Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thomas Godsall Brougham: Recollections of early Motueka and Lower Moutere.

An Oral History

(With some notes about Thomas Brougham (1849-1939) and his family)
Additions and annotations by Anne McFadgen

Believed to be Thomas Godsall Brougham (1849-1939)
with his wife Caroline Jane nee Heath satnding beind him 
and 3 of their daughters.

First settlers (with their families) : Charles Thorp - Capt. Edward Fearon - Capt. Thomas Thoms - Capt. Frederick Moore - John Brougham - John & Stephen Eginton - James Bradley - John Gillett - Richard Maund – Capt. William Williams (Deputy Harbour-Master & Pilot at Collingwood for many years and Thomas' uncle by marriage.)
(Thorps, Fearons, Greenwoods, Gilletts and Egintons all lived down what is now Thorp Street and were all early and keen members of the Anglican Church. Captain Fearon donated land for the first Anglican Church ; both Dr Greenwood and Charles Thorp were layreaders.).

Charles Heaphy - James Swinton Spooner - Sharpe (possibly John Sharp) and (?) Lloyd.  These were NZ Company surveyors who all lived in Motueka for a short time.

David Drummond - Captain Davidson - John Staples - John Stule Park -  Benjamin Allen - John Noden - Thomas Atkins - John William Chamberlain - Edwin Hare Dashwood of Lower Moutere -  Dr. Danforth and Mrs Sarah Greenwood - Alex Wilkie - James (Jim) Lock - Isaac Haynes - Walter Guy - George Murray- Nathaniel Morse - William Rogers - the last five all of Lower Moutere. The last 3 (Murray, Morse & Rogers) had the place (occupied in Tom Brougham's time by the Morrisons) before Dashwood, (They were the first Europeans to farm at Lower Moutere) This place was lived in by Mr Alfred Rutland (Alf) Edwards' family for years.  (This was Section 201, now on Central Road, originally called “Grove Farm”, where John E. Salisbury built a home known as the “Grange” in 1911 - this house is still occupied today. Originally a loop of the Moutere River wound right past Section 201 and it was possible to take a boat right up to the property.)

Dashwood (later the 7th Baronet Dashwood of West Wycombe Park in England) who had Morrisons' place brought out the first pheasants - three in number. They escaped and bred and as a result hundreds of pheasants were shot as game.

The Allen family lived between Greenwoods and where Thorps‘ place now is. Peter Starnes was one of Lower Moutere 's first settlers. (TGB probably means Stephen Starnes, who with his brother George was the first Starnes family member to settle at Lower Moutere. The Starnes brothers were cousins of Walter Guy, who came to Nelson on the "Larkins" in 1849 and soon after settled at Lower Moutere next to "Grove Farm" his homestead being known as 'Moutere House'.The Starneses set up a brickworks in Lower Moutere, possibly on Walter Guy's land. Stephen Starnes later had a farm called"Mount Pleasant" on the hill at the end of Starnes Road. George had land at Riwaka, but moved to Auckland where he remained for the rest of his life.)

A man named Beresford (Samuel, a shoemaker) was an early settler in Motueka - his daughter, Sarah Beresford, married Charles Green Snr. (for whom Green Lane in Motueka is named.)

Another early settler, Capt. Wright, lived where the aerodrome now is. A man named Whitehead had the place first and Capt. Wright married his widow.

Mr & Mrs Park lived at the "Hen and Chickens" in Greenwood Street (so called because of the number of outbuildings on site). He grew the first apples in the district and for many years they were called 'Parks sort'' although the real name was called David's apple. ( TGB probabaly means the King David apple).When the tree first bore fruit there was sufficient to make an apple pie for the family but instead of this being done Mr. Park distributed the apples among his neighbours saying to each one "Here's an apple to make a dumpling for you".It was an illustration of the friendly and neighbourly spirit prevailing in the early days.

Mr Tom Brougham later grew the David's apple in the Moutere and a tree would grow 30 to 40 bushels.

Dr. and Mrs Greenwood and family lived in a log house in Tudor Street for a while and later acquired the 'Grange'- now owned by Mr. Edgar T. Pratt.

Dr Greenwood was a Police Magistrate and a member of the Nelson Provincial Council and his duties took him away from home very often. Mrs Greenwood was a wonderful little woman - one of nature’s ladies. At that time there were no schools and she educated her ten children-boys and girls. She had absolute command over them. Sometimes they were boisterous , but she only had to hold up her hand and say "Now children", and was given instant obedience.

Mrs Greenwood played the piano and her son Alfred played the fiddle, would sometimes go to the Moutere and play for the folk there to dance on the green in front of where Mr. Dick Brougham now lives. Alfred Greenwood returned to England and became a musician of some note.

 Mrs Greenwood would always endeavour to point out the sunny side of circumstances to her children. Her daughter Margaret complained that she had to lace her boots with flax.  "Why Margaret”, her mother would reply, “you can have a fresh piece of flax to lace your boots with every day but if you were in London, you could not afford to buy new ones so often".

Uoper Moutere Hotel
run by Thomas Brougham 1885-1887

John Brougham, his wife and two sons came out from England on the Martha Ridgeway and arrived in Nelson about February or March 1842. (In fact 7th April 1842) One boy, John, died during the voyage.

Miss Franklin , afterwards his second wife arrived a week or two beforehand in the Lloyds. She was at one time a companion help to Mrs Greenwood.

John Brougham poisoned the first rabbits in the district. At the time he was in Nelson and was offered the job as gaoler by the Police Magistrate, Mr Thompson.In those days a Government job was something to be jumped at, so John Brougham sais he would take the job if he was competent. "I have some rabbits there straving", said the Magistrate, pointing to them. "Give them a feed, will you?"

It was spring time and the place was in the vicinity of the Salt Water Bridge and growing there was an abundance of Tutu showing young green shoots and Brougham seeing  it thought it was just the thing to give the rabbits so gathered some in a bag to feed them. It was their one and only feed -they were blown up like balloons and died of Tutu poisoning. In consequence John Brougham was not considered competent to take up the position as gaoler.

Capt. Thoms, an early settler, became mental and John Brougham acted as valet to him. They would sometimes go shooting together. Brougham would have charge of the guns and would put powder but no shot in the Captain’s weapon. He would wait until two birds were close together, point them out and say, "You shoot that one, Captain, and I'll shoot the other". always however aiming at the Captain's bird and bringing it down, then the latter would say ,"What, Brougham- missed again!".

John Brougham and David Drummond worked together in saw pits. On one occasion Drummond was using a bill hook to cut a supplejack high above himself when the billhook slipped and split his nose right down the middle. The wound was bound using his lunch cloth- no other dressing being available and that afternoon he and Brougham went pigeon shooting.

Later on they worked in Capt Moore’s sawmill (probably in fact Capt Thoms' sawmill - Moore, who lived next door,  is known to have worked there) in the Staples Street property which stood somewhere near the present sheds. The water to the mill was brought from the river- then running at the foot of Parker Street through a ditch cut through Auty's property and leading to the mill. The water emptied into the Blind River, for many years-now called the Swamp.

Thomas Brougham was born on the 9th December the house later known as "Rumbolds'" on the southern corner of High and Staples Streets . (This house, known as "Rose Cottage" and later "Woodend", was owned in the early 1850s by Thomas Vyvyan, then his brother-in-law John Park Salisbury, whose father Edward lived there for a time. It was then sold to Henry Young, an ex-East India Company judge and friend of Plymouth Brethren evangelist James George Deck. The Youngs enlarged the house and added a second storey. The Rev. Bagshaw then lived there before it was sold to the Rumbolds. The very first settlers on this spot were Scottish couple David and Jean Drummond, who arrived in Motueka about March 1843 and set up home with their infant sons in a whare next to the pa of Rarua chief Enake and his whanau, who took the couple under their wing.) Tom Brougham's mother was of a most hospitable nature and her home became a half way house for people going to and from Riwaka. (not surprising since John Brougham operated the place as unlicensed premises!)

When Thomas was six or seven years of age the Brougham family moved to Lower Moutere to the place now occupied by Mr and Mrs Bensemann. (The gateway to the Brougham home was on what is currently Robinson Road and marked by two oak trees).
Brougham's Post Office Hotel, Motueka.
Run by Thomas Brougham 1899-1906
His father John once owned a boat but he unfortunately lost it. Thomas, then 13 years old, had to leave school and go to work. At one time he and one of his brothers (Edward) worked at Ngatimoti and they walked there from the Moutere. When he was a young man a dancing class was commenced at the Moutere and he acted as secretary / treasurer and musician combined. The music was supplied by a fiddle and the musician could dance with a partner and fiddle at the same time.

Thomas Brougham would at times drive over to Takaka and Collingwood from Motueka in a light trap drawn by a tandem team of ponies conveying passengers and sometimes a theatrical party. The journey would take a full day there and a full day back. On the way to Collingwood the Parapara River which was unbridged had to be crossed and dangerous it was, and it necessary always to wait for the tide. A number of lives were lost in that river in the early days.

Tom Brougham was a breaker-in of horses and he attributed his success to firmness, kindness and common sense.

Pit sawing was the chief means of existence in those days. Timber was sawn for 3/6d per 199 ft and was freighted to Nelson in open sailboats of 3-4 tons loaded from the beach to which the timber had been conveyed from the sawpits by bullock drays. The time taken to sail to Nelson was dependent on the wind, anything from 2- 25 hours.

Most of the settlers in Motueka economized by building their own houses with slabs of wood, which they battened inside.

The first port was at Manuka Bush in the Kumaras. The Maoris would be employed in assisting to unload the boats when they arrived and would be paid in goods for their services. On one occasion the payment was made in rice which they cooked in a go-ashore pot. It was not properly cooked and they ate large quantities which swelled very much after being eaten, causing the Maoris great discomfort and giving them the appearance of poisoned pups.

In those days the Maoris were still at or not far removed from the cannibalistic stage in which they had been accustomed to kill and eat their enemies and drink their blood. To kill a pig in the ordinary way they considered a great waste of blood and to overcome this they would carry a squealing pig to Staples' swamp and drown it first.

The Moutere valley was covered in bush from Tennants to Braeburn. There were sawpits in the district also. Jim Lock and Lou Francois had one just above Braeburn.

The Company ditch was formed partly to give employment to men and partly to open up the country by forming a road with the spoil from the ditch.

After the New Zealand Company broke up hard times came. On one occasion potatoes which had been planted were dug up for food as the boat the settlers depended for their supplies did not arrive when expected.

It was said that some people became so weak due to the scarcity of food that two men were required to pull up a dock root. For brewing tea the early settlers used a shrub called Kawakawa. It was rather rare and had a pungent taste.

People walked many miles as they had no means of transport. Mrs Don Drummond who lived on the back road at Braeburn in the home now occupied by her granddaughter Mrs Alec Franklin would walk from there to Wilkie's store in Motueka to do her shopping and walk back home.

The first carriage was owned by Capt. Fearon and consisted of a sledge with a packing case attached on which sat the passenger, generally Mrs Fearon, and drawn by two bullocks driven by Capt. Fearon walking alongside. One Sunday they called on Mrs Thoms and took her for a drive.

The first road to Motueka was formed by digging two ditches a certain distance apart and throwing the spoil into the centre to form the road which was left in that condition until gravel could be afforded. The first gravel was obtained from a pit at the back of the present powerhouse. Another pit was on the property at the Moutere now occupied by Major D W Talbot. Another pit was near Mrs Maurice Staples' house. It was a bank of gravel in the roadway around which the road went until gravel was taken away to bring the bank to road level.

Later farming became the chief means of making a living.  The ground would grow 10-12 tons of potatoes to the acre. Boats conveyed the potatoes to the West Coast and to Australia.

In the early days all mowing was done by hand with a scythe. To mow a quarter of an acre was an ordinary days work for a man which could take from sunrise to sunset. It was said that one man named William Limmer drank 5 gallons of beer and reaped two acres afterwards.

All the wheat from the Motueka side was taken across the river at Douglas' ford to Mickell’s mill in Riwaka to be ground into flour. A man named Freeman used to grind wheat for his own use in a coffee mill , singing "Rule Britannia'" while he worked.

The Reverend Butt was the first Anglican minister in Motueka. The Reverend Tudor after whom Tudor Street was named  had a night school for young men who had not the opportunity for getting education otherwise.

The Reverend Poole  lived at the Moutere for a while at the back of Wildmans' place and taught Maoris at the Whakarewa orphanage. The place was given by the Maori  Rewi for education and advancement of Maori and white children of this and adjacent islands. Some of the original flooring, Matai-red pine, of the first building was used in the new building, opened by the Bishop of Nelson, Bishop Hilliard at the end of October 1936.

In those early days a bridle track was the only road to Takaka. It started from the end of the road leading from the  Riwaka bridge which now branches to the left to Takaka and to the right to Kaiteriteri. The road to Takaka was surveyed by Henry Alexander Tarrant, a good man at his job. The work to form the road was let in contracts of  £500-600. The first contract was started about 1888.

Note: Tom Brougham's recollections, based on his own and his parents' memories, were originally made available on the now defunct  Edwards Family website formerly run by Shon R. Edwards.

Some notes on Thomas Godsall Brougham
and his parents John Brougham & Maria Emily nee Franklin

Mr Thomas Godsall Brougham (known as both "Tom" and "Bunkie") was born in Motueka and lived and worked around the district all his life. His father John Brougham, a farm labourer, was born c. 1812 in Blackmore, Kildare, Ireland, and died 1898 in Lower Moutere, NZ, He emigrated to Nelson on the Martha Ridgeway in 1841 with his first wife, Maria nee Hughes, and sons James, aged 7, and John, aged 3. John died during the voyage.

The first Maria (nee Hughes) died in Motueka in October 1845, aged 34, and John Brougham married his second wife, Maria Emily Franklin, in Nelson, on September 2, 1847. They had five sons and a daughter: Edward (1848-1937), Thomas Godsall (1849-1939), Charles John (1851-1929), Henry Osmond (Harry) (1853-1923), Graham (1856-1938) and Emily Sarah (1861-1934) AM.

Like all his siblings, apart from older stepbrother James, Thomas attended the Lower Moutere School (first opened on its current site in 1857). After leaving school at the age of 13, Thomas went to Ngatimoti where he with his elder brother Edward used to cut timber. It is likely that it was there that he may have met his future wife, Caroline Jane Ellen (Nellie) Heath, who lived in that area.  

Caroline (born c. 1852 in England) was the daughter of Thomas and Anne (nee Barnfield) Heath. They had five children. Thomas Heath was born at Upton, Gloucestershire England in 1825. He probably came out with other members of the Heath family in 1861 including his second wife Fanny Jane on the ship Sir George Pollock.. Thomas died at Pangatotara in 1875 and his widow remarried to William Spicer. Thomas Heath is recorded as holding a Crown Grant for Section 47, Square 7 Motueka Valley. (Fanny Jane grew cantakerous in old age and disinherited her daughters, convinced that they didn't pay her enough attention. After her death the family contested her will and Tom Brougham was called as a witness.  See "Nelson Evening Mail", 5 March 1914, p 3 - Supreme Court: In the Estate of Fanny Spicer, Deceased.)

Caroline and Tom Brougham were married in Motueka in 1876 and had three daughters, Jessie Medora (1877-1951) m. Walter Thomas Good, Laura Olive (1880-1897) died unmarried at age 17 and Florence Mabel (1882-1967) m. James Albert Wallace. A son Robert Graham Franklin was born 1879 but died shortly after birth.  (Caroline’s sister, Emma Jane Heath, married Thomas’ brother Harry Brougham. She died in 1909 and he later married a second time to Isabella Ellen Healey). The Broughams were proprietors of the Post Office Hotel (previously known as the Sportsmans Arms) and then the Upper Moutere Hotel for a while prior to the turn of the century.

In later years Thomas and Caroline retired to the house now owned by Mr and Mrs Drury at the back of where Woolworths now stands (in 2016, this would be the block of shops directly opposite the Westpac Bank on High Street, Motueka), the house having been moved back from its original site close to the street frontage.

 Thomas's second name Godsall was taken after his maternal grandmother’s maiden name  - Mary Ann Godsall (1803-1875) - and can be seen in other parts of the Family Tree.  Thomas and Caroline are both buried in the older part of the Motueka cemetery along with their daughter Laura Olive who died aged 17 in 1897, the plot marked by a single tall monument.

John Brougham

Mr J. Brougham (1809-1898)
John Brougham was born c. 1809-11 of Edward and Mary (nee Knowles) Brougham in Co. Kildare, Ireland. On 28 Sep 1834 at St. Michaels All Saints Church Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester England he married Maria Hughes who was born  c. 1809 -10. Two children were born  of this marriage. James c.1835 and John 1838. These dates were deduced from the shipping papers of the Martha Ridgeway

On the 12 Oct 1841 the Broughams filed application no. 4377 to the New Zealand Company to emigrate to New Zealand . This application was made from their home in Hyde Lane, Cheshire. Their application was successful and they set sail on the Martha Ridgeway on the 6 Nov. 1841 from Liverpool. John's  occupation was given as labourer.(ref. NZ Co. Passenger List NZCo 34/5 page 216a.) These records are held by National archives Wellington.

The Martha Ridgeway berthed at Nelson Haven on 7th Apr 1842 after an uneventful journey except for an outbreak of dysentery which claimed the lives of four adults and seven of the ninety nine children on board. One of these children was very likely the Broughams' youngest child John, who is thought to have died during the voyage - no records of him exist from that date onwards.

The first official mention of the Broughams in New Zealand was a reference in the 'Nelson Examiner' in early 1844 that John Brougham of section 204 Moutere Bluffs Motueka was on the annual jury list. His name appeared on this list until 1855 when Motueka was no longer listed in the Nelson Jury district . On the 5 June 1844 John signed a petition to the Governor General asking him not to avenge the deaths at the Wairau massacre and his name did not appear among those who volunteered to chase and try to capture Te Rauparaha.

On the 30 Oct 1845 John's first wife Maria, then aged 34, died and was the first person buried in St. Thomas' Anglican church in Motueka (today Pioneer Park on the corner of Thorp & Fearon Streets). This record is held in office of the Bishop of Nelson .

 On 2nd Feb 1847 John married Maria Emily Franklin aged 22, who was born in London, and was the second daughter of Benjamin and Mary Ann (nee Godsall) Franklin. Benjamin died in 1833. Mary Ann remarried to Richard Maund on the 5 Jun 1836, there were no children of this second marriage.

Mary Ann Maund along with her two daughters Sarah Ann, Maria Emily and sons Robert 13, Thomas 11, and Alexander 9, all sailed on the notorious Lloyds leaving from Gravesend on the 11 Sept 1841 and arriving  at Nelson  Haven  on the 22 Feb 1842. These were all Benjamin Franklins' children.

Richard had sailed earlier on the Whitby as part of an exploration group some four months earlier.

 John and Maria Brougham had their first child Edward in 1848 followed on 9 Dec 1849 by another son Thomas Godsall, Charles, John b. 1851, Henry b. 1853 and Graham b. 1856 and their only daughter Emily Sarah, born in 1861.

On 21st  Apr 1849 according to the Nelson Examiner, John was one of the many who signed a petition to Parliament regarding the settlers Entitlement to Properties Bill. This Bill was to try and obtain title to the land they had earlier purchased from the New Zealand Company.
Details of John Brougham, and  his family are contained in a copy NZ Co.1849 census of the Nelson province.

In 1853 John was one of tthose who nominated Mr Charles Parker to represent Motueka on the Nelson Provincial Council - Parker was successful.

On 4th Apr 1855 the Crown Grant in favour of John Brougham was ready for issue. This was as a result of the petition on 21 Apr 1849.

         Obituary, Colonist, Nelson 10 Feb 1898. Death of an old settler.

"John Brougham who came to the colony on the Martha Ridgeway landed in Nelson in the early part of 1842 and in common with other settlers had to endure many hardships and struggles in the early history of the settlement. He was naturally a kind hearted man and always lived a retired and quiet life but did not make himself prominent in taking part in public matters but by his straight forward and honorable dealings he gained the respect of all he came in contact with.

Many years ago he became partially disabled through an accident and consequently was unable afterwards to cope with the struggles of life as formerly. He joined the Oddfellows Society in Richmond prior to the Motueka Lodge being formed, but after the formation he withdrew and became a member at Motueka.

His remains will be interred in the old cemetery on Thurs 10th inst; He leaves six sons, one daughter and about 80 grandchildren.”

John lies under a headstone at the Pioneer Park Cemetery in Thorp St. Motueka, with his first wife.

Maria Emily Franklin

Born in London ca 1825 and baptised at Holy Trinity Church in St Marylebone, not much of her life is known before 16 February 1842 when at the age of 15 she diembarked from the Lloyds at Nelson Haven along with her mother Mrs Mary Ann Maund, (formerly Franklin, nee Godsall) 35, her elder sister Sarah Ann 17, and brothers Robert 13, and Alexander 9. Thomas, 11, was listed as a passenger but according to the shipping papers held at NZ Archives Wellington he is not shown so we must assume he was one of the many of the unfortunate children to die at sea.

Following the death of her husband Benjamin Franklin in 1833,  Maria's mother remarried in 1836 to Richard Maund who had sailed on the Whitby as one of a survey party 4-5 months ahead of the main body of immigrants.  Some months after their arrival they made ttheir way to the Motuaka (Motueka) area and settled in the Moutere. Maria Emily was employed as a lady’s help to Mrs Greenwood in Motueka. (Her sister,  Sarah Ann, married widower Captain William A Williams in Motueka in 1848. Capt. Williams was later appointed harbourmaster and pilot for the port of Collingwood in 1858)

John Brougham who had sailed on the Martha Ridgeway with his first wife Maria (Hughes) and two sons, James and John (John died during the voyage), had also settled in the same area. Maria died 3 years after their arrival in 1845, and on the 2nd Feb 1847 John Brougham aged 35 married Maria Emily Franklin aged 21.

One can only wonder on the hardships these people endured starting out with very little in the way of home comforts and on land that at best could be described as being of poor quality, and mostly of a swampy nature.

Maria must have been a popular and friendly person (as described by her son Thomas Godsall Brougham) as her home became a half-way house for travellers between Riwaka and Motueka. John ran the place as an inn, though according to records he was not licensed to sell liquor.

John and Maria had 5 sons and a daughter- Edward, Thomas Godsall, John Charles, Henry, Graham and Emily Sarah. All these children attended the new school at Lower Moutere, thought to have opened early 1857.

In later years Maria Emily became crippled after a gander had attacked her and she would spend her days making quilts. She died on 10 October 1893 and was buried at the St Thomas' Churchyard on Thorp Street, Motueka. Her headstone has since disappeared, probably eroded over time.


  1. Hi Anne, I'm really appreciating your blogs. I have a link to Thomas through his uncle, Alexander Franklin, whose wife Frances remarried after his death to become a different "Fanny Spicer". I also have a link to Shon Edwards through my great grandmother. We happen to be Facebook friends too. Fiona

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Fiona. I originally spotted Thomas Brougham's notes when doing some research on the Edwards family, but his recollections were so interesting I kept a copy of them - such a treasure trove of info about early Motueka and its settlers. He sounds like such a likeable character too :) It's good to come across one of his descendants!