John Cargill was born at Ferryden, Montrose, Scotland (left)
on 21st June 1820 the fifth child of Robert Cargill and Catherine nee
Bate. It is not known when John went to New Zealand, however it is known that it was sometime before 1842, as John married Mary Ann Meredith at Nelson on 8th May 1842. Mary Ann was born in 1827, the daughter of John Meredith and Mary Ann Nee
Powick After their marriage John and Mary Ann Cargill lived in the Nelson area, and during the next nine years following their marriage four children were born to them.
John Cargill was away from home a lot, following his profession as a mariner. According to family legend, John Cargill was presumed lost at sea around 1853, although no documented record of this event can be found. There is a lot of controversy about the supposed death of John Cargill in 1853. There is evidence that a John Cargill jumped ship in Melbourne on 1st February 1852, and went to the goldfields at Bendigo. Was this Mary Ann's husband? It is quite possible.
The New Zealand Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages have the death of a John Cargill registered on 8th June 1890 at Waitati. An inquest was held into this death, and some interesting coincidences show up in the report of this inquest.
The inquest was held at Waitati, before Mr. Carew, Coroner, and a jury of six on 11th June 1890. The following is the evidence given by two witnesses.
I am a fisherman and reside at Waitati. I recognise the body shown to the jury as that of the late John Cargill. I have known him for about ten years. He was once a seafaring man, then he was a gold digger and subsequently a fisherman. He has done no fishing lately on account of his weak health I believe. He was born in Scotland, somewhere about Montrose I believe. He told me he came to the colony about 40 years ago and lived and married at Nelson, but since then had been away at Victoria and other places. I have heard him speak of having a son, but I do not know where he is nor do I know anything about his wife. I think from conversations I have had with him he would be about 65 or 66 years old. I have frequently seen the deceased and now and again since he last came out of the hospital, about June 2nd 1890. He lived in a one roomed house in Blueskin Bay by himself lately. A woman once lived with him, but she was sent to the lunatic asylum about 15 months ago. I saw him on Wednesday last at my place, he came to my gate on Saturday and I went to his hut on Sunday last. I got there about 2 o'clock p.m. He told me he was going into the Dunedin Benevolent Institution on the following Wednesday. He wanted a fishing boat hauled up before he left, ready for some person. When I got to his hut, I asked him how he felt today. He replied fine Mac. He seemed as well as usual and was then cooking his dinner. He cooked a chop and filled a basin with tea. I left him and went and looked at the boat he had been speaking about. He followed me out of the door. I told him things he would require to have done to the boat, I spoke from a distance and did not hear any answer. I remained about the boat for 20 minutes or so waiting for him to finish his dinner and come down to the boat as I expected he would do. I got impatient at him not coming and went up to the hut. On going inside I saw him with his feet on the ground and lying on his back across the bed. I shook him by the arm and called to him, I got no reply, I then felt his heart but found no beat from it. He was warm and his arms quite supple then. I came to the conclusion he was quite dead. He is dressed the same as when I saw him before with trousers, shirt and boots on. He was away from where he sat when he was eating his dinner. He seemed to have sat on the nearest part of his bed and then to have fallen backwards and died. He had no want of food in his hut, and kept four dogs there. I never heard him complain of his heart, but he told me he had twice had paralytic strokes and his legs were very weak. I was present when Constable Hastings searched his body. I saw no money or valuables, I saw a knife, a box of matches, a pipe and a couple of pieces of paper, nothing more. This was about 7 o'clock or a little later. I believe it was close to 3 o'clock when I found him dead. I went to the Constable's house and reported the occurrence, but he was not at home at the time. I saw no one about the hut. He was quite sober and I saw no drink there.
Signed Philip McLeod
Michael Hastings on his oath saith: -
I am a Constable at Waitati. From the information I received on the 8th inst. (Sunday last). I proceeded to the hut of the late John Cargill at Blueskin Bay. I arrived there at 7 o'clock p.m. I found the deceased's body quite cold and dead. It was lying on the back across the foot of the bed, with the feet on the floor. The feet were close together and the arms were stretched along the sides. I opened the shirt and inside flannel and examined the head, neck and body. I found no marks of violence or foul play. I found no smell of drink. I then searched the pockets and found an old wooden pipe, an old pocket knife and a box containing a few matches. No money or valuables of any kind. There was nothing of any value in the hut. I saw a little food there, close to his right foot there was a frying pan and a broken basin close to it. I saw nothing whatever suspicious. I have known the deceased for the last 16 months. He was discharged from the Dunedin Hospital on yesterday week, and was admitted there on the 14th May. I have made inquiries and find he left the hospital of his own accord and suffered from chronic cystitis and bladder disturbances.
He seemed to me for some time past to be very frail. Deceased told me he first arrived in the Colony in 1841, when he came to Nelson. I got the paper marked “A” from Dr. Copeland yesterday. The deceased had been getting 25/- a week from the Benevolent Institution for some time past.
Signed M. Hastings
From these statements it would seem that this John Cargill is the one that married Mary Ann Meredith at Nelson in 1842, and also the one that jumped ship in Victoria in 1852. If this is so why didn't he contact his family on his return to New Zealand? Did Mary Ann know her husband had jumped ship? Or did she really believe he had been lost at sea?
Supposedly being left widowed with four young children, Mary Ann Cargill married again in 1855. She gave her name as Ann Cargill. Was this because she knew John Cargill was still alive, and she knew she was committing bigamy? The wedding took place on 11th May 1855 at the home of her stepfather, Grove Farm, Stoke, Nelson. She married an English born farm worker, James Mudford, the ceremony being performed by Rev. Thomas D. Nicholson, of the Presbyterian Church.
CHILDREN OF JOHN & MARY ANN CARGILL
Ellen Cargill 1843-1919
Ellen Gargill was born at Nelson, New Zealand on Wednesday 11th March 1843. She married William Henderson on Monday 16th July 1860 at the home of her stepfather James Mudford. The story of Ellen is covered in detail in the Henderson chapter of this history.
Robert William Cargill 1845-1924
Robert William Cargill (left)
was born at Nelson, New Zealand on Saturday, 3rd May 1845. Along with his sisters Ellen and Annie, he was baptised by Rev. Samuel Ironside at Nelson on 7th September 1849 aged four.
When a young man Robert went to the North Island. There he took part in the so-called Maori Wars of 1863-72, as a member of the New Zealand local militia, supporting the British Army. Robert was a Private in the 3rd Regiment of the Waikato Militia. This regiment was one of four that fought in the Waikato and East Coast areas.
When he was nearly 39 years of age, Robert was married. The marriage ceremony took place on Monday, 28th January 1884, at the Registrar's Office in Thames, New Zealand. He stated his occupation at the time of his marriage as “settler”. His bride was a young girl born in Nottinghamshire, England on 28th March 1868, and thus under 16 years old on her wedding day. Her name was Emma Brown, and her father was a local farmer, Samuel Brown, her mother being Martha Brown nee Caley. After their marriage Robert and Emma settled at Puriri, a settlement about nine miles south-east of Thames, where Robert was engaged in mining. Over the next 22 years 10 children were born to Robert and Emma.
Robert died at Puriri, on 6th February 1924, his wife Emma outlived him by 11 years, dying at Puriri on 6th March 1935.
Annie Cargill 1847-1916
Annie Gargill (right)
was born at Nelson, New Zealand, on Saturday 15th May 1847. Very little is known of Annie's childhood, or what sort of education she received. She may have gone to school at Renwick where her younger sister Mary is known to have received some schooling.
Early in 1862 Annie entered into a de-facto marriage with Joseph Law. The reason for this marriage not being legalised was that to do so would be bigamy, as Joseph already had a wife, still alive in England and was not legally divorced from her. On 22nd September 1862 Annie gave birth to a son, William, she then being 15 years and 4 months old. Joseph Law was born on 30th July 1823, at Thenford, Northamptonshire, England the son of Joseph Law and Mary nee Newitt.
Joseph and Annie took up farming in the Tua Marina district and acquired a lot of land there over the years in various parts of the district.
Joseph and Annie had a further ten children over the following 21 years, the youngest being born 1883, two years before Joseph's death. Joseph Law died on 10th March 1885 at Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, where he had gone for a visit, for health reasons.
Being widowed and left with a large family, the youngest of whom was only one year old when her father died, Annie married three years later in 1888 to a man 19 years younger than herself. He was John Turner Wilson. John Wilson was a cabinetmaker and he and Annie lived in Spring Creek for 14 years. They then went to live in Blenheim for 6 years, before moving to Hamilton in the North Island. They had one child, a daughter named Marion Kate, born 13th July 1889.
Annie Died at Hamilton on 11th February 1916 aged 68 years. John Wilson later remarried, survived his second wife, and eventually died on 31st May 1952 aged 86
Mary Cargill 1850-1931
Mary Cargill (left)
was born at Nelson, New Zealand on Thursday, 21st November 1850, in Bridge Street, where her mother was recorded as living in the Census of 1849.
Family tradition records that Mary had not attended school before turning 11 years of age. When 11, probably in the year 1862, she spent a year at a private boarding school at Renwicktown, run by a lady who taught Mary to read and write.
Mary was married at the age of 15 years and 1 month, on 20th December 1865, at Blackwood Bay, across Queen Charlotte Sound from the town of Picton. She was married to an Englishman named William Kennington. This marriage was to last 48 years, until William's death in 1913.
The wedding of Mary Cargill and William Kennington took place at the house of Mary's step-father James Mudford, it was a Wednesday and the ceremony was performed by Rev. T. L. Tudor, a Church of England minister. Being only 15 years old Mary required permission from her step-father. William Kennington was 29 years old at the time of their marriage, having been born at Dunholme, Lincolnshire, on Friday 21st October 1836.
Not long after their marriage William and Mary were living in Okaramio, where they set up house in a temporary home, made of wattle and daub, in common with many other settlers of that time. Within a few years this first house was replaced by a more substantial dwelling, this time made of timber of, which there was plenty to be found in the vicinity.
During the 20 years following their marriage William and Mary had ten children born to them. All of them would have been born at home, at Okaramio where a local midwife would have assisted with the delivery. The last two of these were twin boys born in December 1885, at which time Mary was still a young woman of 35 years of age.
William Kennington prospered in his undertakings, and after a few years at Okaramio had freehold over 1000 acres of land there, which formed his large farm. Throughout his life he had many land dealings, buying other sections of land in Marlborough and other parts of the province. William died at Okaramio on 26th June 1913. Mary died on 10th July 1931, also at Okaramio.