Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Some Detective Work

Recently a cousin got hold of the photo album which had belonged to our McClellan Great Grandparents. She set to work scanning the photographs which turned out to be a real treasure trove.

There has been a lot of detective work done and close comparisons of the photos to find people who appear in more than one photo, of which there are many, but some were complete mysteries


One such mystery was this wedding photo

20 Mystery marriage!


Between the two of us and our parents we couldnt identify anyone in the photo at all.  We named it the Mystery Wedding photo and it intrigued us.

As part of the research Ive been doing in regards to the McClellan/Brodie/Lennie family, I made contact with another couple of new to me relatives, and on a totally unrelated note I asked one if he knew who it was who my G Grandfather lived with after his wife died.

We knew it was a relative and we thought perhaps a cousin and the name bandied about was Jean Lennie, but I couldnt find a Jean Lennie anywhere in my tree who fit. It was suggested that perhaps it was Lucretia Jeanette Lennie and maybe she went by the name Jean which is certainly less of a mouthful.


Lucretia has a bit of a sad story and I need to fill you in on that to explain further.Her father was David Lennie , ( 1865-1949) . He was the eldest son of John and Elizabeth Lennie ( who became a McClellan on remarrying after Johns death)

David married Lucretia Peake

April 1887 Marriage LENNIE - PEAKE - On April 27th, at St. Mary's Church, by the Ven,. Archdeacon Harper, David Lennie, of Pleasant Point, to Lucretia, only daughter of Samuel Peake, Timaru (Timaru Herald )

Lucretia and David had 5 children. Lucretia Jeanette was the eldest, then followed Francis David, Eric Cecil ( who died aged 7) Samuel Joh ( who died aged 5 months

LENNIE. At Wellington, on July 13th, 1898, Samuel John, the beloved son of David and Lucretia Lennie, aged 5 months. Deeply regretted.

And finally Lucretia died from complications of childbirth giving birth to the last unnamed child with whom she is buried. It appears that Francis, aged less than 12 at the time, ran away from home, perhaps stowed away on a ship because next he his heard of he is in Tasmania .David left his daughter in the care of her maternal Grandparents, Samuel and Lucretia Peake, and followed Francis to Australia, remarrying there in 1903


So back to my detective work, when I realised that there might be even more of a connection with Lucretia Jeanette, I wondered if this in fact could be her wedding photo, after all there appears to be only one set of parents, the other set much older and possibly grandparent age. I learned her wedding was in 1913 which fit the fashions in the photographs quite well.

A theory developed in my head that perhaps this was her wedding and so I did a bit of googling of the name of her husband Charles Stanley Hawkey, and with some research I found his father Tom Hawkey had in fact been Mayor of Timaru in 1913 .

Today I emailed the Timaru Council asking if they could perhaps identify Tom Hawkey from my wedding photo and the passed the request on to the South Canterbury Museum.

I was elated to find that indeed this was Tom Hawkey – who appears as Father of the Groom in our mystery wedding photo



So the mystery wedding is no more a mystery. The Old couple on the left must be Samuel and Lucretia Peake, I suspect the best man is a brother of Charles, and the woman to his right , his mother Priscilla Hawkey

We may never know the identity of the bridesmaid however this doesnt deter me from continuing to pore over these photos until  more of our mysteries are solved


  1. Well no wonder you've been a 'little distracted' lately! Excellent detective work, it is so satisfying isn't it.

  2. Post script to this post - tonight Ive discovered that David Lennie almost certainly left NZ first - he had volunteered in WW1 for the Australians and stated he had done 12 months volunteer milita in NZ and 2 years with the Scottish Horse Troop in the Boer war - this would mean he was away from NZ probably not long after Lucretia died in 1900 - I suspect he volunteered from Australia as apparently this troop was mainly made up of Australians.
    I have Francis his son attending Te Aro School in Wellington in 1904 - this is a full year after his fathers remarriage in 1903 in Australia - so there goes the theory that David left to find Francis.. - seems like it might have been the other way around!

  3. Hello. I think David Lennie Mcclellan could have lived in my house in Leichhardt, Sydney. Could it be possible?
    I did a bit of research regarding the history of my home. The Sydney Morning Herald (1842-1954) newspaper shows a death notice. It says: LENNIE-McCLELLAN, David. April 28, 1949 at Lewisham Hospital, dearly loved husband of Myrtle, of 84 Day Street Leichhardt, late of S.A and World War I. Privately cremated.

  4. Yes quite possibly. I found him there in the Australian electoral rolls!

  5. My house is called "Farrier's cottage". I think he was a farrier right?
    So, who is David Lennie on the picture?

  6. Yes he was a farrier. He's not in this photo but I do have photos. Could you email me laurenbavin at gmail.com I'd love to see the cottage and I can give you more info about David and his family