Sunday, May 13, 2012

Harrison Family

In researching families in and around Wanganui, I came across a number of founding families, many of whom appear to have intermarried, and many of whom appear responsible for the shaping of the Wanganui district during the 19th century.  The first post in this series is about the Harrison family, headed by Wanganui MP Henry Shafto Harrison, who was the Patriarch of a large pioneer family in and around the Wanganui district:

Henry Shafto Harrison (28 August 1810 - 3 July 1892) was a New Zealand pioneer who rose to be one of the first Members of Parliament in Wanganui, New Zealand.  

On 19 November 1839 Henry and his wife Henrietta, with children and servants, made the trip to New Zealand on the ship Bolton, arriving on 30 April 1840 into Port Nicholson.  Travelling were Henry and Henrietta, both aged 29, Louisa, aged seven, John aged six, and Henry aged two. 

Henry fought as a militia captain in the Maori War of 1847.  He went on to captain the Alexandra Cavalry.  He then became clerk of the New Zealand Legislative Council.  During this period he lived in the Hutt Valley, Wellington, before making the shift north with his second wife and family, to Wanganui.

Photo by A. Martin. The late Mr. H. S. Harrison.
Henry Shafto Harrison courtesy of
Initially Henry represented Wanganui at the Wellington Provincial Council and was present at the first meeting of the Council in October 1853.  Later, Henry won the Wanganui electorate in the 1861 general election, but was disqualified. He won the electorate again in the 1861 by-election, and held the seat until 1866.  However, in the 1866 general election, John Bryce won the seat from Henry.  Bryce only held the seat for a year, as due to ill health he was forced to resign in 1867.  Henry then stood for the seat again, and won the subsequent by-election on 27 April 1867.  He continued to represent the Wanganui  electorate until the end of the 4th New Zealand Parliament in 1870.  Henry was finally was defeated again by John Bryce (later Minister of Native Affairs) at the 1871 general election.

Henry married twice.  His first wife Henrietta Petersen (25 August 1809 - 14 April 1853) and they were married on 10 February 18331 in Wakefield, Yorkshire.  The family lived at the residence River Bank, Warrengate, Wanganui.  They had the following children:

1. Frances Elizabeth Harrison (1831 - 1832).  Died as an infant in England.

2. Louisa Adelaide Harrison (1833 - 20 July 1899) married Arthur Aikin Wicksteed (second son of John Tyleston and Emma Ancilla Wicksteed nee Barton) (1836 - 5 July 1905) at Christ Church, Wanganui on 3 September 1863.  The family lived in Kai Iwi, south of Wanganui.  They had the following family:
     2.1 Shafto Harrison "Harry"  Wicksteed (1864 - 1939) married Norah West (1874 - 1946) in 1894.
            2.1.1 Dorothy Wicksteed (27 June 1894 - 1977) married Lionel Thresh Rowson (17 December 1901 - 1991) in 1922.          
            2.1.2 Charles Phillip Wicksteed (5 November 1898 - 1990) married Alice Emerald Nicholls (daughter of Eugene Paul and Ethel Rose Nicholls nee Julian, who had married in 1899) (30 April 1902 - 2004) in 1922
           Eugene Mark Wicksteed (16 August 1928 - 1978)
            2.1.3 Elsie Bell Wicksteed (17 June 1900 - 1986) married Allan John McDonald (son of Neil and Elizabeth McDonald nee Pearson, who had married in 1884) (1887 - 1967) in 1921
            2.1.4 Phyllis Wicksteed (30 September 1902 - 1987) married Harry Brookehouse Wylde (son of Harry James and Gertrude Margaret Watts Wylde nee Elmer, who had married in 1888) (7 October 1898 - 1988) in 1923
            2.1.5 Norah Wicksteed (1904) married Eugene Howard Nicholls (son of Eugene Paul and Ethel Rose Nicholls nee Julian - brother of his brother in law Charles' wife Alice Emerald) (12 May 1899 - 1987) in 1926
            2.1.6 Arthur Wicksteed (1906) married Kathleen Rachel Letts in 1932
            2.1.7 Barton Wicksteed (1909 - 1952, Korea) married Eileen Mary Hancock
     2.2 John Barton Wicksteed (1865 - 1868).  Died aged only three years.
     2.3 Arthur Herbert Wicksteed (1868 - 1926).  Never married.
     2.4 Mary Bell Wicksteed (1870 - 1959) married Wilfred Butler Cave, a widower, after 1935.  Never had children.
     2.5 Andrew Swanwick Wicksteed (1871 - 1942) married Jeanette Laybourne Proude  (fourth daughter of Joseph Proude of Wanganui) (1880 - 1963) in 1902.  They had one son:
             2.5.1 Charles Hartley Wicksteed (4 February 1913 - 1974) 
     2.6 Lucy Agnes Wicksteed (1873 - 1962).  Never married.
     2.7 Lupton Arnold Wicksteed (1875) married Edith Marshall (1886 - 10 April 1919) in 1911.  Edith died prematurely aged 35 just weeks after giving birth to their son Bernard.  
             2.7.1 Wilfred Arnold Wicksteed (1912 - 1924)
             2.7.2 Bernard Marshall Wicksteed (22 March 1919 - 2004)
     2.8 Louisa Julia Wicksteed (1877 - 15 June 1883).  Died aged just six years.
3. John Shafto Harrison (1834 - 1841).  Died in New Zealand aged just seven.

4. Elizabeth Harrison (1835 - 1835).  Died as an infant in England.

5. Lucy Harrison (1836 - 1836).  Died as an infant in England.

6. Henry Nevinson Harrison (24 December 1837 - 18 November 1922).  When he was around ten years old, in 1847, Henry was sent back to England to be educated.  He returned to New Zealand again in October 1854 on the ship Dolphin from London - in the intervening years, his mother had died.  On his return to New Zealand, Henry managed Sir Donald McLean's farm in Akitio Henry.  He married Louisa Maria Ross (1844 - 26 December 1885)  on 23 January 1867.  They lived at a property named One Tree Hill farm in Wangaehu, Fordell until around 1913 when he then retired to Wanganui.  Henry was a steward of the Wanganui Jockey club from it's inception and was it's patron at the time of his death in 1922.   Louisa predeceased him substantially, dying suddenly of a fit on Boxing Day 1885 aged just 41 years and leaving a young family.  Prior to her death, Henry and Louisa had the following children:  
     6.1 Anna Muriel Harrison (1868)
     6.2 Kate "Katie" Harrison (1870) married Sydney Thomas Kindom Smith (of Urenui) (on 15 January 1910 at Matarawa Church.  In November 1937 Katie is recorded as travelling to Wellington to meet with her sister Meta, who had just returned from a trip to England.
     6.3 Henry Petersen "Peter" Harrison (16 September 1871 - 26 June 1942) married Adeline Jane Higgie (26 August 1873 - 13 July 1922) (daughter of Alexander and Annie Higgie nee Scott, who had married in 1868) on 12 June 1907 at St John's Church, Matarawa, Wanganui
         6.3.1 Rae Alexandria Nevison Harrison (1910)
     6.4 Frederick Louis Harrison (14 September 1873 - 8 July 1945) married Anna Gordon Forlong (youngest daughter of Gordon Forlong of Wanganui) (1873 - 1926) on 10 January 1903 at Wanganui.
          6.4.1 Houlton Shafto Harrison (1 May 1906 - 1992)
          6.4.2 Frederick Nevinson Harrison (26 May 1912 - 1995)
          6.4.3 Margaret  Ana Louisa Harrison (27 September 1916 - 24 April 1999) married William Gibson Patterson (son of William Alexander and Katharine Maclean Patterson nee McGregor of Khandallah, Wellington) (9 March 1915 - 1974) on 1 September 1939 at Knox Church, Gonville, Wanganui.  The reception was held at Margaret's aunt, Meta Harrison's residence.  
     6.5 Meta Harrison (1876 - 1957).  Never married, however she was an attendant bridesmaide at her brother Henry's wedding to Adeline Higgie in 1907.  Meta also travelled in her life, to England, returning from a trip in November 1937.
     6.6 John Shafto Harrison (1877 - 1939) married Ada Euphemia Burnett (1878 - 1958) in 1901. 
         6.6.1 Eileen Alvie Mary Harrison (1902) married Charles William Burrows in 1927.
         6.6.2 Dorothy Louisa Harrison (7 June 1904 - 1974) married Mr Orbell (Hastings)
         6.6.3 Alfred Burnett Harrison (22 December 1912 - 1987)

The Evening Post published John's obituary on 7 November 1939:

One of the best-known personalities in Wanganui, Mr. John Shafto Harrison, passed away on Sunday, after continual ill health due to wounds received in the Great War. Mr. Harrison was bom at One Tree Hill Farm, Wanganui, in 1877, and in early life was manager of the seed department at Dalgety and Company, Ltd., and was recognised as a leading authority on seeds. He was an early member of the Wanganui Golf Club, and later a life member, and a prominent player at the Wanganui Tennis Club. After the Great War he resumed his position as manager of the Wanganui branch of Messrs. Wright, Stephenson, and Company, and on returning was appointed to the firm's advisory board. He was a keen active member of the Wanganui Aero Club. For the last few years he has been farming at Raorikia with his only son, Alfred. He leaves a widow and two daughters—Mrs. Orbell, of Hastings, and Mrs. C. Burrows, of Wanganui.

     6.7 Emily Agnes Harrison (26 July 1879 - 9 May 1889).  Emily died aged just ten years after an accident which was reported in the Star on 9 May 1889 as follows: 

Accidents and Fatalities.
[Per Press Association.] WANGANUI, May 9. A sad accident, resulting fatally, happened to a  little daughter, eleven years of age, of a respected settler at Fordell, named Henry N. Harrison. It appears the girl was riding home from school on a pony, behind her brother, when some children throwing stones, one struck the pony, which reared, and threw the deceased, who fell on her head and was killed instantly

     6.8 Robert Harrison (March 1883 - 7 April 1883).  Died aged just fourteen days.
     6.9 Maud Nevinson Harrison (1885 - 1936) married Edgar Hubert Thomas McDonald (son of Alexander and Angelina McDonald) (1882 - 1945) in 1907.
         6.9.1 Mollie Harrison married John Redwood (son of Mr and Mrs G.H. Redwood of Woodville) on 21 January 1938 in a nuptial mass by Fr. McDonald at St Mary's Church, Wanganui.  Her cousin Alexia Campion was a bridesmaid.  The reception was held at Foster's Hotel and Mollie's aunt Meta Harrison received the guests.  The Redwoods were to reside in Wellington.  
         6.9.2 Gordon McDonald
         6.9.3 Nevinson McDonald

7. Andrew Harrison (1839 - 1839).  Died as an infant in England.

8. Emily Harrison (1841 - 1923) married James William Baker on 19 April 1866 at Matarawa Church, Wanganui by Rev. R. Taylor.
     8.1 Amy Henrietta Mabel Baker (1877)

9. Mary Harrison (1842 - 1842).  Died as an infant in New Zealand.

10. Agnes Henrietta Harrison (1844 - 1923).  Never married.  Agnes's obituary was published in the Hawera & Normanby Star on 30 July 1923:

It is with regret, says the Wanganui Chronicle we have to announce the death of one who was perhaps the oldest resident in Wanganui, and certainly one of the most respected in the person of Miss Agnes H. Harrison, who passed away yesterday at the advanced age of 80 years. The deceased lady, who was a daughter of the late Mr. Henry Shafto Harrison, and a sister of the late Mr. H. N. Harrison, who died a few 'months ago, was born in Wanganui, where she spent the whole of her life, with the exception cf a short residence in Christchurch. She was a woman of fine character, who was beloved by all who knew her. The only surviving member of this fine old family is deceased's sister, Mrs. J. W. Baker.

Following Henry Shafto Harrison's wife Henrietta's death in 1853, he remarried to a Christiana Catherine "Kate" Fletcher (daughter of James and Cornelia Fletcher)() on 17 February 1855 at St James Church, Lower Hutt.  In doing so, he then added to his family as follows:

11.  Charles Fletcher "Fletcher" Harrison (1857 - 10 September 1892) married Agnes Julia Fancourt (1866 - 1944) in 1885.  
     11.1 Murial Fletcher Harrison (12 June 1886 - 1959) married Bertram John Longhurst Hooker (1881 - 1963) on 1 November 1917.
            11.1.1 Bertram Fletcher Hooker (4 April 1922 - 1976)
     11.2 Charles Fancourt Harrison (1891) married Gertrude Alice Pryor in London in 1918, and this union was reported in the Evening Post on 6 December 1918:

The following weddings are announced by the London correspondent of The Post.
At St. Andrew's Church, Watford, by license, Capt. and Adjt. Charles Fancourt Harrison, Dorset Regiment, was married to Gertrude Alice, elder daughter of Mr. Edward T. Pryor, F.S.S., of Densworth, Watford, Herts, and 23 Fore-street, London. The bridegroom is the son of the late Charles Fletcher Harrison, and grandson of Archdeacon Fancourt, of Wellington. The ceremony, which took place on 24th September, was performed by the Rev. Cecil Ayerst, M.A., Vicar of Watford, assisted by the Rev. W. Fairlie Clark, M.A., Vicar of St. Andrew's. Captain Harrison is an M.A. of Cambridge, and he was a member of Caius College 11 Bumping-crew. Formerly a trooper in K.E.E., he was later commissioned and attached to the Dorset Regiment.

12. Ellen Mary Harrison (1858 - 5 January 1916) married Robert Kingston Chamberlain (1857 -6 March 1902) on 30 July 1885 by Rev.  T.L. Tudor at Christ Church, Wanganui.
     12.1 Henry Kinston "Kingston" Chamberlain (1886 -25 September 1919) Henry, along with brothers Robert and Lionel, all served in WWI.  Henry died a week after returning from the war, of heart failure.  He was 33 years of age.  His sudden death was reported in the Evening Post on 25 September 1919:

WANGANUI, This Day. Mr. Kingston Chamberlain, who returned to Wanganui on Saturday after four years at the front, dropped dead this morning from heart failure. He was formerly employed by the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Co., and was about to start work. His youngest brother was killed on Gallipoli, and another brother lost a leg, and is still under the doctor's care.

An obituary appeared in the Wanganui Chronicle a day later:

It is with much regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. Henry Kingston Chamberlain at his residence, Wicksteed Street, yesterday morning. The deceased, who was very well known in Wanganui and surrounding districts, was born in this town 33 years ago, and was the eldest son of the late Mr. and Mrs. R. K. Chamberlain and a nephew of Mr. H. N. Harrison, of Wanganui. The late Mr. Chamberlain was educated at the Collegiate School, and later held an important position in the local branch of tho New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company, Limited, at the same time taking an active part in many branches of sport, being for years a member of the Wanganui Golf Club, Tennis Club, and Rowing Club.
Mr. Chamberlain left New Zealand with the 9th Reinforcements and was wounded and gassed in the terrific fighting at the Somme. He returned to New Zealand as a corporal and arrived by the troopship Hororata only a few days ago. To many of his old friends his health seemed to have been slightly impaired as the result of active serice, but never was there any indication of there being anything seriously the matter. Consequently the news of bis death has come as a very great shock to his relatives and friends. The deceased was a man of fine character, of charming personality, and immensely popular amongst a very wide circle of people, who had all been looking forward to his return to these shores. The deceased leaves one brother, Mr. L. S Chamberlain, of Wicksteed Street, to whom with other relatives are extend our sincere sympathy. The internment, which is of a private nature, will take place at Matarawa on Saturday.

Henry Kingston Chamberlain
     12.2 Lionel Shafto Chamberlain (1887 - 1941) married Rhoda Heaslip in 1912 (daughter of William John and Florence Mary Heaslip) (1896 - 1969), prior to enlisting in WWI.  Lionel was the only Chamberlain brother to survive service, however he lost a leg while away.  Rhoda and Lionel lived at 26 Wicksteed Street, Wanganui. Rhoda is specifically mentioned as one of the  young Wanganui women who took on farm work in place of the men at the front, during the war.  
            12.2.1 Lloyd Montgomerie Chamberlain (16 April 1913 - 12 March 1942).  Sadly, although his father had survived WWI, Lloyd was not as fortunate.  More information is here
            12.2.2 Joyce Mary Chamberlain (1920 - 3 September 1922).  Died aged just fifteen months after drinking some 'spirits and salts' left in a can by a tinsmith who was working at her parents' home.
     12.3 Robert Guy Chamberlain (1890 - 6 August 1915).  Robert also served in WWI and was wounded at Gallipoli, losing his life in action, two months later.  See more here.  He was aged just 25.  

     12.4 Esma Mary Chamberlain (1895 - June 1899) Died at Haydn Lodge, Fordell, Wanganui aged just four years.  
Henry Shafto Harrison died in the winter, on 3 July 1892, and the Wanganui Chronicle published an obituary on 4 July 1892:

The cold, searching weather of the last few weeks has been trying to old ago. Many old sojourners amongst us have felt the strain, and others, fortunately not quite so many, have had to yield. Mr Henry Shafto Harrison, one of the oldest settlers in the colony, succumbed early yesterday morning. He had not suffered, nor indeed can he be said to have been ailing in any unusual degree, but on Saturday it became apparent, even to himself, that he could not last much longer. Had he lived until next month he would have reached his 82nd birthday. He died in his sleep in the early morning.
Mr Harrison was of old Yorkshire family, and was educated at Cambridge, of which university he was a graduate. He came out to New Zealand in the Bolton, arriving in Wellington in the year 1840. Nearly the whole of the time since then he has settled in Wanganui. He was a captain in the Militia during the wars. He represented the district in Parliament for many years, in which capacity he was succeeded by Mr B:yce. In all kind of sport he took a keen interest, and he was the first and only President of the Wanganui Jockey Club, the meetings of which he regularly attended to the last. Mr Harrison was twice married, and he leaves a widow and six children, two of whom are the children of his widow. He was a prominent Mason, and one of the oldest members of the craft in the colony. The Masonic service will be used at the funeral, which will be attended by his brother Masons. The deceased was both in appearance and manner a true type of the old English gentleman, and as such he always struck strangers who saw him for the first time. Ho was venerated and respected by young and old, and by his death we lose one of those vigorous old pioneers who made a fair land out of the wilderness, and who by their unquenchable energy and hard work laid the foundations of a rich and prosperous colony.

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