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WHAREAMA, WAIRARAPA FIRE
APRIL 1882

Source - Evening Post 2 May 1882 p2

Ferryman George SMITH, his wife Eliza and two children Mary and William were burned to death when their house at Whareama, Wairarapa was burnt to the ground. The building was constructed of raupo and was nearly twenty years old. There were no neighbours for eight miles.

Mr J HOLES (John Holes of Castlepoint 1881 Electoral Roll), who was on the way to meet his wife, first discovered the fatal occurrence. When he came to the Ferry he saw the house burned down and went closer to inspect it. To his horror he saw Mrs Smith lying dead on her face, and what appeared to be Mr Smith close beside her, apparently covered with a blanket. On looking to see for the children, he found the boy a short distance up the hill. Mr Holes then went to the house again to look for the remains of the other child, and is under the impression that the little girl was burnt with Mr Smith in the blanket. He had evidently tried to save her and had been overpowered.

The ruins were still smouldering when Mr Holes left, but he thinks the fire must have taken place previous to Saturday night (Saturday 29 April 1882). Mrs Smith had apparently been dressed at the time and the front door was unlocked.

Death Registration: - the family is all on death certificate # 17 1882 - George, his wife Eliza, their daughter Mary and their son William.

Thanks to Gareth Winter, Wairarapa Archivist and Adele Pentony-Graham.


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