Somewhere, online, to put out there all the family research that has been sitting around on scraps of paper, just waiting to be put together. Information about my family history and Alister's. Various family names - Nidd, Transom, Todd, Latto, Calder, Bertram, Sutherland, Maher, Purvis... and the list goes on. Hoping to share information with fellow genealogical enthusiasts.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
John Watson "Long Drive" Walker and family
John Watson "Long Drive" Walker was an interesting fellow, and he linked into my recent reading about Rev. Canon Charles Jordan, as his daughter Helen married Jordan's son James.
John Watson Walker (1827 - 1916)
Upon his death in March 1916, the Ohinemuri Gazette published the following obituary outlining his interesting life. So although it's, again, a little backwards, here's his obituary first:
J. W. WALKER
in general learned with deep regret ot the death on Thursday evening,
at the residence of Mrs George Purchas, Remuera, of Mr John Watson
Walker, popularly known as "Long Drive” Walker. We question
whether there is any mining man in New Zealand who has had such a
close and successful connection with mining as had the late Mr
Walker. His sobriquet came to him through his services as contractor
for driving the Moanataiari tunnel at Thames, a clever piece of
engineering and construction work.
Walker, who was in his 90th year, was born at Aberdeen in 1827 and
has had over 60 years' experience of mining, including nearly fifty
years in connection with the New Zealand goldfields. For the purpose
of bringing several mining propositions in the Waihi district under
the notice of British capitalists Mr Walker visited the Old Country,
and was there for about four years, returning to New Zealand in July
of 1914. The conditions existing at Waihi then constituted a
drawback to the successful flotation of properties there, and an
endeavour was subsequently made to secure such an alteration in the
mining laws and regulations as would tend to encourage the inflow of
capital on a larger scale for mining development at Waihi. In 1849
he arrived at Pqrt Philip (Vic.) and participated in several gold
rushes. He came to the Thames district in New Zealand under an
arrangement to report on the mines, and was afterwards induced to
take charge of the Long Drive mine. Mr Walker was subsequently for
several years in charge of the Kuranui Hill mine, and he afterwards
went to Reefton for the Bank of New Zealand. In 1885 he turned his
attention, to Waihi, and in conjunction with the Hon. Thomas Russell
he was successful in floating the Waihi Goldmining Company, which has
since won an enormous sum of gold. Mr Walker personally managed the
Waihi mine for four years. In 1894 he went to London and was again
successful in floating the Waihi Grand Junction mine.
is survived by a widow, one son, and five daughters. The son is Mr
William Walker, of Auckland, and the daughters are: Mrs James Jordan,
Napier, formerly of Thames, where her husband was clerk of court; Mrs
George Purchas, Auckland; Mrs Harry Rainger, Auckland; Mrs John
Alexander, Devonport; and Miss Alice Walker. The deceased was an
uncle of Madame Melba.---Thames Star.
John Watson "Long Drive" Walker (1927 - 1916) married Margaret Wilkie Dow (1835 - 1906) in Victoria in 1853. Margaret was the daughter of James Foote Dow, of Langlands Foundry in Melbourne, Australia. Where it is mentioned that Long Drive was an Uncle of Madame Nellie Melba, that is only through his marriage to Margaret - Margaret's sister Isabella Dow was Nellie's mother. John and Margaret had their own family:
1. James Dow Walker (1854, Richmond, Victoria, Australia - 3 November 1905, Auckland) married Jannet Patterson Gibson (1858 - 1947) in 1877. James initially stayed in Thames before going to Tararu. He was a miner for many years.
1.1 John William Gibson Walker (1879) served in the Boer War in South Africa, and some years after his return, he married Mabel Von Roller, in 1907. However, John seems to have been something of a scoundrel and the marriage barely lasted a year. However, in that short time one son was born to the union:
1.1.1 Avon Bernard Walker (26 January 1908 - November 1974) married Muriel Winifred Pithkethley in 1938. Avon worked as an electrical engineer and lived win Auckland.
The 9 November 1914 Auckland Star reported on the granting of Mabel Walker's petition for a divorce:
YEAR OF MARRIED LIFE.
story of wife desertion within a year of marriage was regarded by Mr.
Justice Cooper this morning as sufficient cause for the divorce of
Mabel Walker from her, husband, John William Gibson Walker. Mr. R.
A. Singer appeared for ihe petitioner.
Walker told the Court that she had married Walker, a railway
employee, in June 1907, and that they had lived in lodgings in
Auckland. She was then 22 years of age and he was six years older.
Her husband wanted to take a hotel in Wellington, and with that
object in view he obtained the sum of £600 from her. The next she
heard of him he was in Sydney. She had caused him to be arrested and
brought back to Auckland, and £500 of the draft for £600 was
recovered. This event happened within about six weeks of their
marriage. The couple were reconciled, and lived together for a few
weeks at her father's place, and then Walker borrowed £260 from her
to buy a pork-butcher's business at Napier. At this time all of the
petitioners people were living in Auckland. She went to Napier with
him, and at that time he begun to use her cruelly, and on two
occasions had threatened to cut her throat.
Napier their house was burned down, and her husband had refused to
buy clothes for her or to let her buy clothes on his account. She
had to turn again to her mother for relief.
Napier her husband had procured the meanest lodgings for her just
before her child was born and she had fallen dangerously ill. She
had returned to Auckland with her mother in March 1908. Since her
marriage she had received from her husband only £3 and £6, the
latter sum having been obtained through her solicitor. She had not
seen her husband or heard from him since November, 1908, though from
information received it was believed that he had gone to Suva and
afterwards to Vancouver.
his Honor the petitioner explained that her hushand had, in addition
to the money he had received to buy the butchery business, obtained a
further £90 from her mother to start them in housekeeping.
girl's mother gave evidence which corroborated the account given by
decree nisi was granted, to be made absolute in three months, costs
being fixed on the lowest scale. The mother was given the custody of
I can't find any further trace of John William Gibson Walker - presumably he figured he had burned his bridges and settled overseas.
1.2 David Robie Walker (1882 - 1959).
1.3 Mary Ellen Walker (19 March 1885 - 1977) married Ernest Benjamin Webster (1885 - 1962) in 1921.
1.4 Norman Eric Walker (1887 - 1957) married Ada Frances Price (4 October 1887 - 1975) in 1921.
1.5 Laura Evalyn Walker (1891). Again, no idea what happened to this person.
1.6 Ida Constance Walker (1897). Similarly, I don't know what happened to Ida.
2. John Walker (1856, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - 1861, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). This child died as a little boy prior to the family moving to New Zealand.
3. Walter Ferguson Walker (1857 - 1910) married Mary Agnes Dillon (1872 - 1951) in 1892. Walter was probably something of a black sheep in the family, as in 1908 he was sentenced after pleading guilty to forgery and uttering a false document - namely three forged cheques. He was sentenced to full restitution and to 12 months on Bell's Island. I'm unsure what happened to his family following his death. 3.1 Margurie Cathleen Walker (1894) 3.2 Phyllis Walker (1895) 3.3 Mary Ileen Walker (1895) 3.4 Amie Walker (1899) 3.5 William Walker (1902)
4. Annie Isabel Walker (1860, Maldon, Victoria, Australia) married George Henry Arthur Purchas (1858 - 1933) in 1883 and lived in Remuera, Auckland. Her father was with them when he died. After George died in 1933, I haven't been able to find any trace of Annie, or her three sons. What happened to them?
4.1 Arthur Guyon Purchas (1885). I believe that Arthur possibly ended up in the United States and died at a young age.
4.2 Frank Whittesay Purchas (1887)
4.3 Gerald Mervyn Purchas (1891). Gerald served in World War One.
5. Helen Walker (1864, Maldon, Victoria, Australia - 1938) married James Jordan in 1894, and there is more about them, their family and the Jordan family here.
6. George Walker (1867, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - 1867, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). George died as a baby prior to the family coming to New Zealand.
7. Samuel Wilson Walker (1869, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - 1870, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). Again, Samuel died as an infant, prior to the family coming to New Zealand.
8. Edith Florence Walker (1870 - 1951) married Harry Rainger (1879 - 1928) on 1 March 1905 at Thames. They were married by Rev. Dr. O'Callaghan. Edith and Harry lived in Auckland.
8.1 Owen Watson Rainger (1 April 1906 - 1988). In 1924, Owen sailed for London, where he spent two years training in the silk trade. He returned via Sydney in October 1926 and upon his return to New Zealand, he became engaged. On 11 January 1928, the Auckland Star announced the engagement of Owen to Mary Vera "Mollie" Richards (28 June 1907 - 1997). Mollie was the second daughter of Mr and Mrs V.C. Richards. At the time of the engagement, Owen and the Rainger family were living at "Hylton" in Grafton Road, Auckland. Later that year, Owen and Mollie married. Sadly, the same year, Harry died suddenly. On 31 May 1929, Owen and Mollie's first child, a daughter, was born at St Margaret's private hospital in Ponsonby Road. Owen and Mollie divorced in 1949.
8.2 Margaret Alyson Rainger (20 January 1908 - 1975). On 14 February 1934, the Auckland Star announced the engagement of Margaret and Ronald Wright Yates (12 February 1905 - 1996), son of Mr and Mrs Ernest Yates, of Woodside Road, Mount Eden. Subsequently they indeed married and the wedding was reported upon by the Auckland Star in its 15 October 1934 edition:
Mary's Cathedral was the scene of an interesting wedding on Saturday
evening, the bride being Miss Margaret Alyson Rainger,only daughter
of Mrs. Rainger and the late Mr. H. Rainger, of Wynyard Street, and
the bridegroom Mr. Ronald Wright Yates, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest
Yates, of Woodside Road, Mount Eden.
cathedral was beautifully decorated by girl friends of the bride in
white flowers, and the service was choral. Canon Macfarland
officiated, and the bride's uncle, Mr. W. Emmerson, acted as
organist. Entering the church on the arm of her brother, Mr. Owen
Rainger, the bride was an attractive figure, the medieval lines of
her white satin gown, which was high-necked, long sleeves slashed
with godets of white chiffon, having a belt of gardenias round the
back of the waist. A long train of satin was inset from the
waistline. The tulle veil, which formed a billowy second train,
covered the face and was held in place bv a coronet of orange
blossoms. She carried a sheaf of white roses and lily of the valley.
matron of honour, Mrs. Roy Hume was gowned in a frock in the same
style as the bridemaids. They were Misses Constance Rainger, Lal
Burton and Joyce Littleproud (Waikato). Medieval gowns of white
chiffon velvet, with high cowl necks, longpointed sleeves and
slightly flared skirts, were finished at the waistline with heavy
silver corded girdles, and for head dresses plaits of silver and
velvet were worn. Sheafs of arum lilies were carried and fastened
with bows of silver ribbons. The little train-bearer. Jocelyn
Rainger, wore an Empire frock of the same material, and a dainty
circlet of white velvet leaves round the head.
best man was Mr. Terry Agman Smith, and the groomsmen Messrs. Murray
Lewis, Reg. Jeffrey and Harcourt Alexander. Ushers at the church
were Messrs. Roy Hume, Alan Jordan, Murray Hunter and Peter Edmunds.
A reception was held at Hotel Cargen, the dining room and tables
holding exquisite blooms of many shades. Mrs. Rainger received the
guests in aquarelle blue georgette and lace. The blue hat was
trimmed with grey and blue ospreys, and she carried a bouquet of
cyclamens. Mrs. Ernest Yates wore a frock of mulberry angel skin
lace, with velvet and osprey trimmed hat to tone. Her bouquet was of
crocuses and light fern. Mrs. John Alexander (bride's aunt) was in
black and pink floral ninon and lace, with hat to tone.
Harry Rainger died prematurely at that age of 49 after a long illness. His obituary appeared in the 30 June 1928 edition of the Auckland Star.
many friends Of Mr. Harry Rainger will learn with regret of his death
at his residence, Grafton Road this morning. Deceased was the third
son of Mrs. J. Rainger and the late Mr. Rainger of Brignton Road,
Parnell. He was born in Wiltshire, England 49 years ago and came to
New Zealand with his parents in the middle eighties.
a number of years he was in Business with his brother in Auckland and
later started out on his own account. At the time of his death he
was manager of the W. R. Snow. Rainger. Pty., Ltd.
late Mr. Rainger was well known and very highly esteemed among
business men from Whangarei to the Bluff. The large number of
telegrams received during the period of his long illness, borne with
a cheery smile and characteristic fortitude all through, were ample
testimony of his popularity. He was a life member of the Auckland
Commercial Travellers' Club. Among sportsmen the late Mr. Rainger
was equally as well liked as in business, being best known in bowling
circles. For some years he was a member of the Carlton Bowling Club
and at the time of his death belonged to the Auckland Club.
addition to his wife, a son, Mr. Owen Rainger, and a daughter, the
late Mr. Rainger is survived by his mother, four brothers and six
sisters. The funeral will leave deceased's late residence, Grafton
Road, at ten o'clock tomorrow morning.
Following Harry's death, and after the marriage of her daughter, Edith would often spend summers overseas in Suva, Fiji.
9. William Thomas Fenton Walker (1874 - 1943) married Amelia Margaret Walker in 1910. William and Amelia lived in Auckland.
9.1 Tom Barnard Walker (1910). Tom served as a Sergeant during World War Two and died on 2 May 1944 at Italy. He is buried at Cassino War Cemetery, Italy. 9.2 Elizabeth MargaretWalker (1912)
10. Amy Constance Evelyn Walker (1875 - 1948) married John Alexander in 1905 and lived in Devonport, Auckland
10.1 Harcourt Montgomery Alexander (15 December 1906 - 1993). Harcourt was a groomsman at his cousin Margaret Rainger's wedding in 1934 and married himself, in the early 1930s.
11. Alice Jane Walker. Alice had not married by the time of her father's death. I can't find a birth record for her in New Zealand, so wonder if she was born in Australia.
John Watson "Long Drive" Walker was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and went to Port Phillip, Victoria, Australia in 1849, two years before the opening of the goldfields there. He was at Bathurst in 1869 when there was a rush on at the Turon river there. Afterwards, he came to Thames (probably in the early 1870s) to report on the mines in Thames. He was persuaded to stay and take charge of the Long Drive mine, which is where he got his nickname. He carried on to be successful with charge of the Kuranui Hill mine and later the Waihi mine.
In 1880, John built the Palace Hotel in Whitaker Street, Te Aroha. He also operated it until around the mid 1880s. The hotel was apparently a two storey wooden building with a verandah and balcony and sixty rooms - fifty of which were bedrooms. It must have been built to fairly large proportions as the dining room could apparently seat 100 people!
Margaret died at the age of 70, in 1906. Surprisingly, following her death, Long Drive married again 1907. There was obviously some gossip around this, as Long Drive was aged almost 80! This appeared in the 8 June 1907 edition of the Observer in the "Pars about People" column:
Drive Walker's marriage to a lady not many years out of her teens,
and his departure upon a honeymoon trip to the Old Country, has
naturally made a little stir among his friends. For Long Drive owns
up to being somewhere in the vicinity of eighty, though he doesn't
look it, by many degrees. However, on the principle that a man is
only as old as he feels,"Long Drive" is one of the most
juvenile persons who walk Queenstreet.