their daughter Agnes married H.W. Davy (q.v.) and their inventive sons William and George Fell contributed widely to south Taranaki through their skills in technology.
Law, Robert (c. 1858–1934). B. Scurdague, Scotland; arriv. NZ 1881 with his wife Isabella née McDonald (c. 1859–1932); settled at Waverley and later at Hawera where he owned land by 1882; to Kaponga 1894; a supplier of the Mangatoki Dairy Co, of which he was a director for 25 years.
Maclagan, David Whiteside, MB, ChB (Edin.), MRCP (Edin.) (1875-?). B. Leith; ed. Edinburgh Academy; Feb. 1911 left Kaponga for England, where he trained for the Anglican ministry, ordained in 1913; served in RAMC 1915–19; Vicar of St George's, Claines, Worcester from 1928 till retirement in 1946; Rural Dean of Worcester 1937–44; wife Alice Mary.page 351
MacLean, Charles (1854–1936). B. Nova Scotia; emig. to Waiapu 1855; trader in vessels in south seas; took to teaching after a mast accident; moved to Waitoa School, Te Aroha 1904; retired from Waitoa 1921; d. Auckland; wife Isabella.
Matheson, Peter. Pupil-teacher at Waitotara in 1892; Nov. 1913 left Kaponga to work with an Opunake carrying company; 1921 farming near Hamilton; wife Helen Janet.
Mellow, Richard Thomas Best (c. 1850–1923) and Hannah née Earp (c. 1857–1929). Farmed for years in Hutt Valley; 1896 moved to Kaponga, where they spent rest of their lives; 13 children.
Melville, George (c. 1845–1919). Arriv. NZ Aug. 1874 by Strathnaver, assisted immig, pit sawyer from Middlesex; mar. Johanna née Bolger 1887; nominated other family members to NZ.
Melville, John (c. 1840–1899) and Sarah Emma (c. 1841–1905). John arriv. NZ 1883 by Westland, assisted immig, carpenter from Middlesex, with wife and three of their 22 children (Herbert 11, Emma 10, Ada 6); one daughter stayed in England; over time most of the others emigrated to New Zealand, initially to Kaponga district.
Moller, Wilhelm Wiggo (1864–1953). B. Denmark; arriv. NZ 1884; varied career H.B. & N. Wairarapa, inc. bush settler and carrier; mar. Helen Dorothea née Jepson 1889; to south Taranaki c. 1899; farmed at Makaka for a year or two, then became carrier; sold carrying business and went farming at Otakeho 1912; later farmed at Okato and Rawhitiroa; retired to Eltham c. 1947.
Palmer, Robert. Before coming to south Taranaki had had 20 years' sawmilling experience, Hokitika and the Manawatu; left sawmilling in 1897 to take over Commercial Hotel, Stratford.
Prestidge, Joel (c. 1850–1941). B. Morton Pinkey, Northamptonshire; arriv. Nelson as five-year-old; worked with his father at Moutere; mar. Charlotte Gibbs (1855–1910) at Wakefield 1876; moved to Taranaki. He remarried in 1915 to Mabel Jane Glen (1884–1965) and ran a small farmlet in Hawera; five children. On his 90th birthday Joel had 68 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.page 352
Scott, William Bramwell (1873–1935). B. Thames; Methodist Home Missionary 1901–07, at Waitekauri, Amberley and Havelock; mar. Apr. 1903 Alice May née Noakes (1875–1964); ordained 1911; church appointments after Kaponga were Aramoho 1912–15, Springston 1915–18, chaplain with Exped. Force 1918–19, Kaiapoi 1920–25, Cargill Rd Dunedin 1925–29, Waimate 1929–32, Wellington South 1932 to his death in Mar. 1935.
Swadling, William (1859–1912). B. Bix, Oxfordshire; arriv. Wellington 1879 farm labourer assisted immig. by the Hudson; worked in Manawatu and Rangitikei before settling at Kaponga; mother Elizabeth Swadling, sisters Emma and Alice and brother Frederick followed him to Taranaki as assisted immig. in 1883; mar. Sarah Geraldine née Limbrick of Awatuna Dec. 1894.
Tait, Charles (?-1910), (known as ‘Scope’ Tait). B. London; to Australia 1845, a time at the Bendigo diggings; arriv. NZ 1857, Nelson and West Coast diggings; took land Hawera c. 1870; to Manaia c 1881, sawmilling three years then farming; mar. widow Elizabeth Mary Massana; seven sons, one daughter.
Tindle, George (c. 1864–1934). To NZ by Tainui 1887; JP from 1898; left Kaponga c. 1900 to be auctioneer in Opunake, county clerk at Manaia, then secretary of Taranaki Co-op Dairy Co; spent his last 25 years in Hamilton; wife Agnes.
Wilkie, Frederick William (1865–1958). Son of John and Elizabeth Wilkie of Greytown and later New Plymouth; at 16 left the Greytown home to go shearing; to Kaponga by 1883; 1916 moved to Rotorua, having bought land at Ohiwa Harbour; mar. 1920 Beatrice Maud Chong (daughter. of Chew Chong); president Rotorua Golf Club 20 years.