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EPITAPH of Alexander RANKIN - Nelson 1867

Journal by ngairedith

Alexander Rankin sailed from London 25 March 1841 on the Tyne with his wife Elizabeth & 5 children: Margaret aged 19, Andrew aged 17, William aged 15, unnamed son aged 12 & unnamed daughter aged 9.
They arrived into Port Nicholson (Wellington) 9 August 1841
NOTE On the ships list he is 40 (birth date of 1801), at his death he was recorded as age 69 (birth date of 1798) & thanks to LeonieMolloy's comment below, his death certificate has his age as 77 (birth date of 1790)

Alexander, with his family, settled in Collingwood, Nelson as a Baker. He also opened a Fruit & Green Grocery Shop in Collingwood St (next door to Trask and Cook, the butchers) in 1866

In December 1847 Alexander wrote a letter to Major Richmond welcoming him and his family to Nelson. Alexander signed it as Chairman of the 'Working Class'

In April 1863 an Extraordinary Public Meeting (by all accounts a very disorderly meeting) was held in regards of the 'unnatural crime' of the Rev. H. M. Turton. Alexander was chosen as one of the newly founded committee.

In September 1864 the 'Black Diamond' sank at Coixelles Harbour, Marlborough with some people drowning. Alexander and his wife were thanked by the master of the boat, Captain W. H. Hayes

On 23 January 1866 Alexander's grandson, Alexander Rankin died aged 17, 3 weeks after diving in the Matai river on New Years Day of 1866 in an attempt to save a young lad, Frederick Gibson, who drowned when cramp seized him.
- young Alexander never recovered from the cold he caught
- he was the eldest son of William Rankin, son of Alexander & Elizabeth
- (his father William was away as a Volunteer in Waikato at the time)

Alexander Rankin died 24 August 1867 at his residence, Collingwood Street aged 69, 7 months after the death of his grandson Alexander
he is buried in PLOT 081, BLOCK 03, AREA Old Presbyterian at Wakapuaka Cemetery

I do not know who wrote his Epitaph.
It was taken from the COLONIST 10 Sep 1867 (Papers Past) and signed simply D.B.
the EPITAPH of Alexander Rankin

Here lies, at rest, this little bank in,
Old, honest, ALEXANDER RANKIN,
Here his mortal journey closes;
Here, in silence, he reposes;
Not a care his heart encumbers;
Not a dream breaks on his slumbers;
Deep the sleep that now hangs o'er him;
Long the rest that lies before him.

What he thought, sound sense adjusted;
What he said, was greatly trusted;
Did still, as he would be done by;
Though in doing, there was none by.
Took delight in honest measure;
Counted duty double pleasure.
Had the will to make man better;
But the power the wish would fetter.

Many ills in life beset him;
But to meanness could not get him.
Want and poverty, he ken'd them;
But by diligence did end them.
Kindly to the humble, ever;
Stooping to the proud one, never.
Sturdy independence swayed him,
Till, at last, in earth they laid him.

Hope, that gilds the coming morrow;
Grief, that wrings the heart with sorrow;
Joy, that lights the eye with gladness;
Love, that fires the veins with madness;
Wealth, that every mind enriches;
Fame, whose trumpet tongue bewitches,
Knock at they heart in vain; ah! never
Shall they be his again. For ever!

Here around his letter'd marble;
Summer's vocal children warble.
There the cloud-capp'd hill above him;
Looks as if it said, "I love him."
Far below, the tranquil waters
Sweetly smile, lie beauty's daughters,
Bright in noon-day splendor glancing;
Zephyr-courted wavelet, dancing.

Ye who trace those simple numbers;
Soon, like his, may be thy slumbers.
Ye in youth and beauty springing;
Hearts in hope and gladness singing;
Ye who tread those green paths over;
Aged step, and youthful rover;
Such thy fate is - all are mortal -
All must enter Death's dark portal.

- D. B. - Nelson, 1867

Surnames: GIBSON RANKIN
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by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2010-12-18 06:49:52

PECK of TAITA

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Comments

by LeonieMolloy on 2014-05-23 17:08:21

I have been researching Alexander Rankin, he is my great, great, great grandfather. He and his wife (and five children) arrived in Wellington NZ in 1841 on the ship Tyne. He sailed to Nelson in 1841 and was joined by his wife and children that year. He was the first baker in Nelson.

On. His death certificate his age is stated as 77 years.

by joyd on 2014-08-16 04:54:20

Likewise he is my great, great, great, grandfather and I know the epitaph author's name. A book of poems by David Burns, Scottish Echoes from New Zealand was published in 1883 and included the epitaph to Alexander Rankin written in 1867. I don't have a copy of the book to back this up tho'.

by ngairedith on 2014-08-16 06:38:48

thank you very much joyd, that is good to know
Scottish echoes from New Zealand: poems
Author: David Burns
Publisher: Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot, 1883
Edition/Format: Book: Poetry: English
Length: 180 pages

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