Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand
This post contains pages 138, 139, 140 and 141.
John Harwood and Elizabeth Harman
Parents of Minnie Dora Harwood.
John Harwood was Cornish-born; that much was learnt from some of the birth certificates of his numerous children. One certificate, that of Alexander Harwood born in 1888, noted Penryn as John’s birthplace. However, when St. Catherine’s Indexes were searched, none of the John Harwood entries found were registered in Cornwall.
The local registry office was appealed to but no John Harwood was registered there. His baptism was not found in the church registers of St. Gluvias or neighbouring parishes. The 1841 census of Penryn, and the indexes of the whole county for the 1851 census were searched, but the Harwood family was not found.
John’s death certificate gave no information regarding the length of residence in this country. He does not appear to have come as an assisted immigrant either to New Zealand or to Australia. The first reference at all, of John Harwood, was when his daughter Mary Ann Elizabeth Harwood, born 24 August 1869, was registered in Kaikoura, New Zealand.
Elizabeth Harman presents an even more confusing picture. She came to Nelson area with one of the German groups. According to her death certificate (1902) she had been fifty-one years in New Zealand. Harman is believed to be Elizabeth’s father’s name but her parents do not appear to have been married.
On an LDS film (69064) for Dassow, Germany, there is a record of Maria Elizabeth Magdalena Boeckmann, born 12 January, baptised 18 February 1846. Her mother’s name was recorded as Margaretha Sophia Frederica Boeckmann and her father Johann Harman of Lubeck, Mecklenberg, (north-east Germany).
In the Harwood family Bible, Elizabeth is recorded as Maria Elizabeth Selina. Elizabeth’s marriage certificate gave her mother’s name as Sophia Lange, nee Bockmann. The long held belief of the relationship with the Bockmann family of Upper Moutere is confirmed with this information concerning Elizabeth’s mother.
Mecklenburg in the north-east of Germany holds the origins of the Bockmanns. In the nineteenth century when many people, for both social and political reasons left their homelands, many Germans migrated. Of these, a few came to New Zealand and to the Nelson area in particular. In 1851 in Waimea East, near Nelson, Sophia Catherina Margareta Bockmann, 38, spinster and Henry Christian Frederick Lange were married. Although there is name variance it is thought this Sophia may be Elizabeth’s mother. Lange was probably the name Elizabeth was known by before her first marriage.
Certainly Lange, Laing, Laugie were entered as her maiden name on some official certificates and baptismal registers. On other certificates Hammond, Hammon, Hamon, appear to be variations on her father’s name. To add to the confusion Hines, Haines and Hinds also appear on some certificates. These latter names (Hines said to be an anglicized form of Hintz) probably come from Elizabeth’s first marriage. Spelling variations and how the name sounded to the recorder’s ear as well as uncertainty as to just which name should be given, probably accounts for this array of surnames. Only once, at the baptism of the twins in 1871, was Harman given as Elizabeth’s maiden name.
When Elizabeth and John married on 24 April 1886, in the registry office, Christchurch, her name was recorded as Selina Elizabeth Hines. But Elizabeth was the name she was generally known by; on the electoral roll, on the birth certificates of her children, and on her death certificate. Referring again to the 1886 marriage certificate, Elizabeth’s marital status was ‘widow, September 1881’. This fits with the death of a John Hintz who died in Christchurch hospital on 24 September 1881.
The meagre details on his death certificate are no help to verify or discount this assumption. The Harwood family Bible records a John Henry Hintz born 19 January 1865. He is presumed to be a son of Elizabeth and John Hintz, and the thirty-seven year old male noted on Elizabeth’s death certificate as surviving issue of a previous marriage.
Another puzzle; Elizabeth’s first husband was given on her death certificate as John Henry King. Elizabeth, so a family story goes, at a very young age, married ‘an old man’. William Joseph Hines, son of John and Elizabeth Hines (maiden name Lange) was born at Kaikoura on 17 January 1867. Fourteen years later, William Joseph died at Little River. His death registration and his burial were recorded in the Harwood name, his father’s name given as John Harwood, and his mother’s, Elizabeth Harwood.
As noted, John and Elizabeth Harwood’s eldest daughter, Mary Ann Elizabeth, was born in Kaikoura in 1868. When a son, John Henry, was born the following year (October) they were living in Christchurch. Fourteen months later, twins Arthur Christoffer and Charles Frederick were born at Ferry Road. Both these sons died in infancy. In 1872, Thomas George was born at Head of the Bay. John was evidently moving round the mills on Banks Peninsula, as Francis Herbert (1874) and Emma Christina (1875) were born at Holmes Bay.
By 1877 when Selina Sarah Jane was born on 26 May, the family had begun their seventeen year association with Little River. The settlement had a population of two hundred and ninety-six inhabitants in 1878 and by 1886 the population had increased by another eighty-five people. The road to Christchurch had opened about 1870 and in time the railway came. The peninsula had a wealth of timber, totara, matai and kahikatea. John was a bushman and work in the mills was plentiful. A John Harwood was noted as a bullock driver on a list (no date given) of Springvale mill workers, in a publication about the area.
Nothing is known of their living conditions but a photograph in Picturing The Peninsula (p35) by Gordon Ogilivie, show the houses some Little River mill-workers lived in. Made of slabwood, some with thatched roofs, the cottages are clustered at the foot of a hill with bush behind. None of the cottages look big enough to house a family as large as the Harwoods. Another photograph (p54) of the same book, shows the timber mill (Tarawera) where John worked. About seventeen men, standing still for the camera — in working clothes, with waist-coats and hats — are caught in a moment of time. Is one of these men John?
Six more children were born before John and Elizabeth married in 1886. Their children were registered and baptised in the Harwood name. Elizabeth and John apparently did not find it necessary to acknowledge, either to official registrars or to the incumbents of several churches, that they were not actually married. Money was scarce in the Harwood home.
With such a large family it could hardly be otherwise. Very few letters or other writings concerning any of the ancestors have been found. Long before these would become interesting and treasured, they became just another piece of extraneous material and as such, tossed away. However, there is an occasional find, and the following was among Bockmann papers. My thanks to Rosemary Lewis who gave me a photocopy of the following. From Elizabeth Harwood of Little River (Nov 7) it began:
You must not think I have forgot you but I have been very bad with the dropsy of late it seems to be flying to my heart in fact I can hardly explain all I am suffering but must hope for the best. franz is in Gough’s Bay falling timber for a mill he split his big toe open the other day but I hope he will be able to work again. Johny is at port Levy bush felling contract work I hope they will have good luck and bring us a little help As you know that with our lot every little helps’.
She wrote how Annie’s new daughter had been sickly at first but was now getting on fine and they were off to Christchurch that day. The letter went on to tell something of conditions on the Peninsula.
‘Things are very dull here Just now very little work going on in fact the Mill will soon be cut out. Men are leaving here very fast the firm is cutting down the wages so you will see things are pretty bad here Just now there will be little doing till seed time and then there will be nothing at all.
The letter was signed ‘Your loveing Niece Elizabeth Harwood’.
With the letter there was a postal-note counterfoil. Elizabeth’s uncle evidently felt a concern for his niece and her large family.
John and Elizabeth had at least eighteen babies; a very large family even for the times. As well Elizabeth had at least two known children in her first marriage. It has been said Elizabeth had twenty-two children. Many families lost at least one child in infancy but the Harwood sons seem to have been especially vulnerable.
As mentioned previously the twins died as babies, and Edward, born 1884 lived nine months. Leonard born 1887 lived three weeks while Robert, the youngest of the family born 1893 died at three months of age. Two sons died in their teen-years. William Joseph as already noted, in 1881 and nineteen year old Thomas in 1889. As far as is known the only Harwood daughter to die comparatively young was Selina who died of pulmonary phthisis at age twenty-three in 1899. She had married Alfred Sibley and left two infants sons.
By May 1896 the Harwood family had left Little River. The three youngest children, Alexander, Elizabeth and August Harwood were entered in the admission roll of Bromley school at that time. John Harwood was noted as a hawker on the marriage certificate of his daughter Selina, in November 1898, as a dealer on his death certificate, March 1899, and as a traveller on the marriage certificate of Minnie, a few months later.
The terms seem to be inter-related. On 6 March, John, (with Henry added as a second christian name) died in Christchurch hospital of aortic valvula disease. On March 8 he was buried in Bromley cemetery, in plot 35, row 6, that Elizabeth purchased for three pounds and two shillings.
Elizabeth suffered for years from cardiac dropsy. In her later years she was blind. Elizabeth would gently feel the face of a grandchild, to compensate for her lack of sight. Two of Elizabeth’s sons were required to contribute to the financial support (2/6 per week) of their mother in her widowhood. This responsibility was sometimes tardily attended to, and was enforced by law. (Police Gazette, 1901.)
Just one day short of three years after John’s death, Elizabeth died at New Brighton. The cause of death was a cerebral tumour. On her death certificate her parent’s names were recorded as Elizabeth and John Hammond. With so many different variations of names Elizabeth’s antecedents will always be clouded by doubt. Her father’s occupation was given as doctor of medicine but this piece of information is still to be investigated. Elizabeth is buried with John, in Bromley cemetery.
The belated marriage of John and Elizabeth gave valuable information regarding their antecedents. If they had married at the beginning of their relationship, they would not have been required to give any parental details. The 1886 marriage certificate helped other research fall into place.
For years it had been thought probable the marriage on 8 January 1838 of John Harwood and Mary Ann Pollard in St. Gluvias, Penryn, Cornwall, was relevant. The 1886 marriage certificate gave details of John’s parents and his father’s occupation, whitesmith. This information corresponds exactly with the information in the Cornish parish register. John Harwood, the 1838 bridegroom (father William Harwood, gunsmith) was thirty-four years old, a widower, and signed his name. Mary Anne Pollard, at twenty-three, marked the register with a cross. Her father was Christopher Pollard, farmer.
Unfortunately, as usual for that time, on English certificates, the mothers’ names were not recorded. No further information of these people is known. The name Harwood was unusual in Cornwall; the 1881 census showed only ten Harwoods in the whole county.
Harwood descendents – three generations
Back Eva Mitchell, Day Abrams, and Joy McLeod – daughters of Minnie Sinnett, formerly Williams, nee Harwood – front right.
Front left Doreen Mitchell, elder daughter of Eva.