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Hugh and Mary Agnes Campbell

Mary Agnes Tankersley was born on 6 November 1841, daughter of Thomas William and Sarah (nee Draper) Tankersley. Mary was married on 4 January 1864 to Hugh Campbell. Hugh was born in Londonderry, County Antrim, Ireland in 1839 the youngest child of John and Jane Campbell. They travelled to New Zealand in the Lady Nugent arriving in Wellington on 17 March 1841with Hugh his older brother John and two older sisters. Hugh’s mother died of Typhus fever on the voyage out.

The Campbell family settled at Campbell Street, Karori and were well known early settlers. Hugh's father, John, sent a valuer to Upper Opaki to find property for his sons. The valuer returned to report 'that there was not a stone to throw at a crow." He omitted to add that they were all too big!! Hugh and his brother John arrived about 1860 and were the second white settlers in the area. Hugh's wife Mary Agnes was the first white woman. It is recorded that Hugh farmed 2,500 acres called Ngaratanui (many large Rata trees). He was well known as a racehorse breeder and had a quality flock of Romney Marsh sheep and some cattle.
There are two stories about Hugh and John. The first concerns wild bulls, which were plentiful. Three such bulls bailed up the Campbell family in their homestead for three days. Any movement from inside would make the bulls rub against the house. They were eventually shot and the house painted a bright colour. The second took place when Hugh and John were ploughing with bullocks. A group of Maoris came down from over Mt Bruce, probably to go to the Pa at Miki Miki. They stopped and watched the boys ploughing. The boys didn't know whether to run or hide. But decided to take no notice and to carry on with their work. In time the Maoris continued on their way. The swing plough probably used is still at Ratanul today.

Hugh and Mary Agnes had five children. Hugh was on the establishment committee for the first Upper Opaki School, which was situated near the Paerau Road turn off, and started in 1878. We have two reminders of Hugh and Mary Agnes. It is said that Foxglove flower seeds spread from Mary Agnes' garden, and she donated the pump organ to the Mt Bruce district for church services. Hugh and Mary Agnes lived in a home near the present Ratanui homestead, which was built in 1893. Mary Agnes passed away on 7 August 1921 at Mt Bruce and Hugh followed her on 29 September 1922. Both are buried in the Masterton Cemetery.

Their Children were

Sarah Eliza Jane Campbell Sarah was born on 3 December 1866. She was married in 1909 to Robert Nichol, Robert was also born in 1866. They had five children and first lived at Rongomai. Then they shifted to Porirua. Following Robert's death, Sarah returned to Ratanui with the children and moved to Masterton later on. Sarah died on 2 October 1938.

Hugh Campbell Hugh was born on 2 May 1868. He was married at Eketahuna in 1897 to Mary McAdam Davidson. Mary was born in 1878. Mary died in 1913. They lived at Rongomai. Hugh suffered a stroke when about 33 years old. Mary took the two youngest children and lived in Taranaki until her death in 1913. The children then returned to live with their maternal grandparents. Alan (the eldest) and Hugh lived at Ratanul. Of their three children Alan and Agnes are still living. Hugh died on 20 June 1924

Mary Agnes Campbell Mary was born on 1 December 1869. She was married to John Ray, who was born in 1877. John died in 1923 and Mary in 1946. They had three sons and lived at Belvedere, Carterton.

Margaret Campbell Margaret was born in September 1872. She was married to Herbert Belford Daken, Margaret died in 1954. They had six children of whom Tom, Ivan and Erwin are still living. They bought part of Ratanui when they were married.

John Campbell John was born in 1875. He was married to Emily Blatchford on 16 March 1904 at the Blatchford homestead at Rangitumau. Emily was born in 1879. John and Emily lived at Essendale when they were first married and bought land at Opaki, where they lived until shifting to Ratanui. The Opaki farm is retained in the family. They had six children and Isia, Olive and Rata are still living (1990.) Ratanul was split between John's three sons. Rata farmed Ratanul, Raymond (Ray) farmed Awarua and Clarence (Clarrie) farmed Essendale. Ramesile was also bought for the three boys. Later on Clarence farmed this. These farms are still in the family, being farmed by their sons. Emily died in 1958 and John in 1966.

(Source - Gill Potter)

Owner/SourceGil Potter
Linked toMary Agnes Tankersley

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