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Stephen and Eliza Mary Fagan (on the passenger list spelt “Fegan’) arrived in Wellington on the ship “Catherine Stewart Forbes” on 24 June 1841, together with their daughter Elizabeth Caroline, who was 3 months old when the family signed up with the New Zealand Company. The ship had left Gravesend on 5 February 1841.

Stephen is described as a shoemaker, aged 29.

Stephen Fegan married Eliza Mary Jane King at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in mid 1839.

Other children of the family we know about are Stephen, born about 1844, Christine, born 1849 (from Births, deaths and marriages records) and John born about 1851.

In the 1846 list of jurors Stephen is listed as a shoemaker on Lambton Quay.

By 1853 Stephen Fagan is listed as a shoemaker on leasehold land in the Hutt on the Electoral Roll of that year.

In 1865 he is listed in the Wellington Almanack as a bootmaker. The Almanac lists the settlers geographically, and he appears on the west side of High Street, between H. Moore at the Temperance Hotel, and W.S. Silver, butcher. This is right at the southern end of the street.

In the same year he was elected to be one of five representatives from the Hutt on the Wellington Provincial Council, along with Alfred Ludlam. William Milne, Richard Burt and William McDowell.  He continued to serve on the Council until at least 1872.


The following is the state of the poll at the Hutt Ludlam 157 Fagan 147 Milne 128 Burt 121 McDowall 83 Morgan 73 Lynch 64 Jackson 61 Buck 51 McEwen 35. The returns from Wai-nui-o-mata are not to hand.    (Wellington Independent, 29 April 1865)

Stephen Fagan had another source of income as the following advertisement shows. This advert. was of course in the papers on a regular basis.

AGENTS FOR THE SALE OF THE EVENING POST.                                                           

Willis street Mr. Norris, fruiterer.                                                                                                         

Cuba Street—Mr, G. Baillie, Stationer, &c; Mr. Bannister, grocer.                                   

Taranaki street— Mr. A. Levy, Grocer.                                                                                    

Courtney Place Mr. Tandy, storekeeper.                                                                                     

Tory-street— Mr. J. Petford, storekeeper.                                                                    

Molesworth street— Mrs. Old Smith.                                                                              

Tinakori Road— Mrs. Croucher,                                                                                       

Kaiwarra— Mr. E. M. Taylor.                                                                                      

Ngahuranga— Mr. Futter.                                                                                                         

Hutt Bridge— Mr. Fagan.                                                                                                  

Taita— Mr. W. Cleland.                                                                                                

Featherston— Mr. Cox.                                                                                                                

Grey town— Mr. E. Grigg, Mercury Office.                                                                             

Carterton— Mr. Fairbrother.                                                                                                      

Masterton— Mr. Feist,

(6 April 1869 Evening Post)

Stephen was very much involved in local affairs. Here are some reports over a number of years.

A largely attended meeting of the electors of the Hutt district was held in the Mechanics' Institute there last night, for the purpose of hearing the views of Messrs. Fitzherbert and Ludlam on public matters. Mr. Fagan occupied the chair, and called on the Hon. Mr. Fitzherbert to address the meeting. The Hon. Mr. Fitzherbert said that he had readily complied with the request of the electors to meet them, and that, although it was possible the present House of Representatives might have to be called together once more, still, in view of the coming elections, the present meeting was one of greater significance than ordinary meetings between a representative and his constituents. The Hutt constituency was in a very curious position, as, through no fault of its own or its representatives, it had been partially disfranchised, and, having had two members in the past, it would in future only have one. He intended to offer himself for re-election (applause), although he did not do so in any spirit of hostility to his colleague, Mr. Ludlam, for nothing could be more harmonious than the way they had always worked together. It would, however, now be for the electors to choose between them, and having only power to elect one, to say which of them could do most for the interests of the Colony. Prior to last session he had intended to retire altogether from public life, on account of his health and private family arrangements which required his presence in England. He was also disgusted and hurt with the way things in the Colony were going on. He was determined on calling a meeting to bid them farewell, when it was strongly represented to him that it was his duty to attend the last session of the House, and so he altered the whole of his arrangements, and attended, although in consequence of his doing so, he had a more severe attack of illness than he had with one exception ever before suffered. He had before the session also resigned his office of Commissioner of Crown Lands, although on previous occasions when desirous of doing so his resignation had been refused by both General and Provincial Governments. His resignation this time, however, had been final, and he had made it chiefly because the Government had in the case of Major Brown claimed as of right the power of making Government officers vote for them against their conscience. He would not put himself in such a position, and he resigned, and he declared that the action of the Government in the case he referred to was as wrong as it was possible to be. Never before did any Ministry in a free country commit such an act. It was the worst type, form, and colour, of any public act he had ever heard of in. New Zealand. (Applause.) And he resigned rather than be the victim of such a line of policy. It had been said to him that if he got in again he would go in for a good fat billet. Now speaking to a larger audience than that meeting, for his words would go forth to the Colony, he declared that no man in New Zealand had more than himself refrained from taking advantage of opportunities of getting into office. At the same time he thought it the duty of those who were fit for it to take office if called upon, and that those who did so conferred a benefit on the people. If, however, they thought office was his object, they had better not elect him. To his past career he looked back with considerable satisfaction. The present condition of the Colony was, he thought, very unsatisfactory. The present Government claimed an amusing amount of credit for establishing friendly relations with the home Government. To believe them, New Zealand had, under the auspices of the commissioners, made peace with the British Empire, now, in fact, he had had quite as much to do with the peacemaking as they had, but still the relations between the Colony and the Empire was a question which would ere long have to be seriously faced. Towards the neighbouring Colonies, with which it should be our policy to cultivate the most intimate relations, the present Government had assumed a most unfortunate attitude. (Hear, hear.) It was a foolish, unwise, selfish position for the Government to have taken up refusing to attend the Inter-colonial Conference, because they did not think they could in it carry their own point. (Applause.) In the present aspect of affairs it behoved the constituencies to send the best men they could to Parliament, for very great constitutional questions were looming. Amongst others, that of the disruption of the Colony. Now, it was only by preserving their unity that he believed the Colony could ever keeping great or prosperous, and he viewed with the greatest suspicion and distrust those who endeavored to sow discord between different parts of the Colony. Mr. Reader Wood's late speech at Auckland was a type of the way some men pandered to local prejudices, and was a melancholy exhibition. He could not too strongly deprecate such language.                  

(Evening Post, 24 November 1870)

Another interest was the Lower Hutt Public School committee.


A general public meeting of the subscribers to this school was held in the school-room on the 26th inst, A. Ludlam, Esq., in the chair. Mr H. Cleland, Chairman of the Managing Committee for the past year, stated that in addition to the ordinary business of the school, he regretted to report the resignation of Mr and Mrs Harrington, as teachers of  the school, in consequence of the ill health of the former, which the Committee much regretted, as through their great exertions the school had been brought into a most excellent state of organization, and the intellectual improvement of the school was admitted by all connected with the scholars. The Committee, under the circumstances, had accepted the resignation of that lady and gentleman, and had advertised for teachers in one of each of the Auckland, Christchurch, Nelson, and Otago newspapers, and also in two of the Wellington papers, the Independent and Advertiser. Thirty applications had been received, and the Committee, having maturely taken into consideration the testimonials of the different applicants, had elected Mr and Mrs G. Williams, of Auckland, as the master and mistress of the Lower Hutt School. The Committee had given the preference to Mr and Mrs Williams because they had conjointly taught a school in England for five years under the Government regulations, and that Mr Williams was the only applicant who offered a certificate from her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, and which certificate extends over six years, and is signed by different Inspectors at various dates, within that period, the last extending to the 6th of June, 1861. Your Committee are happy to inform you that when the Provincial Government School Inspector examined the different classes of the School (including the infants in charge of Miss Detchon) he expressed himself highly pleased with the progress that had been made, and stated that the School was in much better order than any he had inspected. Your Committee would also beg to add that no notice had been given to the teachers previous to the Inspector's visit. That the receipts during the past year amount to £291 3s 0d, (including the Government aid,) which after paying £260 to the teachers and other incidental expenses, leaves a small balance in hand. The Committee regret that there has been a very considerable falling off on the attendance of the children during the past quarter, in consequence of a few cases of scarletina in the neighbourhood, but they hope that, as the disease is on the decrease, it will soon pass away. Your Committee on account of the said disease, have deferred the holding of the usual annual examination of the school in the presence of the subscribers, but intend to hold an examination in two or three months, when prizes for merit &c, will be given. Your Committee now resign into your hands the trust which you have reposed in them, and beg leave to place before you a statement of the accounts, and Mr Harrington's report of the past year. It was therefore proposed by Mr S. Fagan, seconded by Mr D. McKenzie, “That the subscribers to the Lower Hutt Public School desire to return their best thanks to the Chairman and members of the Committee, for their able management of the affairs of the School for the past year, to which may be attributed much of its success, and the advancement of education in the district." Carried. Moved by Mr S. Fagan, seconded by Mr D. McKenzie, "That the vote of thanks to the Chairman and Committee, just passed, be entered on the minutes of the proceedings of the Committee as a record of their services." Carried. Proposed by Mr H. Sanson, seconded by Mr H. Cleland, ”That this meeting present a vote of thanks to Mr and Mrs Harrington for the praiseworthy manner in which they have discharged their arduous duties in connection with the Lower Hutt School for the past two years, and that the Committee be requested to prepare a certificate expressive of the satisfactory progress the children have made while under their tuition, and also of the regret of the parents that they are obliged, in consequence of the ill health of Mr Harrington, to resign their offices in the School." Carried. Proposed by Mr J. Cole, seconded. Mr Barber, “That Messrs S. Fagan, H. Cleland, J. Knight, T. Burt, D. McKenzie, W. Hunt, L. Potts, G. Copeland, J. Cudby, H. Sanson, H. Collet, J. Townsend, J. Acourt, and T. C. Trott  form the School Committee for the ensuing year." Carried. The business of the evening having terminated Mr Ludlam remarked that, although he was chairman he hoped they would permit him to offer a few words. He begged to call the attention of the meeting to the fact that during his long residence in the Hutt sundry attempts had been made to establish schools on the Denominational system, all of which had signally failed but he was happy to say that this School was a complete success, which he considered was in a very great measure owing to the unanimous working of the Committee. He strongly advocated the policy of giving prizes to the deserving scholars, and that he would give £5 to assist in carrying out this praiseworthy object. Proposed by Mr H. Cleland. Seconded by Mr L. Potts That the thanks of this meeting be given to the Chairman for his liberal donation and also for his conduct in the chair". Carried.   

(Wellington Independent, 1 July 1865)

He was also involved in another local organisation –

NOTICE. A PUBLIC MEETING will be held in the Mechanics' Institute, HUTT, on FRIDAY evening, the 16th inst., at 7 o'clock, to take into consideration the advisability and practicability of forming a Manawatu Small Farm Association, and to receive information concerning steps already taken. A. Ludlam, Henry Sanson, Richard Burt, Stephen Fagan, James McEwen, Lawson Potts, Samuel J. Tocker March 8th, 1866.       

(Wellington Independent, 13 March 1866)


A meeting of the shareholders of the Hutt branch of the Manawatu Small Farm Association was held at the Mechanic's Institute, Hutt, on the 6th inst, when the following report was unanimously adopted: - Your committee, in laying before you the first annual report of the Hutt branch of the Manawatu Small Farm Association, regret to state that owing to the unsatisfactory condition of the negotiation for the purchase of the Manawatu block, the progress of the association has not been so great as your committee expected. You are all aware that the Manawatu purchase is still incomplete, and although your committee believe that the long pending dispute has been referred to arbitration, it is difficult to say when Government will get undisturbed possession of the block. The members of the Association will be sorry to hear that we have lost the valuable services of Thomas Mason, Esq, that gentleman having recently resigned the office of Treasurer, owing to the pressure of other engagements, and it will be your duty to elect another Treasurer to fill that office to-night. In accordance with the second rule of the Association, the whole of the committee retire at the annual meeting, but are eligible for re-election.

Balance Sheet.

Proposed by Mr Sanson and seconded by Mr G. F. Farmer - " That the thanks of the members of the Hutt branch of the Manawatu Small Farm Association are due to Thomas Mason, Esq., for his valuable and efficient services as treasurer during the past year and exceedingly regret that his other engagements preclude him from continuing in that office." Carried. Proposed by Mr M'Kenzie and seconded by Mr Burt "That any member wishing to withdraw from the association can do so, and will be allowed interest at the rate of ten per cent, per annum on the amount deposited, less one shilling per share for incidental expenses by giving twenty-one day’s notice to the Treasurer in writing." Carried. Proposed by Mr M'Kenzie, seconded by Mr Milne - "That Stephen Fagan, Esq, M.P.C., be Treasurer for the ensuing year." Carried. Proposed by Mr Farmer, seconded by Mr Ellerm - That Mr Geo. Hedges be the Secretary for the current year." Carried. The following gentlemen were appointed as a committee for the current year - Messrs M'Kenzie, Sanson, R. Burt, Ellerm, Farmer, Phillips, Acourt, Grace, Scarrow, and William Scott; Mr Milne to be Chairman. A vote of thanks was passed unanimously to Mr Fagan for the able manner he had filled the office of Chairman during the past year. This concluded the business of the meeting.    

(Wellington Independent, 11 February 1869)

Small Farm Association.— Yesterday a deputation from this body, consisting of Messrs Hedges, W. S. Milne (M.P.C.), S. Fagan (M.P.C.), Sanson, and Philips, waited upon his Honor the Superintendent, with a view to having the Rangitikei-Manawatu Small Farm Block proclaimed, and also urging their claim for an educational reserve and the making a road through the block. The deputation express themselves well pleased with the courteous reception they met with from his Honor, and the spirit in which their representations wore received. Of course, no positive promise could be given without the sanction of the Council; but there is no reason to doubt that all reasonable claims of the Association will be received and dealt with by the Council in a liberal spirit.

(24 May 1871 Wgton Independent)

We the undersigned hereby call a public meeting, to be held at the Mechanics' Institute, at the Hutt, on Monday, the 10th of August, at 7 o'clock p.m., for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the present critical state of Colonial Affairs of endeavoring to obtain a reduction of the heavy public burthens and of urging the adoption of some effectual measures for repressing the native insurrection. John Jackson, J.P. Thomas Burt, Stephen Fagan, Lawson Potts, James Kelham, J.P. James Osgood, Hutt, August 1, 1868.              

(Wellington Independent, 4 August 1868)

Eliza Fagan died in 1868, as the following extracts from the Wellington Independent indicate.

Deaths. Fagan. On the 4th June, at the Hutt, after a long and painful illness, Elizabeth Mary Jane, the beloved wife of Mr S. Fagan, bootmaker.

Friends of Mr. S. Fagan are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of his late wife, Eliza, which will leave his residence, Hutt, on Monday, 8th instant, at 3 o'clock.

Eliza was buried at Blackbridge Cemetery in Lower Hutt.

In 1869 Stephen remarried, as the following report in the same newspaper indicates;

On March 27, by the Rev. Mr Fell, Mr S. Fagan, of the Hutt, Wellington, to Miss M. A. Trotman, of Hawkestone street, Wellington, second daughter of the late J. Trotman, Esq., of Albion Iron Works, Bermondsey, London, England.           

(10 April 1869, Wellington Independent)

Mary Ann Trotman was baptised on 29 April 1832, at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London, the daughter of Thomas Trotman and Mary.

Shortly after the marriage, Mary Ann Fagan appears to have sold her school In Wellington and moved to the Hutt, where she opened another school at the family home at the Taita. The following advertisements confirm this.

MISS BANNISTER wishes to intimate to Parents and Guardians that she has become the successor of Mrs. Fagan (late Miss Trotman) in the management of her long-established School, situate in Hawke- stone-street, Thorndon Flat, which will be continued on the system that has hitherto proved so successful. In addition to a thorough English education, instruction will be given in Music, Singing, French, and Drawing. Duties of the first quarter will commence (D.V.) on the 22nd of June. Vacancies for a few Boarders. (Evening Post 8th June)

IN reference to the above, Mrs. Fagan has much pleasure in bearing testimony to the thorough efficiency of Miss Bannister while teacher in her school for nearly two years and also solicits for her a continuance of the support hitherto accorded to herself. 8th June. (Evening Post 1 July 1869)

Mrs Fagan will (D.V.) reopen school on the 18th instant. There are vacancies for boarding and day pupils. Terms very moderate for weekly boarders. Gloucester House, Lower Hutt, Jan. 10th, 1870. (Wellington Independent)

Mrs Fagan has a vacancy for three or four children to board and educate with those she already has. It would be a helpful and happy home for those who are motherless, or are too delicate in health to bear the usual school routine. Mrs Fagan’s management of children, both mentally and physically, has been known and appreciated too long to require comment, but to persons of other provinces references can be given to parents of children she has had care of for several years, some of whom she has brought from very delicate to robust health. Gloucester House, Hutt Valley, Wellington, December 9 1870.    (Wellington Independent 17 December 1870)

It appears that the school may not have continued for very long, as there was a fire at Gloucester House in the following year.

A fire occurred this morning, at about two o'clock, at Mr. Fagan's new house at the Taita. When the alarm was given by Mr. Fagan's son, the fire had obtained such a hold upon the building that all hopes of extinguishing it were quickly dissipated. The house was totally destroyed, and only a little furniture and a few effects were saved. The building contained fifteen rooms, the greatest portion of which were only two years old. The house was partly insured in the Liverpool, London and Globe Office for £200, a further insurance in another office having only run out a few days. The furniture was partly covered by a policy for £300. The loss is estimated by Mr. Fagan at £1000. It is not known how the fire originated.       (Evening Post, 8 June 1871)

The previous month the following newspaper report appears:

A singular and well-nigh fatal accident occurred at the Hutt this morning. Two young men, J. Corbett, butcher, and John Fagan (son of Mr. Fagan, bootmaker), attempted to cross the river, which is now in flood, in a new flat-bottomed apology for a boat, which they had constructed themselves. When about half-way across, the strange craft became quite unmanageable, and commenced drifting down the river at a rapid rate. Corbett, who was standing up, came in contact with the wire rope on which the ferry punt works, and was whisked out in a twinkling. He managed to seize the rope, and hung on to it for nearly twenty minutes. The punt was unable to put off to his assistance, something being wrong with the gear, as usual but, although the rope was slack in the water, Corbett contrived to work himself along until those on the shore were able to reach and haul him out. After Corbett was jerked out of the little boat, it continued to drift down stream until it reached the wire rope on which the passenger-boat works, where the other occupant, Fagan, was jerked out in a similar manner to his companion. Fagan was either more fortunate or more agile than Corbett, for he worked himself along the rope hand over hand to the bank without much difficulty. Beyond a good ducking and a fright, neither of the young men received any damage, but their mishap trill prove a salutary warning to other adventurous mariners who tempt the dangers of this treacherous stream in crafts of their own construction.   (Evening Post, 13 May 1871)

In 1870 the death of Stephen Fagan, son of Stephen and Eliza Mary Jane was reported.


17 June 1870 NOTICE. The Friends of Mr. Fagan are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of his late son Stephen, which will leave his residence, Gloucester House, Lower Hutt, on Sunday, at 2 o'clock p. m. G. COLLETT, Undertaker        ( Evening Post, 17 & 18 June 1870)

Stephen was also buried at Blackbridge Cemetery in Lower Hutt.

FRIDAY, 26th JANUARY.1872 Sale of House at the Hutt. MB. J. H. WALLACE is instructed to sell by public auction, on Friday, 26th January, on the premises, at 12 o'clock noon. That house and shop lately in the occupation of Mr. Fagan, shoemaker, on the site of the approach to the new Hutt Bridge, Lower Hutt. The house to be removed within 14 days from the day of sale. (23 January 1872, Evening Post)

Elizabeth Caroline Fagan m David Speedy 1862. David died in 1897 and Elizabeth in 1912, and both are buried in Blackbridge cemetery, along with Elizabeth’s mother and brother.

John Richard Fagan married Sylvia Singer 1874.

Fagan - Singer. On the 7th inst, at the residence of the father of the bride, by the Rev S. L. Tudor, John, son of Mr S. Fagan, Rangitikei, to Sylvia, eldest daughter of Mr Wm. Singer, of Pahautanui. (Wellington Independent, 9 January 1874)

There were five sons born of this marriage. Harry John 1876, Stephen Stanley 1878, Herbert King 1880, Arthur Frank 1882, Malcom Howard 1885.

There was another John Fagan in the district, and John was very careful not to be mistaken for his namesake.

I wish it to be known that I am not the John Fagan who was concerned in a brawl at the Caledonian Games. JOHN FAGAN, Rangitikei, late of the Hutt. 10th January. (Wellington Independent, 11 January 1873)

Fatal Accident at Palmerston North.

(By Telegraph.) (United Press Association.)  Palmerston North, This Day. An accident, with fatal results, happened in Palmerston on Saturday evening, to a man named John Fagan, a farmer, residing at Sandon. He was mounting a young horse, and having a short rein on one side the horse went sideways, with the result that it crossed its legs and fell over on top of Fagan, who received a fracture of the base of the skull, and died shortly after. At the inquest to-day a verdict of Accidental Death was returned. The deceased leaves wife and family of five children. (22 November 1886 Evening Post)

A few years later there were numerous advertisements in local papers offering the farm for sale, so it appears that Sylvia continued to run the farm for some years following her husband’s death.

FOR SALE, at Sandon, an improved Farm of 200 Acres, divided in paddocks and well watered, six -roomed Cottage dairy, and granary. For terms, &c, apply to Stephen Fagan, Belmont, Hutt. (15 May 1894)

In 1873 Stephen Fagan’s is removed from the electoral roll for the Hutt, so the family must have moved to the Rangitikei at about that time. It did not take long for him to become involved in local affairs again.  

Election of Commissioners for “Bulls” Local District Board.

Provincial Secretary’s Office. Wellington, August 30th 1873.                                          

His Honor the Superintendent directs it to be notified for general information that                    

Mr James Bull                                                                                                                                    

Mr Stephen Fagan                                                                                                                               

Mr David Edward Nathan                                                                                                                

Mr John Frederick Schultze                                                                                                                

Mr Malcolm Walker     

Have duly been elected a Board of Commissioners for “Bull’s Local Board District”.                                                              Henry Bunny, Provincial Secretary. (27 September 1873)


A correspondent, who resides at Bull's, sends the following account of Mr. McDonald's meeting, held at Sandon on Monday evening last, to give Mr. McDonald an opportunity of explaining his grievance in connection with the land disputes, in which he and his tribe are concerned. It will be observed that the results arrived at are somewhat at variance with those announced in the telegraphic report of the meeting. The meeting was held in the schoolroom, and there were a large number of persons present, one-third of whom were Maoris. Mr. Fagan took the chair, and introduced Mr. Alex. McDonald, who gave a history of the Rangitikei-Manawatu purchase, the delivery of which occupied two hours. It consisted principally of extracts from blue books, lawyer's opinions and other documents. In the course of his remarks he reviewed the conduct of Mr. Featherston and Mr. Buller, and made strong comments adverse to those gentlemen. He complimented the Native Minister, though the compliment was qualified in a dubious manner. He said Mr. M’Lean was either unable or unwilling to settle the dispute, and impressed upon the meeting the fact that his section of the Natives (the non-sellers) had been very badly treated up to the present time. Ratana, a Ngatiapa chief, made a speech, in which he announced his intention to stop all surveys until he “got what he wanted." Other Natives spoke in the same strain, but the evident sense of the meeting was opposed to Ratana's views. Mr. McDonald spoke very dispassionately, and made no allusions to the horse-shooting affair. At the conclusion of Mr. McDonald's speech, Mr. Bull proposed, and Mr. Lees seconded the following resolution “That this meeting thanks Mr. M'Donald for his attendance this evening; and that a committee should be formed to draw up a petition to the Hon. Mr. M'Lean requesting him to interfere and endeavor to settle all matters connected with the Manawatu dispute. Mr. Sanson proposed as an amendment and Mr. McKenzie seconded, “That this meeting thanks Mr. M'Donald for his attendance this evening.” The original motion was carried. Our correspondent adds that the resolution carries no meaning except this. That the crown grants issued under the Manawatu Crown Grants Act are not at all satisfactory to those who have for a number of years maintained strife in the district simply with the object of sustaining their own claims to a greater share of land than they are justly entitled to. (8 June 1874)


A public meeting was held in the Town Hall, Bulls, on Tuesday evening, to consider the Education Act of the Province and it’s proposed amendment. The meeting was well attended, and a lively interest in the subject was manifested by those present. Mr Fagan was unanimously called to the chair. The Chairman, in his introductory remarks, referred to the importance attaching to an expression of opinion by such a public meeting as this, as it greatly strengthened the hands of their representatives in the Council when the discussion of this question came before them. The Rev. Mr Stewart, Marton, gave an able and lengthened exposition of the state of education, indicating also such changes and improvements in the present system as teemed to him most desirable. The Rev. Mr Ross, in connection with the second resolution, gave some account of the constitution of the District Board as it commended itself most to his own mind. Suppose there are seven school wards in Rangitikei, each of which sends a representative to the School Board, and that in addition to this the three township wards of Bulls, Marton, and Turakina, as the more important centres of population, send each an additional representative, the District Board would thus contain ten members. This he considered a sufficiently numerous and influential Board to undertake the responsibilities such a resolution would entrust them with. The Rev. Mr Doull read the following resolutions, in the description of which the movers and seconders and others took part, and which were unanimously carried

1. That, in the judgment of this meeting, the present system of education in the Province of Wellington is unsatisfactory, and that the time has come for the introduction of a system commensurate with the requirements of the Province.

2. That, in order to secure the confidence, interest, and support of the people to any system of education, it is necessary that a due share of administrative power be more accessible to the people than under the present system and, further, to secure this in the most effective way, district education boards be appointed throughout the Province, with powers similar in most respects to those possessed by the present road boards, the said district education boards to undertake the general management of the schools, to have the power of raising and disbursing the rates within their bounds; the election of the teachers and their dismissal the teacher in the latter case to have the privilege of appeal to the central board in Wellington, or committee of the Provincial Council as the case may be.

3. That adequate salaries should be provided, at least for all efficient teachers, and that the income of the teacher be derived from the following sources 1st. From the funds of the District Boards. 2nd. From the fees of the school; each teacher to receive the fees of his own school. 3rd, From a grant made by the Provincial Council from year to year, to be distributed, subject to the Inspector's approval, to the various teachers, in proportion to their educational qualifications and success in teaching.

4. That the Government shall make provision for only one system of education, and that that should be restricted to secular subjects and further, that no aid be given to schools not immediately and wholly under the control of the Board.

5. That any system of education cannot be otherwise than defective in which no provision is made for training schoolmasters; that, in the opinion of this meeting, the most economical, most direct, and efficient way of meeting this want is by the institution of a lecturership to give special instruction in the art and practice of teaching, in connection with the Provincial College in Wellington, where students may have the advantage of attending other classes while they are being trained for their own profession,

6. That these resolutions be signed by the chairman of this meeting, and by other residents, and transmitted by earliest post to the representatives of Rangitikei in the Provincial Council, Wellington." At this stage, Mr Evans, of the Rangitikei Hotel, proposed a motion to the effect of making education compulsory, providing charity schools, and, in short, passing an Act providing for the education of the country. Mr Doull objected to the motion as incompetent at this stage. There being no seconder, there was no further notice taken it. The usual votes of thanks were passed, and the meeting then broke up.  (Wellington Independent, 11 May 1874)

INFORMATION has been received, under the hand of Mr. Munro, Secretary, that at a meeting of Bull's Local Board the following gentlemen were appointed officers of the Board, viz. Mr. Stephen Fagan, Chairman. Mr. J. G. Wilson, Treasurer. Mr. Thomas Munro, Collector and Assessor. Mr. F. M'Anulty, Inspector of Nuisances. Henry Bunny, Provincial Secretary, Provincial Secretary's Office, Wellington, 13th October, 1875 (Evening Post 29 October 1875)

The following nominations have been received by the Returning Officer for the vacancy in the Clifton Riding (Rangitikei County Council) caused by the retirement of Mr C. Bull. Alex. Dalziell, Stephen Fagan, and Arthur E Remington. A poll will take place on Friday, 11th May. (7 May 1883)

Bulls Licensing Committee.    FROM OWN CORRESPONDENT. Bulls, This Day. The nominations for five Licensing Commissioners for the Rangitoto (Bulls) licensing district closed to-day- at noon. The following gentlemen were nominated —Christie, Fagan, Flower, Flood, Hammond, R. Masters, Read, E. Remington, Richards and J. G. Wilson.     (Feilding Star, 9 February 1884)

The following are the names of the candidates for the Rangitoto (Bulls) Licensing Committee S. Fagan, T. Blower, J. N. Frood, W. Green, E. Read, A. E. Remington, Chas. Scales, R. Smith, John Stevens, and J. G. Wilson. Only five members are required, whilst ten have been nominated. Evidently, there is to be a sharp contest. (16 February 1885)

Once he arrived in the Rangitikei, Stephen resumed his trade as bootmaker, initially in Bulls, bt also working from Feilding and Palmerston North.

Another Destructive Fire.      

It is again our unpleasant duty to chronicle the destruction of another store by fire in Feilding. This morning, about three o'clock, fire was discovered in the coach-house in the rear of Mr J. C. Thompson's old store, which was occupied at the time by Mr S. Fagan, of Bulls, as a boot shop on one side, and on the other by Messrs Clarke and Co., as a drapery. Mrs Gichard, the wife of Mr E. B. Gichard, whose premises immediately adjoin the scene of the fire, was disturbed by the noise made by some geese in the yard, about 2.50 a.m., and seeing the strange light, aroused her husband, who turned out at once. On proceeding into the back premises of the building known as Thompson's old store he found a portion of the carriage shed and stable blazing furiously. In the meantime, Mr John Hitchman, who was attending the furnaces in Mr Bowler's brickyard, saw the fire about 3.10 a.m., and started to rouse out the people in Grey Street, a considerable crowd being assembled then. Mr Gichard, with great presence of mind, broke in the front of the store, and assisted by a number of willing hands, did good service in removing the stock from danger into the street, there it was taken charge of by Constable Meehan. Mr Macarthur did good service in preventing the sparks getting a lodgment on the shingle roof of the houses lower down the street. Messrs A. Eade, W. Lambert (of Palmerston), J. Taylor, Ben Gosling, W. Chamberlain, and J. Hitchman did yeoman's service in saving the private residence of Mr J. C. Thompson. Messrs Young, Brandt, J. Smith and others carried and carted the salvaged goods to Glasgow House where they are now stored. Mrs Fagan, and a young girl who slept on the premises, narrowly escaped death as the greatest difficulty was experienced in awakening them. We have necessarily omitted the names of a great number of persons who worked hard and well in saving Mr H. Rutherford's premises, whose names we have been unable to ascertain. Mr J. C. Thompson's store was uninsured, but Messrs Clark and Co. were insured in Wellington by the firm there, and Mr Fagan in the Colonial for a small amount. We have been unable to gather particulars of either of them, as those interested here have not the information. (10 April 1888)

A few years earlier Stephen was taking steps to retire from the trade, as these advertisements show;

Late Advertisements RETIRING FROM BUSINESS. Clearing Sale Boots, Shoes, Slippers and Goloshes.

The largest and most varied assortment in Palmerston, to be held at the Theatre Royal, commencing THURSDAY, Nov. 26th. Store-keepers making an offer for the whole or part of the Stock, which is good and new, will be most liberally dealt with. The following list of prices should make glad the hearts of parents with large families.

Ladies' Kid Boots cost. 9/-, now selling at 5/6.                                                                          

Ladies' Kid Walking Shoes cost 9/, now at 5/6.                                                                 

Ladies' Kid Carriage Boots cost 6/3, now at 4/6                                                                           

Ladies' best quality Prunella Boots from 5/6.                                                                            

Ladies' Evening Shoes at half-price.                                                                                                   

Girls' best quality Kid Boots cost 7/-, now at 4/6                                                                    

Girls' Patent Dress and Strap Shoes from 2/6                                                                       

Infants' Boots and Shoes from 1/.                                                                                             

Gents' best quality Kid and Patent Gents' Boots hand-sewn cost 17/6, now at 10/6                

Gents' Calf E,S. 11/6.                                                                                                                  

Gents' Calf Walking Shoes cost 9/6, now at 7/6                                                                           

Gents' Strong Blutchers from 5/9                                                                                           

Gents' Watertights cost 15/-, now at 12/6.                                                                              

Gents' and Ladies' Goloshes per pair 2/-                                                                             

Youths' and Boys' Boots to be sold far below cost price.                                                                 

S. Fagan.            (25 November 1885)

Mrs Fagan informs us that bad as times are in Palmerston she has done a brisk trade since her sale began. On Saturday several customers could not be served, so many were wishing to purchase at the same time.       (10 December 1885)

Advertisements Why get your old boots repaired when you can buy New Ones for a trifle more. See our Trunks of BOOTS & SHOES for Ladies, Gentlemen, and Children, of all sorts and sizes at 2/11, 8/9 4/11, 6/9, and 7/9, Infants' Boots and Shoes from 1/- at S. Fagan’s Great Clearing Sale,  Thompson's Old Store, Manchester Street, Feilding. Call early and get your pick in daylight if possible.     (23 February 1888)

The family was also involved in the local Primitive Methodist church and the Temperance movement.

Primitive Methodist Church

Quarterly Tea Meeting. The Primitive Methodists held their principal quarterly meeting of the year in the Church, at Feilding, yesterday afternoon, under the presidency of the Rev. W. Harris, Mr J. C. Thompson being secretary. There were delegates present from the various parts of the circuit. The circuit was shown to be in a prosperous condition, and the finances were good. The Rev, Mr Harris accepted an unanimous invitation to remain for a second year, and he and Mr E. Linton were appointed delegates to the Conference, to be held at Christchurch in January, Mr Fidler to be vice-lay delegate. The proceedings were afterwards celebrated by a public tea, provided by the ladies of the Church, and this was well patronised by residents and visitors. After the tea a public meeting was held, which was largely attended, and over which Mr R. Linton presided in his usual genial manner. Mr Hannaby reminded those present of the lessons suggested by the recurrence of another of their principal quarterly meetings. Mr G. Adams urged to zeal and faithfulness in Christian work in anticipation of the rest and reward in store for those so engaged. Mr A. Linton spoke of the great joy experienced by all earnest workers in a church, and deprecated any of its' members being like drones in a hive, getting all the good they could, but doing little or no good themselves. Mrs Douglas testified to the happiest part of her life being since she had begun to preach the gospel.  During her address this lady sang a solo apropos of the subject of Christian work. Captain Olsen, of the Salvation Army, gave his personal experience of Christianity, and urged others to seek its blessings for themselves. Mr Fagan gave a speech full of encouragement and hope, as suggested to the progress made on the station during the past 12 months. Mr Fidler spoke a few words, the Rev. Mr. Harris gave the concluding address, being chiefly of a pastoral character. During the evening the choir sang some hymns from Sankey's selection, accompanied on the harmonium by Mrs Richardson. The usual votes of thanks, followed by the Benediction, terminated the meeting.          (4 December 1888)


The revival of trade in this place is undoubtedly partly due to the success of the temperance movement here. The Clifton Blue Ribbon and Band of Hope Union was started here about three years ago, and now number over 350 members. This, in a township of only about 170 ratepayers, must be considered a very great success, and the effect is seen in the increased comfort and ability to spend of the inhabitants. The society holds fortnightly meetings, at which recitations, solos, and part songs and addresses are given, very few meetings being held at which additions to the members are not made. The interest of the meetings by this means has been constantly maintained, and to them and their organizer, Mr. A. Thomson, the secretary, great credit and thanks are due. On Monday evening one of these meetings was held, and the opportunity taken of Mr. Thomson's relinquishing the secretaryship to present him with an address (excellently and appropriately illuminated and framed), in which the committee thank him for his constant and untiring efforts in the cause of temperance, in training the young people to sing and recite, thereby maintaining the interest of the meetings, and trusting that he might long remain to continue the same. This was signed, on behalf of the committee, by the Rev. Mr. Dowall, president, and Stephen Fagan and G. Milsom, vice-presidents. Certainly few testimonials have been better deserved.  (16 May 1889, Evening Post)

Shipping records tell us a lot about the family, both through passenger lists and also details of freight being moved. Here are two examples:

Port of Foxton - Manawatu, ps. (paddle steamer) 103 tons, Scoones, for Wellington. Passengers: Miss Robinson, Mr Fagan, and 3 steerage.             (Manawatu Herald, 10 February 1880)

The Fagan family travelled between Bulls and Wellington frequently, usually through the port of Foxton.

In the Alarm, T. and W. Young, agents— 1 cask 1 case, 1 chair, W. W. Taylor. 6 pkgs sundries, Fagan 2 bales leather, 1 truss, 1 case, Hirst 2 gunnies sugar, 1 bag oatmeal, 2 bags rice, 1 half-chest tea, Levin & Co 2 cases kerosene, 2 pkgs drapery, 1. tip cart; 1 sack, Crawford 30 brls cement, Krull &Co 1 pkg tobacco, 1 pkg spades, 40 bags flour, 40 bags salt, 2 boxes blue, 1 cask vinegar, 1 cask soda, 1 case axe handles, 1 case sundries, Turnbull & Co 3 boxes, Edmondson 2 bags sugar, 1 half-chest tea, Johnston & Co 1 bag wheat, 3 pkgs, 6 cases, 1 plough, 1 gunny sugar, T. & W. Young.      (Wellington Independent, 10 June 1872)

SUDDEN DEATH AT BULLS.        7 January 1893   [By Telegraph) (United press association.) Bulls. This Day Shortly before 10 o'clock last night Mrs. Fagan wife of Mr. Stephen Fagan, Chairman of the Town Board, was found lying dead on the footpath near her own door. Dr. Bennett, who was sent for, found that life had been extinct for half an hour, and that apoplexy was probably the cause of death. Deceased, who was well known throughout the Wellington district, has been a resident of Bulls for close on 20 years. Quite a gloom has been cast over the town. Mr. Fagan was absent at the Hutt at the time. He will probably reach Bulls late to-night, while it is probable that an inquest will be held this afternoon.

Stephen Fagan died nearly three years later, on 21 October 1895, as the following notice in the Evening Post indicates: “On the 21st October, 1895, at the residence of David Speedy, Belmont, Stephen Fagan in his 79th year. Funeral at 10 Wednesday morning.”


Over the years he appears to have accumulated a fair amount of property, as the following advert shows.

TUESDAY, 10th MARCH. BULLS SALE. Gorton and & Son will sell by public auction

Under instructions from the Executor in the estate of the late Mr S. Fagan - 10 sections in Township of Bulls in lots, comprising 55 and 58, 56 and 57, 59, 61 to 65, with 7 cottages thereon, 4 of which are let, find 2 sub-sections, being part of section 556, with shop, dwelling, and outbuildings, and containing 1 7/8 acres, let on lease.   (Manawatu Herald, 7 March 1896)

Stephen Fagan is one of many early Hutt settlers who were very involved in local affairs, and made a big contribution to the development of the area, but is all but forgotten. I hope that this narrative gives a picture of what he contributed, and his status in the community, both in the Hutt and the Rangitikei.

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