Sunday, January 28, 2018

Family of Walter White & Agnes nee McLeod of Fife, Scotland - the New Zealand connection

Research notes: Alexander White (1836-1908) of “Craigholm”, Orinoco
and other members of the family of Walter White (1803-1884) & 
Agnes (nee McLeod) White (1806-1883), 
from Fife, Scotland ,who emigrated to New Zealand

Alexander’s father, Walter Whyte/White, was born at Freuchie in the parish of Falkland, Fife, Scotland, on 16 June 1803 to Robert Whyte and Margaret nee Waddell and was baptised there on 19 June 1803. His parents had married at Falkland, Fife, on 9 March 1794. Walter had at least 2 sisters - Elizabeth (b. 1796) & Christiana (b.1809) and a younger brother, Peter (b. 1814.)

On 17 October 1831 Walter, master shoemaker, was married at Abdie, Fife, to Agnes McLeod, who was born at Abdie, on the outskirts of Newburgh, Fife, in 1806. Her parents were Alexander McLeod, a skilled artisan, being a thatcher by trade, and Anne nee Smith, who had married at Abdie on 16 September 1797.  Although I haven’t found a record of her birth, details of Agnes’ parentage are recorded on her death certificate and the year of her birth can be extrapolated from both this and various census records. Agnes may have had a sister Mary, born 22 November 1797 and a brother Hugh, born at Abdie  on 17 October 1799.  The story goes that Agnes was her parents’ sole heir – did neither of these siblings survive?

Record of Agnes McLeod's death at Ferry Port on Craig

Family legend has it that Agnes’ parents had a wealthy suitor lined up for her but she fell for Walter, a village lad, instead and being of age, went ahead and married him against her parents’ wishes and without their blessing. Upon hearing of the marriage, Agnes’ parents are said to have disinherited her and left their estate to go into Chancery. It’s uncertain whether they ever had anything to do with Walter & Agnes’ children – their grandchildren.  However, Walter & Agnes do seem to have been reasonably comfortably off. At the time of Agnes’ death in 1883 they were living at “Mercury Cottage:” (a small two-storeyed stone house with a garden still in use as an up-market residence today) in Ferry Port on Craig (now known as Tayport), and she had previously given money to her grandchildren Jeannie & Bob when they left for New Zealand in 1879, as their share of what would have been their inheritance.

Walter & Agnes lived around Abdie with their growing family for a many years, but by the time of the 1871 census had retired to Ferry Port on Craig at the mouth of the Tay River, probably to be closer to their sons Robert & John, who were both based at Tayport, daughter Ann, and their various grandchildren. Ann must have appreciated her parents’ support as census records show her often on her own while her husband was away at sea. It seems she reciprocated by keeping an eye on her parents and appears to have been looking after her mother at the time of  Agnes’ death.

Fife parishes, with those of significance to the
White family underlined in red.
Ann Fraser nee White, only daughter of Walter White & Agnes nee McLeod, and Alec White's only sister, was born 26 June 1837 and baptised 4 July at Abdie, Fife. At the age of 13 she was employed as an outdoor worker on a farm at Remilton, and at 23 as a general servant in Newburg, at the High Street household of James Lyell, scion of a linen manufacturing dynasty. (Incidentally, Andrew Lyell, son of James & his wife Margaret nee Haggart, became a well known politician, businessman and industrial mediator in Melbourne, Australia.)

Ann married seaman Walter Fraser at Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, on 1 December 1864. They had 4 known children – Walter, b. 25 Sept.1865, Agnes Jane b.14 October 1867, Barbara Ann, b.18 July 1872, & Alexander, b. 12 Dec. 1874. In 1891 the 2 unmarried daughters were still living with their mother and both employed as linen weavers.

A mystery attaches to the name of the father of Ann White’s children.  When she married, her bridegroom was recorded as Walter Fraser, but the father of her children is noted on their records of birth as John Fraser, seaman. Given the date of the first child’s birth, Walter & John must surely have been one and the same person.

Walter & Agnes White had 5 children

Robert (b. 1832)
Alexander (b. 1836)
Ann (b. 1837) married Walter/John Fraser in 1864
Andrew (b. 1840) possibly died young
John Cameron (1844)

Two of Walter & Agnes White’s sons – Alexander  White (1836-1908) and John  Cameron White (1843- 1908) - and three of their grandchildren  - Robert’s children, Walter White (1856-1904), Robert (Bob) White Jnr (1862-1919) and Jane McLeod (Jeannie) White (1864-1945) emigrated to New Zealand.   

Suggestions that another of Robert Snr's children, Alexander,  also came to NZ don't appear to be supported by any evidence  - possibly he became conflated with his uncle Alexander or cousin Alexander, son of Capt John White.

 Alexander White  (1836-1908)

Baptised at the Abdie Church of Scotland on 5 April 1835, Alexander (known as Alec) was born in 1835 at Abdie, Fife, Scotland, to Walter Whyte (White) (1803-1884) born at Freuchie, Fife, and Agnes McLeod (1806-1883), born at Abdie, Fife . Alexander was their second son, and had four siblings – Robert the eldest, b. 1832: Ann b 1837, who married seaman Walter Fraser at Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, on 1 December 1864, Andrew b, 24 September 1840 & bapt. at Abdie 15 October 1840, and John Cameron b. 1843.

John Cameron White (1843-1908), youngest son of Walter White & Agnes nee McLeod and Alec White's youngest brother,  emigrated with his family to New Zealand sometime after 1881. Born 19 May 1843 and baptised at Abdie, Fife, on 26 May 1843, at age 17 he was working as a blacksmith’s apprentice, but became a master mariner always known as “Captain”. He married Emma (name sometimes written Ammy) Morgan  (ca. 1837-1936) at Ferry Port on Graig,  Fife, Scotland , on 29 June 1866.

Captain John White & Emma nee Morgan  had 6 known children:

 1) Walter Cameron White,  b. 7 Oct 1866 at Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, Scotland. Master mariner. Died in Wellington, NZ on 26 March 1919. Burial at the White family plot, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, NZ .Married but no children at time of death, Possible marriage to Ellen Henry 1888 in Wellington, NZ.

2) William Morgan White,  b. 6 March 1868, Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, Scotland. A civil servant by profession. Died 17 November 1942. Address: 6 King Edward Street, Bayswater, Waitemata, Auckland. Cremation at Waikumete Cemetery. Auckland, 21 Nov 1942. Married Jane (Jenny) Leat in Auckland, NZ in 1921.

3) Ann Young (Annie) White  b. 9 Feb 1870, Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, Scotland.
Married at St David's, Hutt, Wellington, in 1900 to Darcy Allan Tuckwell .

4) Alexander White  b. 24 Feb 1872 Forgan, Fife, Scotland, possibly at Newport-on-Tay. A tailor by trade. Died 8 Nov. 1901 aged 29. Buried at the White family plot, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, NZ.

5) Mary McLeod White  b. 5 July 1874, Forgan, Fife, Scotland. 
1) 8 June 1901 at Nelson, NZ, to Capt Charles Bonner Jnr
2) to James Edward Carrick in 1909

6) Emma Morgan White  b. ca 1877, Forgan, Fife, Sotland. Married 1901 Wellington, NZ to James Edward Collins. Died 25 June 1970, aged 93yrs. Address at death 11 Wylie Street, Rotorua. Cremation  Pyes Pa Cemetery, Bay of Plenty, NZ.

At one time Captain John was a whaler working in the Greenland whaling trade, probably with the whaling fleet operating out of Dundee. The whaling industry declined through overfishing, and he then became a tug master at Tayport. Following the disaster during the stormy night of 28 December 1879 when the ill-fated Tay Bridge collapsed, taking the Edinburgh train with it, Captain White volunteered to take a party of officials out on to the Firth of Tay in his tug to establish whether any aid was possible. This would have been a dangerous enterprise in the midst of a cyclonic gale - though maybe not so daunting for one who earned his chops battling the perilous Artic seas in a whaling ship. He is mentioned but not named in the report below of the disaster, which none of those on board the train survived.

Tay Bridge Accident
Report compiled in London on 2 Jan 1880, published in the "South Australian Register" 10  Feb. 1880, pg 6

Once settled in Wellington, Captain John White worked initially as an engineer, probalby in a marine capacity, then became owner and master of the small harbour tug “ S.S. Moturoa.” There is yet another Taranaki connection here - the tug "Moturoa" was originally owned by the Taranaki Harbour Board and named for the small coastal settlement of Moturoa near New Plymouth, a place of historic significance as the spot where the first Taranaki settlers set foot. The Wellington "Evening Post" of 24 Dec 1897, pg 6, noted that "Mr J.White's steam launch 'Moturoa' which has been purchased from the Taranaki Harbour Boad for service in this port, arrived from Taranaki and Picton yesterday".

Captain White  died aged 67 in Wellington on 27 December 1908 and was buried at the White family plot, Karori Cemetery, Wellington, on 30 December 1908.

Sea Captain’s Death (Captain John C. White)
“New Zealand Herald”, 29 December 1908, pg 5

Emma White, widow of Capt, John, died 18 August 1936 and also lies at the White family plot in Karori Cemetery, Wellington.

Deaths: Emma White
“Evening Post”, 19 August 1936, pg 1

One of Captain John’s sons, Captain Walter White, was also a master mariner and took over the tug “Moturoa” on his father’s death. See an obit for Captain Walter White, who died in 1919, here:

“Dominion”, 28 March, 1919, pg 6

The Whites were closely connected with the family of Captain Charles Bonner (1841-1913), another maritime family, based at Wanganui and later Wellington, NZ. Capt Charles Bonner Snr was a master mariner operating coastal steamers through the 1870s, '80s and into the '90s, and had close connections with Waitara, Patea, Opunake, Wellington, Nelson/Motueka and Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island, which were regular ports of call along the coastal route. 

"Wanganui Chronicle" 6 Aug 1913, pg 4

Personal: Death of Capt Charles Bonner (Snr) - an account of his life.

Capt Charles Bonner Snr and his wife Mary Jane nee McLean had 10 children and 2 of their sons, Daniel Joseph (Dan) & Charles Jnr, were also master mariners. Captain Bonner Snr was himself the son of a master mariner and born at sea, so sailing was clearly in the blood!

Mary McLeod White  (Capt John White’s second daughter) married 29 year old Captain Charles Bonner Jnr (1872-1901) at the Presbyterian Church, Nile Street East, Nelson, on 8 June 1901, the Rev. James Hutton MacKenzie officiating, but was widowed just five months later in September 1901 when the scow “Whakapai” capsized in a storm off the East Cape and he was drowned. In another blow for the White family, son Alexander died   in Wellington a couple of months later on 8 November 1901, also at the age of 29. He is buried at Karori Cemetery as well and the White family headstone includes an inscription to Alexander, son of Capt. John, and another to the memory of Capt Charles Bonner Jnr. 

Marriages :Bonner-White
“Evening Post” 15 June 1901, pg 6

It’s possible that the Edith Collins living at the “Rocks Villa”, Port Nelson, who acted as a witness at the wedding was a sister-in-law– Mary’s youngest sister Emma Morgan White had married James Edward Collins in 1900. It’s possible that Mary was also living at the "Rocks” at Port Nelson at the time of her wedding.

Loss of the Scow ‘Whakapai”
“Opunake Times”, 4 October 1901, pg 4

see also “Wreck of the Scow ‘Whakapai’”
Manawatu Times 30 Seotember 1901

The widowed Mary Bonner nee White remarried in 1909 to James Edward Carrick, another mariner  - they settled in Wellington but moved to Melbourne, Australia around 1912.

Alexander (Alec) White  second son of Walter White & Agnes (nee McLeod)., was apprenticed to a wood turner as a youth, but studied and qualified as a civil engineer. In 1856 when he was 20, he left Scotland for the Australian goldfields, where he followed his profession as an engineer and was in charge of the first engine to travel between Ballarat and Melbourne. (My source doesn’t specify, but I’m assuming we’re talking railways here- this is certainly around the time that the Melbourne-Ballarat line was established.) After four years in Victoria he moved across the Tasman Sea to Ahaura in the Grey Valley on the West Coast of New Zealand, where he worked as a civil engineer, selling up his business and moving on in timely fashion just before the gold ran out.  (Not railway work here as the Ahaura line didn’t go through till much later, but there was always plenty of work for civil engineers on the goldfields in the areas of surveying and mining infrastructure.)

Alexnder White
Alexander appears to have been very comfortably situated as far as money goes. He could afford to take his new wife to Scotland on a two-year long wedding trip, buy a substantial block of land at Ngatimoti on his return to New Zealand, and is said to have either paid for or contributed to passages for his brother Robert’s children - Walter, Robert (Bob) Jnr and Jane (known as Jeannie) - whom he brought out to New Zealand. Bob & Jean also had financial support from their grandmother Agnes White (nee McLeod) who set them up with what they needed for the voyage. 

Nephew Walter is thought to have come to NZ with his aunt and uncle when they returned to NZ from their Scottish trip in 1876, Robert Jnr & Jean coming out later in 1879 on the ship "Eastminster” as  “Colonial Nominated” single persons – meaning that they were sponsored by a New Zealand resident, in this case their uncle Alexander. The "Eastminster" was the last of the assisted immigrant ships operating under the Vogel Scheme to reach Nelson .

There is an unresolved question as to whether another of his nephews from brother Robert’s family, Alexander, also came out to NZ or not. Alexander, son of Robert & Jean White, is last seen in the 1881 census of Scotland as a journeyman joiner boarding at the fantastically named “Pickletillum Private House” in Leuchars, Ferry Port on Craig, Fife. Could he have been mixed up with his cousin, Capt John White’s son, also Alexander, who came out to NZ with his family? The great profusion of White family members named Alexander, Robert & Walter certainly lends itself to confusion!

Clearly in her booklet “They came to New Zealand in 1880” Decima Dickson got a bit confused when she wrote that Jeannie White and her brother Bob were to be met in NZ by their brother Alexander, his wife Emma and their daughter Emma Jane, given that said brother was still single and living in Fife in 1881. There’s no doubt that it was their uncle Alexander White & his wife Mary nee Sutcliffe who met them at the wharf when they arrived in Nelson on the “Eastminster” on 14 January 1880.

Arrival of the “Eastminster”
“Nelson Evening Mail” 15 October 1880

Robert White  (1832- ?), oldest son of Walter White & Agnes (nee McLeod) and Alec White’s oldest brother, was born 14 January 1832 and baptised 3 February 1832 at Abdie. He married at Burntisland, Fife, on 16 August 1855 to Jane (Jean) McKenzie, born 19 July 1833 at Abbotshall, Fife, to James McKenzie and Jane (nee Neilson), 

Robert White & Jane nee McKenzie had 5 known children

1) Walter White  b 14 July 1856, Burntisland, Fife, Scotland), d. 25 Feb 1904 at Upper Moutere, Nelson, New Zealand. Married 8 Oct 1879 at Motueka, Nelson, NZ, to Evangeline Parsons. Buried at the Waiwhero Cemetery, Ngatimoti, Nelson, NZ.

2) Thomas McKenzie White b. 14 July 1858 at Burntisland, Fife, Scotland. Possibly died young - not seen on record after the 1861 census of Scotland, when he was aged 3.

3) Alexander White b. 26 April 1860, Ferry Port on Craig.

4) Robert (Bob) White Jnr  b 20 Jan 1862, Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, Scotland, d. 9 Oct 1919 at Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand. Married 6 Aug 1892 at the bride's home at Stoke, Nelson. NZ, to Ellen Smith. Buried at Terrace End Cemetery, Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ.

5) Jane McLeod (Jeannie) White  b. 22 May, 1864, Ferry Port on Craig, Fife,Scotland, d. 11 Mar 1945 at New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand. Married 14 Jul 1885 at the Wesleyan Methodist Church, New Plymouth,  NZ. to Thomas Pole (Tom) Hughson. Buried at Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, Taranaki, NZ.

Robert White Snr worked around Tayport as a waterman and a labourer on various construction projects.  He was foreman on the Tayport Bridge Works in 1873 at the time when his son Walter rescued several workmates after a caisson under construction blew up, killing 6 workers. Family history suggests that Robert Snr may also have worked at times as a seaman, spending time away from home while at sea. In the 1881 census of Scotland he is described as the "master (captain) of a dredger". Perhaps he was involved with dredging in the River Tay for the sand which was a Tayport trade staple - see "Sandsuckers"  

After his wife Jean died sometime around 1867, Robert remarried on 15 August 1870 at Ferry Port on Craig, Fife, to Helen Murdoch, who already had several children of her own, some at least from an earlier relationship with William Bruce Jnr, though only their mother’s name appears on their birth records. (Query - Decima Dickson calls Robert's second wife "Gladys", but no record of this being the case )

Because Robert claimed Helen’s already existing children as his own on census records following their marriage, it’s difficult to tell which ones he and Helen might have had together. Agnes McLeod White, b 1873, is the sole definite, being the only one identified at birth as having Robert White Snr as her father. Did this Agnes die young? She appears in the 1881 census of Scotland aged 7, but then disappears from record. Robert aged 58 was living at Bo'ness, West Lothian, with his step-daughter Johanna and her husband John Brown in 1891, so presumably his second wife Helen had died by then. Robert himself may have died between 1891 and 1901, as he no longer appears in the 1901 census listings.  Robert’s family from his first marriage soon fell out with their step-mother, who is said to have mistreated them in their father’s absence, and this is thought to have been the impetus for the exodus to New Zealand.

The oldest of Robert’s children and Alec White’s nephews, Walter White (1856-1904), oldest son of Robert White & Jane nee McKenzie,  grandson of Walter White  & Agnes nee McLeodhad picked up the trade of bootmaker while based at the “Mars” Training Ship (a type of floating industrial school) anchored on the River Tay at Dundee. As a 17 year old, not long since discharged from the “Mars”, he was working on the Tay Bridge Works (yes, that  bridge!) when he won acclaim as a hero from the “Dundee Advertiser” and was awarded a silver medal by the Dundee Humane Society for bravery after saving the lives of three workmates following an explosion in August 1973 during work related to establishing a caisson for the bridge. (This medal is still thought to be in the possession of a descendant living in NZ)

It’s believed that Walter accompanied his uncle Alexander White when he returned to New Zealand in 1876 after two years spent introducing his wife Mary tnee Sutcliffe) to his family in Scotland.  On 8 October 1879 Walter was married in Motueka to local girl, Evangeline Parsons (1861-1941). Her parents, John Parsons & Emma nee Newham, married at St Edmunds, Salisbury, Wiltshire, on 4 April 1842, then a month later emigrated from England to New Zealand  per the ship “Thomas Harrison”, arriving in Nelson 25 October 1842.The Parsons first lived in Waimea West before moving to Waiwhero Road, Ngatimoti, in 1866.

On 2 June 1883 Walter White bought Section 33 in the Orinoco Valley from merchant George Talbot, who had originally bought the land as an investment. This property was just down the road from his uncle Alexander’s farm.

Because Alexander married late and his nephew Walter early, both had children of a similar age attending the Orinoco School at the same time. Although community-minded and generous in many respects, Alec White was a canny man who loved to haggle and strike a hard bargain and another Ngatimoti settler, Cyprian Brereton, referred to Alec White as “a Scot of Scots” in this regard  Alec White never lost his strong Scottish accent and could often be seen wearing his favourite tam o’shanter, a traditional Scottish cap.

Sutcliffe family, taken July 1868
Richard Sutcliffe centre back, his wife
Sarah nee McCulla seated in front of him.
Mary (aged 15 ) stands far lleft
in front of her only brother, john William.
Alexander’s place of residence was given as Ahaura when he married Mary Sutcliffe, youngest daughter of Ngatimoti’s long-serving schoolmaster Richard Sutcliffe and his wife Sarah nee McCulla). Mary was born in Motueka on 12 March 1853. How they met is unknown, but their wedding took place at St Thomas’ Anglican Church, Motueka, on 2 July, 1874. (Interestingly Mary’s sister Elizabeth Sutcliffe also married in 1874 to Robert Pownall at Reefton, so there must have been some family point of connection with the West Coast). Alec & Mary then took a wedding trip to Scotland, where they stayed for two years.  Their first daughter, Sarah, known as Sadie, was born at Burntisland, Fife, Scotland, in 1875.

Not long after Sadie’s birth they returned to Nelson, New Zealand, and Alexander took up farming in the Orinoco Valley where Mary's family were based, having bought Sections 35. 36, 37 & 38 from Frank Jellicoe, an English lawyer who had made significant investments in land around the Motueka area. The deed of conveyance was dated 13 April 1876. Alexander also applied for a lease of 200 acres on the Mt Arthur Tableland in 1876 for grazing. Section 35 (opposite the Rosedale Road) became the homestead block. A home was built there from pit-sawn rimu timber, a steep gabled house with a wooden shingled roof and a verandah on three sides, known as “Craigholm”, perhaps with Ferry Port on Craig back home in Scotland in mind. 

Alexander invited tenders for the felling, burning and clearing bush over 100 acres in small lots during the winter of 1876, and in April 1886 invited further tenders for felling 60 acres of bush. He grew hops and fruit and ran sheep and cattle. Even though he was a good distance from the Motueka River, Alexander’s land was affected by the big flood of February 1877 as the Orinoco Stream which ran through his land rose up and overflowed its banks. A contemporary report noted that "At Ngatimoti the destruction is said to have been very great. Mr White appears to be one of the principal sufferers, nearly the whole of his fine farm having been submerged." His home, prudently built on up on a hill, was safe. Alec White continued to farm this property until a few months before his death.

The Flood at Motueka
"Nelson Evening Mail", 12 Feb 1877, pg 3

When advertised for sale mid-1907 (though not at that time sold), the “Craigholm” property was described as comprising  “766 acres in the pretty Orinoco Valley with a good house, barn, hop kiln and sheep yards”.

Alexander was on the vestry of St James Church and on the school committee and gave land for the Orinoco side-school which opened in 1894. The proposal to establish another school in the Ngatimoti area was a contentious one, with some members of the community feeling it was unnecessary. Although he was happy to donate land, Alec White suggested it would in fact be more economic to transport children daily from Orinoco to the Ngatimoti School up on Waiwhero Road, but the Nelson Education Board made its decision in favour of setting up the new a side school to the existing Ngatimoti School. Rather ironically, the Orinoco School was eventually closed in 1956 for financial reasons and pupils bussed instead to the Ngatimoti School, belatedly proving Alec White right.

Nelson Education Board Meeting:  Motion to establish an Orinoco School carried.
"Colonist" 10 Jan 1894, pg 3  

One of his paddocks opposite Rosedale Road was always available for local club cricket games and community picnics and there is a photo of one of these large picnics taken around 1891. He was on a number of local committees and his name often pops up in this connection in newspaper coverage of various meetings, along with those of Alf Edwards and John Arliss Guy. Alec White and Orinoco neighbour John A. Guy were also Freemasons, both being founding members of Motueka Lodge No 117 and were personally well acquainted with William de Castro, who established the Motueka Masonic Lodge and whose family were frequent visitors to the Orinoco Valley.

In 1886 Alexander and John Arliss Guy’s father, Walter, took their differences to court. (The Ngatimoti/Orinoco land farmed by John A. Guy all belonged to the Walter Guy estate, of which John Guy was a trustee).  Alexander had erected a fence on their common boundary, but as it was said to be half a chain inside Guy property, Walter refused to pay his share of the costs. It seemed even the Survey Department was uncertain of the original boundary, however judgement was made in favour of Walter Guy. (We just recently discovered that the St James Church fence line encroaches two metres over the official boundary into our adjoining paddock, so obviously fence placement wasn’t an exact science in the past!)

Note that the Walter & John Arliss Guy families of Lower Moutere and Ngatimoti are not related at all to the John (Jack) Guy family of Rahotu and Opunake.

Alec White’s wife Mary nee Sutcliffe was an early member of the Ngatimoti Mothers’ Union. She had a close connection with the Anglican Church. She was a communicant at St Thomas’, Motueka, in the 1870s and the first organist at St James’ Church after it was consecrated in 1884. The organ she played was one selected by her father for the church. Richard Sutcliffe was also St James’ choirmaster and all his daughters sang in the church choir. Mary White also acted as a midwife for neighours, and is known to have attended Mary Strachan (wife of Alexander Strachan of Manawatane, Orinoco) when her second daughter Edith was born in 1905. At least 2 of  Mary White’s daughters (Emmeline & Muriel) seem to have inherited her talent for nursing .

Alexander White died at ‘Craigholm” on 12 March, 1908. He was 72 at the time of his death and left a widow, seven daughters, three of them married and three sons still at home. He was buried at the Waiwhero Cemetery along with his fourth son Donald, who died young, and was later joined there by his wife Mary.

Obituary: Mr Alexander White
“Nelaon Evening Mail”, 17 March, 1908, pg 2

 Alexander and Mary White’s children were:

1) Sarah (known as Sadie) b. 12 July 1875 at Burntisland, Fife, Scotland., d.  23 August 1966 at Howick, Auckland.  Married 12 July 1906 at her family home,“Craigholm”, to John Irving Turnbull, a Presbyterian missionary from Australia, who had been serving as Wesleyan minister at Rahotu. Rev Turnbull served as Presbyterian minister at Riwaka (just outside Motueka) for a couple of years after their marriage then moved on to Kakikati, Thames and finally settled in Auckland.  Turnbull gave up the ministry soon after moving to Auckland and ran a bookstore. Sadie was buried at St Andrews Presbyterian Cemetery, Howick, Auckland, next to her husband, who died in 1940. Rev Turnbull was thought to have been a bachelor when he married Sadie, but was in fact still married to an Australian woman at the time, with whom he had a family of five!

*2) Emmeline White b. 28 April 1877, d. 3 Aug 1969 at New Plymouth, Taranaki. WWI serial no 11/1608. Never married. Qualified as a nurse and served overseas with the NZ Army Nursing Service Corps (NZANS) Biography written by Cheryl Carnahan held at the Mot Historical Association research room, also a chapter in Carnahan’s book “All Guts, No Glory’ - bios of the army chaplains and nurses from the Nelson region who served during WWI

3)  Muriel Agnes White b. 13 Jan 1879, d. Died 10 May 1957 at New Plymouth, Taranaki.  Married 30 October 1906 at St James Anglican Church, Ngatimoti, to James (Jim) Benjamin Groom of Rahotu, Taranaki. Buried at Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth..

Note: Before her marriage Muriel had started training as a nurse at New Plymouth Hospital, passing her Preliminary Examination in 1905. (See “Taranaki Herald” 23 Dec. 1905).

Alexander Sutcliffe White  b. 12 March 1881, d. 27 June 1952. Married 20 April 1910 to Blanche Nix at Carterton, Wairarapa. NZ.  His brother-in-law, the Rev J. Turnbull, conducted the ceremony. In 1914  Alex White Jnr was working with younger brother Hugh on a farm at Duthie Road, Mangatoki, which appears to have been owned by another brother-in-law, Jack Guy. Was working as farm manager at Kahu Road, Rahotu in 1917 when he was listed on the NZ Expeditionary Force’s reservists roll.

His marriage to a Carterton woman may have come about through an Orinoco acquaintance,  Annie Burrow, who had previously lived with her husband and family at Carterton . Her parents having settled on a farm at Orinoco, around 1901 Mrs Burrow removed there to live with her children after being widowed. She frequently hosted visitors from Carterton, a number of them young women who were friends of her daughters'. Several Orinoco/Carterton matches resulted from this connection. In fact, Alexander Jnr's cousin Charles (Charlie) Heath married a Carterton girl as well - Jane Oliver. Charlie was a son of Mary White's sister Sarah nee Sutcliffe who married Orinoco farmer John Heath.

Alexander Jnr retired to Napier. where he died 9 June 1952. He was buried at Wharerangi Cemetery, Napier, along with wife Blanche. Note: Blanche’s brother Roy Nix  (WWI serial no 53060) was K.I.A. at Baupaume  on 24 August 1918.

5) Flora Margaret White b. 24 Jan 1883, married 25 January 1904 to John (jack) Guy of Opunake  Died in New Plymouth 20 July 1963. Both John & Flora were buried at Te Henui Cemetery, New.Plymouth. (No connection to our Lower Moutere/ Ngatimoti  Walter Guy family)

6) Maud Alice White  b. 25 Jan 1885. Married John Hall on 11 May 1908 at Pungarehu, Taranaki. She died 7 May 1944  at New Plymouth, Taranaki, and is buried at Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth.

7)  Amy Elizabeth White  b. 17 Feb 1887, d. 21 April 1963 . Never married. After her father's death lived with her widowed mother at Tahunanui and later with her sister Sadie in Auckland. Buried at St Andrew's Presbyterian Cemetery, Howick, Auckland, along with brother-in-law the Rev. J. Turnbull & sister Sarah Turnbull nee White.

8) Donald McLeod White  b. 5 Dec 1888,  d. 12 March 1893 aged 4 yrs. Buried at Waiwhero Cemetery, Ngatimoti.

9) Rosalie Winifred White  b. 15 Feb 1891, d. 28 May 1951. Married 1932 to Hector Campbell. Buried at Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth.

*10) Hugh Macalister White  b. 15 March 1893 at Ngatimoti. WWI serial no 11/1608 Served with the NZ Mounted  Rifles during the  Palestine-Sinai campaign and died in El Arish, North Sinai, on 27 November, 1917, of  complications resulting from severe gastro-enteritis.

*11) Andrew Bruce White  b 129 Dec 1896. WWI serial no 31001 Also served during WWI and died in France on 30 September, 1918.

Hugh and Andrew are commemorated on the brass tablet inside St James Anglican Church, Ngatimoti, and at the Tahunanui War Memorial. Both their names are recorded upon their mother’s headstone at the Waiwhero Cemetery, Ngatimoti.

After his father’s death, Alec White’s oldest son Alexander Jnr farmed “Craigholm” until he sold it to Hugo Sixtus, presumably after he married in 1910 and moved north. His mother Mary held a sale on site on the 30th of August, 1911, before retiring to Tahunanui, Nelson, where she died on 12 October, 1918. She would have heard the news of both her younger sons’ deaths by then, but happily, the day before she died, she was reunited with her daughter Emmeline, who had just returned safely to Nelson after three years of active service. Mary White nee Sutcliffe was buried 15 Oct 1918 at the Waiwhero Cemetery, Ngatimoti.

Notice of Mary White’s death at home in Tahunanui on 12 October 1918
“Colonist” 14 October 1918

In 1922 Hugo Sixtus sold the former White farm to the Llewellin brothers, Donald and Sidney, who divided it in two. One section is currently owned by Viv Whitaker – she and her husband Tony (now deceased) built a replica colonial home there in 1983 which is named “Craigholm” after the original house destroyed by fire in 1953 while owned by the Llewellins.

Alec White’s nephew Walter (b 14 July 1856, Burntisland, Fife, Scotland) also had three children (sons) who enlisted together and served during WWI. One, Charles Theodore White, died of complications resulting from influenza at Featherston Training Camp in 1918. Walter White bought Sections 78 & 80 in Central Moutere in 1900 and moved there with his family in 1904 after selling his  Section 33 to Orinoco farming neighbour John Edward Salaibury who in turn sold it to tWalter Beatson, son of Orinoco settler DavidBeatson. This land is still in the Beatson family today. Walter White's Moutere property  had been the site of Thomas Hewetson’s first home in Old House Road, though Walter built a new house there further back from the stream  (see George McMurtry’s Versatile Community, Walter & Evangeline White pp 189-191).

Walter White  & Evangeline (nee Parsons) had 10 children. Walter died on 25 February 1904 at the age of 47, not long after they moved to the Moutere. Evangeline survived him by many years, dying on 12 September 1941. Both were buried at the Waiwhero Cemetery, along with their son Charles Theodore White.

The Parsons family had land at Waiwhero, next to what had been originally been Brethren evangelist James George Deck’s property (now known as “Paratiho Lodge Farm”) and also in the Pearse and Graham Valleys. Walter White held the licence for the Graham Valley accommodation house in 1892 and his brother Robert (Bob) is also recorded as holding land in the Graham Valley 1898 and 1899 – he very likely ran sheep there.

1) Jane Ellen White b. 1880 d. 1959 Married Cecil Godfrey Duncan in 1902

*2) Robert McKenzie White  b. 1882  d. 1960.
 WWI serial no 72156  Married Lily Reeves in 1937. Both buried at Motueka Cemetery.

3) Rose Emily  White b.1884  d. 1959 Married Christian John Frederick Bensemann in 1905

*4) Walter Thomas (known as Thomas or Tom) White  b. 1886 , d. 1959
 WWI serial no 6/3927
Married Margaret Best in 1926.

5) William Graham White b. 1888 d. 1955
Married Mary Elizabeth Duffy in 1916

6) Edith Mary Clara (known as Clara) White  b. 1890 d. 1951.
Married Otto Fredrick John Krammer in 1912.

7) Olive May White  b.1893 d. 1950.
Married Raymond Gerald Coleman in 1925

*8) Charles Theodore White  (b. 15 March 1895)
WWI serial no 90637
Died of influenza at Featherston Training Camp on 9 November 1918 and is commemorated at the Mapua (Moutere Hills) War Memorial. His body was brought home and he was buried at the Waiwhero Cemetery, Ngatimoti.

See article below.
“Evening Post”, 11 November, 1918, pg 8
“Soldiers’ Deaths”

9) Peter Leslie (known as Les) Whiie  b. 1900  d. 1974  Never married.

10) Grace Evangeline White  b. 1904 d. 1972
Married Frank Marsden Rogers in 1923

A cousin who also served during WWI was a different  Robert MacKenzie White (1894-1981). This Robert was the son of Walter White’s younger  brother Robert (Bob) White (1862-1919), the 3rd son of Robert White Snr & Jane nee McKenzie, grandson of Walter White & Agnes nee McLeod, and another of Alexander White’s nephews, who had emigrated to NZ with his sister Jeannie on the immigrant ship “Eastminster in 1879.  

Bob White lived for a while in a bach built on his brother Walter White’s Section 33 at Orinoco.and worked for his uncle Alexander. He was employed as a storeman in  Nelson at the time of his marriage. Bob White married Ellen Smith (1875-1946) on 6 August 1892 at the Stoke, Nelson, home of her parents, farmer William Bird Burton Smith and Florence (Fanny) nee Mytton. Fanny was the 3rd daughter of Pokororo pioneers Edward Mytton & Martha Nottingham, who arrived in Nelson on the ship “Phoebe Dunbar” on 2 December 1850 and settled in the Motueka Valley in 1869.

See "Early Memories  of Pokororo", written by Edward Mytton (Fanny Smith nee Mytton's younger brother) - a picture of life in the Motueka Valley for the pioneering Mytton family.

The property Robert farmed in the Graham Valley for a few years after his marriage may have been Mytton land. or possibly belonged to his older brother, Walter White. Robert & Ellen’s son Robert MacKenzie White. was born in Motueka in 1894. 

Bob & Ellen White moved to Taranaki sometime around 1903, when Robert White of Ngatiimoti advertised some of his goods for sale in the "Motueka Star" as he was "leaving the district". By 1905-6 Robert was recorded as a mail coach driver living at Westown, a suburban settlement established near New Plymouth in 1879. His younger sister Jeannie White had married Thomas Pole Hughson in New Plymouth in 1885 and Bob White's move to New Plymouth was almost certainly connected with his Hughson in-laws' coaching business. Tom's Hughson's father Hugh bought land at Westown in 1880 and  built a house and store there  At the turn of the century the Hughsons established a New Plymouth to Opunake horse-drawn coach mail and passenger service, an enterprise requiring a total of 4 men, 32 horses and 3 coaches, and it's likely that Robert was employed as a driver on this run.The journey was a taxing one, taking more than 12 hours (in fine weather). Subsequently the Hughsons opened stores at settlements where the coach stopped along the way - Okato, Opunake, Rahotu, Pungarehu, Parihaka and Patea, dealing in general groceries, books, milking machines, 'house mercery', general hardware and building materials.

Royal Mail Coach - New Plymouth to Opunake, T.P. Hughson, proprietor
"Hawera & Normanby Star", 23 January 1905 - Daily Schedule

Robert then shifted to the Manawatu, and etablished a farm at Mangawhata on the Oroua River – this farm may have been taken over by his son Robert MacKenzie White. Robert Snr died at the Palmerston North Hospital on 9 October 1919 aged 58. He and his wife Ellen are both buried at the Presbyterian Block, Terrace Cemetery, Palmerston North.

Robert (Bob) White & Ellen nee Smith  had 10 children altogether:

1) Edith Jane White  b.1892 in Nelson, NZ. Possibly married in 1915 to Duncan McDonald

*2) Robert MacKenzie White b. 1894 at Motueka  NZ d. 10 Aug 1881.WWI serial no 41689. Married Grace Frances Lithgow in 1926. Burial at Kelvin Grove Cemetery, Palmerston North, Manawatu. Farmed at Magawhata in the Manawatu then  retired to to Palmerston North.

3) Thomas McLeod White  b. 1896 at Motueka, d. Taranaki, NZ, 18 Jan 1959. Married 2 June 1921 at Rahotu, Taranaki, to Grace Annie Hopkins
 Buried at Waitara Cemetery.

4) Arthur Smith White  b. 1898 in Motueka, d. 18 Jan 1968 . Married in 1926 to Elsie Louisa  Thompson. Buried at Kelvin Grove Cemetery, Palmerston North, Manawatu.

5) Henry George  White  b. 1901 in Motueka,

6) Richard John White  b. 1903 at Motueka. Possible marriage in 1932 to Florence Mabel Hutchison. Also possible death 4 Aug 1984 at Paraparumu Hospital, Wellington. Cremation with ashes scattered 7 Aug 1984 in a native bush area at Paraparamu.

7) Keith McKenzie White b 1905 in New Plymouth,  Taranaki

8) Jane Elsie White  b. 8 Sept 1908 at Inglewood, Taranaki. Died 1992 at Wanganui.  Married 1930 to Charles Costley Jones. 

9) Allison Alexandra White  b. 1911 at Hawera, Taranaki. Never married- was living in Palmerston North, Manawatu in 1938.

10) Flora Margaret White  b. 10 Mar 1914 at Hawera, Taranaki, d. 8 Oct 1997. Married 22 October 1963 to Howard Dudley Lovelock. Buried at Kelvin Grove Cemetry, Palmerston North, Manawatu.

Note One of Ellen White nee Smith's brothers, Robert William Smith (1876-1956) who in 1897 married Fanny Sutton (a daughter of James Sutton & Mary Ann nee Webby) also moved north, where he worked for some time as a farm manager at Tahora, on the Manawatu side of the border with Taranaki.. As a consequence, their younger brother, Leonard Francis (Len) Smith, who died in France on 12 April 1917 from wounds received in action during the Battle of Arras, is commemorated at the Whangamomona, Kohuratahi and Tahora WWI Memorial. under the name "L.F. Burton-Smith". Robert Smith & his wife returned to Nelson in the late 1920s and spent the rest of their lives in Richmond, Fanny's home town. Fanny was a granddaughter of early Richmond settlers George Sutton & Hannah nee Stilwell, and her father James was born on board the ship "Bolton" during their voyage from England to  NZ in 1842.

Jane McLeod (Jeannie) White (1864-1945) only daughter of Robert White & Jane nee McKenzie, granddaughter of Walter White & Agnes nee McLeod and niece of Alec White of Orinoco. Came out to NZ aged 16 on the "Eastminster” with her brother Robert (Bob). She developed a romantic friendship during the outward bound voyage with Thomas Pole (Tom) Hughson (1862-1846) whose family were also emigrating to NZ.  Tom was born 14 May 1862 at Mid & South Yell, Shetland Islands, to Hugh Hughson & Anderina (nee Pole.)  Hugh Hughson was employed as the assistant to the ship’s surgeon. 

Family story has it that when Robert & Jeannie’s aunt Ann Fraser nee White was farewelling them at Waverley Station, where they  took the train from Edinburgh to catch the ship at Plymouth, England,  she spotted some luggage labelled “Hughson, ’‘Eastminster’” and  tracked down the Hughsons on the train to ask if they could keep an eye on her niece and nephew during the voyage.

Jeannie at first helped out her aunt and uncle at Orinoco then took a job in Nelson with Elizabeth Pownall, nee Sutcliffe, one of her aunt Mary White nee Sutcliffe's sisters. Elizabeth had married draughtsman/artist Robert Pownall in Reefton in 1874 and they lived for a few years in the Orinoco Valley before moving to Nelson. One of their sons, Neville McCulla Pownall, was sent to Orinoco to learn farming  from his uncle Alec White and later ran a carrying business operating between Ngatimoti and Motueka.  Meanwhile the Hughsons had gone to Wellingon, but soon after moved to New Plymouth. Jeannie continued to correspond with Tom Hughson, whom she married at the Wesleyan Methodist Church, New Plymouth, on July 14, 1885. (Her uncle Alexander was supposed to give the bride away but got chatting at the wharf and missed the steamer!)

Tom & Jeannie moved to Okato, one of the settlements where the Hughsons had a staging post, and Tom ran the family store set up there. They then bought land south of Stoney River and established a farm called “Windermere”, with Tom also running a 5-horse coach service. They settled in 1902 at Rahotu, Taranaki, where Tom established a bakery and general store. Jeannie died aged 80 on 11 March 1945, followed by Tom in 1946. Both are buried at the Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth, along with Tom’s parents. Hugh Hughson & Anderina nee Pole. 

Tom Hughson & Jeannie nee White raised a family of 10.

One of  their sons also served during  WWI. This was Magnus Sinclair Hughson (1896-1996)  

1) Onekura Muiarapa Geoffrey Hughson b.23 Sep 1886, d. 26 Oct 1971

2) Anderina Henderson Pole Hughson b.5 Oct 1888,  d. 25 Mar 1966

3) Thomas Pole Hughson Jnr  b. 28 Aug 1890, d.24 Jun 1973

4) Alice Jane McLeod Hughson b.  21 Aug1892,

5) Mary Elizabeth Hughson b. 23 Aug 1894, d. Nov 1964

*6) Magnus Sinclair Hughson b. 1896, d. 1996   WWI serial no 44377.

Magnus married Jessie Murielle Collier in 1921. He was awarded the M.B.E. for his service to youth in the 1969 New Year Honours  He died shortly after, on 5 March 1969 and is buried with his wife at the Awanui Cemetery in New Plymouth

7)  Mabel White Hughson b. 1 Dec 1899, d. 1 Oct 1934

8) Robert Hugh Hughson b. 1901, d. Opunake , Taranaki, 9 Dec 1970. Married in 1925 to Janet Flora McLean.

9) Walter Gordon McKenzie Hughson b. 14 May 1903, d. 9 Dec 1970

10) Eileen Decima Hughson  b. 13 Oct 1906, d. 1995
married 1935 to Hamilton Edward Charleton Dickson. Died  in Wellington July 1995 – ashes deposited at Makara Cemetery, Wellington on 17 July 1995.

 Note: Sapper Bertram David Kenyon, NZ Engineers, WWI serial no 4/1806 (born 18 April 1895) who was drowned accidentally in France on 17 October 1916, was the second son of David Hugh Kenyon of Dovedale and his wife Mary Lauretta (Minnie) nee Harding of Ngatimoti, and a cousin of Hugh Macalister White and Andrew Bruce White, sons of Alexander White. formerly of Orinoco, commemorated at Tahunanui where their mother lived following their father’s death.  The connection was on the Sutcliffe side -  the White boys’ mother Mary White nee Sutcliffe was the youngest sister of Bertram’s maternal grandmother Anne Jane Harding nee Sutcliffe.  Bertram was born at Ngatimoti but before he enlisted was working as an engineer for NZ Railways at Hokitika. He is commemorated at the Hokitika War Memorial and on the NZ Railways’ Roll of Honour at the Wellington Railway Station.

The findings of the official Army inquiry into Bertram’s death can be read on his military personnel file at Archway Archives NZ

“Colonist” report about Bertram’s death, dated 15 November, 1916.

The New Plymouth/Rahotu connection

There was a puzzle as to how Flora Margaret White, daughter of Alec & Mary (nee Sutcliffe) White might have met John (Jack) Guy of Opunake, son of Welsh pioneers John and Mary (nee Hamblelton) Guy, whom she married at St James Church, Ngatimoti, in 1904. Then in 1906 Flora’s sister Sarah (Sadie) White married the Rev John Irving Turnbull, who was also the groomsman when Flora & Sadie’s sister, Muriel Agnes White, married James (Jim) Benjamin Groom at St James, Ngatimoti, and they settled at Rahotu where James ran a plant nursery. Maud, another of Alec White's daughters, married John Hall, a farmer of Pungarehu, one of the staging posts on the Hughsons' mail coach run. Two of Alec White's sons, Alexander Jnr & Hugh, went north and worked as farmers around Rahotu.

A search found that Jack Guy, James (Jim) Groom and the Rev Turnbull  were all associated with the small coastal township of Rahotu in Taranaki. Jack Guy was a butcher there at the time of his marriage and James Groom a nurseryman running the Rahotu Nurseries, while Rev. Turnbull was formerly the district’s Methodist minister, and in the case of Guy and Turnbull, anyway, there was also a link with the Methodist Church. How did they make a connection with the White family of Orinoco, near Motueka, though? The light dawned when I thought to check whether any of Jeannie Hughson nee White’s sons had served during the First World War and discovered her son Magnus, a baker of Rahotu. I hadn’t known that was where the family had settled. Plus the Hughsons were also staunch Methodists. Mystery solved! 

See here a silver vase presented to James & Muriel Groom by the community when they retired to New Plymouth, in thanks for their services, especially during the 1918 ‘flu epidemic – recalling that Muriel completed at least part of her training as a nurse, which it seems she put to good use during the crisis.

Alexander Sutcliffe White, eldest son of Alec & Mary White. also moved up north and was working in 1914 on the same farm as younger brother Hugh – at Duthie Road, Mangatoki. As Hugh is recorded on enlistment with the NZ Expeditionary Force as working for his brother-in-law John Guy, it’s reasonable to suppose that this farm was owned by Guy. In 1917 Alex. S. White is recorded as being a farm manager at Rahotu. When he received his younger brother Hugh’s medals in the 1920s  he had a farm at Lepperton, He had retired to Napier by 1949.

"The Missionary Bigamist" -  Reverend John Irving Turnbull.

Son of James Turnbull & Margaret Cambell nee Irving, both born in Scotland. Born 29 Feb 1856 at Ballarat East, Victoria, Australia, died 16 July 1940 Howick Auckland. NZ, 

Married twice

 1) 27 October 1885 at St James Church, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  to Margaret Eliza Maria Mitchell (1861-1937)  - 6 children, one died young.

2) 12 July 1906 at "Craigholm", the Orinoco home of the White family in the Motueka Valley, Nelson, NZ, to Sarah (Sadie) White, oldest daughter of Alec White & Mary nee Sutcliffe. Still married to his first wife at the time, though the Whites believed him to be a bachelor.

Through contact with a Turnbull descendant, I discovered that the Rev Turnbull already had a wife when he married Sadie White! He is known within the Turnbull family as “the missionary bigamist”. A Presbyterian/Methodist missionary in Australia, he often went wandering spreading the Word, but after one such mission never came home, having made his way across the Ditch to New Zealand in 1902. His wife told her children that he had died somewhere out in the wilds, so imagine their shock when sometime in the 1930s (perhaps after the death of their mother) he wrote to them in a fit of remorse, asking for their forgiveness. In the circumstances they were not prepared to give it and he never reconciled with the family he deserted. It seems that Sadie Turnbull nee White must have found out the truth herself at this point because in later years she met with one of the Australian Turnbull family members. Rev. Turnbull & Sarah nee White don’t appear to have had any children of their own.

The Caisson accident at the Tay Bridge Works 1873

During the erection of the bridge the number of accidents was comparatively few, considering the dangerous nature of the work. Accidents, however, did occur, and several of the workmen lost their lives by drowning. The most melancholy casualty recorded happened on the morning of Tuesday, 26th August, 1873, when six men were drowned by the bursting of a cylinder composing one of the north piers. On the night in question, twelve men were working inside the cylinders sinking them under water. About two o'clock in the morning the iron cylinder burst with a loud report, and the water rushed into the interior of the pier where six of the men were working and drowned them instantaneously. Four men engaged in another division of the cylindrical pier managed to reach the surface in time to save their lives, but their less fortunate companions had no warning, and no chance of escape. An air bell and steam engine which were placed on the top of the pier to supply air to the men below, and the whole apparatus, and a man and a lad in charge were thrown into the water by the force of the explosion. The lad, whose name was Walter White, a discharged 'Mars' boy, swam to one of the boats, and, getting on board, he cut the rope by which it was fastened to the pier, and with the aid of an oar he paddled about in the darkness, and succeeded in rescuing some of his fellow workmen who were struggling for their lives in the water. The cause of this melancholy disaster was never fully understood, but nothing of a similar nature occurred during the six or seven years occupied in building the bridge.

History of Newport “Mars” training Ship, Tay Bridges etc. 
Note: this article  incorrectly names Walter as William White.

Research notes collated by Anne McFadgen (2018)


Whelan, Helen, (undated)  “Dictionary of Ngatimoti Biography” (Unpub. manuscript – White & Sutcliffe families

Cyclopedia NZ: Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and Wellington Provincial Districts 1908 (NZETC) Rahotu
 Includes profiles of John Guy and Thomas Pole Hughson

Notice of Mary (nee Sutcliffe) White’s death at home in Tahunanui on 12 October 1918
reported in the “Colonist” 14 October 1918

Mrs Mary Guy of Opunake - mother of John Guy who married Flora White – life of an Opunake pioneer
"Opunake Times"4 February 1927

Death John Guy Snr of Opunake
"Hawera & Normanby Star"

Memories of  Early Days in Pokororo by Edward Mytton

The Hughson name lives on
“Taranaki Daily News, 17 October 2009

The Industrious Heart: A history of New Plymouth 4/42
(Establishment of the Hughson business interests)

Dickson, Eileen Decima (1994) “They came to New Zealand in 1880”
Pub  E.H.. Dickson . The Hutt, Wellington, NZ.

The Tay Bridge Disaster 1879

Old Dundee Tay Bridge

Note: Ownership of Alex White’s Orinoco property later passed to Hugo Sixtus, then the Llewellin brothers,  the original “Craigholm” homestead burning down during the occupation of the latter. It was then divided into two separate titles. Blocks 36, 37 & 38 went from Llewellin to Baigents’ Forestry (in part) with the remainder to Tait, then Sturgeon. Block 35 went from Llewellin to SmIth, and is currently owned by the Whitakers. Tony (now deceased) and Viv Whitaker built a replica “Craigholm” house on the site of the original in the early 1980s.


  1. What fascinating reading Annis, you have brought to life some members of my family that have been just names. My great grandparents were Thomas & Jane Hughson. thanks for a great read!

  2. Hi Shirley- lovely to hear from you. This is a bit of a work in progress - my main interest being with Alexander & Mary (nee Sutcliffe) White of Orinoco in the Motueka Valley. However, I kept finding links to all these other members of Alexander White's family who had also come out to New Zealand and couldn't resist chasing them up. The Hughsons sound like such an engaging and enterprising family- definitely high achievers!

  3. So interesting I'm the granddaughter of Jack and Flora Guy, the greatgranddaugher of Alex White of Orinoco. I've lots of family photos from my Great Aunt Amy White so hopefully can sort out who is who

    1. Thanks for your comment. Would love to get in touch re photos - I have one taken at the wedding of Sadie White & Rev. Turnbull with a key as to who is who which might be of interest. My email is