Southerly by David Haywood

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Southerly: Who was George Hildebrand Alington—and why did he give away his “Girl child 23 months old”?

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Hebe,

    Another circularity: a Chapman...

    Maybe Wallace Chapman might be interested for an evolving Sunday Morning spot?
    It could add some 'geneal' to the generally genial dawn discourse on his sabbath sun up salon...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I received this email via the site from Greg McCreanor today:

    Massive thanks to David for discovering the original documents and researching them and to everybody else for contributing to the discussion. Hilda Annie Webb became Eileen Winter Coleman after being adopted by George and Amelia Coleman, married my grandfather Fred McCreanor in 1931, they lived at 117 Memorial Ave ( still there, just been raised and lowered for new foundations ), he died 1939, and Eileen died 1963 at her house on the corner of Waiwetu and Fendalton.

    The family folklore says that Eileen was presented with her adoption papers on her 21st birthday, read them, promptly threw them in the fire and the subject was never raised again. Two things intrigue me .... where exactly in the Avonside house were the documents found? And who owned the house back then? I guess it must have been the Alingtons as Winifred Alington was buried at Holy Trinity Avonside and the Colemans lived in Bristol Street. Incidentally, my grandmother always celebrated her birthday on Dec.3rd ... not the first time an adopted person has got it wrong !

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Massive thanks to David for discovering the original documents and researching them and to everybody else for contributing to the discussion.

    Yes, it is intriguing. Warm fuzzies all round is fantastic and it's got me thinking you guys would be brilliant at finding who my other halfs Father was. Many words have made what seems like light work. Very clever all of you. I look forward to David writing it up as a complete story. I'm getting confused trying top stay abreast of the situation.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I received this email via the site from Greg McCreanor today:

    Thanks for posting that, Russell. I’ve been in touch with Greg; he has some interesting material, which I will report here soon.

    If he’s amenable, I’m also hoping to ask Greg if he has any recollections of his grandmother that he might share here.

    [EDIT: with apologies for using that particular meaning of the word ‘share’, which I particularly hate.]

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    A possible baptism certificate for the adopted baby from Greg McCreanor:

    I found this baptism in the ChCh Public Library card index back in the 90s...

    Mary Hilda Ann Winter. Born Dec 9th 1891. Baptised April 12th 1893. Sponsor: Miss Torlesse. Priest: W.S.Bean.

    The date of birth matches, but the name is rather different (although plausible since Eliza (nee Webb) Winter's sister in Methven was Mary). If this is the right baby, then clearly Eliza can't have had anything much to do with the baptism or she would have put the correct 'Annie' rather than 'Ann'.

    There seems to have been at least one Miss Torlesse mentioned in the newspapers of the time, and a Miss Torlesse's diaries are available at UoC -- has anyone heard of her?

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    The Coleman’s adoption statements also from Greg McCreanor:

    The statement says:

    George Coleman sworn swith. I am retired master mariner and a Justice of the Peace residing at ChCh. I am applying to adopt this child Eileen Winter. The mother left the child about four years ago. She was left in our custody by the putative father G H Allington. I have not heard of the mother since. I do not know where she is. Geo Coleman [signature ].

    Taken and sworn before me at Wellington this 15 January 1897, H.S.Wardell [ signature ],Stipendiary Magistrate ‘.

    The RGO also included a photocopy of the Coleman’s application to Wardell on Jan.7th 1897:

    ’We George Coleman of the city of Christchurch Gentleman and Justice of the Peace and Amelia Mary Coleman wife of the said George Coleman do hereby apply to adopt as our child Eileen Winter a female illegitimate child of the age of five ( 5 ) years whose mother was Mrs E.A.Winter of Rakaia near Christchurch.
    Dated at Wellington this 7th day of January 1897. Geo Coleman Amelia Coleman [ signatures ]
    Witness to the signatures of the said George Coleman and Amelia Mary Coleman, Andrew Wylie [signature ], a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of N.Z.

    Upon reading the above application I hereby appoint the Magistrates Courthouse Wellington as the place and Friday the 15th day of January 1897 at 9.30 oclock in the forenoon as the time for hearing the said application. Dated this 9th day of January 1897, H.S.Wardell [signature].’

    It appears that the Colemans had the baby directly from Alington (the letter we have) and not the mother (I’m thinking that they only knew the mother’s name ‘Mrs E.A. Winter’ from the receipt in my possession). It also says that the mother is from Rakaia (where the Rev Holland was vicar), which is the line of investigation that I’m now following myself.

    Also interesting that George states he does not know the present location of the mother. Eight hundred metres away, George! Will try to post a old map showing how closely they were living, essentially at opposite ends of present-day Ranfurly Street.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    Attachment

    The residences of the Colemans and Eliza (nee Webb) Winter as per Wises’ Street Directory 1894-1895 (as shown on a Christchurch map from 1923):

    W = Eliza (nee Webb) Winter residence
    C = Probable residence of George & Amelia Coleman
    ? = Another probable residence of George & Amelia Coleman (this is the house they lived in according to their adopted daughter’s grandson, and is also in the 1913 Wises’ Street Directory. Note that Bristol Street did not exist in 1894-1895, and so this location might have been the actual Webb Street address).

    Taking the ‘?’ as the correct address for the Colemans then there are only twenty-seven houses separating the two residences.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    The Feb.1912 death notice for Amelia Coleman describes her as dying at ' The Ganges ' and her death certificate says she died at 78 Bristol Street. Tomorrow I visit 78 Bristol !

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    The Ancestry tree is probably the one I posted around 2005.
    I visited the Winter family between 2000 and 2005. The very nice couple I spoke to, who quite happily accepted my research, warned me that the family historian would never accept an illegitimate birth in the family. That person would not believe it and would not co-operate, despite the fact that I had Coleman's 1897 sworn statement naming Eliza Ann Winter as the mother. Very frustrating.
    I managed to get the adoption statements from Social Welfare/RGO prior to getting married in 1993.I had read that inherited genetic diseases were just about the only reason for them to stop playing secret squirrel with adoption material so...
    two birds with one stone. Without them I would never have known the Alington and Winter names and this site would've meant nothing to me. Everyone knew Gran ( Eileen ) was adopted but no-one knew anything more than that. I suspected one of the birth parents was a Winter, in keeping with the British tradition of using one of the birth parents' names as part of the new name. For example, one of my great-great-grandparents was baptised and registered as Sydney Smith Sharp ( putative father's surname as middle name, unmarried mother's maiden name as surname ) then changed it to Sydney William Smith ( step-father's christian name as middle name, putative father's name as surname ) some 20 years later before he got married.
    I tend to think that the relationship between Alington and Eliza began when he was at the Mount Hutt Roads Board in Methven and she was living with family there having been deserted and awaiting divorce. Alington was in the Hunt Club with Coleman I seem to recall...the Colemans were obviously unable to have children and an adoption would mean that Alington could see his daughter as 'uncle George' perhaps.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    A very lucky Alington coincidence....
    A few weeks after receiving the adoption material from Wellington in 1990, some photos were developed at the photo lab I was running at Circular Quay, Sydney. There were photos of Alington gravestones, obviously taken in England. I scribbled a note on the packet with my phone number and received a call a day later. The photos had been taken by Lyn and David Hall of South Coogee and it transpired Lyn and I were cousins descended from brothers George and Giles Alington born 1501 and 1503 at Horseheath, Cambridgeshire ( going entirely by memory here, any Alingtons reading this feel free to correct me ). They gave me some 20 years of research including a John Alington will from the early 1300s in Latin for which they had to track down an elderly lady specialising in ancient Latin, quite different to later Latin apparently.
    One thing that struck me in all the wills, bequests, etc. back then ( speaking generally here ) was the acceptance of illegitimacy. Was it that the male bloodline was considered so important ( primogeniture and so on ) ? Is the prudery and squeamishness surrounding illegitimacy a product of the Victorian era onwards?

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    I don't know exactly what Eileen inherited from the Colemans but when she died in 1963 she had already turned over to my father the house and one acre at 117 Memorial Ave. plus the central business block in Ashburton along East Street, either between Moore and Tancred or Tancred and Burnett. My father sold it in the late 1970s/early 80s I think because of, tah dah...earthquake repairs. A figure of $80,000 needed springs to mind.The old man was probably asset rich, cash poor. He also inherited 100 acres of farmland between Johns, Hussey, and Englefield Roads here in ChCh which he initially farmed but then leased out, to a man named Lawrence Stott at one stage. I was supposed to inherit the farm according to our agreement in Dec.1982 but a few months after I went to Sydney in 1985 he secretly sold it to the dreadful Kain brothers ( I met them ) who turned it into one of their Apple Fields properties and later sold it as part of Northwood. The murky fingers of Perpetual Trust were in this profitable pie. In c.2004 I encountered the middle-man who negotiated the sale between the Kains and Perpetually Untrustworthy, sorry, Perpetual Trust. The old man had received $400,000 from the sale, the middle-man said no, we negotiated $500,000 with Perpetual. This was before they were legally obliged to declare any commissions.
    Fred Johnstone, or Pop Johnstone as known in the family, controlled the pursestrings for Eileen. In the 1950s it was a Mr.Pither of Perpetual.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood, in reply to Greg McCreanor,

    Attachment

    I tend to think that the relationship between Alington and Eliza began when he was at the Mount Hutt Roads Board in Methven and she was living with family there having been deserted and awaiting divorce. Alington was in the Hunt Club with Coleman I seem to recall…the Colemans were obviously unable to have children and an adoption would mean that Alington could see his daughter as ‘uncle George’ perhaps.

    Thanks so much for posting all that information, Greg -- fascinating stuff! And an intriguing theory...

    Do you have any theories about who paid the legal bills for Eliza Winter's divorce -- I've seen all the paperwork and it must have cost a packet! I wondered if it might have been Alington, who perhaps intended to marry her. But then his family intervened and procured a young heiress who was more suitable?

    On the subject of Eliza Webb, it would have been her 150th birthday today. In one of those funny co-incidences, it is also my son's seventh birthday. He said that Eliza could share his cake (see attached).

    The cake is supposed to be a pirate ship sailing through a tempest-tossed ocean, with cannons and a plank at the stern to allow victims to be conveniently flung off. [And yes, that is our clawfoot bath in the background with a laptop sitting in it -- don't ask].

    We hope that Eliza would have liked such a cake.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Charles Home,

    Greg, that was great to read. Thank you.
    George Alington (born about 1500) had 3 brothers and was the son of Giles Alington (c1483 - 1522) of Horseheath. George married Anne Cheeke and had a son Henry (d1601).
    George was my 10x Great Grandfather. So we must be related!

    This is a good site for the Alington family in the Middle Ages
    http://www.medievalgenealogy.org.uk/families/ali/aliindex.shtml

    If you descend from George, then you also descend from the Argentyn (various spellings) family (now extinct). I'm concentrating on one Sir Giles Argentyn who fought at the Battle of Bannockburn as one of the bodyguards of King Edward II. This battle happened exactly 700 years ago. The Scots, under Robert the Bruce, hammered the English. Sir Giles, after seeing that his King was safely off the field on his way to Stirling Castle, chose to ride back into battle and was killed by his Scottish pursuers. He had led a very active life and I'm collating data to see if I have enough for a book.

    Sir Giles Argentyn was George Alington's 8x Great Uncle.

    The above website also has a great section on the Argentyns.

    Please contact me if this is of any interest either by email or through my website

    Bath, England • Since Jun 2014 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to David Haywood,

    The cake is supposed to be a pirate ship sailing through a tempest-tossed ocean, with cannons and a plank at the stern to allow victims to be conveniently flung off.

    Phew, I can see that! At first I
    thought Bob was turning 33 and
    I may have nodded off for a while...

    And yes, that is our clawfoot bath in the background with a laptop sitting in it...

    is there rice in the bath?
    not that I'm asking!
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor, in reply to Charles Home,

    Hi Charles, Yes I remember the Argentyns and Cheekes from the masses of research that Lyn and David Hall gave me.He photocopied hundreds of pages when at the Society of Genealogists in London. Complete books in some cases. I'm in the garage today trying to find which boxes it's all in. Sir Richard Gardiner the mayor of London, Sir John Cheyney who translated the first ancient Greek into English, King John, Henry I, Henry II, the Scottish kings through to William the Lyon, Malcolm who killed Macbeth, the current Bellingham in English parliament, etc... I must stop going on memory and get that paperwork although I'm pleased that my memory isn't quite as munted as I thought it was ( munted has been adopted by ChCh after the earthquakes ). So yes, we are cousins. Just realised you have an email symbol at the top of your entry, I'll use that next time. Back to the garage....
    Cheers for now, Greg McC.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    Got called in to work overnight which ruined my chance to photograph the Bristol Street houses, however, managed to stop off at 5 a.m.and check the letterboxes. 74 Bristol is the two storey white wooden place with the sign, then the derelict and obviously abandoned house which is easily 100-plus years old, then 80 Bristol on the back section that curves round behind the old house The old in-between house is on two sections which I assume are nos.76 and 78. There is a slight gap in the padlocked gate to the old place, should be able to slip through and get some photos, I mean, look for my lost dog....

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    Slight correction to the last post. 74 Bristol Street or Crosby House: Aged Care Centre is on the right side of the old house and no.84 is the back section on the left side. So no.78 must be the old house ( fingers crossed that the postal numbers haven't been changed ). Managed to get some good photos of it today but this computer is so ancient it doesn't have a flashdrive slot ( an Arche Artec which I think is Latin for wood-burning computer ). Just downloaded a pdf ChCh Libraries 1922 phonebook which lists a K.Howell Fountain residence at ' The Ganges', 78 Bristol Street, St.Albans. Will post a photo or two when I get my hands on a computer manufactured this or last century.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    An email from Rachel Vavasour at Rangi Ruru ( Vavasour is a name that crops up in the Alington tree a couple of hundred years ago ). Rachel confirmed that Eileen started at Rangi in 1905 and is getting the Honarary Curator to dig up more details if available. I came across a book in the Society of Genealogists in York St.or Kent St.,Sydney in 1990 which contained a photo of her being a first day pupil at Miss Someone's Academy ( I thought ), the predecessor of Rangi, but the Rangi site appears to contradict this. Rachel will put me straight but does anyone have Rangi info in the meantime ?

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Apparently not

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • Greg McCreanor,

    A busy week and now back into it.....
    Aug.27th 1887: William and Eliza's daughter Edith dies at Akaroa after ' 2 years Marasmus Asthenia '.
    Sept.1887: William Winter deserts the family from Akaroa.
    Oct.4th 1887: William sentenced to 7 days labour at Addington jail for ' failing to support his wife and family '.
    Feb. 21st 1888: warrant issued by ChCh Bench to pay 14 pounds 10 shillings in family support.
    March 1888: William sighted in Ashburton.
    May 1888: William arrested in Timaru by Sergeant Thomas Livingstone.
    May 29th 1888: William given 6 months Hard Labour at Lyttelton jail.
    Oct.25th 1888: William and Eliza's son Cyril admitted to ChCh Hospital. Living at the Lyttelton Orphanage.
    Oct.1888: William released from jail.
    July 30th 1889: Ordered to pay 15 shillings per week support.
    Aug.7th 1889: William jailed again to 6 months Hard Labour at Lyttelton jail.
    Jan.1890: William released from Lyttelton jail.
    Mar.20th 1890: William sighted at Barrys Bay.
    May 5th 1890: Warrant issued for William's arrest again.
    Aug.27th 1891: Divorce statement filed by clerk James Andrew Cassidy ( for solicitor Thomas Walter Stringer ) at ChCh. Enquiries revealed William may have left the colony and that his only relative was step-father James Lambert, market gardener, of St.Albans.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Lynley Chapman,

    Seasons Greetings David. Is there any chance of an end of year wrap on this saga please? It is a fascinating piece of genealogy.

    Kind regards
    Lynley Chapman

    Porirua • Since Aug 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Lynley Chapman,

    Seasons Greetings David. Is there any chance of an end of year wrap on this saga please? It is a fascinating piece of genealogy.

    Ditto. I have just read it through with great pleasure (I was busy when it first posted and missed it, not that I had anything to contribute). The big G is a great way to dispose of time ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

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