William Soper (1808 - 1882). He was married to Sarah Lakemen. William must have come to New Zealand ahead of the family. Sarah brought five children out to New Zealand on her own aboard the barque the Cornwall. The ship left London on 12 August 1852 arriving at Lyttleton Harbour on 10 December 1852. Sarah brought with her: Ellen, Rowden, Winsor, Wheaton and Edward Day. As I have noted below, it seems likely that son John William travelled ahead with his father. It is also likely that there was another daughter, Susannah, who died in Devon prior to the family leaving England.
Sarah died in 1858. William then married for a second time, to Mary Agnes Rees (1819 - 8 October 1890) later in 1858. Mary died at Willow Glen, Spring Creek, her son Felix's home.
By his first marriage with Sarah Lakemen, William had at least five sons and a daughter, who survived infancy, and three who went on to have families of their own:
Sadly, Robert was killed in a dray accident, as recounted by the Grey River Argus on 15 October 1886:
2.1.1 James William Stirling (1889 - 18 May 1946). James married Daisy Wilhelmina Nelson (1887 - 19 August 1917, Christchurch) in 1915. Sadly, this marriage was very brief, as Daisy died within two years of her marriage at the age of 28. It seems that the reason for her death was complications from birth. On 15 August 1917 Daisy had given birth to a stillborn child at 473 Gloucester Street, Christchurch - within days, she was also dead. This must have been devastating for James. At the time of Daisy's death, the couple were living at 148 Holly Road, Christchurch. Daisy is buried at the Linwood Cemetery.
In 1919 James remarried to Jeanie Fowler (1892 - 1968), a young Scottish woman who had come out to New Zealand around 1913. I'm unsure of any living children this couple had, but know that Jeanie had one stillborn child on 23 March 1923. This child is buried at the Sydenham Cemetery in Christchurch.
At the time of James' death in May 1946 he and Jeanie were living at 110 Milton Street, Christchurch and James was working as a grocer. Jeanie died on 30 June 1968. James and Jeanie are both buried at the Ruru Lawn Cemetery.
2.1.2 Edward Gordon Stirling (1891 - 8 October 1918). Edward married Hilda Minnie Coleman in 1917.
Sadly, the marriage was all too brief as Edward enlisted and left New Zealand on Athenic on 31 December 1917, subsequently being killed in action on 8 October 1918 at Le Cateau, France. While Edward was away at war, Hilda lived with her father F. Coleman in Alfred Street, Blenheim.
2.1.3 Ellen Elizabeth Stirling (7 July 1893 - 1979). Ellen married Horace Spackman (1880 - 1967) in 1919. Horace was from Waiorongomai, Featherston and worked as a shepherd. He had also enlisted during WWI.
|Horace Spackman in WWI uniform|
2.1.4 Edith Winifred Stirling (29 July 1896 - 1991). Edith married William Gall in 1925.
2.1.5 Ida Minnie Stirling (25 June 1899 - 1990). Ida married Hillswick John Stove (1887 - 1962) in 1923. John also served in WWI. They had at least one son:
126.96.36.199 Gordon Hillswick Stove (1924 - 1935). Died aged just nine years.
2.1.6 Myrtle Stirling (2 April 1901 - 1990). Myrtle married Cecil Algernon Shaw (1898 - 1966) in 1930. It is likely that Cecil was a relative of Mr Shaw, famous in Marlborough for his 'bird poison', advertisements for which appeared frequently the Marlborough Express in the 19th century endorsed by Myrtle's great uncle Rowden Soper!
2.1.7 Allan Norman Stirling (26 April 1905 - 1986)
Tragically, Sarah lost her husband James in an accident, in an eerily similar way as her mother had lost her father, almost twenty years earlier. The Marlborough Express of 10 November 1908 explains:
2.3 Richard Aroa (1869 - 17 January 1921). Richard moved to Taranaki from Awatere and had a farm in the Kaponga area. He married Jane Clare (1867 - 10 March 1940) in 1893. They had at least two daughters, although I'm unsure what became of them as I haven't been able to find records of marriage or of death:
2.3.1 Sarah Ellen Aroa (1893) - obviously this child was named for Richard's mother and grandmother.
2.3.2 Eveline May Aroa (1899 - 20 April 1968). Eveline/Evelyn didn't marry. Her ashes are interred in the Te Henui Cemetery in Taranaki. She was living in Auckland at the time of her death.
Richard and Jane are buried at the Te Henui Cemetery in Taranaki. According to cemetery records Richard was living in Onehunga at the time of his death and was a storekeeper. Jane was a widow, lived at 43 Grey Street, Onehunga, at the time of her death.
2.4 Isaac Aroa (1871). It seems that like his brother Richard, Isaac also made the move north to Taranaki. Also like Richard, Isaac married a Clare sister - this time, Emma Clare (1878 - 6 December 1965) in 1903. Emma and Jane were two of ten children of Thomas and Lavinia Mary Clare. Isaac and Emma had at least two children:
2.4.1 Lilian Maude Aroa (1904)
2.4.1 Isaac Vinson Aroa (1908 - 31 March 1961). Isaac married Catherine Margaret (1906 - 16 June 1993). By the process of elimination, I suspect that Isaac and Catherine had at least two sons -
188.8.131.52 Male Aroa married June Lynette. June Aroa (1940 - 10 December 1971) died very young and is listed as being married, and living at 83 Wallace Place, New Plymouth at the time of her death. She was cremated at the Awanui Cemetery.
184.108.40.206 Kenneth Vinson Aroa (6 January 1937 - 6 January 1937). This baby died aged nine hours and was buried at Te Henui Cemetery in Taranaki.
Isaac didn't outlive his father by much, and was in fact outlived by his mother! He was a grocer at the time of his death, living at 1 Clemow Road, New Plymouth. Isaac and Catherine are both also buried at Awanui Cemetery, Catherine's ashes interred with Isaac. Catherine was a widow for over thirty years, and at the time of her death she was living in a nursing home, Pinetree Lodge, Mosstown Road, Wanganui.
Isaac Snr died on 28 July 1959 and is buried at the Awanui Cemetery in Taranaki. At the time of his death he was a retired grocer, living at 140 Courtenay Street, New Plymouth. Emma died on 6 December 1965
2.5 Frank Aroa (28 January 1874) (Fourth son at the time of his marriage). Frank married Alice Annie Stockley on 20 April 1898 at the Church of the Epiphany, Awatere by Rev. E.N. Ensor. Alice was the fourth daughter of the late William George Stockley of New Plymouth.
The Marlborough Express summarised the wedding in its 23 April 1898 edition:
2.6 Charlotte Aroa (1876 - 6 July 1912, Lower Awatere). Charlotte was obviously the "Miss Aroa" who attended her sister in law at her brother Frank's wedding. She may have already known Mr James Linton, the groomsman, or she may have met him at the wedding, but they obviously enjoyed each other's company as she married him in 1900. Together, Charlotte and James had the following family:
2.6.1 Alexander Robert Linton (28 September 1901 - 1986)
2.6.2 Janet McIntosh Linton (1904). Janet married Edward Francis Lyle Snowden in 1925.
2.6.3 Robert Noel Linton (17 September 1906 - 1993)
2.6.4 Gwenllean Linton (23 August 1908 - 1986)
Sadly, Charlotte died young, in 1912, at the age of just 36, leaving James a widower with four young children. I can't see evidence that he ever remarried. It would be nice to think that his spinster sister in law, Minnie or some of his own family, helped him with the children.
2.7 Minnie Aroa (1878 - 1970). Minnie never married but worked as a nurse. She lived to the ripe old age of 92 and is buried at the Omaka Cemetery.
2.8 Robert Aroa (1881 - 2 April 1962). Robert married Bertha Christina Jamieson (9 December 1887 - 10 July 1980) in 1907. However it appears that they had already had at least one son, prior to their marriage. This child, Ernest, wasn't registered until they married.
2.8.1 Ernest Lionel Aroa (17 September 1904 - 1988)
2.8.2 Clarence Robert Aroa (1907)
It seems that Robert and Bertha followed Robert's brothers Richard and Isaac to Taranaki, as they are both buried the Te Henui Cemetery in Taranaki. Robert died first and the couple were living at 257 Carrington Street, New Plymouth at the time of his death. Bertha was 92 years old at the time of her death and had been living at Tainui home (presumably a resthome) Clawton Street, New Plymouth at the time of her death.
2.9 Eleanor May Aroa (1883 - 1968). Eleanor married Noel Paton (1878 - 1944) in 1910. The Marlborough Express related the wedding to readers on 29 March 1910:
Noel and Eleanor seem to have settled in the Blenheim area.
When Ellen Aroa died in February 1917, the Marlborough Express published the following obituary:
The Sopers, as a larger family unit, obviously enjoyed the Hunt. Rowden was President of the Hunt Club between 1890 and 1893 and the Marlborough Express, on 25 July 1889, recounts a hunt at Rowden's property:
In 1893 Rowden decided to sell his property in Wairau, in order to buy more land in Takaka. On 12 April 1893 this report was published in the Marlborough Express.
3.2 Louise Emily Soper (1877 - 1959). Married William Samuel Osborne (1869 - 1949) on 23 April 1898 at Puramahoi, at Rowden's Soper's propery. They were married by Rev. H.W. Klendenger.
3.2.1 Leonard William Rowden Osborne (1901 - 1901). This child died as a seven month old infant.
3.3 Edith Isabella Soper (1879 - 1938). Married Norris George Franklyn 1875 - (1932) in 1906.
3.4 Ethel May Soper (1881 - 1957). Married John Morton in 1913.
3.5 Frederick Rowden Soper (2 July 1883 - 1972). Married Constance Mary Leck (1893 - 1970) in 1914.
3.6 Frank Harold Soper (7 December 1885 - 1972). Married Leyden Hume (1900 - 1971) in 1921. They had at least one daughter together:
3.6.1 June Leyden Soper (26 April 1929 - 2010). Married Mr Pomeroy.
3.7 Algernon Leslie Soper (1889 - 1950). Les married Jean Winifred Vaughan in 1921. They lived in Takaka, Nelson. They had at least one son:
3.7.1 Terence John Soper (1922 - 8 November 1943). Terence was killed at the age of just 21 in WWII during air operations. More can be read about him here.
3.8 Vera Constance Soper (1892 - 1955). Married George Richard Heath (1882 - 1945) in 1915.
3.9 Alfred Gordon Soper (1897)
Rowden died at his residence, Puramahoi. Emily and Rowden are buried together in the East Takaka Cemetery.
4.1 Gertrude Lakemen Soper (1875 - 1941). Married Joseph Ford in 1909.
4.1.1 Victor Joseph Ford (1910)
4.1.2 Ronald Edwin Ford (1911)
4.2 Alfred Douglas Soper (1877 - 1878). Died as a six week old infant.
4.3 Ada Soper (1879). Ada married Albert Ernest Gane in November 1904 and it was recounted in the 16 November 1904 edition of the Marlborough Express:
4.4 Annie Eliza Soper (1880 - 1969). Doesn't appear to have married.
4.5 Edward Winsor Soper (1882). Edward moved away to Morrinsville, and it was from there he enlisted to serve in WWI on 16 October 1914. See more information about his service record here. Edward lost a leg at Gallipoli and returned home and the following was published in the Marlborough Express on 18 March 1916 recounting his return home:
On 6 May 1916 the Marlborough Express reported upon the formal Welcome Home for Edward Soper, held in Rapaura:
Edward died in 1939 at the age of 57.
4.6 Ida Ellen "Nellie" Soper (1884). Married Robert Walker in 1924.
4.7 Hugh Douglas Soper (19 April 1887 - 1975)
4.8 Victor Henry Soper (1890 - 20 October 1891)
4.9 Vivian Roy Soper (22 October 1892 - 1977). Married Joyce Dorothy Laslett (17 September 1901 - 2002) in 1922. Joyce lived to be over 100 years old!
4.10 Aubrey Leon Soper (1894 - 1964). Married Agnes Blain Philip (8 December 1898 - 1988) in 1924. They had at least one son:
4.10.1 Philip Aubrey Winsor Soper (7 August 1925 - 2004)
4.11 Reginald Charles Soper (1896 - 1970). Married Margaret Louise Elbeck in 1924.
5. Wheaton Soper (1847 - 1930) married Mary Ann Sarah Squire in 1873.
5.1. Arthur Wheaton Soper (1874 - 1952)
5.2. Alice Maude "Maude" Soper (1875 - 1952). Maude married Albert Henry Gifford (1857 - 1909) in 1902 and they had two daughters together:
5.2.1. Alice Muriel Gifford (10 June 1903 - 1998). Alice married Mr Pennall.
5.2.2 Nessie Maude Lilian Gifford (1905). Nessie married Charles Edward Clarence (1897) on 15 June 1932.
Albert's death was acknowledged in the Marlborough Express on 10 May 1909:
5.3. Herbert Edward Soper (1879 - 1951). Herbert married Annie May Robinson (1880 - 1949) in 1908. Herbert and Annie had at least four daughters:
5.3.1 Mabel Maude Soper (4 April 1909) Mabel was born at Mrs Jellyman's Nursing Home on Grove road, Spring Creek.
5.3.2 Hilda Lucy Soper (1911)
5.3.3 Bertha Annie Soper (1916 - 1965) Did not marry.
5.3.4 Grace Evelyn Soper (1917 - 1918). Died as a two month old infant.
5.4 Lilian Elsie Soper (1889). Married Robert William Bryce in 1911. This couple may have moved overseas, as I can't find any further trace of them at this time.
7. Louisa Soper (1859 - 1860)
8. Felix William Soper (1861) married Mathilda Borck in 1886. This family lived at Willow Glen, Rapaura, Marlborough. Felix was President of the Rapaura Orchestra during the 1918/19 year. He was assisted on the committee by his nephew Herbert Soper, who acted as Orchestra auditor.
8.1 William Henry Soper (1887 - 1970). Married Alison Marion Diedgson in 1906.
8.2 Mary Eleanor Soper (1887). Married Frank Strangman Davis-Goff in 1915.
8.3 Bernard Felix Soper (1888 - 1971). Married Violet Annie Gregory (25 May 1994 - 1973) in 1930.
8.4 Norman Soper (1893 - 1918). Norman was killed in action in France on 26 May 1918 during WWI. He was a very young looking 25 year old, as you can see in the photo below.
8.5 Albert Stainsbury Soper (7 June 1895 - 1980). Albert also served in WWI, departing New Zealand on 16 February 1917. He married Clara Falvey (1906 - 1970) in 1929.