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Waters Family 
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The following Story has been extracted from a book written by Heather Sanderson about the Water's Family and in particular about her father Barnum Fred Waters.  Thank you Heather for all the help you have given me on this family.

Herbert Waters married Ann Eliza Waterman (known as Elizabeth) on the 3rd of October 1874.  They went to London for their honeymoon.  When asked what he had done on his honeymoon by friends Herbert's reply was "I planted a Rose - and she is still blooming"  Rose was the eldest of 13 children that Herbert and Elizabeth had.  She continued to bloom until she was 90 years old.  Herbert was the 7th of eight children of Thomas Waters and his wife Lucy.  He was born on the 12 June, 1854 in a small village in Kent called Linton about four miles south of Maidstone.  He was baptised in the local Church of England on the 13th of August 1854.  He was fair skinned with reddish-fair hair, light blue eyes and freckles - very much of Saxon origin.


At some time he had visited another small village in Kent called Hunton, about five miles west of Linton.  There he managed to court and win Ann Eliza Waterman, with dark brown hair and deep blue eyes - a girl of Norman origins and somewhat a local beauty.  As the only method of transport in the 19th century was either horse or shank�s pony (walking) the villagers seldom travelled, so Bert Waters was treated as a foreigner who had no right to steal the heart of a local maiden.


Elizabeth (the name he used on the shipping records) Waterman was  19 when she married.  She was born on the 19th of March 1856 in Hunton, Kent.  Her Parents were Edward and Honor Waterman.  Edward was an agricultural worker who won the first prize for ploughing at Staplehurst on the 5th October 1855.  Nearly 100 years later Bruce Waters, also a farmer, won first prize for ploughing in Canterbury, New Zealand.  When Ann Eliza met Bert she thought his name was short for Albert, like Queen Victoria's consort and so called him "Albie" all his life until many years later when they had to obtain his birth certificate and found that his real name was Herbert.

Herbert's elder brother Thomas had immigrated to Australia earlier and eventually discovered gold and purchased a sheep station.


Kent was known as "The Garden of England" as it was full of fruit orchards and also hop fields used for making "good English beer!"  The men of Kent or Kentish Men depending on which side of the river Medway they lived, were the only men in England who were denied the vote by the Government of the time.  Being a very proud and independent breed of individuals they emigrated to new worlds in their thousands.


Bert and Ann Eliza decided to work together in the hop fields and save enough money to emigrate to the colonies and hopefully to a better life.  In the 1870's Sir Julius Vogel, the Prime Minister of New Zealand was very keen to settle the country and sent people to England who went from village to village speaking to the inhabitants in the shire halls and encouraging them to emigrate to New Zealand. 


So Herbert and Elizabeth chose New Zealand as their destination.


They travelled in the "Avalanche" a Shaw Savill sailing ship, two of the 362 cabin/steerage immigrants departing from Gravesend on the 22nd of October 1874.  The ship arrived in New Plymouth on the 22nd of January, 1875 where 199 disembarked and Wellington on the 25th of January where Herbert and Elizabeth disembarked together with 58.5 passengers.  The .5 may have referred to the child, which Elizabeth was carrying.  The ship then continued to Lyttleton arriving on the 15th of March before returning to England.  During a subsequent voyage of the Avalanche it was rammed by another ship and sank, drowning all the passengers.  So none of their descendants would have been here today had they sailed on that voyage.


The voyage was not very comfortable for the 19 year old bride carrying her first baby and suffering from the morning sickness.  Herbert was musical and played an accordion in the evenings to provide music for dancing on the deck.


When the ship entered the Wellington harbour of Port Nicholson, Elizabeth was even more horrified to be greeted by canoes full of fierce-looking Maoris with tattooed faces and grass skirts.  They sold the passengers bundles of watercress, which was eagerly received by the immigrants who had not seen greens for three months.  When they finally disembarked they found the harbour was overgrown with watercress.  This was their first introduction to the indigenous people.


Soon after their arrival they travelled over the Rimutakas by horse and cart and settled at first in Greytown in the Wairarapa.  The trip across the mountains took three days over rough muddy tracks and must have been very uncomfortable for Elizabeth in her condition.  She later told about her experiences and the horror of arriving in such an uncivilised country.  Herbert had to build his own cottage for his family with a veranda along the front and continuous extensions to the back as the family increased.  He worked very hard for local farmers clearing scrub off the land and ploughing the fields.  They later shifted to Carterton where he lived in a road called Anderson's Line and worked for Billy Booth, a local Landowner.


From all accounts, Herbert was a very hard-working man.  Although poorly educated himself, he was highly intelligent by nature with a pleasant relaxed manner, witty sense of humour and musical.  Ann Eliza in contrast was probably less intelligent - she refused to let her husband use contraceptives and continued to produce children every two years until the age of 44 when Barnum Fed was born.  She doted on her last child and would not let him go to school until he was seven years old because she couldn't bear to lose her baby.  She was a very quick, hard-working woman but a martinet with her family especially towards her daughters and particularly towards her daughters-in-law.  She is remembered for sitting at one end of the table and smacking her children with along cane across the fingers if they misbehaved.  Her daughters seemed to dislike her intensely and this had an effect on Barnum Fred in later life as he never laid a had on his own children, most of the disciplining being left to their mother.  As well as rearing her large family she occasionally worked as a midwife helping her neighbours at the birth of their children.  At one point in their lives she ran up a substantial debt with the local grocer and Bert had to leave home for six months and go deep into the bush of New Zealand and help clear it to get higher wages and clear the debt. 


Herbert had been reared as an Anglican and in the early years went regularly to church with his family.  One Sunday he took his seat in a pew when one of the lay readers rushed forward and told him he was sitting in the seats reserved for the Gentry.  Herbert, having left the "Old Country" in order to leave this type of discrimination and the class distinction behind, immediately gathered up his family and never entered the church again. 


Another experience, which Herbert would often describe with droll humour, was connected with the arrival in Carterton of the annual travelling show.  One of the exhibits was an enormous "Bull".  Herbert took his family to the show and asked the owner whether he could get his family in for a reduced fee.  The owner asked him how many there were and when Bert replied 13, the owners said, "Just stay there and I will bring the Bull out to see you."


The eight girls all grew up and went into service as maids for the local landowners.  This was a very disciplined life and all learnt the fundamentals of good housekeeping which was apparent from the way they kept their own homes after they married.


When the older girls Rose, Elizabeth, Ada, Lucy and Alice began their courting,  Barnum Fred (Fred as he was called) used to loiter around making a nuisance of himself until the suitors would dig deep into their pockets and give him some coins so that he would scamper off to the shops and leave them to their privacy. 


In 1925 Herbert and Ann Eliza had their Golden Wedding anniversary.  Photos were taken, one of them with their thirteen children, Lucy was ill at the time but a photograph was taken of her and later inserted in a gap in the original group.  The second photo included all the in-laws and Grand children who attended the celebration.  Four years later in June 1929 Ann Eliza died at the age of 73.  Herbert continued to live in Andersons Line, Carterton.  The house had an outside lavatory and a well in the back yard and Herbert would entertain family with his accordion.  Later on He went to live with his younger daughter Mabel in Wanganui.  He died at the age of 89 in January 1944. 


Herbert and Ann Eliza had probably not had the easiest of lives as pioneers of New Zealand but they lived to see their children settled, all honest and hard working. Some became very successful in their lives particularly Fred who would probably not had the opportunities for achievement had his parents remained in England.

 Elizabeth Ann was the second youngest of Herbert and Ann's children.  She grew up and married Andrew Taggart who had come out to New Zealand at the age of 5 with his parents from England.

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Last modified: November 30, 2008