A Hardy Pioneer.
HER NINETY-NINTH BIRTHDAY.
A FORMER DANNEVIRKE RESIDENT.
REMINISCENCES OF MRS C. CROSSE.
Mrs C. G. Crosse, mother of Mr L. G. Crosse, of Kelvin Grove, Weber and Mr Charles Crosse, of Wimbledon formerly a resident of this district, but who for the past 10 years has been living in Palmerston North, yesterday celebrated her ninety-ninth birthday with a family party. Each year members of family foregather in honour of their mother’s birthday, but unfortunately influenza compelled the absence of some of them yesterday. Mrs Crosse was the mother of nine children, eight of whom are still alive. There are also 15 grand-daughters, […] grand-sons, and 10 great-grand-children.
Yesterday Mrs Crosse was the recipient of a large number of congratulatory telegrams, letters and messages while a gaily decorated birthday cake had not been forgotten by the members of the family, who had assembled to wish their mother “Many Happy Returns.”
During the afternoon, the Mayor and Mayoress (Mr and Mrs A. J. Graham), called upon Mrs Crosse to extend the congratulations.
Except for having lost the sight of an eye and having the occasional headache, this hardy pioneer informed the pressman that she was still quite […] and well.
In the Early Days.
As a girl of 10 years, Mrs Crosse came to New Zealand with her parents in the ship Lady Nugent, from England. Their home had been on the Essex side of the Thames, and they found a new world when they landed in New Zealand on March 15th, 1841. There were only about 700 in Wellington then, the remainder of the colonists who had come out under the New Zealand Land Company’s Scheme having ventured into the Hutt Valley. For five weeks or so, the family lived in barracks, but finally her father built his own home in Bolton street, at the back of the Sydney street cemetery.
Pioneering in Hawke’s Bay.
In January, 1853, she was married to Mr C. G. Crosse, who had only landed in New Zealand a few months before and in the following year the newly-married couple decided to take up land in Hawke’s Bay, and Mrs Crosse recalls with pride that she was one of the four women who went down the Tukituki river from Napier to Waipukurau. There was no railway, not even a road south out of […] in those days, so the journey had to be made in a flat-bottomed boat, which was used to take produce up the river. In the straight stretches of the Tukituki, when the wind was favourable, a sail was hoisted, but invariably the barge was propelled by a pole. At times members of the Maori crew obliged to strip off and enter the stream to push. A night a tent was struck on the bank for the passengers to sleep in. The journey took six days and now can be accomplished in less than two hours.
First Settlers at Porangahau.
In 1855, Mrs and Mrs Crosse brought land at Porangahau before any […] settlers. Sir George Hunter’s […] arrived 10 months later, so that Crosse could be designated the […] of Porangahau. They lived for years on the station, sheep-farming and the conditions under which Crosse lived and brought up her […] of sturdy sons and daughters, […] strike terror into the modern wife.
“I saw some very hard times”, Mrs Crosse stated yesterday. “It was long years in Porangahau before I got out of it, without a nurse, anything in the nature of help. It was a very long and dreary time. My neighbour was seven miles away except for the Maoris, and we owed a great deal to them for many of our illnesses. I thought nothing of going four or five months without seeing a white woman, and then it was […] people passed along the track from Napier. Once a man who stopped and demanded a bed for the night, threatened to shoot me when I refused.”
The wool from the station, Crosse explained, was taken by waggon to Blackhead, 14 miles on the coast, and there loaded onto ships.
In 1871, Mr Crosse died as a result of being thrown from a horse, in 1873 Mrs Crosse took up her residence in Napier, on account of her children needing better education than could be given them on the farm, two being in charge. From then to the present day, Mrs Crosse has lived in several towns. In 1891, she moved to Palmerston North, and then to Wanganui on account of the […] of one of her daughters. She lived in the river city for three years before removing to Dannevirk [Dannevirke]. The last years have been spent in Palmerston North.