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JOHN CLEMENT OF WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
(Updated 25 September 2014)

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 [Regimental Number 2658] 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 on the 30 September 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.

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.

By license, on the 21st of June, at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Sydney Street, by the Rev. H Green,
Mr. John Clement, to Miss Sarah Augusta, third daughter of Mr. R Hopton, Cabinet maker, Thorndon Flat.
New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume VIII, Issue 720, 26 June 1852, Page 2.

The couple lived their early-married life in Thorndon, Wellington. In January 1856 John Clement was added to the committee of the Total Abstinence Society in Wellington.

In December last, at one or two preliminary meetings of persons favourable to total abstinence had been held, and after a good deal of deliberation and conversation, it was resolved that the Total Abstience Society be re-established, and that the signing of the long pledge become the initiatory step to membership. A committee and officers for a year were appointed. Committee Messrs Griffin, Probert, Hamilton, Caleb Robinson, LeRoy, Joshua Robinson, Carr, Joseph Robinson, and Morgan, with power to add. Mr. Clement has since been added. Vice-Presidents: - Messrs Joshua Robinson and Caleb Robinson. Secretary Mr J W Carr. Treasurer:— Mr W Morgan. The President and a third Vice-president are not yet appointed. The Committee have taken the Oddfellows Hall for fortnightly meetings, for a period of six months. They intend holding a series of public meetings at which various speakers will advocate the principles of total abstinence.
Daily Southern Cross, Volume XII, Issue 894, 22 January 1856, Page 4.

Around 1859 the family moved to the Hutt valley. However in the May 1860 persons objected to as not entitled to have their names retained on the list of voters for the Hutt Electoral District it was noted that 'Clement' of the River Hutt, Household was insufficiently described for identification.

On the 29 October 1861 under Land Orders issued under the Naval and Military Settlers Act of 1860, John Clement was issued with 60 acres. It is understood that this land was at Taratahi Plain Block near Carterton in the Wairarapa.

In July 1864, a second group of Hutt military volunteers were formed. This was due to increased tension with the Maori King movement and the rise of the Pai Marire or Hauhau movement - Hutt Volunteers - Major Gorton attended at the Hutt Mechanics Institute on Saturday last, the 16th instant, to carry out the wishes of a number of men who were desirous of forming a second Volunteer Company at the Lower Hutt. After reading the regulations pertaining to the subject in hand, the gallant major swore in the members then present, and those present then proceeded to the election of officers and non-commissioned officers, which resulted as follows, viz. Mr Henry Lynch was elected Captain, unanimously Mr Thomas Bennett, Lieutenant; Mr John Clement, Ensign; Mr P Donnelly, Sergeant; Mr H Lear, Sergeant; Mr G White, Corporal; Mr G Gooch, Corporal. The group was known as the No 2 Company, Hutt Rifle Volunteers.

In April 1865 John Clement applied to be placed on the Electoral District of Wairarapa as freehold owner of 60 acres of land at Materana, near Greytown. His place of abode was given as the Hutt. At that stage a man could vote in his residential electorate as well as electorates were he owned land.

In July 1866, John Clement was elected to the managing committee of the Hutt Public School along with Messrs G W Allen, H Sanson, J A'Court, N Valentine, Stephen Fagan, T Burt, W Hunt, H Cleland, J Cudby, L Potts, H Collett, J Knight and R Robinson. Stephen Fagan was Sarah Clement's uncle. By 1868 John's daughters Emma and Charlotte Clement were noted as pupils at the Taita Common School. In April 1886 John Clement was elected to the Taita School Committee and was chairman in 1888.

In 1867 John was elected to Lower Hutt Band of Hope. The Band of Hope had been founded in the 1840s and encouraged young people to sign a pledge not to touch ‘the demon drink’.
Lower Hutt Band of Hope - The members of the committee of this society held their first meeting on Saturday last, when Mr F Smith, sen, was appointed president Mr J. E. Bradshaw, vice president Mr J Clement, treasurer and Mr J. A. Smith, secretary. The society are about establishing a useful institution in the shape of a penny bank, which will be opened for the first time on Friday evening next. Wellington Independent, Volume XXI, Issue 2470, 22 January 1867, Page 3

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.

Primitive Methodist, Sydney street: Morning at 11, and evening at 6 30 — Rev. W J Dean. Webb street: Afternoon at 3, Evening at 6.30 — Mr J Clement.
Wellington Independent, Volume XXVI, Issue 3281, 19 August 1871, Page 2

Primitive Methodist Services To-morrow.— We extract from the Primitive Methodist Magazine the names of the parties who will preach to-morrow. At the chapel in town, at 11 a.m., Rev. R Ward at 2.30 p.m., Rev. B J Westbrook at 6.30 p.m., Rev. W Tinsley at the Henui, at 2.30 p.m., Rev. W J Dean at Bell Block, at 6.30 p.m., Mr. T H Smith at Mangorei, at 2.30 p.m., Mr. J Clement; at Tataraimaka, 11 a.m., by Mr. W Billing at Oakura, at 2.30 p.m., Mr. W Billing.
Taranaki Herald, Volume XXII, Issue 2172, 31 January 1874, Page 2.

Sarah Clement died on the 15 March 1877 at the Taita [Hutt Valley] in childbirth with their 15th child. She was buried in the Christ Church Anglican churchyard, on Eastern Hutt Road. She is buried next to her sister Eliza Lavinia BOULCOTT.

In March 1890 John Clement was appointed toll-keeper of the Hutt-road gate on the main road, and Mr Thomas Bould was appointed gatekeeper at the Ngahauranga toll-bar, as that on the Johnsonville road was to be called. Their remuneration was to be £2 per week, and the engagement terminable at a week's notice.
However the Nelson Evening mail of the 1 April 1890 reported: - THE TOLLGATE DISTURBANCES NEAR WELLINGTON.(Evening Post.) About dark Mr Thomas Bould, who had been appointed to the charge of the Rate on the Ngahauranga-Johnsonville road took up his quarters in the toll-house there, and Constable Murphy went on duty in the immediate vicinity. At the same time Mr John Clement took possession of the toll-house on the Hutt-road on the town side of Ngahauranga, and Constable Webb attended to render assistance if required.
Between 9 and 10 a number of men with their faces blackened, and many, of them wearing the oldest clothes it was possible to obtain, mustered in the township unknown to the police, and marched along the road to the upper toll-bar. Mr Bould and Constable Murphy were both in the house, and the former was reading his instructions, which were to collect tolls after twelve o'clock, when they heard a crash, and on looking out they found that a lamp which had been lit and placed over the door of the building had been smashed, apparently with a stone.
Constable Murphy at once seized his baton and rushed out of the house, followed by Mr Bould, and encountered a crowd who numbered between 40 and 50, and were provided with saws and axes. Murphy asked them what they wanted, and some replied that they had come to chop down the toll-gate. The constable remonstrated with them, but to no effect, and there were cries of "Down with him," "Go for him. etc". Mr Bould then advanced with a lantern, and directed its rays upon the crowd, but had no sooner done this than someone knocked it out of his hands with a stick and extinguished the light. No lanterns were carried by the invading party, probably so as to prevent Mr Bould and the constable from identifying them, and as both the lanterns belonging to the toll-house bad been extinguished the locality was in darkness. Murphy states that after the lights were put out a couple of men advanced to the gate, and were in the act of breaking it up when he interposed. One of these individuals (armed with an axe) threatened to chop him down, if he interfered with them and a scuffle ensuing, the axe was knocked out of the fellow's hands. Several men then set upon the officer and held him down, while the others composing the crowd devoted their attention to the gate. One post was chopped off about 15 inches above the ground, while the other was simply loosened in the earth. The mob then attacked the house, and turned it over on its side, after which the main body left the locality, leaving four strapping fellows to mount guard over the constable, who gathered from their remarks that the crowd meant to demolish the other toll-bar, and who was anxious to get down and give the alarm.
Murphy, however, watched his chance, and running like a deer, he managed to elude the whole gang and get down to the lower toll-gate in time to be in the thick of another disturbance, which commenced about a quarter to 11. Mr Clement and Constable Webb were in the Hutt-road house, when Constable Murphy came rushing in and warned them that the place was about to be attacked. Constable Webb went to the door and took down the lamp, which was hanging up, his object being to see if he could identify any one in the crowd who had arrived in front of the building. He was at once requested, in the most peremptory tone to "Put that light out," but as he refused to do so he was assailed, so he states, with a shower of stones and two or three glass bottles. One of the bottles whizzed past his ear and broke against the house, while another one hit the lantern completely smashing it. The mob then surged about him, and he was jostled by one and another in such a way that he was unable to prevent them from carrying out their intention of demolishing the structure.
After the first bottle had been thrown he produced a revolver, the chambers of which, he says, were empty, and pointing it at the crowd he threatened to shoot the first man who did any damage. This threat, however, had no effect, and the mob continued to carry out the work of destruction, as if a limb of the law was not present. The gate was chopped up and thrown into the sea, and after the roof of the house had been stove in, it was also placed in the waters of Port Nicholson, the task of rolling it over the railway line being accomplished with little difficulty, owing to the large numbers who were engaged in the undertaking. One of the posts was pulled up, while the other was chopped off a few inches above the ground, and both were consigned to the vasty deep. It was hoped, no doubt, by those who took part in the proceedings that the house would be floated away by the heavy wind which was blowing off shore at the time, but we learn to-day that the building is still on the beach and can be replaced with very little trouble. After they had succeeded in demolishing the structures the crowd quietly dispersed, many of them going away in vehicles.

In October 1892, John Clement was re-appointed ranger for the Epuni Riding of the Hutt County Council. In January 1897, the Primitive Methodist Conference was opened at Feilding, by the retiring President, the Rev. J Clover. Fifty-one delegates were present and the officers elected were President, Rev Mr Lyon; Vice-President, Mr John Clement, the oldest lay preacher m the colony; Secretary, Rev. Williams assistant Secretary, Revs. Sharp and Boys. In October 1901 the Webb Street [Wellington] Primitive Methodists celebrated their 33rd anniversary, and the service held would be the last Sunday in the old church prior to its removal for replacement by the new building. A special effort has been put forth to gather together as many of the old identities as possible for the occasion. One of the oldest ministers, Rev. J Dumbell, and two of the oldest local preachers, Messrs. Jacob Edge and John Clement, both about 80 years of age, as well as Mr C M Luke and Rev. J Dawson, will take part in conducting the services. In March 1914 the annual conference of the Methodist Church of New Zealand was held - the Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists had combined on the 1 January 1913 - and a resolution was passed congratulating John Clement (Hutt) upon the approach of his ninetieth year, during seventy of which, he had filled the office of local preacher.

John Clement died on the 30 October 1914 at his daughter Mary Johnson/Johnston's house at Park Avenue, Lower Hutt. This house was later demolished to build the Hutt Road Kentucky Fried Chicken K.F.C.

The Evening Post of the 30 October 1914 reported - NONAGENARIAN METHODIST'S DEATH - A picturesque figure in Methodist circles in the Hutt Valley has just passed away, Mr John Clement, one of the oldest settlers in the district, having died at the residence of his daughter (Mrs. Johnston, Park-avenue), this morning, at the advanced age of 90. The deceased, who was for many years in the service of the Hutt County Council, was a deeply religious man, and in the early days he was one of the best known local preachers in the Wesleyan [sic] Methodist connection. He had a most kindly disposition and was generally respected.

On the 03 November 1914 the Evening Post recorded - AN EARLY PIONEER - FUNERAL OF MR JOHN CLEMENT - Old identities assembled in large numbers at Taita, Lower Hutt, on Sunday, to pay their last respects to the memory of the late Mr John Clement, one of Wellington's earliest pioneers. The late Mr Clement was an ardent worker in the cause of Methodism, and among those present at yesterday's funeral were the Rev.c J Dawson and Mr. C M Luke, who had been acquainted with deceased and his work for many years past. Prior to the funeral Mr. Luke delivered an appropriate address at the home, laying stress on deceased's long and faithful services to the church. Mr. Dawson led in prayer, while hymns suitable to the occasion were sung. The service at the Taita cemetery was conducted by the Rev W Beckett, assisted by the Rev. J J Lewis, of Petone.
The late Mr. Clement arrived in Wellington as far back as 1849, and although he made his home in the Hutt Valley, he was well known by early Wellingtonians, mainly by reason of his association with the Methodist Church. He saw Wellington grow from a mere village to its present proportions, and remembered when there was no Lambton-quay worthy of the name. When visited by a Post reporter some months ago, Mr. Clement related many of his early experiences, and was particularly proud of the fact that at one time he walked regularly every Sunday from Taita to Wellington, where he conducted church services, returning to his home by foot the same day. Mr. Clement is survived by a large number of descendants.

John Clement was buried beside his wife Sarah at Christ Church, Taita. Clement Grove in Taita was named for John Clement by the Lower Hutt City Council in 1949.

John and Sarah had 14 children, nine boys and five girls. Of the 14, only seven had issue, five of them boys and there are many descendants with the Clement surname in New Zealand today.

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