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Canterbury 1851 -1863
New Zealand Bound
The First Twelve Years

Reference online: Papers Past Images online. NZ National Library.
page 5

This time  twelve years ago, within one month from the arrival of the first settlers, the first number of this journal appeared in the shape of a very small sheet, which was printed under great difficulties in a shed by no means weather-proof. The Lyttelton Times has expanded steadily with the growth of the settlement;....


Star 26 January 1918, Page 9
Shortly before ton o’clock this morning n serious accident occurred on the Main Trunk Road at the Styx Railway Crossing, when a motor-car carrying five persons came into collision with a north bound train. The car was driven by Mr James Ashworth, farmer, of Saltwater Creek, and the occupants of the car comprised Mr Ashworth's wife and three adult daughters, Jane, May and Elizabeth Ashworth. Mr Ashworth is seventy-three years of age and Mrs Ashworth was seventy four. The daughters are; Jane, thirty eight years; May, twenty-nine years; and Elizabeth, twenty-seven years. Mr Ashworth is a very well known resident of the Sefton district. He was born in Lancashire, England, in 1845, and accompanied his father (after whom he was named) to the colony in 1853. He worked on the first section of the Sumner Road, from Lyttelton to Christchurch, and assisted in the fencing of the first little paddock that was made at Sumner. Subsequently, father and son worked in the Bays for several years. As long ago as 1854 Mr Ashworth and other men went overland to Timaru to bring sheep to Rhodes’s Bay. The family settled at Saltwater Creek, in October, 1859, and father and son became the pioneers of the carrying trade for North Canterbury, then roadless, bridgeless, and covered with tussock. Their tracks were afterwards largely adopted by road surveyors.

Press, 20 July 1932, Page 13
The death of Mr James Ashworth, a Canterbury pioneer, occurred at his  home, "Harleston," Sefton yesterday morning. Mr Ashworth was 88 years of age, the greater part of his life having been spent at Sefton, and he was closely connected with the early development of the province. His interesting reminiscence of life in Canterbury in its very early days went back to the period when Lyttelton was but a collection of wooden shanties, and the whole peninsula was covered with forest. Mr Ashworth was born at Castleton, Lancashire, in 1845. His father was a farmer-contractor, and he himself received no education. His family came to the Colonies—to Australia first—in1852, making the voyage in the Gipsy Bride, which carried 600 passengers. His father obtained a contract carting sand on the site of the present Flemington Racecourse. In 1853 the family came to New Zealand, sailing in the brig Colchester, and landing at Lyttelton in July of that year. Giving his recollections of those early years of the settlement, Mr Ashworth wrote, some years ago, that there were only a, few shanties at Lyttelton, and the peninsula was covered with forest, which Maori women cut down for sale as firewood to Lyttelton people. The Colchester anchored and the emigrants landed in the ship's boats. The lighters brought oft', the luggage. Mr Ashworth's family lived in the old emigrants' barracks for a week, and then secured a house on a site at the back of the present Railway Station. In 1918 this house was still standing. Mr Ashworth and his father were employed, for a time on the Sumner- Lyttelton road, but when this work gave out, undertook fencing in Sumner, which was then uninhabited. They tramped every day from the port to Sumner, Laving to scramble up the tussocky hillside on the Christchurch side to reach the saddle. Later the family moved to Charteris Bay, where the father managed a farm. Mr Ashworth was employed in several capacities, including driving cattle on the Peninsula, boating meat and supplies across the harbour to the ships in port, and in carting mails. He secured the contract for the cartage of mails from the port to the Heathcote ferry, from where they were taken in a log cart —built from timber cut out of the forest near Papanui to Christchurch. Eventually Mr Ashworth. after working for some time as a contractor, went to Sefton, where he has resided, as a farmer, for nearly 70 years. Mr Ashworth was twice married, his second wife having been killed in an accident on the Styx railway crossing about five years ago. There was a family of four sons and six daughters, two of the daughters, Mrs F. Reeve and Miss Ada Ashworth, having died before their father. Two of the sons are farming the homestead block, and the other two are farming on the Mt. Grey Downs. Two of the daughters are living in the district. Mrs C. Allington at Balcairn and Mrs J. Reid at Mt. Grey Downs. The other two daughters have kept house at the homestead since their mother's death. All the children were educated at the Saltwater Crook School. There are 14 grandchildren.