The Climo's of Taranaki - New Plymouth & Kawhia
Jane Climo gave birth to Elizabeth Catherine Climo (my 3rd great-grandmother) on 05 November 1841. Elizabeth Catherine's birth was a great event in the New Plymouth settlement and in the lives of James and Jane. Elizabeth Catherine was the first 'Pakeha' (European) baby born in Taranaki and tradition has it that the local Maori were so amazed at seeing a white-skinned baby that their chief bestowed upon her a plot of land. (Unfortunately, James was obliged to sell this land at a later date in order to feed and clothe his growing family).
Meanwhile, James was fast gaining knowledge and experience essential for survival. He learnt the arts of the Maori, their language, customs, foods and remedies; he learnt how to cross and ford rivers, how to provide fire and shelter; he learnt how to snare and shoot birds and waterfowl, how to fish and he also learnt the many uses of bush plants and timbers. His sole aim was to secure a plot of land and become a farmer, in accordance with the Company's promises but the Company's inability to buy land from the Maori and grant titles to land was an unsettling blow to all. Work in New Plymouth became harder to find as more emigrants were arriving - this prompted an exodus of settlers, some going as far away as Auckland, others as far away as South Australia. In 1842 James and Jane joined the exodus and headed north to Kawhia, where it is assumed that James continued to work on a chain gang. It is not known how long they stayed in Kawhia but as an old man, James would tell of a visit from the Governor William Hobson to Kawhia and how he had nursed a baby Elizabeth Catherine during his visit.
They stayed in Kawhia for a few years and Jane gave birth to their eldest son John in 1846. On their return trip to New Plymouth a short time later, they were shipwrecked at Kawhia Heads. They lost all their possesions, but managed to save their two children. James and Jane carried on on foot, carrying Elizabeth Catherine and John on their shoulders for 10 days, during which they forded rivers and lived off native foods. They were shown hospitality in most Maori villages but when they arrived at a Mission station, they were sent on their way again, without even being offered a cup of tea! James later claimed that they walked for 150 miles.
James and Jane's third child, James was born in New Plymouth in 1848 but sadly died shortly afterwards. By now, James was still landless but was an experienced bushman so he decided to try his luck in Auckland. Whilst James set off on foot, Jane and the children sailed on the coastal schooner, Ellen, on 15 January 1849. When the ship reached the Manakau Heads 5 days later, it hit a sandbank. The ship was initally in grave danger as water was breaking over the decks but she soon worked her way into deeper water, much to Jane's relief!! Another watery disaster avoided! Meanwhile, James found work at the Manakau Kauri Mills where he would stay for the next 3 years.
James and Jane's fourth child, Richard, was born in Auckland on 12 February 1849, and George followed the following year, with his birth being recorded as 12 August 1850. James had no trouble keeping his job as many men got caught up in the Californian Gold Rush. Meanwhile, in Taranaki some progress had been made towards land settlement and the Company was finally prepared to allocate sections to the original settlers. By 1852, James was walking back to Taranaki whilst it is assumed that Jane and the children travelled by boat. It had taken just over a decade but the Climo's finally had their piece of promised land - a 200 acre block of bush-covered land at Tataraimaka, 15km south-west of New Plymouth.
on 2010-05-14 23:38:58
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.