Thursday, 20 November 2014

Old Napier Cemetery Part 3

 Jane (66 years old) and Ruth (54) Bryson were killed in the 1931 earthquake.  They were spinsters who lived together in a house on Bluff Hill.  They were in town shopping at a drapery at the time of the quake.  They were found later tightly hugging each other.  

 William Colenso was born in England in 1816.  When he was 14 he become an apprentice printer.  In 1883 he accepted a position as a printer  for the Church Missionary Society in New Zealand.  He arrived, with a printing press, was greeted by Maori and given the name "Koroneho".  He went on to produce the first New Zealand publication, a Maori translation by William Williams of the Epistle of Paul.  Maori demanded keenly more material and this increased the ability to spread the word more.  By 1840 Colenso had produced over 74,000 books and pamphlets not all of which were religious.  

He also had a hobby in botany and was able to collect many plants from places Europeans hadnt been to in New Zealand yet.  

He got married in 1843.  A mission station was established with agreement of Maori near Napier.  In 1851 it was discovered that Colenso fathered a Maori child.  He was dismissed from the mission station.  He became a virtual recluse.  In 1861 he moved to Napier.  He became more and more interested in writing and botanical work.  His scientific work was important in the area and he established the first Napier museum.  He was readmitted into the Anglican clergy in 1894 and he was a relieving minister.      When he died not one of his family attended.

 Thomas Collins joined the 65th Regiment in 1861, when he was 18.  They were based in the military barracks on top of Hospital Hill.  He was a bandsman.

In 1863 he married in Auckland and lived there.  For some unknown reason he was discharged from the army in 1866 he received a pension for the next fifteen months.

Along with his wife he moved back to Napier in about 1867/68 when he was invited to.  The Hawkes Bay Herald thought there should be a town band for processions and entertainment.  He was by this time a qualified bandmaster.  Over the next six years he and his wife had 3 children every two years.  Thomas played the cornet in the band.

He died of TB.  His headstone was paid for by the 65th Regiment and is made of totara.  

On the 6th of October I did a post about the Clive Flood of 1897 and showed you a monument (see link).  Henry Brierly, John Rose and Constable Alfred Stephenson were part of this tragic event. Napier in total sent out four rescue boats to rescue the settlers from Blive.  Two of these boats containing these men were caught by a river wash-out, were washed out to sea and drowned.  Ten men drowned only four were found.  Brierly and Rose's bodies were found floating amongst animal carcasses.  Thier bodies had been attacked by fish apparently it was a shockingly awful sight.  

Henry Brierly's funeral procession was led by the Napier City Band.  His coffin was transported by a salvage car of the Fire Brigade.  John Rose's funeral was the next day sadly his family werent able to attend as they lived in Australia.

Constable Alfred Stephenson's body was found almost a fortnight later washed up at the Napier breakwater.  For his funeral and the other man whose body was found the next day 3000 people lined the Napier streets, the procession was lead by two local bands.  His coffin was carried on a gun carriage.   

Captain John Carlson died suddenly of peritonitis caused by a burst appendix.  He had been the Captain of the steamer S.S. Ripple.  On the 3rd of May 1923 he had been working on a run between Wellington and Napier when he suddenly developed crippling appendicitis.  As soon as the ship berthed at Napier he was rushed to a private hospital on the Hill.  Although an operation was performed it was unsuccessful.  He was 67 years old.

He had worked for 37 years for the company Richardson and Co Ltd who were based at Port Ahuriri.  Over that time he commanded several ships.  He had been captain of S.S. Ripple for the last 13 yeats of his life.  The company he worked for thought highly of him and he was made Commodore of their fleet of ships.  He was known all over the East Coast as the most popular captain.  The  company was invaluable in those days to farmers who were otherwise isolated.  It was the way they got their supplies and  how they were able to sell on their wool and other products.

Robert Lynam was one of those men who seem to be in the right place at the right time and without thought of reward, help their fellow men.  He was instrumental in rescuing the crew of the Northumberland. a ship that sunk in a terrible storm on the  10th of May 1887.  He later got a gold medal for this.  He also stopped numerous  bolting horses and rescued a girl from drowning.

Alice Sweetman Wilson and Georgina Ellis' headstone has just about had it (due to time and weather) someone has put a new stone alongside the original one.

Alice, her husband and 3 of their 4 children died after they were attacked by dangerous Maori warriors. Capt James Wilson and 3 of their children were viciously killed in the very early hours of 10th of November 1868.  Alice was bayoneted and left for dead.  She was in fact semi-unconscious and a day and a half later crawled to their burnt out home.  She hid in a hut.  The Wilsons eldest son 8 year old son escaped and hid.  Four days later he returned home to find his mother badly injured.  Alice sent for help with a note.  He hadnt gone far when he met with a  reconnaissance party.  They were able to take her  to the home of Archdeacon Leonard Williams.  Although her health improved and she was able to be transported to Napier by steamer and despite skilled medical care she died on the 17th of December.            


  1. There's so much history... a lot of it not good at all, in that cemetery.

  2. So much can be learned by visiting cemetereis! Life seems so much better now.

  3. love reading stuff like this! cemeteries are full of interesting historical information

    1. pleased you're enjoying reading it as much as I have enjoyed researching it

  4. Interesting information can be found on headstones. Alfred Stephenson was related to me and to find how he died was rather sad