HENRY JAMES BELL
Written by David Bell
|1844 ~ 1915|
Henry emigrated to New Zealand in January 1867 on the ship, Maori. The following is the report of the trip as published in The Daily Southern Cross newspaper, 1 February, 1867, page 8.
The good ship Maori, Captain D. F. Roberts, made the harbour early on the 24th ultimo from London, after a pleasant but somewhat protracted passage of 117 days. The Maori left Auckland on the 4th of April last, under charter to her Majesty's Government for the conveyance of detachments of the 68th and 43rd Regiments. Colonel Mould and family, and Colonel Carey, were also passengers on the occasion, and the vessel reached her destination after a pleasant run of 13 days. (Perhaps this should read 113 days as it would be impossible to sail from Auckland to London in 13 days.)
After discharging Government cargo she was laid on again for Auckland, and left a full ship on the 4th of September. Owing, however, to a continuance of adverse winds, she was unable to take her final departure until the 26th September ; and after having ridden out several gales in the Channel roadsteads, during a prevalence of the equinoxials, she passed the Isle of Wight on the day named. On the 10th of October passed and sighted the Island of Madeira, with variable westerly winds, which continued for several days afterwards. Made the passage inside the Cape de Verde Islands, and on the 4th of November, in 24' W., reached the equator 38 days out from the Isle of Wight. Had favourable winds generally, and made the Cape of Good Hope on the 4th December, 68 days out, in latitude 44-37 S. On the following day, in latitude 45' S., 21½ E she spoke to the ship Sir Harry Parkes, bound to China from London. On the same day, December 5th, at 3 p.m , fell in with an iceberg, about 270 feet in height, in shape resembling a sugar-loaf laid longitudinally. The vessel was then in latitude 45 37 S., longitude 112.20. At 5.30 the same evening passed another iceberg, apparently of smaller dimensions ; and on the following day, in latitude 46 43 S., longitude 118 19, spoke the barque Monkchester, from London to Brisbane, 78 days out, the captain of which reported having seen the ice alluded to. On December 7, in latitude 46-29 S., longitude 122 34 E., passed more ice, and saw the last on the 30th of December, at 7 p.m., in longitude 126 48, latitude 46 41. On the 5th instant, rounded Tasmania in 46 S., 14740 E:, having experienced a succession of easterly winds since the 14th of December, when the vessel was in 33 51 S., 171 15 E. Sighted the Three Kings on the 17th instant, and had variable winds down the coast. The Maori brings a full general cargo and 77 passenger, and reports no sickness during the passage. On the 18th of November, the wife of Mr. George Stapp gave birth to a male child. The passengers were in medical charge of Dr. C. F. Lethbridge. The Maori is again freighted by Messrs. Shaw, Savill, and Co., and comes consigned to Messrs. Cruickshank, Smart, and Co.
Passengers- Saloon :
Miss F. Hemming, Major Fitzgerald (68th L.I.),
Mr. 'Thomas Steele, Mr. McDermott (M.S.S.)
Mr. Charles W. Alexander
Mr. Wilmoit Holworrthy (M.S.S.), Edith, Winifred, and Charles Holworthy
Miss Ellen Lynch
Mr. T. G., Sarah, Sarah E., Julia C, Joseph, and Eva Stack
Mr. Thomas and Emilie Davies
Mr. W. C. Bailey
Mr. Edward and Harriet John
Second cabin and steerage :
Charles and Rhoda Buckland
Helen Morrison (2)
Henry, Jane, and John Smith
Ellen, Charles, and Sarah Hardwick
Mary A., Eliza, and Sarah Ellis
Solomon and John Salmon
Henry J. Bell
James Koulston, William Hammond
Michael and Elizabeth Petereit
Sarah and Jane Lee
William and Henry Davy
George, Mary A., Alfreld, and George Stapp
Robert, Harriet, Mary A., Gertie, and Arthur Adlington
Walter, Susan, Sarah A., Robert, Margaret, and Henry Adlington
Total : English, 48 adults, 15 children, 5 infants ; Scotch, 1, Irish, 6 foreigners, 2; grand total, 77— equal to 64½ statute adults. The following are the trades and occupations of the passengers ;— 5 farmers, 2 clerks, 1 shopman, 1 ironmonger, 1 carder, 1 miller, 1 toolmaker, 1 calico printer, 1 carpenter, 3 farm labourers, 5 servants, 2 labourers, 1 mechanic, 1 miner, 2 merchants, 1 miller and farmer, 2 officers, 1 Government officer, 3 gentlemen, 1 settler.
His journey, as taken from these notes would have been as follows:
1. The ship, Maori, left London for Auckland, New Zealand on 4 September, 1866, carrying cargo, military personnel, and an assortment of emigrants of varying trades, of which Henry James Bell was one, probably classified as a merchant. There were 77 passengers in total.
2. Bad weather stalled the departure and they had to take shelter for twenty two days before finally leaving on 26 September, 1867, passing the Isle of Wight the same day. It must have been a great relief to finally be on their way; twenty two days is a long wait and the incident shows how dependent the emigrants were on the elements; not like today when we get impatient when our flights are delayed for even an hour or two.
3. After fifteen days at sea they passed the Islands of Madeira on the tenth of October, 1866.
4. On the fourth of November the Maori and it's passengers passed the Cape Verde Islands and then reached the equator three days later on the seventh.
5. They rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the fourth of December, 1866.
6. Large Icebergs were sighted on the sixth of December continuing to the end of the month. One can only imagine that to Henry and the other passengers the icebergs must have been both a spectacular sight and a cause for concern; a collision with one of these crystalline wonders could easily send their small ship to the bottom of the sea.
7. On the fifth of January, 1867, they rounded Tasmania and sighted the Three Kings twelve days later on the seventeenth.
8. The ship's report doesn't say the day it arrived at Auckland but it would have be on or about the seventeenth of January, 1867, after a journey of five months.
Henry settled in Auckland and established a successful tannery business at Whau Creek, Avondale. He married Sarah Ann Absolum in Parnell, Auckland, in 1872.
|Sarah Ann (Absolum) Bell, 1851 ~ 1905|
While at Queenwood, his parents decided to emigrate to New Zealand, arriving on the ship, Fernglen in October, 1880. The following is the Fernglen's passenger list showing that James and Elizabeth were on board.
LONDON – AUCKLAND
19 JULY 1880 – 21 OCTOBER 1880
From the Bay of Plenty Times 5 October 1880.
ADAMI (sic) George H Saloon
BEAMAN Arthur H Second Cabin
BEAMS John Saloon
BEAMS Sarah Miss Saloon
BEAMS Mary Miss Saloon
BEAMS Helen Miss Saloon
BELL James Steerage
BELL Elizabeth Steerage
BIRKETT Joseph Steerage
COX Edwin Saloon
COX Mrs Saloon
COX Jessie Miss Saloon
COX Herbert Saloon
COX Norman Saloon
HARRISON James Steerage
HARRISON Mary Steerage
HARRISON Annie Steerage
HARRISON Albert Steerage
HARRISON James Steerage
MYLES James P Steerage
MYLES Bertha J Steerage
MYLES Margaret E D Steerage
MYLES Percy Steerage
SCOTT Robert Steerage
SUMMERS Margaret Steerage
WHATFORD Arthur Steerage
WOODCOCK Emma Steerage
|James and Elizabeth (Jones) Bell, Henry's parents.|
Henry's parents, James and Elizabeth Bell, joined Henry and Sarah at Queenwood where they saw out their days, both passing on in 1901, eleven years after their arrival in 1880. One would hope they enjoyed their old age on the Queenwood farm with Henry and his wife Sarah. Henry and Sarah were married in 1872.
While at Mangapiko Henry James became an active participant in the Waipa community and as a member of the Waipa County he was a prime mover in the construction of the all steel American bridge which once spanned the Mangapiko stream at Pirongia, a big matter for the times.
He lived at Queenswood for many years before moving back to Avondale, Auckland, sometime after the death of his wife, Sarah, on the 24th of October, 1905.
The Bell Family. Back row from left to right: Harold, Henry, Sarah, Clara, Walter.
Middle row: Kate, Elizabeth, James, Alice.
Front row:Ernest, Frank.
BELL-On November 21, at his late residence, Rosebank Road, Avondale, Henry James Bell, late of Te Awamutu, in his 72nd year. The funeral will leave his late residence for Pirongia cemetery, tomorrow (Tuesday), at 8:30 a.m.
While at Queenswood one of his sons, Walter Henry, married Adele, the daughter of Jean (John) Aubin who owned the local mercantile store in the nearby township of Alexandra, now called Pirongia. Walter had worked Queenwood for years but at Henry's death he was left out of any inheritance by his father's second wife and lost any entitlement to the farm. He eventually went into partnership with his father-in-law at the store. Later, he bought the store and his family ran it for three generations thereafter. It was famously known in the district as 'Bell's Store'.
1. Writings of Reg Bell, grandson of Henry James.
2. Article in Timespanner, (on internet) by Nicola Bell.
3. The Bells of Pirongia, a family history compiled by Robin Wood, daughter of Reg Bell. Published 2001.
4. New Zealand Shipping Records (found online)
Below: Headstone James Bell Headstone Sarah Ann (Absolum) Bell
Pirongia cemetery, Pirongia cemetery.