- Born: 3 Sep 1802, Saltash, Cornwall, England
- Christened: 4 Sep 1803, St. Stephen's-By-Saltash, Cornwall, England
- Marriage: Jane Harris MORSHEAD on 15 Jan 1824 in Saint Germans, Cornwall, England
- Died: 27 May 1851, Otaki, Wellington, New Zealand. at age 48
James and his wife Jane Morshead were married in the parish church of St Germains and in 1824 their first child, James was born. He died in infancy as did another son Thomas born in 1832. The six surviving children of James and Jane were John born 1825, James Morshead born 1828, Jane Morshead born 1830, William Morshead born 1835, Thomas, born 1837 and Edmund Halswell born in New Zealand in 1844. The family emigrated to New Zealand sailing on the Catherine Stewart Forbes. They arrived 24 June 1841 For a year the family lived with Judge Halswell on his farm a short distance from Wellington. During that time James managed the farm but,as he had an inheritance from his father, he was later able to buy the farm and 135 acres in what is now Vogeltown and Brooklyn. There James developed a farm which he named Goathurst. He was obviously a man of some initiative because in the 1900s his son, James Morshead wrote of him, He supplied the troops with firewood from the farm he bought from Judge Halswell and for some years had a number of bullock teams in and about Wellington. James also rented land in the Manawatu* and there Henry and Charles Symons his nephews who also emigrated, lived and ran his cattle station. In 1851 James and these two cousins drove some cattle to Manawatu and on his return journey he was drowned in the Otaki River.
Wellington Independent 31 May 1851 published the following:
It is our painful duty to record the death by drowning of an old and valued settler Mr John Symonds J while crossing the Otaki River on Tuesday last the 27th inst. The particulars of the melancholy occurrence appears to have been as follows; Mr Symonds who had been on a visit to Manawatu where he had a cattle station was on horseback and leading a spare horse,and is supposed that the horse on which he was riding as soon as he found himself out of foothold plunged and threw him, there being a heavy fresh in the river at the time, which instantly carried him down to the mouth of the river, where the body was found on Wednesday morning by the natives. The deceased has left a wife and a large family. Hadfield read the burial service at the grave and the family purchased a tombstone from Sydney and had it erected.
James married Jane Harris MORSHEAD, daughter of John MORSHEAD and Mary TOMS, on 15 Jan 1824 in Saint Germans, Cornwall, England. (Jane Harris MORSHEAD was born on 26 Jan 1801 in Morval, Cornwall, England, christened on 3 Jul 1803 in Pillaton, Cornwall, England and died in 1874 in Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand.)