The Middlebrook Family of Katikati, headed by Samuel and Mary Jane (nee Rea) Middlebrook consisted of 6 children . First born in 1884 was son John Stewart Middlebrook, named after both his grandfathers and known as Johnnie . In 1886 Margaret Farrer Middlebrook was born. Her first name after her maternal grandmother, and middle name taken from the family name of her paternal grandmother.. Margaret was known often as Rita while at school and later was known as Dot. Ellen Winifred was born in 1887, named after her paternal grandmother and great grandmother, though the origin of her second name Winifred is not known. Ellen was known commonly as Ellie. In 1890 , another son Samuel Robert ( named for his father, and paternal great grandfather. He was commonly known as Bertie or Bert.
After a gap of 6 years another daughter was born, though family legend has it that Mary Lousinda Middlebrook was not in fact the daughter of Samuel, but of local blacksmith John Grey. Samuel’s name however appears on the birth certificate as the father.
Last born in 1898, was Elizabeth Alice, named after her maternal aunt and known for most of her life as Bess.
John Stewart was the only sibling to not reach old age. His occupation was one of blacksmith, and he married at age 27, having 3 sons, one of whom died as a baby. Unfortunately when his youngest son was only 3 years old, John died leaving his wife to fend for herself and her children. She found a job as a housekeeper but had to move out of the area and could only take one child, and so the family was split up as the eldest son Leslie was bought up in a Salvation Army home until he was nearly 12 .
Mary Jane’s youngest sister, Margaret Matilda Rea was 16 years her younger. It appears that she lived with Samuel and Mary Jane and was bought up as a sister to the girls rather than an aunt. Margaret ( known as Cis ) was bridesmaid to Margaret, and both Margaret and Ellen were bridesmaids to her at first marriage to William Birkett in 1905.