Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand
[p3] [The Jeans Line]
James Walter Jeans and Dorothy Olive May Potts
Parents of Bruce Jeans
Jim was born in 1894 to a solo-mother – although the term was not then in use. He was the youngest son of Ellen Wilkinson and the posthumous son of Charles Jeans who had died the previous year. Jim was born on 8 June, at Koru, near New Plymouth, Taranaki, and was registered on 14 July when Ellen gave her address as New Plymouth. The family had previously lived at Okato, but in 1894 the attendance of the older children at other schools point to disruption in their lives. Ellen’s address was Oakura when her two older daughters, Dora (in late August) and May (in early September) were admitted to the local school. Ernie attended Rahotu school for a period. In October, May was readmitted to Okato school. It is known Ellen worked as a mid-wife and nurse. May, not quite ten years older than Jim would take care of her young brother when their mother was away looking after a neighbour in need. When Jim was two-and-a-half years old, Ellen married William George Wadsworth. Life became more settled.
Jim and his mother, with sisters May (left) and Amy. Okato. c 1900. Private Collection.
Some five weeks after his fifth birthday Jim was enrolled at Okato school. His days there would have been much the same as those of any small boy of that period; sitting at a desk in the classroom, learning by rote, writing on a slate and in the playground enjoying whatever game was in vogue at the time. The class lists of Okato school (held by National Archives, Wellington) show Jim’s progress from class to class. In 1904 when he passed into Standard 3, the examiner, commenting on the school in general, noted ‘the discipline and manners and the alacrity was good’. Later Jim’s mother and step-father moved to New Plymouth. Jim entered West End school on 15 November 1905 and after three more years of formal education his schooldays were behind him. From there Jim went north with his sister May and her husband Jack Humphrey. For a time he lived with them near Maungaturoto. Jim thought it hard country and when he went through the same area many years later he felt it had not improved to any great extent.
Jim then moved to Whitehall where he spent the greater part of his life. His brother Ernie had bought four hundred and eight acres of land from James Sharp Russell in 1905. This farm was part of the Whitehall Settlement of 8,954 acres, bought by the Government from the Assets Realisation Board in 1900 to divide into smaller holdings. The land had been part of the 28,205 acres of Hinuera No. 2