Sunday, 29 July 2012

An Old Letter from England 1897

The following letter was found in some old things that used to belong to my Great Grandma.  It was addressed to Aunt Anderton or Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer) who lived in Courtenay, Canterbury, New Zealand.  It was sent by a nephew that she never met as he was born after she left for New Zealand on the ship Metropolis.  Sarah had sent news to England of the death of her husband Tom Anderton who passed away on 08-09-1896.  She sent funeral cards to be passed out to family and friends and also some photos of Thomas Anderton (Tom).  Our family doesn't have a confirmed photo of Thomas although he is probably somewhere in our photo collection.  The letter also shows how unreliable the mail was in those days, getting lost at sea on the 3 months journey from England to New Zealand and vice versa.

If you are related to this family, the Andertons or the Parkers, please let me know as I would love to hear more about them.

29 Elford Place
Roundhay Road

July 2/97 (1897)

Dear Aunt

We received your letter dated July 15th and were much shocked to learn of Uncle Tom's death.  I am very sorry I have neglected answering your letter until now, but being situated in Leeds mother has had to go over to Halifax to seek up your old firneds and relations, consequently I have delayed writing until she has sought them up. 

Page 2.

And now perhaps I had better make myself known to you, seeing that I had not come into existance when you left this country.  It is rather amusing to have to give particulars of ones existance but I need only state that my name is Albert Edward Parker, only son of Mary Ann Parker (formerly Anderton) and was born in 1871.  

You will be astonished to learn from the enclosed card that father is dead.  He was only ill a very short time, in fact he was only about a week down.  

I can assure you we were all astounded when the specialist we called in told us he could not possibly live as he was suffering from cancer on the stomach and in such a critical place that an operation was quite out of the question.  So we were obliged to resign ourselves for the worst, but it certainly seemed very hard espeically for mother.  However father's loss brought about an entire change.  I had to take a house in Leeds in which city I was working and mother had to leave the old corner at Hanson lane and come live with me.  I am glad to say we are both very comfortable and keep fairly well.  Of course . . .

Page 3 

. . . I have not a big salary as yet, but I manage to pay the rent and allow mother a small amount for housekeeping purposes.  You will understand her feelings, not having father's money coming in week by week.  But we need not complain, ours is not a very bad case compared with some.  

You speak of the long silence which you have just broken between us, but which I have twice tried to break and have written to you on two occasions by father's request.  Did you receive the letters and neglect to reply or have they mis-carried.

Page 4

We thought it very strange never to hear from you in reply in fact father concluded that you were both dead.  However be good enough to answer this letter and please don't keep us long in suspense.

Mother's sister Aunt Martha and Aunt Jane are both living.  Aunt M still in Taylor ? Crossley Terrace. Aunt Jane after losing her husband went to Blackpool, where she is keeping a boarding house along with her daughter Sara Anne.

My sisters you will know, Sarah Jane, Annie and Lavinia, but I was a later edition.  Sarah Jane is married and living at Ovenden just outside Hx.  Her husband is a . . . 

Page 4
... chemist  and they have a family of five.  Anne is in America and Lavinia at her husband's native place in Somesetshire.  We shall be pleased to receive the photos you mention and mother will dispose of the funeral cards as she comes across your old friends, but many of them seem to have departed this life.

We have often expected to hear from Hannah and Charley.  Give our love to them.  Among your particular friends who have passed away are Wm Eastburn, Wm Sladdin, Ben and Liza Schofield and Hannah Greenwood.

Mary Coton lives at Bradford and mother will contrive to go see her.  She will be shocked at the news and will be glad to have a photo.  She is married and has a large family to follow but they are her husbands' children by his first wife.  The name is Mitchell, not Greenwood as you might possibly imagine.  Martha Coton I should have added has also passed away.  And now I think you have got all the news which will interest you.  So will conclude by giving you mother's age (67).  Give our love to all and accept our deepest sympathy yourself.  

Your loving sister 
M. A. Parker

We were please to note that Uncle Tom left all to you and trust you will thereby be comfortably provided for.

54_Letter to Sarah Ellen Anderton_5

Friday, 27 July 2012

Waimakariri Protective Works

The following is the article from the Press dated 08-12-1871 is about the Mayor of Christchurch along with Councillors visiting the No. 2 embankment of the Waimakariri River to see the work that had been done there to protect Christchurch from floods. It mentions James Potts the Surveyor.  It talks about what his house and grounds look like, his wife Sarah Potts and what the area in general looked like in 1871.  It also mentions a ebony black clock that was presented to him.  This is still in the family today.

At has long been a matter for regret that ratepayers of Christchurch, who contribute towards the erection and maintenance of these works on the Waimakariri, which have been carried out under the supervision tthe Board of Conservators, have-or at least a very large majority of them—not the slightest conception either of the magnitude and importance of the labors of the Board or the great difficulties, natural and otherwise, under which they were carried out. Even the members of the City Council, through whose agency the rate is collected, were until yesterday, with the exception of  His Worship the Mayor, who is ex officio a member of the Board, totally unacquainted with the works, or the importance as affecting the interest of Christchurch, of their being maintained and extended so far as the means at the disposal of the Board will admit.  

The ratepayers, of course, have often indulged in the good old British privilege of a grumble, and are very prone to say that a great deal of money has been spent for very little purpose, but a visit to the works will very soon dispel all such ideas, and the Board will, in that case, receive that meed of praise which their strenuous efforts fully entitle them to. It must be recollected that they have had to cope with a river not only formidable in itself, but also requiring a special training in order to enable this to be done satisfactorily and completely; as the usual experience of most engineers are quite at fault, and it is only by a close and attentive study to the ever varying and changing threatenings of the river, that a knowledge of how best to deal with it has been attained. This has cheerfully been given to it by the Board, ably supported by their engineer, and the consequence is that what might have proved almost irretrievable ruin to Christchnrch, has been happily arrested, and humanly speaking the river has been confined within safe limits. Therefore it is, and taking into consideration these facts, that we say the Board of Conservators deserve the highest possible amount of credit from the public generally for their efforts. 

Yesterday, however by invitation of his Worship the Mayor, tbe City Council paid a visit to the Waimakariri. Shortly after 8 a.m., a four-horse drag, tooled by Mr E. W. Millett, was in readiness at the City Council Chambers, and the party, which included his Worship the Mayor, Councillors Sawtell, Hart, Pratt, Joues, Hobbs, Bishop, and Calvert, the Town Clerk (Mr G. Gordon), Mr Fisher, one of the conservators, and the representatives of the local journals. Having responded to the call of "all aboard," a start was made. The half-way house, Taylor's Yaldhurst hotel, was quickly reached, and after a short halt a fresh departure was taken, and away we bowled across the stony plains and river beds for the house of the Surveyor. Mr J. Potts, which is situated on the West Coast road, about sixteen miles from town, and about two from the embankment which it was proposed to visit, and which is known as No. 2 embankment, which has recently been finished since the July flood.

On arriving at the bouse, we were met by Mr R. J. S. Harman, chairman of the Board of Conservators, who, with Mr Fisher and Mr Tosswill, enacted the part of guide for the day. After a short halt for refreshment, the commissarist department being under the able superintendence of Mr Gordon, we girded up our loins for a four or five mile walk over boulders and sand, which under the scorching rays of yesterday's sun was far from being the most agreeable part of the programme. However, Mr Harman was inexorable, and we resigned ourselves to our fate, and placed ourselves unreservedly under his guidance.
Before proceeding to notice the various points which came under our inspection, we will first notice wbat has been done at what may be called the homestead of the Board, viz., the ground in and around the Surveyor's residence, which is now in course of being ploughed up preparatory to being used as a nursery for the young trees used in tbe protective works. The cottage of the Surveyor has also been painted and the grounds neatly fenced, altogether presenting a trim appearance. 

Bidding adieu to the hospitable cottage of Mr Potts, we proceed to visit the first embankment in our immediate vicinity, the order of route having been changed in order to allow of our guide showing us the embankment first erected by the Government before the Board of Conservators was called into existence. 

The country over which we had to pass to reach the embankment, showed evident signs of having been at one time the bed of a river, the numerous channels worn by the scour of the water, and the high banks showing this most conclusively. It mainly consists of rolling downs, gradually descending in gradient until the bed of the river is reached. About half-a-mile from the cottage, we come upon what is known as the Halswell river bed, which so closely joins in with what is known as the Christchurch channel of the Waimakariri as to give grounds for alarm in case of fresh. Here and there are to be seen the marks of the overflow, in the shape of debris and deposits of silt, &c., which amply prove the terrible nature of the enemy with which the Board has to cope, an area of nearly three miles having been at one time inundated. As we wend our way across the plains, we catch sight of the embankment, which we are first about to visit, and which was erected by the Government after the February flood of 1868. It is composed of shingle topped witls gorse plants, and has been considerably added to and strengthened by the Board since they have been in office, and is now used by them as a means of repressing the water which may find its way down the Christchurch channel and passing it on to the northern side. As we draw nearer we get a good view of it, and find it to be simply a mound of shingle some sixteen or seventeen feet high and twelve chains or so in length. Passing through a wire fence which has been placed by the Board to prevent the sheep nibbling the young trees in the plantation, we arrive, after a contest with several gigantic boulders, in which we came off but second best, at the commencement of the work. At this point we missed two or three of our companions, and on looking out over the plain we saw them comfortably ensconced under the lee of a sandhill, with a white pocket handkerchief displayed as a signal to halt, they having—cute fellows as they were —kept close company with the worthy Town Clerk, who was more than once suspected of having a small flask somewhere in reserve. But our guide, the chairman of the Board, was adamant, so after waving a mournful farewell, we proceeded on our weary pilgrimage over what one of the party facetiously .termed "petrified kidneys."

The direction in which the embankment runs, is about north-east, its northern end trending somewhat easterly on reaching the channel. On the western face the Board has planted two rows of trees close together, the outer line being the line which they consider should have been taken by the embankment, being nearly due north and south, and running at nearly right angles with the inner line. These trees are the Black Lombardy Poplar, and are growing remarkably well, the shoots looking very healthy and showing signs of vigorous vitality, notwithstanding that the soil in which they are planted is so very unpromising. The willows planted too, are looking well. Proceeding along this embankment we notice many marks of the recent floods in the debris left, but at the same time it is to be noticed that this seems to settle down and form, as it were, a new soil, so that in time it is to be hoped that the silting up thus going on will materially strengthen the defence against the water offered by the shingle embankment. At the end of the embankment, the Government had made a cutting through a sandhill, but this has now being turned to account by the Board by facing it with large stones, built so as to offer little or no resistance to the water, but to shunt it off to the northward. The embankment then takes a turn to the eastward, and after a short but sharp penance among the boulders we reach the celebrated cage upon which and its vicinity the river spent the whole of its strength during the great flood. Here the Board had a hard fight with the enemy. Solid concrete blocks and masses of concrete bags were placed in here, but the scour of the river was so great that immense holes were washed under concrete blocks and they fell in. Here the value of the works executed by the Board was strikingly apparent. The river which at one time threatened to burst over all obstacles, and which made such havoc in the defences opposed to it, has been turned quite in another direction, and the channel is at some distance from this point. 

Descending from the embankment, we come to a perfect miniature forest of trees planted by the Board, which have grown up very thickly, and form an admirable defence. A short rest of a few moments is all that is permitted to us by the indefatigable Chairman, and we are once more en route, this time over an interminable plain of boulders. We cast longing glances in the direction of the haven of refuge in which our truant companions have taken shelter, and where they are quietly enjoying a pipe, but it's no use, stern duty urges us on. and "onward" is the cry. In the distance looms the object of our visit, embankment No. 2; but alas, between us aud it lies a thickly strewn boulder plain. However, as the Scottish proverb has it we "set a stout heart to a stiff brae," and get on very well considering. 

At short intervals wherever it has been deemed necessary from the contour of the bank, willow groins, that is plantations of willows about two feet high, thickly planted, have been made, the angle at which they are planted being such as to accommodate rather than obstruct the run of water, but to shunt it off towards the northern bank. These groins are growing very rapidly and will shortly form a most effectual defence against the incursion of the water, should it succeed in passing the No 2 embankment. Here we pause for a moment to see the effect of the work of the Board. Their object has been to erect defences and turn off the river, planting as fast as possible behind such defence, so as to offer every resistance to the water, and thus as it were winning foot by foot the disputed territory. This is being done over the whole of this portion of the river bed, and the plantations are also being carried up on to the higher ground, so as to prevent any water finding its way by that route.

Arrived at the embankment, we find our missing friends, much refreshed by their halt, awaiting us, and we proceed to inspect what is justly looked upon by the Board as its greatest triumph. This embankment is composed of shingle, as in the case of the first referred to, and is about thirteen chains long from what may be called the shore end to the extreme point jutting out into the river. Before proceeding to notice in detail the present appearance of the embankment it may be interesting to trace as well as we can the various aspects of the river since March of this year. In that month the main stream was confined by a groin jutting out a short distance above the No. 2 embankment, faced with boulders, and the No. 2 embankment itself, also faced with boulders. Before the flood of July, 1871, two lines of boxes made somewhat in the shape of an inverted V, but filled with gravel, and thus presenting a sloping surface to the river, thereby assisting the run of the water without making a scour, were placed near the end of No. 2 embankment, the ends having a slightly northward tendency, and being faced with boulders as before. After tbe flood of July, 1871, the position was as follows :—the upper groin still held, but there was a great scour against the face, and this being across the old channel, fears were entertained of its holding. It did, however, but not so the No. 2; the boulder end and the boxes were swept away, the latter being left on a sort of island, and the water made a clean breach through, the whole weight and force of the stream falling as we have already said upon the cage, and the concrete blocks, which only just stood the untoward pressure. On September 5, the boulder face of the upper groin began to wear away very fast, the stream impinging very strongly upon it. The Board then resolved, with regard to the breach made through No. 2 embankment to adopt another course, and a line of boxes, nineteen in number, each weighing twenty-five tons, protected by a breastwork of bags of concrete, at intervals, jutting out, and faced at the end with 800 bags of concrete, and a T shaped face of six boxes jutted out into the stream, thus driving the stream against a small island which intervened between the work and the main stream, and gradually directing the water northwards, while this was being done the water got through in the old channel at the upper defence, and on October 4, eight boxes were placed on the outer face and three on the inner of this work, together with two detached boxes lower down, which had the effect of throwing the water over on to the opposite or northern bank. But in the meanwhile water was coming down the old channel and impinging on the No. 2 embankment at the shore end. It was therefore determined to run out a line of boxes. 2 1/2 chains in length, and four detached boxes in the line of the stream still further in shore, which, together with a small line of boxes immediately above the bags at the commencement of the boxes first put down, had the effect of silting up the stream and making it comparatively slack water, so that the danger was averted. We are indebted to a series of drawings excellently executed by Mr J. N. Tosswill of the various phases of the river for the above information. 
These boxes we may say are about fourteen feet wide at the bottom, holding some twenty-five tons of gravel, and are placed with their sloping faces outward so that the centre of gravity is well back. Having inspected this work, which certainly will amply repay a visit, we next proceeded to look at upper groin referred to. At this corner there is a bend of the river, and the current is making into the bank. With a view of preventing this a line of boxes have been built in shoreward, which will be continued across on to the high ground if it is found to be necessary. It may be here stated that the river is gradually eating away the northern bank, and in all probability will, if followed up and defences erected as the works are advanced, finally scour out that channel sufficiently for the surplus water. Just below the work are two or three detached boxes, which it is intended to extend as they are found to answer admirably.
The work of inspection over, we adjourned to the cover of a friendly sandhill, where a capital luncheon was laid out, and all our past pilgrimages were forgotten in the enjoyment of the well-earned rest. Luncheon over, Cr Hart, ever on the alert for speechifying, proposed the health of the Board of Conservators, coupled with the name of the chairman, Mr R. J. S. Harman, expressing the great gratification and surprise felt by the members of the City Council, at inspecting the works carried on under the supervision of the Board, and their hope that the work might last and prove as successful as it deserved. This toast having been drunk in champagne with the usual honors, Mr Harman responded, pointing out the very great difficulties under which the Board had labored in carrying out their work, and assuring the Mayor and Councillors of the very great pleasure the Conservators felt at their visit, and hoping that more of the citizens might be induced to come up and see for themselves, what had been done. Again the caeoethes loquendi attacked Councillor Hart, and from the shady side of the sandhill he proposed the health of the Mayor, the founder of the feast. This of coarse was drunk in bumpers, and one gentleman actually chanted musical honors —an attempt which, much to our delight, failed most signally. The signal was then given for the return, and after a rather wearisome march across the plains, we assembled in Mr Potts' cottage once more.  
On our arrival there it was evident from the unfathomable mystery depicted in the countenance of our worthy Town Clerk that something was about to happen,and this mystery was heightened when that gentleman a la Heller produced a very handsome clock from some unknown receptacle. It then leaked out that the Board of Conservators, in recognition of the very able manner in which Mr Potts, their Surveyor, had discharged his very onerous duties, and also as a mark of their sense of the hospitality of Mrs Potts, exercised on the occasion of the visits of the Board to the works, had determined on making a presentation to them. We soon formed ourselves into the orthodox meeting, and with a small stock of "sparkling" in reserve, the ceremony commenced.
Mr Harman said that the; Board had determined upon presenting a testimonial to Mr and Mrs Potts, as a slight acknowledgment of the hospitality so freely offered to the Board, and also as a mark their appreciation of the manner in which Mr Potts had discharged the very onerous duties of his office .  During the time Mr Potts had been in the service of the Board he had always discharged the duties in the most satisfactory manner, and while the Board were desirous of acknowledging Mrs Potts' hospitality, they were most anxious to testify to them their appreciation of the zeal with which Mr Potts had discharged the duties devolving upon him. He had been constant in his watch for danger—danger which in many instances threatened life and property, and had spared neither time nor trouble to carry out the very onerous duties devolving upon him. He had much pleasure in handing Mr and Mrs Potts, on behalf of the Board of Conservators, the small token of their appreciation. He would read the inscription on the clock which was as folows—"James Potts, from the Board of Conservators, South Waimakariri District, 1871," and he hoped they would long preserve it as a memento of the confidence of the Board in them. [Cheers.] 
His Worship the Mayor, in a few appropriate, remarks, concurred with all that had fallen from Mr Harman with respect to the manner in which Mr Potts had discharged his duties, and also the kindly hospitality evinced by Mrs Potts, and concluded by wishing them long life aud happiness. 

The toast having been heartily responded to, Mr Potts replied in a few well chosen words, and the ceremony terminated. 
The clock was a very elegant ebony one, having in the front a silver plate bearing the inscription referred to.
The horses were then put to, and in response to Mr Millett's "all aboard," we took our seats and came into town shortly after seven o'clock, having spent a most agreeable day.

James Potts

James Potts (08-12-1834  -  25-10-1879)

James Potts was Sarah Winfield Brown’s first husband.  He was born on 08-12-1834 in Christ Church, Spitalfields, Middlesex, England to John and Elizabeth Potts (nee Thompson).  John Potts was a basketmaker who at one stage employed seven men. They had many children, Valentine John, George, James, Henry, Charles, Alfred, Elizabeth, Jane Emma and Susanna.  John Potts had a will dated 20-11-1868 which mentioned his 9 children.  His personal estate was £85. For more information on this family please see the extensive website on the Potts family click here

James Potts appears in the G.R. MacDonald Dictionary of Canterbury Biographies.  James arrived at Lyttelton on the ship Glentanner on 03-10-1857 listed as a basketmaker from London, aged 23. He obviously worked for his father in England.  A report of the journey on the Glentanner was in the Lyttelton Times 07-10-1857.

The Glentanner left Gravesend on the 11th June, and had light and variable winds to the equator, which she crossed on the 20th July, 38 days out. Fortunately, she had pleasant winds from the line until she got into about 43 degs. south, off the Cape, which was made on the 18th August, when she experienced heavy weather. On the 20th occurred somedisagreeable squalls, one of which, a very heavy one from the S.W.,at7p.m. caught the ship on the lee. The vessel was thrown on her beam ends, when every effort was made to take in all sail. The mainmast head gave way, and also the mizen-topmast and jib-boom, which carried away the fore-top gallant mast and fore-topsail yard, fore-topsail, outer and inner and flying jibs, fore and main-top gallant sails, main-topmast stay sail, and cross-jack, and split nearly all the sails. When the masts went down theship lighted herself, but it was not until the following day she could be got before the wind,, and then she could only spread her foresail and fore-top-mast stay sail. By this accident Capt. Bruce had the misfortune to lose one able seaman, Augustus Silva, who was knocked off the mizen top-gallant yard. 

It sounds like a difficult journey out, but this didn't stop James trying to sponsor his future wife, Sarah Winfield Brown to sail out on the Gananoque in 1860.  In the end he didn't have to sponsor her as she became matron on the ship, her job being to keep the single women away from the single men and vice versa!  The matron never actually nursed the sick on board.  Being matron meant she got free passage out.  They married a month after Sarah arrived in New Zealand.  We are not sure how they met in England but it must have been a strong relationship to continue on once she arrived in New Zealand after three years being apart.  James's occupation was labourer.

On 18 August 1867 when his daughter was baptised, he was named as a Foreman of Government Works.  Sponsors were James and Sarah themselves and also Elizabeth Thompson.  Her relationship to the family is unknown.  James and Sarah had four children but none survived to maturity.  See the blog "The Meng children's Stepmother" for more information.

James became a Civil Engineer in New Zealand and was surveyor to the Waimakariri Board of Works.  How he rose to such a position after being a humble basketmaker we will never know. The Mayor and Councillors paid a visit to the embankments on December 1871.  They had a hearty meal, drank toasts and Harman presented Potts with a black marble clock which is still in the family today.  The article describes the place Mr and Mrs Potts were living.

"Before proceeding to notice the various points which came under our inspection, we will first notice what has been done at what may be called the homestead of the Board, viz., the ground in and around the Surveyor's residence, which is now in course of being ploughed up preparatory to being used as a nursery for the young trees used in the protective works. The cottage of the Surveyor has also been painted and the grounds neatly fenced, altogether presenting a trim appearance."  

The cottage which was probably owned the the Board of Conservators was 16 miles from town, which to my calculations puts it somewhere near the west part of West Melton, to the east part of Halkett, somewhere inbetween on what is now the Old West Coast Road, possibly near Range Road.

In the Press 07-10-1876 there was an ad for roading tenders and one was for near "the conservators' office (Potts' house)" on West Coast Road.

After James's death his wife Sarah Winfield Potts had to make a claim to transfer her deceased husbands sections into her name.  They were Rural Section 14152 which is now a rifle range for the NZ Army, just before Halkett area (more like West Melton area), RS 28130, 28146 and 28287.  It appears James owned land in the vicinity of the conservators' house.  According to the article from 1871 the conservators' house was 2 miles from the Waimakariri River, of course the flow of the Waimak is quite different from what it is today.  There is also a mention of Potts' Road in the papers of the time.  I have a feeling it may now be called Range Road which leads to the NZ Army Rifle Range, but this hasn't been proven.

Even though James had no children he was a member of the Halkett School Committee, as was Jabez Lord.  He was also chairman of the Halkett Church Committee in April 1873.  In May 1875 an addition was made to the Courtenay Church and a spire was added and the Bishop consecrated the Church and James was churchwarden at the time.  So James had a lot to do with the Halkett and Courtenay community.

In the Press dated 27-12-1875 there was a summary of the Courtenay Flower Show which was held on 17-12-1875 and had 300 to 400 people attend.  It listed the prize winners.  J. Potts won the following categories:  One specimen plant, in flower; one geranium; one petunia; six verbenas, varieties and twelve pods peas.  He received second prize for: six sweet williams; one calceolaria and three calceolarias.  He did quite well at the show.  Mrs Potts got second in the table bouquet and hand bouquet sections.  In the evening James Potts helped with entertainment so must have been fairly musical.

"An entertainment was held in the evening, when glees were sung by St Matthew's Choir, readings by Messrs Anson and Stedman, and vocal and instrumental; pieces by Mesdames Anson, Anderton, and Taylor, Messrs Potts and Turner. At its conclusion, dancing commenced, and was kept up with great spirit for some hours,when everyone went home, having spent a very happy day."

James was also treasurer for the 1878 Courtenay Horticultural Show in the Press 16-09-1878.  James again won quite a few prizes for flowers and vegetables.  He offered a 10 shilling prize for an arrangement of flowers. 

James Potts was chairman of the Halkett School Committee at the time of his death on 25-10-1879 at his home in Courtenay, aged a young 44.

Star 6 Nov 1879 James Potts Death

 The Star 6 November 1879

Water Race Map for Courtenay 1881

The following image is courtesy of F. Wilson who took the photo after a visit to the Selwyn District Council.  It is a photo of a water race map from 1881 and shows who owned or ran the farms at the time in the Courtenay area.  Jabez Lord farmed Rural section 6705 and 7501 and also 6291 across from the St Matthew's Church, Courtenay.

Thomas and Sarah Ellen Anderton farmed rural section 9216 on the corner of what is now called Old West Coast Road and Intake Road.

Other names on the map are Orr, Henderson, Guiney, R. Tosswill, Roper, Turner, Whyte, A. Davis, McLennan and Smith.

Water Race Map 1881

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Social Life in Courtenay

I found two articles about the social life in Courtenay, Canterbury, New Zealand.  They also prove how closely connected Mrs Potts, Mrs Anderton and Mrs Lord were (see other blog posts on them).  The three ladies live in the Courtenay area, two of them on farms and Mrs Potts in a house in Courtenay while her husband worked on the Waimakariri River as a civil engineer.

The first article has Mrs Lord and Mrs Anderton involved in duets and is from the Press dated 20-10-1877

"I.O.G.T., Courtenay—The Providence Lodge celebrated its second anniversary on Thursday, 18th inst., by a very successful tea and public entertainment. The new Orange Hall was crowded to excess to hear a choice selection of songs, glees, and duets performed by Mesdames Pearce, Lord, Anderton, and Tetley, and Messrs Trickett, Pearce, Potts, and Coward with Mrs Hunson as pianist. The chair was ably filled by Mr W. Trumble, S.D.G.W.C.T. The lodge deputy, Mr W. Bashford, gave a short report of the Lodge, by which it appeared that twenty-three members had been added during the last three months. Mr H. Bennetts, G.W.C, gave an address upon temperance, and the audienco separated at a somewhat late hour."

The sisters Mary Ann Lord (nee Spencer) and Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer) must have been fairly good at singing to be entertaining a hall "crowded to excess."

The second article is from the Press dated 05-11-1885 and is also about the Providence Lodge, this time the 10 year anniversary.  Again Mrs Lord and Mrs Anderton performed duets.

"I.O.G.T., Providence Lodge, No. 103, Courtenay. —'lhe tenth anniversary of the above lodge was celebrated by a tea and concert on Friday, October 30th. The attendance, considering the favorable state of the weather, was rather small, but the Committee, through judicious management, were able to meet all expenses and leave a small credit balance. The tea was provided by Mr Batestone, of Kirwee, and the tables presided over by the Sisters of the lodge. The concert was opened by the members of the different lodges singing the opening Templar, ode, "Come friends and brethren, all unite;"  The chair was occupied by the L.D. Bro. G.T. Robertson. Although the musical part of the entertainment was all that could be desired, a want was felt in the absence of temperance speakers. The vocal part of the entertainment was contributed as follows:—Solos, Sister McNae and Miss A. McNae, Bro. White, Mr Pole and Mr G. T. White; duets, Mrs Lord and Mrs Anderton; readings, Mr Anson and Mr Pole. Mrs Anson presided at the piano, kindly lent by Mrs Brett. An address was delivered by the Rev H. B. Burnett, who, at the conclusion of the meeting, asked the members of the institution present for their assistance in making arrangements for a visit from Mr Matthew Burnett, who is giving lectures in the various centres throughout the colony. Bro. Jenkins replied that members would be happy to assist him in the work. After the customary votes of thanks had been passed, the meeting was. brought to a close by singing the National Anthem." 

In the Press dated 06-01-1890 there was an article about the Halkett and Courtenay Sunday Schools which sounds absolutely wonderful.  Dancing on the lawn in front of The Desert homestead (originally connected to the Desert Run), amazing food from country ladies of the district and the sounds of children laughing and playing.  I wish I had been there!  Twenty five year old Edwin Lord (listed as E. Lord), who was the son of Jabez and Mary Ann Lord, was mentioned, as well as Mrs Anderton.

"Courtenay.-—The annual treat in connection with the Halkett and Courtenay Sunday Schools was held on Friday afternoon, in the grounds adjoining The Desert (the homestead ot Mr H. Feutz). During the early part of the afternoon the children amused themselves by playing games. At five o'clock they formed a procession and marched, with the Sunday School banner in the van, to the lawn fronting the house, where they vers regaled with a repast provided by the ladies of the district. After tea Mr T. H. Anson, assisted by the Superintendents (Messrs W. Jenkins and E. Lord) of the two schools, distributed the prizes to the successful scholars.  Hearty cheers were then given for the teachers, Mr and Mrs Feutz, Mr Anson and the ladies.. Dancing on the lawn was indulged in with spirit for some time after which the visitors dispersed. Mesdames Feutz, Brett, Anderton, Davis,  Jenkins, Roper, Cox, Messrs Anson, Jenkins, Lord, and others assisting, are to be congratulated on having brought about one of the most enjoyable outings ever held in the district. The pleasures of the day were very largely added to by the hospitality of Mr and Mrs Feutz, which was accorded to all present." 

12_Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer)

Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer)

The best article of all is entitled "A Holiday at Courtenay" and was in the Press dated 27-11-1877.  It is a very long article which talks about the trip in the train to Kirwee and then drive to the Courtenay district.  It explains the buildings there in 1877, and the sports day which included stalls, refreshments and lots of running races and other sports.  Many local people are named including Mrs Lord on the refreshments stall and Mrs Anderton and Mrs Potts on the other stalls.  Three ladies who knew each other well in the district. It sounds a lot of fun and just shows what a wonderful community they had there all those years ago.

A holiday in the country is to a man about town as refreshing as an oasis in the desert is to an Asiatic traveller, and demoralised indeed must be he who cannot spend a few hours happily amongst pastoral paddocks, picturesque hedge-rows, and singing skylarks, far away from that compromise between town and country which men call Christchurch. Times there are when one is apt, unreasonably perhaps, to think the attractions of Hagley Park, the gardens, and the Museum dull and hackneyed, beer-drinking an occupation which is stale and flat, and basking in the suave smiles of barmaids sadly unprofitable to the basker; and there are times when even the aesthetic glories of Cathedral square fail to charm. At such times when Cassius is aweary of the world, it will be well and wise for him to flee to the country for mental recuperation. Fresh air and a change of scene are your best physicians. For myself, I am an observer of the golden mean in all things, a staid, steady youth of puritanical principles and practice, and to mc such changes are never matters of necessity. Still it was with pleasure that I complied with a request to attend the annual sports at Courtenay on Friday, the 23rd inst., although the compliance entailed an early rise in the morning, a folly to which I have an hereditary dislike. When I reach the old railway station, at twenty minutes past six—ten minutes before the time of starting—the scene did not remind me of the terminus at Euston square, London, for a very good reason —I have never been there. The gathering crowds of people philosophical aspects, and the railway buildings looked their best in the genial sunlight—extremely commonplace. A start made, our company gave way to that sociability so characteristic of English speaking people, and the conversation, like the speed we were going at, became fast and furious. At least three remarks were made within the first half hour. One of these was quite poetical. A gentleman said—"Rain must come soon, or there'll be sorrow all round the heart of the country is panting for it." He is an auctioneer, and therefore by trade a dealer in poetic diction. An irreverent writer recently expressed some sneers at the speed of trains on the Canterbury railways. He must have strange notions of rapid travelling. On Friday morning the train went from Christchurch to Kirwee, a distance of twenty-one miles, in an hour and three-quarters— a rate which could scarcely be beaten by the oldest stock horse in the province. Besides, this pace enables passengers to amuse themselves by counting the sheep and poultry at the farms near the line as they pass along, a pleasure which railway travellers in other parts of the world are debarred from enjoying. But some people are never satisfied.
It had been raining for about a quarter of an hour before we reached Kirwee, and this circumstance, though it must have been consoling to the settlers, did not tend to enliven the appearance of the town. Kirwee is not noted for its crowded streets, neither was Christchurch thirty years ago. Half an hour's drive from Kirwee brings us to Courtenay, which consists of a schoolhouse, with teacher's residence attached, one cottage, a public library, a new building called the Orange Hall, a stockyard, and a cowshed. The country around consists of rich level lands, mostly laid down in grass, and browsed by sleek well-developed cattle and longwoolled sheep. Here and there the fields are embellished with rows and clumps of blue gums and other trees, but there is no native timber about. We are told that shearing is going on in the neighborhood, that Mr Holmes, of Bangor, is nearly finished, that Colonel Brett, of Kirwee, has just begun, and that Mr Tosswill, of Highfield, will begin in; a day or two.  The district is evidently not densely populous, the holdings being mostly large, but it is unmistakeably prosperous. Notwithstanding the rainfall there are a good many people hovering about the village, and the Orange Hall is the scene of considerable activity. Entering that august building, we find it tolerably well filled with ladies who are superintending the erection and decoration of stalls and the placing of refreshment tables. The reply given to the inevitable question is that the ladies of the neighborhood are getting up a bazaar for the purpose of raising funds to build a parsonage. They think it would not be unwise to hold it on the same day as the annual sports of the district. A church, situated some distance from the village, they already possess, and they thought that if they once had a parsonage erected they would be able to support a clergyman. Expecting to receive £250 from the Church Property Trust, and knowing that it will take £400 to build a parsonage, the object of the residents is to raise what they can of the balance by means of the bazaar. The stalls are not numerous—three only—but they are tastefully got up and are well supplied with articles useful and ornamental, and they are patronised in a manner which is gratifying to the holders. All the people who come to attend and witness the sports pay for their luncheon at the tables presided over by Mrs Robertson, Mrs Lord, and Mrs Bashford. The fancy goods' stall, kept by Mrs Tosswill and Mrs Hopkins, would do credit to any city bazaar. The other stalls are in charge of Mrs Goole, Mrs Anderton and Mrs Davies, Mrs Ansen, Mrs Potts, and Mrs Foster respectively. Throughout the day a good business is done, and in the evening the balance of the articles are sold by Mr Hawkes, of Christchurch.
About noon the rain clears off, and a beginning is made with the annual sports. Mr P. H. Ansen is president; Mr S. W. Tosswill, secretary. The committee are, inclusive of the two gentlemen just named, Messrs A. McNae, H. McNae, Kemp, E. Templar, and D. McBeath; judge, Mr E. C. Maxwell; starter, Mr H. V. Ansen.
The first event was a race for boys under sixteen; distance, 440 yards. There were three entries. Little Arthur Tosswill made the running very warm for Alf White, a boy nearly five years older than he, White winning by about two feet. For the running long leap there were three entries, but the tug of war lay between A. McBeath and J. Kemp, the former of whom won with a leap of 17ft 3in, Kemp clearing 16ft 9 1/2in. There were four competitors in the standing high jump, and so close was the contest between S. Simpson and R. Frame —both of whom cleared 4ft 1in that they tossed for first place, Frame winning the toss. There were five entries for the hop, step, and jump. A. McBeath won the first prize, with 35ft 7in; R. Frame second, with 34ft. 6in. Four entered as contestants in putting the stone, R. Frame winning the first prize with a pitch of 30ft 8in, A. McBeath second, distance 28ft 8in. The footrace for adults, 440 yards, was an exciting events, but the strife lay between F. Holland and J. Smyth, A. McBeath being nowhere. Holland won in 63 1/2sec, with Smyth running hard a length, or two behind him. S. W. Tosswill, H. McNae, and R. Frame entered for throwing the sledge hammer. Frame won first prize with a distance of 77ft; McNae second, distance 69ft 8in. The 100 yards open handicap caused much interest amongst the spectators. Five started; H. G. Tosswill, placed two yards from scratch, took the lead and kept it throughout, winning the first prize, a handsome silver cup, presented by Mr Sandstein, jeweller, Cashel street, Christ church; J. Kemp won second place. For the running high jump, for boys under sixteen, there were three entries, A. Tosswill, A. White, and R. Manson. The first, a lad of eleven, leapt very pluckily, but the others were too much for him. Manson won with a jump of 3ft. 7 1/2in. White took second place. The two miles walking race was by far the most interesting contest of the day. There were three entries, A. McNae, H. G. Tosswill, and J. Sawle. From the outset there was little apparent chance of either of the other two taking the first prize out of McNae's hands but towards the end a keen struggle took place between Tosswill and Sawle for second honors. Both walked well. At one time it looked as though both broke into a trot; but Tosswill came in second by several lengths. After the walk both complained of being jostled by each other. Sawle lodged a protest, which was allowed, and the committee awarded him second prize. Four entered for the half-mile race, for boys under eighteen years. After a spirited contest D. McBeath won the first, and B. Revelley the second prize. The running high jump was keenly contested, the top height cleared being 4ft. 10in. F. Holland and A. McBeath were so closely matched that instead of "holding out to tire each other down," they agreed to divide the prize money between them. For the one mile race, open to all, four started, J. Smith coming in first in the first lap, S. Simpson second. This order was kept up throughout except for a brief space, when A. McNae passed Simpson, but the race finished with Smith first, Simpson second. Time, 5min. 35secs. The 440 yards three-legged race created much amusement. Three pairs entered, H. McNae and A. McBeath, H. G. Tosswill and S. W. Tosswill, J. Kemp and A. McNae. The Tosswills took the lead at the offset and kept it throughout, winning easily, McBeath and H. McNae being second, Kemp and his partner conspicuously in the rearward. The 220 yards handicap called five competitors to the fore. S. Simpson with a start of five yards, and A. Robinson ditto, came in respectively first and second. The half-mile race (open) was won by S. W. Tosswill, J. Smith second. In the "three hops," J. Sawle won the first prize, the second was won by S. W. Tosswill. There were four entries for the married men's race, 220 yards. H. McClelland carried off the first, W. Simpson the second prize. The first prize for the race over eight flights of hurdles was won by F. Holland, the second by J. Simpson. The prizes were distributed in the evening by Mrs T. Anson, wife of the president. All those valued at less than £1 consisted of money, those valued at, and more than that, of handsome silver cups. Of these last were the 100 yards handicap, the mile race, the 220 yards handicap, and the two-miles walking race, the running high jump, the hurdle race, and the three-legged race.
In conclusion, it may be remarked that the sports were tolerably successful considering the size of the district. A little more method in the arrangements, which should be left to the management of a small committee, would be a tangible advantage; but the drawback alluded to is one which time and experience will remedy.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Anderton Family

Thomas Andrew Anderton (21-02-1829  -  08-09-1896)

Thomas Andrew Anderton was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England on 21-02-1829 to parents George Anderton and Sarah Wilkinson.  He had brothers and sisters as follows:

Mary Ann Anderton (18-11-1830 - ?)
Martha Anderton (30-12-1832 - ?)
William Anderton (7-08-1834 - ?)
Jane Anderton (27-03-1836 - ?)

Thomas Anderton married Sarah Ellen Spencer in 1857 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England. 

Thomas and Sarah emigrated to New Zealand on the ship Metropolis, a ship of 1082 tons, commanded by Captain Kennery which sailed from London on 04-03-1863 and arrived at Lyttelton on 16-06-1863.  Thomas was named as a gardener from Yorkshire in the passenger list. 

Soon after arriving, Thomas and Sarah would have moved to the Courtenay area of Canterbury where Sarah's sister Mary Ann Lord (nee Spencer) already lived with her husband Jabez Lord.  The Andertons ended up living just down the road from each other.  The Andertons had a farm on West Coast Road (which is now the Old West Coast Road). 

The family story was that Thomas and Sarah had no children but there was an entry in the Press dated 30-05-1868 that said they had a daughter on 27-05-1868.  After over ten years marriage with no children, this child would have been much loved and adored and very special to them.  Not many people advertised their children's births in those days.  However this baby must not have survived for very long as there was never an Anderton child who grew to adulthood as far as we know.  There is no record of her birth on the Births, Deaths and Marriages website and no record of her death.  This may be because of a transcription of typing error in the records, or maybe she was never registered and died only a few days after birth and they were too heartbroken to register her.

The loss of their child would have been terrible.  Sarah Anderton's sister, Mary Ann Lord nee Spencer sent her son Edwin Lord to live with the Andertons.  We are not sure what age he was when he went there, but the family story was that he was pretty much brought up by the Andertons.  The Lord and Anderton families lived only  a few hundred metres down the road from each other on separate farms, so he wouldn't have been greatly missed as he wasn't far away.  The Lord family was big and Mary Ann Lord would have had enough on her plate already.

On 08-09-1869 the Board of Conservators met and Anderton was awarded 14 pounds for "ploughing for gorse plantations."  Little did the farmers know then that gorse would become one of the worst introduced plants in New Zealand, taking over the countryside and growing far more vigorously than back in Great Britain.

In the Press of 05-05-1873 Thomas Anderton made an objection to the electoral roll for Selwyn District as he had been incorrectly named as "Anderson".  His land was leasehold, not freehold at the time.

Jabez Lord and Thomas Anderton were both farmers and well involved in the Courtenay community.  They had a couple of roading tenders accepted that were advertised in the Press 14-07-1873.

Roading board Lord and Anderton Press 14 July 1873
The Courtenay Road Board met at White's Accommodation House on 04-05-1875 to discuss roading in the area and the West Coast Road contract had taken too long to be commenced by a man named McDowell, so the contract was passed on to the next local men, Lord and Anderton.  The article from The Press dated 07-05-1875 said that they were "now at work" on the contract, obviously being more consciencious than McDowell.

On 26-06-1875 a committee was chosen for the Courtenay Flower Show which consisted of Messrs Anderton and Lord as well as other men.  Messrs Anderton offered one of the special prizes.  In 1878 and 1889 this prize was 5 shillings for the best six kidney potatoes.

In the Press 21-10-1886 Thomas Anderton was chosen to judge best kept garden at the annual show:
"It was arranged that the annual show be held on Friday, 24th December. Resolved, that the Secretary endeavour to arrange for three judges for the show, and communicate with Mr Crooks with reference thereto. The date for judging the gardens was fixed for Saturday, 18th December, and Messrs McNae, Anderton, and Davis, were appointed judges for the same."  He was also appointed a judge for the gardens in 1878 and 1888.  In the Press of 17-12-1890 Thomas Anderton was listed as a committee member for the Courtenay Horticultural Society who were holding a flower show.  It seems that Thomas was very much into his gardening and the Horticultural Society which is understandable considering he was a gardener back in England.  He didn't however seem to enter any of the competitions, preferring to be on the committee instead.

On 05-04-1889 in The Press, Thomas Anderton was listed as sending sheep to the Kirwee saleyards for the monthly sale.  It seems that times were hard and a bit of a drought was hitting the Canterbury area:

"At the Kirwee Saleyards on Monday, April 1st, we held our monthly sale. Large entries of sheep were sent in, over 4000 yarded, but although there was a large attendance there were not many buyers present, and the majority of the sheep were purchased by dealers. Despite the heavy rains we have had, this part of the country looks very dry, and there is a scarcity of feed, and farmers do not care about burdening themselves with sheep that they cannot keep properly. Our entries were for Mr G. Spencer, H. W. Mac- Lelland, B. Hale, E. Guiney, W. McLellan, G. McCausland, J. O'Brien, Geo. Bedford, Geo. Seaton, T. Anderton, T. H. Anson, W. Round, R. Kemp, A. Calder, T. W. Johnson, H. J. Pearce, W. Finlay, E. Brown, and others our principal sales being 100 four-tooth wethers at 10s 6d; 556 crossbred ewes, 3s 4d, 260 crossbred lambs, 6s 6d; 761 first cross lambs, 6s, 461 merino ewes, 1s 9d, and 100 merino ewes, 4s; and a fair entry of timber and sundries at prices satisfactory to vendors."

On 11-09-1889 there was an article in the Press regarding the River Board for the Waimakariri.  It said, "Tenders were opened for the supply of 25 casks of cement, and half a ton No. 10 wire. That of W. Langdown and Co. (anchor brand) at 16s od per cask, and wire at £11 16a per ton was accepted. The tenders of W. Fellows and T. Anderton were accepted at 7  3/4d per cask for carting the cement."  It seems he did carting around the community in general.  His brother in law Jabez Lord was a wool carter, so maybe he got tips from him in the business.

Thomas Andrew Anderton passed away on 08-09-1896 aged 66 and is buried in St Matthew's Church Cemetery, Courtenay with his wife Sarah Ellen Anderton (nee Spencer) who died on 22-03-1912.

Friday, 13 July 2012

The Clipper Ship "Sebastopol"

I am currently writing a book entitled "The Clipper Ship Sebastopol - New Zealand Immigration Ship 1861-1863"  The blurb is as follows:

"The Sebastopol was a fine clipper ship that made two voyages from London, England to Lyttelton, New Zealand loaded with immigrants for the Provincial Government.  From voyages of cargo and Chinese passengers, to the suicide of a ships surgeon, the Sebastopol has an interesting past.  Extensive research has uncovered the ship's final demise after leaving New Zealand in 1863, which ended its short career. 

This is the first time the full story of the Sebastopol has been told, with the most accurate passenger lists available for the Sebastopol journeys."


Click here to purchase your own copy!