John and Laura Henderson had eight children between 1845 and 1857 by which time Laura was forty one. Their first four boys all went into the Royal Navy and are the subject of the last article in this series. Two more sons followed, Everard in 1852 and George in 1853, and they must almost have given up hope of ever having a daughter when Flora was born in 1855 and then Elizabeth two years later. The church records show that George died in infancy and was buried in March 1855.
Everard Hannam Henderson
Everard was born at Ivy (Ilex) Cottage and went to King’s School, Canterbury. The hope may have been that he would take over the family farm because in the 1871 census he is recorded as being a “farm pupil” at Upton House. In January 1873 he went to King’s College, London to study in the Department of Applied Science but only stayed one term. For some reason, and agriculture was certainly experiencing a downturn at the time, he decided to make his life overseas. He tried, unsuccessfully, to join the Department of Woods and Forests in India and eventually went to New Zealand in 1875.
After gaining some Antipodean farming experience he acquired a joint interest in a station to the south of Whakatane. This proved not to be a good property and after three years, in 1880, he moved further round the coast to Hicks Bay where he leased a 3,000 acre run at Matakaoa Point. He gained the confidence of the local Maoris and spoke their language fluently.
He married Ngarangi Kamaea Ngatoko and the first of his five children, Arthur, was born in about 1884. He acted as a “go-between” for the Maoris and whites or Pakehas as they are known and helped with Maori land titles and tribal sub-divisions. In 1897 his wife died and he moved a short way round the bay to Te Araroa. He married Mereaira Paratete shortly afterwards and his youngest son, George, was born around 1898.
He took a keen interest in local affairs becoming the first Chairman of Waiapu County and was closely associated with its Hospital Board. He was also one of the earliest Justices of the Peace for the area. In his later life he became known as the “Grand Old Man” of Te Araroa and was much loved and respected. He made return visits to England in 1889 and again in 1895, shortly before his father died. His brothers visited him when their naval duties took them to Australia or New Zealand. He died in Gisborne in 1920 and is buried at Te Araroa.
Flora was born in 1855 at the Shrubbery in Worth. When she was growing up she would have helped her mother run Upton House and, as a farmer’s daughter with no secondary education, a good marriage was her best option.
Upton House (Today a home for the elderly)
In 1881 she visited her brother’s home in Mylor, Cornwall while he was on HMS Ganges, a boys’ training ship in Falmouth. Her sister-in-law already had one son, just over a year old, and was pregnant again so another pair of hands must have been very welcome. Flora married in Worth church in 1885 almost exactly a year after her mother died. Her groom was John James Sayer Harvey, a land agent and surveyor. The Sayers were old family friends and their great grand parents had known each other well. Their only child, John, was born the following year at the family home in Adisham. At the end of the century they moved to Canterbury where John continued to work, on a self employed basis from home. Flora was widowed in 1913 but would have remained reasonably well provided for under the terms of the trust set up by her father. She outlived all her brothers and died in May 1938 at Canterbury.
The real enigma is the youngest daughter, Elizabeth Marguerite Hannam Henderson or Daisy as she was affectionately known. Her childhood would have been very similar to her sister’s and the family moved to Upton House when she was eight. On the face of it, she appears to have been the dutiful, youngest daughter who was expected to stay at home. Daisy and Flora gave Everard an album of family photographs when he went off to New Zealand. There is no evidence that she ever married and in every census from 1861 to 1891 she is with her parents. By 1891 Upton House had been sold, her mother had died, Flora had married and yet she was still with her father, down in Bath. But was it that straight forward? There is a strong hint that she had a child, probably in her thirties. In 1894 her father added a codicil to his will leaving money in trust to her for life passing thereafter to her children, legitimate or illegitimate.
That wording was not used in Flora’s trust. It took me five years to find out what did happen because Daisy doesn’t show up in the 1901 Census. What I did find was two Marguerites living together in Brinkworth, Wiltshire but with a surname “Hendy”. The ages were right for a ‘mother and daughter’ and the mother had been born at “Worthin,Kent”. So taking the age of the daughter I looked for the birth of a Marguerite Henderson in that area and there she was; Marguerite Loder Vachell Henderson born in Bath, first quarter of 1894. The birth certificate confirmed that Daisy was the mother but there was no name of the father.
How brave she was to be a single mother in the Victorian age, she chose to describe herself as a “widow” and had changed her name but it was still very courageous by the standards of the time. No trace of them in the 1911 Census but the story doesn’t end there because in 1938 Marguerite marries her first cousin John (Flora’s son) and who is there at the wedding……..her mother, now in her eighties, seeing her illegitimate daughter marrying back into the family. Also at the wedding in Piccadilly is her nephew, Reggie Henderson. John and Marguerite seem to have waited until his mother had died before they get married and, as they never have any children, both lines die out.
And the father; well we can only speculate but I think the answer is in Marguerite’s middle names. Those of you who do a bit of genealogy can work it out !