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Joseph and Jessie Herbert

Joseph, was born 19 June 1835, son of Philip Herbert or Harbutt (Master Shoemaker) and Janet Nisbet. He was baptised at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London.

Jessie Catherine Williamson, was baptised 23 April 1829, daughter of William Williamson (Seaman/Sailmaker) and Elizabeth Anderson, in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland.

I found no record of the Williamson Family's move to Leith, Edinburgh but presumably they left Shetland when the Herring Industry failed, as did many of their countrymen. William and Elizabeth both died in Leith, (25 December 1874 and 10 January 1875) and were buried in The Rosebank Cemetery, Edinburgh. Three of their four children were married in Leith. I have not been able to discover how and why Joseph was in Edinburgh, although his father Philip remarried there in September 1858 to Elizabeth Shillinglaw. Joseph was living with Philip at the time of his own marriage.

Topographical Dictionary of Scotland - Samuel Lewis 1851

Lerwick: Parish, a seaport, market town and royal burgh of barony in the Shetland Isles containing 3,284 inhabitants of whom 2,787 are in the town. Herring Fishery (1839) 174 boats from Lerwick.

Leith: A burgh and seaport town in the county of Edinburgh 1 and 1 mile N by E of Edinburgh and 400 miles N.N.W. from London. Parishes of North and South Leith together 28,268 inhabitants.

Joseph and Jessie married in Edinburgh, after Banns and according to The Forms of The United Presbyterian Church of Scotland, on the 24th of June 1858. Their first child James Todd Herbert, was born 28 November 1859 in Currie, in the Parish of Currie, Mid Lothian, and he was followed by two daughters, Elizabeth, born 15th April 1862 (she died in 1863), and, Charlotte, born 21 April 1864. Charlotte died on the voyage to New Zealand; one of seven deaths during the voyage - all children. There were nine births and a marriage celebrated during the voyage. It became very long trip, because of three tremendous storms, which resulted in being blown off course twice, and then they became becalmed.

Copy of a ticket from the SS Resolute (sic)

"I engage that the person/s named in the margin shall be provided with ------ Steerage Passages to, and shall be landed at, the Port of Auckland, in New Zealand, in the ship "Resolute", with not less than Twenty Cubic Feet for luggage for each Statute Adult, and shall be victualled during the voyage, and the time of detention at any place before its termination, according to the sub joined Scale, for the sum of Sixteen Pounds, including Government Dues before embarkation, and Head Money, if any, at the place of Landing, and every other charge, except Freight and Dues on excess of Luggage beyond the quantity above specified, and I hereby acknowledge to have received the sum of -----------Pounds in full payment.

The following quantities, at least, of Water and Provisions (to be issued daily) will be supplied by the Master of the Ship, as required by law, viz.:- To each Statute Adult, Three Quarts of Water Daily, exclusive of what is necessary for cooking the articles required by the Passenger’s Act to be issued in a cooked state; and a weekly allowance of provisions according to the following Scale:-

Biscuits, 2 lbs 10z
Butter, 6 oz.
Pepper, 1 oz.
Beef,        1 lbs.
Suet,        6 oz
Mustard, oz
Pork,        1 lb
Tea,        1 oz
Pickles, gill
Preserved Meats, 1lb
Coffee (R’sted), 2 oz
Vinegar, gill
Potatoes, lb
Sugar, 12 oz
Preserved Veg 3oz
Oatmeal, 1 lb
Molasses, 8 oz
Flour, 3 lb
Raisins, 8 oz
Water, 21 qrts
Rice,        lb
Salt,        2 oz
Lime Juice, 6 oz
Peas, pt.

Mess utensils provided by the Ship

Signature in full………………………………………………..

Paid by the Government of New Zealand, 16.00.00 Place and date

(if signed by a broker or agent state on whose behalf)"

Jessie and Joseph HerbertThe accommodation was very crowded. There was no space for trunks, clothing was stored in a small linen bag and hung from a peg. Sundays were special, the passengers were allowed into the luggage holds for a few minutes to get a change of clothes. Bathing was with sea soap and salt water; men dousing themselves on deck with buckets of water, and ladies using a hand basin below decks. Washing of clothes was allowed after rain, or if and when there was spare fresh water. Cooking was done on open fire places on deck. You boiled your own portion of water in a copper for tea. The only galley was on the upper deck and during storms waves would douse the fires and food could not be cooked.

When the family accompanied by Jessie's younger sister Charlotte, embarked on The SS Resolute in The Firth of Clyde on the 14th March 1865, it was under the auspices of The Immigration Scheme to settle land South of Auckland called Kirikiri (now known as Pukekohe).

If they stayed on their land grants, 10 rural acres and acre in the township, for a period of three years, it would be theirs. It is not known whether the Herberts took up their land, or if they did why they did not stay in Pukekohe.

Herd’s Point - Rawene - The Hokianga - The Taheke
Rawene, by Jean Irvine.

"New Zealand’s earliest planned settlement, when Captain Herd of the Rosanna landed a band of hopeful colonists in 1827. Herd bought for "The New Zealand Company" the peninsula of Rawene and part of Motukaraka. The intending immigrants took fright at the Maori welcome and went onto Sydney, only one being brave enough to stay on, although three or four joined him a few months later. Their names are shown as MacLean, Nesbit, Gillies and James Nimmo.New Zealand’s earliest planned settlement, when Captain Herd of the Rosanna landed a band of hopeful colonists in 1827. Herd bought for "The New Zealand Company" the peninsula of Rawene and part of Motukaraka. The intending immigrants took fright at the Maori welcome and went onto Sydney, only one being brave enough to stay on, although three or four joined him a few months later. Their names are shown as MacLean, Nesbit, Gillies and James Nimmo. New Zealand’s earliest planned settlement, when Captain Herd of the Rosanna landed a band of hopeful colonists in 1827. Herd bought for "The New Zealand Company" the peninsula of Rawene and part of Motukaraka. 

Some of these "Scots Mechanics" as they were known helped establish the Horeke Shipyards. A total of six ships were built at Horeke before 1840 and were mainly used for running cargoes of kauri to Sydney, where as early as 1820 Mr. Browne was selling it for 20/- per hundred for 1 inch boards."

In 1866, the Herbert family were in Kohukohu, and on 22 July had Wilhelmina Elizabeth Charlotte. Later that year they were in Rawene or Herd's Point, with a house and shop on Clendon Esplanade where they remained for most of their lives, owning 10 acres (shown Freeholders of New Zealand 1882 as being worth 740), two cottages on the beach and later a house and a barn on the outskirts of the township. The town cemetery is on Mount Herbert, across the road from the Hospital. In 1900 Joseph purchased 84 acres in Utakura from William John Jenkins, but never lived there. This land remains in the family today.

The cows that supplied the fresh milk for the shop were kept on a tidal island in the Waima River, which in rough weather proved an interesting excursion, to milk them and return with the milk intact.

Vegetables were grown for sale in the shop.

Rawene showing Herberts store on the beach front on the left with the house behind.
Rawene showing Herberts store on the beach front on the left with the house behind.

Two further sons were born, Joseph Nisbet - 27 December 1868 and Thomas in 1869. Both at Herd's Point. Joseph is shown as Shoemaker on Joseph Nisbet Herbert’s birth certificate so presumably he was still working as one as well as running the store.

Joseph Snr was a member of the School Committee, an Interpreter for the Maori Land Court and in later years a J. P. He died on 21 May 1917 and is shown in Wise's Postal directory of 1918 as being a shopkeeper so the store was probably still operating up until his death. In 1898 during what became known as "The Dog Tax Wars" Jessie refused to leave her home and take refuge in Kohukohu along with the other women and children, when Rawene was evacuated.



In her ninety-sixth year Mrs. Jessie C. Herbert passed away yesterday at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. V. Allen, Tenterden Avenue, Mount Eden. Born at Lerwick, Shetland Isles, in 1829 - eight years before the late Queen Victoria ascended the throne - she emigrated to New Zealand with her husband in 1865, coming out in the ship Resolute. The following year they went up to Hokianga, which in those days was in a very primitive state, and the countryside was full of Maoris. Mr. Herbert was well known for years on the river as a storekeeper and farmer and there was not a more hospitable couple in the district. Mrs. Herbert, who, though a "little body" as they say in her parts of the world, was a most resolute and fearless woman, and gave an instance of this during the threatened rebellion among the natives at Waima , Hokianga, some twenty five years ago. When it looked as though there was certain to be trouble the women and children at Rawene were removed, but Mrs. Herbert refused to stir from her home, and there she stayed. Mr. Herbert died in 1917, and since then Mrs. Herbert has been living with her daughter in Auckland. She retained her faculties right up to the end and also kept up her interest in current events. She could read the "Star" without glasses up to within three weeks of her death. She leaves in addition to her daughter, three sons, Messrs. James Herbert, John Herbert and Joseph Herbert, all of Hokianga. sic

Wises Directory: 1890

HOKIANGA. Auckland prov.
182m N. W. fr Auckland City: in Hokianga County:
post town + tel. Status.
Pop 450, chiefly in kaurigum and timber trade.

Wises Directory: 1918

Rawene - Auckland
182 m fr Onehunga; stm via Hokianga. Hokianga Co.
Bank N.S; Tel + M. O.; half hol Thurs
Herbert, Jos. J. P. Storekeeper.

Family came too….

Charlotte and Thomas Hudson

Jessie’s sister, Charlotte, who had come with them to New Zealand, married Captain Thomas Hudson, a widower, who had also been a passenger on The Resolute. Their marriage, 31st December 1867, was the first marriage at The Waima Wesleyan Chapel. The witnesses were Joseph Herbert, Shoe Maker, Hokianga and A. Chapman, Shipwright, Hokianga. Thomas and Charlotte purchased land at Taheke and built the Taheke Hotel.

Taheke Post office opened 1 January 1879, with Thomas Hudson as Post Master, when he accepted the duties of receiving and dispatching the settler’s mail per the coach which came by Taheke from Kaikohe, each week. Mail also came in by boat once a week from Rawene. Thomas is shown as owning the Hotel in 1880. He died in Auckland, where he had been taken for better medical treatment, on 10th July 1883. Charlotte is known to have leased out the hotel for some years as there are letters asking for the rent. She is still shown as Proprietoress in 1890-1891. It is known that her niece Alexandrina came out from Scotland and helped her in the Hotel, and Joseph Nisbet Herbert, her nephew, is shown as the Post Master at Taheke, from 1 June 1889 until 1 February 1896. Joseph is shown as Store Keeper in the 1896-97 Directory and on his marriage certificate. Another nephew, Thomas Herbert, is shown in The Wise’s Directory as being a Saddler in Taheke. It is thought that in later years Charlotte also owned and operated a Millinery Shop in Queen Street, Auckland.

Entry in Wises Directory 1918 reads:

Taheke - Auckland
190m N. W>fr Auckland; stmr to Rawene; thence motor launch 10m; or stmr to Russell; then ch (coach)bi-weekly 43m. Hokianga Co. Tel + M.O.

Advertisement for the Hotel in Wises New Zealand Post 1918 Directory reads:


Mrs Johnson Proprietor.

Having become the Proprietoress

Horses, Stables, Boats, Billiards, Etc

The launch "Taheke" runs a ferry service every Friday to meet Northern Coys. Steamer. Returning Saturday.

It is believed that Charlotte was responsible for the emigration, from Leith, of nieces Margaret and Alexandrina Williamson, daughters of brother John and sister-in-law Ann Fullerton, after their parents deaths.

Charlotte died on July 8th 1916 and is buried in Plot No 3 at Rawene Cemetery.

Margaret and Robert Coghill

Jessie’s other sister Margaret, husband Robert Coghill and their three daughters, Elizabeth Anderson, Isabella and Margaret, and son-in-law Alexander Anderson, came to New Zealand on the SS City of Auckland in 1877 and settled in Upper Union Street, which is the address given by Charlotte on many of her letters, it is not known if she lived with the Coghills in later years, or had her own residence there.

Alexander Anderson was a school teacher, as was Elizabeth who had trained in Leith, and they taught at Kohukohu, Rawene, Rangiahua and Maraeroa. Finally settling in Mangataraire Valley.

Isabella Coghill married Captain Edward Scott, a widower with three small sons. The Scotts lived in Upper Queen Street, Auckland and Captain Scott sailed the New Zealand Coast. One of the ships he captained being the SS Janet Nicoll, a regular visitor to Rawene.

Our thanks to Brenda McLeish for this story



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