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The HUGHES family from Kent to New Zealand by John Stephen Hughes Oct 1996

Journal by allycat

"...Our pedigree of the Hughes family originated in Kent, England. It was at Molash, Kent, that Stephen HUGHES married Sarah WILLIAMS on 7 Aug 1826. Molash is a small village between Maidstone and Canterbury just east of Charing.

Stephen was born in 1799 and worked as a labourer at Molash. Sarah was a widow and was formerly Sarah GREENSTREET. Sarah and her former husband John WILLIAMS had three children before John died on 10 Aug 1825 aged 29 at Molash. First born was son William baptised 22 Oct 1820, then daughter Maryann, baptised 14 Jul 1822, and daughter Sarah baptised 14 Jan 1824. Sarah died seven days later 11 Jan 1824.

Stephen and Sarah had three daughters and a son all born at Molash during the years of the marriage. Daughter Sarah Ann was baptised 29 Sep 1829, daughter Elizabeth baptised 3 Apr 1836, son Stephen baptised 20 May 1838 and daughter Grace baptised 17 Jan 1841. Grace died at 16 months of age on 26 May 1843.

Father Stephen died 4 Jul 1846 aged 47 years and is buried at Molash. Sometime prior to 1864 son Stephen had moved to Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent, where he worked as a bootmaker and on 29 Feb 1864 he married Eliza CHEESEMAN at Bearsted. Stephen being 26 and Eliza 20 when they married. Eliza was born in 1844 and was the daughter of William and Eliza CHEESEMAN.

William was an artisan (Craftsman) and in 1861 they lived at Bearsted Street, Bearsted Kent. William's three brothers and their families, a sister and his father were all living in Bearsted at this time too.

Brother Charles was a carpenter and he and his wife Fanny lived in Bearsted Street with their daughter, Elizabeth, agred three.

Brother George, a carpenter, and his wife Ellen lived in Roseacre Street with their daughter Kate, aged one.

Brother Henry, a carpenter also, and his wife Emma lived in Roseacre Street with their daughter Isabella, aged one.

Sister Elizabeth was unmarried at 31 years and lived with her brother Charles as did their father, Mr Thomas CHEESEMAN.

Thomas was 71 years and was a carpenter, which obviously influenced the careers of his sons. He was born in Thoruham, Kent, as was sons William, Charles, George, Henry and daughter Elizabeth.

As at 1861 William and Eliza had the largest of the CHEESEMAN families at Bearsted. Daughter Eliza was the eldest at 17 years, followed by Ann 10, William 9, Frank 8, Frederick 7, Kate 6, Lucy 4, Henry 3 and George 1.

Daughter Eliza was not living at home as she was employed as a houseservant for the family of Mr Charles T. MOHUN. They owned a residence known as Snowfield House in an area called Bearsted Green. Mr MOHUN and his wife Mary were retired farmers from East Moulsey in Surrey. Charles being 68 years old and Mary 67. Their unmarried daughters Francis aged 30 and Mary aged 28 lived with them also.

When the 1871 Census was taken, William and Eliza had added four more children to their family. They were Lewis 10, MaryAnn 7, Minnie 5 and Alice aged 2.

It was at Bearsted on 11 Jun 1864 that Stephen and Eliza's HUGHES eldest son Stephen was born. His birth was at a place in Roseacre Street and it is assumed that this is the residence of where Stephen and Eliza lived.

After the arrival of their five boys: Stephen, Thomas, John, William and George, Sarah Ann was born and baptised 3 Aug 1873. Sadly, she died at 7 months of age and was buried at Bearsted, Kent on 28 Dec 1873. Youngest son George was only two years old when they paid their fares for a passage aboard the ship "The Avalanche" to migrate to New Zealand. The total family fare for them for the voyage was £72.10/- $145 today) and on 22 Oct 1874 they departed from Gravesend on the Thames River for New Plymouth, New Zealand. The Avalanche was classed as a comfortable ship weighing 1,160 tons and had a reputation as a fast sailer on the London to New Zealand run. There was a total number of 250 souls on board plus crew with English folk making up the majority and a total of 47 souls of that number from Kent.

Though Stephen HUGHES was a bootmaker, on the ships documentation he had listed his occupation for migration purposes as a farm labourer. At the time of departure he was 36 years old, Eliza 30, Stephen 11, Thomas 9, John 7, William 4, and George 2.

They arrived at New Plymouth on 21 Jan 1875 after a voyage of 92 days, the Avalanche being the first immigrant ship to berth at New Plymouth for 20 years. All immigrant voyages to New Plymouth had been suspended for that time due to the situation posed by the land wars in Taranaki.

As a family, they settled into the communities around the New Plymouth area where Stephen was employed as a farmer.

In the following years, Stephen and Eliza added to their family with a daughter Ada Emma Jane, born 10 Dec 1878 in Fitzroy District, New Plymouth. Son Alfred, born 4 Feb 1881 at Bell Block, New Plymouth. Daughter Alice, born 7 May 1883 at New Plymouth and Ellen May born 24 May 1885 at Taruruitanga, New Plymouth.

On 6 May 1888 Stephen HUGHES died at age 50 years after suffering illness for two years. He is buried in the Te Henui cemetery at New Plymouth.

Of Stephen and Eliza HUGHES' children, John married first on 10 Feb 1893 to Christina Blanche O'CONNELL at Auckland. He was 26 and Christina 20. John was employed as a barman at the time and had been living at Palmerston North sometime previous to their marriage. After their marriage at Auckland, they moved south to Wanganui returning to Auckland sometime around 1902. Christina was the daughter of William and Ann (Honora) O'CONNELL and was born at Grahamstown Thames 6 May 1872. William was employed as a poster at the time of their marriage.

John and Christina lived at Cameron Street, Armoho, Wanganui until their move to Auckland about 1902. They had adopted into their family two children by the name of Len and May and then son John Stephen was born in May 1899. At this time John was working as a cook. After moving to Auckland, Pauline Sarah was born 9 Feb 1903, Ross Norman 13 Jul 1906, and Richard Hellaby 25 Dec 1908. Through their years at Auckland, John worked as a machinist engineer until his retirement at which time they were living at 178 Victoria Street West. Christina died after a short illness on 27 Jul 1947, and John sometime after moved to 91 Clarence Street, Ponsonby to the home of this son John Stephen and Alfreda. Suffering from health problems in his latter years, John died 5 Oct 1952, at 91 Clarence Street.

Stephen HUGHES married on 1 Jul 1896 to Mary SCOWN at Wanganui. Stephen being 32 and Mary 20. He lived at a place called Moumahaki just south of Waverley and was employed as a railway hand where his job was as a plate-layer. Mary was born at Wanganui to William and Mary SCOWN. William, her father, worked as a carpenter. Stephen and Mary lived ion Waihou in the Te Aroha district of Waikato for many years. Having retired from a civil servant position some years earlier, Stephen died 7 Jul 1941 after having suffered heart illness for many years. He is buried with his son Owen Victor and a daughter Alma Francis at Te Aroha. Mary died in 1952 and is buried communally with them at Te Aroha. Stephen and Mary were survived by a son and three daughters.

Thomas HUGHES married on 30 Apr 1897 to Ada Sarah BURGESS at Wanganui at the age of 31 and Ada 21. Thomas lived at Aramoho. Aramoho is a suburb on the bank of the Wanganui river and it was here where Thomas lived at worked as a cook a the time of their marriage. Ada was born at Greatford and was living at Aramoho prior to their marriage. He parents were Henry and Mary Ann BURGESS. Henry was employed as a plate-layer on the railway. Thomas' brother George signed as witness to their marriage.

During their marriage they lived at 20 London Street, Aramoho raising three sons and a daughter at this home. Thomas became ill and died 22 Aug 1941. He is buried at Aramoho Cemetery, Aramoho, Wanganui. Ada Sarah died on 11 Mar 1958 at Wanganui after a time of illness and is buried at Aramoho Cemetery.

William HUGHES married Amabel ELLIOT in 1897 at New Plymouth. Amabel was born 29 Dec 1876 and was the daughter of William ELLIOT and Emmalena MOON who had married at Fitzroy, New Plymouth on 26 Aug 1871. William and Amabel had seven children during their marriage. Son William Leslie born 25 Jan 1898, daughter Veta Emmalena born 15 Nov 1899, son Mervyn born 7 Apr 1904, son Clarence Hector born 6 May 1906, daugther Lilia Royce born 8 Feb 1908, daughter Keitha May born 24 Sep 1911, and Hedley Trevor born 13 May 1917. Amabel passed away 2 Jan 1929 and Wiliam 27 Nov 1945 and are buried at Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth.

George never married and was working as a civil servant at the time of his retirement. He died after a short illness on 10 Aug 1941 at New Plymouth Hospital and is buried at Te Henui Cemetery.

Ada Emma Jane HUGHES married on 16 Dec 1897 to Frank PETCH at New Plymouth. Ada was 19 and Frank 23. He was a settler from Killingholm, England and the son of Charles and Mary PETCH. Charles was a farmer. Ada's brother William signed as witness to their marriage.

Ada Emma Jane experienced ill health for a number of years before she died on 31 Aug 1946. At that time she was living at Hobsonville, Auckland.

Her husband Frank lived to the age of 92 before his passing on 20 Dec 1965 at Mt. Maunganui. Ada is buried at Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth and Frank was cremated at Rotorua.

Alice HUGHES married on 21 Oct 1906 to Frank Ernest Emilo BRENMUHL at Wanganui. Alice was 22 and Frank 24. Frank was born in Wellington, was a carpenter, and the son of Ernest Charles and Eugenis Catherine BRENMUHL who was a foreman in charge of building railway bridges. Ada, the wife of Thomas and brother Alfred, signed as witnesses to their marriage.

Frank and Alice BRENMUHL raised three children. Daughter Ruby, born 1906, son Cecil born 1909 and Ronald Stephen born 1914.

In 1914 Frank and Alice were living at Smiths Road, New Plymouth where they operated a carrier business. By 1918 they had moved to Victoria Road, New Plymouth and operated the business from there.

Alice died 27 Apr 1948 and husband Frank on 6 March 1953. They are buried at Te Henui Cemetery.

Alfred HUGHES like George never married. He was 62 years of age when he died 7 Apr 1942 in New Plymouth Hospital and had been very ill for some time prior to his passing. He is buried at Te Henui Cemetery also.

Ellen May HUGHES married 7 Jun 1906 to James HASLER. Ellen being 21 and James 22. They both were working in Eastown, Wanganui, where Ellen was employed in domestic duties and James as a fireman, possibly on locomotives or in boiler houses of industries that were becoming established around the district. James was the son of John George and Susannah Elizabeth HASLER. Ellen May and James were living at 25 Somme Parade, Wanganui, at the time of Ellen's sickness and her passing on 14 Jul 1940. She is buried at Aramoho Cemetery, Wanganui with James.

Eliza HUGHES nee CHEESEMAN still had a young family to care for when Stephen died in 1888 and she herself was 41 when Ellen May was born in 1885. Sometime after 1888 it appears that most of the family had moved to Wanganui and lived in Cameron Street, Aramoho. It is not known if they all resided in the same house or not but possibly some of them did to assist Eliza with the children. As at 1899, Christina and John lived there, where John worked as a cook. Thomas was labouring and he and Ada were there. George, who laboured also and Eliza and Alfred, Alice and Ellen May all made up the Hughes family in Cameron Street.

By 1911, John and Christina had moved to Auckland, Thomas and Ada were stillat Aramoho, Alice and Ellen May had married, and Eliza, George and Alfred had moved to 12 Argyle Street, Wanganui.

By 1918, Alfred and Eliza were still living in 12 Argyle Street. It appears that Eliza had good health for most of her life and it was only in the latter few days before she died that she became ill. On her passing 22 May 1923, she was being cared for in a private hospital at Manaia, Taranaki. Eliza is also buried at the Te Henui Cemetery, New Plymouth with Stephen.

Children of Stephen and Eliza HUGHES:-

Stephen born Maidstone, Kent 11 Jun 1864 baptised 7 Aug 1864
Thomas born Maidstone, Kent 1865 baptised 3 Jun 1866
John born Maidstone, Kent 1867 baptised 8 Nov 1867
William born Maidstone, Kent 1870 baptised 7 Aug 1870
George born Maidstone, Kent 1872 baptised 3 Mar 1872
Sarah Ann born Maidstone, Kent 1873 baptised 3 Aug 1873
Ada Emma Jane born New Plymouth 10 Dec 1878
Alfred born New Plymouth 4 Feb 1881
Alice born New Plymouth 7 May 1883
Ellen May born New Plymouth 24 May 1885

Note: I have endeavoured here to write a little on each of the foundation members of the HUGHES family in New Zealand to establish the beginnings of the distinct family branches, i.e. Stephen and Eliza and their children. This is by no means complete as it is more of an introduction at present so it would be nice to have a little of the known history of these foundation branches recorded and their 'family trees' as the families expanded. If folk are interested in helping along these lines, please write down what you can and pass it onto me so we can add to our knowledge of our origins and learn something of the personalities of our people so they are not just names to us from days gone by..."


Compiled by John Stephen HUGHES October 1996, grandson of Stephen HUGHES and Eliza CHEESEMAN.


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Over the past couple of years I have been researching the HUGHES family tree on behalf of my late mother-in-law Mary HUGHES. I have created a family tree online and hosted it at TribalPages. My tree is password protected and no details on the living are displayed.

Please contact me if you are a descendant and/or see my other HUGHES journals with more up-to-date details on their ancestors and descendants.

by allycat Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2008-04-07 18:08:51

allycat , from sunny Queensland, Australia, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Mar 2006. is researching the following names: HOY, MOST, ORTH and 610 other(s).

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