WHALER: William Dallas - Stewart Island New Zealand :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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WHALER: William Dallas - Stewart Island New Zealand

Journal by karrienz

Looking for any info on the origins of this early NZ settler; he was born circa 1810 and was buried Riverton, NZ 1875. Had been resident on Stewart Island at The Neck with his Maori wife, Motoitoi and children. Was employed variously as whaler, ships carpenter, boat builder.

Surnames: DALLAS
Viewed: 4658 times
by karrienz Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2010-01-08 16:19:13

karrienz , from New Zealand, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Jan 2010. is researching the following names: VOGEL, FITSHALL, FITSALL and 23 other(s).

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by ngairedith on 2010-01-08 20:00:21

Hello karrienz,
I know that William was in Riverton (which was then known as Jacob's River) earlier than 1845 as that was when he, Captain John Howell, Lewis Acker and Paddy Gilroy built and sailed the schooner AMAZON to Tahiti. They returned into Wellington (then known as Port Nicholson) in 1846. William went as the ship's carpenter. The Amazon was totally wrecked at Bluff in 1852 without loss of life

Paddy Gilroy was quite a 'character' a whaling captain who settled in Bluff after hazarding the Southern Ocean in the decrepit CHANCE crewed by Yankee deserters, Maori friends and European sailors of questionable reputation.

Lewis Acker was from America and whaling around the bottom of New Zealand as early as the 1830s.

The first recorded whaler recorded in and around New Zealand was Captain Ebor Bunker in 1892 (Ebor was an American who played quite a considerable part in the early history of the colony Australia and after leaving the sea settled down at Liverpool, near Sydney, where he died in 1836)

By 1845 there were over 100 whaling stations in New Zealand so it may be very hard to find exactly how or when Wlliam Dallas arrived.
Being natural seamen, the Maori frequently joined the crews of whale ships and the local tribes soon proved themselves to be successful, astute providers supplying the whalers with vegetables, fish and pork. Generally, relationships between whalers and Maori were good. Occasionally, whalers established close, long-standing relationships of convenience with tribes through inter-marriage.
I cannot find Williamm's marriage to Motoitoi at this time so it may have been a common-law marriage.
He was married to a Margaret which may have been Motoitoi's 'english name' - she died in March 1895 aged 82, (1813) 32 years after Wiliam and they are buried together
Burial details of Margaret Dallas

Henry Hirst arrived in New Zealand in the 1850s. Amongst many other things, Henry laid the foundation stone of the Riverton Town Hall and became a member of the Bluff Harbour Board. In 1860, he married Margaret, a daughter of (the then late) William Dallas of Riverton and had two sons and six daughters.
Henry died 14th Dec 1911 aged 73
Margaret (nee Dallas) died 26th Dec 1914
Margaret's burial data

In November 1862 William applied to buy 100 acres of rural land at Clutha

In December 1864 William narrowly escaped drowning at Riverton. He had gone on board the schooner KATE

In July 1868 the 3rd Annual Ploughing Match of the Molyneux Agricultural & Pastoral Society was held in a paddock on the farm of William Dallas. Molyneux was the early name of Clutha

In August 1889 William's oldest son married the eldest daughter (possibly Agnes 1870-1938)) of George Hay Gilroy of Clutha (not known if he was related to Paddy Gilroy) - George Hay Gilroy was born near Edinburgh in 1840, arrived in Bluff on the NEW GREAT BRITAIN in August 1863, started a blacksmith business at Bluff, married Agnes McNiven in Milton, Otago in December 1866 and had 1 son and 5 daughters

William died on the 12th July 1873 at his residence at South Riverton. He was 63 (1810)
His burial details

by ngairedith on 2010-01-08 20:02:30

should read: The first recorded whaler recorded in and around New Zealand was Captain Ebor Bunker in 1792

by karrienz on 2010-01-08 21:54:45

Hi Ngaire - thank you for providing such a splendid reply to my wee note about William Dallas. It's been a while since I took a good look at his family papers I've gotten together over the past 15 years. I've seen the wonderful website My Ancestor's Story and hope to collaborate with Juanita sometime on the full 'story' of William - she's here in CHCH.

Motoitoi was 'married' to William by Bishop Selwyn in 1844 when he sailed down to Stewart Island whilst making his way around the country encouraging the missionaries and 'godless' folk he came across to marry and babtise the children.

Margaret Anderson was a widow when she married William, and he was Step-father to her daughter Caroline. Mr Hirst and Margaret Dallas; well, they had a huge family and by all accounts eventually in time distanced themselves away from the Dallas' families. Jane married John Lee, a bootmaker not boat maker (this caused no end of trouble for another Lee family and several local Riverton geneologists and there was a final decision made about this point several years ago, in all seriousness, because it caused no end of ansgt between the two families...long story...

Anyway John and Jane had several children; George was my Gt Grandfather and his descendants are spread out around the South Island. I've met a few, which has been nice. I've a lovely photo of Jane as a girl and also William and Margaret. They were both elderly when it was taken and he looks a little careworn to say the least - hard life in those days. Margaret was AKA Granny Dallas and by all accounts was very active into her old age with accounts in P/Past of her embroidered tray cloths at the local shows in Otautau and visits from her daughters etc - I love that site!

I was interested to see your comment about a farm in Clutha...but I think possibly this was another William Dallas as he appears in P/Past in 1880 and 1883. There's never been any mention of a farm but i'll check it out as it may be another close relative in the Dallas family. I have to go now and put a comment on the www.maori.org.nz forum board where I see there are still folk going on about the John Lee/Jane Dallas marriage all linked up with the wrong Lee family. It was sorted 10 years ago!


by shazjlee on 2010-07-10 04:59:15

by karrienz on 2010-07-12 03:48:21

Hi Shazjlee - so glad you could find something about your family here; looking at your family names it would appear that my gt grandfather George Lee (bn 1870) is elder brother to your gt grandfather (or gt gt grandfather depending on how old you are) Francis Matthew Lee (bn 1865). I've not researched much into the land grants etc...I know that this (mid 1860 -70's) generation of the family were all named in several land grant lists etc (originally William Dallas and his children were on Stewart Island but then moved to Colac Bay nr Riverton in the 1850's) and I think the original records are held in public records here in CHCH, Maori Land Court, 79 Peterborough St re being descendants of Motoitoi you may already know which block of land your Anti held - the public library lists Motoitoi's Whakapapa in detail - I photocopied it several years ago - the staff can help you find the registers. Also in the central library are the Reverend Wohlers BMD registers he kept on Ruapuke Island where many of the Maori and Pakeha settlers in the Stewart Island and Riverton areas married and were babtised etc - As mentioned in my post above, William Dallas was married to Margaret Anderson many years after Motoitoi died. I found the marriage of Margarets daughter, Caroline in Williams house, in Wohlers registers and there's just a lot of interesting notes about the people of that time that Wohlers made. I've only had a look at them once so far:
Ngai Tahu Collection Ruapuke Registers 929.3 WOH

There's a lot of information in Southland newspapers and books about Henry Hirst and his family. I don't have much on your side of the family; Francis Lee's first wife was Annie Seaborn Shave - they had 3 children, Annie, Frank and George. Elizabeth Hirst was the 2nd wife and she had Stanley Albert and his two brothers, Reginald and Aubrey I have these names from an old 'tree' my mother got hold of about 25 years ago; the actual birthdates etc should be on the archives NZ on- line website for BMD's. Such a boon now - saves so much time from looking up microfiche for hours.

I've been lately interested in William Dallas and John Lee and where they lived and where they came from - not an easy task with such scanty info from way back when. Motoitoi was of the Katimamoe people and there's probably some other maori/pakeha linked to her or her tribe that you may find on www.maori.org.nz. I was interested that you have William 'M' Dallas - that's the first time I've seen his name with that initial...someone mentioned on a forum a William 'Edward' Dallas but I thought that might have been another person.

The best place to get in touch for general info on the Dallas and Lee families of Riverton would be The Early Settlers Museum in Riverton they have stuff they'll photocopy and send for a small fee. (I was there 10 years ago so they may have more newer items now in the files) The paperspast website is very interesting to look for info on the family. Your Stanley Albert and his family may be mentioned in some of the early newspapers. I've found my grandfather, bn 1900 - his mention in the Otautau paper when he was only 5! lol wee baby.

Anyway my dear, you live in CHCH and so do I...I'll message you my phone number and perhaps we can chat about some more family stuff a little easier. Look forward to hearing from you sometime. Karen

by Aromagician on 2015-11-15 21:54:27

Hi Karen
I am trying to find information on the ancestry of John Lees Wife Sarah nee Temo/ Timu /Timo.
She too was of Maori ancestry and I am told of Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu.
Their daughter Maria Lee married John Baird, and her obituary states her father was Andrew Lee But not not sure this is correct.
Sarah and John( Andrew?) were married in 1844 by Bishop Selwyn and are on the Ruapuke register.
I was looking for info on Sarahs whakapapa.

by Aromagician on 2015-11-15 22:39:50

I found this register from the Ngai Tahi book which lists Motoitoi, but not Sarah Lee nee Timo

by karrienz on 2015-11-17 04:33:21

Hi Thanks for getting in touch - John Lee who married Sarah Temo/Timo - not in my family history - take a look at www.maori.org and put 'William Dallas' into the search box - should get two links after schrolling down results page:
1] Aston,Ashton,Lee,Williamson, - great info for you about Sarah and John - not a lot about Sarah's origins and the posts are old
now - in this post from

Posted: 05/02/2008 - states about Sarah Timo but in the 2nd link
2]Timu, - they post [2nd from bottom] the following which is not correct:


Posted: 04/02/2008 -
John (Jacka)LEE = Sarah Timu
b England b abt 1810 Ruapuke Is
their children are;
John William LEE =(1)Mary Ann Bates (2)Jane Dallas- note: John William Lee was their son bn North Island; but didn't marry these ladies - another John Lee [bootmaker as mentioned in my post above on this site] - there was terrible confusion for many years about these two John Lee's. I'm not sure where you find 'A picture of Sarah is on the wall at Ngai Tahu in Christchurch I believe it is in the Whakapapa unit ' that Muz mentions - after the earthquakes I hardly know how to drive around town anymore! but you could find that out on the web - how amazing if there is a portrait of Sarah :)
any way good luck with your search. ps Ngai Tahu Collection Ruapuke Registers 929.3 WOH are in the library at Christchurch - births deaths marriages by Rev Wohlers - google him very interesting. Sarah and Johns children may have been christrned or married by him.

by karrienz on 2015-11-17 04:43:11

oops just seen your original journal post and you've seen them already! just a note though - John James Burrows Baird was his father Andrew Baird and the clerk wrote the wrong name on the obit?

by pipharris on 2017-03-08 10:17:14

Hi, I am a descendant of Sarah Timu, I am trying to trace her parentage. Any help would be much appreciated. We have had many different stories of where she originally came from and I would like to be able to confirm which is true.
Thanks Pip

by karrienz on 2017-03-11 19:41:09

Hi Pip thanks for your query but as mentioned in my previous posts above Sarah Timu was not part of my family history - refer to post above 2015-11-17 - I'm sorry I can't help further. regards Karen

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