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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Captain Howard Hutton

Captain Howard Hutton, J.P., who was born on the 18th of July, 1832, was the youngest son of Thomas Hutton, J.P., D.L., City of Dublin, who lived at Eden Park, County Dublin, and whose family had settled in Ireland at the time of Oliver Cromwell. Captain Hutton spent two years at a school in German Switzerland, where he acquired a good knowledge of the German and French languages. He also, as was the custom at the school, learnt the two trades of carpentering and saddlery, a knowledge which proved of great use to him all through his life. He also studied at an agricultural school in Hampshire, England. His father having, owing to the prevailing prejudice of the times, refused to purchase him a commission in the army, he decided, at the age of nineteen, to emigrate to New Zealand, and landed in Auckland in the early part of 1852, in the same ship as Colonel George M. Nixon. He lived with Colonel Nixon at Mangere for five years, during which he learned farming, and also acquired such a thorough knowledge of Maor: that he passed the Government examination for interpreter in that language. As a colonist, traveller and soldier, Captain Hutton had his full share of moving incidents by field and flood. On one occasion Colonel Nixon, Mr. Richmond (afterwards Judge Richmond), Mr. Virtue, and Captain Hutton were blown to sea outside the Manukau, with only a loaf of bread on board, and it was with considerable difficulty that they made Onehunga again, after several days starvation and knocking about. His health breaking down in 1857 from hard work, he was ordered Home, it was feared, to die. He took a passage in the “William Denny,” for Sydney, and was wrecked on the New Zealand coast, living with the other passengers on shell fish and anything else they could pick up for some time, until a vessel came and took them on to Sydney. Thence he shipped, via Cape Horn, to England, and found his health was quite restored on his arrival Home. In December, of the same year, he married Emma Kenrick, eldest daughter of Archibald Kenrick, J.P., of West Brom-wich, near Birmingham. After spending the winter in the south of Spain and Algeria, he and his wife sailed in the ship “Kingston” for New Zealand, in the autumn of 1858, and landed in January, 1859, at Auckland, where their first child was born soon after. Mr. Hutton was offered the appointment of Magistrate and Government Agent among the Waikato Maoris, but, foreseeing the racial troubles ahead, and being unwilling to expose his family to the dangers of the position, he declined the offer, and, purchasing a farm at Otahuhu, he engaged in the breeding of pure Leicester sheep, of which he had imported some choice specimens. On the outbreak of the Maori war, Captain Hutton joined the Otahuhu Cavalry, under Colonel Nixon (Colonial Defence Force), and was elected lieutenant. On the death of Colonel Nixon he was promoted to the command of a troop, and served till the end of the war in 1866, when he let his farm, and took his family to England. The following winter Captain and page 432 Mrs Hutton visited Egypt, and ascended the Nile for some distance. In 1869 he returned to New Zealand by himself on private business, travelling via Panama, Peru, Chili, and Tahiti, and returned to England in 1870, across America. He lived with his family in Jersey, Channel Isles, from 1870 to 1875, and then at Wilsbridge, near Bath, till 1878. Having been ordered to take a complete change, and the Kaffir rebellion of that year having broken out, he sailed for the Cape, offered his services to Colonel Buller, commanding the Frontier Light Horse, was at once accepted, and made adjutant of the regiment. On the suppression of this rebellion he accompanied Colonel Buller's force on its march through Kaffraria, Pondoland, across Natal to Pieter-maritzburg, thence through the length of Natal, across the Transvaal to Pretoria, and on to Lydenburgh, where the regiment was employed against the chief Sekokuni. This was reputed the longest cavalry march which had ever been made. On the outbreak of the Zulu war the Frontier Light Horse marched to the Zulu border at Kambula, where they joined the column under Sir Evelyn Wood, who had his base at Utrecht. While there, the finances of the regiment requiring reorganisation, the paymaster's department was added to Captain Hutton's other duties, and the work was, as usual, carried out to the complete satisfaction of his superior officers. He was present with Colonel Buller on patrol at the finding of the Prince Imperial's dead body, afterwards handed over to the regular cavalry sent out to search for it, and also at the Hlobana affair, where, after storming the mountain, several corps were caught on its summit by the sudden appearance of a Zulu impi, and lost heavily, having to retreat down an almost precipitous native footpath, where the horses had often to jump down steps in the rock, six feet at a time, and where many of the wounded men, and, indeed, others too, blew out their brains rather than fall alive into the hands of the Zulus. Captain Hutton and others ably seconded Colonel Buller's efforts to keep the men cool and to get them safely away, and was one of the comparative few who succeeded in saving their horses. Once down the mountain, a running fight took place for some miles, the Zulus doing their best to cut off the troops, and those who still had horses conveyed those unhorsed well to the rear, and helped to keep back the pursuing enemy. It was on this occasion that Colonel Buller won the V.C. by saving the lives of six or seven men. The next day the battle of Kambula was fought, when the Zulu impi, 20,000 strong, the pick of Cete-wayo's army, made repeated and desperate assaults on the camp from early morning till four o'clock in the afternoon, and were so thoroughly defeated that they never again made anything like a determined stand. Captain Hutton was the last of the mounted men who were sent out to draw the enemy on, who entered camp as the Zulus came charging to the assault, and he led the pursuit which followed the breaking of the enemy, when ample reparation was exacted for the companions who had fallen the day before; he was mentioned in despatches by General Wood for his gallantry and distinguished services during the two days. He accompanied his regiment on the advance to Ulundi, and was present at the battle of that name, which ended the war. Captain Hutton returned to England in September, 1879. Already possessed of the New Zealand medal, he now received the South African one with clasp. On the breakdown of their son's health, in 1881, Captain and Mrs Hutton accompanied him to Auckland in the ship “Roman Empire” (Captain Adamson), and thence proceeded to Fiji, whence, some months later, they returned, via Australia, to Auckland, and, joining their son, settled on the old farm at Otahuhu till 1888, when, their son having married, they returned to England, via Canada. In 1890 Captain and Mrs Hutton again visited Auckland. They returned to England, via China, Japan, and Suez the following year, and lived in London with their daughter, Miss. C. A. Hutton, till the death of Captain Hutton on the 1st of January, 1891, on the eve of another proposed visit to his son in New Zealand. Captain Hutton was the brother-in-law of the Right Honourable Joseph Chamberlain, whose first wife was Miss Harriet Kenrick, a younger sister of Mrs Hutton.

The Late Captain H. Hutton.

The Late Captain H. Hutton.