Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Nellie of New Zealand


Old New Zealand photos usually have a little story to tell, so when I saw this one, I thought I'd try ...

The verso of the carte tells us that she is Nellie Dukes, and seemingly that it is 'for Aunt Sarah'.

Here we are. Nellie Hannah Dukes. Born in the Rugeley/Penkridge area of Staffordshire in the year 1874. Father: John Dukes. Mother Sarah Alltritt née Scott (b 6 March 1840), from Armitage, Staffs, daughter of an Irish farmer.  Mother and sister both named Hannah. Married the previous year ... she seems to have been some five years older than he. I see that she is listed as a 'housekeeper'. He ...?  Well, bit of a mystery here. For John reinvented himself at the age of about 35. At the time the Dukes, mother, father and daughter decided to leave Staffordshire for New Zealand. And, lacking a marriage certificate, I'm not quite sure who and what he was before he reinvented. The 1871 census shows a John Dukes, labourer, in Rugeley  ... but he's got a wife and three young daughters ..

John Dukes reinvented himself, on his arrival down under, as a preacher man. A Weslyan Methodist. The Reverend John Dukes. Presumably no qualification save enthusiasm was needed? Anyway, over the next forty years he held positions in Dunedin, Masterton, Hamilton, Whangarei, Devonport, Hawera, Waimate, Thames, Kaiapoi, Pukekohe, Onehunga and, finally Te Aroha.

Sarah died at the parsonage in Pukekohe 28 July 1910, and the Rev Dukes remarried before his death 16 August 1919.

As for Nellie, she married, in 1903, a locksmith from Raetihi, Joseph Dearlove Gibson, and gave birth to a daughter Loie Mary Willard Gibson in 1906. Gibson died in 1909, and after a decade as a widow, she married again, to farmer Herbert Wood of Weymouth Rd, Manurewa. She died 7 December 1935. Father, mother and Nellie are commemorated at Pukekohe Cemetery 

"In Loving Memory of SARAH ALLDRITT DUKES beloved wife of the Revd. JOHN DUKES who entered into rest July 28th 1910 Aged 70 years. "So he giveth his beloved sleep." In Loving Memory of The Rev. JOHN DUKES. For 40 years a Methodist Minister who entered into rest at the Methodist Parsonage Te Aroha, August 16th 1919 Aged 74 years. "Coming as at first I came, To take and not bestow on me, Friend of sinners spotless Lamb, the Blood was shed for me." Also their beloved daughter NELLIE HANNAH WOOD of Manurewa, who died 7th December, 1935 aged 61".
The ashes of daughter Loie (Mrs Claude Hammond Coup) lie there also. 

Which leaves just one tiny mystery. Who was Aunt Sarah to whom the photo was dedicated? Obviously not mother's sister ... and John the Rugeley labourer had four sisters, none of whom was named Sarah ..

Ah, well ...

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