It seems long marriages are common in my ancestry – I found this article on Paperspast regarding the Golden Wedding Anniversary of John and Mary Ann Middlebrook which gave me more information on the family. I was interested to know that John was not initially a butcher ( a career which ran in the family- his father and brother being butchers as well as several of his sons) but was a printers apprentice to begin with. I have little information on the early years after the Middlebrooks arrival in New Zealand so I relish every little snippet of information like this.
Papers Past has been a great source of information. I am lucky as it appears there were only 2 Middlebrook families in New Zealand in the early days so a search of the name yeilds great results.
Journalling in this layout reads
MR. AND MRS. J. MIDDLEBROOK.
TE AWAMUTU, Thursday.
To have experienced a full fifty years of married life comes to few couples, but such a distinction has just been achieved by Mr. and Mrs. John Middlebrook, two of Te Awamutu's most respected and revered townspeople. Mr. Middlebrook came out to the colony in 1562, from his home in Yorkshire, by the ship Shalimar, while his ultimate bride-to-be had accompanied her parents to New Zealand four years earlier in the ship Spirit of Trade. As a youth Mr. Middlebrook tried his prentice hand at printing, working for some time on the old "Southern Cross" (now incorporated in the "New Zealand Herald" and afterwards taking up the trade of a butcher. In 1874 Mr Middlebrook considered his affairs had prospered sufficiently to warrant his taking unto himself a life partner, and on July 22nd of that year he was married in Newton. Auckland, by the Rev. Ward, to Miss Mary Tucker, daughter of Mr. John Tucker, formerly of the Royal Artillery. Mr. Middlebrook and his bride settled down in Auckland until early in the present century, their family growing up round them. In 1902 Mr. Middlebrook decided to remove to Te Awamutu, and he has in the interim built up the butchery business that bears his name. To mark the golden wedding anniversary the family—or as many as could attend —assembled at the old people's residence and celebrated in customary style, a feature being a repetition of the wedding ceremony of fifty years previous. Mr. and Mrs. Middlebrook were the recipients of many congratulatory messages from friends all over the Dominion, and at the wedding breakfast felicitous speeches were made and toasts enthusiastically honoured. The family consists of eleven sons and daughters, twenty-two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.