Ive been really busy lately – some of the busy times were genealogy related. I drove down to Te Awamutu Museum which had a wonderful collection of photos relating to John Middlebrook ( he was the 2nd son of John and Ellen Middlebrook- the couple who emigrated to NZ with their children in 1862 and the elder brother of my 2x Great Grandfather )
Im still discovering things about John’s life – his story is not remotely complete ( in fact I found an article in Papers Past regarding his 50th Wedding anniversary which stated he started his working life as an apprentice at the Southern Cross newspaper.
Id assumed he was always a butcher, as the trade definitely ran in the family. He also appears not to be buried in the Te Awamutu Cemetery with his wife and many children – though I havent discovered where he is buried .
In any case I did a layout using one of the great photos I copied when down at the museum.
John Middlebrook was born in 1854 in Millbridge,near Leeds ,Yorkshire as were his siblings. 5th of 8, he was the second eldest son and was named after his father John.
The family emigrated to New Zealand, in 1862, when John was aged 8 years old. .
The Middlebrook family has a long history in the butchery business and John took up this trade around the time he married Mary Ann Tucker. He owned butchery businesses in Western Springs, Newton and in Ponsonby from the 1870s to the end of the 19th Century. Around 1904 John purchased , and also leased land in Te Awamutu from Maori under a land alienation scheme set up at the time, however it appears John did not take advantage of the Maori, as he was known by the local tribes as “honest John and like his brother Samuel was a friend of the Maori . John and Mary Ann had 13 children. Several of the sons joined John in his butchery business.
John became a prominent businessman in the town and was a member of the TeAwamutu’s first Chamber of Commerce in 1911-12, and was a member of the first Te Awamutu Borough Council in 1915, and was instrumental in the development of water supply and drainage to the town. He also helped establish a stockyard in the area which assisted the districts community and farming ventures . John lived in Te Awamutu until his death in 1939