After the death of John 1886 and Mary 1888 my grandfather
Charles known as Ernest was left in the care of Alfred Bailey or one
of the Bailey family. He had been at Central School New Plymouth and
then to Koru School in Taranaki. The admission date to that school
was 4 September 1888. Ernest's younger brother Percy was at school
in Warea Taranaki in 1888 and in January 1891 was at Courtenay Street
School New Plymouth. From there he went to Stratford. For a time his
guardian was Andrew Gray the husband of Ernest's older sister Sarah.
By 1900 Ernest was living in the Thames area and it
was there that he married Elizabeth McFarlane Speer. Her parents had
been the licensee's of the Governor Bowen Hotel in Grahamestown Thames
and they had both died within a short time of each other. Soon after
their deaths Ernest and Elizabeth were married. They lived for a time
at the Hotel and Ernest became the guardian of a brother and sister
of Elizabeth. They were Christian Silverton Speer and Alice Lloyd
Speer. Christian then went on to Auckland and Alice to Christchurch.
What became of them I do not know?
(Source of school information: NZSG index)
The marriage entry of Ernest and Elizabeth has their
ages as both aged 23. In fact Elizabeth was 29 (born June 1871) and
Ernest 21. In January 1906 both were living at Napier and it was here
that Elizabeth died in childbirth on 18th January. The address was
Carlyle Street Napier. It must have been while Ernest was still in
Napier that he met my grandmother Grace Eleanor Tasker. Grace gave
birth to a daughter Alice Ernestine Tasker on 19 August 1907. She
was unmarried but it is assumed that Ernest was her father but I do
not know for sure.
Grace and Ernest were married in the Church of Christ
Riddiford Street Wellington on December 5, 1908. Ernest was described
as a labourer. Grace had entered her age as 22 but she was actually
21. By 1915 they were still living in Petone and the postal address
of Ernest was 31 Esplanade Petone. Because it was then war time Ernest
had to register for service and his address/es were given as Taihape,
Wanganui and Rangitikei. I think it likely that during that time he
worked in those places while nana remained in Petone. Nana may have
lived a short time in Taihape while my grandfather worked at the Tiki
Arthur Edward Kivell eldest son of Ernest and Grace
was born in 1909. He died of Tubercular meningitis at Palmerston North
hospital in August of 1918 and the following year in August, Ernest
died aged 40. His death entry states that the cause of death was toxaemia.
How and why did he get toxaemia and how long was he ill before he
died? He died at 95 Grey Street in Palmerston North.
A photo of Ernest with Grace and his family show him
as a man of slim build and dark hair. My mother had said that her
father died of TB but no mention of this was on the death entry. In
1926 Alice died of TB a few months after her marriage to Herbert Downs.
My mother had swelling of glands in her neck (related to TB) as a
Some time after Ernest died nana was living in Stratford.
I do not know when she went there or what brought her to that part
of the country. She remarried in 1923 to William Hughson and gave
birth to twins, a son and a daughter in August of 1925. The marriage
was not a happy one and nana later divorced William. She married for
the third time in 1938 to Henry Maris Wills, a grandson of the early
settlers James and Betsy Wills. My grandmother lived for many years
at 68 (later renumbered to 70) Disraeli Street Hawera and died there
on July 13, 1962. My father's younger sister Williamina Barbara MacDonald
married Morton Wyndham Wills at Hawera in 1944. Morton was the son
of Henry Maris Wills and his first wife Helen.