Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 10 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p10] [The Jeans Line]

Whitehall was a close-knit community in those years. Socials were still held in the school or a local barn, and these buildings, decorated with greenery and flowers, made a pleasant setting. However, the residents cherished a dream; to build their own hall. Characteristically they set about to help themselves. They raised money by holding socials and dances, sports days, card evenings, and stock drives. The local Women’s Institute made contributions. Jim undertook to seek donations from outside the district. It took some years for the required money to be accumulated but in time the dream came true. The present Whitehall Hall is a memorial to that band of hard-working hard-pressed residents, who in difficult economic times put their minds and energy to attaining an asset for their district. The hall was built with one paid, experienced carpenter, Charlie Potts, Dorrie’s brother, who with his daughter Beryl lived with the Jeans family. Charlie took leave from his employer (the Whitehall Rabbit Board) and with the help of voluntary labour the hall was built in five weeks. The opening on 2 September 1936 was a grand affair. There were many visitors from surrounding districts as well as the local member of Parliament. This gentleman (as politicians are wont to do) took the opportunity to explain to the captive audience how recent legislation affected farmers. A dance was held in the evening to celebrate this important milestone in the district’s development with the unlined hall decorated with ponga ferns, red rhododendrons and bows and streamers. The female dancers added colour. . . frocks of pink suede crepe, red satin, lemon voile, shell pink taffeta, apricot velvet, buttercup windswept satin, pale green moroccain, scarlet crepe, pink chiffon, blue georgette, floral rayon and black lace swirled about the dance floor. Jim was a member of the Hall committee, served as chairman for some years, and was often spokesman at functions.

Jim’s first venture into public life appears to have been in 1923 when he became a trustee of the Whitehall Rabbit Board and served some thirteen years, including four years as chairman. He was on the Whitehall School committee from 1925 until 1942; for the last eight years as chairman-secretary. Meetings, working bees, the betterment of the school and the well-being of the scholars and teachers became his concern. In the 1930s he was on the committee of the Cambridge Dental Clinic that provided dental care for primary school children at five shillings yearly per family. Later in life he was a committee-member of both the Cambridge Golf Club and the Cambridge Trotting Club.

In 1930, after many people had been unable to gain admittance to the Town Hall for the annual Anzac Day ceremony, the local paper reported Jim as saying he ‘saw no reason it should not be held round the cenotaph’. Jim became a committee member of the Cambridge Returned Services Association the following year (1931). In 1940 he moved ‘on Anzac Day and all future occasions the Association’s wreath be a Laurel Wreath with Poppies’. He was a member of the RSA picnic committee and from its beginning (1936) was a collector for funds and acted as assembly steward.

Jim was vice-president in 1939 and president in the difficult war years of 1943-45. The war dragged on longer than people had anticipated. Welcome-home functions were being held but the farewells continued. At one of these later farewells Jim offered this advice to the departing servicemen “Say little, think lots and keep your heads down.” Sometimes Jim would remind the departing men to write home regularly. He remembered his own years as a soldier, and after the death of his mother while he was overseas, realised he had not always been as diligent as he might have been with letters home.

Resettlement was an important issue and the ‘old digs’ concerned themselves with this question. Jim presided at a meeting where various aspects of the Rehabilitation Scheme were discussed and a resolution proposed by him was passed unanimously. Some of the old soldiers were keenly aware of the limitations of the earlier scheme that had applied to their own rehabilitation. They were determined their younger counterparts should have every opportunity to rebuild their lives in the best possible way. The editorial in the Waikato Independent of 24 April 1944 was strongly supportive. ‘The tenor and the atmosphere of that meeting left no doubt in our minds that the men of the last war are not going to quietly sit still and let rehabilitation of the new generation of Diggers drift to an even worse condition than that which applied to many men, who to-morrow will quietly take their places in the Dawn Parade’. On that Anzac morning, as president, Jim laid the green laurel wreath on the cenotaph, perhaps with thoughts in his mind of comrades he had served with and who had died for their country.

Jim was a member of various ad hoc committees and delegations. Early in the war he was part of the Cambridge District Campaign committee, raising funds for the fighting services. In 1942 it was the Awake New Zealand committee and in March 1944 the Patriotic committee. He was on the House committee during the early days of the formation of the Cambridge Returned Services Club. In September 1944 he was part of the Cambridge Armistice committee seriously discussing how Victory should be celebrated. An open-air carnival with dancing in the streets and bon-fires were among the suggestions. Jim expressed his opinion Cambridge should be ready, but it was to be many more months before peace was proclaimed. In May 1945 Victory in Europe finally came. Jim, on behalf of the RSA

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 9 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

[p9] [The Jeans Line]

In 1919 Dorrie suffered the distress of losing her father in tragic circumstances. The family broke up, and Ruby, Zena and Jean went to live with their maternal grandmother, Mary Ann Ormiston in Flat Bush near Auckland. The house in Thornton Road was sold. All Dorrie had known was now lost to her. She worked in Auckland and life went on.

Jim and Dorrie married on 24 November 1920 in St. Aidan’s church, Remuera, Auckland. That same month Jim bought one hundred and fifty-nine acres three roods and fifteen perches (No. 1 of allotment No. 1 of Block X1 of the Cambridge Survey District) from his brother Ernie, for £450. Several years previously Ernie had bought the land and buildings (creamery and house) owned by the New Zealand Dairy Association at the junction of the French Pass Road. Ernie and Alice and their young family lived in what had been the manager’s house. The old creamery was dismantled and the material used to build the home Jim and Dorrie Jeans were to live in for the next forty-three years.

On 25 September 1921 their first child Ida Loris was born. Always known by her second given name, Loris was born the day after her mother’s birthday and on the birthday of her Aunty Ida. Wallace Lloyd was born 1 June 1923 and on 1 February 1926, Bruce their third child, completed the family.

Those first few years on the farm were hard. A cowshed was built, a petrol engine purchased and a small herd milked. After a year or two, electric power became available in their area of Whitehall and the nearly new petrol motor was superfluous. The power connection carried a minimum use charge; an electric motor made economic sense. Electric light brightened the house.The coal range held pride of place in the kitchen, for cooking, heating water and general warming of the house. The mortgage was a struggle but by working hard and keeping their wants to a minimum, Jim and Dorrie met their dues. In the days before the guaranteed price for butterfat, the spring price could fall rapidly later in the season, causing real hardship. Jim still worked off the farm on occasions to earn a little extra. At one time he contracted to supply clay fill for the approaches to the new concrete bridge over the Waiarumu Stream. He fenced on Peter Muirhead’s farm and fenced and top-dressed on the Craig farm. Dorrie also contributed to the budget, making butter to sell to a store in Cambridge. As Jim brought more land into productive pasture, more cows were milked. Dorrie helped with the routine milkings and together they weathered the hard times of the twenties and the even harder times of the thirties.

Plan 13726. Land Information New Zealand. Hamilton.
Jim’s farm is the triangle of 159 acres 3 roods and 15 perches.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 8 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p8] [The Jeans Line]

of warnings were issued about the hazardous nature of this port, including, ‘Ricketty Rum is a deadly concoction and all ranks are prohibited from drinking same’. Large quantities of fresh fruit, oranges, bananas, melons, pineapples and papayas were bought at this port. Sleeping on deck was allowed from 24 August, between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4.30 a.m. when the beds had to be cleared away ‘to allow decks to be washed’. There was a warning to individuals to take care of their beds ‘as there are no spare ones on board’.

The canteen was well stocked with sweets, biscuits, soap and toothpaste and a large quantity of cigarettes and tobacco. No sample menu for this voyage was found but there was one among the papers of the previous voyage of the Tainui. Porridge was the staple for breakfast followed by a meat dish such as grilled sausages (Monday) or Irish stew (Friday). Dinner began with soup, followed by roast mutton, potatoes, swedes and plum pudding on one day and cold compressed beef, potatoes and pickles, with peaches and rice for dessert, on another. A meat dish was served for tea; biscuits and cheese for supper. Probably these or similiar meals were enjoyed by Jim on his homeward journey. The Tainui berthed at Queen’s Wharf, Wellington at 3 p.m. Sunday 21 September, 1919. After one last night on board Jim travelled to Cambridge by train and returned to Whitehall.

On 21 October a large crowd gathered at Gorton, Karapiro, where the big barn was draped with flags and decorated with evergreens, to honour the local returned servicemen. ‘Dancing commenced soon after 8 p.m. and with song and story intervening was kept up with spirit until the early hours of the morning’ (Waikato Independent 25 October 1919). Jim added to the entertainment with a recitation, his forte on these occasions. The evening, said to be one of the most successful ever held in the district, closed with the singing of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and the usual ‘compliment to the chair’. Older and wiser, Jim was again a civilian. We do not know his thoughts as he picked up the threads of his life. Many of his memories of his war service have been lost. He returned again to a settled way of life but perhaps forever changed by his experiences.

Dorothy Olive May Potts (Dorrie) born 24 September 1896 in New Plymouth, was the first child of Bessie Roberts and Fred Potts. When she was seven weeks old she was baptised in St. Mary’s Anglican church. By the time she began her schooldays at Eltham on 18 October 1901, she had a sister Ida and a brother Charlie. Living in Eltham was Fred’s father Charles (the only grandparent Dorrie was to know) and also the young aunts and uncles who were Fred’s half-sisters and half-brothers.

Because of her mother’s poor health the family moved to Cambridge, where, on 4 March, 1903, Dorrie entered Cambridge Primary School. Later, during her mother’s final illness Dorrie attended Central School in New Plymouth.

When Dorrie was not quite ten years old, her mother died. Dorrie’s young years had been shadowed by her mother’s continued ill-health and a period of separation from her father. She returned to Cambridge Primary School for a few months. Then two years were spent at the Cambridge Convent School where she remembered the nuns were very kind to her. She was sorry to leave there for another short period at Cambridge Primary before leaving school at age thirteen.

Her father married Jeanie Ormiston in 1907 and in a few years Dorrie had four half-sisters. Enid Beryl, the youngest, died of meningitis in 1916, just a few months before Jeanie died. Jeanie too had suffered a debilitating illness and Dorrie’s girlhood years carried many responsibilities. She was a caring substitute mother to her small sisters and Jean in particular was to remember Dorrie’s fond indulgence. Dorrie was an enthusiastic collector of postcards and received them from friends and family who knew of her interest. These cards, carrying pretty or dramatic views, animal studies or stars of the silent screen, were popular for birthday or Christmas greetings, or just to say ‘I’ll write soon‘. Little messages of so many years ago remain. ‘How are you getting on with the date scones?‘ ‘Please water my ferns‘ and ‘I hope you are feeling better ‘. ‘Hope you girls are having a good time playing tennis etc.’ and another, ‘I hope you get the books safely‘. Friends moved away and sent a postcard showing their new town and suggested a visit. They were ideal for keeping in touch before the telephone became general.
A postcard sent to Dorrie by her father in 1906.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 7 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p7] [The Jeans Line]

Jim was selected to deliver a bouquet of flowers with the Major’s compliments. He was surprised to see beds of beautiful flowers around the convent but presented the flowers with a little speech. The Mother Superior’s eyes twinkled and the company of nuns smiled. Explanations followed. It was horse manure to enrich the soil of their flower gardens they wanted.

There is a photograph showing a long trail of men and horses somewhere in the desert. A postcard shows Jim and two other men on camels in front of the pyramids. He would have received some of the parcels the good people of Cambridge sent to their own ‘boys’. Comforts, such as tobacco, condensed milk and coffee, a handkerchief, sweets, socks, notepaper, razor-blades and other items were packed into individual parcels and sent overseas. Sometimes the latest copy of the Waikato Independent was included.

Jim was to survive in good shape his four years and forty-eight days of soldiering. He was not wounded. He did, however, have a period of sickness, spending time in a rest camp and in hospital. On 24 May 1919 he left the desert forever when he sailed from Port Said to Marseilles on the Princess Julianna en route to the United Kingdom. He spent about ten weeks in England, seeing something of that country and taking the opportunity of making the acquaintance of his mother’s family. There are only snatches of stories; a map reading exercise in London to find a short cut home during a bus-strike; a visit with a policeman kinsman to the rather shady districts of a big city, an odd postcard or two. One of these shows a stretch of the Thames near Richmond and the message ‘I wonder Jim if ever you will visit Richmond again, I’m often there a sweet place, I wonder if you remember this view, love Louise’. A postcard of Bolton is marked with a cross to indicate the approximate place where he stayed. There is a photograph of a large family, whether relatives or friends is not known; a street address. Jim’s mother Ellen Wadsworth died in April 1917. Jim probably did not keep in regular contact as he settled back into civilian life and the links with the old country weakened and were lost.

Tainui. Dickie Collection. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. Ref. No. G- 2431-1/1-.

On 8 August 1919 Jim sailed from England, aboard the Tainui, with hundreds of other soldiers, five nurses, war brides and children and a few returning civilians. The ship’s papers (held by National Archives,Wellington) contain various reports and notices from the voyage. Discipline and health had been excellent. There had been no influenza on board. No doubt the complusory fumigation parade at the ‘Disinfecting and spraying room’ on each of the first three days at sea proved an effective precaution. Jim was listed with sixteen other men to parade at the Dental Surgery at ‘1000 today’ (Ship’s Routine Orders, part 1, No. 6, at Sea, 14 August, 1919). Church services were voluntary as were the education classes which offered about a dozen different subjects ranging from building construction to bookkeeping and from dairy science to shorthand.

There were two ports of call on the voyage. At Norfolk, Virginia (U.S.A.) the YMCA had billetted and entertained the troops. Another break in the voyage was at Colon, Panama Canal. A number

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 6 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p6] [The Jeans Line]

Dear Sweetheart’ this postcard expressed Jim’s sympathy for his loved one so far away. Dorrie’s stepmother Jeanie had died leaving three small daughters. He wrote, ‘I wish I could have been there to see you. You all must have had a hard time, but cheer up Dorrie and hope for better times but I wonder how things are at present?’ He expressed concern Dorrie was not receiving many letters from him, saying he wrote every two weeks. Jim and Dorrie were one of thousands of couples separated by war. The days of their youth, that should have been happy and carefree, were overlaid with anxiety and foreboding. Another postcard (undated) with the same loving greetings and sentimental verse, began ‘My Darling Dorrie’. Jim was in Cairo at the school of instruction facing an examination the following day ‘so I hope I don’t make a mess of it’. Jim’s service record shows a Hotchkiss Gun qualification in September 1917, and later he progressed from temporary Corporal (1 August 1918) to Corporal (24 December 1918) to temporary Sergeant (1 January 1919) to Sergeant (4 January 1919).

On 13 July 1918 the Waikato Independent printed a letter Jim wrote, either in late April or early May. He was in the Jordon Valley ‘in the old camp in the neighbourhood of Jericho’. There had been criticism. ‘New arrivals tell us that they call us the cold-footed mounteds in New Zealand. I would like some of them to be here for awhile. If some of them had half an hour here of the five days we had over at Amman it would wake them up a bit. We had it pretty hot and it nearly proved a disaster for us’. The New Zealanders had tried another attack across the Jordon ‘but the Turks proved too strong’. The enemy brought up reinforcements ‘and after about a weeks go at them we had to fall back again and we are now looking at each other across the flat’. Although they could not shift the Turks, Jim wrote they had ‘made it awkward. We captured and blew up some of their motor transport and twenty-eight brand new machine-guns in boxes which had never been used’.

Left. A postcard from Egypt.
Right. Jim mounted for action.
Private Collection.

After the end of the war Jim remained overseas as part of the peace-keeping force. In December 1918, from Richon, Jim wrote a long letter to Runa Hulse of Whitehall. He had seen Gilbert (Runa’s brother) several nights previously. Meeting up with old friends would have been welcomed moments with the opportunity of swapping news from home and reminiscing of happier days. Jim continued ‘Things get pretty monotonous enough but we have plenty of arguments as you can imagine. Debating is one of the amusements at the YMCA of an evening. There are also some good concert parties. . . some of the performers take the part of the fair sex very well. . . Strange to say our Brigade can never get up a decent show. One thing very noticeable here is if you visit a Tommy Concert all the crowd join in the choruses to the fullest extent but have the same concert in our lines and you can’t get a word out of them. Colonials can’t sing at all compared to the Tommies. I suppose they go in for more musical evenings at home than we [in] N.Z do’. He did not know how long they would stay at Richon but considered they were likely to move to the canal at anytime. In the meantime the climate was good for the time of year and although it had rained hard, they were on good ground, in a good camp. He also wrote, ‘I shall save all the news of the last stunt till I get home or I won’t have anything to say. I expect you will believe that judging by what people say about other returned soldiers’.

There are a few other snippets to tell something of his experiences. Later in life Jim was to recall the time he caught a fleeting glimpse of the fabled Lawrence of Arabia. He saw a flurry of dust, and twenty men in flowing Arab costumes surrounding a central figure on a white camel. Jim thought it was just another small desert force until told differently a few days later. Jim’s good friend, Gilbert Hulse, recounted a little tale that Jim had told him. Jim was in the Nile Delta area of Egypt where some forces were stationed to keep law and order among the civilian population. The horse lines were laid out. A message was received from the Convent nearby in which the words ‘flowers’, at least, was understood.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 5 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p5] [The Jeans Line]

Jim, as a member of the Cambridge Troop of the Waikato Mounted Rifles, took part in a competition for the Mounted Scouts Challenge Cup, held during the annual training camp in 1915. According to the Waikato Times of 3 July, ‘Each trooper had to ride about 250 yards, dismount and fire three rounds at a target, mount and ride about 500 yards, fire five more rounds, then ride another 500 yards firing four rounds and return to starting point’. Jim scored 17, 21 and 24 (out of 25) for time, judging distance, and dress, and 30 out of 50 for shooting. Jim won the cup with a score of 92, although his time of 7 minutes 24 seconds was one of the slowest. As the newspaper reporter pointed out, time was not the deciding factor, good shooting was. Surgeon-Colonel Roberts (doner of the cup) who had also been one of the time-keepers, presented the cup, commenting the win was appropriate, as Jim was shortly leaving for Trentham for active service abroad. This cup is now in the Cambridge Museum.

War between Britain and Germany was declared in August 1914. New Zealand was immediately willing and ready to assist the country many still looked upon as ‘home’. New Zealanders made the ‘old country’s’ conflict, their conflict. In June, Jim had ‘given in’ his name; his enlistment dated from 23 August. The Waikato Times of 24 August reported the volunteers gathered at the Horse Bazaar in Hamilton. After being tallied, they lunched at the Royal Tea Rooms, and then accompanied by a band, marched to the intersection of Victoria, Hood and Grantham Streets where a large crowd had gathered. The majority of business premises closed for half-an-hour and schoolchildren formed a quadrangle round the soldiers. The Mayor of Hamilton addressed the assembly, wishing the soldiers farewell and God-Speed. The response to the colours, he noted, had been splendid in the Waikato. Archdeacon Cowie also spoke, expressing the wish they would return ‘health-whole and to feel for the rest of their days that they had been privileged to take part in the greatest crisis in human history’. To the strains of ‘Tipperary’ the troops marched to Frankton where they received a ‘stirring ovation’ from the estimated two thousand people there. The men boarded the Main Trunk express, ‘and as the troop train disappeared round the distant bend one heard deep sighs on all hands and handkerchiefs were in great evidence’.

At the time of his enlistment Jim was five feet ten inches tall, twenty-one years old, one hundred and sixty pounds in weight, with brown eyes, black hair and dark complexion. By 9 October he was on his way overseas on the troopship Aparima. When he arrived in Egypt in November he was posted to the Auckland Mounted Rifles (Ministry of Defence Records). It was to be almost four years before he again saw the shores of New Zealand.

Several postcards and letters written by Jim while he was overseas still survive. They are little enough to record those years but do tell something of his thoughts and experiences during his time as a soldier. In September 1916 he sent a postcard from Romani, to Dorrie Potts in Cambridge. Inscribed ‘My

Jim. 1915. Private Collection.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 4 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p4] [The Jeans Line]

Block, lying beyond the Confiscation Line. Granted in 1868 to Ihaia Te Oriori and nine other Maori, this block was leased and then bought by the property speculator William Thorne Buckland. The area was farmed by large companies until 1900. Mary Ann Ormiston successfully balloted for the original section of 1005 acres and in 1904 sold the area that was to become the Jeans farm. This land was crown leasehold to begin with but was freeholded in 1913. Ernie rode the farm hack to Cambridge to meet his young brother. The return journey over the French Pass track was made in the ‘ride and tie’ manner. First one brother would ride a distance, tie the horse by the side of the road and continue on foot. In the meantime the other brother was walking steadily towards the tethered horse. It was then his turn to ride, passing the foot-slogger on the way. Alternately riding and walking the two finally reached the farm in about two hours.

When Ernie had arrived in 1905, Whitehall was sparsely populated, the farm was mainly fern and manuka except for one small paddock, and deer were numerous. By the time Jim arrived Ernie had already broken in some of the land and this continued. The fern on the easier land was burned, the ground ploughed and grass seed sown. Where the manuka grew it was a harder task. Each tree was cut down and the stumps removed before the land could be ploughed. Later a small dairy herd was hand-milked and the milk taken by horse and waggon to the creamery at Karapiro. For a short time a creamery (known as Taotaoroa, an earlier name for the area) operated at Whitehall which meant a shorter journey with the day’s milk. On occasions, Jim worked off the farm to earn extra income. In 1910 when a good supply of water was sought for the proposed creamery Jim worked on the rig for the four wells drilled in the district. When the chaff-cutter made its annual autumn visit, he worked at feeding the sheaves of oats into the machine. One job he was not sorry to see end was relief-milking on a nearby farm which carried a large herd of dairy cows. Jim’s share of the herd was thirty cows milked by hand, twice daily. An early start was necessary as there were few fences and the herd roamed over a large area. When all the cows were milked, the shed cleaned up and the milk taken to the factory it was just about time to begin the afternoon milking.

But life was not all work. There were socials in the school room or a local barn where dancing and games were enjoyed. In the style of the times,when items interspersed the dancing, Jim’s contribution would be a recitation. The annual school-cum-district picnics, often held at Gorton (a large Karapiro farm) were well attended gatherings. In 1912, Jim won the pillow fight on the slippery pole. One night, in 1911 when returning from Tirau he was greatly impressed by the spectacular brilliance of Halley’s comet. Jim was best man when his brother Ernie, and Alice Read were married on New Year’s Day, 1912. Whatever the function, there was always the ‘call of the herd’ as the local newspaper noted in the report of this event. With that essential chore taken care of, the party continued and ‘in the evening a happy time was spent in social enjoyment’.

The country-wide wharf strike in October 1913 presented Jim with a new experience. With other young men from Cambridge he went to Auckland as a special constable (a less flattering name was Massey’s Cossacks) and camped in the Domain. The Cambridge newspaper the Waikato Independent quoted a letter from an Auckland business-man. ‘The Cambridge brigade boys seem to be getting a big share of patrol work . . . There is no doubt the arrival of the farmers has saved us from a most serious upheaval’. The strike was broken and the Cambridge men came home again where a grand reception in the Town Hall greeted the returning heroes. Some months later a ‘specials’ picnic was held at Ruakura State Farm, when Jim and his friends Gilbert Hulse and Tom Ormiston from Whitehall were among those listed, in a newspaper report, as receiving a commemorative medal.

Jim, 1915, with Mounted Scouts Challenge Cup. Private Collection.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 3 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

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

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 2 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p2]

When first researching family history, just to find another name, another generation, seems to be reward enough, but in the long term the euphoria disappears and a need to give some shape or form to names becomes an important aspect of research. This is not always easy unless one’s ancestors are of that small group for whom there are written records. With perseverance, however, these bare-bones will be covered to a certain degree.

For some years, searching for related descendants of various ancestral lines took time from my first purpose. Then this thought came. At many an archive office, my time has run out and I must leave, my task of the day uncompleted. Mindful of this, I feel the time has come to record in a permanent and accessible form, the information that has been gathered. There will always be untraced ancestors, unanswered questions, unproven possibilities, unconfirmed hunches. It is also impossible to escape the thought, mistakes other than those inadvertently made by myself, may be perpetuated. No information, written or oral, is infallible. Mistakes, intended or otherwise, inevitably occur. It would be a brave and foolish researcher who would declare there was no possibility of a question mark over any particular statement in a particular work. Our genealogy is a matter of trust; a belief that records of whatever kind tell the actual truth. Verification is often difficult and sometimes things are taken on trust when it would appear reasonable to do so. No family line, as of right, is more important than another, although in some circumstances one line may be more significant in an individual life. It may be easier to relate to the family bearing one’s own birth name, which perhaps explains the narrow importance attached to the male line. Four generations before one’s own birth (back to one’s grandparents’ grandparents) there are generally sixteen different surnames, only one of which will be your birth-name. Perhaps that name will be all you inherit from that person and all the other interesting and fascinating aspects that make up the essential ‘you’ may have come from any of the other fifteen.

I do not wish to put thoughts in their heads or words in their mouths. Neither do I think it necessary to try to explain their actions, question their decisions, analyse their characters, or excuse their failings.

Research has been for me a satisfying and enjoyable exercise. The resulting collection of information will, I hope, prove of interest to others where there is a shared ancestry.

Bronwyn Jeans, Jan McCoskrie and Jill Kenny.
Whitehall. c1960-61

All the families recorded in this book relate to Bronwyn.

The Potts and Roberts lines relate to Jan.

The Jeans, Potts and Roberts lines relate to Jill.

Jan is second cousin to Bronwyn and Jill, who are first cousins.

Private Collection.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans 1 ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[p1]

Preamble

Probably most people at sometime or another wonder about their ancestors. Who were they? Where did they come from? To many, this is a fleeting interest and curiosity is diminished by leafing through an old photograph album or listening with varying degrees of attention to the tales of an older generation. But for some, interest grows. Caught in a self-imposed task to find out we are surprised at the records that exist to help us. We learn of official registration, parish registers, cemetery transcripts, census returns, shipping lists and school admission registers. We begin to haunt archival repositories. There are wills, coroners’ reports, land tenure records, naturalization papers, quarter-session records, hearth tax lists, poor law accounts and poll books. Success will vary from record to record and from ancestor to ancestor.

Research varies from the quick-skim-through of an easily printed record to the deciphering of a document written hundreds of years ago, in an unfamiliar script, faded and sometimes ragged and water-stained. Research is time consuming, often negative, sometimes expensive and occasionally tedious. Old newspapers, given perseverance, are usually rewarding but take a lot of time. It is all too easy to be constantly side-tracked by the columns of what is now history but at the time was the latest news. Old diaries and letters are useful; if not of our own family, someone else may have left contemporary writings. A photograph now faded and indistinct will give some image to a name.

Over thirty years ago I became actively interested in family history, and made a decision to research the ancestry of our three children. Knowledge of their forbears was limited. As time and money allowed I began writing the first letters of enquiry and gathering official certificates. Afraid of seeming intrusive, tentative excursions into oral history were neither constructive nor consistent. These lost opportunities are regretted.

Initial research involved official registration certificates here in New Zealand. If at the time of a birth, a marriage or a death, the information asked for was correctly given, and correctly recorded, these certificates are an excellent way to begin. They lead from the present to the past, from the known to the unknown. I became aware of the Genealogical Library of the Latter Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America. Living within reasonable distance of Templeview Family History Centre, Hamilton, further research became physically and financially possible for me.

In earlier times the documentation of ordinary people from whom most of us are descended, was brief. It consisted of the bare-bones of baptism, marriage and burial entered in the registers of the parish the person was living in at the time. Although some ancestors may have stayed tidily in the same parish for generations, going no further than a mile or two away to find a spouse, others were not so considerate to their descendants who would later seek to know more about them. Even if the name is quite uncommon there is no certainty the namesake found elsewhere belongs to you. Each person may be unique. Names seldom are.

Some problems encountered are unavoidable. The threads binding one generation to another have been broken. Difficulties arise because of the frailty of human memory. Many may be the reasons for various degrees of concealment of a family’s past. Family stories grow with the telling. It is human nature to put a little gloss on family anecdotes, and sometimes one generation takes out of a particular story more than was meant or the facts would support. The true story is often less colourful and less grand.

It is well to remember when beginning family history to be prepared for anything, and to accept with equanimity whatever research discloses. No doubt, if we thought about it in the beginning, we would hope our ancestors had led worthy and irreproachable lives, honest in all their dealings and kind to everyone. However, we are not spared surprises as we gather to ourselves an interesting group of progenitors. Some of our forbears may have been rather wanting in some particular virtue. If we want only ‘good’ ancestors there is perhaps little point in researching at all. If we want only to pursue ‘safe’ lines we are denying a part of ourselves.

The vast majority of people make no great mark in history. Important only to their own, they played their part in the greater scheme. They were doers, not innovators. In their daily lives they carried out the wishes and orders of others. They fought and sometimes died in the wars they did not cause. They suffered political decisions but for centuries the franchise was denied them. Religious and political authority of the few controlled the many. Their lives are generally unrecorded and unremembered.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans viii ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[viii]

Young New Zealand descendants. 1996. Te Pahu. Matthew Jeans (Auckland) Lena and Emma Kenny (Te Pahu) and Jessica Gomas (Te Puke). Michael Jeans Archives.

Another generation in the Jeans, Potts, Mitchell and Williams lines. Rebecca Jeans, Campbell Jeans, Karena Moffat and Matthew Jeans. Cambridge. January 1999. Michael Jeans Archives.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans vii ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[vii]

Bruce Jeans (skip) Laurie Harvey, Harry Trotter and Tom Bourke (Leamington Bowling Club) winners of the Cambridge Bowling Club Easter Tournament. 1997. In the background is the pavilion built by Bruce’s grandfather, Fred Potts. Michael Jeans Archives.

Fred Potts’ grandchildren. November 1989. Back. Judy Burborough, Bruce Jeans, Loris Kenny, Jeff Clay, Robyn Guyon, Beryl McCoskrie, Graham Clay, Sheryl Jensen. Front. Carolyn Milbank, Pat Bonnette, Beverley O’Dowda, Wallace Jeans. Absent. Ross and Warren Vincent. Private Collection.

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Generations of Genes Phyllis Jeans vi ISBN 0 473 03868 4

Generations of Genes Copyright © Phyllis Jeans 2000
All rights reserved ISBN 0 473 03868 4
PEMM Publishing Cambridge, New Zealand

[vi]

CONTENTS

Lole Family 120

Loles in Bulkington 124

Dickson Family 125

The Williams Line

Williams Family 128

Harwood Family 138

Mills Family 142

Harris Family 146

Day Family 147

Taylor Family 150

Index 152

Personal Notes End Page

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