Jane CLIMO and Frank Wilson POPE
Jane was born in New Plymouth on 18 February 1855, the eight child of James and Jane CLIMO. In 1860,when Jane was 5 years old, her family were evacuated to Nelson during the Taranaki wars. She attended school in Picton, Kaiuma and Mahakipawa before moving to Hoods Bay in the Pelorus Sound. In 1870 she moved to Wanganui where she stayed for 2 years before returning to the Pelorus area. She married James RADLEY at the age of 18 years not long after her return to Pelorus.
James died three years later, leaving Jane with two young children, Emily Elizabeth and Ann Louise Jane (sadly both girls died in childhood). In 1878 she re-married to Frank Wilson POPE in Havelock. Frank was born in Taranaki in 1851 and the two had known each other well all their lives as Jane’s elder sisters Elizabeth Catherine and Emily had married Frank’s brothers (George and Roger respectively).
Jane was trained and worked as a midwife for 40 years. She kept a maternity home in Havelock for 25 years, during which time hundreds of babies were born under her care. She kept in touch with many of these children - whom she referred to as her ‘Havelock Babies’ for many years. One of these babies was the younger sister of Sir Ernest Rutherford. Jane was also a staunch member of the Methodist Church and in October 1899 she was invited to lay the foundation stone of the new Methodist Church in Havelock. The only Sunday activity that Jane allowed her children was attending church in the morning and a sedate walk in the afternoon with the minister’s daughter. One Sunday, as they crossed a stream, they became aware that the water was teeming with whitebait. Jane's daughter Jessie wanted to scoop them out with her hands as they were so plentiful but the minister’s daughter was horrified: they couldn’t catch whitebait on a Sunday so they would have to return on Monday. They did return the next day … but the whitebait didn’t!
Another story known in the family reflects the frugality practised in those early days. Jane’s younger son, Redvers was to go to college as a boarder which was a great event in the family. Jane received a long list of clothing requirements in half dozen lots: socks, singlets, trousers, shirts etc. “Stuff and nonsense, he’ll take what he needs!” Jane said, throwing the list aside. A short time later, Jane received an account from the school for the remainder of Redver's requirements which she had to purchase for him “so he would feel on a par with the other lads!” Unfortunately, Redvers suffered from acute bronchitis and asthma all his life and died prematurely in Tauranga at the age of only 47 years, only three years after Jane’s death.
In 1941 Jane, together with her nieces Alice Maude and Ada Adaline, attended the Centennial celebration of the arrival of the William Bryan at New Plymouth. She was one of the few surviving children of the first settlers to be present.
Most of Frank Wilson’s working life had been spent at Brownlee’s Mill in Havelock but in 1925 the family moved to Hamilton to be nearer their two sons and their families. However Frank loved the life of the sawmill and continued to frequent the mills on the coast at Bell Hill and the last being at Ruru until his health declined. Jane persuaded him to come up to Hamilton to the home that she had established in Ulster Street. Even then Frank could not rest until he had found a niche for himself as a ‘saw doctor’ at the local technical school. Frank died in 1936 at the age of 65 years.
Jane continued to enjoy good health and was able to maintain her independence by doing her own housework, visiting friends and walking to church every Sunday. She was interviewed by the Waikato Times shortly after her 85th birthday as she had become the oldest passenger to travel to Sydney by Tasman Empire Airways in the flying-boat Awarua. She made the trip to celebrate her birthday and she got to celebrate in both Auckland and Sydney that same day. She was no stranger to air travel having made a number of flights within New Zealand, including four trips to the South Island. In her early days she had crossed Cook Strait in at least five different sailing ships and had visited Australia a number of times by steamer. Two of these crossing were made during the Great War under blackout conditions and on one occasion an alarm given for a boat drill but it turned out to be a false alrm. Jane preferred flying and she had remarked that her previous inland trips were not long enough so she decided, when the Tasman air service was established that she would take a flight to Sydney (her daughter Jessie lived in Kiama, NSW).
Jane died on 22 May 1944 at the age of 89 years and she was buried beside her beloved Frank in the Hamilton Cemetery.
on 2010-05-16 01:46:38
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.