<< Previous - Next >>

the autograph book of FLORA JANE SIMSON

Journal by ngairedith

on 13 June 2012 Betty (surname supplied) wrote to me saying
... "Our family recently found an old autograph book belonging to a Flora Simsons from Manaia, Taranaki. In the book there are entries from Maud Mary Putt of Manaia, Ethel Maud Mary Putt, Riverbank, Manaia 1912, a pen drawing of Durham Cathedral and Castle by Charles Putt, Coralie Putt, Riverbank Manaia 1912 and Ruby H Putt Manaia. I saw these names on your family circles research. I am trying to locate the family of Flora Simson, firstly to see if there is any connection to our family and secondly to pass on the autograph book to descendants of Flora. There are other Simsons mentioned in the book: Adelaide Simson Manaia 1910 and Ruby Simson 1910. There are quite a few other names as well Can you provide any information regarding Flora's family?. There is a signed photo of Miss Violet Carmen and her composer/pianist Alf J. Lawrance. Written at the bottom of the page is Wellington Theatre Royal 16/8/1913. There's also a signed caricature of Edward Elliott and Sunshine James - a ventriloquist dated 1913"

so, working down from Flora's paternal grandmother (after whom Flora is obviously named) this is the family that leads to 'our' Flora ...

FLORA CAMERON (1820-1886) arrived in Wellington in 1840
- she was about 20 and arrived with her parents (will research more at a later date)
- Flora married THOMAS RITCHIE SIMSON (1819-1907) 3 Oct 1844 in Wellington

In 1850 Thomas had the Highlander Inn in Kaiwarra road, Wellington when he advertised, to sell or let, a Freehold Property in Wade's Town of 2 acres, substantially fenced and cleared with a house on it

in 1860 Thomas was in Dunedin when a number of East Taieri settlers signed that he was a proper person to keep a Licensed Accommodation House when he applied for a Bush License to sell Spirituous Liguors

In 1873 Thomas was in the Tuapeka Goldfields when he applied for application for an agricultural lease of unserveyed land situated at block IV., Waitahuna East, adjoining the land applied for by Robert Craig, comprising 3 acres

In 1877 Thomas was in Waitahuna when he found a piece of petrified wood, about two foot long and one foot thick, about 7 foot below the surface, and three foot above the bed rock on what was called the Waitahuna heights. It resembled a piece of waterworn greenstone and as hard as flint. That part of the Waihuna Gully then became known as Simson Reef

In 1886 FLORA SIMSON died in Opunake
... On the 21st November 1886, at the residence of her sons, Taungatara, near Opunake, Flora, the beloved wife of Mr Thomas R. Simson. She was the second daughter of Mr Hugh Cameron of Kaiwarra, Wellington, who has long preceeded her to the grave.
- Flora is buried Plot 346 (old plot #34), Block E at Opunake General cemetery

by 1902 Thomas was living in Wanganui

On 1 Sep 1907 THOMAS RITCHIE SIMSON died in Wanganui Hospital aged 88

(concentrating on 1 son only at this time)
1851 - 1901 David Cameron Simson
- David married Elizabeth PUTT (1860-1930) in 1888
- Elizabeth was 1 of 15 children of John PUTT (1822-1895) & Susannah HART (1834-1899) of Omata, New Plymouth

the 9 CHILDREN of David Cameron & Elizabeth Simson:

(grandchildren of Flora & Thomas Ritchie Simson

... 1
1889 - 1955 * FLORA JANE SIMSON

- Flora married Gerald Vaughan COOKE (1882-1967) in 1914
- Gerald was 1 of at least 9 children of Charles & Agnes Cooke. He was an 'At Home' Photographer in Feilding. When his brother, Saxon Haviland Cooke, went to war in Jan 1916, he was sited as Next Of Kin at his mother's home, Manchester street, Feilding
On April 15th 1914, at St Mary's, New Plymouth, the marriage was celebrated by the Rev A. Colvile, of Miss Flora Jane Simson, eldest daughter of Mrs Simon of New Pymouth, and Mr Gerald Vaughan Cooke, second son of the late *C. J. Cooke. Esq., Barrister of Wanganui. Mr and Mrs Cooke have taken up their residence in Feilding
- this was *Charles James & Agnes Cooke
- one of the children of Flora & Gerald, Edelweiss Yeovill 'Teddy' Cooke, married Ernest Mervyn TAYLOR 15 Dec 1937 in Wanganui
21 Aug 1938 The engagement is announced of Edelwiess Yeoville, elder daughter of Mr and Mrs G. V. Cooke, of Sedgebrook, Wanganui, to Ernest 'Mervyn', only son of Mr and Mrs *E. H. Taylor, Ponsonby, Auckland
- this was *Ernest Herbert TAYLOR & Emily WEBBER

... 2
1890 - 1958 David Cameron Henry Simson

... 3
1891 - 1967 Thomas Cyril Cameron Simson

- David & Thomas were Farmers in Whenuakura, Patea in 1917 when they were adjudged bankrupt

... 4
1892 - 1961 Wilfred Cameron Simson

- Wilfred married Emma Eva Jane JOHANNESSEN (1895-1968) in 1915

... 5
1894 - Irene Ethelda Simson
, born 2 Jan 1894

... 6
1894 - 1912 Ruby Annice Simson
, born 19 Nov 1894
- Ruby died aged 17. At Hawera, on September 5th, 1912, Ruby Annise, third beloved daughter of Mrs Elizabeth Simson; aged 17 years. Deeply regretted
- Ruby is buried Plot 1330 (old plot 1), Block XI at Hawera General

... 7
1897 - Adelaide ELizabeth Cameron Simson

- Adelaide married Wilfrid Howard HICKSON in 1920

... 8
1898 - 1899 Effie Beatrice Simson

- Effie died aged 15 months

... 9
1899 - 1900 Alice Muriel Simson

- Alice died aged 8 months

about 1908 - 1919 * FLORA JANE SIMSON (1889-1955) had an autograph book

the names in Flora's book are:
* K. R. BOWDEN, Nelson
- this was Keble Reginald Bowden born 1892, only known child of Walter Ellis BOWDEN & Clara BATCHELOR
- Keble was KILLED IN ACTION 8 May 1915 aged 23 in Gallipoli
- in 1931 a Keble Reginald Bowden (1915-1983) was the Nelson College senior swimming champion. He was a son of Frank Eustace BOWDEN (1888-1964) & Frederika 'Freda' MUNTZ (1892-1981)

* Geo BROOKS, Hawera 1911
- possibly George Henry Brooks, who in 1917, when called up for war was living in Whenukua, South Taranaki

*Miss Violet CARMEN, signed photo of her & her husband, composer/pianist Alf J. LAWRANCE 1913
- Violet was described as a 'dainty artist' & 'versatile entertainer' and Alf J. Lawrance was a lyricist/composer of many songs used with slide sets. They were 'society entertainers of popular music', very popular in Australasia 1911-1920. Billed as Carmen and Lawrance, the pair found engagements in Australia and New Zealand through until 1921. In the early to mid-1920s he partnered singer Nell Crane before going solo

* Maude COLLIN, Wanganui
- Maude Edith Collin (1890-1960) married Edmund Henry SHARROCK in 1915

* Heather COOKE, Wanganui 1912
- this was Heather Violet Charmain Cooke (1890-1982), a sister of Gerald Vaughan Cooke who married Flora. Heather married Sydney James Score PALMER in 1926. He served in WWI as Lance Corporal 60190 with the NZEF Specialst Company. He embarked 16 Nov 1917. His father was then in Remuera, Auckland

* G CROUCH, Wellington 1913


* Edward ELLIOTT, a signed caricature 1913
- Edward 'Teddy' Elliott was a renowned ventriloquist & described as 'one of the finest artistes of the present day'. His mechanical doll was named Sunshine James and Teddy signed the book for him
Elliott was an actor, writer, and ventriloquist from England who began performing around 1900.
- this and the photo below was taken from
Ventiloquists in the Later Vaudeville Years 1900-1930

... In 1904, at the age of 24, Elliott formed his own independent show and became the proprietor of the Pronouns Concert Party. In 1911 Elliott began his first overseas tour and performed in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Sunshine James was a big hit in Australia in the early 1920's. He had his own fan club, and Elliott often brought him to perform at large gala events.
- there is a link at that page (in PDF) to a wonderful, in-depth biography of Edward Elliott written by his daughter Peggy Elliott Ransom - a must-read

* Florence M ELLIOTT, (London) 1913
- this was Florence nee TENCH, wife of Edward 'Teddy' Elliot the ventriloqiist

* Harold James ENGLEFIELD
- (1868-1934), lived Princess street Palmerston North, buried Kelvin Grove
HJE (drawing - is this Harold James Englefield?

* Tamo FAMA
- this was Gaetano Joseph Fama (1883-1940) who was one of the 'Famous Diggers' giving concerts in NZ. He was well known for his humorous sketches. During the war, in 1917, he was one of the 'Singing Kiwis' with the NZ Divisional Entertainers in France


* C GARVEY, 1910

* C GEORGE, 1909

* Marion GEORGE
- Marion wrote Can'st tell me Flora of some good plan, For one to catch some nice young man. "Barkiss is Willin"
- Marion George (1879-1958) married William Herbert CARTY (1878-1959) in 1911


* Lily F GIBION?/Gibson?, Taihape 1918


* Sunshine JAMES
- he was the mechanical doll manipulated by Teddy Elliott, ventriloqist above

* E G JONES, 1919

* Thelma KEESING, 1913

* Helen J MACE, Manaia 1912

* Prof Alf MARTIN, 1918

- an Allan Cecil Maxwell (1886-1965) married Winifred May JAMESON in 1919

* Carrie McPHERSON, Hawera

* Keith McKENZIE 1911, A.D. 1911

* Charles PUTT - a pen drawing of Durham Cathedral and Castle
- possibly maternal grandfather, however she had a number of cousins named Charles Putt

* Coralie PUTT, Riverbank Manaia 1912
- Flora's cousin, see Putt family below
- Coralie Isabel Putt (1887-1976) married Hugh Burnaby SPARROW (1885-1965) in 1913

* Ethel Maud Mary PUTT, Riverbank, Manaia 1912
- Flora's cousin, see Putt family below

* Maud Mary PUTT, Manaia
- could be same as above

* Ruby H PUTT, Manaia
- Flora's cousin, see Putt family below
- Ruby Helen Putt married Reginald Gorge ELLICOTT in 1917

* Ruby N H RENNIE, 1912
- this was possibly Ruby Margaret Hill Rennie (1892-1923) who was born in Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Was living in Taumarunui in 1914 and died in Nahape, Waikato

* Eileen M SHANAHAN, Kaupokonui

* Agnes J. B. SHEARER - a signed painting
- this was Agnes Jane Ballantyne Shearer (1889-1972) who married David OGILVY in 1912 & had 7 children
- Agnes was 1 of 12 chilren of William Shearer & Agnes Armstrong JOHNSTONE of Manaia, whose first 3 children, 1877-1880, were born in Scotland

* Lena SUTTON, 1908
- Lena wrote Flora said: This is the work of only but a fool. Lena replied: Not always, in this case exception proves the rule
- Lena Bertha Sutton (1890-1986) married Robert GUTHRIE in 1919
On July 18th 1919 at St John's Church, Wanganui, by the Ven. Archdeacon Reeve, Sert. Robert Guthrie, N.Z.E.F., to Lena Bertha Sutton, third daughter of the late Mr and Mrs W. Sutton of Manaia

* Adelaide SIMSON
- Flora's sister, Adelaide Elizabeth Cameron Simson

- Flora's sister, Ruby Annice Simson who died aged 17 in 1912

* M. WILSON - a signed painting by

* Guy WOODWARD, Repongaere, Patutahi, Poverty Bay 1909
- Guy wrote There was a crowd & they were three, Flora, the lamp and he, Two's company; and no doubt, That's why that knowing lamp went out
- this was Guy Fosbrooke Woodward (1891-1915). He was KILLED IN ACTION 1915 Gallipoli

other names from Flora's autograph book *
Richard Putt (1853-1944) (a brother of Elizabeth Putt, Flora's mother)
- married Jane Rodd HOOKER (1852-1946) in 1874
- they had 9 children:
1875 - 1952 Florence Elizabeth Putt
- Florence married Walter Des FORGES (1872-1945) in 1902
1877 - 1971 Mabel Susannah Putt
- Mabel married Anthony Augustine O'NEILL (1876-1929) in 1904
1879 - 1968 Ida Beatrice May Putt
- Ida married Charles Edward OLD (1881-1951) in 1903
1881 - 1966 Edgar Richard Atheling Putt
- Edgar married Flora Nicholson CHRISTIE (1880-1974) in 1904
- they are buried in Manaia Old Lawn cemetery
1883 - 1978 Ivy Beatrice Putt
- Ivy married Ernest John BETTS in 1910
* 1884 - Ethel Maude Mary Putt
- Ethel married twice
* 1886 - 1976 Coralie Isabel Putt
- Coralie married Hugh Burnaby SPARROW (1885-1965) in 1913
- they had a son, Edmund Hugh Sparrow (1918-1941) KILLED IN ACTION, Western Desert
*1890 - 1961 Ruby Helen Putt
- Ruby married Reginald George ELLICOTT (1888-1947) in 1917

so, Flora and her family now found, we need to find out how Flora's autograph book came to be found in Betty's grandfathers house nearly 100 years later

Betty's grandfather was Bert HOBDAY (1889-1973) who arrived in New Zealand, with his brother Arthur, when he was 14 to stay with his uncle, Thomas BULL in Rongotea, Manawatu
- Bert had a passion for photography and is believed to be the first professional aerial photographer in New Zealand. He was commissioned by the Auckland Weekly to photograph the damage to Napier after the 1931 earthquake
- an aerial view of Feilding taken in 1930 by Bert
- Bert married Mary 'Girlie' NESBIT (1885-1967) in Feilding & had 4 children
30 April 1913 On April 30, at the Presbyterian Church, Feilding, by the Rev. G. Budd, Mary (Girlie), eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs J. Nesbit, of Feilding, to Bert, third son of the late Mr George Hobday, of "Southfield", Romford, England
photo of Bert Hobday Founder of the New Zealand Professional Photographers Association

Bert Hobday (1889-1973) had a photography studio in Feilding, 'Hobdays Rona Studio' in the Cobbe Building, corner of Manchester & Fergusson streets

Flora's husband, Gerald Vaughan Cooke (1882-1967) was also a photographer in Feilding (until they moved back to Wanganui). He had the photography business 'At Home Photograher' in Manchester street (next to the school which was at 160 Manchester st, about 1km from Bert). Being in the same trade, in the same small town they would certainly have known each other. For Flora's book to have ended up at Bert's house they surely visited each other

BUT, how the book ACTUALLY came to be in Bert's home is now just a guess. Maybe she left it at the studio and it was taken home by Bert. Maybe she left it a Bert's house and never retrieved it. Bert & Gerald were of a similar age, maybe Flora (born 1889) was friends with Bert's wife Girlie (born 1885) ???

If you can add anything further please leave a comment below so I can pass it on to Betty and solve the mystery for her

Edward Elliott & Sunshine James
taken from the link at Edward's name above

by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-06-13 05:45:50


Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.