Monday, December 10, 2012

Brightmore family

The Press, in Christchurch, reported the frustration of a husband in their 5 September 1884 edition:

Arthur Brightmore applied for an order prohibiting certain publicans supplying liquor for consumption by his wife.  he said the case as a very bad one, and he had found himself quite unable to restrain her.  He called two of his daughters - girls about eight or nine years old - who stated that they went every day for beer and brandy to Bashford's Lancaster Park Hotel and Collier's Royal George Hotel.  Their mother drank it herself.  One of them stated that on one day last week she brought her mother three shillings and sixpence worth of brandy, and she drank it.  An order was made prohibiting the persons named as required, with a promise of extension to others if found necessary.  

Arthur Henry Brightmore (1842 - 22 March 1931, Christchurch) married Mary Ann Atherton (1841 - 8 December 1902) in 1864.    Mary Ann and Arthur probably met on the ship they both travelled on to New Zealand - the "David G. Fleming" which came from London, arriving at Lyttleton Harbour on 9 December 1863.  Arthur was a 21 year old brick layer from Middlesex and Mary Ann was a 22 year old domestic servant from Cambridge.  It would seem that if they had initially fallen in love, by the time they had been married ten years, they were not well suited, and Mary Ann was not an ideal mother or wife.  By the time Arthur applied for the prohibition order, Mary Ann had had a number of children:

1. James Arthur Brightmore (1865 - 1938)

2. Frances Mary Brightmore (1867 - 1953).  I can't find an early marriage for Frances, but it seems that she had three children, the father of whom was not recorded:
   2.1 Mabel Brightmore (1897) married Arthur Hawkins in 1925.
   2.2 Violet Brightmore (1900)
   2.3 John Brightmore 
As a single mother, Frances had to support herself and her children.  In the 18 November 1897 edition of the Star, Frances was advertising for a job "Situation by Respectable Person as Housekeeper".  There was no DPB for women in those days, and given the state of her mother, no doubt little if any help from family.  

However later, in 1927, Frances married widower James Abraham Bate (1870 - 1944).  James had been married previously, to Isabella Dickie (1874 - 1923) in 1895. 

3. Edward George John Brightmore (1868 - 1870).  This twin died as a two year old.

4. Arthur Henry Ernest Brightmore (1868 - 1868).  This twin died as an infant.

5. Mary Ann Maria Brightmore (1869 - 25 August 1923)

6. Elizabeth Emily Brightmore (1871 - 1896)

7. Hannah Jane Brightmore (1873) married George Scott Reid (1870 - 1942) in 1898.
   7.1 Daisy Reid (29 September 1898 - 1977) married Lester Mark Wall (1899 - 1964) in 1925
   7.2 James Reid (1900)
   7.3 Nellie Jane Reid (17 May 1906 - 1987)
   7.4 Nihina Mary Reid (1908)
   7.5 George Atherton Reid (14 January 1909 - 1986)

8. Louisa Brightmore (1874 - 3 July 1909) married Henry Robert Blythe in 1901.  Their first daughter was probably born prior to their marriage, accounting for the many years delay in registering her birth.  Louise and Henry lived at Marsh's Road, Prebbleton.  Louisa died after "a long and painful illness".  
   8.1 Winifred Brightmore Blythe (4 April 1897 - 1980) married Wilfred Kent (1893 - 1971) in 1923. 
   8.2 Lilian Ruth Blythe (28 October 1902 - 1972) married Frank James Kent (3 January 1900 - 1990) in 1929.

In 1874, there had obviously been marital troubles between Arthur and Mary Ann.  The Press reported on 16 January 1874:

Arthur Brightmore was charged with deserting his wife and five children on the 2nd January, and failing to contribute towards their support since that time.
Mr Callendar stated that Mrs Brightmore applied for relief and received it to a small extent.  she stated that her husband had deserted her and left her without any means of support.
The defendant said there had been a little disagreement between himself and wife.  He did not wish to go into the particulars in the absence of his wife, but there was not the slightest occasion for her to have gone to the Government for assistance.  He had since returned home.
His Worship would mark the case as adjourned until Saturday, and if he found then that the amount advanced by Mr Callender had been refunded, and that defendant was supporting his wife and family, he would dismiss the case.

The following later appeared in the 19 January 1874 edition of the Press:

The adjourned summons case against Arthur Brightmore was dismissed, as the money advanced by Mr Callender had been refunded, and the defendant had returned home.  

Obviously things eventually got back to normal, as the couple went on to have three more children:

9. Arthur Robert Brightmore (1876 - 1948) married Emily Jane Blythe (1874, Australia - 28 December 1935) on 27 January 1903 at the Public Hall, Gloucester Street, Linwood, by the Rev. J. Orchard.  According to her burial records, Emily came to New Zealand with her family when she was only a year old.
   9.1 Thelma Edith Brightmore (16 November 1903 - 1998) married Charles Stuart Cameron (11 January 1905 - 1978) in 1927
   9.2 Hazel James Josephine Brightmore (1909) 

10. Prudence Brightmore (1879 - 1880).  This baby died aged just nine months.

11. John Atherton Brightmore (1882 - 2 September 1949, Christchurch).  John worked as a bricklayer with his father.

In the 4 July 1877 Press report, Mary Ann was summoned for having committed an assault on two women:

ASSAULT - Mary Ann Brightmore was summoned for having committed a violent assault on Elizabeth Wright and Mary Ann Wright.  Mr Slater appeared for the complainants.  Mrs Wright stated that she sent her son to take her cow off the defendant's section and defendant declined to allow the cow to be taken.  Complainant then went to get the cow; asked defendant for the cow, where she threw a tub at her, which struck her violently on the face, cutting it over the eye. She called her a wretch, struck her a second time, and threw a brick at her.  Complainant's son and daughter gave corroborative evidence.  There was a cross case, in which Elizabeth Wright and Mary Ann Wright were charged with using abusive and threatening language towards Mary Ann Brightmore.  After hearing the latter's evidence, the Bench dismissed the cross action, and in the first case ordered Mary Ann Brightmore to pay a fine of 20s and costs.  Mr Slater applied to have defendant bound over to keep the peace.  His Worship thought this would be a warning to her, but if Mrs Wright was annoyed in future he would bind Mrs Brightmore over to keep the peace in heavy sureties.  Mr Slater's application for a professional fee was declined.

There was obviously a lot of pressure on the family - five months prior to Arthur obtaining the prohibition order the following report appeared in the Grey River Argus, 20 March 1884 edition:

A bricklayer named Arthur Henry Brightmore, residing at Sydenham, attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself.  The rope, however, broke.  Thereby his life was saved.  He has been pronounced insane by one medical man.

A fuller report appeared in the 19 March 1884 edition of the Star:

Attempted Suicide.
Yesterday afternoon a man named Arthur Henry Brightmore, a bricklayer, residing in Stephens street, Sydenham, was arrested by Sergeant Wilson on a charge of attempting to commit suicide. When on duty on the South Belt, the Sergeant was informed of the occurrence by Dr Russell, who gave him a knife, a piece of rope and some small leather straps, which had been used by Brightmore in his efforts at self-destruction. The doctor stated that the man was not in a fit condition to be left by himself. Sergeant Wilson at once proceeded to the house, and found Brightmore in charge of a man named White. His eyes were bloodshot, and there were some slight marks, or scratches, on his throat. He was at once taken into custody and conveyed to the lock-up. His wife, Mary Ann Brightmore, stated that he had been engaged working in Auckland from last November till a few days ago. On Tuesday, March 11, he returned home, and complained of being ill. Being a Forester, he was attended by Dr Deamer, surgeon to the Foresters' Court. On Saturday evening he went into a shed in the back yard, and was followed by his wife, who concealed herself, and saw him making a noose with a piece of rope and measuring the distance from the roof of the building to the ground, where he had three bricks, apparently to stand on. It did not appear from Mrs Brightmore's statement that her husband actually attempted suicide on Saturday, though he was evidently making preparations for the act. On Sunday he told her that he had tried the rope and found it was not strong enough, and added that if he had been allowed three minutes more it would have been all over with him. She afterwards, so she says, noticed him sharpening a knife and grinding his teeth in a strange manner. Yesterday, she called in Dr Russell, who took possession of the knife and rope, and as he considered Brightmore was not in a fit state to be left by himself, gave information to the police.

Luckily for the family, Arthur appears to have regained his sanity fairly quickly but a report a few months later - report of 28 July 1884 in the Star - shows the kind of unhappy life the family were living, and gives some insight into Arthur's apparent suicide attempt:

Mary Ann Brightmore was accused by her husband of assaulting him.  The woman was stated to be addicted to drunkenness, and making her home miserable.  On the occasion referred to in the information, she had, complainant stated, struck him with a poker.  The Bench admonished the woman, and advised the husband to take out a prohibition order against her.  

On 29 July 1884 the Press also reported:

Arthur Brightmore charged his wife Mary Ann with assaulting him on July 19th, and asked for sureties to keep the peace to be exacted from her.  The evidence showed the present assault to have been trivial, arising from the drunken habits of the woman.  The case was dismissed, the Bench recommending the husband to take out a prohibition order against the wife.  

Following this, seemingly at his wits end, Arthur inserted the following advertisement into the 31 July 1884 edition of the Press:

Public Notices.
Notice is hereby given, that I WILL NOT be RESPONSIBLE for any DEBTS contracted by my Wife, Mary Ann Brightmore.

Mary Ann, due to her drinking presumably, was obviously not mixing in the best of circles.  The following appeared in the Press on 21 August 1890:

John Miller was charged with being illegally on the premises of Mary Ann Brightmore on the night of August 19th, also with assaulting Mrs Brightmore.  After calling Constable McGill, who deposed to finding the accused in Mrs Brightmore's house on the night in question, Sergt.-Major McDonald said the prisoner appeared to be suffering from drink, and asked for a remand.  He was remanded till August 17th for medical treatment.

On 4 June 1891, the Press reported that Arthur had applied for another Prohibition Order against his wife, Mary Ann - obviously in a desperate attempt to keep her from drinking.  This was granted by the Court, for twelve months.

Later, in 1891, it becomes even clearer why Mary Ann Brightmore's drinking problem would have caused so much distress to Arthur - he was by then a member of the Salvation Army.  On 22 July 1891, the Star reported on a court case, initiated on the information of a Mr John McMahon, with essentially being guilty of conduct calculated to annoy the public.  The report follows:

At the Christchurch K.M. Court, before Messrs Roberts, Bishop, and Ruddenklau, Justices of the Peace, John Osborne, a captain of the Salvation Army, and Arthur Brightmore, a member of the same, were charged, on the information of John McMahon, with assembling in a public street, to wit, Queen street, where they were guilty of conduct calculated to annoy the public, to wit, singing, shouting and beating drums, and playing on noisy instruments.
Mr Cress well appeared for the informants, and asked that the information be amended so as to bring it under subsection 39, section 6, of the City By-laws, 1882, by which no person shall assemble in any street, or congregate at the corner of any street, or where any street intersects, and no person or persons shall collect, or cause any number of persons to collect or congregate on any street, or conduct or hold any public meeting therein, so as to impede persons passing, or be guilty of any conduct calculated to annoy the public.
Mr Donnelly objected to the alteration, but was over-ruled by the Bench. Mr Cresswell called the following evidence:-
John M'Mahon: Lived in Queen street, which was ten feet wide. His house was close to the fence. On June 28, in the evening, about seven o'clock, the Army came with their band, and halted outside his place. Witness told them that his wife had been confined about an hour before. Finding in ten minutes that the noise grew worse instead of better, he went down to the police and complained. Afterwards some of the Army people said that it was no use fighting the Army, as he would do it for nothing. It was Brightmore he spoke to. Osborne was managing the band. Considered that the noise was dangerous to his wife in her then condition.
Margaret Ellen Crocker: Nursed Mrs. McMahon. The band-playing and singing continued for a quarter of an hour, and shook the windows. Osborne was waving his arms and flying around."
Mr Donnelly said that the information was bad, contending that the two or three persons of informant's household could not be considered to be the public. He quoted the case Booth v Howel, J.P., Vol. 53, 1889, Fol. 678.
The Bench overruled this objection.
Mr Donnelly called the following evidence:-
Arthur Brightmore, bricklayer and colour-sergeant in the Salvation Army: Wai i present in Queen Btreet. Prosecutor did not speak to witness at the time, but came round to the barracks and told the Captain that he would take witness' name. Witness held a flag and sang. Neither witness nor Osborne played any instruments that night. Captain Eldridge was in charge o£ the Division.
Cross-examined: Thought that Captain Osborne gave out a hymn. Did not think that an extra amount of noise was going on that night, the drummer had mercy on the drum that night. There were about twenty in the ring, all singing, more or less, though some had colds.
Captain John Osborne: Was a headquarters staff officer, and was at the place as a private soldier. The street bore a bad character as a low quarter. McMahon did not tell them that his wife was ill. The drum slowed down almost immediately, and about five minutes or so afterwards they went away.
Cross-examined: The noise could be distinctly heard in all the surrounding houses. Informant was excited and appeared annoyed when he came out.
Sergeant Briggs gave evidence as to the complaints as to the character of one of the houses in the vicinity of complainant's house.
Joseph Harris gave similar evidence.
The Bench, in giving judgment in the case, said that, from the reports that appeared in the newspapers, they believed that the Salvation Army did very good work in rescuing amongst a certain class of people. The Bench did not admit, however, that the Army had a right to assemble with a band in a narrow street as they did in that case, to the annoyance of the public, however laudible their object might be. The Bench did not intend to inflict a heavy penalty that time, but to point out that, though these processions might not be objectionable, they should not annoy a section of the public by taking up a position with their band so close to a private house. They should also have gone away at once when requested to do so. Each of the defendants would be fined 5s.
Mr Donnelly asked what would be the penalty in default of payment. Defendant Osborne said he had no property. The Bench pointed out that distress would follow the default, and failing satisfaction of the distraint the matter could be further considered.

However, in late September that same year, His Honour Justice Denniston quashed the warrant of commitment to prison issued against Arthur and John Osborne (for failure to pay their fines).  The Informant and the Justices who had heard the case weren't represented.  His Honour held that the conviction did not specify imprisonment and the order was held void.  Counsel for Arthur and Osborne tried to apply for costs against the Informant but his Honour declined this application.

Mary Ann's problems with alcohol obviously continued, as the following news reports attest to.  First, as reported by the Star on 17 October 1892:

(Before R. Westenra and J. Henderson Esqs.)
DRUNKENNESS - For this offence Mary Ann Brightmore was fined 10s and 2s cab hire, in default forty-eight hours' imprisonment. 

Again, in the 9 June 1893 edition of the Press:

DRUNKENNESS - For this offence Mary Ann Brightmore and Annie Cassidy were each fined 5s and costs, or in default twenty-four hours imprisonment.

Then in the 9 March 1894 edition of the Star:

(Before Mr H.W. Bishop, S.M., and Mr. R. Westenra, J.P.)
DRUNKENNESS - For this offence Mary Ann Brightmore was fined 5s, in default twenty-four hours' imprisonment. 

Then on 1 August 1895, as reported by the Star:

(Before Mr J.M. Batham, J.P., and Mr E. Jones, J.P.)
DRUNKENNESS - Mary Ann Brightmore and a first offender were each fined 5s and costs. 

Once again, in March 1896, Arthur and Mary Ann seem to have been having marital problems.  The Star reported in its 13 March edition:

Arthur Brightmore applied for an order obtained by his wife Mary Ann Brightmore to be cancelled on account of her misconduct.  After hearing the evidence his Worship cancelled the order.

Mary Ann was again before the Courts as reported in the Star on 24 April 1902:

THURSDAY, April 24.
(Before Mr W. H. Cooper, J.P., and Mr. W. W. Collins, J.P.)
DRUNKENNESS - Mary Ann Brightmore, who pleaded guilty to a charge of drunkenness, was committed to the Samaritan Home.

Eight months later, on Monday, 8 December 1902, Mary Ann died.  She was buried the next day at the Linwood Cemetery in Christchurch.

Following Mary Ann's death Arthur married Elizabeth Harriett Mathews (1869 - 7 September 1939, Christchurch) in 1916.  Hopefully he found his married life to Elizabeth more peaceful and less dramatic than his marriage to Mary Ann.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi Minnie

    I have come across your blog here through Google and notice you have on of my Great grandmothers sisters on here - will copy and paste into here so you can see where I am going with this little twist :-)

    8. Louisa Brightmore (1874 - 3 July 1909) married Henry Robert Blythe in 1901. Their first daughter was probably born prior to their marriage, accounting for the many years delay in registering her birth. Louise and Henry lived at Marsh's Road, Prebbleton. Louisa died after "a long and painful illness".
    8.1 Winifred Brightmore Blythe (4 April 1897 - 1980) married Wilfred Kent (1893 - 1971) in 1923.
    8.2 Lilian Ruth Blythe (28 October 1902 - 1972) married Frank James Kent (3 January 1900 - 1990) in 1929.

    I am especially interested in Winifred Brightmore Blythe. I believe she is actually the twin sister of my great grandmother - Gwendoline Brightmore. Gwendoline was adopted out as a baby, born 4 April 1897 in christchurch. If i look in NZ BDM's their births are registered a heck of a lot later than their births. We believe they were trying to find each other. Gwendoline (we know her as Mary Josephing Theresa Mclaughlin - adopted name and her adoptive parents were James Mclaughlin and Mary Dorris who married i Ireland). Anyway is this of any interest to you and do you know anything about this?

    This was a tangle to sort out. I had a lot of help. :)
    She is on the microfiche in the library as Gwendoline Brightmore with her twin sister Winifred Brightmore - Fiche No. 1897 / 1866. Both girls numbers are the same. Gwendoline registered her birth in 1947 st NZ BDM showing Mary & James McLaughlin as her birth parents. (Why she registered it then it is unknown but she must have needed it for something). Winifred's birth is registered, supriseingly 4 years after her death! 1984. She is on NZ BDM site as Winifred Brightmore BLYTHE.

    and another little bit I found -

    From NZ BDM (online)

    Late Birth Registration

    1947 / 86590 - McLAUGHLIN - Gwendoline Brightmore
    Parents: Mary and James McLAUGHLIN
    Date of Birth : (deduced from the online Birth Index) - 4 April 1897


    1986 / 33086 - CHESTER - Mary Josephine - date of birth : 4 April 1897

    [They would seem to be one and the same ? It's perhaps unusual though that when Mary Josephine registered her own birth in 1947, she elected to do so using the christian name and surname, she was given at birth. ]

    i am hoping to get hold of the adoption records but having trouble finding the death fo the adoptive mum mary

    Well that is it for now hope to hear from you. Please feel free to email me at

    thanks janine