Colonel Pitt's Military Settlers arrive NZ on the 'GRESHAM' 1864 :: Genealogy
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Colonel Pitt's Military Settlers arrive NZ on the 'GRESHAM' 1864

Journal by ngairedith

Timeline for the arrival of the ship 'Thomas Gresham'
(sometimes written as just 'Gresham')
There are a number of discrepancies in the various newspaper articles when describing the size of ship, number of enlistments etc. but written here as found.
Also, a few of the events don't seem to run in correct time line ('ship left last week' followed with 'about to embark'). I put this down to being copied from Melbourne newspapers by NZ, some received late.

recommended reading
★ Extensive story of Australia's involvement in the New Zealand Wars of 1860-1866 For Glory and a Farm
By Rev. Frank G. Glen as published in the journals of the NZ Military Historical Society, 1982/83

★ The New Zealand Wars: Military Forces and Frontier Defences.

★ Soldiers & Colonists. Imperial Soldiers as Settlers in Nineteenth-Century New Zealand (pdf). John M. McLellan. A thesis submitted to Victoria University of Wellington in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of master of Arts in History

The Pitt family in New Zealand
generations of military men
* Major-General George Dean-Pitt (1781-1851), Commander of the Military Forces in NZ and from 3 Jan 1848 the Lieut-Governor of New Ulster (later named North Island).
* His son Colonel George Dean Pitt (1823-1883), mentioned throughout this journal
* His youngest son Lieutenant William Augustus Pitt (1833-1890), ensign in the 60th Rifles in 1852, transferred to the 55th as a lieutenant in 1856. Moved in 1857 to settle in Australia. Came back to NZ in 1864, moved to Auckland in 1866. He died 8 Nov 1890 and is buried at Symonds St, (see link below)
* His grandson, Major Cholwell Dean Pitt (1843-1926) had, prior to taking charge of the A.C. in Poverty Bay in 1870, served in the Waikato, Wanganui, Rotorua and Opotiki districts.
* His great grandson, Captain William Tutepuaki Pitt (1877-1937) served in the South African War, the 28th Maori Battalion and is listed in NZ Gazette as licensed interpreter
* Finding the Burials & headstones at Symonds Street cemetery

Melbourne, 21 Aug 1863
Colonel Pitt has opened an office for the enrolment of volunteers for New Zealand

Southland Times, 1 Sep 1863
The Argus of the 25th thus speaks of Volunteering in Melbourne, for Auckland:- Colonel Pitt's mission of raising a force in this colony for service in New Zealand is not likely to be a failure. Saturday, the first day his office was opened, was devoted to receiving applications from persons for appointments as officers and non-commissioned officers and no less than sixty-five candidates declare themselves. In another column will be found extracts from the Militia Act Amendment Bill, under which the force will be formed. It will be seen that pensions for wounds and in the event of death, are provided. We may state at the same time, the Colonel Pitt does not desire that the regiment should be formed of trained volunteers alone. All who are disposed to accept the liberal conditions offered by the New Zealand Government, however little they may know of military matters, are invited to join the force.

Argus, 1 Sep 1863
The first detachment of the troops enlisted by Colonel Pitt, for service in the Auckland Militia, left Melbourne yesterday and were berthed on board the White Star liner Star of India, lying at the Williamstown pier. Altogether 405 privates and non-commissioned officers embarked, under the command of four officers, Captain H. G. Smith, late of the Volunteer Engineers; Lieutenant H. P. Lomax, Lieutenant W. A. Smith and Lieutenant W. Nunnington. The Spencer-street station was crowded dueing the morning with people desirous of seeing the volunteers start and some three or four hundred persons, including wives with children in their arms, went down to the Railway Pier, where the ship was moored. The Juvenile Volunteer Drum and Fife Band was at the station during the early part of the morning and played some inspiring airs. The crowd, too, gave their friends some hearty cheers, so that the departure was rendered tolerably lively. Although the volunteers included many specimens of the genus 'loafer' they were altogether a fine body of men and, if well drilled and well officered, are not at all likely to reflect shame on the colony they are leaving ... more

Argus, 2 Sep 1863
The ship Caduceus has been chartered by Colonel Pitt, to convey the second contingent of Victorian Volunteers to Auckland and will sail early in the ensuing week.

Otago Witness, 4 Sep 1863
Melbourne. The inducements held out by Colonel Pitt on behalf of the New Zealand Government to persons willing to undertake military service in the unhappy war with the Maori have excited a good deal of attention here; and, lured by the prospect of a fifty-acre freehold, half-a-crown a day with rations and any amount of glory to boot, a rather large number of young fellows who had nothing better to do have embraced the offer and listed for the Queen's Colonial Militia. The total number enrolled amounts to nearly 500. People who are inclined to be sarcastic and who are skeptical as the the capacity of absorption of the Victorian labor market, say that a fine opening will thus be afforded to the male immigrants that we are lavishly spending the public money to bring out such numbers from Great Britain and 'Ould' Ireland. Be that as it may, I can give you a fact, a positive, a most stubborn fact, respecting this same labor market of Victoria. Mr Perry of the Fulham Grange Nursery Road, advertised lately for laborers to work in his garden at a remuneration of of six shillings a week (!) with rations and found plenty of strong, able-bodied men ready and glad to accept the offer. So much for the cry of want of labot to develop the resources of Victoria.

Daily Southern Cross, 4 Sep 1863
... it appears that Colonel Pitt can find more men than he is commissioned to enlist; and the closest scrutiny is made into the characters of the volunteers. This precaution is no doubt necessary; but why, let us inquire, limit the number of volunteers to 1,000 or 1,5000 men, when there is room and need for at least ten times that number? If the recruiting ceases when 2,000 men have been enrolled in Australia and Otago, the Government will fail in their object, not because of its being only partially carried out. Instead of 2,000 there should be 20,00 at the least; and then we would have in beneficial occupation of Europeans, not 100,000 acres of the waste lands of the province, but 1,000,000 acres ... more

Argus, 5 Sep 1863
VICTORIAN VOLUNTEERS - A complaint has obtained publicity that Colonel Pitt is preserving an unnecessary secrecy in withholding the names of the men enlisted for service in the Auckland Militia. Colonel Pitt has requested us to mention that his lists have never been closed to person wishing to ascertain whether their friends or relatives have enlisted; and further, that he is causing a roll to be prepared of the men embarked for Auckland, which roll he proposed to hand over to the proper authorities, for public inspection at the City Police Court.

Argus, 22 Sep 1863
The barque Theoda has been purchased within the last few days by Captain McIntyre, late of the Montezuma and will be named the Golden Age. She is intended for the New Zealand trade, for which she is well adapted. We are informed that she has been chartered by Colonel Pitt for the conveyance of the third detachment of volunteers for Auckland, for which port she will sail during the present week

Colonist, 2 Feb 1864
A Telegram from Melbourne, of date Friday, 22nd January, states:- "442 men have at present enlisted under Colonel Pitt, for New Zealand, under the new regulations, 280 will embark in the Gresham to-morrow."

Melbourne Herald, 2 Feb 1864
Colonel Pitt at Melbourne
In spite of the opposition which has been brought to bear against Col. Pitt and his mission, he has been most successful, having in two days succeeded in obtaining 260 volunteers. As to the statement made below, that the land on which these men will be located is not worth 3 per acre - we can only say that it is just as likely to be worth more as less. The fact is that the New Zealand Government reserve to themselves the power of sending the new arrivals to wherever the exigencies of the Native question may require. The question of the legality of these enlistments has been brought before the Government, but Major Pitt announces his intention of persevering unless forcibly prevented and the Crown Law Officers have, we understand, decided that the authorities have no power to interfere. It has however, been suggest to the local Government o send immigration agents, armed with suitable powers, to both Otago and Taranaki. Arrangements have been made by which several of the wives and families of those already serving in the local forces in New Zealand will join their husbands.
Mr East, of the South Yarra Artillery, has been appointed to a captaincy and first detachment will probably start in a few days for Auckland by the ship 'Gresham' which has been specially chartered for the purpose.
ENROLMENT OF VOLUNTEERS IN AUSTRALIA - The following additional inducements are held out to intending Volunteers by Col. Pitt, in the advertising columns of the Sydney Morning Herald:- In addition to the terms of the above, I am authorised by the Government of New Zealand to provide the families of the married men who may enrol with free passages from the port of embarkation to Auckland and on their arrival the New Zealand Government will provide them with shelter, either in huts or tents, until the men are located on their lands and during the period they receive such shelter the Government will also issue to them rations of fuel, light and provisions of like quality and quantity as are issued to the wives and children of soldiers in her Majesty's service. I am also authorised to issue orders for an advance of pay for three months (eleven pounds sterling), from the date of embarkation, to every man who may desire it, the order to be made payable in Sydney, after the vessel in which the man is embarked shall have left Port Jackson, provided the order is accompanied with a certificate that the man is on board. These orders may also be made payable in New Zealand. In all cases pay will commence from the date of embarkation., I shall shortly visit Sydney for the purpose of examining candidates for enrolment there and at the principal towns on the lines of railway, of which due notice will be given in the newspapers; at the same time I shall be glad to hear by letter from any who propose to avail themselves of these conditions. All men offering must be provided with certificates as to character. All married men will be sent to Auckland in the same ships with their families.

Lyttelton Times, 6 Feb 1864
- Up to yesterday evening the number of men actually enrolled in Melbourne as military settlers for New Zealand was 352 - namely, 114 married and 239 single men.
The assembly-rooms at Hockin's Hotel, which have been engaged as the recruiting offices, have, in fact, been thronged each day. With comparatively few exceptions, the applicants were fine, healthy, active looking men - decidedly above the average type of aspirants for military fame.
The Thomas Gresham, a ship of about 1200 tons, has been chartered for the transmission of the first batch of 'military settlers,' and on Tuesday or Wednesday next will probably take some 400 persons away. Not all are yet on board, but a good portion are, and many are absent on leave.
On Saturday and yesterday, so we are informed, a money-broker was doing a roaring trade on board, buying up 11 advance notes for £8 or £9. It is not wholly improbable that a little desertion may take place under such circumstances.
There was no enrolment in Melbourne on Saturday, but the work will begin again to-day.
On Thursday last we learn that seventy-eight single and twenty married men were enrolled on 'Ballarat'; and Capt. Frazer, the agent, then proceeded to Creswick and Smythesdale to get more recruits.
On Castlemaine, Capt Langden, another of Colonel Pitt's accredited agents, was almost mobbed at his hotel by the eager recruits. He enroled fifty-six - twenty-two single men and thirty-four married men (with ninety-six children). In the end, he obtained twenty-one men from Kyneton and nearly sixty from Castlemaine, the majority of whom are married men.

NZ Herald, 6 Feb 1864
The ship Gresham, 965 tons, Capt L. C. Brayley, which had just arrived at Melbourne from Liverpool, has been chartered by Col. Pitt to convey volunteers to this port.

New Zealander, 9 Feb 1864
ENROLMENT OF MILITARY SETTLERS IN VICTORIA. - Up to yesterday evening the number of men actually enrolled in Melbourne as military settlers for New Zealand was 353 - namely 114 married and 239 single men. The number rejected does not bear a larger proportion than about twenty per cent of the total number who offered themselves for enlistment. The men are not confined to one or two classes of the population, but comprise joiners, carpenters, engineers, masons and other artisans, besides labourers, clerks, butchers, bakers, grocers, tobacconists, &c. Amongst the number are also two or three farmers, two medical students and a ship broker. Several of the married men have families of three or four children. Nearly all the recruits describe themselves as residents either in the city or one or other of the suburbs, each locality making some contribution to the total.
Mr East, of the South Yarra Artillery, has been appointed to a captaincy; and the following appointment of officers has also been made by Colonel Pitt:- Lieut Cecil, Lieut Pennefather and Lieutenant Jackson.
The single men and those married men who do not intend to take their families, will embark on Saturday morning for Taranaki, the ship Gresham having been chartered for their conveyance. The recruiting will be proceeded with for several days longer and it is also intended to prosecute it actively in the country districts. On Wednesday a depot was opened at Kyneton, where twenty-two men were enlisted and another at Geelong. Yesterday the agents of Colonel Pitt were at work at Ballarat and Castlemaine and to-day they will visit the Creswick and Sandhurst districts. No official returns of the number enrolled have yet been received from Geelong, Ballarat or Castlemaine.

Daily Southern Cross, 12 Feb 1864
The married men of the Victorian contingent will be glad to learn that the 'Thomas Fletcher' had been chartered by Colonel Pitt, in Victoria, to convey their wives and families here and that she was to sail on the 29th ultimo. She is consequently due now. The military settlers who were enrolled embarked on board the 'Gresham'

Taranaki Herald, 13 Feb 1864
Just as we were going to press a ship was signalled and proved to be the Gresham, 965 tons, Captain Bayley, from Melbourne, with 429 military settlers on board for this place. The officer in command is Lieut Pennyfather; Lieuts Sifton and Roadey are also on board. The Gresham left Melbourne on the 30th ult., and has been therefore 14 days out. She reports that the 'Brilliant' with 118 more men was to leave two days later.

New Zealand, 13 Feb 1864
The following account of Colonel Pitt's recruiting, from the Bendigo Advertiser, will be read with interest:-
The men who have yielded to the tempting offers of the New Zealand Government, were on Saturday last embarked on board the Gresham, which ship has been chartered by Colonel Pitt for their conveyance to Auckland. Some 350 are mow assembled on board, the majority being stout able fellows, whom it is rel pity to lose. They are certainly of a much superior class to those who volunteered upon the occasion of the gallant colonel's former visit, very little of the loafer element being distinguishable among them; nevertheless, we recognise a few individuals who have been in the habit for the last twelve months of "living on their means," and sleeping anywhere and so far as they were concerned we thought that the New Zealand 'crimping' agent had done us a service.
The men all seem in high spirits and we imagine from what we could glean from their conversation, are under the impression that they are going to fight not to work, "What induced you to enlist?" we asked an honest Irishman with a chest like a Hercules and a head of hair like a mop broom, "surely you can get plenty of work here". "Work is it" said he "it's work that I am sick of, it's fighting I want and why shouldn't I have a pop at the rogues as well as another, bad luck to you. Sure it's for the Maori we are required."
"Commercial traveller, sir," replied to our enquiries a gentleman in an invisible blue coat and buff waistcoat and with a Mr Jingle habit of clipping his words - "Commercial traveller, grocery and spirit trade, sir; but - time - bad, can't make living; besides, want excitement - plenty fighting, so forth - and I'll take a drink with pleasure."
And, indeed; though doubtless there are many who have experienced 'hard times' in the colony the motive which has led them to enlist seems rather to have been that yearning for change and novelty which is so prominent a characteristic of our roving population. Few seem to have been actually driven to volunteer from necessity, the majority of then being well and decently dressed and with little of the external signs, at any rate, of actual poverty.
Seated apart from the others on a spar or a coil of rope, we saw 'the old hand' pipe in mouth and rather a dubious expression of countenance, chewing the cud of reflection and evidently doubtful as to whether he had done a wise thing in selling himself for three years for 2s 6d a day and the hazy prospect of a few acres of land; and a few of the older and more experienced of the recruits are by no means so elated with their prospects as the younger portion. However, they're in for it now, most of them having received their three months advance and by this time spent the money. Gentlemen of the Hebrew persuasion who 'do bills' and such like, have done a roaring trade amongst the victims, who get something like £5 out of the advance note and spend that in debauch.
The ship has been well fitted up for the accommodation of the men, the 'tween decks, which are roomy and well ventilated, being lined on each side with bunks and rows of tables' and every care seems to have been given to the comfort and health of the recruits. The officers in charge of the first 'batch' of volunteers will probably be augmented by recruits from the country districts and those enlisted during the next two days in town, will be Messrs Pennefather, Sissam, Clarke and Jackson. The recruiting will be proceeded with to-day and the Gresham, which will by that time have her full complement on board, will sail on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Mr Domett, Col. Pitt's agent, attended on Friday at the Criterion Hotel, Market-square and in the evening at the Metropolitan Hotel, for the purpose of enrolling men for service in the New Zealand Militia and subsequent military settlement on contiguous farms of fifty acres each, to be granted to each member of the militia on his relief from 'actual service.'
During the course of the afternoon and evening twenty-one single men and eleven married men were enrolled. Of the single men nine were tradesmen - one mason, one carpenter, one blacksmith, one wheelwright, one sawyer, one plumber and one confectioner; the others, respectively, one storekeeper, two clerks, one farmer, three seamen, five miners, one labourer and one groom. The married men comprised - one engineer, one butcher, three miners, three seamen, two labourers and one cattle-drover. In addition to the like number of wives (eleven), the married men were responsible for twenty-nine children. One of them (entered under the designation of a labourer) had been a corporal of artillery for eleven years, had served in New Zealand and obtained a grant of land there for his former services. He was desirous of returning to the country with his wife and children and increasing his property in it. He was an applicant for service as a non-commissioned officer, entitling him to a somewhat larger grant of land and a pay of 3s per diem instead of 2s 6d., that granted a private.
The men enrolled were of a decidedly superior caste to the former detachment, being to all appearance in moderately easy circumstances and apparently in the possession of some means of livelihood more or less reliable in this country. The general motive appeared to be dissatisfaction with their prospect of advancement and independence in this colony and an anticipation of some larger opening or improved condition of affairs in New Zealand - an anticipation that it would probably puzzle the lot of them to offer any reasonable ground for.
The single men were directed to be in waiting this morning, at the railway station for conveyance by the first train to Melbourne and immediate shipment.
The married men were informed that provision would be made for their conveyance with their wives and children to Melbourne by the six a.m. train on Thursday next. At Melbourne they would receive passage tickets for the conveyance of their wives and children, each passage ticket representing a money value of £11, which would be now advanced to them and subsequently deducted from their pay in New Zealand. These tickets, they were informed, would be useless to any other person and they were cautioned not to sell them, Before enrolment, they were also asked whether they had read over the conditions and accepted them, the reply being in each case in the affirmative and that they were satisfied with them.

New Zealander, 18 Feb 1864
- We gather from the Australian papers that Col Pitt has secured the service of some 900 volunteers. The Gresham sailed on the 31st ult., with 426 settlers for Taranaki. The Aldinga was to leave Adelaide with fifty men on the 13th. The Thomas Fletcher was also secured in the same service, whilst yesterday we were surprised by the arrival of the ship Swiftsure, Captain Mayhew, from Melbourne, with 1,000 souls; military settlers and the wives and families of men already here. There were 500 children on board. Through the courtesy of the Captain we have Melbourne papers to the 5th inst., but the news is of no moment. The Age says:- "The Thomas Fletcher, with a detachment of the Auckland volunteers, sailed last night. She carries 72 men and 188 women and children. The officers in command of the volunteers are Capt. Stewart and Ensign Home. It is expected that, with fair winds, the Thomas Fletcher will reach her destination in ten days. The Brilliant and Swiftsure will follow to-day or Saturday.

New Zealander, 18 Feb 1864
The ship Gresham arrived at Taranaki from Melbourne on Saturday last, with 420 Military Settlers and sailed the following day for Guam. The barque Brilliant was to have left Melbourne for Taranaki the day after the Gresham with 120 Military Settlers.
The magnificent ship, 1326 tons, commanded by Captain Mayhew, sailed from Melbourne on the 6th inst. at noon and after being baffled for two days in the Straits with S.E. and easterly winds, at last got it from the S.W. and ran through on the morning of the 8th. On the 10th she got the winds from N.E. to east and had easterly weather ever since. She made the Three Kings on the 15th and arrived here yesterday afternoon. She brings Captain Stuart and Lieutenant Walker in charge of the Military Settlers, 168 men, 286 women and 478 children; equal to 838 statue adults.

Otago Witness, 20 Feb 1864
The first contingent of Colonel Pitt's 'Military Settlers' sailed for Auckland in the Gresham on Saturday last. The remainder, together with their wives and families, will follow in the Thomas Fletcher, the Swiftsure and the Brilliant

Taranaki Herald, 20 Feb 1864
By the arrival of the Gersham on Saturday last and the Brilliant on Wednesday, both from Melbourne, the province has received a large addition to its numbers, in the shape of 568 volunteers for the military settlements. They are a fine body of men, strong and healthy and will be well fitted for the duty they have undertaken when they have undergone the necessary training. We have no wish to remark upon the doings of some of the men during the past week, as it has been their first week here and money has been plentiful, but we would call upon the steady and well-behaved ones, who are certainly the majority, to help the authorities, if it should be necessary, in enforcing order and sobriety. The 150 men who have been out to Sentry Hill, conducted themselves quietly and creditably under circumstances of some difficulty and did their work to the satisfaction of Major Butler and the officer of Engineers. No doubt the others will do the same when the opportunity occurs. If they are to stay here and not be moved to Auckland as report states, we hope to see them settle as quietly into their places as the Otago men have done and become ultimately in fact, as well as in name, Taranaki settlers. We do not know that we could wish them a pleasanter lot, when the native difficulty which they have come to help us settle is finally disposed of.

Nelson Examiner, 1 March 1864
The ship Gresham, with 420 of Colonel Pitt's military settlers, fourteen days from Victoria, arrived on the afternoon of the 13th. The report of such a vessel being about to leave Melbourne had reached us through the press, but not a word on the subject was received from Auckland and therefore no preparation was made for accommodating so considerable a body of persons. The men were landed during the afternoon and marched through the town, headed by the Volunteer band and their tents (which were luckily brought with them), pitched at the Henui, but beyond this nothing was done for the men, many of whom hung about the town that night, cold, hungry and wet (for to add to their discomfort a drizzling rain was falling) and infested the public-houses, where grog supplied, for a time, the place of food. Net morning, their case was taken in hand by the Militia authorities. As yet the men are doing nothing, arms not having yet been received for them from Auckland; 150 were marched out yesterday to Sentry-hill as a working party. The men are a very fine body and all shipped as single.
A second ship is in the offing, with upwards of 100 more men from Melbourne; making, with officers, an addition to our Militia of nearly 500 men.
It may be well to note that the passengers by the Gresham, report that a midshipman fell overboard from the top, on the voyage and that the Captain took no steps to recover the body which was floating on the water. The reason urged was, that the unfortunate young man struck the rail in his fall and that from the bent position of the body, the legs and head under water, the back alone visible, the medical man was of opinion that life was extinct before the body reached the water. Captain Bayley seems at least to have shewn great indifference for the fate of a young man in his charge and it is much to be regretted that no representation was made to the authorities here. The ship sailed from Hong Kong on the 15th.

NZ Spectator & Cook's Strait Guardain, 2 March 1864
There is little news from Taranaki. Sentry hill has been occupied by the troops and a stockade erected, By the arrival there of the Gresham and the Brilliant from Melbourne an addition to their population of 568 volunteers has been made.

New Zealander, 17 March 1864
The Melbourne Herald, of the 27th ult., contains the subjoined account of heartless desertion on the part of one of our military settlers, who arrived in company with Col. Pitt's recruits in the ship Gresham:-
An example of how some of Col Pitt's militia-men desert their wives was brought under the notice of the presiding magistrate (Dr Pluming) at the Sandridge Police Court, on Wednesday. A young woman named Charlotte Lloyd, who, it was stated, was the mother of three children, was charged with attempting to commit self-destruction on the previous day, by throwing herself off the Railway Pier. The unfortunate creature was suffering from hysteria and could not appear in Court; she was subsequently remanded for seven days for medical treatment. Mrs Lloyd's tale is, that her husband joined Colonel Pitt's volunteers in Melbourne, under the name of Edwards and promised to meet her at Sandridge to sail in the Swiftsure for Auckland. Instead of keeping his appointment, the heartless rascal went away in the Gresham and when his wife came to town from Ballarat, where she was living; she found that the vessel had sailed and left her behind. Being without money and also having no way to provide for herself and family, she was tempted to commit the rash act, which would have cost her her life had it not been for the timely assistance of one of the stevedores who prevented her carrying her design into execution. It is a pity that the authorities here cannot inform Col Pitt of the conduct of 'one of his fine young men.'

Awaiting the order to advance.
Taken at sunrise 29 April 1864, the morning of the attack on Gate Pā.
*General Sir Duncan Cameron, 5th from right, hands in pockets, leaning against the wheel of a 24 pounder smooth bored howitzer, surrounded by British regulars, local militia and Volunteers.
*Sergeant Major Jackson, centre front, 1st Waikato: atop a 12 pounder Coehorn mortar with its 4.5" bomb shells to the right of him

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