The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]
The County Of Stratford was constituted about the year 1890. It has an area of 784 square miles, and the total capital value of the county is £1,479,214, of which the unimproved value is £898,265. The county is bounded on the north by the counties of Taranaki and Clifton, and on the south by those of Hawera and Patea. Its western boundary crosses the top of Mount Egmont, and the district extends inland to the Wanganui river on the east. The rates average from 1⅝d to 2¾d in the pound on unimproved values. Altogether the Council has raised loans amounting to £69,600, which has been expended on roads and bridges. A large bridge over the Patea river, in the borough of Stratford, is under the control of the Stratford Borough Council, which has become responsible for the debt incurred in the construction. The county offices are situated in the borough of Stratford; they are of wood and iron, stand on a half-acre section, and were erected in the year 1902. The Council has a traction engine and a stone crushing plant. The county has five ridings; namely, North, South, East, West, and Ohura. Members in the year 1906: Messrs G. A. Marchant (chairman), and D. L. Astbury, A. Brown, W. Hathaway, J. Thomson, J. Christoffel, J. B. Hine, A. W. Wood, and W. A. McCutcheon. Mr. C. Penn is County Clerk and Treasurer, and Mr. E. C. Robinson, County Engineer.
Mr. Alexander Brown has for some years been a member of the Stratford County Council. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in the year 1856, and went to Cape Colony as a child with his parents. In 1865 the family came to New Zealand, and settled in Auckland, where Mr. Brown, senior, is still (1906) farming. Mr. Brown was brought up on his father's farm, and afterwards settled in Taranaki, where he started farming on his own account about 1879. He took up his present farm in the year 1904. This property, which is named Manganui, after the stream of that name, is situated at Midhurst, on the Mountain road. It consists of 280 acres, on which he conducts dairying, and cropping for home use. Mr. Brown has also another farm of 100 acres, situated about five miles from Midhurst. He has been a director of the Midhurst Dairy Factory since its inception, and was chairman for the year 1906; has also been chairman of the Midhurst school committee, and is chairman of the Waipuku Domain and Cemetery Boards. Mr. Brown is married, and has seven children.
Mr. Ernest Crellin Robinson, C.E., was appointed Engineer of the page 168 County of Stratford in 1904. He was born in 1879 in New Plymouth, where he was educated. Mr. Robinson was trained as a surveyor, and served for five years. For two years afterwards he was employed as a surveyor in the Nelson and West Coast districts, and was also engaged in survey work under the Roads and Bridges Department. Subsequently he joined the Bridges Department, and was stationed at the head office for two years. After designing many bridges he retired in April, 1904, and was appointed to his present position. Mr. Robinson also acts for the Egmont county in designing and constructing bridges. In 1903 he married a daughter of Mr. O. W. Hanby, editor of the Nelson Mail, and has one son.