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Family notes - Oliver Cooke Spurdle


This page has information about Oliver Cooke Spurdle, his wife and children. If you can provide additional information or photographs, or want a copy of information I have, please get in Contact.

The Spurdle family in New Zealand have a well documented family history, family trees having been published for family reunions held in 1942 and in 1992.

Janette Howe and Robyn Spurdle published Spurdle Heritage for the 1992 reunion. Much of the information below, by Carrol Crandall, is extracted from that publication. The book contains considerably more detail.

Spurdle Heritage

Spurdle Heritage


View descendants of Oliver Cooke Spurdle. Individuals born since 1930 are listed as "Living" for privacy.

Oliver SPURDLE and family


Oliver Cooke SPURDLE (1833-1911)

Oliver Cooke Spurdle was born 16 March 1833 in Seaborough, Somerset, the eldest child of William Spurdle and Sarah Sibley. Oliver spent his early childhood in Beaminster, Dorset, where his father worked as a carpenter. In 1841, when Oliver was 8 years old, the Spurdle family migrated to New Zealand in the Plymouth Company ship Timandra. After a voyage of 113 days the Timandra anchored off New Plymouth and on 24 February 1842 the family came ashore in a whaleboat to start their life in New Zealand.

In 1850 when Oliver was 17 he began a four year apprenticeship as a wheelwright in New Plymouth. A few months after completing his apprenticeship Oliver married Maria Litherland on 1 October 1854 at the Independent Chapel in New Plymouth. The couple lived in New Plymouth until 1867 when they moved to Waitara. Oliver and Maria had six children while they lived in New Plymouth, and three more were born in Waitara. In 1896 Oliver and Maria moved to Inglewood where two sons also settled. Oliver died in 1911 and was buried in Inglewood Cemetery.

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Maria LITHERLAND (1828-1893)

Maria Litherland was born on 6 March 1828 in Appleby Magna, Leicestershire. Maria was born illegimately, the daughter of Elizabeth Litherland aged 21. Maria's mother died when she was nearly 3 years old and she was brought up by her aunt Lydia Litherland and her husband Thomas Wilson. Maria, her uncle, aunt and four young cousins migrated to New Zealand on the ship Berkshire, arriving in New Plymouth on 18 January 1850.

As mentioned above, Maria married Oliver Spurdle in 1854 and had nine children. After Oliver died Maria moved to Fielding and lived with her daughter Elizabeth. She died 3 months after Oliver in December 1911 and was buried in Inglewood Cemetery.

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Children of Oliver and Maria



Sarah SPURDLE (1854-1921)

Sarah Spurdle was born 1854 in New Plymouth, the eldest daughter of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland. In 1873 Sarah married Joseph Wallace at Springvale, Wanganui. Joseph was the son of John Alexander McKane Wallace, a farmer at Wanganui, and Esther Maise.

Joseph and Sarah had a large family of sixteen children, three died in infancy. Morris died at 2 months, Maria at 7 weeks and Emily aged 3 months. Leonard was accidentally drowned in the Wanganui River aged 15 and Agnes died aged 19. Joseph farmed in Wanganui and became well known in the district. Many of the large family of children attended Matarawa School. Sarah died in 1921 and Joseph in 1948, both in Wanganui. Joseph and Sarah were buried in Aramoho Cemetery, Wanganui.

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Mary Ann SPURDLE (1856-1928)

Mary Ann Spurdle was born 1856 in New Plymouth, the second daughter of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland. In 1879 Mary married Charles Astley in Wanganui. Charles and Mary lived in Whangarei 1886-1888 (based on school admission records), then moved to Australia where their younger children were born, and later returned to New Zealand. When Charles died aged 51 in Rotorua in 1908 he was a boarding house keeper. Charles and Mary had at least eight children, of whom six survived into adulthood. Mary died in 1928. Charles and Mary were both buried in Rotorua Cemetery.

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Samuel Oliver SPURDLE (1859-1944)

Robyn Spurdle published details of Samuel Spurdle's life in Spurdle Heritage. The following is a summary.

Samuel Oliver Spurdle, known as Ollie, the eldest son of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland, was born in New Plymouth in 1859. He moved with his parents to Waitara when about 8 years, and about 1873 to Wanganui to learn the building trade with his uncle Frederick Morris Spurdle. Samuel returned to Waitara and worked as a carpenter and also worked with his father learning the wheelwright trade. In 1887 Samuel married Emma Gilbert in New Plymouth. Emma was the younger sister of Elizabeth Gilbert who was married to Samuel's uncle William Akerman Spurdle. Emma and Samuel had five children, the first two being born in Waitara.

Samuel and his family moved to Inglewood where Samuel started a wheelwright business. Emma died in 1924 and Samuel in 1944. Both are buried in Inglewood Cemetery.

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Harriett SPURDLE (1861-1946)

Harriett Spurdle, the fourth child of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland, was born 1861 in New Plymouth. Elizabeth spent her early life in Waitara and moved to New South Wales in Australia as a young adult. She married Charles Miles at Orange in New South Wales in 1891, aged 30. Harriet and Charles had four daughters born in Orange. The family had moved to Lithgow by 1912 when a daughter died. Charles died in 1934 in Lithgow and Harriett in 1946 in Goulburn. They were both buried in Lithgow, NSW.

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Elizabeth Annis SPURDLE (1863-1922)

Carol Crandall, great granddaughter of Elizabeth, researched the Harford family and published her research in Spurdle Heritage. The following is a summary.

Elizabeth Annis Spurdle was the fourth daughter of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland, born 1863 in New Plymouth. Elizabeth spent most of her early life in Waitara and married George Joseph Harford in 1879. George was born in England and christened George Joseph Braine. He used the surname Harford in New Zealand and his descendants have that surname. George was a painter.

George and Elizabeth's first child was born in Waitara, but they moved to Reefton on the West Coast before the birth of their next child in 1881, where they remained for thirteen years. About 1893 the family moved to Marton and in 1895 George purchased a painting and decorating business in Marton. After six years in Marton the family moved to Fielding where George established the family business of Harford and Son, painters. George and Elizabeth had 15 children.

George served as a Councilor on the Fielding Borough Council from 1905 to1907 and again from 1909 to 1917. He was the Mayor of Fielding from 1919 to 1921. Elizabeth died in 1922 and George died in 1931. Both were buried in Fielding Cemetery.

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Frederick William SPURDLE (1865-1878)

Frederick William Spurdle, who was known by his second name William, was born 1865 in New Plymouth. Most of his life was spent in Waitara. When William was twelve years old, in 1878, he fell out of a boat he was rowing on the Waitara River and drowned. The jury for the coroner's inquest returned a verdict of accidental death. At the time of his death William was a "runner" for the Taranaki Herald.

Newspaper reports of the accidental death can be seen on a separate page.

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Annie SPURDLE (1868-1886)

Annie Spurdle, the youngest daughter of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland, was born 1868 in Waitara. She died when 18 years old, in Waitara, and is buried in Waitara cemetery.

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Henry SPURDLE (1869-1938)

Henry Spurdle, known as Harry, was the eighth child of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland, born 1869 in Waitara. Harry spent his whole life in Waitara. After leaving school he entered the Post and Telegraph Service, but did not like the indoor work. He then became a wheelwright, a trade he was involved in for the remainder of his working life. In 1892 Harry married Emily Holmes and they had five children. Harry was involved in sport and sport administration, being secretary of the Waitara Jockey Club, the Rowing Club, the Waitara Football and Athletic Club, and the Taranaki Annual Regatta Club. Harry died in 1938 and Emily died in 1937. Both were buried in Waitara Cemetery.

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Frederick Lawrence SPURDLE (1875-1942)

Frederick Lawrence Spurdle, the youngest child of Oliver Spurdle and Maria Litherland, was born 1875 in Waitara. He was known as Laurie. Laurie grew up in Waitara and moved to Inglewood about 1896, about the same time as his father and mother moved from Waitara to Inglewood. He worked as a painter in Inglewood all his working life, being one of the partners, together with his brother Samuel, in the firm Spurdle Brothers and Allen.

In 1905 Laurie married Rosalind Matilda Stieller in Wellington. Laurie and Rose had nine children.

Laurie was a keen sportsman, playing and later refereeing rugby, including refereeing provincial matches. In 1924 he was elected president of the Taranaki Referee's Association. Laurie also had a successful career in bowls at both the club and provincial level.

Laurie was a member of the Inglewood Borough Council for many years between 1913 and 1941. He was also a Justice of the Peace. Laurie died in 1942 and Rose in 1948. Both were buried in Inglewood Cemetery.

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