Sunday, 20 September 2015

Walter Bartley and Alice Davis

We are continuing our series on the children of Robert BARTLEY and Esther KERBY.
This post also comes with a request. Are you able to add to the little we know about Walter's family? Would you like to do a guest post on this family? Any comments, links, images or information you have to share on the blog would be so appreciated by researchers coming along after us.

Walter Bartley was born at St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands on 24 November 1853. His Mother and Father stood as godparents at his baptism on 7 December 1853, recorded at the Town Church of St Helier. It is also likely, being a dissenter family, that an entry was made at their local Wesleyan Chapel.
It was, no doubt, a busy and anxious time for Robert and Esther. That Christmas they were preparing for the first stage of their journey to Auckland in the New Year.
The family arrived in New Zealand in October 1854, a month before Walter's first birthday. With no memory of Jersey, he is the first true colonial child of the family.
Robert took Walter into the building trade when he was old enough. He is listed on electoral rolls as a carpenter
In 1876 he married Alice Jane DAVIS (NZRBDM 1876/1515). Donated research tells us that Alice was born at Hastings, Sussex, England about 1853, a daughter of David Davis and Rhoda HAMPTON.
The couple lived at 8 St Francis de Sales Street in the part of Ponsonby now known as St Mary's Bay. In their day this area contained two and three bedroom cottages built in the 1860's as worker's accommodation.
We know of several children brought up in that house.
(Please be aware the following names and dates are subject to verification. Once again, if you are able to supply sources or more information, please do comment or get in touch.)
Robert Archibald 1877 - 1944, married Lillian HUNT; Frank Percy- 1879 married Ethel PEARCE; Eleanor Ivy 1883-1887; Walter Raymond 1887 - 1902; Edgar David 1892-1893; Gordon Wilfred 1893 - 1925 married Ann HOYES; Winifred.

It seems that Walter and Alice had more than their share of hardship- apart from the infant deaths which visited so many families in those days. Walter Raymond was known as Ray. He was 15 when he misjudged his step getting off the bus to school:
AES 22 Sept 1902
These facts were confirmed at the inquest next day and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Alice lived into her late 70's. She passed away on 16 March 1931. Her memorial may be found at Waikumete Cemetery, New Lynn in the Wesleyan section. Walter joined her almost exactly a year later on 19 March 1932.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Joseph Witheford - Member of Seddon's Government, Mayor of Birkenhead and champion of Calliope Dock

 It feels wonderful to be back researching and writing again.
 In this post we are once again indebted to the generous researchers descended from Robert Bartley for the use of their donated images and research notes.

Joseph Howard Witheford was a son of Clement WITHEFORD (1817-1891) and Elizabeth WOODCOCK. His family came from Worcester in England. When he was born at Bromsgrove in July 1848 his father's occupation was listed as school master.
Clement and Elizabeth emigrated with their four sons Clement, Joseph, Edward and Walter. (see DSC11Feb1863)
The family arrived with other Albertland settlers on SS Gertrude on 9 February 1863. Walter and Edward took up land at Okahukura in the Rodney district. Joseph remained in town where his parents had a house and plumbing shop on the corner of the Manukau Rd and Rutland Road, Parnell. (ref Rates Books PRN 16 p28 1873-1875)
He worked at first with his father in tin smithing and plumbing supplies, but that was not to be the case for long.

Joseph Witheford  Image AWN 04 May 1900

Emma Bartley, a daughter of Robert Bartley and Esther Kerby was born in St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands on 1 March 1849. She came to Auckland, New Zealand with her family in 1854.
In Auckland she met Joseph Witheford, whom she married in 1870. 

Emma Bartley BFA Image

Witheford/Bartley marriage cert BFA donated Image

Joseph was a man of ambition. Emma’s nature was far more sensitive and retiring. At the time their son Robert was born, in 1877, Joseph’s occupation was listed as Traveller. He settled his young family near to his father's premises in St George's Bay Rd, Parnell (Section 1 Allot.85 ER 1881) The mortgage to his father in law Robert Bartley was discharged in October 1881

 In 1885 when daughter Olive was born he was working as a journalist and agent .
NZH 19 October 1886 p4

By the time a new century dawned Joseph was a public figure of some note and Mayor of the North Shore Auckland suburb of Birkenhead.
Joseph and Emma had a family of six children:

  • Elizabeth Anne (1871-1963)
  • Ida (1874 - 1918)
  • Robert (1877 - 1936)
  • Sydney (1880 - 1945)
  • Olive (1885 - 1979)
  • Edna (1889 - 1967)

Joseph's rise is most favourably documented in this extract from his obituary (AES 30th October 1931 p3)
‘Mr. Witheford did things on a big scale. His success with the Admiralty was the sequel to a long residence in the Old Country, during which he made a fortune.
 It was the late 1890s the days when there was a mining boom in New Zealand. Waihi was such a rattling success that speculators in the Old Country were eager to snap up anything that had been surveyed and had anything even approaching a chance of success. Mr. Witheford went Home with a number of mining properties, including the famous Hauraki mine, at Coromandel, was so successful in floating them on the London market that he made a fortune—reputed to be £83,000, which in those days really was a fortune for a New Zealander. 
Probably no other man in New Zealand could have made such a success of such large flotations as Mr. Witheford effected. He knew the gold fieids intimately, knew all about the wonderful "golden days" of the Thames, and he was also an experienced share broker. Back to New Zealand. It was daring his residence in London that Mr. Witheford, though merely a private person, though it is true he had, been a member of the Auckland Harbour Board, managed to induce the Admiralty to subsidise Calliope dock to the handsome tune of £5000; a year. When he came back to New Zealand he was most cordially received, and for several years loomed largely in the public eye. He was again elected to the Harbour Board, and that body showed its appreciation of his services over the Calliope dock by electing him to the chair in 1900.
In 1901, when the present King and Queen were here, Mr. Witheford was asked to stand for the mayoralty, of Auckland, but refused when it was known that Sir John Campbell was to be chosen, as a mark of appreciation for his gift of Cornwall Park. Mr. Witheford was Mayor of Birkenhead, and in 1900 he was elected by a large majority at the head of the poll for the Auckland City constituency. At one time Mr. Witheford represented Auckland in Parliament. 
In later life Mr. Witheford was not so prominent in public life, but even when times were not so prosperous as when he was one of the best known hosts at the Hotel Cecil, then "the" hotel in London, he never lost his jauntiness and his enthusiasm. With flower in buttonhole, he might be seen at over 80 years of age, interviewing city business men and extolling the virtues of his suburban "cutting up" proposition. He was a man of astonishing energy, such as the present generation seldom produces.’

During his rise to public office the family moved to the North Shore. His home there, near Northcote College, was referred to as 'Calliope' in reference to the success of that project.

J.H.W in his study at 'Calliope' Donated Image BFA

He was also one of the first to invest in the Hellyer's Creek area. When Tramway Co land was offered for sale Witheford purchased 150 acres. With Henry BRETT and R CAMERON he built a road to the wharf they had lobbied for and contributed to. This facility was capable of taking large vessels, greatly improving access to what was predominately a fruit growing area. A further section was set aside at this time between the Chelsea Sugar Works and Hellyer's Creek for a steam ferry service. Clement Bartley also purchased land here. His block was on the eastern side.
Joseph Witheford constructed his summer residence at Hellyer's Creek. About 40 acres was left in native bush and a substantial orchard planted to supplement the recreational facilities - private jetty, boat sheds, stables, tennis court and gardens. He entertained a good deal there, particularly during his years in Parliament.
Members of the Indian Contingent visiting Witheford's property at Hellyer's Creek AWN 1 March 1901
The two eldest daughters accompanied their father to England during the 1890's. They enjoyed the London Season. Ida was married there to Edward BARBER who had followed the Witheford's to London.
After a second trip lasting seven years Joseph Witheford returned to New Zealand in 1912.

NZH 8 March 1912 p 7

Life took on a different tone after Great War. Emma Bartley died in 1916 after a battle with cancer. She was aged 66.
The Hellyer's Creek property was sold in parcels for subdivision, including the bush reserve. (NZH 20 Jan 1925)
In 1927 his friend, neighbour and fellow newspaperman Henry Brett passed away. Joseph Witheford followed after him in 1931.