William Aitken & Elizabeth Towers - Otago
written for DrewMc who wrote on 2019-05-25 ..
Pearl Challis was my great Aunt and lived in Lumsden, NZ. Her father William Aitken, we think remarried after his first wife died, in 1910. Her maiden name was Aitken, she was often called Pearlie. This was a "nickname". Her Father, was William Aitken, born about 1871. William Aitken, married Elizabeth Towers, about 1894 in Dunedin. Elizabeth was born about 1873, in England and died on the 31st Mar, 1910 in Dunedin. Elizabeth Towers was the daughter of; William Arbuckle Towers, who was born about 1850. He died about 1889, aged about 39. Her mother was Ann Elizabeth (Ashwell) Towers, who was born about 1855. Pearl, was born on or around 1913 in Lumsden. We don't yet have conclusive proof, that Elizabeth was her actual mother, as the registration of a birth, had to be done within 6 weeks, of a child being born. However as Elizabeth had just died, this small formality may have been overlooked, after her death.
★ sorry Drew, you have two families mixed up. Pearl Jessie Gaines 'Pearlie' Aitken was born 19 Oct 1913 to William Aitken and Elizabeth Ann Gaines (1874-1936) not Elizabeth Towers (1873-1910). Pearl married Alfred Challis (1911-1989) in 1932. They died within 3 months of each other in Invercargill. Other children were born to William Aitken & Elizabeth Ann Gaines. One brother of Pearl's was George Ruben Aitken (1902-1985). Registered as George Thomas Mark Ruben Aitken, he used only George Ruben Aitken. You need to follow that line Drew ★
* I have fully researched both families for you
* Just for now, I will make this one public
Family of ★ WILLIAM AITKEN (1870-1947)
.....~ PARENTS & SIBLINGS ~
ALEXANDER Aitken was born 24 April 1841 in Scotland to Thomas Aitken (1814-1899) & Margaret Cowie (1819-1892).
MARGARET Craig was born 28 Sep 1849 in Lanarkshire, Scotland to William Wright Craig (1813-1898) & Margaret Allen (1807-1901).
Alexander & Margaret married in Lanark, Scotland 22 Oct 1867. They sailed from Greenock, Scotland, 14 Dec 1867, on the 'Viola', with 125+ other immigrants, arriving in Port Chalmers 12 March 1868
OF NOTE One of Margaret's brothers, James Craig (1840-1924) had emigrated from Lancashire to NZ earlier and was probably their sponsor. James married Williamina McDonald (1844-1896) who emigrated into Dunedin on the 'Paria', 15 Aug 1867, in West Taieri, Otago. They also had 14 children
the children of ALEXANDER & MARGARET
.. 1 1869 - 1912 Thomas 'Tom' Aitken
.. * born 12 Jan 1869 in Otago
* Thomas was an Accountant in Perth, WA
Thomas died 17 Jan 1912 in Cloverdale, Perth, by suicide. He was 43. He is buried grave 60, section DA at Karrakatta with brother Alexander
The West Australian, 1 Feb 1912
CORONER'S INQUEST - SWAMP TRAGEDY. The adjourned inquest concerning the death of Thomas Aitken, who shot himself at Cloverdale on January 17, was concluded before Mr W. H. McCormack, J.P. and a jury yesterday. Alexander Aitken, a brother of the deceased said he was working on a garden property with his brother on the day in question. Early in the morning witness went out to work, but hearing the report of a firearm he returned to the house and discovered the deceased on the floor with his brains blown out. Prior to January 17, Aitken appeared to be despondent and was unable to sleep.
Dr Blanchard, in his medical testimony, said the top of the deceased's head was blown completely off. He was called to the house directly after the affair and found a gun lying across Aitken's legs. He concluded death was due to a gunshot wound and was instantaneous.
Letters put in by the police, one of which was written by the deceased the day prior to his death, indicated a troubled and disappointed mind in connection with financial affairs. One passage read: "What form of lunacy led me to such a God-forsaken place as this, or to think that I could make a success of it."
The circumstances were pathetic, as it appeared that Aitken had taken up 90 acres of swamp land close to Welshpool, but 31 miles from the nearest road. The approach was all the way through sand and in the second note the deceased made reference to "swamp lunacy." The letters also stated that sufficient money would be left behind, he thought, to meet his liabilities. From information in the hands of the police, probably between £930 and £1,000 will remain after all liabilities have been met.
The jury decided that Aitken came to his death as the result of a gunshot wound, self inflicted, whilst temporarily insane.
Sunday Times, 18 Feb 1912 Probates and Administration: Thomas Aitken, late of Belmont, near Perth, accountant, to Andrew Cowie Aitken, £412 2s 10d (roughly equivalent today to $74,000)
★ .. 2 1870 - 1947 William 'Willie' Aitken
.. * born 29 Aug 1870 in Maungatua, Otago
* William married Elizabeth Towers (1873-1910) see their family below
.. 3 1872 - 1937 Alexander Aitken
.. * born 3 June 1872 in West Taieri
Alexander died 6 Oct 1937 aged 65 in Perth, WA
He is buried Grave 60, section DA at Karrakatta cemetery with brother Tom
NOTE Spelled as Aitkin on BDM. Alexander moved to Perth and lived in Belmont with his brother Tom
.. 4 1874 - 1966 Margaret Allen 'Maggie' Aitken
.. * born 20 March 1874 in Dunedin
* Allen was her maternal grandmother's name
* Margaret married William Reuben Boyles (1875-1951) in 1903 and had 6 children (4 sons). William was son of George Boyles & Frances Weller and a brother of sister Agnes's husband Bert
* William died 5 Jan 1951 aged 76
Margaret died 13 July 1966 aged 92
They are buried Plot 11, Block 12 at Andersons Bay
.. 5 1876 - 1951 Agnes Barry Aitken
.. * born 20 Jan 1876 in Dunedin
* She was a teacher
* Agnes married George Herbert 'Bert' Boyles (1870-1945) in 1900 and had 5 children (3 sons). Bert was a son of George Boyles & Frances Weller and a brother of sister Margaret's husband William
* Bert died 6 Nov 1943 aged 73 in Waikato
Agnes died 14 Oct 1951 in Hamilton aged 75
They are buried DD-F-18 at Hamilton East cemetery
.. 6 1877 - 1963 John Craig Aitken
.. * born 28 April 1877 in Dunedin
* Craig was his mother's name
* John married Rosina Denton (1878-1967) on his 26th birthday, 28 April 1903 & had 7 children (6 sons)
* Rosina was born in Sandymount, Dunedin, the 4th of 8 children of Christopher Denton (1848-1938) & Eliza Wilby (1848-1914) - England to Dunedin. (Rosina's sister Maria was a marriage witness for John's brother William in 1894)
John died 24 Aug 1963 aged 86. His last address was Sandymount, Dunedin.
* Rosina died 19 Dec 1967 aged 88
They are buried Plot 36, Block 270 at Andersons Bay and others
their HEADSTONE reads In loving memory of John Craig, loved husband of Rosina Aitken, died 24 August 1963 aged 86 years. ALSO His beloved wife Rosina, died 19 December 1967 aged 88 years. They will be done
.. 7 1879 - 1966 Andrew Cowie Aitken
.. * born 29 May 1879 in Dunedin
* Cowie was his paternal grandmother's name
* Andrew married Lillian Lydia Osborne (1879-1947) in Perth, WA in 1903. The names of some of their children were Margaret Alice 'Judy' Aitken, Jeanie Frances 'Jean' Aitken, Pearl Aitken,
Sunday Times, 18 Feb 1912 Probates and Administration: Thomas Aitken, late of Belmont, near Perth, accountant, to Andrew Cowie Aitken, £412 2s 10d (roughly equivalent today to $74,000)
* Lydia died 17 Dec 1947 aged 68
Andrew died 31 July 1966 aged 87
Their ashes are scattered at Karrakatta, Perth
.. 8 1881 - 1966 Jeanie Stuart Aitken
.. * born 20 June 1881 in Dunedin
* Jeanie married George Mitchell Morris (1878-1932) from Scotland in 1904
* George died 2 Nov 1932 aged 54 in Pukehiki.
Jeanie died 33 years later, on 23 June 1966. They are buried Plot 24, Block 2 at Portobello cemetery, Dunedin
.. 9 1882 - 1959 Edward Young Aitken
.. * born 19 Nov 1882 in Dunedin
* Young was his paternal great grandmother's name
* Edward married Ellen Eason Dick (1883-1949) in 1907 & had 6 children (3 sons)
* Ellen was a daughter of William Dick & Ellen Smith. She died 26 March 1949 aged 66 in Musselburgh.
Edward died 10 Sep 1959 aged 76 in Musselburgh, Dunedin. They are buried at Andersons Bay
. 10 1884 - 1946 Annie Wilson Aitken
.. * born 24 Nov 1884 in Dunedin
* Annie married Alfred Henry Hall (1885-1964) in 1911 & had at least 3 children
* Alfred was a son of Richard Hall & Sarah Swinerd
Annie died 3 Aug 1946 aged 61
* Alfred died 5 June 1964 aged 78
They are buried Plot 106, Block 66 at Andersons Bay
. 11 1887 - 1929 Mary Louisa Heron Aitken
.. * born 21 Jan 1887 in Dunedin
* Heron was her maternal great aunt's name
* Mary married William Morton (1886-1952) in 1918
Mary died 19 Oct 1929 aged 42
* William died 30 Aug 1952 aged 66
They are buried Plot 26, Block 51 at Waitati cemetery
. 12 1888 - 1968 David Henry 'Harry' Aitken
.. * born 24 Oct 1888 in Palmerston South
* David married Sarah Alice Cain (1901-1930) in Temuka in 1920
* Sarah was born in Temuka 28 Nov 1901 to Hans Caine (1842-1921), from Belfast & his 2nd wife, Alice Fawdray (1863-1906).
* Sarah died 21 Sep 1930 aged 29 at Sunnyside Hospital
* David complained about his maintenance payments (suggesting dependent children) on 18 Nov 1930, in the Supreme Court in Christchurch. They reduced his arrears payment to £20, to be payable at the rate of 5s a week
. 13 1890 - 1909 Frances Willer 'Fanny' Aitken
.. * born 4 Jan 1890
* Evening Star, 7 Sep 1909 - On September 6, at her parents' residence, Seal Point road, Sandymount, Frances Willer (Fanny), dearly beloved youngest daughter of Alexander and Margaret Aitken; aged 19 years.
. 14 1892 - 1894 Ida May Aitken
.. * born 27 Jan 1892 in Dunedin
* Otago Witness, 1 Nov 1894 AITKEN - On the 28th October, at her parents' residence, Sandymount, Ida May, beloved daughter of Alexander and Margaret Aitken; aged two years and nine months.
NOTE The last 2 girls are buried together in Plot 4, Block 8 at Anderson's Bay, next to their parents and brother William. Also buried with them is William's wife Elizabeth (nee Towers) who died 31 March 1910
ALEXANDER Aitken died 11 Feb 1919 aged 77
MARGARET Aitken died 23 Sep 1929 aged 76
son William (below) died 16 Jan 1947 aged 76
* William's ashes are buried with his parents in Plot 2, Block 8 at Andersons Bay cemetery, Dunedin
Family of★.. 2 WILLIAM AITKEN
.....~ WIFE & CHILDREN ~
William Aitken married
Elizabeth Towers (1873-1910)
.. and had 7 children
* Elizabeth was a daughter of William Arbuckle Towers (1850-1889), a Blacksmith from Scotland & Ann Elizabeth Ashwell (1855-1938). Elizabeth's father was admitted to Dunedin Hospital on 9 Oct 1889 and died there on the 14 Oct. He was 38. He is buried in Southern cemetery.
Her mother Ann remarried in 1891 to George Henry Sismey (1855-1932) and had a daughter Emily Sismey (1893-1958).
William & Elizabeth married on 23 March 1894 at the home of her mother (& her 2nd husband George Sismey), in Leith Street, Dunedin. Their witnesses were William's brother Thomas Aitken & the sister-in-law of his brother John Craig Aitken, Maria Denton (1870-1939) (who married 5 years later to William Upton Harvey)
The Sismeys later moved to Auckland and are buried in Hillsborough
children of WILLIAM & ELIZABETH
.. 1 ..
1895 - 1967 Alexander Craig 'Alec' Aitken
.. * born 1 April 1895 in Dunedin
his mother died the day before his 15th birthday : he was 52 when his father died
Alec married Mary Winifred Betts in NZ 1920
* She was a daughter of Alfred George Geoffrey Betts (1870-1946) & Ada Mary Grindley (1871-1950)
* Alec became Professor Aitken.
* Another biography of Professor Aitken says he was 1 of 7 children.
* Alec had an impressive war record.
* He kept his war mates entertained playing a violin
Alexander died 3 Nov 1967 in Edinburgh, Scotland aged 72
* Mary died 29 April 1971 in Edinburgh aged 77
They are buried at Warriston Crematorium
.. 2 ..
1896 - 1988 Elizabeth Margaret Aitken
.. * born 30 Sep 1896
13 when her mother died
50 when her father died
Elizabeth married Charles Herbert Kayes (1900-1958) in 1925
* Charles was a son of Charles William Kayes & Edith Shepherd
* Charles died 2 May 1958 aged 57
Elizabeth died 3 March 1988 aged 91
.. 3 ..
1898 - 1955 Winifred Stuart Aitken
.. * born 28 Dec 1898 in Dunedin
11 when her mother died
48 when her father died
Winifred married Albert Victor Ernest Manley Keast (1896-1969) in 1927
* Albert was a son of Albert Ernest Alfred Keast & Laura Ann Manley
Winifred died 2 Dec 1955 in Invercargill
* Albert died 20 April 1969 aged 73
They are buried together Plot 375, Block 35 at Eastern Cemetery
HEADSTONE reads Remembrance. Winifred Stuart Keast 1898-1954. Albert Victor Keast 1896-1969
.. 4 ..
1901 - 1988 William Towers Aitken
.. * born 10 Jan 1901 in Dunedin
9 when his mother died
46 when his father died
William married Martha Craig (1904-1991) in 1928
* Martha was a daughter of James Craig & Margaret Alexandrina White (1879-1979)
William died 18 Jan 1988 aged 87
* Martha died 30 April 1991 aged 86
They are buried Plot 28, Block AG1 at Oamaru Lawn
.. 5 ..
1903 - 1971 Leslie Milner Aitken
.. * born 22 April 1903 in Dunedin
7 when his mother died
44 when his father died
* Leslie was a journalist and the chief sub-editor of the Christchurch 'Press'
Leslie married Belle Darling Renaut (1905-1985) in 1933
* Belle was born 26 Nov 1905, a daughter of Captain Charles Malcolm Renaut & Isabella Darling Ormiston
Otago Daily Times, 25 July 1933
The marriage was celebrated on Saturday evening at the Knox Presbyterian Church, Bealey avenue, Christchurch, of Belle Darling, younger daughter of Captain and Mrs C. M. Renaut, of Papanui and Leslie Milner Aitken, of Christchurch, son of Mr W. Aitken, Dunedin. The Rev T. W. Armour officiated. The bride, who was escorted by her father, was wearing a lovely frock of cream and gold brocade, Designed on long slender-fitting lines, the frock was enhanced by its simplicity. The sleeves were close-fitting to the wrists and from knee-height the skirt fell in full flares to the instep. A tiny spray of orange blossom was placed on one shoulder. Her veil of tulle was held by a coronet of pearls, with a strand of orange blossom buds across the back and she carried a sheaf of lilies. Mr R. Tudor Roberts, of Dunedin, attended her sister as matron of honour. She wore an attractive ensemble of grey and violet. the frock of dove grey crepe was finished with a high-collared cape. On her hair she wore a circlet of purple pansies and carried a posy of violets. Mr Trevor Ross, of Christchurch, was best man.
After the ceremony a reception was held at Warner's Hotel. Mrs Renaut received her guests wearing a smart frock of beige georgette and lace, under a brown faced cloth coat with a collar of musquash. A spray of orange-shaded flowers added a touch of colour. Her hat was of brown felt. Mr and Mrs Aitken left later for the North Island, the bride wearing a smart nigger brown wool crepe de chine frock with touches of beige at wrists and neck, a brown cloth coat and a becoming hat of beige fur felt.
Leslie died 28 Sep 1971 aged 68
* Belle died 18 May 1985 aged 79
.. 6 ..
1905 - 1934 Harry Arthur Ashwell Aitken
.. * born 30 Nov 1905 in Dunedin
4 when his mother died
deceased when his father died
* Harry was a Chemist (read his obituary)
Harry died 23 March 1934 in London aged 28
Evening Star, 28 March 1934 AITKEN - On March 23 1934, London, Harry Arthur Ashwell, dearly beloved son of Wm. Aitken, 1 Norwood street, Dunedin.
OBITUARY of Harry Arthur Ashwell Aitken. Harry was born at Dunedin, New Zealand, on November 30th, 1905. He studied at Otago University 1924-7 and graduated M.Sc. with honours in Chemistry. After holding a post-graduate bursary and working on the essential oils of Podocarpus species he obtained in 1929 a National Research scholarship of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; during its tenure he investigated the sulphur in organic and inorganic combination in pasture grasses. From 1930 to 1932 he was chemist to the Goitre and Cancer Research Department of the Otago University Medical School and with C. E. Hercus and others, published papers on iodine in goitre, a paper with A. M. Begg on tumour regression and, by himself, papers on a continuous dialyser and on the determination of iodine in blood and butter. In 1933 Aitken was granted a University Free passage for research in this country, where he at first continued his work on sulphur in grasses in the laboratory of Prof. G. Barger and then migrated to London to take the Institute of Chemistry Fellowship examination, which he passed. Unfortunately, application to study had undermined a somewhat delicate constitution, leading to an illness from which he died in London on March 23rd 1934. Aitken was of a shy and retiring disposition and hardly became known to British biochemists as he deserved to be.
Otago Daily Times, 28 March 1934
Mr Harry A. Aitken The friends of Mr Harry A. Aitken will learn with regret of his death in London on March 23, news of which was received in Dunedin by cablegram yesterday. Mr Aitken was a brilliant student at the Otago Boys' High School, from which he won a junior University scholarship in 1923, a distinguished graduate of the University of Otago and acted for some time as chemist in connection with cancer research. He passed the examination for F.I.C. only a few months ago. The deceased was a younger brother of Dr. A. C. Aitken, a distinguished mathematician on the staff of the University of Edinburgh and also of Mr L. M. Aitken, of the sub-editorial staff of the Christchurch 'Press'.
.. 7 ..
1907 - 1971 Alan Arbuckle Aitken
.. * born 26 Dec 1907
3 when his mother died
39 when his father died
Alan married Doris Anne 'Dorrie' (1910-2007 surname to be found)
he served in WWII. Private 9765 with the 2nd N.Z.E.F. His next of kin was his wife, D. A. Aitken of Alexandra, Central Otago.
* In the 'Evening Star' 3 Aug 1940, a novel arrangement, sponsored by the South Dunedin Businessmen's Association, saw loved-ones send 'Cheerios From Home' to the Boys Overseas. Doris wrote .. 9765 Pte. Alan Aitken, 1st Ech. overseas - Love and best wishes and good luck from Dorrie at Alexandra.
* Alan was a prisoner of war in Camp 107 Italy in 1943 and was transferred to Stalag XVIII A in Germany in 1944.
* He was home by 1946 when they had a daughter in Tarbert St., Alexandra on 6 Oct 1946
Alan died 28 Nov 1971 aged 64
* Doris died 9 Nov 2007 aged 97
They are buried Plot 101, Block E at Alexandra cemetery
Drew suggested Alan was a twin with Alice Mary Jane Aitken. Alan was born 26 Dec 1907 to William & Elizabeth. Alice was born 2 months later, 6 March 1908 to William & Elizabeth Ann, a sibling of Pearl
ELIZABETH AITKEN died 31 March 1910 aged 37
Evening Star, 1 April 1910 AITKEN On March 31 1910, at her residence 107 St David street, Dunedin, Elizabeth, the beloved wife of William Aitken; aged 37 years. Deeply regretted. Private interment
* She is buried with 2 of William's young sisters (see above)
William remarried on 30 Dec 1916, to Minnie Couper Thompson (1878-1966)
* Minnie was a daughter of Robert Thompson & Elizabeth Couper
★ WILLIAM AITKENS
died 16 Jan 1947 aged 76
Evening Star, 17 Jan 1947
DEATH AITKEN - On January 16 1947 (suddenly), at his residence, 1 Norwood street, William, beloved husband of Minnie Aitken. No flowers, by request - The Funeral will leave our chapel, 78 St Andrew street, on Saturday, the 18th inst., at the conclusion of the service, commencing at 1.30 p.m., for the Anderson's Bay Crematorium.
Evening Star, 20 Jan 1947
OBITUARY - Mr WILLIAM AITKEN The death occurred in Dunedin recently of Mr William Aitken, father of Dr Alexander C. Aitken, who has become famous as a mathematician and who at present occupies the Chair of mathematics at the Edinburgh University. Dr Aitken, formerly a student at Otago university, is credited with many astonishing feats of memory while at that institution and has since made many valuable contributions to the science of mathematics. His portrait is hung in the Royal Gallery of Famous Men in London.
The late Mr William Aitken was for many years established in the grocery business in the north end of Dunedin. He was closely associated with the Central Mission, where he was held in the highest esteem. He served for a long period as circuit steward and for over 50 years he had been a trustee. A keen gardener, Mr Aitken made a special study of the cultivation of chrysanthemums.
He was twice married and is survived by his widow, four sons and three daughters. A son, Mr Leslie Aitken, at one time on the reporting staff of the 'Evening Star' and now sub-editor of the 'Christchurch Press.' Other surviving sons are Mr W. Aitken, a farmer at Hakataramea and Mr Alan Aitken of Central Otago. The daughters are Mrs A. Keast, of Invercargill, Mrs Kayes of Wellington and Mrs M. Kirk(sic)
William's ashes ashes are interred with his parents in Anderson Bay
NOTE Aitken buried Karrakatta
Family Plot 2, Block 8 at Andersons Bay Cemetery
Grave of WILLIAM AITKEN & his parents