George Scrimshaw

1824 - 1898

George Scrimshaw was born at Radcliffe, Nottingham, England, on the 24th of January 1824. His parents were William and Sarah Scrimshaw nee Fowler. George's father was a bootmaker who had served in the 76th Foot Regiment. George's father was released from the regiment aged 33 sometime between 1819 and 1826.

George's siblings were Thomas, John, Robert, Elizabeth and Mary Ann.

George was a shoemaker until he was 18 years old. On Tuesday 1 February 1842, he enlisted in the York and Lancaster Regiment - the 65th Regiment - known as the "Royal Tigers". He was a private, and his Regimental Number was 1855.

His military career in the Royal Tigers explains how he met his wife: Margaret Cox of Mullingar, Ireland. On Thursday 18th August 1842, by a sudden order giving only 12 hours notice, George's Regiment was moved by sea to Portsmouth. They arrived there on 19th August. The following morning they were ordered to move by rail to Winchester where they arrived that same afternoon and marched into barracks. They left their luggage on the train because there was industrial unrest in Manchester, and it was presumed they would continue onto there. After two or three days without any further orders the luggage was moved into barracks. The Lieut.-Colonel used the time at Winchester to practise drill and various field movements.

On 11 September 1842 they were ordered to move to Manchester, first in two divisions on the 12th and 13th by rail to Paddington, and then to march to the Euston Railway Station at St. Pancras, to be billeted there for the night, and to proceed by the Great Northern Railway to Manchester the following morning. In Manchester they were put up in two large abandoned factories in Tib Street and Poland Street, which had been hired by the Government as barracks. They were situated in the worst and most disturbed part of the town, in the middle of smoke and filth, and surrounded by a turbulent and starving population. They remained in the area until October 1843.

On 11th October 1843 they were ordered to proceed to Liverpool where they were to leave for Ireland the following day. They arrived at Dublin at midday on 13th October, where they waited for two hours and then ordered to march to Mullingar, County Meath. It was a march of five days.

Throughout 1844 the Regiment constantly moved between Dublin and Mullingar. On 15th April 1845 they were all moved to Dublin.

It was while in Mullingar that George Scrimshaw met Margaret Cox, a native of Mullingar. She and George were married in Mullingar in 1844, probably around late September.

On 18th July 1845 the 65th Regiment was ordered to move to Chatham for the purpose of proceeding to New South Wales, Australia, with convicts. They left Dublin on 23rd July, arrived in Liverpool the next day, moved in two divisions by rail to London arriving on 26th July, and Chatham two days later.

On 26th August 1845 George was among the first convict guard formed. On Tuesday 23 September 1845 the ship Samuel Boddington sailed with George to Hobart, Tasmania, with convicts. Margaret almost certainly travelled with him.

Upon arrival in Tasmania on the 18th of January 1846, the 65th Regiment was ordered up to Sydney to be shipped to New Zealand because there had been fighting between Maori and Pakeha in the Hutt Valley. George therefore embarked on the Levant in Sydney on 9 July 1846 and sailed for Wellington, where it arrived on Wednesday 22 July 1846. This was the second of three detachments of the Regiment to come to New Zealand, and it was commanded by Captain O'Connell. It seems probable that Margaret was on the boat as well with their son, Thomas Alfred Scrimshaw.

In New Zealand, the "Royal Tigers" were known as the 65th (2nd Yorkshire North Riding) Regiment. They were perhaps better known as the "Hickety Pips", after the Maori pronunciation of 65th -"hikete piwhete".

* Thomas Alfred was to be the first child and was born in 1846 while his father was still stationed in Australia, or perhaps he was born at sea on the Samuel Boddington. On 25 May 1870, at the age of 23, he married the 15 year old Margaret Sarah Donnelly at SS Peter and Paul's Church, Lower Hutt. His wife Margaret died aged 29 on 24 February 1884 giving birth to their seventh child. It left Thomas with a large young family. The children were Margaret Sarah, Ellen Louisa, Lucy Anastasia, Elizabeth Mary, George Patrick Donnelly, Thomas Alfred Hector and John Robert Arthur. Thomas Scrimshaw died at Pahiatua on the 29 December 1909, after drinking too much, getting into a friendly wrestle with someone, and landing on his head.

* The second son of George and Margaret, William George, was born at Belmont, Hutt, around 1849 and died aged 77 on 24 August 1926. He had lived at Tiakitahuna, and is buried in the Palmerston North Cemetery. He never married.

* Another son was born to George and Margaret Scrimshaw on the 27th of November 1850, called John Knox Scrimshaw. A possible explanation of the "Knox" is that that was the name of the doctor on board the ship Levant. John later moved to the South Island's West Coast and worked as a carpenter. In 1878, at the age of 28, he married Mary Curran at Greymouth. Mary died in 1897. In 1902, at the age of 52, he married Margaret Josephine Kearin. John had no children. He died on 26 March 1907 aged 56 years at Cobden, and is buried in the Greymouth Cemetery.

* George and Margaret's first daughter, Mary Ann, was born on the 13th of July 1853. At the age of 16 she married Andrew McEwen on 5 February 1870 at Lower Hutt. The McEwen's home had been a haven for troops of the 65th Regiment. Mary Ann and Andrew lived on a farm at Jackeytown Road, Tiakitahuna, near Palmerston North. They had twelve children: Margaret Ellen, Sarah, David Andrew, George, Henry, Mary Helena, Barbara Alice, Agnes Stuart, Andrew Michael, John Lambert, Annie Victoria Beatrice and Nora May. In 1890, when the Longburn Freezing Works opened, Mary Ann's husband took a job there. He later suffered a serious accident, and at the age of 60 was drowned in the Manawatu River. Mary Ann died on the 30th July 1926.

* On Tuesday 28 August 1855 James was born. On Monday 7 September 1874, at the age of 19, James married Martha Jolly at the Roman Catholic Church in the Hutt. Martha was not a Roman Catholic. They were to have fourteen children. James died on Thursday 7 November 1929 aged 74.

* James was followed by another daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, born in 1857. In 1876 she married George Avery, a farmer of Taita. The wedding took place at the Woolcombe Hotel in Wellington, and the Reverend John Moir, a Presbyterian minister, conducted the ceremony. They were to have twelve children: Alfred Arthur Morris, Hugh Ernest George, Lucy Ellen (who died as a baby), Charles Herbert, Robert Stephen, Ivy Maude, Ethel Charlotte, Minnie Amelia, George Albert, Ruby Myrtle, Pearl Grace and Frank Ronald. Sarah died on the 11th of September 1914 at Thames, Coromandel Peninsula, aged 57.

* In 1859 another daughter was born. She was called Margaret, but known as Maggie. In 1879 she married Patrick Molloy who worked as a guardsman for the railways. Maggie had worked as a servant until she married. They had three children: Emily, Arthur Robert and Patrick Henry. Emily never worked and used to spend her time painting. Keith Goodman recalled that Maggie always wore black. Doreen Goodman recalled that great-aunt Maggie was a shortish woman and a devout Catholic. She gave Frank and Doreen Goodman a beautiful ribbed crystal bowl as an engagement present, which she took from her shelf and wiped on her apron before giving it to Doreen.

* In 1862, Michael Reuben Scrimshaw (called Reuben) was born. He never married, and was considered a "lunatic". Many times he was sent to the Mount View Mental Asylum for various misdeeds such as vagrancy and indecent exposure. His most serious offence was in 1886 when he tried to murder his mother. He was stopped in time but she suffered considerable injury. He died on 19 July 1889, aged 27, after "a long and painful illness" and was buried in the Petone Cemetery.

* In 1864 Robert Arthur Scrimshaw was born. He married Emily Oliver in 1888, and they lived at Petone. They had six children: Arthur Robert (killed in the First World War in France on 27 March 1916), Margaret Ellen, William Alfred, Sarah Elizabeth, Evelyn May and Ernest John Oliver. Robert died on the 14th of May 1927 in Wellington aged 63.

* In 1867 Patrick Hector Scrimshaw was born. On 9 January 1876, he died at the age of nine. He drowned while swimming in the Hutt River, and they took several days to find the body. His gravestone reads:

He did not wait to get the prize
He had so bravely won
But has gone to have a better one
In realms beyond the Sun
He sank beneath the river
That rolls toward the Sea
But his soul will live forever
From pain and sorrow free.

* The last son and child was born in 1869. He was called George after his father. In 1890 he married Sophia Price Tetley. They lived first in Upper Hutt and then in Christchurch. They had five children: Elsie Margaret, Hector Samuel (who died as a baby), Gertrude Muriel, Violet Adelia and George. This youngest son George played rugby for Canterbury, and became an All Black in 1928. He scored five tries for the All Blacks on their South African tour. In South Africa he played 11 games, including one test. George, the son of George and Margaret, worked as a butcher. He died on 5 February 1942 aged 73.

After George Scrimshaw Senior had been engaged in battle at Horokiwi in the 1840s, he received the New Zealand war medal. He then served in the Militia in the Hutt. He was discharged on payment from the "Hickety Pips" on 31 December 1849 at Wellington.

George Scrimshaw Senior appears in the 1854 Hutt Electoral Roll as a shoemaker, and in the same year as a labourer on the list of those suitable to sit on a Jury. George owned some land in the Hutt on which he worked as a market gardener. Taita in those days was a prime market gardening site.

In late August 1894, George and Margaret celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. It was reported in the paper that they had 55 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

On Friday 1 April 1898 George was received into the Roman Catholic Church at Lower Hutt. The records give his mother's maiden name as Webster, but in fact that is the maiden name of his maternal grandmother. He died of a heart attack on Monday 3 October 1898, and was buried at the Catholic Cemetery at Petone. He was 73 years old. The remains in this cemetery have since been shifted and a common monument placed in the corner of a park, to make way for the Hutt Motorway. George's name is missing from the monument.

After her husband's death, Margaret went and lived with her daughter Mary Ann McEwen at Karere, near Longburn, Palmerston North.

George Scrimshaw

George's wife Margaret

George's daughter Mary

George's son James

George's Grave

George's Extended Family
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