Family Notes – for K


Mum’s side

William Price, Fanny’s father, was born at Stockton-on-Tees in Yorkshire on 12 August, 1864. Third child of William and Alice Price (née Richlieu). When he was four his father was killed in an accident; his mother remarried one John Brenkley and they had three more children before emigrating from London to New Zealand in December, 1876. As a child William worked carrying lunches to a brickyard for wages.

The Brenkley family arrived in Napier on the Fernglen in 1877; William was 14 years old and travelled under his step-father’s name. Boys over the age of 12 lived separately on the ships in those days. The family stayed briefly at the military barracks before travelling down to Waipukurau to take up work on the farm (‘station’) of a man called Harding. William was a farmer for most of his life but, at the time of his marriage, aged 20, he was a butcher with his own shop in Ormondville.

His wife Clara Price (née Lister) was born in London on 27 October, 1867, the only child of Albert and Clara Lister (née Burtt). Her mother died when she was two and her father remarried and had three more children with his second wife, Harriet, before the family came out on the Halcione in 1874, also to Hawkes Bay. Clara was then seven years old; she lived at home until Harriet died in 1880, after which she ran the household (there were more NZ born kids) until, aged 17, she married William Price, in 1884, at Waipukurau. She was then living in Waipawa.

Her father subsequently remarried and had even more children with his third wife. On his first marriage certificate Albert Lister is described as a piano-forte maker; in New Zealand he worked as steel plate engraver in the printing trade; but for the voyage out he called himself a wood-turner because in those days there were preferred trades for migrants; and this was one of them.

Both William and Clara were thus Assisted Migrants. They had 12 children and she died, worn out, aged 54, near Hastings in 1921; he lived on until 1944. In the photos (they are just photocopies) Clara bears a startling resemblance to sister Virginia—although I suppose that should really be the other way round. Fanny remembered, at the farm in Ormondville, having to go out to help her father climb over the stile and support him into the house when he came home drunk (on horseback) after a visit to town; he’d lie out there roaring until someone came to the rescue. Her horror of alcohol seems to have stemmed from that. He may have molested her, and her sisters, too.

Fanny was the sixth child, born 23 October, 1896; and died 12 January, 1967. (We were camping up north and had to cut our holiday short.) She was a primary school teacher—there’s that photo of her with a class of mostly Maori kids in a ‘native’ school up Gisborne way—and married Lewis Herbert Scott (11 May 1894 – 17 October, 1953). Probably in 1920 or 21—Clive, their eldest, was born in 1922. Lauris, b. 1924, was, like Dad, the second child.

Lewis was a house painter and for many years had a contract with NZ Railways to paint railway stations. He died of bowel cancer and I’ve heard it said that the lead in the paint might have been a factor. Both he and Fanny were diet-obsessed and more than a little eccentric. Social Credit, Colour Therapy, Compost etc. I’ve also heard that Lewis owned a copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and thought that they were genuine, not the anti-Semitic forgery they actually are.

Alas, I know nothing more about Lewis Scott—an enigma. Lauris was fond of him and always said what a sweet and decent man he was. He must have been, to put up with Fanny! Though in fact they seem to have loved each other. Maybe her crankiness was a result of his early death? And then her younger son John’s, just a few years later.

Dad’s side

The Edmonds allegedly come from a place called Cupar in Scotland. It’s north and west of Edinburgh, in Fife, on the way out to St Andrews. Lowland Scots. Uncle Don relates that there is / was a window in the town with the name ‘James Edmond : Glazier’ inscribed on the glass.

James Edmond (another one) was born in 1849 in Stirlingshire; his father William was ‘a gardener and labourer’ and ‘could read and write’; his mother Margaret (née Hutchinson) was a dressmaker. They came out from Liverpool on the Prompt, arriving in Hobart in 1857; James spent eleven years in Tasmania and the rest of his life in Melbourne, where he worked as a builder. He died in 1929.

His wife Catherine McLeod was from Strahan near Ullapool on Loch Broom in the Highlands of Scotland. Born 1849 so the same age as James. She came out, with her family, on the Sir Allan McNab, also from Liverpool to Hobart, in 1853. The first ship of free settlers after convict transportation to Van Diemens Land ceased. It’s a fascinating story, documented in cousin Rod’s book Migrations—too much detail to go into now but they were part of one of the mass migrations forced by the Clearances, and travelled with another extended family, the McKenzies, with whom they lived in a kind of symbiotic relationship, both in Scotland and in Tasmania. They ended up farming at a place called Winkleigh in West Tamar. I’ve been there—a graveyard full of ancestors.

James and Catherine married in Launceston in 1872 and then moved to Melbourne, where they had thirteen children—the first nine lived, the next three died, and Charlie, Dad’s father, was the thirteenth child, born 29 January, 1890. Catherine died in 1905, just before Christmas, of pulmonary tuberculosis—she must have been, like Clara, worn out with child-bearing. And James Edmond, like William Price, was a boozer and was bankrupted at least once, probably because of his drinking. Consequently there’s an inventory of their household goods (in Rod’s book) which is pretty interesting. It includes a piano. And a cow with a single horn.

After his mother died, Charlie, aged 15, was sent over to live with his eldest sister Margaret (Auntie Maggie) in Herne Bay in Auckland, apparently to get him away from his Dad. He became a lifelong teetotaller, as you probably know. He also lost on eye, because of a childhood illness I believe, and had a glass one which he kept in a tumbler of water by the bed when he was sleeping. Dad said he got the shock of his life the first time he saw his father flick it out of the eye socket with his little finger and drop it into the water.

Elizabeth Ada Ileen Trevarthen, called Ada, Dad’s mother, was of Cornish descent but born in Auckland on 24 February, 1884. The sixth of nine children. She was like Dad—dark-skinned, black-haired, brown-eyed and, I always thought, a bit spooky. The family was from near Truro and there is a Coat of Arms! ‘Argent (silver), a Boar passant gules (red), armed or (gold), between three mullets of the second.’ Whatever that means—there is a gloss.

Her father was William Trevarthen and her mother Emma, née Harney; the Harneys were from London. Emma was born there in 1847 and came out to Auckland on the Gertrude in 1863, aged 16. When they landed she heard the guns booming from the war down in the Waikato. She’s also said to have seen the Pink and White Terraces before they were destroyed in 1886.

The Trevarthens came out on the Bolton in 1839, to Wellington, arriving there in 1840; it was a New Zealand Company ship. Their name appears in the manifest as ‘Trevarton’ and the father, William, aged 32, is described as an agricultural labourer. He and his wife Elizabeth already had three children. Most NZ Company labourers were assisted migrants also. Just two months after arriving at Port Nicholson, the family moved to Auckland, where William junior was born in 1850; he died in 1920, the same year Dad was born. He was a carpenter and joiner and most of his sons were builders. He married Emma Harney in Parnell in 1873. She also died in January 1920, within a few weeks of her husband, so Dad would not have known his grandparents on either side of the family.

The Trevarthens lived in Herne Bay; Red Mole used to rehearse in a church hall Ada’s brothers built, St. Stephens Presbyterian, in Jervois Road! Ada’s younger brother Albert died in the Great War. There’s a letter he wrote to his brother Bertram just days before he was killed.

Ada was a music teacher but gave it up after she married Charlie in Auckland in 1915. Gave up playing piano too. Uncle Don, their first born, once showed me some pieces of sheet music that were hers. She died in 1962, with dementia. Charlie predeceased her, a heart attack in a hotel room while on the road in Whangarei in 1959.

They mostly lived in Wellington. Lyall Bay, Seatoun and in that building on Oriental Parade, whose name I always forget. I saw it just last week. He worked for the YMCA, for Todd Motors, was a JP and during the war contemplated standing for Parliament for the National Party; but did not, perhaps because his stammer made public speaking difficult. He was quite stern; but liked practical jokes. He’d kick you in the bum when you weren’t looking. Dad had vestiges of that sense of humour too.

There’s lots more (including letters) but perhaps that’s enough for now!


image : head of Charlie’s walking stick; with inlaid native timbers; a bit chewed by dog Mungo; provenance otherwise unknown


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