Archive for the ‘David George’ Category

Here’s the cover of a little black autograph book I was shown on Monday. (Click on any of the images to enlarge them)

DSC05884 autograph book coverThe book belonged to Ellen Smith

DSC05885 ellen address

Ellen was the youngest daughter of Donald Moir Smith and his wife Helen (nee Watson). She was born at Picton in 1913.

DSC05631 ellen birth register

The autograph book has entries from many members of Ellen’s family. Among the entries are these two from her mother.

DSC05887 mother autograph

DSC05886 helen autographThe second autograph is actually part of a poem (Ilka Blade o’ Grass Keps its ain Drap o’ Dew) written by James Ballantine – a Scottish poet and glass artist. See more about him here.

Ellen’s grandmother, Ann Mitchell (nee Balfour) Watson  wrote the following:

Love many

Trust few

Always paddle

your own canoe


DSC05899 Ann autograph

Ellen’s Uncle David (my grandfather, David George Watson) added these two autographs.

DSC05891 david george autograph

DSC05889 david george autographEllen’s cousin Jean Watson (William Balfour and Josephine Maud Watson’s daughter) added these.

DSC05902 jean autograph

DSC05896 jean autograph 2

William Hugh Watson was visiting from Australia and added this one:

DSC05894 willie rarotonga autographAnd finally, this autograph was written by Ellen’s Aunty Julia. Julia was 30 when she wrote this.

DSC05898 Julia autograph

The current owner of Ellen’s autograph book is her son Barry Wilson. Barry was kind enough to invite Levonne and me to his house so we could see Ellen’s photos and other memorabilia.


DSC05772 ellen in chair

Ellen Mitchell Watson SMITH

In 1936 Ellen married Allan James Halley Wilson. Allan and Ellen had two children, Barry and Raewyn. Allan died on 6 May 1983 and Raewyn died on 3 April 2012. Interestingly, Allan was born on 19 May 1910 – about a month after Halley’s Comet appeared in April 1910.

The 1910 approach, which came into naked-eye view around 10 April and came to perihelion on 20 April, was notable for several reasons: it was the first approach of which photographs exist, and the first for which spectroscopic data were obtained. Indeed, on 19 May, Earth actually passed through the tail of the comet. One of the substances discovered in the tail by spectroscopic analysis was the toxic gas cyanogen, which led astronomer Camille Flammarion to claim that, when Earth passed through the tail, the gas “would impregnate the atmosphere and possibly snuff out all life on the planet.” His pronouncement led to panicked buying of gas masks and quack “anti-comet pills” and “anti-comet umbrellas” by the public. In reality, as other astronomers were quick to point out, the gas is so diffuse that the world suffered no ill effects from the passage through the tail


DSC05638 marriage cert

DSC05703 raewyn ellen barry

Ellen Wilson (nee Smith) with her two children, Raewyn and Barry. Photo taken in 2003.

Ellen lived until she was 101 years old.  She died on 13 January 2015. The following article was published in the Central Leader on July 30 2014.

DSC05632 ellen 101My thanks to Barry for sharing his mum’s photos and memorabilia with Levonne and me.


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Carrying on from last week’s post I thought it might be fun to have a look at some of the books the Watson and Wilson families liked to read.

The names of all subscribers and the numbers of the books they read were written in this book:

cover of book withdrawalsSample pages showing Wilson and Watson withdrawals (click on the image to enlarge)

j wilson withdrawalswatson withdrawalsI found the book titles in the book register. This is the first page from the book.

library list page 1

First up are some books read by the members of the Watson family (David George and his mother Ann)- #42 A Double Barrelled Detective Story by Mark Twain – this is a link to an e-book version of this story if you’re interested in reading it.

double barrelled

The first scene is in the country, in Virginia; the time, 1880. There has been a wedding, between a handsome young man of slender means and a rich young girl–a case of love at first sight and a precipitate marriage; a marriage bitterly opposed by the girl’s widowed father.

Jacob Fuller, the bridegroom, is twenty-six years old, is of an old but unconsidered family which had by compulsion emigrated from Sedgemoor, and for King James’s purse’s profit, so everybody said–some maliciously the rest merely because they believed it. The bride is nineteen and beautiful. She is intense, high-strung, romantic, immeasurably proud of her Cavalier blood, and passionate in her love for her young husband. For its sake she braved her father’s displeasure, endured his reproaches, listened with loyalty unshaken to his warning predictions, and went from his house without his blessing, proud and happy in the proofs she was thus giving of the quality of the affection which had made its home in her heart.

The morning after the marriage there was a sad surprise for her. Her husband put aside her proffered caresses, and said:

“Sit down. I have something to say to you. I loved you. That was before I asked your father to give you to me. His refusal is not my grievance–I could have endured that. But the things he said of me to you–that is a different matter. There–you needn’t speak; I know quite well what they were; I got them from authentic sources. Among other things he said that my character was written in my face; that I was treacherous, a dissembler, a coward, and a brute without sense of pity or compassion: the ‘Sedgemoor trade-mark,’ he called it–and ‘white-sleeve badge.’ Any other man in my place would have gone to his house and shot him down like a dog. I wanted to do it, and was minded to do it, but a better thought came to me: to put him to shame; to break his heart; to kill him by inches. How to do it? Through my treatment of you, his idol! I would marry you; and then–Have patience. You will see.”

#276 Spinster Farm ebook online here

spinster farm

#352 The Just and the Unjust by Vaughan Kester online here

just unjust

#371 Five Thousand an Hour by George Chester online here


Now for some Wilson family reading material.

#777  The Searchers by John Foster online here


#237 The Window at the White Cat by Mary Roberts Rinehart online here

white cat

When a clumsy, well-meaning lawyer gets involved with a pair of delightful old maids and a beautiful girl, he must acquire some of the skills of his friends the detective and the newspaperman to solve the puzzle of The White Cat. That’s the name of a back-street political club serving beers, political favors and, occasionally, murder.

#350 Freckles by Gebe Stratton-Porter online here


This tender love story is set in the wild swampland of Limberlost, the most frightening place in America, and most beautiful. There, you will meet Freckles, the dashing, red-haired hero who battles cruel and ruthless villains to win the angel of his dreams. Read about Freckles and love him. It’s impossible not to!

#771 A Land Girl’s Love Story by Bertha Ruck online here

land girl

This is a delightful period piece about the Land Girls in England during WWI. Berta Ruck is wonderful at taking a “misunderstanding” and “miscommunication” and weaving a web of romance around and through, like a spider web. I love the patriotic leanings of this book, not only for England, but for Wales.

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Who knew Jean Wilson (my nana) was a librarian? I certainly didn’t until I came across these papers in with the Whangarata Public Library papers I was given recently.

whangarata public library

The Whangarata Public Library

This little library, housed in the Whangarata school, has supplied a much needed want in this district by providing those who are fond of reading with recreative literature.

The secretary of the Library Trustees is Mrs Clayton, and the Librarian, Miss Jean Wilson. The library is open every Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 pm for the issue of books to subscribers.

At present the library contains over 900 volumes, selected from the works of leading authors, the books being chiefly novels, as the supporters of the library require literature for recreation.

The Library was established in 1909, and registered in the Supreme Court under the Mechanic’s Institute Act.

The founding of the library was due to the efforts of a Committee of Whangarata ladies, who organised a series of entertainments to provide funds. The number of volumes gradually increased, and today the library contains a selection that is a very great credit to all concerned.

There’s no date on that article but the next one is the Annual Report 1927/1928.

annual report

Whangarata Public Library

Annual Report

1927 / 1928

As it was realised early in the year that there was no practical possibility of obtaining a separate building in which to house the library it was decided to approach the School Committee and to obtain permission for a cupboard to be erected in the school. This request was granted and in consequence a suitable cupboard was installed and for the greater part of the year books have been issued from the school. The Library Trustees are extremely grateful to Mrs J Wilson for so kindly allowing the books to remain in her house for so long a time. They fully realise the inconvenience caused to Mrs Wilson and consider that her generous action showed very fine public spirit. The new cupboard having been erected Mr J Thompson kindly varnished it while Mr P Cooney fitted it with the necessary lock etc. Sixty pounds eight and ten pence was spent on the purchase of new books. This enabled the Trustees to withdraw temporarily from circulation about 200 books and to place in circulation some 380 new books. An attempt was made in the purchase of these books to lay a firm base of approved books of good quality. With a considerable sum of money in hand it would of course be possible to withdraw still further books from circulation and replace these with new volumes. This point might be considered and opinions expressed by the public would be carefully weighed by the incoming trustees.  The thanks of all subscribers are due to Miss Jean Wilson for so ably discharging the duties of librarian.

O E Burton Hon Sec

I wonder if any of my Watson aunties and uncles remembers nana (Jean) talking about being a librarian or the books being stored at Emily and Jack Wilson’s house? Remember the Whangarata School burned to the ground in 1925 so the library trustees would have needed to find somewhere to store the books they purchased with the insurance money they received after the fire.

The balance sheet from 1927/28 shows the subscribers  to the library.

balance sheetI presume the large amount of money in the bank (over 100 pounds) would have been the insurance money.  Notice the Mr D G Watson on the list. Do you think he went to the library to get books or to see the librarian? About seven months after this balance sheet was produced David George Watson and Jean Charlotte Wilson were married.

David George became quite involved in the running of the library. By 1929 he was secretary and received this letter from the Education Department.

dg watsonSeems most of the subscribers must have liked reading fiction books. Certainly Rev. C A Vaughan did – he left this note for Miss Wilson

rev vaughanI found in the list of library books that No 285d was Victory by Joseph Conrad – first published in 1915.


Here’s a summary of the plot:

Through a business misadventure, the European Axel Heyst ends up living on an island in what is now Indonesia, with a Chinese assistant Wang. Heyst visits a nearby island when a female band is playing at a hotel owned by Mr. Schomberg. Schomberg attempts to force himself sexually on one of the band members, Alma, later called Lena. She flees with Heyst back to his island and they become lovers. Schomberg seeks revenge by attempting to frame Heyst for the “murder” of a man who had died of natural causes and later by sending three desperadoes (Pedro, Martin Ricardo and Mr. Jones) to Heyst’s island with a lie about treasure hidden on the island. The three die (Wang kills one) but Lena dies as well and Axel is overcome with grief and commits suicide.

Hmm, sounds a bit racy for a man of the cloth to be reading don’t you think?

No. 784a was Mr Ramosi written by Valentine Williams in 1926

mr ramosi

No. 322 was Sorrell and Son written by Warwick Deeping in 1925

warSorpbFinally, here’s the incorporation document for the library.

incorporation 1incorporation 2incorporation 3

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This photo should bring back a few memories for people.

Whangarata Hall

Whangarata Hall

Sadly, past its prime when this photo was taken but still recognisable as the Whangarata Hall.

Here’s another view of the building. Thanks very much to Phyllis for these photos.

whangarata hall croppedI have a memory of going down to this hall (presumably with other Whangarata School children) and having to help sweep the hall clear of thousands of dead bees before we could use it. I don’t remember what we actually did in the hall other than sweep bees!

This is the Application for Incorporation for The Whangarata Hall Society (Incorporated). Lots of Whangarata surnames there – Ewing, Watson, Cooney, Wilson, Bullock, Coad and Waterhouse to mention a few.

National Archives reference number BAEA A296 5579 138 1914 1931/36.

National Archives reference number BAEA A296 5579 138 1914 1931/36.

Garnet Arrowsmith was the solicitor for the Hall Society. This photo is of his Legal Chambers which were situated in Liverpool Street, right next door to the Post Office. This building later became the office of Colin Rankin Sturrock. At some point it was re-built as it is no longer a wooden building. Garnet Arrowsmith commenced legal practice in Tuakau in 1920 according to an article in King Country Chronicle published on 2 September 1920. He died aged 66 in 1946.

garnet arrowsmith buildings

Photo courtesy Tuakau and District Museum Society

Here’s another photo from Phyllis (that’s her in the centre of the front row). Who can name some of the others in the photo? I think it’s Elsie Verner (nee Watson) at the far right of the front row.

Whangarata Tennis Club - pictured on the tennis courts at the Whangarata Hall

Whangarata Tennis Club – pictured on the tennis courts at the Whangarata Hall

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advertI had never heard of the Whangarata Bobby Calf Pool until I found this advert in an old Empire Exercise Book that was the minute book of the Whangarata Bobby Calf Pool. The minute book is held at the Tuakau & District Museum and covers the period from 18 June 1935 to 12 May 1977.

Here’s a few pages from the minute book. The Bobby Calf Pool negotiated with carriers and meat works for the collection and processing of newborn male calves. The calves were processed as veal. My grandfather, David George WATSON, was at the inaugural meeting in 1935 but his name doesn’t appear in any minutes after June 1940. Many other well known Whangarata names appear throughout the book – Cooney, Ewing (R, M & D), Fulton, Ryan, Ward, Arnold, Waterhouse, Claney and Smeed to name a few.

minute book p1minute book p2minute book p3minute book p4

This is a photo of a calf that didn’t end up in the bobby calf trucks! It was being fed by a young Jean Charlotte WILSON. The photo is very grainy and not very clear but is quite identifiable as Jean. Is she outside the Wilson house at Whangarata?

nana feeding calf altered

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The Tuakau & Districts Museum Society Inc. was recently given a book that once belonged to the Tuakau Businessmen’s League. This League, which was formed in 1930,  instigated the very successful Christmas Carnival Week in 1932. The book in question is filled with articles, flyers and advertising, mostly relating to the Christmas Carnivals held during the period 1932 – 1955.  So just what does that have to do with the Watson family you might be thinking?

Read the advert posted below to find out.

1932 ad 3

Mr Watson’s lorry! Love the community spirit Grandad! How exciting must that have been for those in outlying districts such as Whangarata, Te Kohanga, Port Waikato, Onewhero etc to get on a lorry on Christmas Eve and head to the “GAYEST SPOT IN THE PROVINCE ON CHRISTMAS EVE”.  I can just imagine the excitement on board those lorries! Can you imagine it happening nowadays? I think not! I wonder if it was the same lorry that he was driving in 1936  that I wrote about in this post ?

My dad (lorry driver Mr Watson’s eldest son) recalls his dad driving his truck (lorry) to Clark’s Beach loaded with schoolchildren for the Whangarata School picnics. He related one tale of how they  were returning to Whangarata from a school picnic on the back of the truck when one of the girls stood up and her dress billowed up with the wind. Apparently one of the Potter boys ducked to get out of the way and fell off the back of the truck! Funnily enough the day after he told me that story I found the following article on the back of one of the 1934 Christmas Carnival adverts. Could this be the same incident? Maybe not, but how coincidental.

cliff potter

The following adverts, articles and flyers are advertising the 1932 Christmas Carnival. You certainly have to commend the Tuakau Businessmen’s League on their marketing skills. Interesting how the meaning of words change over the years isn’t it? I don’t think you would find many advertisments proclaiming a town to be the gayest spot in the province nowadays!

1932 ad 1

Love the reference to the Tuakau Talkies! – Movies I presume

1932 ad 2

envelope 1932

shopping carnival articleThis is the flyer that each household received. I wonder if the ‘cancelled’ across the number 105 means that they won a prize? (Click on the picture for easier reading)

outside flyer

inside flyer

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22nd December 1923

A couple of weeks ago I received a lovely photo and letter from a relative in Australia who is a descendant of Helen (nee Watson) and Donald SMITH – Thanks Barb.  The photo is of William, Ann, David George and Julie WATSON.

from barb tahan watson family1923 front

William, Ann, David George and Julie WATSON

On the reverse of the photo the date was written – 22nd Dec. 1923. This confirms for me that the Watson family was living in Whangarata by the end of 1923. I wonder what type of trees those are – fruit trees maybe? I believe this photo was taken the same day as these other photos.

dg julie william ann and unknown 1923

The photo above was given to me by a descendant of the Helen (nee Watson) and Donald SMITH family.  Family members have confirmed that the house is the original Watson house at Whangarata.

william ann dg and julie 1924

This photo was in my grandmother’s (Jean Charlotte (nee Wilson) WATSON) album. Once again, same day I believe. Love how William, Ann and Julie are all holding flowers.

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