Thursday, 20 February 2020

888 Private Thomas George McVey 1/12/1897-28/11/1943. - a fighter against fascism

Thomas (aka Harry) McVey has been a difficult subject to track down online, but the inscription in Timaru Cemetery is too intriguing to ignore.  There were not many New Zealanders who fought in the Spanish Civil War. 

Portrait, Weekly News - This image may be subject to copyright

Thomas McVey fought three wars - that's more than enough for anyone.  At the end of his first war, the First World War, he was discharged after surviving Spanish influenza. He had enlisted at the age of 17, stating that he was 19 in order to be accepted.

Town and Country

Last Friday evening a large number of residents assembled to bid good-bye to Privates T. McVey, W. Maylen and A. Curtis, who were down on final leave. Mr F. H. Smith, as chairman of the send-off committee, presided. The proceedings took the form of a dance and presentation. Mr Smith, after referring to the great sacrifice our soldiers were making for us, presented each soldier with a useful present. It may be mentioned that there are over thirty ex-pupils of the Tengawai School now serving; and that Private T. McVey is the fourth son of Mr and Mrs McVey who has donned khaki. A very enjoyable evening was spent, thanks being due to Mr R. E. K. Vincent for providing music and to Mr W. Day for acting as M.C. At the close hearty cheers were given for the departing soldiers.   -Timaru Herald, 1/6/1917.

A welcome home social and presentation of medals was held in the Tengawai School last Friday evening, Mr F. H. Smith presided, and on behalf of the residents of the district extended a hearty welcome to the returned men. After a plentiful supper, supplied by the ladies, a handsome gold medal was presented to each soldier, a ballot being taken among the youug ladies as to whom should have the honour of pinning on the medals, the winners being Misses Cain, Johnson, Riley, Brosnan, Curtis and Nelson. In the unavoidable absence of W. Macdonald the medal was received by his mother on his behalf. The names of the returned men are — W. Macdonald, J. Macdonald, T. McVey, A. Curtis, A. Nicol, R. Blair and H. Leech. Dancing interspersed with musical items was kept up till the small hours, when after a vote of thanks to the chair, to the Albury Band (who so freely gave their services) and to all who contributed towards making the evening such a success, the gathering broke up with the singing of God Save the King and giving three rousing cheers for the soldiers.  -Timaru Herald, 21/8/1919.

After the war Thomas returned to Albury. At the 1919 McKenzie Caledonian Games held at Fairlie, "T. McVey, who won the caber, led all the way in the quarter-mile hurdles and repeated the performance in the Soldiers' race." (Timaru Herald, 30/12/1919.)

His name features in an amateur heavyweight boxing bout in 1924 - he lost the match. He also features in local newspaper reports of rugby and other sports. "T. McVey" features for the last time in a report on local rugby matches in 1931, until his reappearance on a 1941 casualty list.

 According to his epitaph, he spent the years 1936-1938 in Spain, presumably as part of the International Brigade, fighting for the Republic against the fascist forces of General Francisco Franco.
He joined 26 Battalion of the New Zealand Army for his third war, by which time he was in his forties, living in London and working as a miner - "Foreman Tunneller" is his job description. He was wounded by accident while serving in the Western Desert at the end of 1941.  He and another soldier were digging a trench in stony ground when the pick that the other was using bounced off a stone and hit him, lacerating his hand.

Thomas died during the Battle of the Sangro River in November, 1943.  Jeremy Sutherland, writing in the Timaru Herald in 2012, states that he stepped on a "stirrup mine" - a Facebook page from the Albury district of South Canterbury contains a post which states that such a mine was triggered by a small tripwire suspended from the arms of a "Y" shaped stirrup.  He was buried the next day near where he died and moved to an official war cemetery in 1944.
An intriguing snippet in his archival record is a 1944 letter to the army authorities from his brother - the available image includes: "What we are concerned with is what happened to the man. He was through the last war and was over the age limit when he transferred to the NZ  forces in March 1941 and was taken out of the front line in Egypt on account of his age and given a base job. The next we heard was that he had beeen killed in Italy. Can you let us know how he came to be in the front line again and exactly what happened to him.  Yours truly, J M McVey."

Timaru Cemetery.

Monday, 17 February 2020

John McDonald, 1861-13/3/1882.


A sad and fatal accident occurred yesterday morning on the Riverton-Orepuki line, to a fireman named James McDonald. Deceased was in the act of shunting a carriage at Colac Bay, when his foot slipped, and he was thrown down, the carriage passing over his thigh and abdomen. He was promptly placed in a carriage and brought to the Riverton Hospital, but the poor fellow died in less than half an hour after admission. The deceased was greatly respected by all who knew him as a steady and hard working young fellow. His parents reside at the Bluff.  -Southland Times, 14/3/1882.


Is the baptism of blood requisite on the opening of our Southland new lines? This is not, perhaps, a question for mortal to ask, seeing that the great “I am” knows what is best for us. But oh! it is sad at the age of twenty one, full of youth, vigor, and expectations, to find our thread cut, and only left time to think that we lived, and fainting slip into another existence. James McDonald, who but a short time ago was as anticipative of a bright future as any of us — who still live and indulge in the sanguine, —is living in God’s acre. Suddenly called upon to deliver up the breath given him by his Maker, he left this world as I’d wish to leave it, viz. — leaving none behind to speak an unkind word. I have been many, places in my time, and seen many faces too, but none did I ever see that so continually wore that smile which was the signification of inward happiness that denoted so kindly — I live at peace with all men. I am saying nothing but what I feel. I liked the lad — as did everybody — and though sadly given my mite towards getting a memorial tombstone — it was genuine pleasure to be able to contribute to the memory of one so good. This is a subject I don’t feel myself fit to handle with justice, as it takes me back to the morning I saw a stoker’s cap, with tidily kept monogram, lying beside a pool of blood on the platform of the carriage that was to carry him along a line he’d never travel over again. That he was a provident youth I have full proof; that he was ever anxious to do his best may be gathered from the fact that he was always busy cleaning his engine, evidently having his soul in his work. One special feature in young McDonald I cannot help remarking, and that was his freedom from indulgence in familiarity. If anyone thing annoys me more than another, it is this “larrikin familiarity” which is the studied forte of puppets. None of that about McDonald; his mild “yes, sir,” or “no, sir,” as occasion required, was delivered in a manner that would shame many with far greater pretentions. I fully — as do we all out here — sympathise with his bereaved parents, and in conclusion, I think no more suitable words could be cut on his tombstone than: — “To the memory of James McDonald, aged twenty-one. His duty was the cause of his death.”  -Western Star, 29/3/1882.

The late Mr J. McDonald.— The friends of the late Mr James McDonald (who was recently killed at Colac Bay) have evidently not forgotten him. They have determined upon showing their goodwill by erecting a stone to his memory in the Bluff cemetery, and have already collected a large sum towards defraying this expense. Besides this, his fellow-workers have had the cap, which the deceased wore at the time of his death, placed in a very handsome glass case, which they have forwarded, with expressions of sympathy, to the bereaved paients. This kindly feeling truly shows the estimation in which the deceased was held, and fully proves that "our works do live after us."   -Southland Times, 12/5/1882.

Bluff Cemetery.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Bruce Marshall, 1913-2/7/1939.

A Gore Association telegram reads: Striking a car driven by Herbert Wilam Fraser, of Invercargill, with terrific force in a head-on collision on the outskirts of Mataura Borough at 11 o’clock last evening, a motor cyclist, Bruce Marshall (25), single, of Edendale, was killed instantaneously. Shocking injuries included a broken neck and fractured legs. The car driver was uninjured.  -Evening Star, 3/7/1939.

A head-on collision between a motor cycle and a motor car on the Main South road at Mataura at a late hour on Sunday night resulted in Bruce Marshall, a farm labourer, aged 26 years, of Edendale, being killed instantaneously. The car, driven by Herbert William Fraser, of Invercargill, and carrying as passengers N. J. Dorman and W. Jolly, also of Invercargill, was travelling south from Dunedin, and Marshall was proceeding north on a motor cycle. 
A wet bitumen surface and driving rain restricted visibility at the time of the accident, 11.30 p.m. The car and motor cycle met in violent collision near the Dacre street crossing, and Marshall was flung from his machine to the roadside, the cycle being carried in front of the car for some 30 yards before it was dropped. Marshall, who suffered severe head injuries, was picked up immediately, but it was found that life was extinct. The motor cycle was extensively damaged, and the front wheels, axle, steering gear, lamps, and mudguards of the car were badly buckled. 
An inquest was opened at Gore yesterday, but after evidence of identification was taken was adjourned.  -Otago Daily Times, 4/7/1939.

Edendale Cemetery.

James Dodds 1890-1/1/1918.

A single man, James Dodds, aged about 24, was admitted to the Gore Hospital from Edendale late on Monday night. He had been employed in the sugar-of-milk factory where, it is understood, a quantity of boiling skim whey bubbled up over and severely scalded him. Overcome by the shock, the unfortunate man appears to have fallen on the concrete floor, severely injuring his leg and his head. He was motored to the hospital, where he died from shock following on the burns at 12.45 yesterday afternoon.  -Southland Times, 2/1/1918.

The friends of the late James Dodds are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will pass Edendale Station at 1 p.m. TO-MORROW for the Edendale Cemetery. 
W. P. CRAIG, Undertaker.  -Mataura Ensign, 3/1/1918.

An inquest into the cause of death of James Dodds, who was severely scalded at the Edendale Sugar of Milk Factory on New-Year’s Eve, and who died at the Gore Hospital the following day, was held at the Gore Courthouse to-day before Mr A. Martin (acting-coroner) and a jury comprised of Messrs J. A. Baldey (foreman), John Anderson, H. Windle and R. Whitehead. 
Sergeant Lewin appeared on behalf of the police. 
Evidence was given by John Chism, manager of the factory, to the effect that deceased had been working at the factory for three months. He was a single man, 26 years of age. Witness saw Dodds about 10 minutes before the accident occurred. He was then standing on a platform about 12ft from the floor boiling the whey. Dodds was all right then. He next saw him in the office being attended to by Mr Harnett (certified chemist) and Mr Crowther. Dodds’ forehead was cut and his body scalded about the armpits and chest. Witness telephoned for Dr Baird, of Wyndham, who, after rendering medical aid, had Dodds removed to the Gore Hospital. Deceased’s duty was to boil the whey in a 2000gallon vat. He was a sober, steady man. There were two platforms, one 12ft and the other 6ft from the concrete floor. When the whey was boiled to 121 degrees Fahrenheit the steam was turned off. The steam was let in by a 2in perforated pipe. The platform was fully 4ft wide and guarded round with a hand-rail. 
James Clarke said he was on the same shift as Dodds on the night of December 31. Just before the steam was turned on he told Dodds to give the valve wheel only two turns, so as not to take too much steam from the boiler. Witness then went on with his own work and on returning about 20 minutes afterwords he saw Dodds on the floor on his hands and knees. There was blood on his forehead and his clothes were wet. He could not give any intelligent answer to witness. Witness subsequently examined the valve of the vat and found it turned on full. His opinion was that Dodds in turning off the steam turned it full on in error and that was how the boiling whey was blown out of the vat by the force of the steam and the accident to Dodds occurred. 
William Barnett, a qualified chemist at Christchurch, who was on a visit to the factory at the time of the accident, gave evidence as to the first aid he rendered deceased.
J. T. Crowley also gave evidence. 
Dr. Mellroy (medical superintendent at,the Gore Hospital) gave evidence as to Dodds’ admission at 10.30 p.m. on December 31. He was examined immediately by Drs. McAra, Matthews and himself. They had just completed an operation when Dodds arrived. Dodds was suffering from severe shock caused by extensive burns. His forehead was lacerated but there was no fracture. The right kneecap was fractured. When the bandages wore removed an extensive area of superficial burning was disclosed, embracing the face and neck, the front and back of the chest, both arms, and both legs below the knees. He was treated accordingly for shock after the dressing of‘the injured parts. The patient had received efficient medical treatment prior to arriving at the hospital. Witness saw Dodds again at 2.30 o’clock on the morning of January 1 and at 9.30 o’clock the same day. He died at 12.45 p.m. Death was due to severe shock following upon extensive burns and other injuries to the body. 
The jury returned the following verdict: ‘‘That James Dodds came by his death on January 1, 1918, by burns accidentally received owing to the overboiling of whey in the vat at the Edendale Sugar of Milk Factory on December 31, 1918, and that no blame is attachable to anyone.”  -Mataura Ensign, 3/1/1918.
Edendale Cemetery.

DODDS. —In loving memory jf our dear brother, James Dodds, who died at Gore Hospital on January 1, 1918, as the result of an accident in the Edendale Sugar-of-milk Works. 
We could not clasp your hand, dear Jim, 
Your face we could not see, 
We were not there, to say farewell, 
But we still remember thee. 
Inserted by his sorrowing sister and brother-in-law, A. and R. Wylie.  -Southland Times, 2/1/1919.

Doctor Annie Agnes Baird, MA, MB, ChB -24/6/1920.

Annie Agnes Baird was one of five children (out of seven) of the Rev James Baird and his wife Elizabeth who became doctors. She was born in the small town of Hampden, North Otago.  The family moved to Winton, another small town, in Southland.  There she went to school and later graduated from Otago University.

Miss Agnes Baird, daughter of the Rev. Jas. Baird, late of Winton, has secured her M.A. degree at Glasgow University. In physics she took first place, gaining the medal. In the terms' exams she was first in English out of a class of 60, and also first in materia medica. Her brother, Mr J. H. Baird, B.A., in the terms' examinations took the only first class certificate in anatomy, and was first out of 92. He also gained a first class certificate in physiology, and top place with 85 per cent, in a class of 105.   -Otago Witness, 4/6/1902.

The Rev. James Baird has received word by cable that his daughter, Miss Annie Baird, M.A., and his son. Mr J Henderson Baird, B.A., have passed their final medical examinations at the University of Glasgow and obtained their degrees of M.B. and Ch.B. It is understood that Dr J. H. Baird will sail for New Zealand in September, but that Dr Agnes Baird intends to remain at Home for a time. These successes bring the fourth degree in medicine into the Rev. Mr Baird’s family. His eldest son is the well-known medico of Otautau, and his daughter, Dr Helen S. Baird, is practicing her profession in Invercargill. Dr J. H. and Dr Agnes have now joined the ranks of the practitioners, and it only remains to add that the rev. gentleman's youngest son is at present studying medicine at the University of Otago. Five medicos from one family (remarks the 'Southland Times') is surely an unusual record, and one on which the late minister of the Winton Presbyterian Church and his esteemed wife may be heartily congratulated.   -Evening Star, 15/7/1905.

After returning to New Zealand from medical studies in Scotland, Dr Baird (according to "Ladies in the Laboratory III: South African, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Women in Science") practised for some time in the Central Otago town of Pembroke, now Wanaka - due to its drier climate.

ANNIE AGNES BAIRD, M.A., Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (University of Glasgow), now residing in Invercargill, hereby give notice that I intend applying on tne 30th of September next to have my name placed on the Medical Register for the Colony of New Zealand; and that I have deposited the evidence of my qualification in the office of the Registrar of Births and Deaths at Invercargill

- A. AGNES BAIRD. Dated at Invercargill, August. 29th, 1907.   -Southland Times, 30/8/1907.


ST. JOHN AMBULANCE (Nursing Division) Meets TO-DAY, 8 p.m., In Brigade Room. Lecture on “The Nervous System,” by Dr Agnes Baird. All ladies interested arc welcome. By Order.   -Southland Times, 15/3/1912.

The first district convention of the Southland branch of the Women's Christian Temperance Union was held at Invercargill yesterday, the Gore delegates being Mesdames Simpson, Stewart and E. C. Smith and those from Mataura Mesdames Menzies, Brown and Landels. The following resolutions were carried unanimously: "That the convention considers means to guard against the possible introduction of the white slave traffic; that a protest be made against an increase of racing permits; that measures be taken to prevent the evasion of maintenance claims in affiliation cases; that better provision be made for maternity nurses with special view to the needs of backblocks residents; that Parliament be petitioned to remove the injustice of the three-fifths handicap and allow a simple majority to decide in licensing as in other matters; that the early closing of hotels be asked for. (Moved by Mrs Lee-Cowie and agreed to.) (1) That sly grog-selling would be sooner abolished if persons convicted of it were declared prohibited; (2) that the attention of the National Council be drawn to the proselytising of Mormons, particularly in the North Island; (3) that efforts be made to promote the settlement of both national and industrial disputes by arbitration. Dr. Agnes Baird read an instructive paper on the causes, prevention and cure of tuberculosis; and Mrs Harrison (Tuatapere) gave a most interesting and inspiring address on women's work and the opportunities afforded by the union. Eight delegates from the Bible-in-Schools League were then introduced, and after addresses had been given the following resolution was carried: "That this District Convention, representing eight branches of the W.C.T.U. of Southland, cordially endorses the platform of the Bible-in-Schools League and pledges itself to help in every possible way the bringing of the Bible into the schools of New Zealand." Mrs Smith, of Gore, then gave a helpful address on W.C.T.U. work, making reference to the League of Service, or which there is a branch at Gore.  -Mataura Ensign, 13/11/1913.


DR. GILMOUR will be away from Roxburgh until TUESDAY 28th inst., and during his absence Dr Agnes Baird may be consulted at the Surgery from 10 a.m, to 4 p.m, daily.  -Mt Benger Mail, 22/9/1915.

It is possible that the dry climate of Pembroke was chosen as part of trying to deal with the disease which ultimately killed Dr Baird.  She died of tuberculosis in 1920.

Dr Macpherson, who has recently undergone a successful operation to his eyes, has resigned his appointment to the Wanaka Medical Association and sails for England on an extended holiday about the end of the month (says the Wanaka correspondent of the Argus). Meanwhile Dr Agnes Baird, Graduate of Glasgow Ddiversity, who has practised in Wales and at Invercargill, is carrying on the practice. The loss of Dr Macpherson will be keenly felt in this district, as he was a man of many parts, and took a keen interest in all matters for the good of the district, being chairman of the Patriotic Committee, and of the school committee, and a member of nearly every other onmnittee with a useful purpose.  -Lake County Press, 27/1/1916.


Dr Agnes Baird, who has been practising in the district for the past 12 months, and who has been compelled to retire on account of ill-health, left for Queenstown last week (says the Wanaka correspondent of the ‘Cromwell Argus’), Dr Grinlin, B.S., M.R.C.S., England, was appointed to the vacancy caused by the retirement of Dr Baird.   -Evening Star, 16/11/1916.

Dr Agnes Baird, who has beon recuperating in this district for the past twelve months, took her departure from Queenstown on Saturday morning last, it being her intention to seek a change in the North Island.  -Lake Wakatip Mail, 4/12/1917.


(A Card.) 

AGNES BAIRD has resumed the practice of her profession at her Residence, 

Consulting Hours; 10—12 a.m. 6.30—7.30 pm.   -Southland Times, 23/1/1919.

Dr Agnes Baird, third daughter of the Rev. James Baird, Invercargill, died at Wyndham, at the residence of her brother, Dr J. H. Baird. Dr Baird had been in bad health for a number of years. About eight weeks ago she left Invercargill on a visit, during which she became seriously ill and was unable to return home. Baird was born at Hampden, and, when she was quite young her people removed to Winton. After attending the Southland Girls' High School she spent some time at the Normal Training College (Dunedin). She decided to continue her studies in Britain, and she attended the Glasgow University for some time. There besides gaining her M.B. and Ch. B degrees she graduated M.A. Returning to New Zealand she began to practise in Invercargill, and for six or seven years she remained there. Dr Baird has one sister and three brothers, all medical practitioners.  -Otago Daily Times, 26/6/1920.

Wyndham Cemetery.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

421831 LAC John Oughton Mitchell 1923-7/11/1942.

(P.A.) WELLINGTON, November 8. An airman pilot in training was killed and another escaped by parachute when the aircraft in which they were engaged in solo flying practice collided in mid-air in the South Island at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday. Leading-Aircraftman John Oughton Mitchell, whose father is Mr F. C. Mitchell, Tuturau, Southland, was killed instantly. Leading-Aircraftman R. J. Wisker escaped by parachute.  -Ashburton Guardian, 9/11/1942.

Sitting as coroner on Sunday, Mr H. W. Bundle, S.M., opened an inquest into the death of John Oughton Mitchell, a single man, whose parents reside at Wyndham. The deceased, who was in training at a southern airport, was killed instantaneously on Saturday afternoon when two planes collided in mid-air during training operations. After evidence of identification had been taken, the inquiry was adjourned sine die.   -Otago Daily Times, 10/11/1942.

John Mitchell died while conducting forced landing practice at the Outram landing field. He was flying a DH Tiger Moth, registration NZ733 and collided with another Moth.  Both aircraft were "reduced to produce" - that is, salvaged for spare parts.

Raoul John Wisker went on to fly the Avro Lancaster bomber in combat over Europe with 75 (NZ) Squadron,  and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after a particular mission which ended in a landing on three engines.

"Flying Officer Wisker was the captain of an aircraft detailed to attack a flying bomb site near Linzelix. "On the bombing run," the citation states, "his aircraft was repeatedly hit by anti-aircraft fire, one shell bursting immediately beneath the starboard wing. This caused the aircraft to go into a violent spiral dive. He managed to regain control, and, in spite of severe damage to his aircraft, made a second bombing run, thus executing asuccessful attack. He later discovered that the aircraft sustained 205 holes. Flying Officer Wisker has just completed a most successful tour of operations. Throughout he has proved himself to be a keen and conscientious pilot."  -Evening Post, 18/10/1944.
Wyndham Cemetery.

The Sainsburys of Menzies Ferry - a fire, an attempted rescue: a tragedy.

A most lamentable fatal fire occurred at Menzies Ferry, Wyndham, yesterday morning, whereby Edgar Sainsbury, dairy farmer, and his two children (John Douglas, aged 1, and Mary Ellen, 18 months), lost their lives. 
The particulars are somewhat as follow: — Mr and Mrs Sainsbury, in accordance with their daily routine, rose at 5.30 and proceeded to the milking shed, quite close to the residence, for the purpose of milking their herd. The milking machine was set going, and the operation of milking was proceeding. Ramsay Summers, aged 10 years, nephew of Mrs Sainsbury, remained in the house a few minutes to light the fire, a duty he had regularly carried out. After doing so on this occasion he joined Mr and Mrs Sainsbury at the milking shed. The two young children were asleep in the house — the boy in the parents’ bed, and the girl in a perambulator near to a window in the same room. The sound of the dog barking caused Mrs Sainsbury to remark that there must be someone approaching, and the boy Summers looked out, when he gave the alarming information that the house was on fire. The parents rushed to the house, the husband being bent on saving his children from the flames which had a strong hold. He entered the kitchen door, and must at once have become overpowered by the smoke and the flames, for he could not have reached the children’s room. The mother ran to the window against which stood the perambulator in which she had left her little girl. She broke the panes of glass, and was at once met with a volume of flame which scorched her face and drove her back. The place was quickly a mass of flame which it was impossible to enter, and it was death to anything that was within. 
The distracted woman, knowing that she had lost her offspring, soon learned also that she had lost her husband. It would he a mercy to believe that suffocation mitigated the pain of death in all three cases. 
All that Mrs Sainsbury could do was to watch the flames accomplish their cruel work. Her cries for help were heard for miles — as far away, indeed, as South Wyndham. Messrs William Wilson, Robert Gibb and Neil Ross (residents at the Ferry) hastened to the scene. Wilson proceeded to Wyndham, and apprised Constable Bogue of the occurrence. 
When the fire had abated sufficiently, search was made for the bodies among the ruins. Sainsbury’s was found near where he had entered, as if he had fallen on his back. Little but the trunk of the body remained, and the children were more charred. 
Mrs Sainsbury was taken to the home of her nearest neighbour, Mr H. C. Christie's, whither many sympathising friends quickly repaired to bestow all the kindness they could upon one who had at one swift stroke of misfortune been bereft of all most dear to her. Mr and Mrs Sainsbury are natives of the Wakatipu district — he the son of the late Mr Egbert Sainsbuiry, a well-known Skippers miner, and she the daughter of the late Mr James Hamilton, of Arrowtown (a brother of the well-known former member of the Southland County Council). Sainsbury was a comparatively young man, being but 35 years of age. He was a blacksmith by trade, but took up a section when Edendale Settlement land was opened. He proved a most industrious farmer, and was on the high road to success, as shown by the fine state of cultivation of his land and the excellence of his dairy herd. It is needless to say that there is great sympathy for Mrs Sainsbury in her sore affliction: and it may be said that she is bearing her trial with great courage. The funeral of the father and children will take place at 2 o’clock on Sunday, at the Wyndham Cemetery.  -Southland Times, 14/1/1911.

(From Our Own Correspondent.) The 2nd Regiment Otago M. R. went into camp on the Recreation Reserve on Saturday. Ideal weather has so far prevailed (except for a shower which fell early on Monday morning). An unfortunate accident happened at the camp to Lieut. Millard, of Murihiku Mounted Rifles, on Monday morning. His horse fell with him, the result being a slight fracture of the collarbone. After a few days’ rest Lieut. Millard hopes to resume work. 
The funeral of the late Edgar Sainsbury and his two children, which look place on Sunday afternoon was very largely attended. The service at the grave was conducted by Rev. A. Gray, of Gore.   -Southland Times, 17/1/1911.

Says the Wyndham Herald: On Tuesday 14th inst., an accident befell a boy named Ramsay Summers (nephew of Mrs Sainsbury, Menzies Ferry). He was examining a case of iron for an address, when it fell on him, breaking his leg, a green-stick fracture). Dr Baird attended to the injury, and the boy will make a speedy recovery.   -Lake County Press, 23/3/1911.

On the Farm at Menzies Ferry, 
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12th, 1911, 
At 11 a.m. Messrs dalgety & co., ltd., have been instructed by Mrs L. Sainsbury to Sell, as above — COWS: 
40 Young COWS, well selected, (in calf) 
10 Selected Heifer 
1 Shorthorn BULL, 2 years old 
3 Draught Brood MARES 
30 Well-bred Factory PIGS 
35 Well-bred WEANERS 
3 Berkshire Breeding SOWS 
1 Berkshire BOAR 
PLANT: 1 L.K.G. Milking Plant, complete, Massey-Harris Binder. Cultivator, Drill, Lime Sower. Iron Roller. Disc Harrows, D.F. Plough, 5-leaved Harrows, Scuffler, Whey Cart, Blacksmith’s Bellows, Tools, Boring Machine, Grindstone, and sundries. 
TURNIPS: 10 Acres Drilled Turnips (splendid crop). 
Mrs Sainsbury is selling out owing to her recent sad bereavement.   -Southland Times, 5/4/1911.

Wyndham Cemetery.

George Kirk, jockey, 1859-7/5/1879.

Exchanges record the death, at Wyndham, of a young man named George Kirk, who was so seriously injured last week by being thrown by a bucking horse that he died a few hours after the accident. Deceased, who was the son of an old resident here, was jockey to Mr Ayson, of Mataura Plain, and a correspondent speaking of him says "that a kinder, more obliging little (? - GBC) it would be hard to find, or one more generally respected. I can bestow no higher praise on him as a jockey than that he was thoroughly honest."   -Lake Wakatip Mail, 15/5/1879.
Wyndham Cemetery.
The jockey George Kirk, well known at racemeetings in the Invercargill and Lakes districts, and generally riding for Mr Ayson, was killed a few days ago near his employer's farm at Birchwood. Deceased and his brother were riding towards the homestead, when the former's horse put his foot in a crab-hole, and, throwing Kirk, kicked him in the back. Kirk got on the horse's back again, and rode a hundred yards farther, but then dismounted, and died before medical aid could be obtained.  -Otago Witness, 17/5/1879.

Our correspondent, writing on Thursday, says:- "The funeral of the young man, George Kirk, who was killed, at Birchwood onWednesday, took place last Saturday. It was a pity that it was not delayed until Sunday, as the townspeople would have turned out almost to a man, to pay the last tribute of respect to one who was so well known and respected in his humble sphere. The Hon. Dr Merizies was communicated with on the subject of having a coroner's inquest on the body but it was not considered necessary. I may mention here that Kirk was very far gone in consumption, and in all probability he would hot have lived much longer. The spill he got would not have hurt any healthy person beyond a shaking.  -Southlabnd Times, 19/5/1879.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Elizabeth Powell of "the devils half acre" - "a most dangerous vagrant..."

Elizabeth Powell is one of those figures who appear in the historic record and then disappear.  There were more effective ways in those days to do so than now - leave the country, change your  town, change your name.  One thing which I have discovered was very easy to do back then was to change town and name and start anew - and be treated by the Court as a first-time offender unless one was recognised by an officer of the law.

Elizabeth Powell may have changed her ways after her serious brushes with the law in Dunedin.  She may have changed her name and location.  My guess would be the latter.

Elizabeth first appears in the Dunedin court news on fairly common charges.  But, a few years later, things become serious.

In the Mayor's Court yesterday, Peter Logan, for drunkenness, was fined 10s, or in default of payment to be imprisoned 24 hours. Elizabeth Powell was charged with using obscene language, and was fined 20s; in default of payment to be imprisoned 14 days.   -Otago Daily Times, 27/9/1866.

This day. (Before A. Chetham-Strode, Esq., R.M.) 
DRUNK AND DISORDERLY. Elizabeth Powell, for this offence, was fined 20s, or, in default, forty-eight hours’ imprisonment; James Letty 40s, or one week; and James Lane the same amount. -Evening Star, 14/7/1869.

MARIA WILLIAMS Left her Home on the 3rd of January. Any person giving information to her recovery will be rewarded. Any person harbouring her will be prosecuted. H. WILLIAMS, Hillside.   -Otago Daily Times, 2/1/1874.

Elizabeth Powell, alias Patterson, was charged with having, on the 4th January, 1874, allured a certain young girl named Maria Williams, aged 12 years, from the home of her parents against her will, being an indictable offence. Sub-Inspector Mallard prosecuted, and accused was undefended. John Williams, clock dealer, living at the corner of Manor Place and Melville street, had a little daughter whom he put out to service in the family of a Mr Nuttall. From something which came to his knowledge on the 5th ult. he was induced to go to the house of accused and enquire for his child. Prisoner denied having seen her, and when he subsequently called she put her head out of the window, and said she was surprised at his coming when she had a chap in the house. He informed the police, and after enquiries, traced his daughter to Port Chalmers, where she was found, and brought home. Accused lived in a house near him, was an abandoned woman, lived on prostitution, and decoyed drunken men to go with her. — R. W. Nuttall employed a daughter of complainant's as a domestic servant; and about 9 o'clock on the evening of Sunday, the 4th ult., she told him that a woman in Walker street had offered her more money, and she was going to leave. He was somewhat surprised and annoyed at this, and refused to permit her to leave; but not wishing to cause trouble, he did not restrain her. — Maria Williams, a delicate young girl, said that whilst at Mr Nuttall's Lizzie Powell offered her money to live with her. Sub-Inspector Mallard: Why did you go there? The child burst into tears, and answered because Lizzie Powell asked her to leave her father and mother. She did not tell her for what purpose, but got her to go with her on Sunday night, and remain until the Tuesday following. Whilst there, several men, some of them drunk, called at the house, and one of them abused her in the back yard, and wanted her to go with him, but she refused to leave Powell. On the Tuesday prisoner took her to the Railway Station through the back streets, and told her to go to Mrs Lloyd's at Port Chalmers, giving her 2s with which to pay her fare. On reaching Port she was told that Lloyd was in gaol, and after calling at the houses of Mrs Jenkins, Mrs Campbell, and Mrs Stackey, she was met by her father and taken home. Powell tried to elicit from cross-questioning that the 2s was given by a man named Patterson, and that she had never told her to leave her father and mother, but the child firmly adhered to what she had sworn.— Agnes McDonald resided near the house of accused, and frequently saw her taking men in. — Constable Beasley, Sergeant O'Neil, and Constable Rooney all spoke to the character of accused. In 1866, she was a prostitute living in a brothel in Walker street; she afterwards lived behind the Bristol House in Cumberland street, and in 1869 she was convicted at Oamaru for larceny. She was continually prowling about the streets of Dunedin during the night with disreputable characters, and was regarded as one of the boldest prostitutes in the place. Sergeant Neil, stationed at Port Chalmers, said that Marian Lloyd was at present undergoing a sentence of imprisonment, and had been convicted on several occasions.
For the defence, accused called George Patterson, a stoker, who cohabited with her, and Henry Willis. They swore that the child had been sent away, and that prisoner did not give the 2s, but Patterson, who admitted that it was to pay her fare to Port Chalmers. 
The Sub-Inspector said that was all the evidence, which, he considered, was sufficient to show the guilty mind of accused.
The Bench were aware that a number of characters like the prisoner were in the habit of enticing young girls to their destruction. The case not being one which they could deal with summarily, they could not inflict the sentence which they considered proper. After cautioning accused, they discharged her.  -Otago Daily Times, 4/2/1874.

The Evening Star WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1874
We do not remember a more disgraceful case than that of the abduction of the girl Maria Williams, brought before the Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday. There was not a redeeming feature in it. In fact, every action of the accused aggravated the offence with which she stood charged. A girl, only thirteen years old, servant in a respectable family, was decoyed from her situation by a woman of disreputable character, and induced to become an inmate of her house. One would have imagined that having experienced the evils inseparable from her own degraded condition, the latter would at least have had so much of our common humanity left as to shrink from involving an innocent child in like infamy. But no such kindly feeling had place in her mind. The evidence shows that not only did she induce the girl to become an inmate of her house, but exposed her to the brutality of a man who sought to consummate her ruin for his own gratification. But even then the climax was not reached. Becoming aware that steps were being taken to reclaim her victim, and that the police were on her track, she took means to secrete the girl, if possible, and to prevent her return to her father. Who the people are to whom she was transferred we know not. Some of them, we may fairly infer, through their intimate acquaintanceship with Lizzie Powell, are of like vocation with herself and it is not too much to conclude that all were led to the course they took by a desire to shield her from the legal consequences of her conduct. At length the girl was sent home, and very properly the woman Powell was called upon to answer for the crime of which she had been guilty. On careful examination of the evidence, we think it was sufficiently proved. At any rate there was a prima facie case against the woman. The 24 and 25 Vict. enact that “Whoever shall unlawfully take, or cause to be taken, any unmarried girl, being under the age of sixteen years, out of the possession, and against the will of her father or mother, or of any other person having the lawful charge of her shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.” Commenting on this offence, Wharton tells us that, “In order to constitute this offence, it is not necessary that any corrupt motive should be the inducement to commit the offence, and the consent of the child herself would be no excuse.” We are, therefore, at a loss to understand on what grounds the Bench dismissed the case. In fact, their decision seems to us one of the most extraordinary that has ever been recorded. As reported in the 'Guardian,’ their Worships said:— The Bench had no doubt that many women of the character of the accused inveigled young girls to their haunts for the purpose of their destruction. It was fortunate for the accused the Bench had not the power of dealing with the case summarily, or they would inflict a punishment commensurate with their opinion of it. As they thought, however, that it would not be sustained if the accused were sent to trial, they would discharge her, but cautioned her as to her conduct for the future.
What does that expression of opinion amount to? Either the Bench must have been convinced that the woman was guilty, or they had no right to animadvert so severely on her conduct. If they thought she was guilty, their duty was to have committed her for trial. All they had to consider was whether or not there was a prima facie case against her. They tell us that had they had the power they would have sentenced her to severe punishment. They did not say they thought the charge was preferred under a wrong statute, or that the evidence was insufficient. They virtually admitted the woman’s guilt, and stated the conclusion they would have arrived at had they been on a jury empanelled to try her. But apparently their idea was that nobody else but themselves would have coincided with them. This, however, was not the point they had to consider. All that was required of them was to inquire whether the facts justified the prosecution, and if they did, their duty was not to think “that the charge could not be sustained if sent to trial,” but to leave it to the Crown Prosecutor, the Supreme Court, and a jury. Throughout the Colony there is increasing necessity for strong measures for the protection of young children. The increasing frequency of attempts at their violation is forcing upon society the necessity for deterrent measures; but cowardly as are the brutal attacks upon them of which we so frequently hear, the dastardly advantage afforded through abduction by abandoned women is equally reprehensible, because more subtle, and because the men escape all possibility of prosecution; and such decisions as that of yesterday, through affording probability of escape of a procuress, act as a premium on their repetition. The only possible solution of the process by which the Bench arrived at their decision is that they did not know what is included in the word “abduction.” For their information we may observe that it does not mean merely forcibly carrying away women or children, which is “kidnapping,” but “fraudulently” taking them away; and we think there was quite sufficient to show that the girl was enticed away with fraudulent intention. Dunedin has for some time past been the theatre on which the great “unpaid” have played a conspicuous part. We do not know that they have figured worse than the average of men appointed more because their pockets are full than their brains clear. But quite sufficient has been shown to prove that the administration of law is not safe, excepting in skilled hands. Here, as well as elsewhere, honorary justice is capricious and expensive.  -Evening Star, 4/2/1874.

Friday, 13th February. (Before A. C Strode, Esq., R.M.)
EXTRAORDINARY CONDUCT OF A CHILD. Margaret Ann Lawson, alias Dawson, a pretty little half-caste, was placed in the dock, on a charge of stealing a lady's shawl valued at 10s. In reply to the charge, she whispered that she had taken the cape for a loan. Two days ago she was taken into custody with some other children, for committing a series of thefts, and was proved to be the instigator of them. Jane Wilson said she lived at the Waverley Boarding House, where accused was employed as servant until the evening of the 4th. ult, when she suddenly left, and on the following day witness missed the cape produced. Detective Shury had received information of the theft, and subsequently saw accused about ten o'clock at night wearing it in town, with a crowd of boys following her. She stated that she resided in Canongate, but had been stopping with Mrs Powell, a woman living in Manor Place, and that she, Lizzie Powell, and a man who co-habited with her, slept in one bed. In answer to Mr Strode, it was elicited that Lizzie Powell was the vicious character who had been charged at the Court a short time previous with abduction. A further charge was then preferred against Lawson of stealing a muff valued at 10s. Elizabeth Keenan employed accused, at Waverley Boarding House last month, and she suddenly disappeared; and Detective Shury afterwards brought a muff belonging to witness, which he had found upon her. Witness had heard she was leading a very bad life. Mr. Strode: What is the history of this child? Sub-Inspector Mallard was sorry to say that her history was a bad one. Her father resided in Dunedin, but she stays away from home against his will, and is quite uncontrollable. Her conversation when in police custody was something horrible, and it was a most lamentable thing to hear her. He considered her too far gone for redemption. The child displayed the greatest indifference throughout, and answered the questions readily, but in a half audible tone of voice. She was fourteen years of age. Mr. Strode said she appeared a fit subject for the Reformatory Industrial School, as the Gaol would make her worse than she was. The fact of her admission into the house of 'the notorious woman Powell was something shocking, but it would not do to let her associate with hardened criminals in the Gaol. Some robberies committed in North Dunedin twelve months ago, which were never made public in Court, had since been traced to her. He would remand her for a short time until some information concerning her, religion, &c, could be procured, when she would be committed to the Industrial School. The prisoner was sentenced to three years' detention in the Reformatory Schoo1 at Caversham, after his Worship had given her a severe lecture on her past conduct.   -Otago Daily Times, 14/2/1874.

Elizabeth Powell, the woman who recently enticed a young girl to leave her situation and go and live with her, for no other object than that of prostituting her, and who was brought up before two of the Great Unpaid, on a charge of abduction, and, to the horror of every right-thinking individual, discharged, was, again brought up at the Resident Magistrate's Court, Dunedin, but this time before Mr. Strode. She was charged, under the Vagrant Act, with having no lawful means of support. She appeared in Court attired in brand new clothes, and pleaded, in a pompous manner, "Not Guilty." John Williams lived within a few yards of her house, and frequently saw her taking in drunken men, whom she had dogged. Her conduct was of the worst description, and she was constantly in company with drunken women, who went to her house. Sergeant O'Neil had known her since 1865, when she lived in a Walker-street brothel, and subsequently in a low neighborhood at the rear of Bristol House, Cumberland-street. In 1869, he escorted her to gaol from Oamaru, where she had been convicted for larceny. She had been living the life of a prostitute for a considerable time past. Constable Rooney know her to be one of the most dangerous of her class. Prowling the streets at midnight she solicited prostitution, and pounced upon drunken men. Detective Shury had had occasion to watch her house lately through the brawls which occurred there nightly, and knew her to be a most offensive woman. Mrs. McDonald had witnessed disgraceful proceedings at accused's house, and said it caused much annoyance to respectable people. Prisoner tried to entice nearly every young girl that went past her door for evil purposes. Mr. Strode: Well, now, Elizabeth Powell, you are with no lawful means of support, and I have to call upon you in terms of the Act to give me an account of your means of support to my satisfaction. Prisoner: A man named Paterson, employed on the Golden Age, keeps me, and pays my rent. Mrs. Mason can prove it. Mr. Strode (evidently amazed): What! is Mrs. Mason with you — the notorious Mrs. Mason? Prisoner: Not that Mrs. Mason. (To a constable: Show the Magistrate my receipts.) A large-sized purse was handed to His Worship, who opened it and pulled out a number of papers tightly folded together. Separating one, a certificate of birth; another, a pawn ticket; a third, a receipt for one week's rent paid by Paterson. His Worship: These prove nothing. Well, Elizabeth Powell, from the evidence before me, I have no doubt — and I do not think any one who has heard the evidence can have any possible doubt — that you are one of the worst and most dangerous of vagrants, who, until you reform, should not be at large. You were charged, a short time since, you may remember, with abduction — with inducing a little girl to enter your house for immoral purposes. You don't seem to be contented with little girls, but you ask women who are passing to come into tea, make them drunk, and we all know what occurs. — (Accused began to feign penitence, and sobbed.) His Worship: Yes, you ask them in to tea, and after making them drunk, men come in and prostitute them; that is what you do to your friends. You are a horrid, abominable character — for one so young, a dreadful character. Four years ago, apparently, you were convicted of larceny; what do you think your end will be? Such a woman as you should be locked up until you reform, to keep you from committing further mischief. I shall mark my sense of your conduct by sending you to the common gaol for three months, with hard labor.  -Tuapeka Times, 18/2/1874.

Degraded Women. — Agnes Antoe, Elizabeth Powell, and Margaret Bradshaw were charged conjointly with having no lawful means of support. — Sergeant Hanlon stated that Antoe was a prostitute, and the occupier of a brothel in St. Andrew street, and kept the other two defendants. She did no work, and drunken brawls frequently took place in the house. About a fortnight previously a man got into the house and died there, and the circumstances being reported to witness, he made enquiries, and found that a doctor had seen the man just before dying, and thus prevented an inquest being held. It appeared the man had money, and died whilst suffering from excessive drinking. Another witness described defendants as a continual nuisance to the neighbourhood. Ann Reid was called by the woman Powell to give evidence. Each of the defendants were sentenced to three months' imprisonment, with hard labour.  -Otago Daily Times, 10/4/1875.

Monday, August 28. (Before E. ff. Ward, Esq., and J. Black, Esq., J.Ps.) 
Drunkenness.—Thos. Hill, James Savage; and Charles Buer were all fined 10s, in default twenty-four hours 1 imprisonment. John Adams, against whom there were two charges, prisoner having again got intoxicated after being liberated on bail, 20s, or forty-eight hours on each. Elizabeth Charlotte Frederick was fined 40s, or forty-eight hours. 
A Lively Quintet: Elizabeth Charlotte Frederick (who persistently pleaded that she made use of no languages whatsoever), Flora Carter, Anne Vaughan, Elizabeth Powell, and Edward Williams were all charged with using obscene language in a brothel in Machins right-of-way at 12.30 this morning. —Mr Ward: I was in hopes these characters had been cleared out of that locality. — Inspector Mallard: I am afraid the locality is too chronic to get rid of them altogether. They go away sometimes, but come back again. — Mr Ward: I should have thought that the landlords would have taken some steps to get rid of them. — Inspector Mallard: They are too good tenants. It is no use mincing matters; that is the extent of it. — Mr Ward: I fear such is the case. — In fining each of the prisoners 40s, or, in default, three days' imprisonment, Mr Ward expressed the hope that the landlords of these houses would take into consideration the great trouble the public were put to by reason of their letting their houses to such infamous people, and especially to the detriment of those living in the neighborhood. When a sailor went to the houses, as in this case; there was a scene, and consequently considerable annoyance; therefore it was to be hoped that the landlords would let their houses to a different class of people. Prisoners were the worst type of their class, and all had been more or less in gaol for various offences. — Inspector Mallard ventured the opinion that the landlords were the root of the evil, if they could only get at the landlords instead of the occupiers they might be able to clear such characters.   -Evening Star, 28/10/1876.

Theft. —Lizzie Powell was charged, on remand, with stealing, on the 26th ult., a shawl valued at 20s, the property of Mary Fairbairn. — Prisoner pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment with hard labor.  -Evening Star, 17/12/1877.

(Before I. N. Watt, Esq., R.M.) 
Drunkenness.—Thomas Mellor and Mary Foots, charged with this offence, were dismissed with a caution. 
Raid on Bird’s Right-of-way.—Christina Wilson, Mary Ann Ford, Kate McDonald, Elizabeth Charlotte Frederics, Elizabeth Powell, and Elizabeth Boloney were charged with having no lawful visible means of support, and all pleaded guilty save Frederics, who stated that she went out washing.— Samuel Bird volunteered to give evidence on her behalf, and stated that she was a tenant of his and went out to work. In cross-examination by Inspector Mallard Bird said Frederics lived by herself. He never heard any noise in her house. He had five or six houses let to these women. There were two wretched hovels let for 20s per week, but the tenants did not always pay up. There was only one room in Powell’s house and one in Boloney’s. Witness kept a store adjoining, but did not supply the women with ale and spirits; but he did give them dinner occasionally, charging 1s each for it. — Inspector Mallard said his Worship might think it somewhat unusual and rather harsh for the police to bring up all these women; but the fact was the conduct of the women in this right-of-way was so bad that he would like to get Bird induced to pull down these hovels. — Sergeant Anderson deposed that Frederics occupied one of Bird’s houses, and it was frequented by persons having no lawful visible means of support, including the women Wilson, Frederics, Powell, and several other prostitutes. The house was kept in a very noisy and disreputable way. — Samuel Bird said he could not tell who frequented Jane Henderson’s house. As a rule it was very quietly kept, but there was a noise there on Saturday night. She paid 10s a week rent, and the house contained two rooms. — Evidence was then given by Constable Conn as to the goings-on at Bird’s right-of-way on Sunday morning last as people were coming from church. Several of the women now in Court were out in the street and right-of-way in a half-naked state, some were shrieking “murder” at the top of their voices, and Frederics and McDonald were fighting. — Sergeant Anderson disposed that Boloney’s house was frequented by young lads and Chinamen. — Sergeant-Major Bevan gave corroborative evidence. — His Worship said the police were fully justified in taking steps to abate this nuisance; but if Bird thought proper to use his property in the manner shown the only thing that could be done would be to continually bring these women up, and thus render the houses of no value to him. — Inspector Mallard said it was not the women he wished to have punished so much as Bird - the fact was that independent of paying him high rents they were capital customers of his. As Bird was in the Court perhaps he would come forward and state what he would do with the hovels. — Bird did not respond to the information, and his Worship sentenced the seven women to a month’s imprisonment each, with hard labor.  -Evening Star, 14/8/1878.

The ordinary business at the Police Court yesterday was light. His Worship the Mayor and Mr Reeves, J.P., sat upon the Bench. Elizabeth Powell, who was one of the six residents of Bird's right-of-way in Walker street recently sentenced to one month's imprisonment each, and who upon this occasion was arrested, in a state approaching nudity, in the same evil haunt, pleaded guilty to the charge of drunkenness, and was fined 20s, or 48 hours' imprisonment. John Hunter, for drunkenness, assaulting, and tearing the uniform of the arresting constable, was sentenced to pay a total sum of 35s, or suffer four days' imprisonment in default. A few bye-law cases completed the business.  -Otago Daily Times, 26/9/1878.

(Before J. Logan, Esq., J.P., and A. Mercer, Esq., J.P.) Vagrancy.— Elizabeth Powell, an old offender, was charged with having no lawful means of support. — Sergeant Gearin said that he arrested prisoner in Jetty street last night. She was following gentlemen about the streets, and was in a state of nudity. — The Bench sent her back to her old quarters for three months.  -Evening Star, 16/5/1879.

And there, it seems, is the end of Lizzie Powell's appearances in the courts of Dunedin.  "Papers Past" records a woman of her name as being assaulted in Christchurch in 1886 while "slightly under the influence of liquor."  But, apart from that possibility, she fades from history.