Sunday, April 17, 2016

Continuing a long forgotten project Direct Descendant Book–From the Orkneys to New Zealand

A couple of years ago I started a book project where I would tell the stories of my direct ancestors along my Brodie line, starting as far back as I could with this family . You can see my post on this book here

I have neglected this project for far too long and so this week I have been working on the next instalment - the pages relating to my 2x G Grandmother Elizabeth Taylor Brodie.

The Lennies emigrated to New Zealand on the ship Merope. Their voyage was one of the fastest of its time to reach New Zaland. Captain Henry Rose was placed in command and on the passage out the made a sensational run to Lyttelton. The Merope left Gravesend on the 9th June, and was off Start Point on the 12th. The Equator was crossed on the 15th July, and the meridian of the Cape on the 24th of the same month. Tasmania was reached on the 17th August, and Stewart's Island on the 20th. Five days later the ship anchored in Lyttelton Harbour at 2 a.m.—the passage having occupied only 76 days from London, and 69 from land to land. 
Elizabeth Taylor Brodie was  born on the 5th March 1837 in Stronsay Orkney. She was the eldest child of John Brodie and his wife Eliza.
Her father like many on the island was a farmer and a fisherman, and in 1841 the family are living at Dykeside. Elizabeth had 4 brothers and a sister . In 1863 Elizabeth, or Betsy as she was known then married John Lennie, a blacksmith journeyman , in the United Protestant Church in Milltown Stronsay. John Lennies father was a Master Blacksmith and was a witness at the wedding.
Betsy and her new husband John made their home at Clayquoy, Stronsay and had 3 children: David (1865) John Gorrie(1866) andCatherine (1868) . In 1871 the family along with others from Stronsay made the long voyage to New Zealand on the sailing ship Merope. Upon arrival in New Zealand the Lennie family settled at Pleasant Point in the South Island.  Pleasant Point was a railway hub and there was great need for blacksmiths.
They went on to have 2 more daughters  Lizzie (1871) and Letitia/Louisa in 1875.
The family took in a boarder in 1873 inthe form of one William McClellan who was a sailor who had been shipwrecked at nearby Timaru
Sadly for the family John Lennie died in 1876. It is not known what he died from as no death registration can be found, but he is buried at Pleasant Point cemetery. Life would have been very difficult for Elizabeth and her 5 children so she opened her home as a boarding house, and in February 877 she married her former boarder William McClellan.
Just a few months later in July 1877 their son William McClellan was born. 
The earliest photo we have of Elizabeth Brodie is this family photo which must have been taken in late 1876, or early 1877, as the youngest child Letitia (known as Louisa) appears to be aged between a year and 18 months old.  This would mean the man in the photo was Elizabeth’s soon to be second husband William McClellan, as her first husband John Lennie had died in March of that year. It is possible that the photo is in leiu of a wedding photo.
The family are wearing the regalia of the Independent Order of Templars, which was a temperance society for which both women and men could belong, and we know that the family were staunch members, and later became members of the Salvation Army, which did much of its early recruiting through local Temperance Societies. 

The family remained in Pleasant Point through the 1880’s . In 1883 Elizabeth lost her son John Gorrie Lennie to Consumption, and  in the early 1890’s Elizabeth and William made a move to Woodville in the North Island where they ran the Post Office Temperance Hotel. It is not known why they made this move or whether it was instigated by the Salvation Army, but they remained loyal members during this time. The two youngest Girls, Lizzie and Louisa also moved north. Catherine had married John Hughes in 1885 and remained in Canterbury.
In 1894 Elizabeth lost her second husband. William McClellan died of Stomach Cancer. She remained in Woodville until 1896 but by 1898 she had moved to Wellington where she was known to run boarding houses, in Dock Street and later at 17 Thompson Street. Daughter Lizzie lived at Thompson Street with her for some time, probably helping with the boarding house duties.
Elizabeth remained at Thompson street from at least 1904 until 1914. During this time she is often mentioned as the caregiver for various grandchildren, especially the children of her eldest son David who attended Mt Cook Primary School.  It is interesting to note that son David and his children took their step father’s surname in later life.
It is known that in later life Elizabeth had much trouble with her sight and in her later years was almost blind.
By 1914, Elizabeth could no longer live independently and was living with daughter Elizabeth and her husband Peter Gjording in Campbell Street Karori 

This photo dated 1903 shows Elizabeth with 3 of her children and a grandchild. Her eldest child David had moved to Australia, and eldest daughter Catherine was in the South Island. In this photo we have youngest son William, Lizzie (seated) and Louisa (standing) with William’s eldest son Meryvn.
In 1904 more tragedy was to come. Elizabeth was to outlive yet another child, with the death of daughter Catherine in Canterbury. Her daughters death left 11 children motherless. Several of these children visit and stay with Elizabeth over the next few years.

This photo some 10 or more years after the previous photo is a Christmas Greeting Postcard and states “from all at Campbell Street”. The child is likely Eric Gjording, who was born in 1911.

Made from obviously strong stock,with a life filled with adventure and tragedy, Elizabeth outlived  most of her siblings, 2 husbands and 2 children, and at least 4 grandchildren .
She died on 14th January 1924 at Campbell street at the home of her daughter Lizzie .

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