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Janet Kelly was born in Scotland in 1802. Her mother, nee Kirkpatrick was related to the Empress Eugene, wife of Napoleon 111, and Ferdinand de Lesseps who built the Suez and Panama Canals.


Janet Kelly married James Livingston of "Darngarroch" Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland who died in 1845 at the age of 43 of inflammation of the bowel, which in modern parlance, (according to her grandson, the late Dr George Home of New Plymouth) would be appendicitis, leaving Janet and a very young family of two boys and three girls.


In 1859, her son James and daughter Isabella (Home) migrated to New Zealand, arriving at Auckland on the ship British Queen.  In 1864, Janet and the remainder of the family, with the exception of daughter Janet, arrived in New Zealand on the Nelson, settling at Napier.  The party consisted of Janet, daughter Margaret, son Peter, nephew James McMichael and John Home from Peebleshire.  John may have been a friend made on the voyage, or it may be that he came with the intention of marrying Isabella, which he did in a double ceremony in Napier, with Margaret her sister marrying Andrew Reeves of Tolaga Bay.


James McMichael and James Livingston went into a farming partnership on some land bought from the Wanganui Native Contingent at Ohawe, near Hawera and were beginning to get established when they were driven off by the Maori, along with all the other settlers, their stock and property plundered and destroyed, in June 1868.  McMichael returned to farm after the wars about 1870.  James Livingston married Louisa Elizabeth Caldwell in Wellington in October 1870, and returned to Hawera in 1874.


James then built "Waipapa" on the South Road at Tokaora and it was about this time that his mother, Janet came to live with them at the age of 74.  Janet had a reputation for generosity but could not get accustomed to the extravagances of colonial living.  At home the headlands of ploughed paddocks were carefully dug with a spade and to fail to do that in a 100 acre paddock was an inexcusable waste.  "We will want yet", she said.  The Battle of Trafalgar occurred when she was three years of age and she claimed to have remembered it, an extraordinary feat of memory but not impossible.


Janet Livingston died at Waipapa, Tokaora in 30 March 1895 at the age of 93 and is buried in the Hawera cemetery. Janet is the earliest European woman in this book.



Livingston Baker, Patea (great grandson)