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JOHN CLEMENT OF WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

John CLEMENT was born on the 4th September 1824 in the village of Eddington, near Hungerford in the county of Berkshire, England. He was the sixth child of John CLEMENT, agricultural labourer, and his wife Hannah nee WHITE.

John (Jnr) started at the Hungerford School in December 1832 at the age of nine. At the age of twelve, he became converted to Primitive Methodism through their evangalism work and at the same time signed the total abstinence pledge.

In 1843, he married Elizabeth SILVEY at the Congregational Chapel in Hungerford. According to his sister Charlotte’s memoirs “Brother John had a bad wife who rain him in debt. He ran away and enlisted in the Queens Troops”. However, another story is that both Elizabeth and their child died, and broken hearted, he left Hungerford and joined the army. This has since proved correct with the burials of both John CLEMENT, aged 4 months, and Elizabeth CLEMENT, aged 28 years at Hungerford.

In 1847, on the 30th September he enlisted in the 65th Regiment at Chatham in Kent, which was regimental headquarters at the time. On the 5th October 1848, he left Plymouth and sailed for Hobart, (Tasmania) doing convict duty on the EDEN (This boat had delivered the last convicts to NSW in 1840). Then on the 10th February 1849, the regiment left for New Zealand on the OSPREY arriving on the 19 February 1849. It is entered on the regimental muster rolls that John CLEMENT was “sick” for almost his entire time with the army in New Zealand. He was stationed at Wanganui and was finally discharged by reduction of the military forces in 1850.

In March 1849, John had been placed on the preaching plan for the Sydney Street Primitive Methodist Church, Wellington. John worked as a labourer and stories are told of him working as a farm labourer in the Wairarapa, when he was set down to preach in Wellington. He failed to catch his horse and his employer told him he had best give up the idea of going to Wellington. But John was made of sterner stuff, and he set out on foot reaching Wellington in the early hours of Sunday morning. He preached three times that day and then returned to the Wairarapa.

JOHN AND SARAH AUGUSTA CLEMENT nee HOPTON

On the 21st June 1852 John CLEMENT and Sarah August HOPTON were married in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Wellington. John was 27 and Sarah, 16.

The couple lived their early-married life in Thorndon, Wellington, later moving to the Hutt Valley around 1859. John and Sarah went on to have 14 children, nine boys and five girls. (Of the 14, only seven had issue). Sarah unfortunately died in childbirth in 1877 with their 15th child. She was buried in the Christ Church Anglican churchyard, on Eastern Hutt Road.

John carried on his church work and it is said that over a period of 40 years he conducted an average of sixteen services a quarter. He held services in Tawa Flat, Whiteman’s Valley, Stokes Valley and Wainuiomata and also parts of Taranaki while he was visiting with his sons. John died in 1914 and was buried with Sarah.

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