Elizabeth Catherine CLIMO & George Whiting POPE
Elizabeth Catherine CLIMO's father James could, without a doubt, proudly claim that his first-born child was the first Pakeha baby born in the new settlement of New Plymouth on 05 November 1841. Elizabeth Catherine was not only the pride and joy of her parents but she was also the first native New Zealander of the CLIMO clan – another boast made frequently by her proud father, who had an extremely strong sense of family and his Cornish lineage.
There have been many stories of Elizabeth Catherine's early life handed down from generation to generation:
- Upon her birth she received the gift by a local Maori chief of a plot of land in the new settlement upon his seeing a white-skinned baby;
- She was nursed by Governor William Hobson while on his visit to Kawhia in 1842;
- The numerous journeys on foot and by small coastal craft with her parents as they sought employment;
- Having four brothers (one of whom died in infancy)and being nearly 11 years old before she acquired a sister. These circumstances set her apart to a certain extent and gave Elizabeth Catherine a certain maturity early in life. So it was not surprising that her marriage was announced when she was 16 years old:
"1857, April 30.In the home of Mr. James Pearce, Tataraimaka,
George POPE, 24. Sawyer, Bachelor, married by Mr. Joseph Long to
Elizabeth Catherine CLIMO, 16, Spinster. Registered 25 April 1857.
Witnesses: Mr. James CLIMO, Mr. John PHILLIPS (Elizabeth's uncle).
In 1859 Elizabeth Catherine gave birth to her first child – William POPE - who was said to have been born at Bell Block. His birth sealed the successful establishment of the family, only 19 years after James and Jane set out on their great adventure from England. But this happy time was cruely shattered by the Taranaki Wars – a massive blow to all the settlers, many of whom, including the CLIMO’s and the POPE's, were evacuated to Nelson and the safety of the South Island.
The next recorded event is the setting up by the four POPE brothers - George, Robert, John and Roger – of a sawmill in the Wakamarina Valley. The men erected their tents not far from the Canvastown Hotel at the junction of the Wakamarina and Pelorus Rivers. Here too, the CLIMO’s stayed for a time and it was while they were there that gold was first found in the Wakamarina River. Elizabeth Catherine and her mother, Jane had been washing clothes in the stream when they found glittering particles stuck to the garments. When the women showed the men, their discovery was declared to be gold! But it would be another 4 years until serious exploitation of gold began.
In the meantime, Elizabeth Catherine and George had moved on to Picton with the CLIMO’s. In 1861 they were living in Waitohi Valley where George and his father-in-law, James were working for Captain DALTON at his new mill at Koromiko. It was equipped with a circular saw – the first in Marlborough. This mill was eventually to make way for a dairy factory and a railway stop on the line to Blenheim. In Havelock, on 21 June 1862, Henry (Harry) POPE, (my great-great-grandfather) was born. Soon afterwards Elizabeth Catherine, George and their children moved with the CLIMO’s from mill to mill as each became established and where their family continued to grow: George was born at Picton on 19 February 1866, Harriet at Mahakipawa on 05 December 1867, Frank at also at Mahakipawa on 27 May 1870 and Elizabeth Alice, at Hoods Bay on 11 September 1872. About this time it appears that George went out on his own and joined up with Mr. W.R BROWNLEE, for on 11 April 1881, while working at Brownlee’s new mill at Blackball in Havelock, Elizabeth Catherine gave birth to Mary Ellen. Another daughter, Margaret Ann followed on 06 November 1882, and James Richard, who was born on 22 November 1884, completed the family; the latter two having been born at Kaiuma.
Elizabeth Catherine and George POPE took everything in their stride, coped with all the changes of fortunes in the early pioneering days and emerged as a power in the community in which they lived. But time inevitably takes its toll and after a long illness, George Whiting POPE sadly died in Nelson Hospital on 18 August 1907. His body lies in Wakapuaka Cemetery in Nelson. On 01 June 1908 Elizabeth Catherine died and was buried in Havelock. Her father James would survive her by another 3 years and was laid to rest near her. No burial ground in the country could perhaps record more history of these two families than that of Havelock.
on 2010-05-15 23:19:45
I have been researching my family tree for over a year now & have a lot of information regarding the Climo's. So I am hoping to connect with any descendants of James and Jane as well as descendants of my 3rd-great-grandfather's family, the Popes. His name was George Whiting Pope. And lastly, I am trying to find information on my 2nd-great-grandmother's family, the Cotton's, who lived in Nelson. I have found some information which I am happy to share here and am ever hopeful that I may connect with descendants of this family also.