James Henry NASH
- Born: 6 Mar 1814, Sandhurst, Kent, England
- Marriage: Ann SMITH in 1833 in Sandhurst, Kent, England
- Died: 1898, Braidwood, , New South Wales, Australia at age 84
James Henry Nash and Ann Smith were both born in Sandhurst in Kent, she on 18th March, 1815 and he on 6th March, 1814. They married in 1833 and had three children, Miriam, born 1834, Norman, born 1836 and George, 1838, before they were tempted to emmigrate to New Zealand. They sailed from London on the barque "Bolton" on 19th November, 1839 arriving at Port Nicholson five months later on 20th April, 1840. In rough weather during the voyage, three year old Norman fell overboard but by good fortune his tight fitting jacket kept him afloat and he was rescued.
They were landed at Petone Beach where living conditions were very primitive with cooking being done over fires in the open and washing in the Hutt River. When the Hutt River flooded the family moved across to Lambton Harbour where it was more sheltered but sorrow came with the death of George. James found employment in the new town and four more children were born there. James was now taking a prominent part in the Wesleyan Church, even taking services at times.
James had been employed as a weaver in England so when he heard about the flax trade on the Manawatu River he decided to move there. Although there were small ships trading along the coast many had problems at the river mouth and strandings were frequent although most were refloated on a high tide. Family sources say the family came up the beach by horse and cart surely a daunting journey with six young children and Ann pregnant with John Wesley, who was born at Awahou in 1849. Other sources say they came on the coastal cutter "Fly" with Captain Cimino.
Other traders were already established at Paiaka so James set himself up at Whirokino as a rope maker employing Maori workers and becoming quite prosperous as there was a big demand for ropes for lashings on the sailing ships. Life was difficult especially for women and children - more children were born and several died from childhood diseases - a great problem in those early days. James continued his interest in the Wesleyan Church, preaching when no minister was available at the interdenominational church opened by Rev. James Duncan 16 miles up the Manawatu River. Rev. Duncan recorded his approval of this Christian family in his journal.
After the disastrous earthquake in January, 1855, the family moved to Te Awahou for a time but soon returned and by 1858 James was running a store. Floods were a problem - at times the family were forced to wait in the upper part of their house for the waters to recede and, at times, watched the homes of those less fortunate floating downstream in the torrent.
With the Hauhau troubles in the late sixties Ann and James buried their valuables and moved to Liddell's Store along with many other families. Here they cut slits in the iron walls to fire muskets through should it become necessary. They were fortunate that no attack came.
However stories of the fortunes to be made at the goldfields in Australia tempted James and Ann to pull up their roots once more after twenty years up the Manawatu River. Most of their children went with them - except three. Miriam had married Charles Henry Symons in 1854, Elizabeth Ann had married Captain Sedcole and Norman who had married Ellen Webster remained to carry on the flax business at Paiaka.
James became a contractor transporting gold from the diggings - a somewhat dangerous occupation. He always carried a heavy stick which he used with good effect when challenged by robbers.
James and Ann did not return to New Zealand. James died in Australia in 1898 aged 84 and Ann died in 1902 aged 87.
With thanks to
Pioneers of Foxton : Book Two. p12-13. [Foxton, N.Z.] : Foxton Historical Society, 1989.
James married Ann SMITH in 1833 in Sandhurst, Kent, England. (Ann SMITH was born on 18 Mar 1815 in Sandhurst, Kent, England and died in 1902 in Australia..)