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Catherine Cowan (nee Lochead) 1830 - 1907

Catherine or "Kitty" as she was known was born in Scotland on 14th November 1830 [her mother Elizabeth nee Skinner first wife of James Lochead died] her father remarried another Elizabeth, (family name Hamilton) on 26th April 1839 at Neilston Scotland1 She travelled to N.Z. in 1842 via the Sailing Ship "Duchess of Argyle" a 667 ton , full-rigged wooden sailing ship. Built by Muiress & Clarke at Greenock in 1841 for her owner J Leitch. Her overall length was 138 feet, her breadth 24.5 feet and her depth 19.9 feet.Her port of registry was Greenock, her destined voyage at the time of her construction , was Clyde to Bombay via Auckland.

When a tug came along-a-side , the anchor raised and a cannon fired, I wonder what the 11 and a half year old,2 young Kitty Lochead thought. Three cheers were given and a great adventure had begun for those hand selected emigrants from Paisley were on their way. to a new colony

Each person required a minimum of clothing... Catherine would have 6 Shifts, 2 Flannel petticoats, 6 pairs of stockings 2 pairs of shoes and 2 gowns.[blankets,sheets and coverlets were not supplied ,by the ship but mattresses and bolsters were]. She had her own towels, knives, Forks, a tin or pewter plate, spoons and drinking mug. 3 Sailing conditions were cramped, food and washing restricted, and allocated, and many difficulties of travel through tropic and sub antarctic climates were experienced. The voyage turned out to be a race against the "Jane Gifford" which sailed 10 days later, so that the vessel was driven through the Roaring Forties "without mercy." The passengers battened down in the ‘tween decks.A rigorous ship-board life4

After 4 months at sea, young Kitty would have been delighted to see, the Auckland harbourmaster, a spruce little man , wearing white kid gloves , a very good fellow by the name of Captain David Rough., 5come aboard their ship.[ it being the first and larger of the two vessels arriving , was taken possession of by the harbourmaster himself as pilot ]. It was a beautiful clear night, the moon about full (can you imagine the excitement) but somehow "The Duchess" came to rest on a sandbank that has variously been described "at Northhead" and / or "some distance back from Milford Beach" (exactly where probably does not matter), but stuck they were , allowing the "Jane Gifford" to sail by , and weigh anchor in Auckland Harbour first! On the 9th of October both ships were anchored in the Waitemata Harbour, it was wet and windy.

Kitty had to learn that " patience is a virtue" as the leisurely disembarkation did not take place until Monday the 10th of October , a wet and miserable day, as was the next day - Tuesday. Passengers struggling though mud and water, or carried ashore, only to find raupo whares for their accomodation, and the main streets of Auckland nothing more than muddy tracks. " Houses were built close to the beach. Shortland St was the main road. There was a grog shop, ashoemaker’s, a baker’s, a grog shop, a pork shop, the barracks, a grog shop, and in the course of erection on Point Brittomart was the Church of St Paul" At the end of 1842 Auckland had progressed very little. The Ligar Canal with all its shocking odours flowed murkily down

Just where most of the immigrants landed is a matter for debate. The young town had three main bays, Official, Commercial, and Mechanics, proof positive that the English class system had travelled half way around the world. In theory the workers were to have landed at Mechanics Bay but with the two ships anchored off Pt Brittomart it seems almost certain that landings were influenced by wind and tide and that some migrants, after landing at Official Bay, had to walk along the muddy foreshore to Mechanics Bay, where about thirty raupo houses had been erected--- in the bay and on Parnell Rise--- for use of the immigrants. Governor Hobson had died about a month previously, and the colony was in the grip of a depression. Not an ideal start to a new life in a new land.

"This muddy,rough town was quite beyond their imaginings , a queer wee town, and worse of all there appeared nothing for us to do" Indeed the arrival of so many labourers at that particular time was an embarrassment to the settlement.

How the illiterate calico-printer James Lochead from Paisley Renfrewshire came to be the Occupant of a house belonging to the Colonial Government, Occupation Labourer Locality Government domain, House made of Raupo 1 is not known for sure. He is given as Ranger/Keeper Auckland Domain C1845-1851. So there on a rise above the (now Stanley St Tennis Courts) and below the Auckland Hospital about opposite the end of Ayr St the Locheads set up home in the new colony. It is said that the tree they tied their goat to, still stands.

It appears that the family remained in this raupo whare until 1849 0r 50 when the family moved into a somewhat marvellous brick mansion, at Lot 25 Wakefield St.

James had bought the Section Lot 25 sec 32 for 21 It was variously described, In the "New Zealander" for 1st October 1853 p1 there is an advertisement TO LET A large and comfortable brick house, in Wakefield St ., containing eight rooms , kitchen , servant’s room , small garden , well , etc.

and in the "New Zealander" of 1st July 1854 FOR SALE A brick house, situated in Wakefield St Auckland erected upon allotment 25 section 32 . The above has only lately been built , and contains 14 rooms with 4 fireplaces, a good bricked well , of water , is admirably adapted for the residence of a private family , or with a small outlay , could be made into one of the most roomy Hotels in the city of Auckland . In fact it is well adapted either for a private residence or business premises ., being situated in one of the best streets in the city and the main outlet to the Country , at the Junction of eight roads , and in the immediate vicinity of the Market place. For terms and particulars , apply to McDonald and Bradly , General Store Queen St dated 30 June 1854 .

 

 

 

 

 

However years of crowded living in the small Raupo house had taken their toll on the Lochead Family Father,Step mother and baby half sister Marion were all to succumb to the dreaded scouge of tuberculosis in 1853. Ironic that after years of hardwork,just when James appeared to be making some headway.He was to lose his life at the relatively young age of 46,his wife 32 Marion a few months old. A pioneer’s lot was not an easy one. The 3 being buried in an unmarked resting place Plots 123, 124 and 125 D Grafton Cemetery..

At the time of Catherines marriage to Henry,he was listed as Military bachelor From 1848 to sometime after 1863 Catherine would have lived with her family,and members of the extended Family at Mahurangi. Her sister Isabella husband William McDonald spent some time there, as did her half sister Mary with her husband William Wyborn Lloyd Bradly..

Henry & Catherine’s eldest daughter Catherine was born in December 1849 in Mahurangi, buth their second child Janet was born in Auckland in Feb 1852 their son Henry George was born in Wakefield St Auckland in 1854, and this would most likely have been in the home of her parents, prior to its sale.

It is known that Kitty took on the job of raring her twin (half) brothers William Martin David Rough Lochead who wer not quite 6 years old when their father died. Of course there was Elizabeth, aged 8 , Mary aged 12 and James 2 and Janet 4 years old who all had to be looked after. (I guess married sister Isabella would have helped )

One problem was solved on Christmas Day 1854 when Kitty’s half sister Mary was wed to Capt William Wyborn Lloyd Bradly (he was 35 she was 14 ) they were living at Mahurangi when their first child Emma was born in May 1856.

All of Kitty’s other children were born in Mahurangi , between the years 1855 and 1864. It was in 1863 prior to the youngest childs birth, that Henry suffered a fractured skull, which severely altered his mental state. In fact from Feb 4 to Feb 23 1863 Henry Cowan Farmer of Mahurangi,was admitted to Auckland Public Hospital on the recommendation of Capt Daldy,suffering from a fractured skull.He was admitted again on 19 Jun 1863 until 13 July the same year

. About this time the family must have moved back to Auckland, where we know that Henry spent most of his time in and out of various hospitals and mental institutions.Namely Auckland Public Hospital, the Wesleyan home and Avondale Lunatic Asylum. From 25 Nov 1864 until 27 Mar 1872 Henry was in the care of the Avondale Asylum

Baby Charles Duplat COWAN would have been only a few months old at this time ,and the eldest child a mere 15 years of age

From this time on Catherine would have had a hard struggle. It is not known how the family managed,as any estate Henry had would have been frozen until after his death.

In 1872 - 73 (Wises N.Z.Directory) gives Catherine as having Broughton Hall Boarding house (Manukau Rd) Parnell In 1882 she had land valued at 180.00 she was a seamstress.Her address in 1896 was listed as St Georges Bay Rd ,as it was up until the time of her death in 1907.,but it is likely that she had been there since the early 1870’s. Her daughter Catherine was married to Robert Henderson at the residence in 1875. Her daughter Janet Pullman had a grocery store in St Georges Bay Rd either from about 1882 when she signed an affidavit that she was the sole executrix, and benificiery of her late husband Peter Webb Pullman a master mariner whose ship was lost in the Tasman Ocean 1882,or else she may have been referring to the several years prior to March 1882 when she and her husband had lived at Parnell before they moved to Foxton. The house was on the left hand side, the seventh past Ruskin Lane and the 4th house up from Garfield St .In 1985 there was a carpet factory on that site.

When Henry was released from Avondale in 1872 , it is recorded that his wife and family fled the family home,as they feared for their safety.It is also recorded, in police files that Henry Peter COWAN (all the police files list him as Henry Peter Cowan)was living in an abandoned house in St Georges Bay Rd. Could it have been the family home that he was residing in.? I have heard stories that Catherine slept with a stick in her bed as she was fearful.At one stage Henry escaped from Avondale and the police went to the home in case Henry arrived there, violent. There was a Mr Dyer,that he was determined to "finish off",and reported him for threatening violence.

. She also worked as a mid-wife up to the time her daughter Mary died in 1893 of "Child Bed Fever" as it was called then. The Midwife was usually blamed and not allowed to continue this work .There are also stories within the family of her being the Midwife for the Mahurangi District including Kawau Island during some of the years of Governor Grey.

Catherine Cowan died in 1907 and is buried in Purewa Cemetery. Her daughter Mary,(Mrs Cross) is also buried there, as is Henry her eldest son.

Death Notice from N.Z.Herald Monday 18th February 1907.

COWAN On February 16th at her late residence St Georges Bay Rd Parnell. Catherine relict of the late Henry COWAN aged 76 Internment Private.

The Inscription on her tombstone

Front... In loving memory of Catherine Cowan (nee Lochead) widow of Henry Cowan Born 1830 Died Feb 16th 1907.Arrived in N.Z. by ship "Duchess of Argyle" 1842 Also Mary Brady Cross daughter of above Born 1862 died May 11 1896.

Side Inscription reads In memory of Henry Cowan Died Sep `1931 in his 78th year.

(Catherine’s son)

Also his only sons killed in action Lt Henry Rawlings COWAN 17th May 1915

Serg William Henry COWAN 15th Sep 1916.