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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Old Settlers, &C

page 1044

Old Settlers, &C.

Hall, John, Farmer, Pahiatua. The first settler in Pahiatua, Mr. Hall arrived in the district on the evening of the 28th of February, 1881, and was followed on the morning of the 1st of March by Mr. John Hughes, who may therefore fairly claim to be a twin brother of Mr. Hall's in the cause of “Pahiatua pioneering.” In May of the same year he was followed by Mrs. Hall, who was thus the first woman in the district. Mr. Hall was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1832, and was brought up to farming, near Leeds Yorkshire, in 1863 he took first prize against all comers, in ploughing at Morley. Before coming to this Colony, in 1876, he had a few years experience of the iron trade in Yorkshire. His passage to New Zealand was made in the “Hurunui” as far as Plymouth, and thence by the “Carnatic” after a few weeks spent at that port in quarantine. For the first few months of his colonial life, Mr. Hall worked on the estate known as “Blair Logie,” belonging to Mr. John Morrison, of Wareama. He and Mrs. Hall then entered the employ of Mr. Buchanan, M.H.R., Mrs. Hall acting as housekeeper. On arriving in Pahiatua, Mr. Hall had to pitch his tent on the roadside until sufficient bush could be removed to make room for a hut. During the year following his arrival at Pahiatua, Mr. Hall had the misfortune to lose his eldest son, Mr. John Henry Hall, who, with his father and two brothers, was bush felling, when a very heavy limb, itself the size of a fairly large tree, broke off and instantly killed him. Mr. Hall has not taken a very active part in public life, but he was a member of the Road Board from its inception until it was abolished in favour of the County Council, and he is now a director of the Farmers' Auctioneering Association. As a farmer he has been successful. Some opinion of the quality of his land may be formed from the fact that it has returned twenty-two tons of potatoes
Mr. and Mrs. J. Hall.

Mr. and Mrs. J. Hall.

to the acre. He was the first to bring a plough into the district and to commence work. Mr. Hall was married in 1855 to Miss Handley, daughter of Mr. John Handley. Of their family of nine, only three sons and a daughter survive, the daughter being the wife of Mr. Thomas Avery, referred to in this section.

McCardle, William Wilson, J.P., Mr. McCardle, who holds undisputed laurels as the founder of Pahiatua, is well known in many parts of the Colony, but particularly in the Wairarapa. He was born in Kirkeudbrightshire, Scotland, on the 1st of April, 1844, and was educated in the grammar school of his native county. While quite a lad he had the misfortune to lose his father, and this event was soon followed by such other reverses of fortune that at the age of eighteen he decided to come to this Colony. Arriving in Lyttelton per ship “Chariot of Foam,” he found employment on a station at Ashburton, where for two years he made good use of the knowledge of sheepfarming gained in his native land. He was then for a similar period in the employ of Mr. John Greenaway, nurseryman, of Christchurch, from whom he acquired both a knowledge of and a taste for gardening and orcharding in all their branches. In 1866 Mr. McCardle married Miss Janet C. Martin, daughter of the late Captain James Martin, master of the unfortunate coaster “Margaret”—a vessel built at Kaiwarra in the Wellington Harbour in 1845, and so completely lost on the way to Lyttelton in the following year that no vestige of either ship or cargo was ever again seen. Removing to Dunedin in 1869, Mr. McCardle commenced business on his own account as a nurseryman, and some six years later sold out and established himself in the same line in Masterton. “McCardle's apple orchard”—stocked with its hundred fruit-bearing varieties—was soon the talk of the Wairarapa. In 1884, however, he removed to Pahiatua, and though he has discontinued the nursery business, he has, at his pretty homestead on the banks of the Mangahao, a very fine orchard of some twelve acres and a flower garden containing the best collection of rhododendrons in the Colony. His dairying stock consists of about forty head of well-bred cattle. Mr. McCardle's holding contains 180 acres, and the main portion of it is set apart as a stud sheep farm. His stud flock of 300 Lincoln ewes are of the purest strains, having descended from the prize flocks of Mr. Hare, of Wanganui, and from imported ewes bred by Mr. Turner, of Lincolnshire, the sires being bred by Mr. Reid, of Eldersley, the Hon. Mathew Holmes, and other prominent breeders. Though Mr. McCardle's private achievements have been considerable, it is as a public man that he is best known. Pahiatua owes not only its name, but its very existence, to Mr. McCardle; and he was a hard worker for the public good before “The Home of the Gods” was thought of. Twenty years ago he began to agitate for land reforms, and is credited with having powerfully influenced the passing of the Land Act of 1877, and its amendment of 1879. As a member of the first Council of the borough of Masterton he did good work, and as a member of the Masterton Trust Lands Trust, he introduced the principle of full compensation for all permanent improvements effected by lessees of the trust property. As a member of the Masterton Park Trust he introduced the scheme for the laying out of the park, and himself carried it out. For seven years Mr. McCardle was a member of the Masterton School Committee, during which time he fought hard and successfully for the large new school which was at that time erected. As a member of the Wairarapa North County Council, Mr. McCardle, in company with Mr. George Beetham, represented the Alfredton riding, and got the present county of Pahiatua formed into a separate riding of the Wairarapa North County, christening it “Pahiatua”—a name which, correctly pronounced, is decidedly musical, and which in its meaning (“The page 1045 William Wilson McCardle Home of the Gods”) is also most poetic and classic. Mr. McCardle's next move in the founding of Pahiatua was to get the riding placed under the control of a Road Board, his efforts being gracefully acknowledged by his election to the position of first chairman. Having progressed so far, the next step was to form the county, when Mr. McCardle had the satisfaction of seeing fairly launched the scheme of special settlements which he had so consistently advocated and so successfully helped forward. So long ago as May, 1876, Mr. McCardle explored the country now forming the county of Pahiatua—then all dense bush, but now covered with smiling farms and prosperous runs. Even then, as a member of the Wellington Waste Lands Board, he did all in his power to bring about the immediate settlement of the country he had explored. He introduced an association of some two hundred members, prepared to join in a special settlement scheme “on all fours” with the Acts subsequently passed in 1877 and 1879. In company with Mr. A. W. Renall, of Masterton, Mr. McCardle waited on the Waste Lands Board, recommending the block as especially suitable for small farms settlements, and urging that it be set apart for these purposes. The Board, however, was deaf to all entreaties at that time, stating that if the settlers wanted land they should be satisfied with second-class land instead of picking the best block in the province. But these settlers, led by Mr. McCardle, were not disposed to accept any but the best; they kept up the agitation until the Land Acts already mentioned were passed, and Pahiatua was the first block settled thereunder. Though a leader in all this work of settlement, Mr. McCardle did not actually settle himself in Pahiatua until 1884, when he took up land and laid off the township. Like many another pioneer of settlement, he was more interested in the success of his scheme than in the matter of feathering his own nest, and many less capable men now hold valuable blocks which formerly belonged to Mr. McCardle. He still holds some town lots, however, notably some good sections on each side of the road leading to the railway station. When the township of Pahiatua was laid off, there was no scarcity of croakers who said a town could never grow up there; but Mr. McCardle held a different opinion—an opinion of which he soon had reason to be proud. His efforts in the cause of the people have not gone unrewarded. In response to a numerously signed petition he was appointed the first Justice of the Peace in the district. In furtherance of his determination to see the land of this province fairly in the possession of the people in reasonably small holdings, Mr. McCardle continued his agitation in connection with the Masterton Special Settlements Association until the block known as Ballance was secured and disposed of; and he is still a hard worker in the same cause. Mr. McCardle has not yet held a seat in Parliament; but it is generally admitted that he would be a useful man there, and at the time of writing he is counted among the candidates standing in support of the Seddon Government.

Reese, Alexander, J.P., Settler, Pahiatua. Mr. Reese, whose portrait will be recognized throughout the length and breadth of the province, was born at Motherwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1843. His education has been mainly self-sought, for at the age of nine years he was working at the Mossend Ironworks, working alternately in the night shift. Here he learned the trade of iron manufacture in all its branches—a department of industry in which up to the present there has been no demand for labour in this Colony. Arriving in New Zealand in 1867 per ship “Himalaya,” Mr. Reese got employment in Christchurch as a carpenter. His first work was on the building now used as St. Paul's Prosbyterian Sunday School, but then used for the church. For about eleven years he worked for his brother, the late Mr. D. Reese, of Christchurch, and in 1878 removed to Wellington. After a
Mr. Alex. Reese.

Mr. Alex. Reese.

page 1046 few months in the employ of Messrs. Stewart and Co., timber merchants, of Wellington, Mr. Reese began building and contracting on his own account. One of his contracts was the erection of the Government Railway Station on the site immediately behind the Government Buildings, and since vacated. The Waiohine Bridge in Greytown and many others were constructed by him, and many miles of roads he has formed. For the last few years Mr. Reese has devoted his attention to dairying. He has a small farm of forty-two acres with a frontage of ten chains to the Main Street of Pahiatua, in which he keeps about fifteen cows, with whose milk he supplies a large portion of the town. He is thoroughly happy in his present employment, and wishes he had taken to the line earlier in life. In all public matters Mr. Reese has ever been active, and though possessing an admirable temper, he is an unflinching opponent and a scathing critic. His battle for the Masterton North School some twelve years ago is still well remembered; and as a member of the Land Board he did excellent service, more especially in connection with village and special settlements. He was appointed to a seat on the Board by the late Hon. John Ballance as Minister of Lands in the Stout-Vogel Administration; and the late Sir Harry Atkinson raised him to the position of Justice of the Peace. As an oarsman, Mr. Reese many years ago was one of the champion fours, his old partner, Mr. Dawson, the contractor of Pahiatua, being also one of the number. In 1875 Mr. Reese was married to Miss Laura Crush Daldy, daughter of the late Dr. Daldy, S.M. for the district of Gordon, Tasmania, and neice of Captain Daldy, one of Auckland's most prominent citizens, referred to on page 67 of this volume. Of their family of nine, three boys and four girls are alive. The two eldest boys died in childhood.