JOHN PEARCE SMITH & EDITH WARD
These are the ancestors whose memory we are celebrating with a gathering of their descendants at Port Ahuriri Bowling Club Sunday 31 May 1987.
Who were John and Edith? What do we know of them and their lives? Of their families and of their hopes and aspirations? We have a number of answers but sadly there are many unanswered questions.
What do we know?
Edith Ward was born in Phillack, Cornwall on 16 July 1854 the daughter of Richard and Mary Anne (Rutter). Her grandparents were Samuel and Mary (Ching or Chinn) married 1815, and her great grandparents John and Marjory (Johns) married 1765 in Phillack. She had two brothers Richard and Alfred and one sister Jenny Glanvill who married Thomas Hogg in NZ 1886.
John Pearce Smith was born in Hayle Cornwall 19 April 1853, the son of John Pearce Smith and Julia (Baisley) J.P. Snr was, born at Marazion on 1 November 1829 and died at Hayle aged 88 in 1917. He was educated at Mr Barnes School in Penzance. John Jnr had two brothers and three sisters, one brother F.G. lived and died in Napier, the other brother we believe lived in South Africa, but the writer has no knowledge of the sisters’ lives names or whereabouts. J.P. Snr was a prominent businessman operating a cooperage (barrel making) concern. He was a foundation member of the Hayle Company and was founder secretary of the Passmore-Edwards Institute, was an active member of Hayle Cricket Club and Secretary of the Hayle Regatta Committee. As well J.P. Snr was a keen and prominent Freemason from 1854 until he died. (This information of J.P. Snr contained in a copy of his obituary kindly loaned by John Pearce Wrightson). Incidentally J.P. Snr had six grandsons serving in the army. Whose children were they? The writer assumes they were the daughter’s children.
We know John Jnr left school at age 12 years and went to sea. 12 years later he gained his master’s ticket No 94770 as recorded with Lloyd’s Captains’ register in the Guild Hall London
We know John, Edith and daughter Frances (born 25 July 1876) emigrated to New Zealand in 1879.
That John was a publican at Farndon and Clive from 1886 to 1896 during which time he took an active part in local affairs being a member of the Clive School Committee (Chairman 1893-94). All six daughters attended Clive School.
That Edith died in 1890 aged 36 after bearing six daughters.
John remarried to Mary Ann Honnor in 1895.
We know John became publican of the Empire Hotel in Shakespeare Road Napier in 1896 and thereafter at various other hotels in Napier and Port Ahuriri. At that time “The Port” would have been a very active and busy shipping area and a good place to own a pub.
John and cousin? Warren began a draught beer bottling business that retained the name “Warren Smith and Co Ltd” until recent times.
We know John built and/or bought numerous houses and flats, many still standing today especially in the Shakespeare Rd Battery Rd area.
We know of his love of bowls he was foundation Chairman of the Port Ahuriri Bowling Club, holding office for 13 years. A photo of the foundation committee is owned by the Club while J.P’s photo is prominently displayed.
His donations of land and money for the course [cause] of bowls included land for Marewa Bowling Club.
The special roller he made and loved to use along with his grand-daughters (according to Jean Lawrence) and the levelling plant he designed and was copied by many NZ greens.