SMITH - MARIANNE - 1851--1912 - AUCKLAND .NZ . :: Genealogy
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SMITH - MARIANNE - 1851--1912 - AUCKLAND .NZ .

Journal by edmondsallan

edmondsallan - Hello - You may not know her or recognize this woman's name . If you are reading these journals and not just copying them to look at at a later date ., the first ( 1st ) paragraph will tell you .
Smith, Marianne
Businesswoman, community worker, philanthropist

During the 1920s the citizens of Auckland benefited from a number of munificent bequests given by Marianne Smith. An enigmatic and very private person, she was unusual in that unlike most wealthy women of the time she had not inherited her money but had earned it herself. She was born Mary Anne Caughey on 10 March 1851 at Portaferry, County Down, northern Ireland, the youngest daughter of the seven children of James Caughey, a grocer, and his wife, Jane Clarke.

Little is known about Marianne's early years in Ireland. She worked for missions in Belfast, and was on the committee of the Prison Gate Mission. On 21 July 1874 at Portaferry she married William Henry Smith, who worked with her brother Andrew at a Belfast drapery store. The newly-weds sailed to New York where William had a job in a drapery firm. Marianne helped at the famous mission in Water Street run by the evangelist Jerry MacAuley, and at the Door of Hope, a refuge for single mothers.

Returning to Belfast around 1879 the Smiths started a charitable mission in a poor part of the city, but William's health deteriorated and they decided to emigrate to New Zealand. The couple arrived in Auckland in early 1880, and Marianne opened Smith's Cheap Drapery Warehouse on Queen Street. Because the new firm could not support husband and wife, William initially worked for another draper, but by 1881 Marianne's store was doing so well William was able to join her.

The shop's success was built on a policy of high turnover through low retail margins, embodied in the mottos, Small profits and quick returns and A nimble sixpence rather than a slow shilling'. The store specialised in supplying country customers and fostered a Maori clientele by advertising in the Maori-language newspaper Te Korimako .

In 1882 Andrew Caughey, who had emigrated to New Zealand a month before the Smiths and entered the Methodist ministry, settled in Auckland and joined the business as a partner with William. The firm was then named Smith and Caughey. The omission of Marianne from the partnership reflects the role of married women at the time, but she remained vitally involved in the business.

In 1884 Smith and Caughey moved to a prime site on the western side of Queen Street, and began direct purchasing from overseas markets, a move which infuriated local wholesalers. In 1902 Marianne and William went to India in search of new goods, and in 1908 and 1913 she made buying trips to Britain. In 1900 William and Andrew had formed a limited liability company. Although not a director, Marianne was one of eight shareholders.

The Smiths also continued Methodist mission work, and were among those who established the Helping Hand Mission in 1885. The Helping Hand, as its name denoted, adopted a strong welfare role, with the Sisters of the Poor (also known as the Visiting Sisters) nursing people in their homes. The sisters were the forerunners of the Deaconesses of the Methodist Church of Australasia in New Zealand, appointed from 1907, and helped pave the way for the establishment of government-funded district nursing services, which began in 1909. When the Helping Hand Mission evolved into the Methodist Central Mission, Marianne was president of the 20 Visiting Sisters. Another aspect of the Helping Hand Mission was the Door of Hope, founded in Cook Street in 1896. For 16 years William was chairman and Marianne was the secretary. From 1903 to 1910 Marianne was also on the board of the YWCA.

The couple had hoped to have a family, but Marianne had suffered a number of miscarriages and stillbirths. During an extended trip to Britain in 1908 and 1909, the Smiths informally adopted a baby boy called Reginald. Marianne was by then in her late 50s.

William died in 1912, leaving Marianne a wealthy widow with a small child. She withdrew from active mission work about this time, but retained a strong interest in Smith and Caughey. In 1916 she joined the board as a director (a position she held until her death in 1938) and always attended meetings. Who said women arne't as good as men in business ??? This woman was very acute businesswoman . Till we meet again - Regards - edmondsallan

Surnames: SMITH
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by edmondsallan Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2010-12-05 15:01:40

edmondsallan , from auckland .nz , has been a Family Tree Circles member since Aug 2010. is researching the following names: CLAYTON, EDMONDS.

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