Letter From Gertrude Smith 1945

Havelock North
10th October 1945

My dear Mary – About the Townsends. The first I know of them is that they kept a school at Knowle, on the Great Western Railway, between Warwick & Birmingham: where the Dad spent some of his early years – say in the early “fifties”

The next I know of them is the Dad building a house for them on the right bank of the Tutaekuri River a short distance above the bridge at Meanee [ Meeanee ]. The house was no sooner finished than the flooded river rushed in at the front door & out at the back. The house was then sawn up & carted in pieces to Mangateretere, where it was re-erected and still stands. There Mont was born in October 1869.

I know from Mrs Townsend’s diary that he was Vicar of St. John’s Napier in the “Sixties”. And my Certificate of baptism shows that he was still there in 1871.

He was not there when we arrived back in December 1881 (I should here explain that the Dad (& Co.) left for England in March 1872. Father & Mother, with Harry & Mildred, left England again about July 1880. The rest of us followed in September ’81.)

It would be sometime in the “Seventies” that a renegade priest (C. of E.) came to Napier & made a lot of trouble for good old John Townsend – as a result, no doubt, they transferred to Lyttelton.

Mr & Mrs Townsend & J.S. Giblin were my God-parents.

It seems to me that the Townsends came out after the Dad; who arrived in Auckland in Feb. 1863; at the age of 20.

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When the four ships arrived with the first Canterbury settlers I should expect that John Townsend & his wife Maria (Wayre) were teaching small boys at Knowle –

Mrs George Nelson.

This is in reply to your inquiry of Ida.


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Letter probably from Gertrude Smith to Mary (Mollie) Nelson, 10 October 1945

Date published

10 October 1945

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Handwritten letter

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