Henry (Harry) POPE and Caroline COTTON
Henry – or Harry POPE as he was known to the family – was the second child of Elizabeth Catherine and George Whiting POPE. He was born at Havelock on 21 June 1862 and he grew up to the sounds of bush-felling and the saw. He worked mostly in the Canvastown area as a young man and it was here that he married 18-year old Caroline COTTON, from Nelson. Harry took his young bride to her first home by bullock wagon!
Caroline used to tell her grandchildren (my grandfather included), how they used boxes and packing cases for furniture, draping them with muslin and lace until her log cabin home became as neat and tidy as a doll’s house, with hospitality and neighbourliness its pride. Then the children began arriving. John William Francis was born at Havelock in 1884, just before Harry took Caroline to the Wairarapa, where he was to clear bush for the railway construction at Woodside. While there, Harry and Caroline’s second child, Mary Ann Elizabeth was born at Greytown in 1886. When the bush contract was finished, the young family moved back to Canvastown, where they remained for many years.
Caroline became a familiar sight as she pushed her wicker pram with her two children, over deeply rutted dirt road 6 miles to the shopping centre of Havelock, before returning home with the pram laden with the week’s supply of provisions, along with the children. Harry worked at Brownlee’s Mill and the family continued to grow. Harriet Jane was born in 1888, Iveline in 1890, Percy Henry Ney in 1892, Sylverta Nance, (my great-grandmother) in 1895, Arthur George in 1897, Walter James in 1899, Maude in 1902 and finally Dulcie in 1909. All the children were born in their Aunt Jane POPE’s nursing home in Havelock, before its closure in 1921.
Henry and Caroline returned to Greytown in 1926 to work at Brownlee’s Mill. Apart from a short period at the mill in Ruru, on the West Coast in 1932-33, Henry and Caroline lived out their last years in Greytown, surrounded by their family, who were now widespread throughout the Wairarapa and Wellington provinces. While adapting themselves to the new life of modern times with the convenience of telephone, electricity, a hot water supply, washing machines and even air travel, this old couple retained a good-humoured but healthy contempt for the “softness” of modern living and were long remembered for the kindness, generosity and warmth of their home at the little white cottage in the main street of Greytown.
Henry and Caroline lived to celebrate their Diamond wedding anniversary on 06 November 1943. Two and a half years later, Caroline passed away on 10 March 1947 and is buried in the Greytown cemetery. Henry died on 22 October 1951 and is buried beside her.
The following letter, dated at Blenheim on 22 October 1951 was received by the family of the late Harry POPE:
I am so sorry to hear of your dear father passing on, someone rang up my neighbour just now to tell me of it. The first job of any length I took on when I left our old farm, was to help fall 200 acres of bush for Brownlee & Co. at 17/6 per acre, was with your father, we got 850 super feet of timber to build a Whare [house] to live in while we fell that piece of bush. John Brownlee charged us one shilling a hundred for it and sent it up the line free of charge, nine of us fell the 200 acres in eleven weeks and we made 7 /10 pence a day at it, we worked in 3 gangs of 3. I will name them here. The top gang were George POPE, Arthur Rusk and Godfurry Timmonsen, next Alex Maule, Walter Leamore and Tommy Walker, next Harry POPE, Mic Hodgin and Bert Rutland. That was the first job your father took after Brownlees knocked off the Bullocks and took on horses. Jim POPE, Harry’s uncle went to North Island for a job and Bill TWIDLE got one of the horse teams, Bill Jones and his brother-in-law Hughie Andrews got the other two horse teams and after a year a fourth horse team was worked by Bob Anderson and his two sons, that went on nearly till log haulers did the whole of the log hauling through Ronga and Opouri Valley.
I will write here a bit about your grandmother and your great-grandmother’s finding the first gold on Wakamarina River in 1860 and my forefathers finding a larger lot in 1864 that led to the gold rush; your uncle Bill POPE told me that his grandmother really found the gold on the clothes that her and her daughter were washing. Although Mrs George POPE always got the credit for it, that would be the case of the aged lady handing the credit to the young one, this last point your young people putting this fact on record in future. I have built a monument up Wakamarina with –
Mrs. George Whiting POPE (nee Elizabeth Catherine CLIMO) found the first gold on this river five miles down stream where she then lived in the year 1860.
The monument is concrete and stands 6 feet high and is just about Mountain Camp Creek where the Rutland party got the gold in the river; it is on the public roadside where it can be seen a quarter of a mile from where the gold was taken out by the prospectors actually was. I hope this will be valued by your family. I will advise you to get it typed and kept by the POPE family. I suppose Arthur POPE of Seddon was the man who rang up my neighbour today and told me of my old mate’s death.
F.H (Bert) Rutland
on 2010-05-16 05:57:36
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.