The Hunts of Romsley and New Zealand
Being the Presidential Address delivered to the Stourbridge and District Historical and Archaeological Society, January 1974
It was my misfortune to learn history at school at a time when the subject was only respectable if it had no possible connection with oneself or one's locality. Only eccentric vicars wrote parish histories, and only ladies with pretensions to gentility traced their family history, hoping thereby to establish some connection, however tenuous, with the nobility.
Times have changed. We now have chairs in Local History at certain redbrick universities and text books are appearing with such titles as "Local History in Schools". In short, local history and genealogy are "in" subjects. Emboldened by these trends, and by the fact that one of your distinguished speakers talked to you recently about his family - the Swinnertons - I want to try to tell you something of my own family history.
Although, admittedly, the Romsley Hunts would find themselves on the wrong side of the salt as compared with the Swinnertons, I did not set out on my quest hoping that I might find a horse thief or two, or perhaps even an unlucky forebear who had made the voyage to Botany Bay in rather uncomfortable circumstances.
But a word now as to how the whole thing started. I spent much of my childhood under the roof of my widowed paternal grandmother. The house was tiny and old; it had been an inn and it hugged the side of Romsley Hill so tightly that it seemed to be a part of the hillside itself.
(see photograph of the The Fox Hunt Inn on Page 50 of the Millennium Book)
The first inkling I had that the family had a history came when I started to attend the little village school. The children from the neighbouring hamlet of Dayhouse Bank had to walk two and a half miles to school and in doing so passed my grandmother's house. Never did they refer to the hill as "Romsley Hill" but always as "Joe Hunt's Hill".
I quickly realised that it was not I who was achieving premature immortality, but that the person commemorated was in fact my paternal grandfather whose exploits in certain dubious regards had earned him fame far outside the confines of his own village. One of his more respectable attributes was that he brewed the strongest ale for miles around.
On the wall of my tiny bedroom, the window of which looked over the valley to a Frankley as yet unscarred by Birmingham's inexorable expansion, there hung a rather curious picture. The moulding extended at the corners to produce a cruciform shape giving the whole a vaguely ecclesiastical flavour. The picture itself was of a wooden ranch-type house with an open verandah running its entire length. Occupying the whole of the verandah space was a family group of approximately thirty people. Seated in the centre with a very young baby in his arms was a bearded patriarch and standing dutifully by him and slightly to his rear (as the custom was) there was a mature lady - obviously his wife.
The group could almost be said to portray the seven ages of man for it consisted of an old man and woman; mature and bearded men, buxom females; young men and damsels; knickerbockered youths and pinafored girls; little lads in sailor suits; at least one toddler and the aforementioned babe in arms.
I knew vaguely that the scene was not an English one. But where was it? My grandmother was a rather severe old lady whose taciturnity contrasted greatly with the youthful exploits which my subsequent research revealed, and she was not very forthcoming. I suspected that some remote and cataclysmic family quarrel lay behind her reticence, and, when I expressed a wish to voyage over unknown seas to meet these relatives, she would mutter in her rich rural accent, "you'm better off in England. Ther'm black crows abroad just like we have here." With that I had to be content, and, as boyhood passed into youth, and youth into manhood, my mind was fully occupied with matters very remote from family history, but somewhere in my subconscious a vivid impression was filed.
The year is 1965. On a sunny day I am minding my own business and weeding some flower beds which border the drive to my house. I hear the crunch of tyres on gravel and note that the Rector has called. Muttering curses under my breath, I put down my hoe to greet him. In the course of conversation he tells me that the following year (1966) sees the centenary of Romsley as a separate ecclesiastical parish.
Have I any ideas how the event should be celebrated? Unsuspecting, I suggest a local history exhibition. I can see the cogs whirring in the reverend gentleman's brain and eventually that complex computer comes up with what I suppose was the inevitable response. "Will you organise it?"
There followed a hectic twelve months research through Parish Registers, Rate Books, Census Returns, Tithe Awards, Wills and Inventories, Hearth Tax Returns; in fact all the detritus centuries of placid and settled village living made available to the researcher. The result was a highly successful exhibition followed by a near nervous breakdown for the organiser.
But the research had brought so many Hunts popping up all over the place that it was imperative they be winkled out from obscurity and put in their proper place on a family tree. If I may coin a phrase, "the Hunt was on". Now, after seven years, not all the queries have been answered, but (to mix metaphors), it may be of some interest to those of you who indulge in what my wife is pleased to call "this family tree nonsense" if I take one or two of the threads in the tapestry and show you how the study of even a very humble family can produce surprising results.
The year is 1758. It is the time of Fielding and Voltaire; of Pitt and Clive: of Watt and Franklin; of the building of the Bridgwater Canal. To a tiny black and white crutch cottage on Banyard Green, a part of Romsley not now defined on any map, Abel Hunt, brought his wife Ann right from the marriage service in the nearby St. Kenelm's Chapel. Yet in spite of the terrible rate of infant mortality among families of this sort, Abel and Ann managed to rear to maturity six children, of whom one must (for the sake of brevity) notice only two; Isaac, the second son, who was born in 1766, and Thomas, who came along in the following year.
Working class houses were so small and families were so large it was imperative that as soon as children were old enough, some of them at least should be sent to employment where they could "live in". So it was that Thomas became a carter, and, because he had a taste for change and adventure, he soon found employment quite a long way from his birthplace. In fact, by the time he is nineteen, we find him in Lincolnshire and married. Rather nearer to his marriage date that is consistent with respectability, the couple have a son, who, as was the custom of the time, received the same name as his father, Thomas.
In the fullness of time this Thomas married Elizabeth Brown who produced nine children for him. We shall notice particularly a son named Frederick who, born at Sleaford in 1818, was destined to end his existence on a remote Pacific Island in 1891. The story of Fred's pilgrimage from Lincolnshire to Pitt Island is worth surveying in depth.
This was, of course, the age of colonial expansion and mass emigration, when people, attracted by stories of El Dorados all over the world, endured the most incredible hardships to reach virgin lands overseas. New Zealand was one of the lands of promise at this time. Discovered by Tasman in 1642; visited by Captain James Cook in 1769, its indented coasts and deep water harbours were subsequently much used by whaling vessels.
It was not, however, until 1826 that the first batch of settlers arrived in the Bay of Islands. In 1840 New Zealand was formally, but somewhat halfheartedly annexed to Great Britain and a certain Captain Hobson was designated the territory's first Lieut.-Governor. I shall deal later with a fascinating little story of colonial double-dealing in which Hobson took part.
In England a company called the New Zealand Company had been established to encourage and organise emigration to the new colony and the attractions of the territory were being widely advertised in the home country. The Sleaford Hunts decided to try their luck. They sold up their meagre possessions and embarked on July 5th 1840 on the 621 ton sailing ship "Martha Ridgway" - Captain James Forbes Bissett.
I have a copy of the emigrants register for this voyage, from which it can be seen that the Hunt party consisted of Fred, aged 23; his wife Mary, aged 27; their son, aged one year; Fred's father and mother; his three grown up sisters, Caroline, Emily and Naomi (all three described as "Sempstresses"); Fred's three younger brothers and his youngest sister, aged ten years.
One of the cabin passengers on an emigrant ship of this year has left a graphic account of the start of such a voyage:
"The crew consists of the captain, three mates, and twenty-six able seamen, with four boys, a carpenter, a butcher, a negro cook, a surgeon and his assistant, a steward and three under him to assist and wait in the cuddy; about 220 souls altogether on board. Then we have a proportionate quantity of sheep, pigs, geese, ducks and fowls, to last us for the voyage. It would be perfectly useless for me to attempt to describe the scene of confusion on board this evening; those who have never seen a large emigrant ship like the present, just before starting a long voyage, can form no idea of the uproar, both on deck and below; the women crying, the children playing regardless of everything; the men running about and almost knocking each other down; all of us driving away at the arranging of our berths; carpenters hammering, the noise of pigs, sheep and poultry; the horrible shouting (to a strange ear) of the sailors; the number of boats alongside with goods for sale, or ready to fetch anything from the shore (but at such a price); carcases of beef and mutton hanging about the rigging; the luggage tumbling about on deck; the multiplicity of ropes and spars, altogether forming a scene of confusion enough to drive one wild. Gradually, however, the living part of it subsides, and, by ten o'clock, the captain, two cabin passengers and the writer were all that remained on deck, except the usual watch, and in place of all that din was a silence like unto the grave."
This was to be a particularly unpleasant voyage. There were, for instance, unofficial passengers on board. Here is what our diarist has to say about them:
"We are annoyed by nasty things called cockroaches; something like black beetles, with which the ship swarms. Below they say that they eat the edge of their razors. This must be a "stretcher" I think; but of this I am sure; they eat our toe-nails off as we lie in bed. However, they say their presence drives away all vermin besides...."
The passage to New Zealand was long and stormy and ended at Port Nicholson (the port of Wellington) on November 14th 1840, having taken 130 days. Having settled his wife and his relatives in the Hutt Valley, Fred joined a survey party working its way up the West coast of North Island. He seemed to have a talent for making friends with the native Maoris, all of whom regarded him as some sort of divinity because of his skill with a shotgun. The famous Maori warrior Te Rauparaka heard of his prowess and invited him to settle down with the tribe. He declined to do this and continued northwards with the survey, and is reputed to have been the first white man to negotiate the formidable Manawatu gorge.
On his eventual return to the Port Nicholson area Fred encountered another Maori chieftain who told him of the attractions of the remote Chatham Islands. This group lies in the Pacific, 560 miles east of New Zealand, latitute 44-45 deg. South and 176-7 longitude. There are three main islands, Chatham, Pitt and Rangatire. Hunt was so intrigued by what he heard that he decided his future lay on these remote specks in the Pacific Ocean.
The most incredible part of this Hunt saga is the great anxiety of a Maori chief named Apitea to obtain a red military tunic belonging to Fred. The Apitea tribe owned Pitt Island in addition to territory on the mainland and the well authenticated story is that he bartered Pitt Island (all 45 square miles of it) for this red jacket, merely reserving for his people fishing and game rights. You may think this is a traveller's tale, but the Island still belongs to the Hunt family and Fred certainly had no monetary resources to use for its purchase.
He now set to work to make a home for the family on the island and he was shortly joined by two mysterious settlers named Matthew Gregory and James Langdale. All sorts of stories are told about the origins of these two men. One was that Langdale was a by-blow of one of Queen Victoria's wicked uncles, and although I have tried very hard to trace their antecedents, I have so far drawn a blank.
Hunt imported cattle, sheep, poultry, potatoes and vegetable seeds and very soon built up a prosperous business catering for the needs of the whalers which put into the Island's harbour for supplies.
In the early eighteen-fifties, a Lutheran paster named Shiermeister, one of a number of missionaries who had settled on Chatham Island, quarrelled with his colleagues, and, with his wife and two children, settled on Pitt Island. Hunt built him a small house and engaged him as tutor for his children. I am fortunate enough to have a copy of the registers kept by these Chatham Island Lutherans and the story of this mission is in itself sufficient material for a separate talk.
In exchange for fresh produce, Hunt obtained from the whalers large quantities of rum and tobacco (without benefit of duty, of course!). The authorities in Wellington got to hear of this and sent out a customs officer to investigate. He ordered that duty should be paid on this traffic, which made Hunt very angry indeed. He declared that he was the king of Pitt Island and would pay neither taxed nor duty.
By 1865 whaling traffic had decreased to negligible proportions and very few vessels were calling at Pitt. To replace this trade "King" Fred built up a market for his produce with the mainland, centred on the port of Lyttelton, and his wares were of such excellent quality that several young men were persuaded to settle on the Hunt lands on Pitt Island.
Unfortunately, over the years, power, wealth and authority went to King Fred' head and, in his old age, he became cruel and over-bearing to his so-called subjects. There are records of constant clashes with the authorities on the question of taxes and customs, but to the end Hunt resolutely refused to recognise the jurisdiction of Wellington. He died on Pitt Island on October 2nd 1891.
Although King Fred had six children, including two boys (both predeceased him), the 'seventies found him with only his daughters, Mary Ann and Elizabeth, still with him. He made them enter into marriages of convenience with Langdale and Gregory, a condition being that the husbands should assume the Hunt surname. So one branch of the family came to be called the Langdale-Hunts and the other the Gregory-Hunts.
In 1882 the Langdale-Hunts left Pitt for the mainland so that possession of the Hunt lands passed to the Gregory-Hunts. James Gregory-Hunt, grandson of Matthew Gregory and great-grandson of King Fred, is today (1974) the owner of virtually the whole of the island. When I was last in contact with him in 1968 he had twelve surviving children (seven boys and five girls), fifity-one grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Surely, enough descendants to ensure the continuance of the name and succession!
I have a cutting dated 1968 from the Christchurch Star describing the life of the only schoolteacher at the Island's tiny one-roomed school. Judy Noble has sixteen pupils and she says "Perhaps the most unusual thing about them is that they all have the same grandfather - Mr. James Gregory-Hunt.
I have, incidentally, a book reputedly written by King Fred entitled "Twenty-five Years Experience in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands". Unfortunately the book was 'ghosted' for him by another rather shady character - a 'ticket of leave' ex-schoolmaster named John Amery who had turned up on Pitt Island and had been pressed into service as assistant tutor to Fred's offspring. In a book written in 1952 about the many bizarre characters inhabiting the islands, the author says of Amery, "He was an educated gentleman and a love of Shakespeare, from whose works he would recite by the hour".
We now move from Pitt Island to the French town of Bordeaux where in the early years of the nineteenth century lived a poor carpenter named Joseph Libeau. He had three children, Antoine, also a carpenter, Joseph II, who was born in 1830, and Melanie. France was England's great rival in the colonial stakes at this time and the possibility of annexing and colonising New Zealand was very much in the mind of the French government. A company calling itself the Nanto-Bordelaise Company was set up under government auspices, and this company despatched from the port of Rochfort, in March 1840, sixty-three emigrants in the converted naval transport Compte de Paris - destination New Zealand. On board this vessel were Joseph Libeau, his wife and his three children.
The emigrant ship was accompanied by the French corvette L'Aube. Unfortunately I have no time to tell in detail the story of the voyage, but in due course L'Aube arrived at Wellington and her captain went to pay his respects to the British Governor, Captain Hobson. Somehow the news leaked out that L'Aube's destination was Banks Peninsula on South Island, and it was suspected that her mission was the acquisition of territory. The wily Hobson persuaded L'Aube's captain to dine with him, meanwhile making sure that the British sloop Britomart was under sailing orders in Port Nicholson harbour.
The French captain was dined and wined right royally, but while the banquet proceeded and darkness fell, the British slipped out of harbour, and, gaining several precious hours start, arrived in Banks Peninsula quite a while before L'Aube and the Compte de Paris. When the French emigrants disembarked they found the Union Jack fluttering over the territory they had hoped to occupy for la belle France.
The French accepted their bloodless defeat with good grace, but Akaroa, a beautiful little town in sylvan surroundings, is still a tiny enclave of France in very English surroundings and quite a lot of French is spoken in the town. Joseph Libeau II, only ten years old when the French emigrants landed, married in 1856 Clemence Gondrot who had come to Akaroa at the same time as her husband. The Libeaus had eight children, including Victoria who, by 1875, was a seventeen years old domestic servant in the employ of a wealthy widow who farmed land in a nearby settlement called French Farm. Victoria had a younger sister, Elizabeth, born in 1862. More of Victoria and Elizabeth anon.
But back to the picture which so intrigued me during childhood. The research arising from my history exhibition in 1966 had proved beyond doubt that the patriarch holding the baby was my great-uncle Stephen who was born at Romsley and baptised in St. Kenelm's Church in 1832. You will remember that Abel and Ann Hunt who came into our story in 1788 had a family which included two sons - Thomas was grandfather of King Fred and Noah, who was an unadventurous stay-at-home.
Noah married a girl from Stone, near Kiddeminster, and they reared to maturity eight children, including Joseph who had given his name to the hill outside the Fox Hunt Inn. Joseph was born in 1804 and before settling down to inn-keeping and small-holding had been an itinerant sawyer, ending up at the top of the profession as a "Top Sawyer".
Pit sawing was a two-man job, carried out with a two-handled saw. The tree to be sawn up was laid across a shallow rectangular pit. The occupation is commemorated on at least one inn-sign. Here is what the Brewers Society has to say about it.
"The Top Sawyer was an important personage in the England of bygone days when journeymen sawyers travelled around plying their craft. The more experienced sawyer sat astride the log, merrily sawing away, while the unfortunate under-sawyer was in the pit below getting his eyes full of sawdust for half the wages..It is a sobering thought that, until comparatively recently, all planks used in building were sawn up by this slow and laborious method. It would be likely to take a young man many years before he worked his way out of the pit into the superior and much less dusty position of top sawyer."
Joe Hunt's work took him quite a long way from Romsley and it was while he was operating in the Tipton area that he courted and married a girl named Phoebe Paskin, whose family I was able to trace back in the Tipton registers to 1744. It is said that he built the "Fox Hunt" on Romsley Hill with his own hands and that when the family moved into it, it was unfinished to the extent that the ground floor rooms had earth floors.
Joseph and Phoebe had ten children, one of whom, Stephen, was born in 1832 and another, Jeremiah, in 1837. Here again it was necessary for the children to move out of the parental home as soon as they were old enough to work - there was literally "no room at the inn". Stephen and Jeremiah followed their father's occupation and became itinerant sawyers.
It seems that they travelled and worked together, for 1857 finds them both in the Cannock and Norton Canes area. It was at Norton Canes Church in September 1857 that Stephen married Harriet Martin, the daughter of a local coal miner. Their first child, a daughter, Susannah, was born in August 1858. Jeremiah, ever imitative, also married at Norton Canes, in November 1857, his bride being Harriet's cousin, Hannah Bayley.
The Lyttelton family were Lords of the Manor of Romsley and you can imagine that anything they said or did had for their estate workers, tenants and workers, the stamp of divine approval. The head of the family at this time was George, 4th Lord Lyttelton, who was one of the prime movers in the formation of the Canterbury Association which was responsible for founding and settling the New Zealand Province of Canterbury.
The avowed purpose of the Association was to establish an Anglican community in the heart of this new country, which is why, even today, its capital city of Christchurch is difficult to distinguish from an English cathedral town. (Incidentally, the long association of the Lyttelton family with New Zealand is commemorated in the name of the province's chief port - Lyttelton. Later evidence of the family's long association with the Dominion came in the fifties when the then Lord Cobham had a particularly successful and happy five years as Governor General).
The first settlement of Caanterbury came in 1850 and you can imagine that in the vicinity of Lord Lyttelton's home at Hagley there was much talk of the prospects for emigrants in the country to which the squire was devoting so much of his time and energy.
It is not difficult to see, therefore, just how those two sons of Romsley, Stephen and Jeremiah Hunt, became infected with the 'New Zealand bug' and decided to try their luck in this new land. So the Hunts, along with some three hundred other emigrants, were gathering at Gravesend in the first cold days of December 1858 to embark on the brand new sailing ship "Mystery" of 1074 tons owned by the White Star Company and commanded by Captain Matthews.
The ship cleared from Gravesend on December 13th but met foul winds in the channel and did not move out of the Downs until December 28th. Tragedy struck the Hunts when the Mystery was off the Canaries, for, on Sunday January 9th, Stephen and Harriet's four and a half month old baby, Susannah, died. The entry in the ship's Log Book is terse and to the point: "Cause of death: want of breast milk" - a striking comment on the conditions prevailing on the emigrant ships of the time. We have a graphic account of the funeral of poor little Susannah from the diary of one of the cabin passengers on board the Mystery:
"At sunset the bell rang for the funeral, and all hands mustered on the quarter deck. The most perfect order and decorum prevailed. A scuttle was then opened on the larboard side, and one of the cones of the main hatchway laid across almost halfway through it, and covered all over with a large Union Jack. The body was then brought from below by two sailors nicely dressed for the occasion, and laid upon the flag. It was, of course, tightly sewed in canvas with lead attached, but no coffin. We all grouped around, forming a dense mass of eager faces, for it was new to all of us, and all seemed struck with its strange and peculiar solemnity. The sailors, too, hung from the shrouds above us with looks of interest on their rough faces. The sun was just setting in great splendour far more so than I have ever seen it on shore, and as it threw its golden rays on the calm waves of the ocean in a broad stream of almost ruby red upon the larboard side of the vessel, the service began, the captain officiating, assisted by the doctor. "Man that is born of woman hath but a short time to live and is full of misery; he cometh up and is cut down like a flower"., and at the proper time the tiny body slid through the scuttle into the glorious stream of sunshine which seemed to fold it in an embrance, and then its rays grew fainter, and in a few minutes the orb of day had finally set, leaving us to finish the remainder of the service in almost complete darkness. For about an hour after the people were formed in groups on the deck, talking over the event, and then all settled into their usual way, and at night you heard singing and the merry laugh went around, as if nothing of the kind had occurred."
I have seen it estimated that on these emigrant voyages as many as one in six of the steerage passengers died before reaching their destination, and it is certain that infant mortality on these ships was very high indeed. Fifteen children died on the Mystery's maiden voyage, and there were five live births. Causes of death of the fifteen ranged from malnutrition through pneumonia, tubercular meningitis, abnormal dentition, whooping cough, measles, marasmus (a wasting disease) to jaundice, and when the Mystery arrived at Lyttelton on April 1st 1859, she was flying the yellow flag indicating that there was fever aboard. After a surprisingly short period of quarantine, however, she was allowed to set down her passengers. Stephen found employment almost immediately with a local farmer, Mr. Hay, with whom he remained for a year. Then he leased a neighbouring property called French Farm, which he worked for five years, accumulating in that time sufficient capital to purchase 420 acres of land nearby, which he named Romsley Hill Farm.
Fortune smiled on Jeremiah too, for in a short time he had acquired a 500 acre property which he called "Kauket". His descendants told me it came from a place near to his birthplace. This had me puzzled for a long time until it dawned on me that "Kauket" was the phonetic version of "Calcott", a farm on the southern slopes of our own Walton Hill.
Thus are two local names perpetuated 'down under'. Indeed anyone from this area visiting Canterbury province would immediately feel at home, from the moment he landed at Lyttelton until he walked into Christchurch's Hagley Park or boated on the city's River Avon. As Stephen's holding of land increased, so did his family, for between his landing in New Zealand in 1859 and Harriet's death in 1875 from an embolism at the early of 35 she had born him twelve children, including triplets. He was nothing if not a realist, and he decided he must marry again immediately, if for no other reason than to find a foster mother for his large family.
His wandering eye rested on a young widow, a neighbour and comparatively wealthy. Only two months after his wife's death, he walked over the hill to the widow's farm and 'popped the question'. She, not unexpectedly, turned down his proposal, but was not unhelpful. "I won't marry you," she said, "but I've got the very girl for you," and she sent for one of her domestics, a young girl of seventeen of French extraction. Yes - you have guessed it! It was Victoria Libeau, granddaughter of old Joseph who had come out to New Zealand on the Compte de Paris in 1840.
Dutifully, Victoria accepted Stephen, but one could be excused for thinking that here was an ill-matched pair. Stephen, a burly taciturn farmer of forty-three with a family of twelve (his eldest son, John, only two years Vicky's junior) hitching up with a slip of a girl of seventeen with entirely different outlook and background. Yet the marriage was a complete success, particularly if you judge it by its fecundity.
Beginning with Arthur in 1876, and taking in twins, Vicky bore Stephen fifteen children, the last, Edward Paskin Hunt, arriving in 1900 when Stephen was sixty-eight. What is even more surprising in view of the hardships these pioneers endured, all twenty seven children of both marriages reached maturity - surely almost a unique record!
And so we return to the picture which excited my interst in childhood. It showed Romsley Hill Farm, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand, with Stephen and Vicky in the centre of the verandah and his twenty-seven children ranged round them. The stories that are told of the victualling and clothing of this multitude deservea book on their own. Boots, we are told, came at six-monthly intervals - a crateful at a time. When the crate was delivered, the entire family swooped on it like a flock of vultures and the battle was to the strong. There are stories, too, of a sheep being slaughtered to provide only one or two meals, and of potatoes having to be peeled by the bucketful! The mind boggles!
This large family provided some curious situations, genealogicaly speaking. Stephen's eldest son, John, married Stephen's wife Vicky's younger sister, Elizabeth. She produced seven children for him, most of them contemporary with Stephen's second brood. At the little village school at French Farm virtually all the pupils were Hunts, half of them being uncles or aunts of the other half.
Unfortunately the story of Stephen's twenty-seven children does not have a particularly happy ending. The elder boys proved to be a feckless and spendthrift lot, and on the old man's death in 1906, his substance was soon spent; Romsley Hill Farm sold and the proceeds quickly dissipated. The farmstead still stands but is now part of a larger farm and is let out as a holiday home. A head and shoulders portrait of Stephen still hangs in a downstairs room, however, and looks out rather ruefully, it seems on the land he won from the wilderness and from which others now reap the fruit.
A different story over at Kauket, Pigeon Bay. Brother Jeremiah pursued a much more respectable and orthodox existence. Although four of his children died in infancy, he managed to rear ten to maturity. The original homestead, itself more pretentious than Stephen's, has long disappeared, to be replaced by a spacious and gracious residence still occupied by his descedants who preside over a prosperous and exer-expanding agricultural complex.
One of the rewarding results of my family researches has been to put in touch with one another New Zealand Hunts who knew nothing of the background and remifications of the family. Many have been the meetings and reunions which have taken place, while over the seven years I have had a steady stream of visitors from 'down under' anxious to see the places connected with their forebears. It is difficult to calculate just how many descendants of King Fred, Stephen and Jeremiah now spread themselves over the face of New Zealand, but the figure must be in the region of three thousand. If, as I hope, I spend the first part of my retirement visiting New Zealand, I am quite sure I will not lack a place to lay my head.