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Looking for James REED of Auckland, NZ

James REED(adopted name) was born Maurice Philippe de MONTBOISSIER
BEAUFORT de CANILLAC on the 28th October 1792 in Hampstead, Middlesex, England.

The following record was found in a REED family Bible "Maurice Philippe de MONTBOISSIER BEAUFORT de CANILLAC born at Hampstead London 28th October 1792, son of Comte Maurice Philippe de MONTBOISSIER BEAUFORT de CANILLAC, baptised in the Catholic faith."

His birth record is found in the HERALDS COLLEGE REGISTER 1793[#115 - last entry]; registered by exiled French Aristocrat Maurice Philippe de MONTBOISSIER BEAUFORT de CANILLAC: "I certify that my first child Maurice Phillippe [sic] de MONTBOISSIER BEAUFORT de CANILLAC was born at Hampstead in the County of Middlesex on the twenty eighth day of October last and baptized the 30th of the same month by *Phillippe Francoise D'ALBIGNAC de Castlenau, Bishop of Angouleme (now residing at Richmond in Surrey) who like myself was compelled to quit France by a Decree of the Legislative Assembly of that country."

The fate of young Maurice Philippe (later to become James REED)'s parents is unknown. It is assumed they returned to France at some stage after young Maurice Philippe's birth and were killed with other exiled nobles fighting to reclaim their consficated properties in France.

In his parents absence, young Maurice Philippe was left in the care of trusted family servants. He was escorted to school daily by his guardian but at some time, gave his guardian the 'slip', running away to sea around the age of 12-14 years. He stowed away on an English ship, which sailed shortly afterwards, and was found crying when the ship was attacked in the China seas. The captain, realising the boys extreme youth, took him into his own personal care, tutoring him in English, and taught him all he knew about seamanship - which was to become James's life career. The Capt of this ship, more or less adopted the boy, for he gave the boy his own name - James REED.

James told his children the story of his origins and was apparently well educated, for he taught his children to sing 'Home Sweet Home' in Latin. He said that all he remembered of his guardian was that he always carried a large black bag, in which James said, the guardian brought out his personal linen embroidered with coronets; and which also presumably contained his personal papers that the servant had been told to guard.

Eventually, our young James REED(formerly Maurice Philippe de MONTBOISSIER BEAUFORT de CANILLAC) took up whaling and found his way to a Whaling Station in Cloudy Bay, New Zealand in the early 1830's. It was here that he met & married a young Maori woman, Ekaumoenga (also known as Ekahumaihanga, Kahumahinga and eventually as Agnes REED - niece of the Ngati Toa Chief Te Rauparaha).

James and Ekaumoenga made their home on Raoul Island (1836-1845) in the Kermadecs, where they traded fresh fruit, meat and vegetables with passing ships. Raoul Island was also used as a 'post office' for mail for the passing shipping trade from America to New Zealand in those years. Their first three children were born in New Zealand, the next five on Raoul Island. The family were routed from the island in 1845 during a massive volcanic eruption. They were rescued from their shelter in a cave by the American whaler "Montezuma" on which they returned to NZ.

The following extract has been taken from the book "SUWARRO GOLD" by James Cowan [pages 173-174]

Up to 1845 affairs prospered with the settlers. Then down came the thunderbolt. It took the form of a volcanic eruption. This was the first time that the Sunday Island volcano interrupted the peaceful life of the pioneer settlers; a like disaster befell later-comers several times. Masses of hot ash were hurled out from the crater, and sulphurous gloom spread over the island. The REEDs were compelled to leave their home; they took refuge on a point of the island farthest away from the volcano, and there they camped forlornly wondering whether they would ever leave the place alive. Earthquakes shook the land; great masses of rock came tumbling down from the heights; a lagoon was formed by the landslips.

The huge column of smoke and steam rising from the volcano was seen, fortunately by a whaling-vessel which was some forty miles to the westward of the island. She bore down on the island, sailed around it, and sighted the pakeha-Maori family. A boat was lowered, and the distressed ones were soon safe aboard the ship. REED's treasure was in the abandoned home. He went on shore with a boat's crew, salvaged two boxes of gold, and silver, and left the smoking scene of desolation behind him forever.

The whale-ship was the "Montezuma" an American vessel. She sailed for the Bay of Islands [NZ] with the refugees, evicted by nature's rage, but fortunately not ruined, for there was the whaler's gold wherewith to make a new start in Maoriland. REED's party numbered exactly the same as it did when he landed on the island. Five children had been born to the pair, and five slaves had died.

The whale-ship dropped anchor off Kororareka [Russell], Bay of Islands, just after Hone Heke and his Ngapuhi warriors had captured and sacked the settlement (March 1845). The ashes of the burned town were still smoking, so there was no landing there for the refugees from the quaking Kermadecs. REED and his people came on to Auckland and settled there. *[This extract was narrated to James Cowan by Joseph ORCHISTON, husband of Reed's grand-daughter, Harriett Annie VON STURMER, daughter of Sara VON STURMER nee REED].

After settling in Northcote, James REED acquired a boat in which he ferried people to and from the infant town of Auckland. In 1853 Geo.Grey undertook to induce the newly constituted Provincial Council to vote a subsidy to any person prepared to assume the responsibility of running a FERRY SERVICE to Auckland from the North Shore. On 4 January 1854, and again after the Emu was wrecked on 3 January 1861, Colonel Wynyard, Provincial Superintendant called for tenders for a Ferry Service and J REED was the successful tenderer in each case (his tender was the only tender received for the ferry service!). All he had by way of transport was an open whaling boat - not what the Legislative Council had in mind, however, with the help of two of his sons, John and James Jnr, he kept the service going into the 1860s.

Agnes REED (d.18 May 1867, Northcote) & James REED (d.23 Nov 1876, Northcote) were both buried at the old 'Flagstaff' burial ground, Northcote, Auckland.

There were 12 children of this union leading to many REED, VON STURMER, MENARY, COOKE & GEE descendents.

Confirmation of James parents and grandparents still required. If anyone has this information to share, it would be greatly appreciated.

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