the EPITAPH of Alexander RANKIN - died in Nelson, Marlborough 1867
Alexander Rankin was born about 1798
- he settled in Collingwood Nelson New Zealand as a Baker. He also opened a Fruit & Green Grocery Shop in Collingwood St (next door to Trask and Cook, the buthers) in 1866
- in December 1847 (thereby dating his arrival to NZ prior to this) 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, Federick 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 snr
- (his father William was away as a Volunteer in Waikato at the time)
- Alexander senior died on 24 August 1867 aged 69 at his residence, Collingwwod 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 of 10 September 1867 through 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 trangquil 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