MITCHELL Family in Ashburton, New Zealand
DETAILS OF WILLIAM MITCHELL AND AMELIA ANNIE HERRING
WILLIAM MITCHELL was born 7 May 1847 Blairoch, Dumfries, Scotland the natural son of Thomas Mitchell and Agnes Hewetson. [In the 1851 Census record for Carronbridge, Parish of Morton William’s mother’s name is spelt Agnas Hewitson and his name is recorded as William Hewitson.] He left Scotland at some time prior to 1866 and arrived Port Chalmers (Dunedin) New Zealand possibly on the ‘Chile’. [Searches of passenger lists have not found a record of William Mitchell sailing on the ‘Chile’.]
AMELIA ANNIE HERRING was born 11 June 1839 Clapham, Surrey, England. She left England on 28 August 1864 on the ‘Eastern Empire’ and arrived Lyttleton, New Zealand on 4 January 1865. She is listed as having travelled in the single women’s quarters as Amelia A Herring aged 25 years.
Her occupation was listed as ‘milliner’ and she travelled on Promissory Note No. 302 dated 24 August 1864.
William Mitchell and Amelia Annie Herring were married on 5 June 1866 at the Clarendon Hotel, Waihi Crossing, Geraldine, New Zealand. The Marriage Entry in the records of the NZ Registrar-General’s Office describes William Mitchell as 20 years of age, a labourer and bachelor. The same record describes Amelia Annie Herring as 24 years of age, a dressmaker and a spinster.
William and Amelia Mitchell established a business selling drapery from a horse and gig for some years before moving to Ashburton. A successful drapery and clothier business developed in partnership with Henry Cranaway Turner. The Mitchell and Turner building still stands in Burnett Street, Ashburton with the initials M&T and the date 1874 prominent in the arch of the building. The size and nature of the building attests to the success of the enterprise. The 1875-1876 Canterbury, Timaru electoral roll lists William Mitchell owning a house and section in the township of Geraldine.
Extensive land purchases, leases and sales were undertaken by William and Amelia both in town and rural sections of Ashburton from 1879 to 1887. The electoral roll for Coleridge in 1879-80 lists William Mitchell as a leaseholder and in the Ashburton electoral roll for 1880-81 as ‘freeholder storekeeper’ as well as owning a rural section in Ashburton. In 1881 William Mitchell is described as a ‘farmer’ in Land Registry records and in 1890 the Canterbury, Ashburton electoral roll describes him as a draper living in Ashburton.
Family of William and Amelia Mitchell
John T Mitchell, William Stuart Mitchell, Richard Henry Mitchell, Robert Alexander Mitchell, Charles Hewitson Mitchell and Nellie Sophia Mitchell (died aged 10 months).
William Mitchell died on16 February 1896 in Ashburton and was buried in the Ashburton Cemetery.
Amelia Annie Mitchell died 26 March 1923 at her residence in Redcliffe, Christchurch and was buried in Ashburton Cemetery next to her husband and daughter.
The funeral notice for William Mitchell appeared in the Ashburton Mail 17 February 1896. It detailed his early life working as a pioneer in the bush before entering into the partnership with Henry Turner.
His funeral was described in the Ashburton Mail 21 February 1896 as being largely attended, nearly all the businessmen of the town and a large number of the families of the county being represented. Over 100 vehicles and several horsemen followed the hearse. Many Freemasons from all the Ashburton Lodges formed an escort preceding and surrounding the hearse.
During the progress of the cortege all the business places were closed and flags were flown at half-mast. The Presbyterian Minister, Rev G B Inglis, conducted the graveside service.
The funeral for Amelia Annie Herring was described in the Ashburton Guardian 28 May 1923 p4. It detailed her early life in New Zealand and listed her residences in Opawa *, Aukland and Redcliffs *.
Reference was made to her trip to the ‘Old Land’ (England) and her visit to San Francisco at the time ‘of the big earthquake’ (18 May 1906). “Her experiences and impressions of that disaster were carefully recorded in a diary of 192 pages.” °
The service at the graveside was conducted, at Amelia’s express wish, by the Rev W McAra of Sumner.
The whereabouts/residence of her five sons at the time of her funeral – William (on a business trip to America), John T (Christchurch), Robert (Gisborne), Richard (Sumner) and Charles (Sydney, Australia).
Children of: -
John Mitchell and Edie Bean – Clarence, Doris Rathbone, Clifford Stanley Bean, Melville Bruce.
Richard Henry Mitchell and Barbara Law – Rewa Belle, Stuart Law, Inez Dulcie, Ronald.
Charles Hewitson Mitchell and Helena Dobbs – Elfreida Anne, Patricia Hewitson.
1) Opawa and Redcliffs are suburbs of Christchurch.
2) ° The whereabouts of this diary remain unknown.
3) The reasons for William Mitchell and Amelia Annie Herring leaving their family homes in Scotland and England and travelling to New Zealand are not clearly understood.
William had an aunt (Margaret Hewetson) who had immigrated to New Zealand with her husband, Thomas Kerr Paterson, in 1859. Maybe he wanted to ‘make his fortune’ in New Zealand knowing he had a family member already there. Margaret and Thomas Paterson held the licence of the Clarendon Hotel where Amelia and William were married.
Amelia was supposed to have fallen in love with her ‘cousin’ (Richard Herring) in England. By mutual agreement she and Richard went their separate ways. Amelia’s father paid for her passage to New Zealand but said that if she wanted to return to England he would pay for her to come back. It was Richard Herring she was visiting in San Francisco in 1906.