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FREER family, Fimber to Blackball.


JOHN was married in Newcastle upon Tyne, at the registry office, on the 19 Feb. 1918.
He married LILY DUNN.
JOHN was a regular force soldier with the Kings Own Yorksh Light Infantry, before that he was a coal miner.

JOHN's parents were EDWIN FREER and SARAH JANE VICKERS. He was born in Hunslet, Leeds, Yorkshire, England. JOHN was the eldest child in the family,

JOHN'S Father was EDWIN FREER, he was born in Fimber a small village in the Yorkshire county. Edwin was one of 8 sons and 2 daughters.
Parents to EDWIN were THOMAS FREER and SARAH CARR...
When EDWIN went to school his parents had to pay 2 pence a week for his school book.
Later he was hired out to work on farms. When he was 9 years old he worked at Sledmere Hall, looking after the horses. He was also at Wetwang and lots of other farms about the area.

JOHN'S Mother, Sarah Jane VICKERS had a sister MARY ELLEN and a brother JOHN. They came from Scalby Mills outside Scarborough, Yorkshire. They were related to VICKERS who had a Ropery at Pontefract Yorkshire. EDWIN and SARAH JANE were married at Hunslet Moor on 3 march 1896.

In 1913 the family moved to Leeds Yorkshire. Where EDWIN and son JOHN both worked at Cooks Ovens until JOHN went into the army in 1914, he was 18yrs old.
JOHN was born 28 July 1896.
He was in the regular Army for 5 years. Discharged 13 Feb 1920 being no longer fit for war service. His discharge papers say he was 5 foot 9 inches tall , had a tatoo mark on his left arm, brown hair and hazel eyes.
He had 3 wound stripes and the British war and Victory Medal. He also got the 1914-1915 Star.

When JOHN went home after his discharge his wife LILY, had had a new baby, not JOHNS, but he accepted the baby girl (Louie) as his own and was always a good father to her and the large family he and LILY went on to have.

In 1927, the family moved from Leeds, Yorkshire, England. to New Zealand. They sailed on the Rangitata and settled in Blackball on the West Coast, South Island.
They arrived in Wellington very poor. With very little money and a long way from Blackball the Salvation Army took them in and helped them get to Blackball to live close to LILY'S Father, JOHN DUNN, who had already settled and was living with his second wife Maria and new young family.

JOHN went to the coal mine for work, he wasn't happy, he had been crippled during the war and it was difficult for him to do physical work.
An earthquake was a good excuse to leave mining and he never went underground again. he did work at the top of the mine sorting coal and picking stones out of the conveyor belt.
JOHN did a variety of jobs around Blackball, cleaning the deep water drains and keeping the local cemetery tidy.
They were always poor, a large family and no work was difficult, but he always managed to hobble to the local pub and he had a great sense of humour. Life was never taken too seriously and he appeared to enjoy the small things in life-- family, friends,--an old car to tinker with and a couple of drinks and a yarn at the pub..

JOHN WILLIAM FREER died 16 May 1975. aged 79 years.

4 comment(s), latest 8 years, 8 months ago

John Tagnall but sometimes John Fielding.

This is about JOHN TAGNALL, born Marylebone, London. 1847.
he married MARY ANN WHITE,in 1866, Mary Ann was born about 1851 on the Isle of Wight.
They had two daughters.
MARY ANN born 1867 and JULIA HARRIET born 1869.

1871... census JOHN lived at 25 Homer Ter. Hackney, London.
He was a toymaker , he was 23 yrs , his wife MARY ANN was 20 yrs old.
They were using the name FIELDING . MARY ANN 3 yrs, JULIA H. 1 yr.

1881 census...Has JOHN as JOHN PAGNELL age 33 yrs, he is now a drum maker. Born Marylebone, London.
he is married to MARY ANN , age 30 yrs and says she was born in Ventner, Isle of Wight, Sussex.
MARY ANN, daughter is 13 yrs, born Bethnal Green, London...tie maker.
JULIA HARRIET, IS 11 Yrs, born Bethnal Green, London.
They lived at 4 Middleton Street, Bethnal Green , London.

1891 census... 4 Middleton Street, Bethnal Green, London.
John is now FIELDING again. and has a new wife, JULIA HARRIET and MARY ANN are no longer with him, he is listed..............
JOHN FIELDING 43 yrs, Drum maker,born Marylebone, London.
Julia 29 yrs, wife, born Shoreditch, London.
GRACE daughter 6 yrs born Bethnal Green.
GEORGINA daughter 4 yrs " "
JOHN son 3 yrs " "
HENRY son 2 months " "

In 1883 there is a marriage for
JOHN FIELDING and JULIA WILLSON. Willson is a spelling mistake .

1901 census...111 Cornfield Street, Bethnal Green, London.
JOHN FIELDING, 50 yrs, Drum maker, own account. at home, born Marylebone, London.
JULIA wife, 38 yrs, born Shoreditch, London.
GRACE HARRIET daughter 16 yrs tea packer, grocer, Born Hackney
GEORGINA daughter 14 yrs Cossack hand (sweet) "
JOHN son 13 yrs "
HENRY son 10 yrs "
JAMES son 8 yrs "
ESTER daughter 5yrs "
MARY daughter 2 yrs "
FRANCES daughter, 3 months "

MARY ANN TAGNALL married EVAN LEWIS, my great grandfather.
in London. 1885, Hackney, London.

Whats a confusing family . wondering why the name changes all the time???

1 comment(s), latest 9 years, 10 months ago

Passenger list for Agnes Borthwick.

My first ancestor to coming to New Zealand was Agnes Borthwick, she married William Smith in 1865, I can't find her on any shipping or passenger lists or would love some advice??? would there be any "intent to marry" at this time??, she lived in Dunedin and died in Pine Hill Dunedin in 1879 age 36 years..She is my brick wall for now.
Cheers Lillian Hyett

2 comment(s), latest 9 years, 10 months ago

From Dumfries to New Zealand and more.

AGNES BORTHWICK, Born Dumfries Scotland.

Agnes came to NZ sometime before 1865 as that year she married

AGNES BORTHWICK married WILLIAM SMITH 9 march 1865 Dunedin, NZ
records in the Presbyterian records.

31 May 1879 age 36 years.


often called herself MARY JANE,
she was born in Dumfries, Scotland. 1850.
The parents of both AGNES and MARY were GEORGE BORTHWICK and ELIZABETH ROAN.
MARY was sponsored to New Zealand by WILLIAM SMITH,husband of AGNES. MARY arrived 13 march 1867.on the City of Dunedin..
MARY is next found in a court case where she has stolen money from her employer and ends up in Jail..
She is tried 1 Sept 1868. caught stealing 11 Pounds from her employer, a Mr.ROBERT CADZOW who owned the Andersons Bay Horse Hotel.

Her jail records say MARY is 5 foot 1 inch. complexion fresh, eyes grey, hair light brown.Native of Scotland.
she serves 3 months in jail in Dunedin. MARY is 19 years old.
On 31 Dec 1869 Mary was discharged after doing 3 months sentence.

Mary married Robert Scott 2 July 1869. by the Reverend George Sutherland. ( Otago Wittness 10 July 1869.

Mary was married under her Mothers maiden name of Roan.. obviously she couldn't read or write and thought ROAN was the name wanted... she should have put BORTHWICK when getting the marriage license.

I 1870 ROBERT SCOTT had been in NZ 6 weeks, he was a batchelor aged 34 years.
MARY and ROBERT went to live in a place called Tinkers, later called matakanui. It is in central Otago, North of Alexandra.

They had three children.
JOHN SCOTT 13 Oct 1870 Tinkers
ELLEN SCOTT 16 June 1874.

ROBERT SCOTT was a Gold miner, they lived in a wood and iron house.
It was a very small village with a large Chinese population.

Next we find that ROBERT SCOTT is bankrupt
in the courthouse at Blacks... not far from Tinkers
says he is a miner, bankrupt,1877

ROBERT was involved in an incident with a group of angry chinese miners.
He saw the miners fighting the local butcher and went to help.
He has hit on the arm with a shovel and had a broken arm.
This was in 1872.

Ah Thung alias Ah Cheong charged on warrant with assaulting Scott, arrested by Constable Thomas M'Gann, Blacks Police and sentenced to 2 years' labor; Police Gazette 29 Feb 1872
can read about this on

We know ROBERT went to Dunedin to live in his old age and died there in 1903.
Mary being younger lived until 1923. she also died in Dunedin.




ELIZABETH was born in 1819 at St Michael, Coventry, Warwickshire. She was christened on 29 January 1819 in the same place.

ELIZABETH'S father HUGH ROAN was born in 1780 or 1781 in Mullaghbrack, County Armagh in Ireland. He was a weaver by trade but enlisted as a private in the 6th ( or Carbineers) Regiment of Dragoon Guards on 27 April 1801 aged 20. He was discharged in 1819 when he was 38 due to ill health. ELIZABETH'S mother AGNES ( nee DALZEIL) was born in 1788 or 1789 in Kircudbright, Scotland. Elizabeth was the third of the eight children of HUGH and AGNES.

ELIZABETH married GEORGE BORTHWICK (born 1821) on 23 December in 1842 in the parish of Troqueer, Kirkudbright. GEORGE was the son of GEORGE BORTHWICK and JANET HEUGHAN.(1.) George was a journeyman tailor in Dumfries as his father had been before him.

ELIZABETH and GEORGE had eleven children born in Dumfries, Govan and Edinburgh. It appears that only five children survived infancy. In the 1861 census, the family lived at 3 Montague St in Edinburgh and in the 1871 census, they lived at 15 High School Yards, Edinburgh.(2). George died of TB on 31 May 1869 and is buried in Edinburgh. ELIZABETH'S occupation in the 1873 census is listed as 'charwoman'.

In 1873, Elizabeth, with her children ANN MARY, JANET ROWAN and ROBERT, left Glasgow on the Wild Deer on 6 December for Port Chalmers. It is known that another daughter, MARY JANE and AGNES, had come to New Zealand earlier. They arrived on 5 March in 1874. Within four months on 19 June Elizabeth died of TB and was buried in the Northern Cemetery on 22 June 1874. The cemetery record gives her age as 56 but it may have been 55. the grave was paid for by WILLIAM SMITH and also has AGNES SMITH (nee BORTHWICK)in it.

Most of this information about Elizabeth, has been gathered by ROBERT MATTHEWS of Dunedin and written by JOYCELYNNE LABRAM.

1. JANET'S maiden name is given in several forms: Heughan, Heuchan, Heugan, and even Mc Ewen.