It is thanks to Mary Ryan that we can now go back further with the Gilbert ancestors. She also has photocopies of relevant parish records of direct ancestors, although the full families are shown. Hopefully, people viewing this site who are related will make contact with us and they might be able to add to the information also.

The Thomas Gilbert family arrived in NZ from Warwickshire, England on the Indian Queen in 1857 and settled in the Ohariu  Valley out of Wellington. Around 1879 he left Wellington and settled in Woodville where he owned a farm and ran the Central Hotel. His first wife died and was buried in Ohariu. He remarried a much younger woman who increased his offspring but from all accounts this was not a very successful relationship. Thomas's youngest brother also came to NZ and his family can be found below. (yet to be completed).

William Gilbert.
William Gilbert and wife Alice (nee Leslie).
Jessie Eileen
Madge Rita
Thomas Gilbert
Ailsa and John Sinclaire - children of Madge

Gilbert Family Tree

                                                                 William                      m. by Lic.                   Mary Ball
                                                         of Sheepey, Leic           18 Jun 1742            of Sheepey, Leic
                                                                                                        I                       all c. Sheepy Magna
                   I                                                  I                                                    I                                                     I
            Elizabeth                                      William                                  Walter Charles                                       John
         14 Jun 1743                                3 Jun 1745                                  11 Jun 1747                                  28 Sep 1749
                                                                                                             bur. 21 Jun 1808
                                                                                                                                                                    m. 17 Jun 1772
                                                                                                                                                                    Sheepy Magna
                                                                                                                                                                   Elizabeth Garrett
                                                                                                                                                                      11 Mar 1753
                                                                                                                                                                   bur. 21 Jan 1808

                                                all c. Maxstoke                                                                   
                   I                                  I                                       I                                     I                                I                               I
             Charles                     Elizabeth                          Thomas                  Walter Charles                 William                       Ann 
         24 Jan 1773               22 Oct 1775                    23 Mar 1777                18 Oct 1778               18 Jun 1780            21 Nov 1789
       bur. 4 Apr 1773          bur. 4 Feb 1793            bur. 16 Feb 1845
           Maxstoke                    Maxstoke            St. Nicholas, Curdworth  
                                                                                         Mary                                             all c. Curdworth      
               I                            I                             I                            I                           I                             I                             I                              I                            I
           Anne                  Hannah                    John                   Joseph                 Sophia                  Joseph                   Sophia                  Elizabeth                 Mary
  c. 20 Mar 1803        c. 5 Apr 1807        c. 7 Feb 1809       c. 7 Aug 1810       c.15 Jan 1812      c. 5 Nov 1815         c. 8 Mar 1817        c. 10 Mar 1820      c. 4 Jun 1821
                                                                    d. 1861                d. 1810                 d. 1814
                                                                                             bur. 12 Aug           bur. 24 Jan
                                                             m. 13 Oct 1831                                                              m. 21 Jan 1839
                                                   Ashted St. James the Less                                                      St. Peter & Paul                                               
                                                               Birmingham                                                                          Aston
                                                               Anne Horton                                                                Frances Russell
                                                                b. Jul 1805                                                                        b. 1819
                                                                    Aston                                                                         Lea Marston
                                                             d. 4 Nov 1873                                                                      d. 1859  
                                                                        I                                                                              Curdworth
                                                                        I                                                                               bur. 7 Dec
                                                                        I                             ____________________I_________________________
                                                                        I                            I                             I                               I                             I
                                                                        I                        Mary                   Thomas                    Sophia                   William
                                                                        I                     2Q 1839                                                   1849               b. 14 Apr 1857
                                                                        I                                                                                                                Minworth
                                                                        I                c. 5 May 1839       c. 27 Dec 1840                                       c. 14 Apr 1872
                                                                        I                   Curdworth             Curdworth                                    St George, Birmingham
                                                                        I                     d. 1854                  d. 1853                                    
                                                                        I                   bur. 23 Apr            bur. 23 Jan
                                                                        I                   Curdworth             Curdworth
                                                                        I                                     all c. Water Orton, St. Peter & Paul
             I                                I                              I                             I                               I                                  I                                       I 
         Eliza                      Thomas                   George                    John                        John                       Sarah Ann                         George
b. 21 Oct 1832          b. 4 Feb 1835               b. 1837            b. 30 Jul 1839          b. 22 Oct 1841           b. 28 Apr 1843                b. 25 Nov 1849
    c. 28 Oct                   c. 15 Feb                                                                                                                   c. 30 Apr                        c. 30 Nov                                       
                                   Water Orton                d. 1848            d. 30 Oct 1840              d. 1858                        d. 1844                           d. 1932
                                d. 24 May 1916                                                                     Sutton Coldfield          Sutton Coldfield                   Avondale
                                  Woodville, NZ                                                                         bur. 17 Jan                   bur. 29 Dec                  Auckland, NZ
                                   bur. 26 May                                                                           Water Orton                 Water Orton                m. 19 Mar 1871
                                   Gorge Cem.                                                                                                                                                 St. Peters & Paul
                                m. 14 Oct 1856                                                                                                                                                        Aston
                                    Aston Juxta                                                                                                                                                   Elizabeth Cash
                                    Birmingham                                                                                                                                                  b. 11 Feb 1850 
                                  Mary Ann Lea                                                                                                                                                    Birmingham
                                  (nee Stringer)                                                                                                                                                 d. 11 Nov 1919
                                        1828                                                                                                                                                       Ngaruwhahia, NZ
                                  d. 7 Jul 1879
                              m. 2 Sarah Brand                                                                                                                                              see below for kids
                            see below for kids
              I                              I                            I                            I                            I                              I                              I                               I                           I
        William                    George               Elizabeth                female                   Arthur                   Thomas            Walter Douglas             Frederick           Wentworth
    7 Dec 1857             7 Dec 1857          24 Apr 1859         24 Apr 1859          24 Oct 1860          10 Mar 1862           10 Mar 1864             28 Apr 1866         30 Sep 1867
  Ohariu Valley           Ohariu Valley        Ohariu Valley      Ohariu Valley         Ohariu Valley         Ohariu Valley          Ohariu Valley           Ohariu Valley       Ohariu Valley
  d. 18 Mar 1949        d. 1 Dec 1860       d. 2 Dec 1957     d. 24 Apr 1859      d. 10 Feb 1948      d. 11 Nov 1940       d. 23 Jun 1926                                     d. 10 Sep 1869
    Mangamutu           Ohariu Valley                                    Ohariu Valley           Pahiatua               Mangamutu              Woodville                                          Ohariu Valley
  gravestone below                                                                                                                                                              gravestone below
  m. 21 Jan 1891                                         m. 1894                                       m. 23 Sep 1882                                    m. 28 Dec 1897             m. 1890
    Alice Leslie                                     George John Best                               Esther Salmons                                  Elizabeth Stewart       Nellie Ramage
    4 Dec 1871                                                                                                        1866                                                   Kennedy
     Onehunga                                                                                                                                                                 11 Jul 1876
  d. 4 Nov 1965                                                                                               d. 29 Mar 1955                                       d. 24Jul 1949
                                                                                                                           Pahiatua                                                Hastings

          m.2  9 Apr 1880
         Sarah Ann Brand
            b. 4 Feb 1858
           d. 17 Nov 1934
                     I                                         I                                       I                                         I                                            I                                            I 
     George Wentworth                 Norman John                    Amelia Jane                        Effie Lila                          Francis Gordon                     Neville Wallace
          17 Jan 1881                       23 Dec 1882                     3 Feb 188?                      24 Oct 1888                          29 Jul 1890                            9 Sep 1892
            Woodville                            Woodville                        Woodville                         Woodville                              Woodville                               Woodville
                                                         d. 1975                      d. 29 Aug 1888                 d. 14 Sep 1960                     d. 19 Feb 1891
                                                                                               Woodville                                                                       Woodville                          
       m. 20 Dec 1914                   m. 6 Apr 1916                                                           m. 28 Dec 1911                                                                        m. 1919

Mary Dinsmore Battersby      Claire Mary Sinclaire                                               Thomas Gordon Short                                                               Muriel Watson

       d. 15 May 1961                   d. 9 Jan 1953

ELIZA GILBERT 1832: 1841 - 8 yrs, with parents.
ELIZABETH GILBERT 1775: Died aged 17 yrs.
ELIZABETH GILBERT 1820: 1841 - 20 yrs, living with parents.
GEORGE GILBERT 1849: 1900-1906 Stratford, 1908-1911 Franklin, Te Akatea, 1919 Raglan-Waingaro Rd Ngaruawhia, Farmer.
Wife ANN ELIZABETH DEAKIN JOY: Daughter of Frederick Joy and Georgina Wilks.
JOHN GILBERT 1749: Witnesses to marriage Thomas Roden (x) and William Penny.
Wife ELIZABETH GARRETT 1753: Daughter of Charles Garrett and Anne Rhodes. Died aged 57 yrs.
JOHN GILBERT 1809: 1841 - 30 yrs, Agricultural labourer, dwelling Water Orton Bridge with wife, three children (Eliza 8, Thomas 6, and John 7mths) and 3 boarders born out of county. 1851 -  41 yrs, agr. lab. dwelling Water Orton with wife and three children - Thomas 16 yrs son, John 10 yrs son, George 1 yr son.
1861 cencus, Nether Whitacre: John 51yrs Head, Farmer and Coal dealer, living with wife and son - George 11yrs Scholar.
Witnesses at wedding: Thos Gibson, Mary Horton. Curate: T.H. Harrison. Both bride and groom and Mary Horton were illiterate.
Wife ANNE HORTON: 1851 - 45 yrs. 1861 - 55 yrs.
JOSEPH GILBERT 1815: 1841 - 25 yrs, Agricultural labourer, dwelling Minworth (Curdworth Parish) with wife and two children (Mary 2 and Thomas 6 months) as well as heaps of lodgers: -
ASKILL James M 45 Excavator Warwickshire
ASKILL John    M 20 Excavator Warwickshire
FRENCH      JosephM 20 Excavator Warwickshire
SPENCER    Henry   M 35 Excavator Outside Census County (1841)
SPENCER    Jane     F  30           Outside Census County (1841)
SPENCER    Ann       F  11           Warwickshire
Wife FRANCES RUSSELL 1819: 1841 - 20 yrs.
MARY GILBERT 1839: 1841 - 2 yrs, with parents.
THOMAS GILBERT abt 1777: 1841 - 65 yrs, Agricultural Labourer, dwelling Curdworth with wife and 20 yr old daughter Elizabeth - also a couple of boarders in residence from out of Warwick.
Wife MARY: 1841 - 65 yrs.
THOMAS GILBERT 1835: Arrived NZ aboard "Indian Queen" 1857. Lived at Ohariu until about 1979 then
went to Woodville. General servant aged 16 in 1851 cencus.
Pahiatua Electoral Roll 1897 Thomas was a farmer Woodville and Sarah household duties. Ran Central Hotel in Woodville.
Known as "old Tom".
Jurors list District of Port Nicholson - Thomas Gilbert - Wgtn - Carter.  1865 Electoral Roll -
Buried plot 75 block13.
"An old settler, Mr Thomas Gilbert of Woodville, Hawkes Bay, died on Wednesday last week in his 82nd year. He came to NZ in the Indian Queen 59 years ago and was engaged in farming at Ohariu Valley near Wellington until his removal, about 27 years ago, to Woodville where he also engaged in farming. He was the eldest son of Mr John Gilbert of Water Orton, Warwickshire, England. Mr Gilbert leaves a widow and eight sons and two daughters. One of the sons is at the Front. Mr Gilbert’s brother lives at Fearnlea, Ngaruawahia." [AWN 01.06.1916]
Wife MARY ANN STRINGER 1828:  Mary Stringer married William Lea, a soldier (private) in the 82nd regiment, on 23 October 1850 at the registry office in Portsea Island. She was illiterate but he able to sign his name. Both witnesses illiterate.  On any subsequent certificates Mary has given her father-in-laws name in place of her father. Mary had a daughter by her first marriage to William Lea - Sarah Ann - known as Annie who stayed on in England but later came out as a teenager and met her husband to be - Daniel Draper on the ship to NZ. She apparently made a trip back to England some years later with her family.
THOMAS GILBERT 1840: 1841 - 6 mths, with parents.
WALTER CHARLES GILBERT 1747: Died aged 62 yrs.
WILLIAM GILBERT 1857:  One of twins both registered 1858 Nos. 70 and 71 Wellington. They had a farm in Pahiatua called Remore.  Headstone: In loving memory of William, beloved husband of Alice Gilbert, died 18 Mar 1949 aged 92; Alice Gilbert died 4 Nov 1965 aged 95 years.
Wife ALICE LESLIE: Father supposedly sent out as a remittance man because of relationship with servant.  He was previously in the Guard. Barbara Grainger has a photo on glass of him.
Birth Cert. no. 121 in Auckland 1872. Marriage cert. no. 328 in 1891.  Headstone: In loving memory of William, beloved husband of Alice Gilbert,
died 18 Mar 1949 aged 92; Alice Gilbert died 4 Nov 1965 aged 95 years.  Alice 21yrs old when Jessie was born.

                                                      Goeoge Gilbert                     m.                   Elizabeth Cash
                                                       b. 25 Nov 1849          19 Mar 1871            b. 11 Feb 1850
                                                           Aston, War.        St. Peter & Pauls         Birmingham
                                                             England             Aston, Warwick            War., Eng.
            I                           I                            I                         I                                I                          I                         I                        I                                I                             I                           I                               I
        Fred           Elizabeth  Annie         Lizzie            Louisa  Jane       John Vernon     Thomas  Alfred        Male       Charlotte Mary      Clara Florence     Louis George    Walter Edward      Ann Emily Violet
  b. 4 Jan 1872     b. 27 Feb 1873    b. 1 Sep 1874    b. 12 May 1876     b. 26 Sep 1877    b. 16 Mar 1879       b. 1880      b. 27 Jan  1881       b. 28 Mar 1882    b. 19 Oct  1883    b. 25 Apr 1885         b. 8 Jul 1887
        Eng.               Birmingham              Eng.             Johnsonville      Johnsonville         Lower Hutt              NZ               Kumeroa                 Kumeroa            Woodville           Woodville              Woodville
                                                                                     d. 18 May 1961     d. 5 Aug 1880        d. 5 Apr 1931       d. 1880        d. 20 Apr 1963               d. 1961          d. 17 Dec1886     d. 28 Jan1935        d. 8 Jun 1968         
                                                                                             1961                 Kumeroa                Hamilton                                   Otahuhu                                              Woodville           Auckland                  
                                                          m.                       m. 20 Jul 1898                                         m. 1904                                m. 5 Jun 1899                                                                        m. 1909                  m.
                                                                                       Dannevirke                                         Waipawa                                    Statford                                                                           Auckland
                                                             Williams          Edward Evans                          Margaret Mary Burgess                 Henry Laundy    Ernest John Gillam                             Ida May Rowe     Cyril Edgecombe

The histories of the Gilberts and Brands have been put together from a number of different sources but I must give great thanks to Gwenyth Gilbert for her patient research at the Turnbull Library and at St. Catherine’s House in London.  Most of the actual dates come from her, and much else besides.  Not all has been included in this story as too much detail of dates and people not directly involved would only confuse the whole.

Effie and Gordon

Gordon had now completed his Medical degree.  He had spent some time at Christchurch hospital and had done several locums for South Island doctors, when he saw, and applied for, a position as medical officer to the Westport Coal company to be located at Denniston.  There was a very good salary offered, a free house and as much coal as was wanted.  He applied for this job and was very pleased to get it.  Of course the good salary was for a reason which only became evident later.  Denniston is situated on top of a mountain, separated from the rest of the country by 7 miles of winding mountain road.  Being on top of the mountain, for 360 days of the year it was swathed in misty rain.  It is true that ton those other days of the year there was the most wonderful view of the ocean, 280° of boundless blue sea.  But on all those other days all that fee coal was being used, with fires burning night and day in all the rooms in order to combat the damp.  The coal was just dumped on the ground outside the door and as it was used up another load was dumped.  There were no fences in Denniston, no gardens, no pathways.  The ground was covered with stones, large and small, the houses were all built higgledy piggeldy facing any which way, of corrugated iron unpainted, grey and dreary, as though they had been dropped at random.

The miners doubtless good people in their own way, were rough and uneducated, many from the coal mines of England.  The most important building after the Post Office and Bank was the Hotel and Pub.  Frequent drunken brawls were the only entertainment for the populace.

In the meantime on the strength of these bright prospects Gordon sent off a long telegram to Effie who was staying together with her mother with her mother’s sister Jenny, in Christchurch.  He was urging her to be prepared for the earliest possible marriage.  Effie’s mother was very ill from a nervous breakdown.  In fact this had been going on for some years, but now had become much worse with attempts at suicide.  She had been sent down from Woodville to her sister in Christchurch, hoping that the change of environment would help her.  But she lay all day in a darkened room with someone in attendance to see that she came to no harm.  This someone was her daughter.  She cared for her mother, spending her days in that dark room, except for very occasional outings to have a painting lesson.  She spent her days with a tiny corner of the blind in her mother’s room turned back, tying to paint as best she could.  That was her only outlet.  When Gordon’s telegram arrived Effie was in despair.  There seemed no prospect of marriage.  Her mother seemed to be her responsibility and what to do about that.  She felt trapped.  However, other members of the family rallied around.  They arranged for Sara to be accommodated in a rest home (no free hospital expenses then), and organized Effie’s wedding in Wellington.

(In course of time Sara became much better but she spent the rest of her life in various rest homes, ending her days at the age of 78 years in a convalescent home in St. Heliers Bay Road.  In her later years she found her Theosophical beliefs of great comfort, spending much of her time in reading their various publications.  She had become deaf following an illness in middle age and used a speaking trumpet which she carried in a black velvet bag.  She as something of a loner, perhaps and intellectual snob.  She made use of her deafness to avoid contact with those whom she found boring or uninterested in her own ideas, producing the trumpet only for the favoured few).

Gordon’s parents were not very much in favour of the wedding with Effie.  They had nothing against her, but they feared the taint of her mother’s instability might some day appear in her.  Gordon wrote a long letter to this mother from the West Coast saying in effect that he knew what he was doing (don’t all young people) and that he was going to marry her anyway, and there was no likelihood that Effie would go the way of her mother.  Well, his faith was justified.  The marriage was very successful and happy.  They remained wrapped up in each other all their lives.

So the wedding took place on 28th December 1911 the only hitch being the difficulty experiences by the groom in getting the necessary licence during the several days of Christmas holidays.  They were married by Gordon’s brother-in-law, Alfred Hosking, Mabel’s husband.

And so they set off on their honeymoon home to the West Coast, by the “Wahine” ferry to Picton and by Cobb and Co. coach over the Buller Gorge to Westport and their new home.

Gordon was happy in his work, finding it interesting and rewarding.  He dispensed his own medicines and did minor operations in his consulting room.  He had a good salary for a young doctor.  He rode a horse to visit his patients.  Sometimes he had to ride very far afield.  One trip to help an injured miner took him 4 days down the coast and back.

Effie, a very timid person, without much confidence at that time, was very frightened to be let alone.  She hated Denniston with its interminable rain and mist.  The first year brought much unhappiness in the still born birth of a little son.  Gordon took a little coffin down the mountain in his trap, and by rail to Granity, where it was laid in the cemetery.  However, a little more than a year later, the sun shone again with the birth of a daughter (Phyllis).  This baby flourished and grew fat and was a source of great joy.

Gordon was thinking seriously about getting away from Denniston.  It had served its purpose well.  He spent a year at Granity doing a locum for the local doctor who went off to England to visit his family.

During this time Gordon used to enjoy regular swims in the sea which was quite close to the doctor’s house.  On one occasion he plunged in and rescued a bather in difficulties, suffering from “cramp” and being swept out to sea.  Gordon did not seem to think much of his effort.  But he was very much embarrassed some time later to receive a medal for “bravery” from the Royal Humane Society, the rescued man having put his name before the Society to show his gratitude.

At the end of the year’s locum they moved to Kimbolton in the North Island.  Here another lovely daughter was born, Beryl.  But before long Gordon was very pleased to obtain a position as junior surgeon at the Waihi Hospital with the prospect of unlimited private practice.  In 1918, therefore they took up residence in a rented home in Moresby Avenue.   In due course a fine son was born, Ivan.  About this time Gordon bought a house in Gilmore Street, built on a surgery and waiting room and set up his practice. They also bought a small cottage on the beach at Tanner’s Point, the scene of frequent picnics and holidays with the children.

In 1924, Gordon and Effie together with their 3 children accompanied Gordon’s parents on a trip to England.  They sailed on the New Zealand Shipping Cos. steamer, the “Remuera”, which traveled via the Panama Canal, a journey of 4 weeks.  The return trip was taken in the Orient Cos. steamer, “Orvieto” to Sydney, and thence by the “Ullamaroa” to Auckland.  These steamers of no more than about 6,000 tonnes carried three classes of passenger, 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  The Short’s traveled by 2nd class.

During the 6 months spent in England Gordon studied at various hospitals, wrote a thesis on “Miners’ Pthisis”, the matter gleaned from his practice among the miners of Waihi, and obtained the M.D. degree.

Soon after the return to Waihi where a locum had been looking after his practice, in 1926, another son, Aubrey was born.  About this time they sold the bach at Tanner’s Point and built another cottage of 3 rooms at Waihi Beach, opposite the Pohutukawa picnic ground.  From then on every school holiday and nearly every Sunday was spent at Waihi Beach.

Things went on at an even pace until 1930 when Gordon sold his practice and set out to fulfill his ambition of studying Psychiatry.   Together with his family of 4 children he set off for London in the “Baradine” from Sydney through the Suez Canal.  Here he studied or more than a year, at the Maudsley Hospital in London, and for a period at the Blackaddon Mental Hospital on Dartmoor.  At the end of this time he sat for and was awarded the Diploma of Psychiatric Medicine, the highest qualification to be obtained in Psychiatry.

Upon returning to New Zealand he set up a consulting practice in Auckland in the Power Board building.  He also bought the house at 115 Remuera Road, at that time numbered “25” as there were still empty sections at the Newmarket end.  In 1939 they  moved to the house at Fern Avenue.

The following year Gordon helped to set up the Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic at Auckland Hospital in Grafton Road, and until his retirement was the head of the Psychiatric Department which he had helped set up.  Gordon had been a Mason for very many years.  At the time of his death he was about to receive the highest honour, he was to have been inducted into the office of Grand Master of all New Zealand.  He died in October 1955 at the age of 71 years.*

In the meantime Effie had been busy bringing up her family.  She was for many years a keen member of the Remuera Croquet Club.  Her large garden was a source of great pride to her and occupied many of her hours.  She was a leading light in the Auckland Chess Club, and at one time was Lady Chess Champion of New Zealand for 2 years.  She died suddenly in 1960 (collapsed in the Dentist’s Waiting room and died on the spot) five years after Gordon.

* Gordon was for many years a member of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

In his book, “Doctor in the Sticks”, D.A. Bathgate had this to say about Denniston some 10 years later:

I found there was a vacancy at Denniston Hospital which was on top of a mountain district just north of Westport, 2000 feet up in the air.  There the coal was mined from a number of different mines and the trucks converged by ropeway to the head of the incline which was a steep declivity running down to the railway line at Waimangaroa Junction.  The trucks going down the incline were full-sized railway trucks and in descending the 2000 foot ropeway at a very steep grade, the trucks full of coal acted to pull the empty ones up.  At the top of the ropeway there was a giant spindle wheel where the speed of the trucks was under control of a brakeman.  It was illegal for any person to travel on any of these loaded trucks.

The road from Waimangaroa up to Denniston is seven miles in length.  There is a shorter way which could be taken on foot cutting across the deviations.   This shortened the trip to 5 miles.

The majority of the miners lived in company houses.  Most of these were crude looking, unpainted cottages dotted in and around rocky tops of Denniston Hill.  One remarkable thing about Denniston was that there was no soil on the hill top, just wind swept granite rock.

When I told one of my friends that I was going to Denniston, he said “What!  That place!  That’s where the nightman goes round during the day.”  You see, there are no proper streets and the houses and outhouses are all over the show.  The night-soil contractors refused to risk their necks and insisted on a day-time service.  I saw the system in action with the cart being slowly pulled round up and down what passed for streets by the well trained horse.

The doctor’s house which included a large dispensary with the drugs put up in cut glass decanters with the names of the contents in black and gold letters. ………….. The shelves were full from end to end and had among their contents some extraordinary concoctions which had long gone off the shelves of the chemists’ stocks in the city. ………… One disadvantage of these handsome glass stoppered and engraved containers was that when the fog lay over Denniston Hill, and that was more often than not, these bottles would be completely misted over as would every picture hanging in the house unless there was a good hot fire burning in the room………


Thomas Gilbert, Effie’s father came to N.Z. on the “Indian Queen” in January 1857, together with his wife Mary Ann (formerly Lee) and her two children by a previous marriage.

Thomas was born in the village of Water Orton in Warwickshire on 4th February 1835.  He was the second child in a family of 6 children, a 7th having died in infancy.  His father, John Gilbert had married Ann Horton on 13th October, 1831 in the church of Ashted St. James the Less.  In 1831 this was a fashionable suburb of Birmingham.  Nothing is known, however about the circumstances of John and Ann.  But in 1845 at the age of 10 years Thomas was apprenticed as a learner gardener at a nearby Manor.  He retained his love of gardens all his life although the exigencies of carving a farm out of the forest did not give him scope in this direction after his arrival in New Zealand.

Some time later he made a step up in the world, becoming a coach-man to a London doctor.  How long this lasted we do not know but, in October 1856,  at the age of 21 years, he was married to Mary Ann Lee, a young widow 7 years older than himself.  Shortly afterwards together with Mary Ann’s two children from her previous marriage (Violet and Lizzie) they set off for New Zealand.

Why they chose to do this is not known, but one may speculate.  About this time Edward Gibbon Wakefield who set up the New Zealand company was active in the vicinity of Water Orton.  Together with friends he was in the habit of visiting nearby, they enthusiastically set about dreaming up their scheme.  This was that the company was to “buy up” large tracts of land in New Zealand which they viewed as an unspoilt paradise on the other side of the world.  Here they would set up an ideal society – ideal for them – for they were to be the landed gentry, the rules of this new land.  This idea was most attractive to Wakefield who was something of an adventurer.  As a younger son he had no prospects in England and little income, although enjoying the tastes of nobility.  Indeed he was already in serious trouble for abducting a young heiress, only 16 years old, whom he hoped to marry.  (At that time a husband had sole control over property of his wife).  Some time later a law was introduced, “The Married Women’s Property Act” which protected the property of married women.  Wakefield was apprehended before he could marry the girl, and spent some time in prison as a consequence.

So this wonderful fantasy of the good life in the South Seas was very appealing.  The New Zealand company acquired large areas of land in Nelson and in the North Island.  Later on trouble with the Maoris broke out over  unsatisfactory land deals, the so called Maori Wars.  But that is another story.

There was only one snag in Wakefields’ scheme, they needed people to do the actual work to provide them with the good life.  So the New Zealand Company set about attracting emigrants who were promised land in the new Country, a very attractive possibility for many.  These exciting ideas had been current in the countrywide for some time so that young Thomas would be well aware of them in his decision to emigrate to far New Zealand.

Be that as it may, Thomas and Mary Ann arrived in New Zealand.  Mary Ann was heavily pregnant and it is said she gave birth to twin boys on Petone Beach soon after landing in the new Country.

Thomas was allotted a piece of land in the Ohariu Valley near Wellington, and the family set out to take possession.  This land was in standing bush, a daunting prospect for a young inexperienced man with a wife and 4 little children, his wife very soon pregnant again.  In due course she presented him with twins again, two girls, of whom one did not survive long.  In quick succession 5 more children were born, two of whom did not survive infancy.

It is very difficult to develop a property without some cash and there was little cash in the Gilbert household.  As the land was cleared the trees were cut up into firewood and carted to Wellington, trundled round the streets in a wheelbarrow.  This provided the only money in the early days.  As time went on and the land was cleared things became better, but not much, as every spare penny had to be put back into the land again.  One pities the wife under these circumstances.

However, “A Return of the Freeholders of New Zealand Wellington 1882-1184” mentions Gilbert, Thomas, farmer Ohariu, Hutt county as having 405 acres, value £2,800 and a further 284 acres in Waipawa Country, value £330, in all £3,130, not a bad sum for those days.  Thomas was an indefatigable worker and moreover had a good head on his shoulders as witness the above.

But Mary Ann had not survived to enjoy this.  She died on 7th July 1879, at the age of 51 years, a worn out woman.  Her grave could still be seen until recently in the Ohariu cemetery.

In less than a year Thomas married again.  His good friend, John Brand had arranged the marriage.  He sent for his daughter Sarah Ann to come from England.  So, on 9th April 1880, Thomas Gilbert was married to Sarah Ann Brand.  He was 45 years old, his bride was 22.  In 9 months Sarah gave birth to a son, who was named Wentworth after Thomas’ youngest son who had died in infancy.  Less than two years later another son was born, Norman.

This marriage was doomed to unhappiness from the beginning.  It was not a question of the difference in age.  They were two people of quite different temperament who had married for expediency, not love.

Thomas was a person of little schooling but with a good brain, of very tenacious temperament, very hard working, having a love of the land.  His daughter-in-law Claire, Norman’s wife, who had known him as an old man, a few years before his death, said of his death, said of him, “He was a dear old man”.  He also told her of his second marriage, “As I turned away from the Altar I knew that I had made a mistake”!

Sarah Ann Brand was born in London at 24 Hardington Street in Marylebone in February 1858.  She as the first child of John Brand and Jane Cudlar.  Not much is known about the early life of John Brand other than that he is described on Sarah’s birth certificate as “a Tarpauling” maker. 
When Sarah was 13 years old John Brand tool off for New Zealand on the “England” and vanished from the scene.  This was a very unhappy time for the family, as after a year or two their mother died.  Their mother’s relatives, the Lees took the children in then and they remained with their relatives until they left for New Zealand in 1880. 

Then right out of the blue their father’s letter, implying, though not actually stating any details, that he had made good in New Zealand and was sending for his children to join him.

But when they landed in New Zealand they found the actuality very different.  Their father had no home, he had made no provision for their reception, he immediately presented Sarah to his friend Thomas Gilbert, a man of 45 years with a grown up family, very recently widowed whom she was expected to marry forthwith.

Sarah was 22 years old.  She was shocked and distressed, not knowing what to do .  She did not feel ready to marry anybody, and certainly not this stranger.  She felt herself responsible for her younger sister and brother, however and this weighed heavily upon her.  She spent the whole, unhappy night, praying for a way out, for guidance.  The answer came that if she married Thomas she would be able to do something to help his children who had received a minimal education.  Their father who had made his own way through perseverance and hard work did not believe in schooling.

So, on 9th April 1880 Sarah became the wife of Thomas Gilbert.  It was a marriage of opposites, Thomas sternly practical and hard working, Sarah, young, inexperienced, well educated for a woman of her time, interested in things of the mind and spirit.

Thomas was not an unkind man.  He did everything he could to make his young wife happy.  But the situation in the family was not conducive to a peaceful life.  There were 7 children still at home, the eldest actually older than Sarah, the youngest 13 years, and none of them interested in Sarah’s well meant efforts to raise their level of culture.  Added to which she was very soon expecting a child, a son, Wentworth (named after the last born child of the previous marriage who had died in infancy).

In the meantime Sarah’s father, John Brand had returned to Dannevirke where he was living.  When he came out on the “England” with the Scandinavian settlers they had been granted land in the vicinity of Mauriceville in Hawkes Bay.  There is some doubt as to whether or not John Brand was granted land or not.  At all events if so, he did not clear it.  Not for him the slog of cutting down the virgin forest.

The trip out on the “England” had been a very traumatic one.  Constant gales had blown them far to the South among icebergs and arctic temperatures.  Add to this, illness had broken out on board, many people died of smallpox and measles.  They were in such a bad way that they were disembarked on Soames Island in Wellington Harbour, where they were kept for some weeks to recover and much of their clothing was burned.  This was the origin of Soames Island as a quarantine station.

Well, back in the Ohariu Valley life was anything but peaceful.  William, the eldest son had married Alice and Fred had married Nelly, the 16 year old girl who was working in the household as a domestic help, having first made her pregnant.  It was said that “the young wives were always quarrelling”!

However, after some time this situation resolved itself.  In 1884 Thomas gave up his land at Ohariu and purchased the newly built Central Hotel in Woodville.  Sarah, with two little children, Wentworth 3.5 years old and Norman 2 years old, with husband and step-children moved to Woodville, a small town confidently expected to have a bright future.  The railway from Wellington to Hawkes Bay was being built.  Woodville was designated as a junction on this line and very extensive railway yards were laid out and built, though in the event, never used.  For what reason is not at all clear, Dannevirke some 20 miles further along the line became the junction and grew and flourished as a country seat.  But at the time Thomas bought the Central Hotel, it was confidently expected that Woodville was the up and coming place to be.  This was a step up in the world for the Gilbert family, but still Sarah was not happy.  She bitterly resented the fact that she was called upon on occasion to serve at the bar.  For the rest of her life she hated the mention of alcohol and the thought of drunken men was anathema to her.

However, the hotel prospered and very soon Thomas bought 240 acres of land two miles out of Woodville on the main road to Napier, in standing bush.  He employed some of his elder sons in clearing the land.  Gradually a farm took shape.  It is one thing to cut down the forest trees, but then comes the wearying and time consuming task of clearing away the stumps, burning, cutting, digging, dragging with horses and chains.  And then all those stumps have to be piled up and gradually burnt.  The editor remembers as a child, in 1926 visiting the farm all those years later that her Uncle Norman, Thomas’ son, was still coping with the odd stump left over from so long ago.

After several years Thomas was already farming some of the land and had set about building a house and laying out a garden, to please his young wife.  This was on a scale far beyond what one would expect to find in a country farmstead and was obviously a labour of love for the land, coloured by Thomas’ early experience in aristocratic English gardens.  The house itself was a solid kauri structure, with high ceilings, with a wide verandah across the front.  The parlour had a large fireplace with imitation marble mantel and surrounds.  On each side of the fireplace glass fronted book cases rose up to the ceiling, stocked with a range of good books.  There was good furniture and a piano.  Later a small conservatory was added to the side of the house.

The garden itself was laid out on the pattern of a manorial garden.  A large area had been set aside enclosed by holly hedges trimmed in a crenellated pattern.  Long flower beds were laid out the length of each side and across the front of the house, bordered with neatly trimmed box edges.  In the front of the house a very large circular lawn was laid down, surrounded by gravel driveways.  At the front was a large, white painted wooden gateway bearing the name “Woodlands” (because that was what had once been there).

This garden is well known in the vicinity, and years later when Thomas’ son Norman had taken over the property, it still contained many of those fine old roses and shrubs planted long before.  It all required much attention and must have absorbed a considerable amount of Thomas’ time.  He obviously saw it as a mark of his prosperity and a pride in considering that by his very hard work he had risen from insignificance to landed well being.

After 6 years at the Central Hotel, the family moved out to “Woodlands”.

The sons and daughter of Thomas’s first marriage had married and moved away, with varying degrees of success.  Those who had married capable wives prospered, those who married uneducated wives, struggled on poor farms.  However, it has been said that all Thomas’ children were “nice” people, gentle and hard working.  And for those who did not prosper, one must understand that times were very hard in those days, and then, as now, education made a big difference to success or failure.

The eldest son, William, married Alice and together with his younger brother, Thomas, went farming in Paihiatua.  Alice was a very good manager and together with the hard work of Will and Tom they built up a most prosperous farm and fine house with nice garden and tennis court.  In later years when the farm was leased to Share Milkers, Auntie Alice groomed the two old gentlemen in the role of country gentry.  They had two daughters who went to boarding school and married well.

Others of the sons were not so successful.  Frederick who had married Nelly was not so fortunate.  He lost his farm during the depression.  Others somewhat similarly.

These wives considered that Sarah was a “very pampered wife”.  She had all her babies in Wellington, a lovely house and garden, someone to help in the house.  But Sarah thought otherwise.

The following is the text of a letter sent to her son Norman, many years later, in 1914, after she had left her husband, from her hospital bed.  She refers always to “my husband”, never by his name, nor “your father”, as she was writing to her son, one might have expected.  Neither does she refer to her “home” as the Central Hotel in Woodville as it must have been at that time.  Hence “the rough Navvy’s” to which she refers evidently patrons of the hotel from neighbouring logging gangs.  As mentioned before she bitterly resented her life at the Hotel.

“I thought I would send you this little experience and reminiscence of the early days of Woodville.  Yes, poor father would work and work, but no head to manage.  I often used to picture the forlorn creature he would have been without of wife.  Yes, he would go off to Kumeroa (Ed: where he was helping his elder sons Will and Tom to break in a piece of land.  I don’t think Thomas had much taste for the life of a hotelier either.  He was a man of the land, but probably bought the hotel to please his wife, also offering a change from back blocks farming).  He would go week after week and leave me to manage the house full of rough navvys, but it speaks well for their conduct the whole seven and a half years I was there I was never once insulted by any of them.  In fact I have proved once you gain their respect they are so loyal. ……..

……..  My husband being engaged in farming, at this time his farm was some miles away from the then small Bush township where we had our home.  (Woodville).

As is well known in New Zealand the roads in freshly opened up country are at certain times of the year impassable.

So, my husband’s farm by the proper road, just then formed, but not metalled, was nine miles.  In the winter and spring this road was impassible, but by going a long way round by another road of some twenty miles, also having to ford a most dangerous river, the Manawatua, he could reach his farm.

He usually started on a Monday morning, returning the following Saturday.  The weather had been very rough and wet for several days, but this particular Monday it cleared up, but we knew that the river would still be in flood.  My husband was one of those men who never saw fear, in fact was rather reckless where he wanted to do a thing, so all my persuasion not to go that day, was of no avail.

Off he started with two horses and his dray loaded up with divers articles he was conveying out to some of the settlers.  I may say I could not help feeling uneasy, but only got my husband’s derisive laughter, said the river would be down by the time he got there etc.

However, I consoled myself and bade him goodbye ………..  I was sitting at the piano, quietly playing to myself when suddenly I felt my husband so strongly.  I got up and stood looking through the window into what seemed space.  I saw my husband, the horses and dray in the river.  I could see my husband was in difficulties.  I stood breathlessly watching him try to extricate the horses.  The water was flowing through the dray and was in strong current nearly up to the horses’ backs.  Presently I felt a great sense of relief, my husband had managed to cut the horses free from the harness and with great difficulty reached the shore on the back of one of them.  The dray was locked in amongst the boulders, and alas, the other poor horse was swept off its feet and was soon no more.  I carefully noted the time but said not a word to a soul. …….

…….  When my husband returned the first thing he began to tell us of his perilous experiences, how the road was so bad that it had taken him so much longer, in fact all day, to reach the river which was still in flood.  It was getting dusk too, his farm being close by, but on the other side of the river, he decided to try and cross, but the current was too strong and the water too deep for the poor horses, strong heavy draught horses too, so my husband found himself in real difficulties.  He did all he could and began to think it was all over with him.  He thought of me and his home and wondered if he would ever see me or his home again.

Then as a last resort he thought he would try and crawl along the horse’s back, keeping his feet as best he could upon the dray shafts, he managed  by degrees to cut the leader free from the harness, then the shafter, finally clinging to the mane of latter my husband had to trust to that dear horse and it swam ashore to safety.  But the current proved too strong for the other poor horse, but my husband felt thankful that he was safe though minus his horse.  He told me that at one time the situation was so serious that he never thought he would see his home again.   So I suppose this would be a case of Telepathy, I was very careful to ask him the time this happened.  It was just the time I saw him.  The details too were correct.

The next day the river was down considerably.  Some neighbours with their horses managed to recover the dray which had drifted much further down.  You may be sure there was not much left in it, some empty bags that had once contained sugar, and a few other much damaged articles.

I need hardly say that since this happened some twenty eight years ago that there are now splendid roads, also bridges over the river at different points, also that most necessary of all comforts, the Mails and telegraphic communication.

I would like to add that since this experience with my husband I have had many others, which only goes to convince me of the truth that Telepathy and Clairvoyance is an undoubted fact.”  She also “saw” the death of her brother John, who was a sailor and who was drowned at sea.

Sarah became very interested in the Theosophical Society which had formed a branch in Wellington in 1884.  She studied their books with avidity and liked to refer to the various founders and organizers of the society on intimate terms.  She liked to classify people as “evolved” (or unevolved) types.  She used the expression, “my mind is on higher things”!  And as explained elsewhere it was through her connection with the Society that her daughter, Effie, met her future husband, Gordon Short whose parents were keen followers also of the Society in Wellington.

But the Gilbert household was not a happy one.  Sarah took to her bed frequently during which times her daughter Effie was expected to stay home from school in order to nurse her mother.  In fact Effie did not leave school until she was 17 years old but frequent absences made it difficult for her to keep up with the others, a grudge which followed her most of her life.  She developed digestive disorders (a nervous stomach) which she put down to the fact mealtimes were always so strained.  Thomas believed that this sons should remain at home working the family land.  He had risen in the world through the land and he could not see any other kind of life as desirable.  This meant that there were three grown men in the farm, Thomas and his sons, Wentworth and Norman.  Each had their own ideas about what should be done and added to the cash flow  problems this led to frequent arguments and at mealtimes were the main times when all were together these became daily battlegrounds.

Later on Wentworth took a share out of the farm and set out on his own, buying a farm on the other side of Woodville, a farm strapped for cash, and worked with resentment which struggled unhappily for the rest of his life.  For Wentworth hated farming.  He had wanted to become an engineer but his father would not hear of it, the land was the thing which every right thinking male should love.  Wentworth was a very difficult person to get on with, probably inheriting the neurotic temperament of his mother and grandfather Brand.  He was loudly argumentative, a bitter resentful man who gave his poor wife a hard time.  Although it is true that she did not help, being a disappointed woman herself.  In 1914 Wentworth married Mary Battersby, (known as Minnie).  Here was no love involved as both parties were suffering from shattered romances and had married on the rebound.  It was a most unhappy experience to visit them as both parties were constantly sniping at each other with hurtful, wounding comments.  Minnie did not care at all about the house or garden and Wentworth constantly said how much he “hated’ farming.  Why did they stay together?  Who knows!   They seemed to take perverse pleasure in life in wounding each other.  But in the process they warped the lives of their children.  Into this background their two daughters, Gwenyth and Joyce were born and it is no wonder that in later life both displayed the family “taint” to considerable degree and led unhappy, twisted lives.  Yet, in his own way, under different circumstances, Wentworth could have been a talented man.  He had inherited his grandfathers love of music.  Taught by his mother he became a very competent pianist who was much in demand as a player in the frequent country dances in the vicinity.   Together with his brother Norman they would walk to various venues.  It is even said that on at least one occasion, and maybe there were more, he and Norman walked to a dance in Dannevirke, 16 miles each way!!!!  Oh, the enthusiasm of youth!  Later, after his marriage he went to Australia with sheep shearing gangs, he sent back letters, keenly observant, very well expressed in a good literary style and in a fine flowing handwriting.  He was definitely a very square peg in a round hole.  Although it is obvious that he had inherited more than a little from his mother and his grandfather Brand.

On the other hand Norman had all his fathers love of the land.  He eventually took over “Woodlands” and handed it on in due course to his own son, Ian.  (But in the third generation it passed out of the family as Ian and his wife, Sylvia moved to Auckland in middle life).

However, on April, 1916 Norman married Claire May Sinclair (the girl with the story book name as she was called on one occasion).  Claire had come up from Wellington, having the opportunity to buy a shop and dress making business in Woodville.  She moved up with her aged mother and Minnie Battersby (who afterwards married Wentworth Gilbert) who had trained in Wellington with Claire and who as to assist in the shop.  The romance was instigated, if not fostered, by the arrival of a new baby on the West Coast.  Norman had had his eye on this bright, lively young woman for some time but being of a retiring disposition, thinking of himself as a shy country boy, he hesitated to put himself forward.  He didn’t think that such a clever, lively young woman would be interested in him.  But the gods were smiling.  Norman seized the opportunity, his dear sister Effie had just given birth to a little girl (Phyllis) and of course he must send a present.  So he boldly entered the shop.  Together he and Claire chose a bonnet.   Eighteen months later, on 6th April 1916 they were married and “lived happily ever after” for it was a very successful marriage.  Two children were born to them, first a daughter, Norma, and several years later a son, Ian.

Now the story of the youngest son, Neville was somewhat different.  Sarah had not ceased to plead that he be allowed to seek a life away from the land.  Finally Thomas relented and to Sarah’s great joy Neville was apprenticed to the firm of Turnbull and Jones in Auckland, a large firm of merchants and electricians, as a trainee electrician.  Neville was very handsome, tall and slim, his mothers darling.  Later, during the war he went to England as a solider.  During his leave he went to call upon the family of his mothers cousin Polly Watson.  There were a number of sons and daughters in the family, but Neville was at once attracted to the second youngest, a daughter, Muriel.  Their romance flourished and in 1919, a year after the end of the war, they were married.  Neville settled in England and only went back to New Zealand years later for visits.  His father-in-law helped to set him up in a business, manufacturing electrical goods, irons, electric fans, hot plates and so on under the brand name of “Bandy”, the emblem of a bandy-legged bulldog.  He became a prosperous English gentleman, in the course of time undertaking new enterprises.  His marriage was happy and prosperous.  He and Muriel had three children, Donald, Trevor and a daughter Daphne.

At that time it was very much of a man’s world.  Daughter Effie was expected to care for her ailing mother and run the household.  This was a very miserable existence for a young girl.  Earlier on, her schooling had frequently been interrupted by the ill health of her mother.  As the time went on Sarah became increasingly a burden, becoming suicidal and having to be watched night and day.  Effie’s only distractions were the frequent letters of her fiancé, Gordon whose story is told elsewhere (“Gordon and Effie”), and sometimes his visits, not as frequent now-a-days as formerly now that he was studying in Dunedin, and the kindness of her brother Norman.  Norman it was who in former times had always been on hand to help her catch her pony to ride to school, (his name was Roy and he was full of tricks), who was always ready to carry the heavy buckets of water for the washing – there was no running water in the washhouse.  All the water for the frequent, heavy farm washing had to be carried by hand.  It was Norman who when the time came, stepped in and made the arrangements which enabled Effie to marry.

In the meantime it was decided to send Sarah with Effie in attendance down to Christchurch to stay with Sarah’s sister Jenny who was now married to Mr Haxel, in the hope that the change of scene would help Sarah.  However, it turned out to be something of a disaster.  Sarah became if anything, worse.  She could not bear any light and lay all day and night in a darkened room, needing to be watched all the time, and that meant for the most part, her daughter.  Added to this Jenny’s two daughters, Myrtle and Leila, and especially Myrtle, resented the presence of the visitors and went our of their way to be unkind in many little mean and hurtful ways.  On to this scene, out of the blue, came Gordon’s long telegram, telling of his new job in Denniston and begging Effie to marry him at once.  What despair filled Effie’s heart!  It all seemed an impossible dream.  But as they say, “the darkest hour is before the dawn”!  Brother Norman sprang into action.  He arranged (and paid for) his mother’s removal to a rest home in Christchurch, and arranged the details of the wedding in Wellington.  So, on 28th December, 1911 Effie and Gordon were married and Effie, the timid, experiences shrinking violet, set off on her honeymoon to Denniston, that rough, tough mining town on the West Coast.

In the course of time Sarah became much better.  She never returned to Woodville, but made her home first in one rest home, then in others, ending her life at the St.Heliers Rest and Convalescent Home, a pleasant place run by two former acquaintances of Gordon and Effie from Waihi, with a lovely view over the harbour and Rangitoto.  She had a small, comfortable room, surrounded by her books.  In 1924 she was able to accompany Gordon and Effie (together with Elizabeth and William Short) on their trip to England.  She died in Auckland in 1934 at the age of 78 years.  Thomas had died in 1916 at the age of 81 years.

There is no doubt that her gradual return to health was brought about by her interest in the teachings of the Theosophical Society.  Although she had joined the Society soon after its introduction in Wellington the pressures of her life and present frustration and unhappiness had overwhelmed her.  Later on, freed from those responsibilities and surrounded by her books she studied avidly.  Acceptance of the theory of reincarnation brought a deeper meaning into the pattern of her life.  She as able to understand herself better and accept the idea that each lifetime is a learning experience.  At the end it all began to make sense.

There is no doubt that Sarah endeavoured to do her duty as she saw it, by her husband and children, but hers was not a robust nature.  She was not the pioneering type (of whom we read in such publication as “Petticoat Pioneers”).  She had been lured out to New Zealand under false expectations.  She believed that her father, J.Brand had “made good” in New Zealand and was sending for his family to share “the good life” with him.  The reality shocked and distressed her, but there was no turning back.

Like her son, Wentworth, she was indeed a square peg in a round hole.  She liked to speak of others as “refined” types – or the opposite – of evolved (or unevolved) persons.  She liked to be in the company of the “refined” types and used her deafness in later life to avoid contact with the others, in whom she had no interest or who were not sufficiently “refined” or “evolved”.

Her grand-daughter Phyllis has in her possession a notebook of her poems, not great poetry but meaningful and obviously coming from the heart.

Now her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, even great-great-grandchildren have multiplied and spread around the world.  I do not know of any one who is not leading a good and fulfilling life.  Her talents have been spread around, the weaknesses strained out and strengthened by other blood lines.  Perhaps in some future time their stories will be told too by abler pens than mine.

Sheepy Magna burials - GILBERT

Richard      5 Nov 1720
Mary          4 Jul 1724      widow
Mary          7 Dec 1724    d. of Richard & Mary
John          4 Jan 1728     s. of Walter and Eliz.
Walter       14 Dec 1728
Mary          27 Jun 1729   d. of Elizabeth, widow
Walter        14 Apr 1751
Elizabeth    18 Sep 1774
Francis       14 May 1781
Mary           22 May 1873  83 yrs Sheepy Magna
Mary Ann    8 Oct 1896     47 Coroner's order

Maxstoke Marriages - GILBERT  batch M017653

Walter m. Eliz Wright 29 Dec 1782   
John m. Eliz. Franklin 14 Feb 1797
Mary m. John Peers 30 Jul 1803
Mary m. John Whiteman 24 Dec 1818