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John 'Chantrey' HARRIS & Bessie BRADFORD

Journal by ngairedith

JOHN 'CHANTREY' HARRIS
was born 23 October 1830 in Bath, England
- his parents were Joseph HARRIS & Jemima MUNDAY
he married ELIZABETH 'Bessie' BRADFORD in Sydney in 1866
The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 June 1866 HARRISBRADFORD May 17th, at St. Andrew's Church, by the Rev. T. O'Reilly, Chantrey Harris, of Bath, England, to Bessie, only daughter of Alfred Bradford, of this city.

they had 3 known children in New Zealand
... 1
1870 - 1882 Catherine Eveleigh Bradford Harris
- Catherine died 24 August 1882 aged 12
Southland Times, 23 August 1882 HARRIS - Translate to a higher sphere, on the 21st August, Catherine Eveleigh Bradford, eldest daughter of Chantrey and Elizabeth Harris, aged 12 years, of pneumonia, at Wellington, on 21st inst
- she is buried plot 0507 at Bolton street, Wellington with her mother

... 2
1872 - 1952 Chantrey Alfred Harris
- Chantrey was on the Australian Electoral Roll in Coolgardie, WA in 1903-1906
The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 August 1952 HARRIS - Chantrey Alfred - August 4 1952 at his residence Norfolk Island, dearly loved husband of Edith Harris aged 79 years
The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 April 1953 IN the Will of CHANTREY ALFRED HARRIS late of Bucks Point in the territory of Norfolk Island deceased - Application will be made after 14 days from the publication hereof that Probate of the Will of the above named deceased granted by the Court of Norfolk Island to Edith Harris may be sealed with the seal of this Court and all notices may be served at the undermentioned address. All creditors in the Estate of the said deceased are hereby required to send in particulars of their claims to the undersigned A. E. WHATMORE G. C. M. GEE & CO., Solicitors, 14 Spring; Street, Sydney

... 3
1877 - 1948 Ethel Dorothea Harris
- Ethel married Robert HOPE in London 29 Oct 1906
New Zealand Herald, 8 December 1906 HOPE-HARRIS - On the 29th October, at St George's, Hanover-square, London W., by the Rev David Anderson, M.A., Robert Hope to Ethel Dorothea, daughter of the late J. Chantrey and Elizabeth Harris, of Wellington, New Zealand
... A New Zealand wedding took place in London on Monday last. It was specially noteworthy from the fact that the bride had only reached England from New Zealand barely three hours before the ceremony
NOTE A Tenancy Case in Lower Hutt in February 1937, in which Ethel Dorothea Hope sued for possession of a house at Boulcott Avenue and Cabinet Ministers became involved


JOHN CHANTREY HARRIS died 12 February 1895 in Milton
Feilding Star, 15 February 1895 HARRIS - At Milton, Otago, on the 12th instant, John Chantrey harris, formerly proprietor of the New Zealand Times, in his 65th year
- John is buried plot 0516 at Bolton street Wellington
ELIZABETH HARRIS died 4 July 1906 aged 67
Evening Post, 5 July 1906 HARRIS - On the 4th July 1906, at her residence, "Orendon", Halswell-street, Elizabeth, wife of the late John Chantrey Harris, in her 67th year
- Elizabeth is buried plot 0507 at Bolton street with daughter Catherine


the OBITUARY of JOHN CHANTREY HARRIS
... Bruce Herald, 15 February 1895 ...

It is our melancholy duty to chronicle the demise at his residence, Ossian street, Milton, on Tuesday last, of Mr J. Chantrey Harris, proprietor and editor of the BRUCE HERALD. As is well known to our readers Mr harris had been suffering for a couple of months past from a very serious illness, and those who were intimate with the family knew only too well, fully a month ago, that a fatal termination might be expected at any moment.
The relatives and friends, therefore, were not quite unprepared when the end came.

In a sense the late Mr Harris had been only a sojourner among us. It is little more than two years ago since he took up his residence here, becoming about that time proprietor of the BRUCE HERALD, into which he infused all the vigor of his active mind, and all the well known energy of his nature. He took special pride and pleasure in his favourite column "Round the Corners", which will henceforward be missed from our broad sheet, because no one else can possibly deal in the same strain with passing events. Our leading columns, too, were his special care, and it is not too much to say that his articles were characterised by breadth of view and clearness of mental vision.

He scorned to give needless offence, but where a duty had to be discharged he would leave no stone unturned to encourage what he believed to be right and expose what he considered wrong.
In his self imposed task of describing some of the farms on the plain and in the district he spared no person effort, taxing himself, indeed, beyond his powers of endurance;

The sympathy of our readers will be extended under the sad circumstances to the bereaved family.
"Friend after friend departs -
Who hath not lost a friend?
There is no union here of hearts
That finds not here an end"

JOHN CHANTREY HARRIS was born at \bath, England, in October, 1830, his father, who was a sculptor, being the friend and pupil of Sir Francis Chantrey. He went to sea when thirteen years of age, and was engaged for some time in the West Indian trade.
In 1851 he was wrecked at the Cape of Good Hope, and afterwards joined the English barque Gwalior as chief officer at Capetown. The captain and second officer being attacked with delirium tremens caused considerable trouble to the passengers, and brought the crew to a state bordering on mutiny.
Mr Harris, at the request of the passengers, put the captain and second mate in irons, took charge of the ship, and after an eventful voyage brought her safely to Auckland. And well indeed was it for the passengers and crew that there was such a one to take charge of affairs at such a serious juncture, or it is difficult to say what might have resulted. The great probability is that she would never have reached New Zealand at all.

On arrival at Auckland he left the Gwalior, and shortly afterwards became connected with the first steamer built in New Zealand. This was the Governor Wynyard, a paddle steamer built by Mr Robert Stone at Auckland in 1851. The steamer had a keel length of 52 feet, with a beam of 13 feet, and was built originally for the purpose of effecting a trade up the rivers and creeks near Auckland.
After being engaged for some time in the river trade at Auckland, it became evident that New Zealand was not yet ripe for steamboats, and as the Victorian goldfields had just opened the owners resolved to send the Governor Wynyard across to Melbourne. A difficulty here presented itself, as though there were plenty of sailors of the best sort available, yet there were few navigators, and it was necessary to get a competent man. Just at this time the Gwalior came into port and Mr Harris agreed to go as captain of the Governor Wynyard. Prior to starting, however, the vessel was dismantled and rigged out as a fore and aft schooner.

The voyage across occupied five weeks, and during the first four weeks the captain did not have his clothes off except for personal cleanliness. Half the time the ship was hove to in gale after gale, and at last the captain resolved to put into Twofold Bay, where she remained for three days before proceeding on her journed to Port Phillip. All things considered the voyage was a very smart one for the little vessel, and reflected great credit on her skipper and his crew.

Mr Harris continued in command for about two months after this, running in the Yarra between Melbourne and Hobson's bay. Being then seized with a bad attack of the gold fever he bade farewell to the Governor Wynyard and started for Forest Creek. Here he engaged in the occupation of a miner for some time, and afterwards visited Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine, where he put in a goodly number of years in search of the precious metal, and with varying success.

He next journeyed over the border to New South Wales, but on the discovery of gold in New Zealand he joined the rush, which set in shortly afterwards to Gabriel's Gully, and spent some time on this field.
About this time Mr Harris turned his attention in another direction, and decided in future to depend less on his hands than on his brains to carry him through the world. To this end he cast about and finally became associated with the West Coast 'Times' published at Hokitika, as mining reporter. Remaining there for a considerable time he did remarkably good work for the journal with which he was connected. His practical experience on the goldfields of Australia and Otago made him peculiarly fitted for the position, and as he wielded a particularly free pen, his mining articles were very forcibly written, and were in consequence widely read and highly thought of.

In 1866, having then been a few years engaged on the West Coast 'Times' Mr Harris went over to Sydney, where he was married, returning to Hokitika with his wife. An unfortunate incident occurred right at the close of the voyage, a fellow passenger being dashed overboard and drowned when that boat was entering the harbor at Hokitika. The affair cast quite a gloom over the remainder of the passengers. A strange presentiment seemed to have taken hold on him a little time before that he would not reach land in safety.
On arrival at Hokitika Mr Harris resumed his work on the staff of the 'Times' for some time, and he then accepted another offer which was made to him, still in the same line of business, however, and he was then engaged for a number of years as agent and mining reported of the 'Daily Southern Cross' at the Thames, Auckland, which was then attracting considerable attention as an important goldmining filed, Here, as on the West Coast, he displayed a large amount of practical knowledge in the subject which it was his special province to write on, and he was not long in adding still further to the high name which he had earned for himself at Hokitika as a mining correspondent.

His early experience again stood him in good stead, and he was able to write as one who knew exactly what he was talking about, and who was consequently an authority on the subject.

During his residence at the Thames he made numerous friends, and when, in 1873, he severed his connection with the district to join the staff of the 'Otago Daily Times' he was presented by a few of his friends with a handsome gold watch, guard and locket as a tribute to the conscientious discharge of his very onerous duties, in the fulfilment of which he had evinced more than average ability. Coming to Dunedin Mr Harris was detailed to looking after the shipping interests of the paper at Port Chalmers, and here again his early training came to his aid, so that he had before long made quite a name for himself in this branch of journalism, even as he had previously done at Hokitika and Thames when in charge of the mining department. During this time, some time in 1874 or 1875, his intimate acquaintance with seamanship enabled him to prevent what might have been a serious marine disaster, and also added considerably to his own fame.

Towards the close of 1874 the chief mate and crew of the sip Rosalia, afterwards re-named the Don Juan, were charged at Napier by the captain with refusing to proceed in the vessel on the alleged ground that she was unseaworthy. Captain Fairchild, in giving evidence, said that in his opinion the vessel was seaworthy, or at all events sufficiently so to proceed to Dunedin, for which port she was bound. The mate was sentenced to three months imprisonment, and the others to lesser periods, with hard labour. The Rosalia took on a fresh crew and continued on her voyage, but it was by the merest good fortune that on the way down the lives of all on board were not sacrificed. She arrived in Port Chalmers, the windmill that had been rigged up to keep the pumps going having broken down, and the donkey engine continually working. She was then making fifteen inches of water an hour. While she lay at Port Chalmers she was the subject of much interest and discussion, and to Mr Harris was due infinite credit for the dauntless zeal with which he pressed the cause of humanity, and without regard to the hostility of a clique, or the consequences to himself, steadily maintained that the Rosalia should never again be permitted to go to sea. Had it not been for his courage and determination, the public would most assuredly have had to lament another disaster at sea - have had to mourn once more over the desolation caused to many a household by the rapacity of shipowners.
To give an idea of the high estimation in which he was held for the part he took in this matter we may mention that he received some time afterwards from Mr Plimsoll, the eminent English marine authority, a highly eulogistic letter congratulating him on the stand he had taken up. This however, is only one of many cases in which, undeterred by opposition, he has at various times advocated much needed reforms, but it serves to illustrate the whole hearted manner in which he fulfilled his duties.

After spending a number of years at Port Chalmers Mr Harris was transferred to Dunedin, where he took his place on the general staff of the 'Times'. About this time he wrote a series of article for the 'Otago Witness' on "Colonial Reminiscences," which contained a number of experiences which had fallen to his lot both in Australia and New Zealand. These were widely read at the time and also very favourably received on all hands. And even at the present time they are extremely interesting reading, either to the older hands, who have themselves gone through many experiences similar to those mentioned, or to us of a younger generation, to whom they are known only as traditions handed down by our parents.

While engaged on the 'Otago Daily Times' staff, he made a tour through the North Island and the Hot Lakes district of Auckland, and on his return contributed an excellent series of articles to that journal descriptive of his tour, under the heading of "From Dunedin Northwards." These articles, which were all written in his best style, were highly instructive reading and won high renown for their author, and well they might, for if there was one branch of journalism in which our late friend excelled more than another, it was in the branch embracing writing of this description - special descriptive articles - at which he had probably few equals in the colony. The amount of information supplied in these articles, which ran into close on forty columns of the 'Times' was marvellous, and showed how keenly observant their writer must have been of passing events during the whole course of his travels. This was in 1877, and almost immediately after this Mr Harris received the appointment of editor of the 'Southland Times.'
He remained at Invercargill for about two years, after which he shook the dust of the South Island off his feet and took up his abode in Wellington, having, through the good offices of Mr J. W. Bain (of Invercargill) become proprietor of the 'New Zealand Times,' together with the weekly edition, the 'New Zealand Mail'.

His stay at Wellington lasted till 1890, and during that period he effected great improvements in both papers. It was about this time that he started the column known as "Round the Corners", over the signature of "Asmodeus" which still further added to the reputation which he had established as a journalist all over the colony. In this column he advocated many useful reforms, striving to right wrongs, and of the good causes he advocated none perhaps could speak so well as those who from time to time had been greatly benefited in various ways by his advocacy of their cause.

While in Wellington he took an active part in the formation and subsequent meetings of the Wellington Freethought Association, and delivered several lectures on the subject, which were all well received and attracted considerable attention at the time. During his sojourn there he also officiated at two funerals, that of Mr S. D. Parnell, the originator of the Eight Hours system, and that of his wife, on both occasions at the express wish of Mr Parnell. At the grave of the last-named he delivered a lengthy and powerful address dealing among other things on Socialism. In the course of his remarks he mentioned that the section of God's acre in which they were gathered was eminently socialistic, as it was set apart for general use and convenience, and therefore he could shock no sect, outrage no creed by appearing as a layman. But although assembled on neutral ground they all nurtured in their hearts some specialism congenial to themselves. There were many whose inward beliefs were slightly divergent from outward profession, whilst quite a number sturdily maintained opinions careless of consequence. But the age was notable for tolerance, a tolerance begotten of sentiment. It was many years since he became emancipated from theological dogman, and it was that so-called freedom of thought that first attracted Mr Parnell and led to their acquaintance. But neither of them ever threw off wholesome religious restraint or ignored moral conviction. And such in truth he was.
Tolerant himself of other people's opinions and convictions, he yet hated the intolerant spirit with which bigots of any description viewed those who in any way disagreed with their own particular view of things.

In all he did Mr Harris was nothing if not thorough. Difficulties which would have daunted many a man with him only served, when in the discharge of his duty, to spur him on to more determined efforts to surmount and overcome them. When as an employee he was dispatched on any mission he needed no lengthy orders, it was enough to tell him to do this or get that and if the thing was at all possible it was as good as done.
An instance of this trait in his character occurred in Wellington on the discovery of the Terawhiti goldfield. He started early in the morning, in spite of a southerly gale, to ride round the rocks to Terawhitti.

According to an account written at the time Archibald Forbes was a fool to him, and for pluck and perseverance, in spite of overwhelming difficulties, it is questionable if anything equal to his ride has ever taken place in the history of reporting. The waves were breaking fiercely over the rock bound coast, the path was difficult, and at last by some untoward accident he was plunged into the junction fo the Karori stream and the seething ocean. At this point he seems to have been in great danger, unstable rocks on one side, quicksands on the other, and out of his depth and the horses too where he was, but luckily his horse behaved with very great sagacity, and after attempting to land and failing in several places, he was carried by the faithful brute to shore safe and sound but soaking wet. On the way back from Terawhitti he again was a victim to circumstances, as he received an awkward blow on the head from an overhanging branch of a tree, However, he got back in safety, none the worse for his trip except for a little rheumatism. This incident will serve to show the indomitable pluck of the man when he had to go anywhere at the call of duty.

In June 1890 the 'New Zealand Times' and the 'Mail' changed hands, and Mr Harris then ceased to hold the editorial chair. Prior to his departure, however, he was the recipient of a presentation from the staff of the paper, as a token of the good feeling which had always existed between him and his employees. The presentation took the form of a handsome silver mounted fruit basket, and a copy of the 'Times' of June 21st 1890, the last issue bearing Mr Harris' imprint, printed on white satin. An address, handsomely illuminated, was also presented to Mr Harris by the overseer, on behalf of the workmen in the composing room.
Having, sometime prior to this period, sunk a considerable amount of capital in the Puhipuhi silver field, Whangarei, Mr Harris turned his face in that direction on leaving Wellington, and was engaged for some little time in watching over his interests at the field, which has not, however, up to the present, fulfilled the early expectations of the shareholders.

In 1892 he received word that the BRUCE HERALD was in the market, and his heart being still in journalistic work he soon made up his mind to purchase the property, which he did, arriving in Milton in August and bringing out the first publication under his management on the 23rd of that month. Since that time he has remained in Milton as proprietor and editor of the HERALD, He resumed his "Round the Corner" articles, over his old signature of "Asmodeus" which were begun in Wellington, his writings being always characterised by a large amount of force. Besides this he took a great interest in the doings of the farming community, and he wrote numerous articles during his residence here dealing with the various phases of the agricultural industry. In early life Mr Harris was blessed with excellent health, and even up till quite lately he was quite robust. It was about August last that he first complained of not feeling himself, and about this time consulted Dr Sutherland. Nothing serious resulted, however, and he still kept at his work, although it became evident to his friends that he was far from well. He got gradually weaker till at the end of October Dr Sutherland was again consulted. Mr Harris was then advised to go away for a time, and take a thorough rest, This, however, he seemed unwilling to do and continued his ordinary labors till the beginning of December, when he was obliged to take to his bed. Dr Sutherland attended him constantly from this time onward, visiting him on an average twice a day through the whole of his illness.
He showed signs of improvement from time to time but these slight rallyings were usually followed by a worse attack of breathing and greater pain. For some time back it was apparent that nothing could be done for the patient in the way of a cure, and that they must be content with alleviating his sufferings as best they could. It could not be said that the trouble had come on suddenly. The disease had evidently been in the system in a quiescent state for a considerable time, but the acute stage of the illness might have been delayed but for overwork and incessant worry, which finally wore him down. During the whole of his illness everything in the power of mortals was done for the sufferer by Dr Sutherland and the faithful nurses, who attended him day and night, but all was of no avail, and after growing gradually weaker he finally passed quietly away about half past eight on the night of Tuesday last.

Mr Harris leaves a widow and a son and daughter to mourn his loss. The son, who had been in Coolgardie for some months past, arrived home just about three hours before his father expired.
During his long colonial career Mr Harris had made many friends in all parts of New Zealand, among whom he was known as a man thoroughly upright in all his dealings, and noted for his honesty of purpose both in public and in private life. By his death many in the colony will have cause to mourn the loss of one who has always proved himself a true and valued friend.
The funeral takes place in Wellington on Saturday



PHOTO
plot 0516, Bolton Street Cemetery

last resting place of:
... John Chantrey Harris in 1895
* Sarah Jane Harris 23 Jan 1904 aged 49
photographed 1960s by City Sexton, Percival James Edward Shotter, (1912-1989), prior to its being dismantled to make way for the Wellington motorway

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