Thomas Jolly was born in Chesterton, Cambridge, England, in January 1809. His parents were William and Elizabeth Jolly nee Logan. His father was English and his mother was Scottish.
Thomas had a eight brothers and sisters, a number of whom died as infants, hence the repetition of the name of Thomas. Their names were Samuel, John, Thomas, William, Elizabeth, Mary Ann, Sarah and Benjamin. Samuel was a half-brother and he kept his mother's surname of Logan. Thomas's younger brother Benjamin was to become the Mayor of Chesterton.
Thomas worked as a bricklayer.
On the 21st of October 1834, at Chesterton, he married Mary Ann Snelling. She was from Woolpit, Suffolk.
Their first daughter, Mary Ann, was born in 1835. She was followed by William in 1837.
Son Benjamin was born in 1839 and died in 1841. In 1842, Thomas Benjamin was born and died within a month.
Thomas was born in 1843, Emily in 1846, Sarah Ann in 1849, Martha in 1851 and Benjamin in 1854.
Prior to 1857, their oldest daughter Mary Ann came to New Zealand. On the 25th of May 1857, aged 22, she married Thomas Hayward at Lower Hutt. Thomas Hayward farmed what is now known as Haywards Hill near Silverstream. They were to have no children of their own.
In 1858 son William married Jane Holding in Lancashire and by 1860 they were rearing their family in New York, U.S.A.
In 1864 Thomas and Mary and their four youngest children (Emily, Sarah, Martha and Benjamin) came to New Zealand. It cost Thomas Jolly 82 pounds to bring his family out. The ship was the Asterope It sailed from London on 26 June 1864, and arrived in Wellington on 7 October 1864. On the trip out a severe SW gale, when they were just off Kerguelen Island, blew away the jib, split the foresail, and washed away the poop ladders and port bulwarks on both sides. For the rest of the journey there were light winds, although they were becalmed off Tasmania for 7 days. They sighted Cape Farewell, New Zealand, on the 1st of October, only to contend with a strong SE gale for 3 days.
Son Thomas came out to New Zealand at some stage, either before or after his parents. In 1875 in Wellington he married Janet Nutteing. Thomas died in Australia in 1883 aged 40.
Thomas and Mary Ann Jolly and family set up home in the Hutt Valley. Thomas worked as a brickmaker, as he had in Cambridge.
On the 26th of August 1866, 17 year old daughter Sarah had a baby girl, whom she named Mary Jolly. The baby was subsequently adopted by Sarah's oldest sister, Mary Ann Hayward. The baby's name became Mary Jolly Hayward. Sarah may have later returned to Cambridge, England. Daughter Mary Ann Hayward and her husband were to adopt another child, called Willie White. Willie died in 1877 aged 9.
On the 19th of December 1866, daughter Emily married James Thomas in Blenheim, New Zealand. The marriage lasted only a few weeks as Emily was found to be pregnant to her brother-in-law Thomas Hayward. Emily then lived with Elijah Bythell and had another child, but that relationship did not last very long either.
At some stage, Thomas's wife Mary Ann, became a Roman Catholic. The earlier Lower Hutt Parish records were incinerated by a parish priest, so any record of it seems to have gone.
On Friday 22 August 1873, Thomas's wife, Mary Ann, died in the Hutt Valley, aged 64 years. Her Death Certificate states that she died of paralysis, which was possibly a stroke. Her son Thomas registered her death. She was buried at the Catholic Cemetery at Petone. The bodies in this cemetery were subsequently exhumed and buried in a common grave to make room for the Hutt Motorway.
Thomas Jolly lived with his daughter Mary Ann at Haywards.
The following year on 7 September 1874 daughter Martha married James Scrimshaw. Martha was 23, James was 18.
On the 24th of February 1875, son Thomas married Janet Nutteing in Lower Hutt. He died in Glenn Innes, N.S.W., Australia, in 1883.
On the 4th of November 1876, youngest son Benjamin married Elizabeth Perry in Wellington. They were to set up home first in Upper Hutt and later in Tolaga Bay.
On 27 July 1889 at his daughter Mary Ann's place at Haywards, Thomas Jolly died. He had become senile. His grave stone states that he was in his 90th year, although in fact he was 80 years old. He was buried at Christ Church, Taita, by Rev. Joshua Jones of the Church of England, in the same plot as his daughter Mary Ann Hayward. The inscription reads:
His labor's done - He rests in peace.
Thomas's wife Mary
Thomas's son Benjamin