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Donald Couper married Margaret Gunn in Latheron, Caithness, on 29 June 1838.

There were at least two children of the marriage:

Janet Couper               born Latheron, Caithness 10 April 1839.                                                                                             Elizabeth Couper         born Latheron, Caithness, 12 November 1840

However, there is marriage in New Zealand in 1859 of Isabella Couper to Robert Yule, and as one of their children was named David Couper Yule, it is clear that this another member of this family. Isabella Yule died in May 1890 at the age of 48, which would put her year of birth at around 1842.



Latheron: the old church. The church is now a museum.

© Copyright Chris Downer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Donald Cooper was baptised in Wick, Caithness on 28 December 1796, son of James Cooper and Helen Warse.

Other children of the marriage were: (dates of baptisms)

Christian 3 October 1789 Wick                                                                                                                                                      Sinclair 29 October 1791 Wick                                                                                                                                              Christian and Helen 19/6/1799 Wick                                                                                                                                        James 29 Nov 1801 Wick                                                                                                                                                       

William 19/9/1804 Wick                                                                                                            

Janet 17/5/1808 Wick

James Cooper and Helen Warse were married in Wick on 20 November 1788.

Margaret Gunn was baptised on 18 May 1801 in Thurso, Caithness, daughter of John Gunn and Jannet McKay.

I have been unable to ascertain when the family arrived in New Zealand, nor which ship they arrived on. The first mention I can find is in the Memorial of the Settlers of Wellington & the Neighbouring Districts on the Land claims ordinance and pasturage regulations to His Excellency Sir George Grey in the New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian on 3 April 1852

We the undersigned Settlers and Landowners of Wellington...

Among the signatories are William Couper, stock and landholder, Porirua; Peter Couper, stockholder, Donald Couper x stockholder, Porirua Road.

In the following year there is a report in the Wellington Independent of 20 April 1853 where many of the settlers made a requisition to Dr. Featherston to allow himself to be put in nomination for the office of Superintendent. It was presented to that gentleman at Barrett's Hotel, on Monday last, the 18th instant, at 12 o'clock.

Donald Couper does not appear in the list of Jurors for Port Nicholson in 1846, although Peter Couper does appear.

Donald Couper died on 23 October 1857, at the age of 60. He was the second person known to be buried at Blackbridge cemetery. David Speedy had died three days earlier.

Nine days earlier his name had appeared in a list of those who were members of the Committee for the Hutt.

I am unable to confirm that William and Peter Couper were related to Donald, but there is a strong possibility that they too came from Latheron in Caithness.

Isabella Couper married Robert Yule on 31 March 1859. Robert had arrived in Wellington on the Bengal Merchant on 20th February 1840, at the age of 7. The ship sailed from Glasgow on 30 October 1839. He was the son of Alexander and Elizabeth Yule from Hamilton in Lanarkshire.

They were to have 8 children; Alexander 1860, Margaret 1862, Elizabeth Isabella 1864, Janet 1866, Donald Couper 1868, Robert William 1870, Grace Hellen 1872 and George Ernest 1875. 

The eldest child, Alexander, had his birth registered in Wellington in 1860, Margaret’s was registered in the Wairarapa, Elizabeth Isabella in Wellington, and all the others in Greytown.

Neither Robert nor Isabella had a long life, as the following death notices in the Evening Post reveal.


Evening Post, Volume XXV, Issue 1, 2 January 1883, Page 2. DEATH. Yule. On the 30th December, 1882, at South Featherston, Wairarapa, after a long and painful illness, Mr. Robert Yule, aged 50 years and 6 months.

Evening Post, Volume XXXIX, Issue 105, 6 May 1890, Page 2. DEATHS. Yule — On the 4th May, at her residence. South Featherston, Isabella, wife of the late Robert Yule, in her 49th year.

Janet Couper married Richman (Richmond?) Daysh on 15 September 1859. They too were to have 8 children: John 1863, Elizabeth Isabella 1865, Donald Richmond 1867, Janet 1869, George Henry 1871, Mary Louisa 1874, Alfred Peter 1876 and William Ernest 1878.

The births of all the children were registered in the Wairarapa or in Greytown.

Janet died 1915 aged 76. Richmond 1917 aged 80.

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LXX, Issue 146237, 8 May 1917,


The Friends of the late Mr Richmond Daysh are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, which will leave his late residence, Perry Road, Taratahi, on May 9th, at 2 o'clock, for the Clareville Cemetery.

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LXX, Issue 146237, 8 May 1917. A highly respected settler of the Wairarapa, in the person of Mr Richmond Daysh, died at his residence at Taratahi yesterday. The late Mr Daysh, who was eighty years of age, was born at Farnham, Hampshire, and came to New Zealand in the ship Gertrude in 1849. He resided for a number of years at the Lower Hutt, where he was married to Miss Janet Cooper, by whom he was predeceased by 18 months. Shortly after his marriage he came to the Wairarapa, and he has resided at Taratahi ever since. He leaves a family of five sons and three daughters. The sons are Messrs John, Daniell, George, A. P., and W. E. Daysh. The latter is at present in camp. The daughters are Mesdames W. H. Buick and R. Falloon, and Miss Mary Daysh.

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LXIX, Issue 14426, 5 November 1915, The funeral of the late Mrs R. Daysh, of Taratahi, whose death was .reported in yesterday's issue, will leave the residence for the Clareville cemetery at 1.00 o'clock to-morrow. The deceased lady, who was about 75 years of age, had resided in the Wairarapa for well over 50 years. She was highly respected for her many sterling qualities. The deceased leaves a husband and a family of eight, five sons and three daughters. The sons are Messrs John Daysh, Donald Daysh, George Daysh (Masterton), Alf Daysh (Auckland), and Ernest Daysh. The daughters are Mrs W. H. Buick (Opaki), Mrs Robert Falloon (Masterton), and Miss Mary Daysh.

There was a marriage between Elizabeth Couper and Edmund John Tooker on 27 February 1866 in Dunedin. This is clearly not the same family, who lived in Port Chalmers before moving to Adelaide.

The name Margaret Couper also appears on the memorial stone. B.D.M. records show the death of a Margaret Cooper on 1 October 1865, at the age of 20. Given that the name appears on the memorial stone, it appears certain that this is another member of the family. Age at death indicates that she was born about 1845.

Margaret Couper appear to have remained in the Hutt Valley following her husband’s death, and she too was buried at Blackbridge Cemetery. 

Margaret Gunn Couper died on 12 July 1878 at the age of 76. The following notice appeared in the Evening Post on 15 July 1878:

THE Funeral of the late Mrs. Donald Couper will leave my house, Taita, on Tuesday next, at half-past 2 o'clock. Friends are respectfully invited to attend. W. S. MILNE.

William Scott Milne , born Glamis, Dundee, arrived in “Lady Nugent” aged 16 in 1841. He farmed in partnership with Alexander Yule in the Hutt. On New Year’s Eve or Hogmanay 1847, he married Alexander’s 16 year old daughter Grace. There appears to be a strong link between the Milne and Yule families.


Couper - Latheron the old church.jpg
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