Friday, April 20, 2012

Patrick McMahon (13 August 1832 - 12 August 1907)

Patrick McMahon is sometimes referred to in articles at the time as "Peter McMahon."  He was born on 13 August 1832 near Castle Blayney, in County Monaghan in the North of Ireland.  He appears to have travelled to Australia as a young man and have worked in the gold fields.  Around 1857 Patrick came to New Zealand, and on 21 January 1865 he married Mary Blaymires.  The couple were married by Rev. Seauzau at Picton.  Patrick and Mary lived in the Kenepuru Sounds, and their home was known as "Taradale."   Towards the end of their lives, they moved into Picton.

Mary McMahon, was the daughter of John and Hannah (nee Hobson) Blaymires.  She was born around 1844 in Bradford, England.  Mary had come out to NZ with her parents, two sisters, Uncle, Aunt and four cousins in April 1859.  

Patrick and Mary had ten children
  1. Annie McMahon (1866 - 5 July 1925) married 1884 Antonio Damiano Vannini
  2. Edith Ellen McMahon (1867 - June 1947) married December 1900 Herbert Longford Miller Severne (1858 - 1901).   
  3. Peter John McMahon (1868 - 20 June 1895) married 1890 Margaret O'Sullivan (1868 - 1953)
  4. Mary Theresa "Theresa" McMahon (1871 - October 1950).  Played the piano.
  5. Joseph Hobson McMahon (1874 - ?) 
  6. John McMahon (1875 - ?) married 1906 Eva Mills (1874 - ?)  
  7. Alice Nora McMahon (1877 - November 1960).  
  8. Florence May McMahon (1882 - 1960) married 1921 Edward Russ Winkler (1892 - 1968)
  9. Wilfred Patrick McMahon (1884 - 1954)
  10. Gilbert Francis McMahon (1887 - March 1952) married 1916 Louisa Millicent Henderson (1893 - 1969). 
Patrick died on 12 August 1907 and was buried in the Tuamarina Cemetery.  Mary died 22 years later, in June 1929, and is buried with Patrick at Tuamarina Cemetery.  Several obituaries for Patrick McMahon appeared in the Marlborough Express:

"Mr Patrick McMahon, who died at his residence, Auckland Street, on Monday, had only lately come to reside with his family in Picton.  He was one of the oldest residents in Kenepuru, and in days gone by obtained the Government bonus for finding gold.  He was greatly respected for his upright and  honourable character, and the manner in which he brought up his family in the wilds of the Sound, which has been an object-lesson to city residents.  His death will be keenly felt by his old friends and neighbours in the Sounds, as well as by tourists and travellers, who always found a hearty welcome awaiting them at the McMahon homestead.  Mr McMahon removed to Picton on account of his failing health, and his death was not unexpected."


"The death of Mr Patrick McMahon, of Taradale, which took place recently, deserves something more than a passing notice.  To the older settlers of Havelock and the Sounds and to many of the rising generation he was an interesting personality.  He was justly regarded as the pioneer of Pelorus Sound.  The early European settlement of that district will hereafter prove an interesting item to the country's history and the writer may perhaps some day, as the result of much information gained from Mr McMahon and other early settlers now rapidly passing away, be able to supply it.  

It is nearly half a century since Mr McMahon settled upon his property at Taradale, and he was, in point of fact, the first European settler in the Kenepuru arm of the Pelorus Sound.  At Eli there settled about the same time Captain Harris, now of Picton, and at Hopai, the late Mr Bradshaw.  To go back to these days is a "far cry," and there are few now about who can recall them.  

And what was Mr McMahon's career?  He was a man distinguished for his energy and perseverance, and above all for the honesty and integrity of his character.  Contending against many difficulties, he made for himself, hewing it from the water's edge, what is now certainly one of the finest and most valuable properties in the Sounds.  He was a kind genial companion, possessing a keen sense of humour, which rendered even strangers always at ease in his company.  In all he said and did there was a ring of genuine sincerity which impressed everyone with whom he came in contact.  He has passed away at a ripe old age, and it is useful lives like his that have gone far to make New Zealand a great country."

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the Blaymires: There is a book called "When they got there the cupboard was bare" published in Greymouth. It contains details of the Blaymires family back to the John Blaymires born in 1757. There is a copy in The Auckland Public Library but I have not been able to get a copy although I am still lokking in second hand bookshops.