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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]



Mr. Joseph Reid Dodson was elected first Mayor of Nelson on the 1st of May, 1874, and he resigned on the 8th of January, 1875. The next Mayor was Mr. Joseph Henry Levien, who held office till his death on the 7th of June, 1876. Mr. Edward Everett was elected on the 21st of June, 1876, and resigned on the 31st of August, 1877. Mr. William Reid Waters succeeded Mr. Everett, and held office until the 21st of November, 1877. Then Mr. Joseph Reid Dodson was again elected, and held office till the 23rd of November, 1881. Mr. Dodson was succeeded by Mr. Edward Everett, who held office till the 23rd of November, 1882. Then came the Mayoralty of Mr. Charles Yates Fell, who held office for five years, till the 30th of November, 1887. Mr. John Sharp was then elected, and held office until the 16th of November, 1890, when he was succeeded by Mr. Francis Trask, who was ten times elected Mayor of Nelson, and held office until the latter end of 1899. Mr. J. A. Harley was elected in 1899, Mr. Henry Baigent in 1901, and Mr. Jesse Piper in 1904. Mr. Henry Baigent and Mr. Jesse Piper stood for election in 1905, when Mr Baigent received 728 votes and Mr Piper 563. Nelson's first four Mayors have passed away, but the remaining six are still (1905) active citizens in the municipality.

Mr. Joseph Reid Dodson arrived in Nelson from Australia in 1854, in the brig “Return,” and a few days afterwards purchased the late Mr. Richard Renwick's interest in the browery, which he carried on up to the time of his death. In 1858 he was elected a member of the Board of Works; two years later he went to England with his family, and remained there six years. In 1874, on the constitution of the Nelson borough, he was elected its first mayor; he was re-elected in 1877, and each successive year up to 1881, when he finally retired from the Council. In his capacity of mayor, he entertained Sir James Ferguson and Sir Hercules Robinson, on the occasions of their respective vice-regal visits to Nelson. In 1884 he sustained a severe loss in the death of Mr. George Hooper, who had been his partner in business for thirty years. He purchased his partner's share in the brewery, which was afterwards conducted under the style of J. R. Dodson and Son. Mr. Dodson was a member of Christ Church vestry and a churchwarden until the time of his death, at the age of seventy-eight years. Of a very kindly disposition and genial nature, he had, during his long residence in Nelson, made a host of friends, and his death was universally regretted.

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Mr. Joseph Henry Levien was elected Mayor of Nelson on the 26th of February, 1875. At that time municipal affairs were in anything but a satisfactory state. There was a large overdraft at the bank, and the accounts were in a state of confusion. But Mr. Levion was not discouraged, for, having a good knowledge of book-keeping, he set to work in earnest at the accounts, and in a short time got them into perfect order. He also urged the necessity for economy upon the council, and the consequence was that instead of an alarming overdraft there was ere long a balance to credit. Mr. Levien died in 1876, and was buried with Masonic ceremonies.

Mr. Edward Everett was first elected Mayor of Nelson on the 21st of June, 1876, on the death of Mr. J. H. Levien, and continued in office until the 31st of August, 1877, when he resigned. In November, 1881, he was again elected, in succession to Mr. Dodson, and held office for a year. Mr. Everett was a member of the old Board of Works, and for twenty years occupied a seat in the City Council. He served on the first Hospital and Charitable Aid Committee, of which he was chairman for many years, and he was also a director of the Permanent Building Society. Mr. Everett came to New Zealand in 1851, by the ship “Sir Edward Paget.” He died on Christmas Eve, 1904, leaving a family of seven sons and one daughter.

Mr. William Ridd Waters was first elected a member of the Nelson City Council on the 1st of October, 1875, and on the 31st of August, 1877, when Mr. Everett resigned his office as Mayor, in order to take a trip to England, Mr. Waters was appointed by his colleagues to fill the position for the ensuing three months of the term. While he held office negotiations were entered into for the purchase and taking over of the gas and water works at a valuation, and this purchase was ultimately effected. Mr. Waters carried on business as a bootmaker in Bridge Street for a considerable time, but he died many years ago.

Mr. Charles Yates Fell , who was Mayor of Nelson from 1882 to 1887, is elsewhere referred to as sole partner in the firm of Fell and Atkinson.

Mr. John Sharp , who was three times Mayor of Nelson, was first elected in November, 1887, in succession to Mr. C. Y. Fell. He is further referred to as a former member of the House of Representatives.

The Hon. Francis Trask, who was ten times Mayor of Nelson, is referred to in another article as a member of the Legislative Council.

Mr. J. A. Harley , who was a Member of the Nelson City Council for over twenty years, before becoming Mayor during the years 1899 -1901, was born in Nelson in 1843, and is a son of the late Mr. Charles Harley, a very early pioneer. He was educated at Nelson College, and in 1858 received an appointment in the resident magistrate's office. In November, 1863, he was appointed deputy-clerk to the District Court, and assistant clerk to the Resident Magistrate's Court, and he held this position until the District Court was abolished. He was also collector of the sheep and dog tax and education rates. In 1868 he was made clerk to the resident magistrate's court; a year later he received the appointment of deputy registrar of the Supreme Court and returning officer, and was afterwards appointed provincial accountant. After twelve years' service he received three months' leave of absence on full pay, and was given a month's salary for his holiday expenses. In 1871 he left the Government service to enter into business as a brewer. Mr. Harley has been Provincial Grand Master in the Order of Oddfellows, and Chief Ranger in the Order of Foresters. He is also a Past Mark Master in the Masonic Order, and perhaps the oldest Mark Master Mason in Nelson. Mr. Harley was married, in 1865, to Elizabeth Jane Disher, and has one son and one daughter.

Mr. Jesse Piper was elected Mayor of Nelson in April, 1904. He had been a member of the Nelson City Council since 1890, and had interested himself in gas, drainage, waterworks, and other schemes for the advancement of the city. Mr. Piper was born in 1836, at Hastings, Sussex, England. As a youth he went to sea, and on the outbreak of the Crimean war joined the storeship “Apollo,” in which he sailed for Malta, whence he was transferred to the express boat “Banshee,” and thence to the “Britannia,” the flagship of Admiral Dundas. Mr. Piper afterwards served on the paddle steamer “Cyclops,” which conveyed the 28th Regiment—the first British regiment to land on Turkish soil— from Malta to Gallipoli. Owing to his having sustained an injury, Mr. Piper shortly afterwards received his discharge from the British naval service, and he rejoined the merchant service, in which he was employed till 1860. On leaving the sea he engaged in storekeeping in his native town, where he remained until he left for New Zealand in 1872, by the ship “Asterobe.” Mr. Piper took up his residence at Nelson, where he conducted a temperance hotel till 1885, when he retired from business. He and Mr. Henry Baigent stood for the Mayoralty in April, 1905, when the voting was—Baigent, 728; Piper, 563.