This prompted me to not only find the references to my 2*great grandfather being imprisoned for refusing to let his wife be evacuated from Taranaki to Nelson, but also to see what other background may be available about this particular incident at the time of what are now known as the Land Wars.
Four newspapers reported the incident:
- The Taranaki Herald (8 Sep 1860)
- The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle (11 Sep 1860)
- Colonist (14 Sep 1860)
- Otago Witness (6 Oct 1860)
PapersPast tells us that the "Colonist was founded in 1857 by a group of Nelson residents as a means to oppose the dominance of the large landowners of the district. At the time its only opposition was the Nelson Examiner, which the Colonist was largely established to challenge and to provide an alternative voice". Issues appear to have been Tuesdays (11 Sep) and Fridays (14 Sep).
"The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle was the first newspaper published in the South Island. It was established by Charles Elliott (1811-1876) in 1842, within a few weeks of the New Zealand Company settlers arriving in Nelson" and had publication dates around this time of Tues 11th, Wed 12th, Sat 15th, Wed 19th Sep.
PapersPast adds that the "Taranaki Herald was the first newspaper published in Taranaki, with New Plymouth being the last of the early European settlements to get its own newspaper. The paper survived a number of controversies in its early years ... "
Conditions in New Plymouth were becoming crowded as the families were encouraged to move into the town where they could be better protected, and given the date of the following advertisement still being carried in the local paper 6 months later, had been for some time:
The Taranaki Herald of 8th Sep 1860:
WHEREAS it is essentially necessary in the present crowded state of the town that every precaution should be taken to prevent accidents from fire, Notice is hereby given that the penalties imposed under the Municipal Police Ordinance against persons allowing their chimneys to catch fire will be rigidly enforced. And all persons are hereby warned not to light fires out of doors in the town. G. CUTFIELD, Superintendent. New Plymouth, 9th March, 1860.
Also in the same issue was this rather ill-tempered sounding Proclamation by Lieut Colonel R Carey, Deputy Adjutant-General, from New Plymouth Head Quarters:
A bit more background was found in the Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1860 Session I, E-03c (AtoJs, also - selectively - online), which puts a more serious light on affairs - soldiers can be put to better use than protecting women and children.
FURTHER PAPERS RELATIVE TO THE NATIVE INSURRECTION. CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR AND GENERALS GOLD AND PRATT. (IN CONTINUATION OF PAPERS PRESENTED ON THE 4TH SEPTEMBER 1860.)Item 34 attached is a letter from Major General Pratt CB to the Governor Gore-Brown CB, in which he summarises events since his arrival the month before:
Where did this leave Simon and Jane?
The evacuations to Nelson show up in the Shipping Intelligence columns of the Taranaki Herald where Issue 423, 8 September 1860, Page 2 lists on the White Swan (s.s.) sailing for Nelson under Capt. Wilson on the 6th Sept:
Passengers— Mr and Mrs R. Lethbridge and family, Mr and Mrs S. Howell and family, Mr and Mrs Henry and family, Mr and Mrs Symes and family, Mr and Mrs Pote and family, Mr and Mrs R. Pope and family, Mr and Mrs R. Baker and family, Mrs Fathers and family, Mrs D. Bishop and family, Mrs J. Ward and family, Mrs G. Jordan and family, Mrs T. Hempton and family, Mrs C. Sampson and family, Mrs S. Andrews and family, Mrs Gibbons and family, Mrs Rossiter and family, Mrs G. Giddy and family, Mrs H. H. Wood, Mrs Consins and family, Mrs T. Bayly and family, Mrs J. Colesby and family, Mrs J. Knight and family. Mrs W. Sole and family, Mrs Honnor and family, Mrs Copestake and family, Mrs P. P[ris?]ke and family, Mrs Brooks and family, Mrs H. Turner and family, Mrs Sands, Mrs Brooking and family, Mrs Wollaston, Messrs Gollop, Scott, and Hurlstone.
Further down the page was the first of the reports found mentioning Simon and his partners in crime (it was even stated as treason in a later report, journalistic license I hope):
After Jane had already left, reports appear in the paper showing that additional support for Simon's actions had been given by the boatmen:
Further reports before and after show some of the impact on those concerned and the support offered from other areas.
The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XIX, Issue 73, 8 September 1860 reports clothing being sent from Wellington to New Plymouth with a subsequent agreement that all women's and children's clothing to be forwarded to Nelson and men's to be retained in New Plymouth, which is reported to curretly hold about 1,200 women and children, 630 of whom are receiving rations, most being scheduled to leave. About 250 had permission to remain.
By Feb 1861 complaints were being voiced about the refugees' treatment by the Government agent, and becoming concerned about facing a Nelson winter (February is currently our hottest month, evidence for climate change, or just worry about the wheels of government ever moving slowly?)