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Joseph and Mary White arrived in Wellington on the “Lord William Bentinck” on 19 May 1841, together with their three children, Samuel 10, Jane 5, and Elizabeth 2. Joseph is listed as a shoemaker and agricultural labourer, but also as Assistant to Surgeon, so it would appear that he carried out the latter duties during the voyage. His age is given as 31 and Mary 32.


Joseph White was baptised on 5 November 1809 at Thorncombe in Dorset, son of Samuel White and Jane (Jenny) Norman, who were married at Thorncombe on 20 November 1805. Joseph married Mary Phippen on 31 January 1828 at Axmouth in Devon.


Their first two children, Samuel and Emanuel were baptised in Combepyne in Devon in 1829 and 1832, so Emanuel must have died as a child. It is interesting that a couple named Joseph and Mary named their son Emanuel!


There were two girls were baptised in Farthinghoe in Northants, children of Joseph and Mary White. They are Jane, born 1835 and Elizabeth 1839. These names correspond with those of the on the shipping list, so they are almost certainly the same family. Also Joseph gives one of his occupations as that of shoemaker, and Northants was known as the main county for shoemaking at that time. The third daughter, Eliza Bentinck White is likely to have been born during the voyage, and a fourth daughter, Mary Norman White, about 1844 in New Zealand.


The first reference I can find for the family in New Zealand is on a Wadestown historical website which reports that “Joseph White a labourer from Devon beginning with an acre established a market garden in Wade St. in 1841.”


On Christmas Eve 1842, Joseph White wrote: “Dear Mother, we are living at the same place as when we wrote last. I have nearly declined the shoemaking trade and devote my time to looking after my cattle, and my acre of land (Wade Street). We have three cows that we milk at present, one more that will calve in about ten days, and a heifer, and two bulls. I have the finest herd of pigs in the colony. My land is in a fine stage of cultivation, and now in full crop. One half-acre is planted with potatoes and cabbage, turnips, parsnips, carrots, peas, beans, onions, etc, etc: about twenty roots nearly ready for planning; the second crop of potatoes at the latter end of January, about the time our first crop is ripe. I have not had my country land until now, we have waited to get it near the town with a road to carry our produce to market. We have purchased a section of land about five miles from this place, on the main road to Porirua, Manawatu, Wanganui and Taranaki, the Plymouth settlement: the road is in progress at present. I have sixteen acres of perhaps as good land as any in the colony which I intend to cultivate immediately: it was bought very cheap, it cost about two pounds the acre, there is plenty of fine timber on it for building and fencing. I intend to work three days a week on it, and get it cultivated as soon as I can …”

White goes on to say that Wellington’s landowners are mostly gentleman’s sons and hopeless at farming; describes his successes with crops, and the general scene in Wellington from the price of crops and stock to Maori Christianity.


SOURCES “Letters from settlers – laboring emigrants”, Vol. 2 pp 55-58. Turnbull Library. Nora Parr: articles on three Wadetown settlers (Samuel Retter, James Watt and Joseph White) in the “Onslow Historian” Vol. 11 No 1, 1981, pages 14-15


Shortly afterwards the following item appeared. From ‘Settlers and Labouring Emigrants in the New Zealand Company’s settlements of Wellington and New Plymouth. From February 1842 to January 1843.” Smith Elder, London 1843. “Cultivation goes on very spare: the reason is, that most of the landlords are Gentleman’s sons, and know nothing about farming: I have often said that two of old English farmers would do more than twenty of them.” Joseph White, Wellington Dec 24th 1842 (shoemaker, but mainly farmer inc. dairying)


The following year the following report appeared in the New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator of 5 July 1843.  


“MEETING OF THE COUNCIL.    Saturday, July 1, 1843, council met. Present Mr. Hunter, Mayor, in the chair. Messrs. Aldermen Lyon, Johnson, Jenkins, Guyton, Fitzherbert. Minutes of former meetings read and confirmed. A letter from Joseph White, of Wade's Town, proposing to rent thirty acres of the Town Belt, commencing at the north-west extremity of the same, for the term of fourteen years, at the annual rent of five shillings per acre for the first seven years, and ten shillings for the remaining seven years - read. Mr. Lyon proposed - That the same be offered for public competition at the minimum rates therein mentioned, and that a notice be inserted in the Newspapers to the effect. Mr. White requested leave of absence for six weeks, which was granted nem. con. Adjourned till Saturday, the 8th July, at 10 o'clock.”


Note - Geo. White was the town Clerk.


It was not clear whether or not Joseph was successful with his offer.


In the February 1884 List of Jurors for Port Nicholson, Joseph is listed as bootmaker, living at Te Aro Flat


The following land claim appears in 1852. “Claim Joseph WHITE Wellington (228) Crown Grant 17 acres part Country section 35 Lower Hutt district date 23 April 1852.” This section was on High Street, approximately where Ropata Village now stands.

Clearly he had taken possession of the land some years earlier, as the following advertisement in the “Wellington Independent” in 19 January 1850 shows.    “To be let in the Hutt, Four Acres of Land, in one or more lots, situated one mile from the Hutt Bridge, having six chains fronting to the Road—a part of the bush cut and ready to be burnt off. The land is in a good situation and of the best quality. For particulars apply to J. White, Pine Grove. River Hutt, Jan. 4, 1850.”

In 1857 he is listed as a gardener, but in 1858 he is recorded as being a farmer.


The following article which appears in the Evening Post on 14 April 1909, gives us a great deal of information about the family.


“A West of England paper reports the funeral at Broadclyst, Exeter, of the late Mr. Samuel N. White, an old New Zealand colonist. He emigrated to Australia with his parents when a little boy, and his parents lie buried at Blackbridge Cemetery in Lower Hutt. For many years he worked in both Australia and New Zealand as a miner and a farmer. "White's Line" the junction road between Clareville and Gladstone was named after him, his property being adjacent. His sister, the late Mrs. John Wilkie, was first postmistress at. Upper Hutt. Other sisters, since dead, were Mrs. P. A. Wilkie, Mrs. F. Burt (Featherston), and Mrs. W. Copeland (of Blackbridge). The late Mr White was the alter ego of Mr. F. Cohen, of Wellington, and the one was frequently mistaken for the other, even by relatives. Mr. White married an English lady some fourteen years ago; but there was no family.  “

Samuel Norman White had married Mary Giles on 19 March 1888.


The four White daughters married in the Wellington/Hutt area as follows:


Eliza Bentinck White m (1) Peter Anderson Wilkie in 1858.

                                         (2) William Greenwood in 1886

Eliza died in 1895 at the age of 55.


Elizabeth White m John Wilkie 1857. She died in 1904 aged 69


Mary Norman White m William Copeland 1865.      Mary Norman Copeland died in 1896 at the age of 52, and is buried in Blackbridge Cemetery.


Jane White m Dean Francis Burt, 1863. Jane Burt died 1902 aged 65.


In 1857 a Partnership or Company for the promotion of Steam Navigation, at Wellington, in the Province of Wellington, under the Mixed Partnerships Act, Province of Wellington, was established. Five hundred shares at ten pounds each were issued, and only two Hutt Valley settlers were involved; Joseph White, who bought three shares, and Richard Barton of Upper Hutt, who bought ten shares.


In the “Wellington Independent” of 20 March 1866 there is a report of a meeting held at the Mechanic’s Institute four days before to consider the formation of a Hutt branch of the Manawatu Small Farm Association, when a very large audience was assembled. After discussion, the following resolution was then carried unanimously: - “That the following gentlemen form the Committee to confer with the town committee in drawing up the rules, viz., Messrs. Hart, Ludlam, Sanson, and Joseph White."


It is not known whether Joseph ever held land in the Manawatu, but he appears to have owned land in the Wairarapa.  In the Crown Lands Office records there are two blocks of land being granted to Joseph White; 99 acres on 12 August 1867 and 40 acres 0 roods and 20 perches on 28 January 1870. This would tie in with the provisions in his will.

FUNERAL NOTICE. THE friends of the late Mr. JOSEPH WHITE are respectfully invited to attend his funeral, which will leave his late residence Black Bridge, Hutt, on FRIDAY, the 13th, at 3 p.m. (Evening Post, 12 March 1885)

Joseph White’s will reads “formerly of Thorncombe in the county of Devon.” This will dated 26 February 1863 names the executors as Francis Dean Burt and James Woodward. A codicil dated 23 March 1870 names the executors as William Copeland and his brother John.

From research by other people, possibly Wesley McDonald, Joseph left property to his children as follows:

To Elizabeth and John Wilkie, parts of sections 11, 51 and 76 in Greytown where they were living.

To Eliza and Peter Anderson Wilkie of Upper Hutt, other parts of sections 11, 51 and 76 in Greytown.

To Jane and Dean Francis Burt of the Hutt, 46 and 163 acre blocks bounding the Tauherenikau River (in the South Wairarapa)

To Mary, land in Lower Hutt, part lot 35 adjacent to George Wilkie’s property.

Joseph also had land in Central Wellington, including some in Lambton Quay, and 22 acres at Kaiwharawhara.

Funeral Notice. The Friends of the late Mrs. Joseph White are respectfully invited to attend her Funeral, which will leave the residence of Mr. William Coupland, Blackbridge on Thursday, 17th June, at 2 p.m., for the Presbyterian Cemetery Blackbridge (Evening Post 15 June 1897.)

Both Joseph and Mary were buried at Blackbridge Cemetery in Lower Hutt, and their names appear on the memorial stone there.

Western Times 26 Feb 1909. Death Notice and Funeral of an old colonist at Broadclyst.21st February, 22 Jubilee-road, Samuel Norman White, aged 79 years and 11 months.


The funeral took place at Broadclyst Churchyard yesterday of the late Mr Samuel Norman White, of Jubilee-road, Polsloe Park, Exeter. The deceased, who was within a few weeks of his eightieth year when he passed over to the great majority on Sunday last, was a man of fine physique and commanding presence – in fact, he was a perfect type of one of the old colonists who have done so much to develop and civilize the far corners of the earth. Mr White’s career has been an eventful one. When he was eleven or twelve years of age, he emigrated, with his parents, to Australia, where he was brought up in the gold mining industry. In those days there were comparatively few European settlers in the country, and the Maoris were practically savages. Mr White used to relate many interesting incidents in connection with his early life in the Antipodes, and he was naturally fond of harking back to the old pioneer days, in which he played his part. For many years the deceased worked at both mining and farming in Australia and New Zealand, returning to England about twelve years ago, and taking up his residence at Exeter. The funeral was attended by the deceased’s widow and relatives, the latter including Mr, Mrs and Miss Giles. A large number of friends was also present, and some beautiful floral tributes were placed upon the grave. The coffin was of unpolished English oak, with solid brass mountings. The last rites were performed by the Rev Whitaker (Broadclyst), and the funeral arrangements were ably carried out by Mr Fred. Mitchell  of Parr-street. The hearse and mourning coaches were supplied by Mrs Bickford. The late Mr White was a native of Uplyume.


Western Times 05 March 1909. Uplym Man’s Colonial Career.

There has been laid to rest in Broadclyst Churchyard, Mr Samuel Norman White, of Jubilee-road, Polsloe-Park, Exeter. A native of Uplyme, he went to Wellington, New Zealand, with his parents as a boy. At the age of 18 he went to the gold diggings, first in New Zealand and later in Australia. In those days there were comparatively few European settlers in the country, and the Maoris were practically savages. Mr White used to relate many interesting incidents in connection with his early life in the Antipodes, and he was naturally fond of harking back to the old pioneer days, in which he played his part. For many years the deceased worked both at mining and farming in Australia and New Zealand, returning to England about twelve years ago, and taking up his residence at Exeter. A perfect type of the early Colonist, he was very popular among the Maoris. He died within a few weeks of his eightieth year. 

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