Thursday, April 21, 2011

Marion and Nathaniel Sutherland Snr 1841 - 1905

Alister's Great Great Great Grandmother was Marion Sutherland, formerly Waters nee Thomason (Thomson or Thompson).  We know from her obituary, which appeared in the Evening Post on 28 October 1905 and was reproduced in the Wanganui Chronicle four days later, she was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on 3 July 1815.  She was apparently from a "well known Scottish family".

Marion apparently came to New Zealand on the ship Slains Castle in 1841, arriving in the Port of Wellington.  It seems likely that she arrived in New Zealand with her husband John Waters and that he died not long after arrival in Wellington.  John's premature death left her a young widow with three children:

1. John Waters born 21 July 1835 and baptised on 9 August 1835 in Haddington 
2. Janet "Jessie" Waters born 28 September 1837 and baptised on 19 October 1837 in Haddington
3. Christina Waters born 3 January 1840 and baptised on 26 January 1840 in Haddington.   Christina was Alister's Great Great Grandmother.

Marion's obituary records that at the time of her death in 1905 her four surviving children were:
  1. Mr John Waters of Wellington
  2. Mrs James Bertram (Christina) of Devonport
  3. Mr Nathaniel Sutherland, sheep farmer of Fordell, Wanganui
  4. Mr Archibald Sutherland, sheep farmer of Fordell, Wanganui
Marion's daughter Jessie married Simon Tutchen, and predeceased her mother, dying in 1902.

The obituary also records that she left a total of 34 grandchildren and 38 great grandchildren!  

According to the New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, as published on 12 October 1844, on 10 October 1844 Nathaniel Sutherland married Marion Thomson, widow of John Waters.   The notice records that both Nathaniel and Marion hailed from Edinburgh and that they were married by Rev. J. Macfarlane, First Minister of the Scotch Church.  At the time of marriage, Nathaniel was listed as being a printer.  Nathaniel had arrived in New Zealand on the SS Jane in 1841.

Marion and Nathaniel had a number of children together:

1. Marion Sutherland born 1844 died aged 16 years died 3 May 1861, buried 4 May 1861

2. Daughter born 1845 died 1846 of "brain disease."

3. Nathaniel Sutherland Jnr. born 27 April 1847

4. Archibald Sutherland born 30 September 1849

5. George Grey Sutherland born January 1852 died  aged 9 years 4 months on 24 May 1861 

6. Donald McLeod Sutherland born 23 July 1854 died aged 6 years on 28 April 1861

7. Robert Stokes Sutherland born 1857 aged 4 years died 6 May 1861

8. Margaret Sutherland born 1860 died aged 13 months died in May 1861 

According to the cemetery records there were two more children "FS" aged 3 years, buried 25 May 1861, meaning the child was likely born around 1858, and "E" - age unknown, buried 27 May 1861.  However, now I suspect that those records are not correct, and that possibly the children buried there are other relatives or are mistakes.  That five children (Marion, George, Donald, Robert and Margaret) died of diptheria in 1861, is confirmed by a letter which Nathaniel Sutherland descendant Murray Sutherland has - it is a poem written by a Mrs Watson for Mrs Sutherland, on the death of her "five children".  

There is an early record of a two year old daughter of Nathaniel Sutherland, dying of "brain disease" in 1846.  This will need to be further researched and confirmed.  I did read somewhere that Christina had had a sister die early in the 1840s, so that may relate to this child.

Five of a total of ten children born to Marion Sutherland, died of diptheria in April/May 1861.  One can scarcely imagine how devastating it must have been for the couple to have gone from a busy, bustling home full of small children, to be left with two young sons only, and an older son and daughter.  All the children were buried in the Bolton Street Cemetery in Wellington.

A very early settler; Nathaniel took part in many aspects of the community - he was a signatory on an historical letter of condolence sent by local settlers from the Wellington area to the Nelson settlement following the Wairau Massacre in 1843.  The letter is dated 11 July 1843.  He was also a shareholder in the New Zealand Steam Navigation Company, and in February 1867 gave evidence, along with others, in the embezzlement trial of a former NZSN accountant, Frederick George Janes.

According to Nathaniel's obituary which appeared in the Manawatu Standard on 4 August 1883:

"The death is announced of Mr Nathaniel Sutherland, who arrived in Wellington on the barque Jane in 1841.  He was one of the original land purchasers under the New Zealand Company and came with the intention of settling on his land; but owing to the disturbed state of the country, he remained in Wellington, where he followed his trade as printer.  

He was engaged on the NZ Colonist, and afterwards, in connection with Mr R.Stokes, on the NZ Spectator until its collapse.  

Of late years deceased suffered greatly from rheumatism, which kept him very much at home, but he was always cheerful and contented.  He seemed in his usual health until Monday last, when he caught cold, and about 11 o'clock last night, quietly passed away, at his residence Pipitea Street at the age of 77 years old.  He leaves a widow and two sons who are settled in the Wangaehu district.  Deceased was highly respected by all who knew him for his kindly and obliging manner and his honest and sterling qualities."

Note the mention of an "R.Stokes" this is likely Robert Stokes a prominent figure in the lower North Island during the period.  This may well explain the naming of one of Marion and Nathaniel's ill fated sons, Robert.  Equally,  the naming of similarly ill fated son George after Governor George Grey - they obviously named after figures they respected at the time.  There was obviously a close relationship between Nathaniel Sutherland and Robert Stokes, as the obituary of young George Grey Sutherland, who died on 21 May 1861, records that he died at Mr Stokes' residence, Woolcombe Street, Wellington.

Until their deaths, both Nathaniel and Marion lived at their home in Pipitea Street, Wellington.  Given his age of 77 at death, Nathaniel must have been born around 1806.  Marion outlived her second husband by 22 years, dying aged 90, on 27 October 1905.

Although Nathaniel Sutherland was Christina Waters' step-father, he must have essentially been the only father she knew.  It is clear that there must have been something of a fond relationship between them as she named her youngest son, Alister's Great Grandfather, Nathaniel, although he was always known as Herbert, this must have been as a mark of respect to Nathaniel Snr., therefore, Nathaniel wasn't a direct ancestor of my husband, but was his Gr Gr Grandmother's stepfather.

Both Nathaniel Snr and Marion were buried with their six young children in the Bolton Street Cemetery.

Here is a photo taken of the Sutherland Family Plot at the cemetery before it was dismantled to make way for the Wellington Motorway in the 1960s:

Thanks to correspondence with Ethne Holt, I've come to understand that Nathaniel was the son of Donald Sutherland and Isabel McLeod.  Ethne is a descendant of Daniel Sutherland, Nathaniel's brother.  There were also three other siblings - John, Margaret and Isabella.

John Sutherland seems to have lived, at least for some time, in the Pipitea house with Nathaniel and Marion and the children.  John was a carpenter and died on 25 August 1865 at the Pipitea house at the age of 47.  At the time, Nathaniel was working in the Spectator office.


  1. I am descended from the Waters through Marion Waters Jacka. I believe that Marion Sutherland had three children from her marriage to John Waters. There was another daughter named Jessie who came with them on the Slains Castle and died in 1902 three years before her mother. I believe that she was maaried to Simon Peter Tutchen who was the brother of Eleanor Tutchen Waters.

  2. Again, thanks so much for this. Really interesting and makes sense too - the name Jessie is certainly used a fair bit in the family, and it explains where the name Simon came from. My husband's Great Grandfather was called Nathaniel Simon Herbert Bertram! Do you have evidence of this marriage? My husband is related in that his Christina Thomson Yates Waters (married James Munro Bertram) was his Great Great Grandmother. I guess your common ancestor is Marion Waters nee Thomson. Have you any idea when/where John Waters died? I haven't been able to find the exact date or place of burial yet. Again, thanks for your comment! :)

  3. I found it difficult to trace using BDM. I think my evidence was a clipping from Papers Past that listed original settlers from Wellington and the ships they arrived on. The Slains Castle listed: John Waters, Mary Ann Sutherland (Marion), Jessie Tutchen, Christenia Bertram. I will try and locate the details. Also I believe I found something that indicated one child for Simon and Jessie, a girl called Marian who died in as a teenager.

  4. Found it!
    ur Pioneer Band.
    Manawatu Times, Volume XXVI, Issue 7219, 15 June 1901, Page 4
    Also see:
    DEATHS.1863/5027 (Jessie Tutchen)
    Evening Post, Volume LXIV, Issue 112, 7 November 1902, Page 6
    DEATHS.(Marian Tutchen)
    Evening Post, Volume XV, Issue 242, 15 October 1877, Page 2
    Birth of Marian Tutchen BDM 1863/5027
    Also thank you for all your work which has filled in a few blanks for me.

  5. Brilliant!! Thank you so much! That makes a lot of sense. I think there was a fairly close relationship between the Waters siblings. I have just updated and posted some information about Christina and James Bertram - note that there was a law clerk called W.A. Waters who witnessed the dissolution of James' partnership with Hugh Owen in 1873. Just a coincidence? Makes me wonder if there were some other Waters relatives who emigrated to NZ... I'm rapt to make the connection with Jessie marrying Simon Tutchen as well! :)

  6. I am a direct descendent of Nathaniel Sutherland. My father's grand father was Archibald Sutherland, and great grand father was Nathaniel senior. I have traced all my direct descendants back to Nathaniel senior, but cannot find Daniel Sutherland after he sold his land in the 1850's. I would love to trace the relatives of Daniel, because our side of the family have never met Daniel's descendants. Can anyone help me?

  7. Andrea, Ethne Holt is a descendant of Daniel Sutherland - there is a Facebook page about their branch of the family. I'm sure I could get you in touch with each other. I'd love to know more about Archibald's branch of the family if you're happy to share?

    1. Minnie, Have tried looking for Ethne Holt on facebook but I must be doing something wrong...... any other way I can contact her?

    2. Hi Andrea, I will try & track your name down via Facebook. Do you reside in Wanganui, NZ? If so, I have just invited I am hoping it is you as a friend in Facebook. Regards, Ethne

    3. Andrea, my name is Ethne Holt and I've just been reading through this blog & see that you are trying to make contact with me. My family line goes right back to Donald Sutherland my ggg grandfather & one of his son's being Daniel Sutherland who is our direct descendant, his brother being Nathaniel Sutherland. I am hoping I have the right person in Facebook. Are you from Wangnanui, living in Wellington? Here is my email address: if you would like to get hold of me in relation to any family history relating to our side of the family as very happy to share this with you.

  8. Hi Minnie

    I have in my hands some correspondence to Nathaniel Snr and Marion, which I can scan if you are interested.

    Murray Sutherland
    (Desc. Nathaniel Jnr).

  9. Hi Murray, that would be fantastic! You can email me at piptransom @


  10. Hi Minnie, Yes I see you have Archibald's children on your other blog. My grandfather was Raymond Sutherland He married Elizabeth Anne Reid Smaill, and had two boys.
    Cedric Raymond (my father was the elder, and Gordon Laurie the younger).
    Cedric was born on 11th Sep 1923 and is now 88 years old, and Gordon was born Nov 8 1926. Gordon died 2 June 1993. Cedric married Kathleen Molly Mountier, on 23 Ap 1955, and had three children...Andrea Jane Sutherland, b. 13 June 1956, Grant Kenneth b. 25 Oct 1957, and Janet Ann b. 23 Feb 1959. (I am Andrea) Hope this fills in a few gaps for you.

  11. Hello Andrea...

    I think I might have meet Cedric when I was much younger... He being born a couple of years before my Dad (Donald Sutherland).

    1. Hello Murray, my name is Ethne Holt & I just added you in as a friend in Facebook, hoping we can make some contact in relation to our Sutherland connections as our family line comes through Daniel Sutherland whose brother was Nathaniel Sutherland. Look forward to hearing from you soon. Kind Regards, Ethne Holt

    2. I have a photo of a grave which I took of a: 'John Waters' at the 'Bolton Street Cemetery, Wellington NZ' and who came across from Scotland on the: Slains Castle Ship. Anyone interested I will have this picture posted in our 'Family History Info. (Sutherland) Facebook Page.