Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pat Nidd writes to Frank Nidd...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a large number of papers written by my grandfather Pat Nidd.  Here is another one, which appears to be written to Pat's brother Frank Nidd.  I'm concerned that I might not have the first page, but it still seems to run on quite logically.

"Wellingtonian Bill Maher - he is W.P. Maher the travel people - has given me information which shows variations.  Spellings such as Meagher, Maher, Mahar.  They changed their names to avoid capture by the English in Ireland.  I recall dad saying once that the Mahers changed the spellings of their name.

We are pretty sure that grandmother was Margaret Maher, born Tipperary 1842 and arrived in Auckland on the ship 'Bonnie Charlie'* in 1862 - she would have been 20 years of age.  There are several Mahers on the ship.

A friend of ours Barry O'Regan who was the Irish Consul here in Wellington before he was made a High Court Judge tells me that it was pretty common for several sisters and cousins to come out to the colonies together.  One would come out to NZ and sponsor others to come out or 'assisted passage'.  

Of the Mahers on the ship we are almost sure that the Margaret is our grandmother.  She must have married Welby either 1863 or 1864.  She then married Thomas Nidd in Napier in the Catholic Church on 17 February 1865.  The marriage certificate - I have the original - shows they were married by Fr Forest and their address is Waghorn Street, Napier.  The copy of the marriage certificate shows Thomas as a storekeeper and Margaret's name as Mahar - surely should be Welby - as a widow.  

How they came to be in Napier we will never know.  Waghorn Street is shown as the address but it is not clear whether it was Margaret's address or Thomas'.  Did he have a store there?  I wonder.

They must have come to Wellington just after this.  It appears they lived in Cambridge Terrace, Taranaki Street and Manners Street.  The family was Margaret Josephine, Joseph and William Michael.  Margaret was born 1868, Joseph 1870 and dad, William Michael 22 July 1874.

Margaret married James Sarsfield Lacy in St Mary's of the Angels, Wellington on 2 May 1892.  Thomas' (grandfather) occupation is shown as Fruiterer.  back in 1945 Emmet Healy here in Wellington knew dad and remembers them having a store.

Grandmother died at 116 Manners St, Wellington on 30 December 100 and is buried in the Mount Street Cemetery (Terrace Catholic Cemetery).  Grandfather is also buried with her.

Mum told me once they were buried there but years ago Kay and I searched many times for it but could not locate it.  We were told there we no records.  Gerald Gill told me that they were lost.  The whole area was overgrown and damaged - either by earthquake or vandals.

There has been controversy for years over the cemetery - who was responsible for it and what should be done.  It is right against the University and they wanted if for another access.  It is on a hillside and much of it has fallen away.

About 30 years ago it was proposed that the remains be reinterred elsewhere and a memorial be placed in one of the Halls of Residence at the University where Mass is said daily and thus they would be remembered each day.

The Government wanted a pretty heavy price to reinter and as it was at the time when the discussions on integration of schools was at its height, the Cardinal decided the Church could not afford the price. 

About nine years ago we started to search again.  There is an ornate grave of a Rear Admiral Sharp, Indian Navy with a large sea anchor as the front piece - there is also an iron fence - now very rusted around it and overgrown as to almost invisible.  I was examining it and on climbing down through the undergrowth I stood on some concrete.  I cleaned away the rubbish to see what it was and I found it was the headstone of Thomas Nidd - our search was over.

It was about this time that a party of women began to search all the graves and gather information and now 75% have been identified but very few descendants can be traced. 

The headstone was lying flat - either fallen as a result of an earthquake or vandalism.  I cleaned up the grave, did some concrete work on it and moved the headstone onto the grave where it now lies fate and is concreted in.  It cannot now be moved.  I have attached photo.  You can see the headstone is in two parts and the inscription is barely decipherable.  It is so old that it is hard to get a decent photo of it.  I am going up one day and make a rubbing of it with pencil.

Dad's sister Margaret Josephine married J.S. Lacy as I have already related. 

A few months ago our Michael was in Te Kuiti in connection with a freezing works he is consulting for a Te Kuiti Lamb Company and a chap asked him whether he was any relation to a lady named Lacy whose maiden name was Nidd.  He said she was mentioned in a book.

Michael got a loan of the book and it was in connection with a school jubilee - Kaitieke School.  Michael has copied much of it for me and some copies are attached.

From the family group you can see the family and their names.  They would have been our cousins.  I can recall Mabel staying at the Royal once.

Basil, I never met.  He was on the same little ship as us which took us to Greece.  he was a POW.  The Frank in the photo would have been the father of the Frank Lacy from Patea I have mentioned.  

Thomas Nidd our grandfather is shown on his death certificate as having been born in Cambridge, England - I always thought it was in Yorkshire.  However Philippa made an enquiry to the Church of Latter Day Saints genealogy section and they told her that a census was done in Cambridge in 1832, the year of his birth and the name Nidd does not appear.  They say he would most likely have come from Lincolnshire where the Nidds come from. 

On dad's birth certificate his place of birth is shown as Cambridge Terrace, Wellington and on grandfather's original death certificate place of brith is given as Cambridge ... the last being scrawl.  We are pretty sure the priest or undertaker put down Cambridge.  We are hoping to trace the Lincolnshire lead.
How he came to New Zealand, on which ship, the year and what his occupation was we do not know - perhaps we may be able to find out some of it. 

I had often heard of the Lacys from dad and mum.  James Sarsfield Lacy being dad's brother-in-law.  I think he came to the Royal once.  He came to see me here in Wellington in 1946.  He died in Wellington in 1949 and is buried in Aramaho Cemetery, Wanganui.  I believe he was a friend of Bob Semple and used to come to Wellingtonas he was the chairman of one of the Land Sales Boards set up after the war.  Monica says he came out to Southbridge about 1946 after dad had left the hotel - now this is interesting.

At Te Horo beach there was a small store and in 1972 a chap Jim McKay took it over.  I did not know him.  One day Kay and Jennifer left the milk bottles there while they went whitebaiting - he asked the name and Jennifer told him "Nidd."  He asked the questions, "Who are you?"; "Is your father Pat Nidd?  Was he wounded in the war?"  He then said he was my cousin.

I went down to see him.  He produced a bottle of whiskey and we had a few.  His wife Doreen knew me.  This is a bit hazy and Monica and I reckon she was a sister of Jock McCartin's wife.  Jock McCartin had a farm near the cemetery on the Leeston - Southbridge road.

One day he got me in and he had his daughter there from Palmerston North and Doreen's nephew from Leeston.  He worked in the Bank of NZ in Hornby - Monica confirms this.

The did not last long in the shop and went to live in Otaki.  I used to see him after.  Doreen died not long after.  I used to see them at Mass at Otaki but after she died I seldom saw him at Mass.

You may recall Phil McCormack - his mother was a Hanney and he is a cousin of the Kilbrides - he used to come out and stay at Southbridge.

At about this time when Jim lived in Otaki, Phil McCormack was appointed Parish Priest in Otaki.  I asked him one Sunday whether he knew Jim McKay and that I'd not seen him at Mass.  Fr Phil told me that he used to take him communion on a Sunday but he found out Jim used to go to the pub for the Sunday midday session - that finished that. 

Jim died in Otaki three years ago and both were buried from the Church - he was after Phil McCormack's time a pretty regular attender. 

I went to Doreen's funeral. When Jim died I knew nothing of it - the family did not put a death notice in the papers.  I did not know until a week later when I went to Te Horo for the week and then I was told. 

I asked whether the then Parish Priest Fr Cosgriff if he buried him and he said he did.  I told him that Jim was a cousin and of the circumstances of how I came to meet him.  Father was very cagey and then he came out and said the Mass was a very uncomfortable business.  Apparently a son of Jim's - I did not know he had a son - got up and raved and ranted - it was an uproar.  It could have been about his father. 

When I first met Jim at Te Horo, I questioned him of the relationship.  He said his mother was a Lacy - Jim Sarsfield's sister came out with him from Tipperary Ireland.  These two would have been dad's sisters-in-law - they were Annie and Mary.

Annie married a Moore McKay and they farmed at Methven.  Jim knew of us at the Royal and of all the Lacys. He told me that Florrie used to come up to Methven and stay at the farm.  

A chap at Te Horo beach Tony Fahey, who was a cobber of Jim told me that one day in the pub in Otaki there was a heated discussion about trotters.  Jim had a few in and said he had seen more trotters than any of the trotting people in Otaki and Methven was the home of the best trotters that raced.  

He let out that his first wife was a McKendry - well known Canterbury trotting  family - and that she was the first woman veterinary surgeon in NZ.  I have checked on this but the Vet. Surgeons Board have no record of her. 

Tony Fahey says that Jim had the farm but booze and betting resulted in him losing it.  It looks as if he married a second time and came to the North Island.  He used to mention the McKendrys to me but never let on.  One day he told me that Mary Lacy lived in Doyleston in the late 1930s.  Well, I had never heard of her.  I wonder whether dad ever knew he had a sister-in-law living in Doyleston.

Jim also said that she had been in Nazareth House in Christchurch.  I wrote to Nazareth House last August and sure enough she had been there.  They said she was born in Tipperary in 1863 and parents were Edmund and Margaret (nee O'Brien).  She was a dressmaker - entered Nazareth House as a resident in 1935 and left in 1936.  The information about the parents is correct as I have checked. 

I looked up the Wises Directory for Ellesmere for the 1930s and there was a William Lacey farming in Doyleston - I presumed that he was one of the Lacys and that he would have been Mary's nephew.  

I was telling Monica about this when she was up in January and she said she knew an Eileen Lacey from Doyleston who had married one of the Greenwood boys from Southbridge and now lived in Leeston.   She never connected her with our Lacys.  I thought I was on to a missing link.  Monica phoned this Eileen Lacey and sure enough her father was a William Lacey and farmed at Doyleston but he came from Australia and was no relation. 

Monica then phoned a Miss O'Brien in Doyleston - she was an aunt of Gerald's and is in her 80s.  She did not know of Mary Lacy but she put Monica on to a Bill Fussell in his early 90s who has lived in Doyleston all his life.  Yes, he knew Mary Lacy - she lived two houses down from him in the late 1930s but he did not know what had happened to her.  Very interesting that we knew nothing of her while in Southbridge. 

I told this Frank Lacy in Patea about Jim McKay but he had no knowledge of him.

This Wm Lacey spelled it LACEY and Nazareth House spelled it LACEY but our connection is LACY.  Some of the Lacys put DE in front to spell it DE LACY.  There is definitely a de Lacy connection as they came from French stock.  I have found out that a de Lacy clan from Scotland fought for the Irish against the English in Ireland - they came from France to Scotland.

I wonder how the two sisters came to be in the South island when their brother settled in the North Island.

Monica can recall this Jim McKay being in the hotel in Southbridge about 1945 - he could have been at McCartins.  

Eileen Lacy - see in the Lacy photo - married a Mowat.  I went to see her in Raetahi about six years ago. 

Margaret - see in the Lacy photo - used to come to Wellington in the late 1950s - Catholic Women's League meetings, I think.  She married a Wade - well known up the Wanganui river - Wade's Landing.  He died and she married a Gray.  She was here about 1959 with a son - Christian names - Gerald Nidd.

Monica's daughter Vivienne worked in Internal Affairs when this Gerald came in applying for a passport.  When she asked him his name and he said Gerald Nidd Gray she then found out who he was.

Another interesting occurrence I had which I had but which is of no connection with Lacy was six years ago.  Kay and I were in Christchurch staying with her cousin Nellie who has a daughter Florence Davidson living in Ashburton.  Her husband Jack had a beauty salon, ladies hairdressing and wig making business in Ashburton and had lived in Ashburton all his life.  We went to Ashburton one day and I mentioned to Jack about Jim McKay.  Jack knew of the family and that Jim's father was Angus McKay although Jim called him Moore to me.  There was a grandson about Ashburton but we could not contact him on the phone.

I told Jack that Angus McKay's wife Annie was a Lacy.  He said that was interesting because he knew a Mrs Davison in Ashburton and that a Frank Lacy - see Lacy photo - married a Miss Davison from Ashburton and that she had a brother called Fred Hawdon Davison.**  This must have been in the late 30s or early 40s.  This Frank Lacy is the father of the Frank Lacy from Patea and his Christian name is Francis Hawdon.  Hawden is also a Christian name of his mother's brother.    I have not been in touch with Frank Lacy for a few years so I have not told him of this occurrence.  Now that I have some information I must write to him.

That just about wraps up the Lacy connection with the Nidds but is not of much help in building up a family tree.  It is interesting through but not of much help in obtaining information.  We will definitely start a family tree and I will get all of our family to make out their family tree for inclusion.

I have to check on a  Hugh O'Leary in Christchurch.  A chaplain in the Army in the 50s, 60s and 70s was a Father Frank Scott.  I knew him pretty well.  He retired about 1976 and just before [that] I met him for a couple of seconds - he said to me "Good day cousin."  He said he had been home for a few days - Te Awamutu I think - and he mentioned my name.  He said his mother said that I must be a cousin.  I never saw him again and did not pursue this.*** He died about six months ago and his death notice in The Tablet  mentions a nephew, Hugh O'Leary in Christchurch.

Regards George Falloon, there is a little book on his life - the title is "The day thou gavest Lord."  He had only two terms at Waitaki Boys and had to leave to work on the family farm.  He had a desire for the Church and after a year or so went to Dunedin, attended night school and got some Latin lessons for a shilling a lesson.  He had to do Latin to enter Knox College.  Eventually he matriculated and got a BA from Otago University.  

Joseph (Joe), dad's brother died in Wellington in 1933 - I can't recall whether dad went up to the funeral.  He was never mentioned although Mum told me once he was a bit of a "no hoper".  Dad put him up as a carrier in the 1920s but it did not last.  I always thought he was single, but Philippa has discovered that he was divorced his wife's name was Martin.  They must have lived in Auckland once. There was a daughter who had a milners shop in Auckland in 1927 - 1931.

Another misconception - dad's first wife Mary Ellen Griffin. Given to understand that she died when giving birth to Florrie - but not so.  She died having a son and both are buried in Karori cemetery, Wellington as is Joe.****  Florrie was four years old when her mother died. 

Photos of Mary Ellen Nidd's grave/headstone at Karori Cemetery

Reads "In Loving Memory of 
Mary Ellen
Beloved Wife of 
William Nidd
Who Died ... 1908
Aged 27 Years
Philippa has discovered that there was a Robert Nidd who was a publican at Brighton, Dunedin in 1867.  She thinks there must be some connection with Thomas but I don't think so.  An infant, Elizabeth Nidd died at Blacks Point, Reefton in 1874. 

I cannot think of anything else in connection with Thomas Nidd.  I have put all I know in writing and sending it to you.  I now believed in keeping all this for posterity.  I have told Mickey and Monica all I know but have not given them anything in writing.  All I have written to Isabel, Alex Latto and Judith I have kept photo copies and have done the same with this letter.  We hope to unravel some information on grandfather before long.

I met Vic Farry a couple of weeks ago in the supermarket.  I had not seen him for some time.  He has not been well and he told me he had been in the hospital over New Year.  Vic has a cottage at Te Horo beach but he does not go up there now - he is not the same man he was.  Fred his son goes up to Te Horo - their palace is almost opposite ours - on Thursdays, so I have not seen him for a while.

We do hope you are holding your own and are on the improve.  

All our love to Freda, you and all the family.


PS  Philippa has just informed me that the Robert Nidd I have mentioned is buried at Outram."

* Actually the ship was 'Royal Charlie'.
** Correction from a descendant of the Davidson's states: "Fred farmed at Methven.  His only sibling (a sister) did not marry a Lacy.  However, Fred’s father (called big Fred) had a brother Thomas Hawdon Davison who farmed at Wanganui.  His eldest daughter married a Lacy. Their son Frank Lacy died a few years back. "
*** Possibly a cousin on the Maher side.  Remembering that Margaret Nidd nee Maher's death notice was to be copied to Thames newpapers.  Service No 449572 Rev Fr (Chaplain Class I) FR (Frank) Scott MBE died 24 Sep 1994 at Hamilton.  Francis Raymond Scott was born on 1 June 1922.
**** There is no evidence that she died having a son, and no evidence of a baby buried with her in Karori Cemetery.  She did have a young daughter, Mary, with Bill Nidd, who died at 5 months old.  This baby is buried with her Grandparents in the Mount Street Cemetery plot. 


  1. hi my name is Monica OLeary daughter of the late Hugh O'leary and niece of the late Fr Frank Scott (actual name Francis R
    aymond Scott and we called him Uncle Ray) He was my mothers (Monica Mary Patricia O'Leary(nee Scott.....known as Pattie)

  2. Thanks Monica. Can you tell me the names of your grandparents, Frank ad your mother's parents?