Friday, October 12, 2018

The Soldier, the Lost Sister and the Bigamist Blacksmith


Some leaves from my family tree

Where do your roots flow?
Down onto the earth and into your family tree
Where do your veins grow?
Down beneath the dirt and into your family tree
                              
The small West Yorkshire town of Elland was in its heyday when Allen Haigh was born there on 1 September 1840 and baptised just over a month later on 4 October. He was the youngest child of Joseph Haigh and Patience nee Brearley and had four siblings- John, Margaret, Ann and Elizabeth. The textile industry was booming, and his father was at the time of his youngest son's birth employed as a silk dresser, preparing silk thread for weaving. 

Victorian Elland
West Yorkshire's "dark satanic mills".
Did Allen go to school? He could certainly  
read and write. Elland did have a charity
school for local children called Brookbank, founded and endowed in the 18th century by a former resident who made it big in London. However, if Allen did attend school it wasn't for long, as by the age of 12 he was working as a wool spinner at a mill producing worsted yarn, along with his 14 year-old sister Elizabeth. The family circumstances had changed too. Their mother had died in 1846 and the family appears to have split up. In 1851 Allen and his sister Elizabeth were living with their oldest sister Margaret. 

Perhaps Allen and Elizabeth went with Margaret after she married Job Smithies in 1853. Elizabeth herself married in 1858 to Joseph Sheard, but  in the meantime Allen had taken the Queen's shilling and joined the  British Army. With the Crimean War in full swing there was a demand for new recruits and no doubt it would have seemed the path to adventure for a lad from a drab mill town. He enlisted on 11 Jun 1855, at the age of 15, giving his occupation at the time as a "mill spinner". 


The Relief of Lucknow, 1857
Artist: Thomas Jones Barker
It's unlikely that Allen was involved in the Crimean War himself, but he was serving in Burma (now Myanmar) with the 84th Foot (York & Lancaster) when that regiment was posted to India during the campaign by British forces to suppress the Indian Rebellion of 1857-1858 . He was awarded the Indian Mutiny Medal with double clasps ("Lucknow" & "Defence of Lucknow") for his part at the Siege of Lucknow under the command of Sir James Outram. Despite reaching the embattled Lucknow Residency, taking heavy losses in the process, it proved impossible to evacuate the trapped residents as planned. Outram and his troops were instead obliged to hold their position, themselves under siege, until finally relieved by troops led by Sir Colin Campbell, then commander-in-chief of British forces in India.

Allen was later transferred to the 1st Battalion, 68th Regiment (Durham Light Infantry) and as a corporal, regimental no 653, was a member of the convoy sent as reinforcements to New Zealand at Governor Grey's request, following the outbreak of the Second Taranaki War. In November 1863 the Durham Light Infantry, commanded by Lt-Col. Henry Greer, were picked up at Rangoon, Burma, by the ship Light Brigade, already carrying members of the 43rd Regiment of Foot ,who had embarked at Calcutta. The Light Brigade arrived at Auckland on 17 January 1864 and the troops were marched to the British military camp at Otahuhu before being sent to the Bay of Plenty. On 21 January 1864, they set sail on the ships Miranda and Corio, arriving at Tauranga the next day, Colonel Carey of the 43rd confirming that he had occupied the Mission Station at Te Papa (Tauranga). On 29 April 1864 the reinforcements, under the command of Lt-Gen Sir Duncan Cameron, saw action at the Battle of Gate Pa.
Battle of Gate Pa, Tauranga, 29 April 1864
 As an officer who fought with the 68th Light Infantry during 
both the Indian Rebellion and at Gate Pa, the artist,
Horatio Gordon Robley, would have been known to Allen Haigh.

This was a signal and humiliating defeat for the British military forces. Although the British had deployed around 1700 men against 230 Maori tribesmen of mostly Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Ranginui descent,  their losses were heavy for a skirmish of this size. Around 35 colonial troops were killed and 75 wounded, twice the number of the Maori casualties. The construction of the pa itself had a lot to do with this. Designed by Pene Taka Tuia of Ngai Te Rangi affiliation, it was a complex maze of underground trenches and dugouts in which the warriors could hide, giving the false impression of an empty pa to lure the British inside. Carnage reigned as  British soldiers armed with cutlasses, pistols and bayonets and Maori with tomahawks, mere and muskets engaged each other in ferocious hand-to-hand combat. Despite their success, because they were so greatly outnumbered the Maori knew their position was untenable. Overnight they slipped quietly away, vacating the pa in order to regroup.

Letter written by Allen Haigh
to the Naval, Military &
Local Forces Land
Claims Commission
Under the command of Lt-Col Henry Greer, the 68th Regiment also took part in the subsequent Battle of Te Ranga on 27 June 1864, where the British comprehensively defeated the Maori. Caught unawares while trying to build a new pa further inland, they responded with great bravery but were slaughtered before they could mount a effective counterattack, and lost heart after the death of their leader, Ngai Te Rangi chief Rawiri Puhirake.

Today public reserves mark the former sites of both Gate Pa and Te Ranga.

A formal surrender followed and many of the remaining Maori warriors left the Tauranga area, their lands having been confiscated. While their Headquarters (based at Durham Redoubt) remained in Tauranga, various detachments of the 68th were later sent to hotspots like Wanganui in 1865, during the campaign against the HauHau Maori, and then to Taranaki. However, British High Command grew unhappy about having so many of its troops tied up in New Zealand, and the 68th were recalled, leaving for England on 15 March 1866. Allen, though, was not among them, being instead one of the 179 men who took up the option of discharge with gratuity at the Otahuhu Camp in Auckland on 6 March 1866, preferring to stay in New Zealand. He was a recipient of the New Zealand Medal awarded in 1869 to British Imperial troops and colonial militia who saw service during the New Zealand Wars.

Noble's township, Grey Valley, Ahaura,
West Coast of New Zealand, 1900


Gold was the buzz word in New Zealand at the time and Allen took his chances, heading for  the West Coast of the South Island soon after his discharge. It had been the custom to make land grants to military settlers, but for the men who fought during the NZ Wars, compensatory grants of money were given as a substitute in many cases. Allen Haig was granted 40 pounds for his claim lodged in the Nelson district, though the mills of bureaucracy ground slow and he didn't actually receive his money till 1892. Allen proved a persistent gold miner, working with various consortiums for many years, mostly in the Ahaura district around Waipuna Terrace, Napoleon Hill, Mosquito Creek and Noble's, though it's unclear whether his efforts were ever greatly rewarded. In October 1870 Allen Haig & Co, are recorded as applying for an extended claim in the Cariboo Creek area, though Allen's later obituary indicates that he had been in the Ahaura area some time already by then, in fact had probably removed there straight after obtaining his discharge.


On April 1874 Allen applied for and was granted a residential area of one acre at Noble's township in the Grey Valley.  

On June 25 the same year, the immigrant ship "Cartvale" set sail from London, heading for Wellington, New Zealand.  On the passenger list was 28 year-old Mary Ann Hicking. a single woman travelling with her older sister Martha Lee (nee Hicking), brother-in-law Richard Lee and their three children, Harry (6), Annie (5) & George (3). Richard was a boilermaker/engineer by trade and had been employed as an engine fitter with the railways in Nottingham before they made the momentous decision to emigrate to New Zealand.


This was a period of peak British immigration, with the NZ Government offering assisted (subsidised) passages to New Zealand throughout the 1870s under the Vogel Scheme.



Church Strret, Ripley, Derbyshire
One of seven children, Mary Ann was born at Greenwich, Ripley, Derbyshire in 1846, the youngest of four daughters born to well-off farmer George Hicking and his wife Mary (nee Watson). Before setting off for New Zealand, she had previously been employed in Worcestershire as a housemaid at "Halesowen Grange", the Hunnington manor of Major Ferdinando Dudley Lea-Smith, J.P. and Deputy-Lieutenant for Worcestershire. Martha, Mary Ann's next-oldest sister, was a small, industrious woman, retiring by nature. She had received a good education and was working as a teacher when she met Richard Lee ("a tall, good-looking man with quite an opinion of himself") at a dance held for the local villagers on the expansive front lawn of her parents' home. Her mother felt Richard was beneath her daughter and only gave her blessing to their marriage on 26 December 1866 with great reluctance, but it would prove a long and happy partnership. 

Ironically, Martha's parents had been in a similar situation themselves. Her father George Hicking had been a friend and contemporary of his wife's parents, Thomas and Hannah Watson, who were wealthy landowners - they were all part of a philanthropic group working to help the poor, possibly associated with the Quakers, who were active in the Codnor area where they lived. George had been a sort of honorary uncle to their daughter Mary, but as she grew up the two realised they had feelings for each other and wanted to marry. George being so much older (there was 22 years between them), her mother didn't approve and young Mary was packed off to a finishing school in Paris in the hope that time and distance would put paid to the romance. It didn't and eventually her parents gave in and consented to their marriage.

Martha had been given a substantial amount of money by her parents to help her make a good life with her family in their new homeland and perhaps taking her unmarried sister with her was part of the deal - there are hints that Mary Ann may have been a bit of a prickly personality and possibly she hadn't met any suitable prospective husbands at home. The voyage took much longer than anticipated. George, youngest of the Lee children, died at sea, a sad blow for his parents. Martha, who was pregnant, had thought she would be settled in Wellington by the time of the birth but instead ended up delivering her baby on board the ship. Things did not go well. Following a difficult labour Martha became progressively weaker over the next few days and was eventually declared dead.

Panel on the 
Somes Island Memorial
The "Cartvale" by now had landed at Somes Island in Wellington Harbour, where her passengers were obliged to go into quarantine for a week. Between 1872 & 1876 a fear of epidemics resulting from diseases such as typhoid, smallpox and scarlet fever saw a number of immigrant ships held in quarantine. Crews and passengers were kept at the Quarantine Depot on Somes Island. As part of the process they were made to sit for ten minutes in a smoke house, amidst chlorine, potassium nitrate and sulphur fumes, to get rid of any lice they may have picked up, a process that likely didn't do those hosting the parasites much good either!

As Martha's body was being carried off the ship for burial, her husband Richard thought he saw her hand give the tiniest twitch and insisted that the ship's doctor re-examine her. Martha was indeed still alive. She recovered, went on to have several more children and lived until she reached the ripe old age of 94. Her new baby, however, was not so lucky, A little girl named Clara Lee, she died on 16 Oct 1874 at the age of 12 days and her name can be seen on a panel on the memorial at Somes Island dedicated to those who did not survive quarantine.

The "Cartvale" immigrants were finally released from quarantine on 19 October, and disembarked at Port Nicholson (Wellington). Further drama ensued. While the Lees were trying to organize their children and luggage, Martha's sister Mary Ann Hicking disappeared amidst the chaos at the wharf. Frantic searches failed to locate her. In the end they had to give up and find a place to stay. Richard did some sawmilling for a while then he & Martha bought a block of land (Part Section 8 Mungaroa) at Whiteman's Valley, Upper Hutt. They set up a dairy farm where hardworking Martha, helped by her children, established a butter-making business producing up to 500lbs of butter a week at a time when all milking and butter production was done by hand. Meanwhile, Richard supplemented their income by working periodically at Petone and Wanganui as an engine fitter for the railways. The family was as self-sufficent as possible, making good use of the large population of wild pigs for meat. Richard & Martha had four more children, making six who survived in all: Harry, Annie, Clara, Fred, Frank and Arthur. Clara, the first to be born in New Zealand, was named, as was a custom of the day, in memory of the little sister who had died at Somes Island. Born at Upper Hutt on 11 April 1876, this second Clara was my paternal great-grandmother.

While young Clara was growing up - going to school, helping her mother with the butter making, trailing her older brother hero, Harry, around and riding side-saddle into Petone for music lessons - what was the aunt she had never met doing? 
Wellington Harbour in 1874.
What happened to Martha's lost sister, Mary Ann Hicking? It must have been terrifying to be left alone and not knowing a single soul in not just a strange city, but a strange country. Where did she go? Domestic servants were in high demand in colonial Wellington, so perhaps she returned to her former occupation. Until women in New Zealand got the vote in 1893 they were invisible as far as official records go and it seemed that Mary Ann had just vanished without a trace until she suddenly popped up at Greymouth on 8 October 1879, when she was recorded as marrying at the Greymouth Registry Office to Allen Haigh, goldminer, of Noble's, one of their witnesses being the receiver of gold revenue & mining registrar for No Town, then a flourishing Grey Valley gold boom settlement. She was 33, he 40. Maybe just in time, as their only child Constance (known as Connie), was born at Noble's Creek on 3 November 1879, not quite a month later.


Sluicing for gold
The Haighs moved at some point to Totara Flat, possibly so daughter Connie could go to the Totara Flat School, though were back at Noble's by the turn of the 20th century. Allen continued to pursue the golden dream. In between stints on the goldfields he took up paying work, like roadmaking, which was a financial staple for colonial settlers everywhere. The "Grey River Argus" of 10 Dec 1884 indicates a disappointment - his tender to the County Council for the first stage of a prospecting trail between Waipuna and the Clarke River was declined.The same paper did have some good news, though - the ever-reliable Newman Bros' tender had been accepted for the mail coach service between Belgrove and Reefton with a service to and from Westport, connecting both there and at Inanagahua Junction. This would cut travel times between Nelson and the West Coast considerably. 

By 1891 Allen had formed another syndicate which put in a claim for a block of land in the Mosquito Creek area, and was still putting in claims until at least 1901. A brief foray into community service in 1898 when he became a member of the Noble's School Committee saw him inadvertently stir up controversy when he wrote a letter to the paper about issues at the Noble's School, discovering the hard way in response the vituperative nature of local committee politics. In 1903 he was honoured by being granted a place (which he didn't take up) at the newly built Ranfurly Veterans' Home in Auckland, by virtue of his 12 years' military service. 


Greymouth  between 1900-1910
The suburb of Cobden (in foreground) could only be 
reached by punt until a bridge was built in 1886.
The same year his daughter Connie married Cornelius Francis Sexton, a blacksmith of Irish descent. The wedding was held at Holy Trinity Church, Greymouth on 30 July 1903, the Ven. Archdeacon George W. York officiating, and the bride's parents put on a generous spread for the guests afterwards. The newly-weds settled at the Greymouth suburb of Cobden, which remained their home for the rest of their lives. They had four children: Hector Stanley Percy, William Conrad Allen, John Gordon Leonard and Irene Roslyn Constance. Not long before his death, Allen Haigh and his wife Mary Ann moved into Constance's home, where Allen died on 15 May 1917, aged 79. As a decorated veteran, the local members of the NZ Territorial Force were called out to parade at his funeral, held on the afternoon of 17 May and followed by his burial at the Greymouth Cemetery.  

Mary Ann Haigh continued to live in Cobden with her daughter's family until her own death at the age of 85. She was buried at Greymouth Cemetery on 6 May 1930, along with her husband.

Meanwhile her sister Martha's daughter Clara had met Alfred Mitchell, a blacksmith and wheelwright by trade, whose father William was a "big, braw Scotsman with an eye for the ladies". Alfred and Clara married at the Wellington Registry Office on 14 September 1895. Both shared a passion for music and often played the piano and sang together, plus Alfred was the only one of pretty Clara's admirers to breach her protective papa's guard and win her hand. However, as one of their daughters later noted, it was a marriage that was far from ideal, marked by frequent  "tiffs". With the help of Clara's parents, who lent the newly-weds a large sum of money to get them started, Alfred and Clara settled nearby on an 800 acre farm in Whiteman's Valley - 260 acres in grass and the balance in bush, for the felling of which they had a mutually beneficial arrangement with a neighbour who ran a sawmiling operationThey soon had a nice little herd of dairy cows, a flock of sheep, a few horses and pigs, a dog or two and five small children: Ivy Clara, born 14 July 1896 (my grandmother), Clarence, Nellie, Elsie and Minnie. 


Opening of the Whiteman's Valley Bridge
 on 26 Sept 1904, a day of rejoicing for
 the area's residents.
Until a bridge was built at Whiteman's Valley, residents travelling by horseback or in horse-drawn vehicles took their lives in their hands every time they had to cross a river. There were many tragedies as a result, especially during flooding, and great- grandmother Clara very nearly became yet another casualty whilst crossing a river in flood on horseback with her husband one day. Both she and Alfred were unseated and Clara swept away, but luckily Alfred spotted her long thick hair floating down the river, grabbed hold and managed to drag them both up the bank to safety.

The children enjoyed a simple country lifestyle - helping on the farm, making fern houses, swimming in the creek that ran next to their house and attending the nearby Whiteman's Valley School. By means of hard work, Clara, who kept the books, managed to pay back her parents' loan.  Then in 1907 Richard & Martha Lee took up a 650 acre block of land at Te Poi in South Waikato, offered as part of the Selwyn Settlement, land subdivided from the northern portion of the original Selwyn Estate owned by the Thames Valley Land Co. Their youngest son Arthur went with them and another son, Frank, who had initially stayed behind in Wellington, followed in 1912 after himself taking up land nearby on what is now Kakahu Roadwhere he raised his own family. Alfred and Clara decided that it might be time for them to make a change as well, so in August 1907 they advertised their freehold Whiteman's Valley property for sale then bought a farm at Wiri in Papatoetoe, at that time a rural district outside the city of Auckland.

"68 acres of sticky clay, plenty of grass. A plantation of pine trees and plenty of out-buildings; an old house with an attic at the top and a verandah that used to attract scores of kingfishers. Wonderful fun there; daisy chains and butter-cups, days at the beach in the summer,  away we'd go  - hitch our lovely grey mare Peggy to the buggy and all aboard". So my great-aunt Elsie recalled life at Wiri. The children attended Papatoetoe and Manurewa Schools and went to Sunday School at the fondly remembered little Wiri church, St David's. As the oldest daughter Ivy reached her teens she took over responsibility for the domestic chores - cleaning, cooking and sewing - relieving her mother Clara, who with her green fingers and golden touch with dairy cows, was the farmer in the family. Happy days at Wiri were about to come to an end, though. Land at Papatoetoe was becoming increasingly valuable as demand for housing in the area grew exponentially. Perhaps they were made an offer they couldn't refuse or the opportunity to realize a good return couldn't be ignored? The farm at Wiri was sold some time around 1912 for what was an excellent price at the time.


The Mitchell family in happier days at Wiri
(despite the lack of happy smiling faces!)
L-R Back row: Elsie, Clarence, Ivy, Nellie
Front row: Minnie, Clara & Alfred.
Clara wanted to buy an established farm already under full cultivation next, and had one in mind,  just a few miles away, with a very nice home and closer to the dairy factory. Then Alfred saw an advertisement for a grazing run of some 1324 acres (Section 66, Block XVI, Tepapa Survey District), available at Okoroire near her parents' farm. Known as "Kuranui",  this property was undeveloped and largely covered in bush - fern, manuka and stands of native trees. Nothing would do but that they all up sticks and go to live in the backblocks. The Mitchells' land was also on the present Kakahu Road and may well have been taken up at the same time as the 150 acre block bought by Clara's brother, Frank. Her oldest brother Henry Lee (always known as Harry), who had been farming at Wainuiomata in Lower Hutt, also made the shift north around this time. Assisted by their youngest brother, Arthur Lee, Harry established a 390 acre dairy farm called "Manoa Downs" at Rotokauri, Frankton Junction. Lee Road at Rotokauri is a reminder of Henry Lee's connection with the area. 

Did Alfred already have in mind that he could park Clara and the children down there with her parents and brothers nearby for support while he continued to swan around Auckland?  Possibly he felt that Clara did everything anyway and he was just a spare wheel. At any rate, having got the family to Okororire, Alfred fenced the property with the help of son Clarence (pulled from school for the purpose) then pretty much left them to it. Interestingly, the Okoroire property appears to have been put solely in Clara's name, as indicated in a prosecution brought against the Mitchells in December 1913 by the Farmer's Co-operative Auctioneering Company of Hamilton for non-payment of costs associated with the farm. 
Section 66, Block XVI Tepapa S.D.
Upper green block rt-hand side
The Mitchells' farm at Okoroire.

Determined to at least have a nice home built before her husband managed to spend all the money from the sale of the Wiri farm (maybe he had anyway by the end of 1913?) Clara set the wheels in motion and a local builder, Joe Maunder by name, was engaged to take on the project. It was built of heart kauri, the timber brought down from up north by train and carted the nine miles from the Okoroire railway station by three sturdy draught horses harnessed to a strong wagon.The family stayed with Richard & Martha while three small sheds and a big marquee were erected - the sheds later serving respectively as storeoom, wash house (laundry) and farm worker's hut. The Mitchells then settled in, using the huts as sleeping quarters and the tent as kitchen/living room during the "seven long months of carting timber, hammering and all the business that goes with building a house". 

Desperate to get the land operational and paying its way, Clara set to work, driving herself to the point of exhaustion as she spent day after day tramping the farm, burning off the bush, as people did in the days before machinery made large scale clearance possible, and sowing grass seed as soon as the ashes had cooled. Her efforts paid off as green paddocks started to show up everywhere and her dairy herd began to grow. While Ivy continued to run the household and Nellie, Elsie and Minnie attended the Okoroire School, Clarence was more often than not called upon to help his mother on the farm and his sisters mourned the transformation of their lively, happy-go-lucky young brother into a stolid lad worn down by the burden of constant hard work. Clara, who had resented the pressure her father put upon her beloved brother Harry to work at home when he should have been at school, bitterly regretted doing the same thing to her own son, but couldn't manage without his help. 


The main attraction at Okoroire,
the Sanatorium built at the hot springs there in 1889
In July 1916 the Mitchell family were staying in Auckland at Orakei Road in Remuera. Maybe this was a place they kept in town for visits or as Alfred's home away from home? They were comfortably off, but Alfred and Clara's relationship appears to have hit a new low. The breaking point came with the discovery that Alfred, now aged 45 and clearly in the grip of a mid-life crisis, had posed as a wealthy doctor under the alias Hector Ernest McDonald and entered into a bigamous marriage with an 18 year old girl he had met at a matrimonial agency. What a shock for his family - the embarrassment would have been immense as the scandalous news was spread like wildfire throughout the country by the daily papers. Alfred and Clara's oldest daughter Ivy, then aged 20, was even called as a witness during the court proceedings which followed and questioned about the state of her parents' marriage ("loveless" according to her father). Alfred was sentenced to a prison term of 18 months with hard labour and Clara petitioned for a divorce, which was granted in 1917.

Alfred had hit the slippery slope, and found his true calling. From being a respectable citizen he came out of jail a career criminal, using various aliases and his more recently discovered talents as a scamster to successfully swindle a number of people in both New Zealand and Australia out of their money. He wasn't so good at keeping ahead of the law though, and was invariably nabbed by the police somewhere just down the road while busily blowing his ill-gotten gains. Consequently he is to be found constantly in and out of jail in both countries until his trail runs cold around 1926.
Clara Mitchell (rear) with
her parents Richerd & Martha Lee 
at their home in Tawa St, Hamilton.

Clara meanwhile remarried in 1922 to Edward Charles Hopkins, a farmer from Rotorua, where her older sister Annie lived, and seems to have found a measure of happiness. Richard and Martha Lee had retired to Tawa Street in the Hamilton suburb of Melville, and Clara spent time there with her parents sorting out her affairs following her divorce. She was on one of these visits when a remarkable coincidence took place. She was sitting in the old outdoor toilet at the end of the garden path, which her father had supplied with a pile of "NZ Herald"s cut into neat squares for use as toilet paper. Suddenly an advertisement in the "Personals" column on one of these squares caught her eye: "Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Martha Lee (nee Hicking) would you please contact Mrs C. Sexton of Cobden, Greymouth". 

And so a link was forged with Connie Sexton, daughter of Martha's long-lost sister Mary Ann (nee Hicking) who had married Allen Haigh (cryptically noted as "a very nice man, her opposite") and settled on the West Coast. With her own family growing, Connie had decided to advertise in an attempt to find her Aunt Martha, whom her mother had lost track of at Wellington all those years ago and had often told her daughter about. Sadly, over the years this connection has once again become lost.


Richard & Martha Lee's
headstone at
Hamilton East Cemetery
Time went by. Richard Lee died in 1931 and Clara and Charles alternated for the next few years between her parents' Hamilton home and the Okoroire farm. Clara's widowed older sister Annie Gordon also joined the Tawa Street household, perhaps as full-time carer for their elderly mother. Martha died in 1938, but neither Clara nor Charles outlived her by many years - Charles dying in 1940 and Clara the year after. Annie followed them in 1946. They are all now part of the family enclave at the Hamilton East Cemetery - Richard and Martha Lee, with their daughters Annie and Clara, along with Clara's second husband, Charles Hopkins, and son Henry (Harry) with his wife Annie Robina (nee Telfer.) A memorial there commemorates their youngest son, Arthur Lee, a  WWI veteran who was cremated in Auckland, where he had settled after his marriage to Irene Vickers in 1931.

Son Frank and his wife Lavinia May (nee Thornhill) lie at the Tirau Cemetery, closer to their Okoroire home. Richard and Martha's other son Fred had moved around the North Island, spending time in Hamilton, Auckland and Rotorua before settling in Tauranga. He lies at the Tauranga Anglican Cemetery, along with the ashes of his wife Annie Kathleen (nee Wallen). Furthering that family connection, Annie's younger brother Herbert Leslie Wallen married Fred's niece Elsie Mitchell.

Alfred and Clara's oldest child, Ivy, was working in Auckland, with her waist-length blond hair and big blue eyes an attractive young woman much in demand, when she met Thomas James Sheppard. Born on 19 September 1883 in Greenwich, London, and 12 years her senior, Tom was a divorced former ship's cook who had served with the merchant navy and sailed around the world many times before settling in New Zealand about 1910 (his grandchildren found his tall tales, sailor's tattoos and glass eye fascinating). Tom had a certain roguish charm which worked on Ivy, plus he had a lovely singing voice and often performed at concerts. Like her mother Clara and grandmother Martha, Ivy was an accomplished pianist, so she and Tom shared an common interest in music - a recurring theme in the family. They married at the Auckland Registry Office on 11 September 1924. Soon afterwards they took the coastal steamer to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, where Tom bought a block of land at Gate Pa which had originally been granted to a veteran of the New Zealand Wars. Sheppard Street in Greerton now marks the border of one side of the family farm, sold around 1950 for suburban development.

Tom & Ivy Sheppard's family at their Gate Pa farm
L-R: Jim, Marie, Shirley (rear) & Fay.
Tom continued to work in the hospitality business as a chef and barman, eventually owning his own restaurant in Greerton (named after Lt-Col. Greer) on Cameron Road (named after Lt-Gen. Cameron), at the same time developing a citrus orchard and large poultry farm at Gate Pa. A congenial man, he  played in the Tauranga Municipal Band and joined the Tauranga Masonic Lodge, was on the committee of the Tauranga Racing Club and belonged to both the Tauranga Citrus Growers' Association and the Tauranga branch of the Poultry Producers' Federation.

It was at the Gate Pa farm that my father James Thomas (Jim) Sheppard and his three sisters grew up, attending Greerton School and leading a carefree rural life amidst an abundance of every imaginable type of fruit tree - plums, peaches, cherries, apples, with citrus and kiwifruit plus poultry being the earners. Their father Tom kept bees for honey and they ran a house cow and heifer, taking turns separating out the cream to make their own butter. As an inquisitive young boy, my father once experimentally blew up the barrel of liquid manure brewed by his father for use as fertilizer -  an unpopular move, not repeated!
Jim Sheppard & his father Tom in 1948

As they hid from each other in the dugouts and trenches encirling the peaceful orchard which made up their playground, Jim and his sisters could have little imagined the horrors associated with these remnants of Gate Pa's more violent past, when as a corporal with the 68th Regiment of Foot, Allen Haigh had battled fearsome Maori warriors face-to-face and survived to marry the Sheppard children's lost great-aunt, Mary Ann Hicking.




Hear the birds calling
Resting on the branches of your family tree
Hear the rain falling
Down upon the leaves of your family tree.


Opening and closing quotes from the song "Family Tree", lyrics by Barnaby Weir.
From the album "Fly My Pretties: Live at Bats".


Note: In reference to Allen Haigh's service at the Siege of Lucknow, a journalist from the "Grey River Argus" 
quoted the words, "Dinna ye hear it? Dinna ye hear it?" This was a line from John Greenleaf Whittier's poem, 
"The Pipes at Lucknow", inspired by the story, popular at the time, of Jessie Brown. A Scottish woman said to 
have had the Second Sight, Jessie was amongst those trapped at the Lucknow Residency, and raised the spirits
of all when she "heard", well in advance of their coming, the skirling bagpipes of the 79th Highlanders who were 
even then marching to their rescue.


Acknowledgements: The Matamata Historical Society for information and useful suggestions, and those 
wonderful women who took the time to record family reminscences: Elsie Wallen nee Mitchell (my gt-aunt) & 
sisters Fay Morgan nee Sheppard and Marie McWhannell nee Sheppard (my aunts).

References

Ancestry.com.au. Note that Allen Haigh's christian name is sometimes spelt "Allan", but as it is written "Allen" 
in his baptismal and military records, I have taken that as being the correct version.

Censuses of England 1841 &1851

Ellis, Marie.  Victorian Elland

Indian Mutiny Medal Roll: Private Allen Haigh, 84th Foot (York & Lancaster)

Ellott, Gerald J. (2017) The 68th (Durham) Light Infantry.

Battles of Maketu, Gate Pa, and Te Ranga.

Hughes, Hugh & Lyn (1988) "Discharged in New Zealand: soldiers of the imperial foot regiments who took 
their discharge in New Zealand, 1840-1870" See Allen Haigh, Nelson, pg 310

Naval and Military Settlers and Volunteers Land Act

Settlements agreed in I892 as entitlements for military service. See Allen Haigh, Nelson, pg 310

Up-River Diggings: Allen Haigh & Co application for extended claim at Cariboo Creek.
"Grey River Argus", 20 October 1870, p2

Resident Magistrate's & Warden's Courts, at Half Ounce : Application for land at
Noble's township granted to Allen Haigh.
"Grey River Argus", 17 April 1874, pg 2

Passenger list, "Cartvale"  1874 - London, England to Wellington, NZ

Family accounts:  Fay Morgan (nee Sheppard)

Walton, Tony & Nester, Richard (2001) Department of Conservation

Ship "Cartvale". currently in quarantine -  public advised not to approach the Quarantine Station at Somes Island.
"Evening Post", 12 Oct 1874, pg 3

Notice given that the "Cartvale" immigrants have now been released from quarantine.
"Evening Post", 19 October 1874, pg 3

Electoral roll for Wellington 1880-1881: Richard Lee, Whiteman's Valley, at Part Section 8 Mungaroa.

Family accounts:  Elsie Wallen (nee Mitchell)

County Tenders and general news
"Grey River Argus" 10 December 1884, pg 2

Special Claim for land at Mosquito Creek, Waipuna for the purpose of goldmining
"Grey RIver Argus", 12 August 1891, pg 2

Noble's Educational Difficulty:  A letter to the editor from Allen Haigh
"Grey River Argus",13 May 1898, pg 4

School matters at Noble's: A letter to the editor in response to Allen Haigh's letter.
"Grey River Argus", 27 May, 1898, pg 4

Veterans' Home- list of those invited to take up a place
"Grey River Argus" 4 November 1903, pg 3

The Last Post: The Late Allen Haigh
"Greymouth Evening Star"15 May 1917, pg 5

Territorials & Cadets called to parade at Allen Haigh's funeral
Grey River Argus" 17 May 1917, pg 1

"800 acre Farm for Sale or Lease, 20 miles from Wellington
Apply Alfred Mitchell, Whiteman's Valley.
"Evening Post" 28 August 1907, pg 10

Farmer's Co-operative Auctioneering Company Ltd of Hamilton, plaintiff, v Alfred C. Mitchell & his wife 
Clara Mitchell, defendants, re costs relating to the sale of Section 66, Block XVI, Tepapa Survey District, in 
the Provincial District of Auckland, and being the whole of the Land comprised in Lease No. 589, registered
 in Vol. 191, Folio 89, of the Register Books in Auckland.
"Waikato Argus" 20 Dec 1913, pg 4

New Zealand Post Office Directory 1935
Okoroire: Clara Hopkins (formerly Mitchell), farmer.

Sentenced for Bigamy: Term of Eighteen Months
"New Zealand Herald" 11 July 1916

Charge of Bigamy: Ivy Mitchell called in the case against her father Alfred Mitchell.
"New Zealand Herald", 1 July 1916, pg 9

Obituary: Mrs Martha Lee, Hamilton.
"NZ Herald" 21 May 1938, pg 18

Obituary: Mr Richard Lee, Hamilton.
"NZ Herald", 4 June 1931 pg 10

Family accounts: Elsie Wallen (nee Mitchell) and Marie McWhannell (nee Sheppard).

Notes from Nobles: Marriage of Cornelius Sexton & Constance Haigh
"Grey River Argus" 29 September 1903, pg 4


Image credits

The Relief of Lucknow, 1857
This painting, completed in 1859, included portraits of many of the actual
military men involved in the Indian Rebellion campaign.
Artist: Thomas Jones Barker (1815-1882)

Battle of Gate Pa
Artist: Horatio Gordon Robley (1840-1930) who fought at Gate Pa
as a Lieutenant with the 68th (Durham) Light Infantry.

Letter written by Allen Haigh to the Naval, Military and Land Forces Land Claims Commission 
stating his preference for cash in lieu of land as the gratuity for his military service in New Zealand.
Archives NZ, Archway.

Photo published in the "Otago DailyTimes" on 2 June 1900
West Coast Recollect website.

Church Street, Ripley, Derbyshire.
Ripley & District Heritage Trust

Public Health; Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Wellington Harbour in 1874
Aleander Turnbull Library, ref 1/1-000699

Sluicing for gold.
This scene at the Howard River in Tasman was one to be seen 
wherever gold was to be found.
Alexander Turnbull Library, ref 1/2-015790

Greymouth between 1900-1910, a postcard
West Coast Recollect website
Courtesy Maye Dunn

Opening of the Whiteman's Valley Bridge 1904
Upper Hutt City Library, Heritage Collections.
For further info about the opening see
https://archives.uhcc.govt.nz/nodes/view/516

Mitchell family at Wiri
Courtesy Marie McWhannell (nee Sheppard)

Section 66,Blck XVI, Tepapa Survey District
part of the Selwyn Settlement.
The Mitchell property at Okoroire.
Courtesy Matamata Historical Society

Okoroire Sanatorium
Photographer : George Dobson Valentine
Alexander Turnbull Library, ref 1/2-150982, F

Clara Mitchell with her parents Richard & Martha Llee
at their Tawa Street, Hamilton, home.
Courtesy Marie McWhannell (nee Sheppard)


Richard & Martha Lee's headstone
at Hamilton East Cemetery
Courtesy Robyn Heyne.

The family of Tom & Ivy Sheppard at their Gate Pa farm.
Courtesy Marie McWhannell (nee Sheppard)

Jim Sheppard and his father Tom (my father & grandfather) in 1948
Anne McFadgen, personal photo collection.