top of page


William Craighead was born on 23 July 1811 in the parish of Kingoldrum, just west of Kirriemuir in Angus, son of John Craighead and Jean Kerr.


Church at Kirkton of Kingoldrum

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Douglas Nelson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

William Craighead was recruited by Messrs McEwen and Miller in Kirriemuir on 6 November 1840. Entry reads “Craighead, William, agri. Labourer, Kirriemuir. M 29/28.”

William Craighead   married Susan Millar the following month, in December 1840. The marriage is recorded in Kirriemuir on 27 December 1840, and in nearby Kingoldrum on 29 December 1840.    

They arrived in New Zealand on 22 May 1841 on the Lord William Bentinck. The ship had left London on 8 January 1841.

William Craighead            29   Agricultural Labourer

Susan Miller Craighead    28

The first reference we have for William is in the New Zealand Colonist and Port Nicholson Advertiser of 30 August 1842


A public meeting was held at Barrett's Hotel, on Friday evening, at half-past seven o'clock, to take measures relative to the ensuing election. We have been favoured by Mr. Murphy, with the Burgess Roll, for the Borough of Willington, (sic) which we publish for the information of our readers. It includes Craighead, W.

14 February 1844, List of Jurors – William Craighead

List of jurors. 11 February 1846    Craighead, William, River Hutt, sawyer.

1847 Jurors List William Craighead, River Hutt, Sawyer (10 February 1847)

William’s farm was in the Taita, but I have been unable to find the land claim, although it is indexed.  In the Schedule of Compensation dated 12 August 1857, William Craighead has been awarded 75 acres of land.

William Craighead married Mary Lockart on 28 December 1855. Mary had arrived in Wellington on the Simlah in 1851, along with members of her family. They had one daughter, Christina Lockhart Craighead, born in September 1856. Presumably Mary had died after their arrival in New Zealand, but there is no record of her death. There appear to have been no children of this marriage.

Over a number of years William was deeply involved in the affairs of the wider Presbyterian Church.

Wellington Independent, 16 November 1865, PRESBYTERY OF WELLINGTON.

This Court held its half-yearly meeting in the Presbyterian Church, Willis-street, on Monday, November 13  1865, and was duly constituted. Present: The Rev. John Moir, Moderator; Revs. David Hogg, of Wanganui James Duncan, of Manawatu and Lower Rangitikei, Ralph J. Allsworth, of Turakina and Rangitikei and James Cumming, of Upper Rangitikei and Messrs. W. Shaw, W. Craighead, and Alexander Williamson, Elders. The Revs. D. Bruce, J. Hill, P. Barclay, and J. Campbell being present (on their way to the Assembly) were requested to take their seats in the Presbytery and co-operate therewith. The Rev. Ralph J. Allsworth was then chosen Moderator for the next twelve months. The commissions of the Rev. James Cumming, of Upper Rangitikei, were laid on the table of the Presbytery and sustained, and his name entered on the roll.

Wellington Independent, 24 November 1866. PRESBYTERY OF WELLINGTON.  

This reverend Court met on Monday, the 19th inst. at Wellington, in the Wesleyan chapel, which was kindly lent for the occasion, as the Presbyterian church in Willis street, was undergoing alterations. Sederunt: the Reverent J Allsworth  moderator for the past year : the Rev. John Moir, Wellington: the Rev. James Duncan, Manawatu: the Rev. James Cumming, Rangitikei: the Rev. William McGowan, Hutt: the Rev. John Ross, Wairarapa: the two latter ministers having presented their credentials. William Craighead  and David Ross Lewers, elders.

A deputation, consisting of the Rev. William McGowan, minister, Wm. Craighead and David Ross Lewers, elders, was appointed to go to the Wairarapa to introduce Mr. Ross to his people, and hold meetings on general church matters affecting that district.

Wellington Independent, 26 November 1868, PRESBYTERIAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church met again in Willis Street Church on Tuesday, at 11 a.m. The Assembly called for returns to overture on Sustentation Fund, sent down to Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions by last Assembly. The return from the Presbytery of Auckland was to the following effect. “Approve of the spirit of the overture, and suggest that in the meantime, local funds should be created in the several Presbyteries for the purpose of aiding weak congregations." After considerable discussion, it was resolved to appoint a committee to consider the matter and report at a subsequent diet of the Assembly the committee to consist of the following viz. Revs. James Paterson, George Morrice, Robert M'Kinney, Patrick Calder, William S. M'Gowan, Mr Craighead (elder), Mr Paterson to be Convener.

William also had a considerable impact on local affairs in the Hutt, and the member of several local organisations, including the Wellington Farmers Club, which was set up quite early in the piece to aid development of farming in the area with an eye to the future.

Wellington Independent, 17 June 1857,WELLINGTON FARMERS' CLUB.

Report of a Public Meeting held at the Mechanics' Institute, River Hutt, on Thursday, the 4th Inst. A Public Meeting was held at the Mechanics' Institute, River Hutt, on Thursday, the 4th Inst, at 7 o'clock p. m. for the purpose of obtaining Members to the Wellington Farmers' Club. It was moved and seconded that A. Ludlam Esq. J. P. should take the Chair, which he accordingly did. The gathering of Settlers was considerable and they appeared to be determined that nothing should be wanting on their part to encourage the promoters to persevere and carry on the Club with vigour. …….  The first Resolution was then moved by Richard Barton, Esq, V. to the effect; “That this Meeting, having been informed of the objects propose to be accomplished by the W. F. Club, considers that if those objects were carried out in their integrity the interests of the Settlers in the Province would be promoted thereby." The remarks of Mr. Barton were expressive of his sympathy in the welfare and prosperity of the Club. This resolution was seconded by Mr. Craighead and carried unanimously. (Extract only)

Member of Hutt Volunteers 7 June 1861.

Wellington Independent, 21 October 1865, REQUISITION. We, the undersigned, Electors of the Hutt, request a Public Meeting of the Electors of the district to be held at the Mechanics' Institute on SATURDAY EVENING the 21st. of October, at Seven o'clock to take into consideration the cause of the resignation of the Weld Ministry. A request will be addressed to the members of the district in the General Assembly, inviting them to attend. A. Ludlam,  N. Valentine, H. B. Ellerm, Wm. Judd, Jnr., John Cudby, Lawson Potts, Stephen Fagan, T. Mullins, Otho Barber, Joseph Percy, Thos. Burt, Richard Burt, Duncan McKenzie, Alfred Colson, John A. Mason, Wm. Craighead, Joseph White, George Farmer, John Jones, Andrew Young, Jas. Kelham, Daniel Riddiford. Hutt, October 14, 1865.

Wellington Independent, 17 June 1869,    THE HUTT NOMINATION.

The nomination for the election of Hutt members took place yesterday at the Mechanics' Institute, Lower Hutt. Mr J. O. Crawford, Returning Officer, read the usual official declaration, after which six candidates came forward. Mr Ludlam was proposed by Mr Bruce, and seconded by Mr Craighead. Mr J. H. Wallace was proposed by Mr N. Valentine, and seconded by Mr Scrimgour. Mr Fagan was proposed by Mr Sanson, and seconded by Mr Arthur Braithwaite. Mr W. Milne was proposed by Mr R. Burt, and seconded by Mr Cruickshanks. Mr G. Allen was proposed by Mr Valentine, and seconded by Mr Dick. Mr Coulson was proposed by Mr Bush and seconded by Mr De Beras. Each of the candidates having briefly addressed the electors, a show of hands was called for, which was declared to be in favor of Messrs Ludlam, Fagan and W. Milne. A poll was demanded on behalf of Mr G. Allen. The polling is fixed to take place on Friday, at the Mechanics Institute, Lower Hutt, and at the Stockade, Upper Hutt.

A meeting of the committee of the Hutt Agricultural Society was held last evening. Mr C. F. Worth was in the chair, in the absence of the President. It was resolved that a deputation consisting of the President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Mr. N. Valentine wait on his Excellency the Governor in order to request his Excellency to become patron of the society. The Secretary was instructed to have 500 copies of the rules printed at once, and to employ a person to canvass for subscribers. Messrs Edwards, W. Craighead, J. Cudby, and J. L. Sinclair, were added to the committee. The meeting then adjourned for a fortnight when it is expected that the committee will be able to fix the date of the first show.        (2 December 1876)

The Ratepayers of the Lower Hutt Local Board District, and others interested in the proposed Road alterations, are requested to attend a Meeting to be held in the Mechanics' Institute, Lower Hutt, on Monday, 17th July, at 7 o'clock p.m. Members of the Local Board are specially invited. J. G. F. Wilford, J. H. Brann, William Craighead.    (17 July 1876)

Evening Post 7 March 1877. THE HUTT SHOW.

The following were the judges: — Thoroughbred horses — Messrs. A. Young, Hill, and Cockburn.

Draught and other horses — Messrs. Ivor James, S. Brown, and J. M'lntosh. Sheep — Messrs. Whitehouse, Walton, West, Vaughan, Mitchell, and Matthews.

Cattle — Messrs. Ling, H. Braithwaite, and James Taylor.

Pigs — Messrs. Lockett, Taylor, and Death.

Poultry — Messrs. M'Con, Bramley and Wilton.

Implements— Messrs. M'Culloch, Smart, Pike, and Bennett.

Miscellaneous — Messrs. Cleland, Bruce, and Craighead.

It is hard to establish the exact location of the farm or it’s size. The 1872-73 Electoral Roll for The Hutt, records “William Craighead, Hutt, Part sections sect. 53, 50 and 40 containing 22 acres.” It appears to have been farmed intensively, and like a lot of Hutt farmers, much of his produce left the district. Here are several newspapers entries which indicate the variety of the produce involved.

Wellington Independent, 21 October 1859, In the Lord Worsley, I. C. M. Co., Agents, Part of original cargo. Shipped at Wellington for Canterbury; 1 bag flour, 1 box, Craighead

Wellington Independent, 5 February 1863, EXPORTS. In the Storm Bird, Duncan and Vennell, agents 1 box eggs; W. Craighead.

Wellington Independent, 31 March 1863, Exports. In the Storm Bird, Duncan and Vennell, agents. 2 kegs butter, 1 case eggs, 1 case fowls, W. Craighead.

Wellington Independent, 14 July 1863, Page 2. In the Lady Bird, Duncan & Vennell, Agents. 2 kegs butter, 1 box eggs, Craighead.

Wellington Independent, 21 January 1864, EXPORTS. In the Wonga Wonga, Duncan, agent— 5 kegs butter, W. Craighead.

Wellington Independent, 21 April 1864, EXPORTS. In the Rangatira, E. J. Duncan, agent— 7 bags potatoes, Speedy; 22 kegs butter, 6 qr-casks port wine, Martin; 1 keg butter, Craighead; 1 keg butter, Sinclair; 12 kegs butter, Tonks 1 pkge trees, Mansill; 21 kegs nails, 1 cask zinc, 1 case and 1 cask hardware, Mills; 1 cask beef, Smith; 1 case Scott; 265 sheep, 8 quarters beef, Bright; 21 horses, St Hill; 3 horses, Rogerson 1 box, 1 carpet bag, Thompson.

When Mary Lockhart arrived in Wellington on the Simlah in 1855, she was accompanied by her mother Christina, aged 57 and two sisters, Janet 26 and Ferrier Isbelle 19. Mary was born in New Mills, Ayrshire about 1820, daughter of James Lockhart and Christina McKelvie. James had died the year before the family migrated. Several of the family remained in Scotland. Another sister, Isabella, had arrived very early, having emigrated on the Bengal Merchant in 1840. She married Capt. Jock McGregor on 28 September 1840, and they were among the earliest settlers of Wanganui. 

Mary was at home for the 1841 Scotland census at Lawmoor Place, Hutchesontown, Gorbals. In 1851 in Scotland at the census, Mary was working at 20 Elinbank Crescent in Barony, Glasgow.

Christina Lockhart settled in Wanganui, where he died in 1871.

Wanganui Herald, 19 September 1871, Death. Lockhart.—On the 19th. inst., at her residence, Park Place, Wanganui, Mrs Lockhart, relict of the late Mr James Lockhart, Glasgow, Scotland, in the 81st year of her age. Deeply regretted by a large circle of friends.

Janet Lockhart m Thomas Henson in 1853.

Feilding Star, Volume XII, Issue 107, 3 March 1891, On Saturday last there died at the residence of her husband, Mangaone Farm, Janet, the beloved wife of Mr T. Henson. The deceased lady, whose maiden name was Lockhart, arrived in the colony about forty years ago, and settled in Wanganui, where she was married. The family removed to this district about fourteen years ago, during which period Mrs Henson earned the esteem of every one. The funeral took place this afternoon. We desire to express our sympathy with Mr Henson and the members of his family in their affliction.

With several member of the family living in the Wanganui/Manawatu area, it is not surprising that the Craigheads frequently sailed to that area.


Wellington Independent, 17 June 1857. Shipping Intelligence. ARRIVED. June 16, schooner, Tyne, Bell, Master, from Wanganui. Passengers— Messrs. J. Laing, & P. Bell, Mrs. Craighead & child.

Wellington Independent, 30 May 1874, Per Manawatu, from Wanganui Rev E. B. Nevill, Mrs Nevill, Mrs Stoddart, Mr, Mrs, and Miss Craighead, Mrs Robinson, Mrs Simmons and child, Messrs Shannon, Ellis, McGeorge, and Hill.

That was not the only place they sailed to:

Wellington Independent, 16 May 1862, Page 2. White Swan, 300 tons, Allen A. Harper, from Lyttelton and Otago. W. Craighead and child.

Wellington Independent, 17 September 1861, Shipping Intelligence. SAILED. 14, s. s. Storm Bird, 107 tons, J. Malcolm, for Dunedin. Passengers, cabin Messrs. A. Warburton J. Colquhoun, J. Backhouse, A. C. Ackland steerage Messrs. J. Pettil, G. Hobbs, Thomas Bullen, George Armstrong, R. Barton, W. Fox, A. Tyre, T.K. Warburton, George Trask, W. Burnett, F. Burt, T. Hebberley, Thomas Coleman, Mashire, Daniel, Kowana, T. Kreft, W. Copeland, H. Knight, Alfred Bradey, F. Bradey, J. Jones, H. Harris, J, Sackey, H. Sansom, Thos. Hartley, Nathaniel, W. Bowler, W. Mclntosh, A. Yule, D. Speedy, Alex. Bruce, W. Craighead, J. Holmes, John Valentine, Mr. Bird, R. Wilson, James Brown, John Holmes, Thomas Hartley, H. Paterson.

This entry is rather interesting. Did it have anything to do with the Otago Gold Rush?

Mary Craighead died in 1875, and her husband died 2 years later. Both are buried at Blackbridge Cemetery.

On the 17th inst, at the Taita after a long and, protracted illness, Mrs Mary Craighead, aged 56 years, Evening Post, 17 February 1875.

Craighead - On the 14th April, at the Taita, suddenly, Mr. William Craighead, aged 65 years. Evening Post, 16 April 1877.


The friends of the late WILLIAM CRAIGHEAD are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, which will leave his late residence, Taita, Hutt, on Wednesday next the 18th inst., at 2 p.m. JOHN EDWARDS, Undertaker. Evening Post, 17 April 1877.

Thursday 17 May.  Sale of Milch Cows, Horses, Carts, Pigs, Hay, Furniture, etc, at the Taita, Lower Hutt. The Estate of the late Mr. Wm. Craighead, Taita. Mr. J. H. Wallace is instructed by Robert MCullock, Esq., Executor of the Estate of the late Mr. Wm. Craighead, to sell by public auction, on the premises, Taita, Lower Hutt, near the Post Office, on Thursday, 17th May, at half- past 12 o'clock sharp the personal property of the late Mr. Wm. Craighead, consisting of Prime milch cows, bull, 2 horses, with carts and harness, well-bred breeding and bacon pigs, stacks of meadow and oaten hay, stack of beans, implements, winnowing machine, etc, growing crops of potatoes, seed potatoes, onions, and sundries. Also, the household furniture and effects, dairy utensils, cheese press, and sundries. Sale on the premises of the late Mr. Wm. Craighead, to commence at half-past 12 o'clock sharp.  (12 May 1877)

In his will dated 1862, William refers to his brothers John Craighead, residing in Canterbury and James, living near Beith in Ayrshire. Mary too still had siblings living in Scotland.


Craighead - Church at Kirkton of Kingoldrum.jpg
bottom of page