Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Samuel Middlebrook–The Orangeman



I just love this photo of my 2x G Grandfather in his Orange Regalia - when I was a child and before I knew what it was I imagined he was someone royal or in a highly important office!
Journalling reads
The Orange Lodges commemorate and celebrate the victory of the Protestant King of England, William III of Orange, on July 12th over the forces of Roman Catholic King James II in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne, a critical victory in William's war to take possession of Ireland. It was not until 1795 that the first Orange Lodges were set up following further unease and aggression between Protestants and Catholics culminating in a deadly battle at Diamond, County Armagh.
By the time the Ulster settlers came to Katikati there were more than 200 Orange Lodges in Ireland, 500 in England and 600 in Scotland.
Katikati's founder, George Vesey Stewart, was an Orange man and recruited many of the original settlers through the Ulster Orange Lodges. The first meeting of the Katikati Orange Lodge was held in an old shanty but by 1881 fundraising began for a hall, however unlike the Northern Hemisphere Lodges of the time this was proposed as a community hall with no sectarian limitations, and in fact both Presbyterian and Catholic churches held services in the Orange Hall. It was used for almost every social gathering , dances which began at 8pm and finished when the party goers left to milk the cows in the morning .
Katikati Lodge was designated L.O.L 30 , and the lodge remained in Katikati until 1919 when it moved to Waihi but by the 1930s there was a lodge again in Katikati.
Marches and festivities were held by the Orange Lodges on 12th July and still are to this day in Ireland however this tradition was not long lived in Katikati. In fact while old traditions died new traditions were begun in New Zealand which was the only country that allowed women to become Orange lodge members
In 1874 George Vessey Stewart arrived in New Zealand looking for suitable land to form a settlement of people from Ulster away from the religious problems of Ireland. He arrived in Tauranga and the Survey Office put at his disposal a young man named Sam Middlebrook. Together they decided on the KatiKati area of the Bay of Plenty. Stewart applied for 10,000 acres and recruited families and friends through the Orange Lodges of Northern Ireland. Samuel married the daughter of Stewart Rea, a loyal Orangeman and so this and this was the beginning of Samuel’s association with the Orange Lodge Institution.

The Marriage of Jane Thompson Middlebrook and Henry Whitnall Smith



I love this wedding photo. The fashions are glorious and the bride beautiful and the groom handsome.

This Jane Thompson Middlebrook is not to be confused with her aunt of the same name.  She was the second daughter of John and Mary Ann Middlebrook, who,  at the time of this wedding were living in Ponsonby in Auckland but later moved to Te Awamutu.

Henry Whitnall Smith was the son of Henry James Smith. According to a newspaper article I have regarding his Diamond Wedding Anniversary, he was born in Auckland around 1870 and was the first baby baptized by Bishop Cowie in Old St Pauls Church.  Henry was a well known Auckland Photographer, with studios in Queen Street for many years.  Quite a few of the family photographs I have are Whitnall SMith photos.

There was a lovely description of the wedding in the Social Sphere  column of the New Zealand Observer

The New Zealand Observer was one of a number of illustrated weekly newspapers popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was first published in Auckland in 1880 and continued, with name changes, until November 1954.

The column read

A pretty wedding was celebrated on Wednesday afternoon, March 26th, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Khyber Pass. The contracting couple were Mr H. Whitnall Smith, of Auckland, and Miss Middlebrook, second daughter of Mr -J. Middlebrook, of St. Mary's Road, Ponsonby The Rev. G. Carver, officiated. The bride was given away by her father, and looked very pretty in a handsome trained dress of white brocaded silk, made with transparent yoke and sleeves, and trimmed with chiffon and orange blossoms she also wore a coronet of orange blossoms, tulle veil, and carried a beautiful shower bouquet presented by the bridegroom, who also gave her a dainty gold watch.
The bridesmaids were Miss Wood, Miss Wild, and Misses Edith and Ettie Middlebrook, two little sisters of the bride. The first couple wore charming dresses of fine white muslin elaborately tucked and inserted with lace, and trimmed with cream silk, white chiffon picture hats, and each carried a beautiful shower bouquet and wore a gold twin-dove brooch, presented by the bridegroom. The little girls wore dainty creme cashmere frocks, tucked, and the yokes and sashes of silk, and white leghorn hats trimmed with chiffon They carried baskets of flowers and wore gold brooches, the gifts of the bridegroom. Mr Kinnear, dentist, acted as best man, and Mr J. Middlebrook, Jr. as groomsman. Mrs Middlebrook, mother of the bride, wore a handsome black silk gown, trimmed with lace, turquoise blue and jet bonnet Mrs F. Stonex, sister of the bride, wore a pretty grey voile dress trimmed with creme guipure insertion threaded with black ribbon velvet, and the bodice trimmed with chiffon, black toque Mrs Whitnall- Smith, mother of the bridegroom, wore black Mrs Armiger, black silk tucked blouse, black skirt, and black hat. The bridal party drove to the residence of the bride's parents, where they were entertained at afternoon tea, and in the evening a party was given in the Ponsonby Hall, which was most enjoyable and successful.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

John Middlebrook


John Middlebrook was the 5th child, and second son of John and Ellen Middlebrook, who arrived in New Zealand on the Shalimar in 1862 with their surviving 7 children.

John became an extremely successful and highly respected man in Auckland and in Te Awamutu


Journalling on this layout is primarily by Johns Great Grandson, as told to me with some small additions by myself in italics

My knowledge of him , starts with his arrival on the the Shalimar in 1862 , his age on the shipping list at the time was given as 8 years, which I am sure you know. Auckland in 1862 was quite small , I have seen the perimeters of the town at that time and beyond Karangahape Road the housing ended , beyond there it was farmland with just the usual farmhouse here and there. Places like Onehunga, Otahuhu and Howick were separate villages.
We were told that he was an adventurer and we know that within his new country he travelled a bit. He visited the Pink and White Terraces, so he saw something that we missed out on. His father John, died in 1866 when he was just 12 years old. ( Although we know the Middlebrooks initially owned land in Northand and Whangarei, we do know that John’s father had opened a butchers shop in Victoria St West in Auckland not long before his death, but our first knowledge of Johns early employment comes from an article written at the time of his Golden Wedding Anniversary which says s a youth Mr. Middlebrook tried his prentice hand at printing, working for some time on the old "Southern Cross" (now incorporated in the "New Zealand Herald"and afterwards taking up the trade of a butcher)
We were told that he was an adventurer and we know that within his new country he travelled a bit. He visited the Pink and White Terraces, so he saw something that we missed out on. He married Mary Anne Tucker when they were both aged only 18 years. At some stage he commenced an apprenticeship with Mr. Hellaby as a butcher. Later Hellaby’s became something of an empire in the Butchery Business, with an abattoir and branch shops all around the Auckland area, but this was the early beginnings. I think things went reasonably well initially and when John and Maryanne were married they bought a small piece of land at Western Springs, obviously there was a dwelling and they had a cow and some hens. ( But in the 1880’s N. Z. had a “Depression”, which I understand was even more severe in our new country than the so called Great Depression (1928—33).
They were desperate times and everyone struggled to survive , in the end Mr. Hellaby approached John and said that sadly he could no longer afford the wages and that he would need to let John go. So he was paid off ! Surprisingly though John returned to work on the Monday as usual! Mr. Hellaby said to John “I paid you off!” But John responded that he would work without pay, that he had a cow and some hens and they had a roof over their heads. He suggested that maybe Mr. Hellaby could spare them a little meat from time to time and if and when business picked up, maybe then he could be re-instated.So they survived and later John was able to put some money together and leave the Hellaby business to buy a shop of his own in St Mary’s Bay Road in Auckland (Ponsonby)
(By this time John and Mary Anne had begun a family of their own- by 1883 they had 4 daughters and a son. Sadly while living at Western Springs, in 1883, John and Mary Anne lost their fourth daughter ,Ellen who died, aged 2 and a half. She was buried - probably with her maternal grandfather, at Symonds Street Cemetery)
John established a very good business and it flourished. My grandfather John T. recalled having to deliver meat in the mornings before school to various places (St. Mary’s Convent for one) a chore that he probably didn’t enjoy too much. Bear in mind that Butchery back then, was without refrigeration! Meat needed to be killed fresh every day, so you needed a farm close at hand to* graze stock prior to slaughter , an abattoir, as well as the shop premises , and of course you needed to attend stock sales very regularly in order to keep the meat supply coming in. So it was a big operation, but obviously a successful one. By the turn of the century Mr. Hellaby was establishing his empire and he approached his ex-employee and made a handsome offer to purchase John’s business. It probably wasn’t accepted initially, but naturally it would get John thinking and perhaps exploring the possibilities. Around 1901-2 he decided to purchase the business in Te Awamutu and the move was made down there in 1902.


By the turn of the 20th Century, John Middlebrook had a large and still growing family and had sold a successful butchery business in Ponsonby. He had travelled quite extensively within the North Island and had decided to move his family and business to Te Awamutu.
Bear in mind that Butchery back then, was without refrigeration! Meat needed to be killed fresh every day, so you needed a farm close at hand to graze stock prior to slaughter, an abattoir, as well as the shop premises, and of course you needed to attend stock sales very regularly in order to keep the meat supply coming in.
So it was a big operation, but obviously a successful one. When they first moved to Te Awamutu, the family lived above the shop, though some of the girls were married, and John Thompson stayed in Auckland doing his apprenticeship.
The railway link to Te Awamutu was quite an early one, which helped establish the town and surrounding area. John became an identity in the town and later served on council and all manner of other things. (He served on the Borough Council and the Cemetery and Domain Boards, was Vice President of the Municipal Band and a Director on the Waipa Post Board). John T. (my grandfather ) joined the business within a few years, He picked up the Maori language very well and in such a town in those times it brought a lot of custom.
I was told that Rewi Maniopoto was a customer in the very early days. The Maori customers used to bring official documents into the shop for my grandfather to interpret. (Interestingly John’s brother Samuel is also known for being fluent in the Maori language and also translated documents for local Maori, who “paid” him with various artifacts which are about to become the subject of a museum exhibition )
As I mentioned earlier John was always referred to as Honest John in Te Awamutu. Sale days in Te Awamutu were on a Thursday and most of the farmers would come into town to see their stock sold off, or to buy , or just because that was when they traditionally came in to shop. It was established that the stock auction would not start until John Middlebrook had arrived . Mind you, logically he was a vital customer, without his bidding true values were unlikely to be reached I am told also that he was seldom late.
With the advent of electricity things were about to change drastically in the butchery business and so John Middlebrook expanded his business once again.
As you will have noticed in the photo of the new shop he is absent , he still did try to help from time to time but arthritis made it very painful to do the simple things like wrapping meat. Of course he no longer needed to anyway, but he enjoyed the customer contact. Of course the new shop was built because electricity now made refrigeration possible and it opened up a new era for butcheries. It was impossible to alter the old shop to accommodate the new chiller and refrigerated display areas