Section 6: August-December 1888

Section 6: August-December 1888

diary page, the first in a new journal
Harris, Emily Cumming collection. Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190).

August 20th, 1888 [Monday]. An English Mail comes in tomorrow. Shall I hear anything I wonder?

21st. No letter, no nothing as the children say.

22nd. Went to Jackson’s for some wool etc. Ralph Jackson said, ‘Oh! Miss Harris, I have a letter from my father for you.’

Mr Jackson had enclosed the estimated cost of publishing my drawing books from [John Walker] & Co, London.

So now I must set to work in earnest and finish them. Mr Jackson advises me to illustrate some little books for gift books.

Sept 8th [Saturday]. Mr Jackson is expected next Tuesday, a month before I thought he was expected. I have been working away but have a great deal to do to my drawing books yet, however he will have a lot of business to attend to before he will have time to think of me.

I have written some rhymes, called ‘In Holiday Time.’ It will bring in a lot of my little sketches.

Mr Gully still lingers on in pain and weakness. I have been up a great many times but have not seen him, he said he would like to see us all, but whenever I have been to enquire he has not been able to see [me]. Frances & Ellen have both seen him & both have stayed & had tea with Mrs Lee & Mrs Gully. Mrs Gully said it was so dull for Fanny & she wished them to stay. She also sent me a message how sorry she had been not to see me sometimes when I called, but she did not know when I had been until after. She asked if I would come & have tea with them on Friday which I did. It is wonderful how cheerful she is under this heavy trial, only resignation to the will of God can support people in such affliction. She cannot bear to see many people, only her very old friends.

9th. There were grand services at Christ Church today to dedicate the memorial window to the late Dr Sealey.

Sept 11th [Tuesday]. Had a long talk with Mr H. D. Jackson about publishing the Drawing Books, they want me not to call them Drawing Books at all.

Oct 18th [Thursday]. I have taken my books to Jackson’s this afternoon, six illustrations of each, tomorrow they will be shown in the shop in order to get subscribers. That is the first step. I ought to be very glad that a beginning will be made but somehow I have got such a headache that I feel that I could cry like a baby. I have been working too hard at these illustrations lately, which would not so much matter only I must have got blight or something the matter with my eyes. I wish that I had not so much more to do to finish the lot. I suppose tomorrow or Monday there will be a local in the Mail about them.

Harris, Emily Cumming collection. Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190).

I have had a Catalogue of the Fine Art Gallery of the N.Z. Court sent me. I see that all my pictures have been hung but they have made a fine mull of the names. I have just discovered that the letter I took such trouble to get ready for Mary I have forgotten to post.

Oct 31st [Wednesday]. I am in bed where I have been for two days with a bad feverish cold, it is often the case I get laid up at most inopportune times. I was working hard at my book for there is still a lot to be done.

Our friend Mr Gully died this morning after a long & painful illness. How we shall miss him, there will never be again for us anyone what he has been. Frances has just taken up a wreath & cross of white camellias & ferns. Miss Kempthorne most kindly brought over the flowers thinking we should be glad to have them. I sat up in bed to help make them up. Alas! we are growing old & the friends of our youth are passing away.

Nov 17th [Saturday]. I am now in a pretty considerable fix as to how to go on with my book. Mr H. D. Jackson brought his brother yesterday morning to look at the drawings & give his opinion as to how to proceed. Mr Jackson junior had very little to say in favour of it being likely to be a success. He rather found fault with the Publisher his brother had selected, said Sampson Low would very likely, if they had it to do, send half a dozen copies to different booksellers all over the world without waiting to ask them and so dispose of a considerable number at once. Then again he said it would have been better to have offered it to a publisher & got him to give me a Royalty on it, say 3d on each book sold. He would have been able to circulate it widely and I would make a good sum without any trouble, & so on. But Mr H. D. Jackson was not in the least to blame because I did not tell him before he went to England that I had not money enough to pay for the publishing. That is the real trouble; if booksellers will not order copies before it is printed, what can be done.

Thursday. Miss Gascoigne brought me one flower of the Mount Cook Lily. So Friday I went to see the plant and found that she had got a lot in pots, Mr Simons & Mr Gardner had got them from the West Coast for the flower stall at the sale of work next month. The plants were in bud when they were taken up and though in flower now are rather dilapidated with regard to their leaves. Still it is far better than having only pressed specimens to paint from.

Yesterday afternoon Frances & I went to begin to sketch them, then went to see the opening of the Gentlemen’s Bowling Green. Certainly they have made it a beautiful place, they have got it for 21 years. The last few years it had a very untidy look, very different from what it is now & also from what it was in John the Frenchman’s time. Poor old John, how he used to quarrel with people & stand in his own light, he was a most curious character, but he was very good and kind to me. How many a splendid bunch of flowers he has given me & lots of plants. If I go to a gardener now I am not at all likely to have anything given me.

Dec 23rd [Sunday]. In one of Mary’s letters she says Percy Smith is expected here. He has had a holiday & been to Australia & Tasmania, the first time he has been out of New Zealand since he arrived here as a boy. Wherever he went in Australia & Tasmania he had free passes on the railways given him and all the ‘big wigs’ called upon him.

Nov 4th. Yesterday morning Mrs Smith brought me over a plant or two of Chrysanthemums from Mrs Gorton. Mr Percy Smith arrived the night before by train, he left in the [Takapuna] today for Auckland. I went over for a little while this evening, he showed me some lovely paintings, wild flowers by Mrs Rowan. They were very beautiful but I really do not think were better done than yours. He also had a lot of photos of her paintings, such lovely things, one of the 300 guinea screen. What a pity you cannot have a little of her good fortune.

In another letter she says:

Nov 12th. I was talking to Mrs Mace in the kitchen when off flew the top of the chimney and down came a great willow tree in Furlong’s garden, it came into our fowl house. Otto and Eustace O’Carroll were feeding the fowls, they had a pretty fright. The next morning when I looked out of the window, to my surprise I saw that the great heavy glass frame had been taken bodily up and landed on my cabbages & herbs. The ground was green with gooseberries and plums, heaps of damage done to vegetables and flowers. It is very trying to one’s faith.

Kate came over to say that Alfred would rather not be agent for your book and between ourselves I am glad he refused, that sort of thing wants a very different sort of man. Hugh is working more than twenty miles away & Hermann could not do it. It will be best to try the booksellers, either Miss Cottier or Gilmour, your name will be quite sufficient in this place I am sure.

Mrs Rowan’s pictures which Percy Smith had were a present to him, he stayed at the same hotel as the Rowans in Melbourne. Mr Rowan he knew very well as he had been with him to the Chatham Islands. Percy Smith saw your pictures at the Exhibition & liked them.

August has been very ill indeed. Bronchitis & Pleurisy, Mary says.

Dec 9th. You will be sorry to hear that August is in bed again, he got a chill on Thursday, it is most vexing & I do not know we are ever to get him well again in this weather. The Dr and Mrs O’Carroll have been so kind sending things, cream nearly every day.

The show comes off next Wednesday. I have a lot of things to send, I hope I shall be able to get them down. I can get them ready but the trouble is to get someone to take them there & back. But I expect Mrs Wilson will look after them for me.

August is going to give up the business. We are losing everything in it. I do not in the least know what we shall do. We had hoped to be clear of that before Xmas. You need not mention this yet awhile but I feel very much depressed I can tell you, for we are neither of us young.

Dec 16th. I received your letter yesterday, it was good of you to write when you have so much to do, I am thankful to say that August is much better. He has been up part of two days. He is very weak & does not take much food. I managed to get my things to the show. Mrs Wilson came and helped me get them ready. The Epergne I took to the Hall the night before, most fortunately because Wednesday was very wet and windy. I got about 20 prizes out of 30 exhibits. I got 1st for collection of ferns, 1st ditto Lycopodiums, 2nd for Native plants — those are not in the paper sent. The Epergne was mostly pink & white, the basket all shades of orange & red, & the table had a great deal of blue in it.

Harris, Emily Cumming collection. Collection of Puke Ariki (ARC2002-190).

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August 20th, 1888 [Monday]. An English Mail comes in tomorrow
Emily resumes her diary as she waits for news of her plan to publish a book of drawings in England. The project develops slowly through 1888-1889, resulting in the publication of her three lithograph books New Zealand Flowers, New Zealand Berries and New Zealand Ferns in October 1890. The books were printed by John Walker and Company, London, and published by bookseller HD Jackson, Nelson.

Went to Jackson’s for some wool etc
Bookseller, stationer & fancy goods importer Henry Douglas Jackson (1827-1893) owned a business in Trafalgar St, Nelson. His son Ralph Benjamin Jackson (1863-1925) is managing the business during his father’s absence in England. The store Emily visits had been expanded and renovated the previous year. A report in the local newspaper begins:


This handsome addition to our street architecture is now sufficiently near completion to allow the proprietor arranging his comprehensive stock of books, fancy goods, &c., in the new building in good time for the Christmas season, now close at hand. The growth of this old established business has for some time back indicated the necessity for extended accommodation and as soon as Mr Jackson decided that a new building must be put up, designs were prepared, tenders called for, and in only six weeks from the time he gave possession of the site to the contractors e has been able to get into his new premises. The building which is two storeys high, covers the whole of the site, and is 75 feet long, with a frontage of 25 feet, and 31 feet high to the top of the central parapet railing. The lower storey, which is 12 feet high, is entirely devoted to the shop and a small office at the back, and plenty of light is obtained through a row of windows next to the right-of-way, which extends along the southern side at the back of the building, and also from the front windows which are unusually large. These, being glazed with large sheets of plate glass in moulded and varnished frames, present a handsome appearance, and will set off the contents of the windows to great advantage. (Nelson Evening Mail 15 Nov 1887: 3)

I have written some rhymes, called ‘In Holiday Time’
Emily is still writing poems, in this instance with an eye to combining them with drawings for a gift book of the kind Jackson has advised her to produce for the Christmas market. No book or poem of this title has been recovered, but at least one project of a similar nature did come to fruition. The Harris collection at Puke Ariki includes a signed copy of a slim volume by Emily Harris entitled New Zealand Floral Autograph At Home book (ARC2002-190). The 17-page booklet was published in 1903 to catch Christmas sales. Newspaper advertisements cite different publishers but the Triadcompany of Dunedin is the likely source, given that a Nelson paper specifies Dunedin publication and the author’s selling rights in Nelson:

We have been shown a copy of the ‘New Zealand Floral Autograph At Home Book,’ the work of Miss Harris, and published by the proprietors of the ‘Triad,’ Dunedin. This lovely little book, illustrated with well-known and also rare New Zealand flowers, is a want supplied, and should be welcome in every drawing-room. It makes a beautiful Christmas present to friends in England. Miss Harris has the sole right of sale in Nelson. (Nelson Evening Mail 6 Oct 1903: 2)

We have to thank Messrs Hutton and Co., booksellers, Timaru, for sending us a copy of their New Zealand floral autograph At Home Book. From the title ladies will at once see what the little book is used for. Each day of the week has two pages and 24 lines devoted to it, for callers on those At Home to record their autograph. The book is neatly got up, and the floral pictures on each page are very neatly designed and worked. Novelty should create a good demand for copies for home use and to send abroad. (Timaru Herald 6 Oct 1903: 2)

NEW ZEALAND FLORAL Autograph “At Home” Book. BEAUTIFULLY Illustrated throughout with New Zealand Flowers. Post free, 1s 2d. Published by P. W. Hutton & Co., Booksellers, Timaru. (Ashburton Guardian 16 Nov 1903: 3)

Mrs Gully said it was so dull for Fanny & she wished them to stay
John and Jane Gully’s daughter Fanny Thompson Lee (1848-1942) is visiting her terminally ill father. As Fanny Gully, she would have been a friend of the Harris sisters when both families lived in Taranaki in the 1850s and later when they relocated to Nelson. Fanny married Robert Lee (1837-1922) in Nelson in 1870 (Nelson Evening Mail 31 Oct 1870: 2). Robert Lee was headmaster of the Bishop’s School 1864-1874 and the Lees moved to Wellington in 1874 when he was appointed chief inspector of schools for the Wellington Education Board (Nelson Evening Mail 20 June 1922: 5). Emily stays with the Lees when she visits Wellington twice in 1890. See sections 11 and 12.

Oct. 18th [Thursday]. I have taken my books to Jackson’s this afternoon, six illustrations of each
Henry Jackson’s support of Emily’s books was characteristic of his wide-ranging cultural and commercial interests.

Mr Jackson was not only an old settler himself but was the son of an old settler. He was born at Leeds in 1827 and was at the time of his death in his sixty-sixth year. His father was the late Mr Benjamin Jackson, and the family came out to Nelson in the barque Phoebe in 1843. After living for some time in the town they settled on a farm at the Waimea and worked hard as most of the old settlers did. For several years Mr H. D. Jackson helped his father, and he afterwards went to the North Island and thence to Australia, where he remained for some time. He returned to Nelson and was employed on the staff of the Nelson Examiner, but again went to Australia. On coming back to Nelson, he started business as a bookseller and stationer, and was appointed Auditor to the Provincial Government, an office which he held till the abolition of provinces. Later on, he received the appointment of Manager of the Nelson Savings Bank. For some years he retired from his business as a bookseller, and farmed land at Stanley Brook. In 1871, however, he gave up country life for good and returned to his old occupation, which he has followed ever since his life having been varied by a trip to England a few years ago. (Nelson Evening Mail 3 Jan 1893: 2)

I suppose tomorrow or Monday there will be a local in the Mail about them
Emily also showed the Nelson Evening Mail editors a later iteration of her project, now with 36 drawings, in her efforts to fund publication by subscription:

We have been shown the drawings by Miss E. C. Harris, of Nelson, for a set of books of New Zealand flowers, berries, and ferns, to be engraved on stone and published in London as soon as a sufficient number of subscribers can be obtained to cover the expenses of publication. The set will consist of three numbers, each to contain twelve illustrations No. 1 flowers, No. 2 berries, No. 3 ferns. Miss Harris is endeavoring to supply a want long felt in New Zealand by publishing this series of drawings at a very modest price so as to place them within the reach of everyone. Books of colored illustrations of New Zealand flowers have been published, but they are necessarily beyond the reach of people in general as few can afford to give three or four guineas for them. We have little doubt that these books will become most popular. Few people are acquainted with the variety, beauty, and unique forms of the New Zealand berries, and those who are fond of ferns and have few opportunities of seeing them growing, will be especially pleased with the twelve examples given. The number of First Class awards and medals which Miss Harris has won at various colonial and international exhibitions show that she is particularly fitted for this work, as her paintings have always been considered not only artistic, but botanically correct. We wish her the success she deserves in this new venture. (Nelson Evening Mail 4 Dec 1888: 2)

I have had a Catalogue of the Fine Art Gallery of the N.Z. Court sent me
Emily exhibited at the 1888-1889 Centennial International Exhibition in Melbourne. The New Zealand Court catalogue has only generic descriptions of her work: ‘Oil Paintings of New Zealand flowers, birds, and berries’ and ‘Water-colour Paintings of New Zealand flowers, birds, and berries.’ (Field-Dodgson Appendix 1). It is possible that Emily was sent a more detailed catalogue of the Fine Arts section. That she also sent decorative items to the exhibition is clear from an honourable mention for ‘fancy work’ that appeared in Australian newspapers. (The Australasian (Melbourne) 23 Feb 1889: 41).

Our friend Mr Gully died this morning after a long & painful illness
John Gully died of cancer at his home in Trafalgar St South, Nelson, 1 Nov 1888 (The Prow). Emily’s grief is echoed in a local obituary that dwells on Gully’s convivial nature as well as his talent:

As a man he endeared himself to everyone who had the privilege of being at all intimately acquainted with him. A kindlier heart never beat in human breast. He was full of sympathy, and could and did enter most warmly into both the sorrows and joys of all around him. He was a most genial companion, with a large fund of dry humor, and was always a welcome guest at either the master’s house or the shepherd’s hut when he was on his rambles in search of themes for his pencil and brush. He was a great lover of flowers, taking a keen interest in the cultivation of roses especially, and was always a valued and hard working member of the Horticultural Society. He was passionately fond of music, and was at the time of his death one of the oldest members of the Harmonic Society, in which he took a deep interest, and of which he for a long series of years was Vice-President. He enjoyed good health until about ten months ago, when he became subject to continuous bleeding at the nose. This was the commencement of the break up, which has gone steadily on ever since. For the last four months he has been confined to his bed, being a great sufferer from a most painful malady, which ended fatally yesterday shortly before noon, when he quietly breathed his last. (Nelson Evening Mail 2 Nov 1888: 2)

Miss Kempthorne most kindly brought over the flowers thinking we should be glad to have them
Archdeacon John Pratt Kempthorne (1849-1931) married Annie Louisa Boor (1859-1939) in Nelson in 1878. The Kempthornes had five sons and five daughters. Kempthorne was vicar of Christ-Church Cathedral, Nelson, from 1885 until 1916. The Miss Kempthorne who brings the Harris sisters flowers for John Gully’s wreath may be a sister, cousin, niece or aunt also resident in Nelson. She is a committee member for the tableaux vivants of 1888 and 1889. See section 8.

Mr H.D. Jackson brought his brother yesterday morning to look at the drawings
Henry Jackson’s younger brother Samuel Wesley Jackson (1839-1907) refers to Sampson Low, Son and Company, successful London publishers who traded under various names from 1848 until 1964. See ‘Publisher: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington.’

Thursday. Miss Gascoigne brought me one flower of the Mount Cook Lily
Ranunculus Lyallii (Mount Cook Lily) is included in New Zealand Flowers, plate 11. Miss Caroline Gascoigne lived with her mother Isabella and sister Charlotte in Hardy St, Nelson. She had a particular interest in flowers and developed a much admired flower garden at her home. Researcher Anne McFadgen’s profile of Charlotte and Caroline’s nephew Archie Gascoyne (the family accepted either spelling of their last name) includes the following observation:

Apart from his father and sister, Archie had other relatives in Nelson at various stages.  As a widow his grandmother Isabella Gascoyne lived till her death at home on 27 January 1903 at 384 Hardy Street with two unmarried daughters, Charlotte and Caroline. Archie once told later resident Mrs Mann that his aunts used to live there – a true story. These aunts were also well-known for their eccentric ways. After their mother died, they led completely separate lives within the same house, one claiming the front half and the other taking over the back, one using the kitchen in the morning, the other in the afternoon. One was a Baptist, the other a Presbyterian, and they had no friends in common. Both were keen gardeners. Caroline grew flowers in the front garden, selling the cut blooms for charity, while Charlotte would ride around on her distinctive bicycle with wooden mudguards delivering the produce she grew in the back garden to friends and neighbours. (‘Once were eccentrics: Nelson Identity Archie Gascoyne’)

Poor old John, how he used to quarrel with people
John the Frenchman has not been identified. The opening of the bowling green also drew the attention of local newspapers:

A number of invitations had been issued, and the large attendance of ladies and gentlemen showed that the prospect of seeing the pretty ground, and a somewhat novel game, had been irresistible. The ground, which is very centrally situate, is remarkably pretty, and in course of time, when the creepers, roses, and shrubs which have been planted around the green in the borders have grown up, will be still more beautiful. As is necessarily the case in a newly maid green, the turf is not quite as level as it might be, but the constant use of the hose and roller will make it all that can be desired. A pavillion of a temporary nature had been erected on the north side of the ground, in which afternoon tea and the concomitant delicacies were dispensed by a number of ladies, whose kindly attentions were evidently greatly appreciated by the gentler sex, whilst on the opposite side of the green a kiosk, in which are the lockers for the use of the members, was set aside for the refreshment of the exhausted bowlers and their friends who might prefer something stronger than flowery Pekoe. (Colonist 19 Nov 1888: 3)

Dec 23rd [Sunday]. In one of Mary’s letters she says
Emily begins a retrospect of events described in Mary Weyergang’s letters from New Plymouth in November 1888, quoting her sister at length.

Mr Percy Smith arrived the night before by train, he left in the [Takapuna] today for Auckland
Stephenson Percy Smith (1840-1922), surveyor, public servant, ethnologist and writer. He was the eldest son of John Stephenson Smith (1811-1874) and Hannah Hursthouse (1814-1891), who married in Lowestoft, Suffolk, in 1839. The Smiths emigrated to New Plymouth in 1850 with their five eldest children. Percy Smith trained as a surveyor in Taranaki and in 1888 he was commissioner of Crown lands for the Auckland district (DNZB). The Smiths and the Harrises were neighbours in New Plymouth and friendships between the families persisted into the 1920s. Mrs Smith, who brings Mary Weyergang chrysanthmum plants, is Percy’s mother Hannah. Mrs Gorton is likely to be her eldest daughter Nora Mary (1842-1917, married to Colonel Edward Gorton and living in Bulls, Rangitikei (Feilding Star 31 Dec 1909: 2). Percy Smith is listed as a passenger on the Takapuna leaving New Plymouth for Manukau 4 Nov 1888 (Taranaki Herald 5 Nov 1888: 2).

he showed me some lovely paintings, wild flowers by Mrs Rowan
Marian Ellis Rowan (1848-1922), artist, naturalist and explorer, was born in Melbourne, and became a celebrated painter of wildflowers, birds, insects and butterflies from Australia, New Zealand and further afield. Her outstanding success at the 1888 Melbourne Centennial Exhibition would have been on the minds of both Emily and Mary.

On 23 October 1873 at St Stephen’s Church, Richmond, Melbourne, Ellis married Frederic Charles Rowan (1844-1892), a British army officer who had fought in the Taranaki wars, joining the New Zealand forces in 1866. She returned with him to Taranaki, where Rowan was a sub-inspector in the armed constabulary. There her son Eric (1875-1897) was born. Encouraged by her husband, Ellis Rowan continued to paint and exhibit her work. In 1877 they returned to Victoria where Frederic Rowan took up a business career, promoting a system of light railways based on one initiated by his father, engineer-in-chief to the Danish Railway Operating Co. in 1862-67.

[…] Ellis Rowan was a small, strong-willed yet fascinating woman, an enigmatic character who forged her way through life, captivating others while pursuing her ultimate goal—the finding and painting of wildflowers, birds, insects and butterflies of many countries, often for the first time. Many were classified and named by the government botanist Sir Ferdinand Mueller. In 1879-93 Ellis Rowan exhibited her work in international exhibitions in Australia, India, England, Europe and the United States of America and in that time was awarded 10 gold medals, 15 silver and 4 bronze. In 1888 at Melbourne’s Centennial International Exhibition she was awarded the highest honours, which brought a measure of envy from a few artists who considered flower painting an inferior art. (ADB)

Otto and Eustace O’Carroll were feeding the fowls
Otto Philip August Weyergang (1878-1918) was the youngest child of August and Mary Weyergang of New Plymouth. He became an orchardist in Hawke’s Bay and was killed in France near the end of World War I, leaving a set of letters now in the family archive. See ‘Otto Weyergang Writes Home’ (23 May 2019). Eustace was the son of neighbour Dr Patrick Joseph O’Carroll. Mrs Mace is probably a New Plymouth neighbour.

Kate came over to say that Alfred would rather not be agent for your book
According to notes made by his cousin Percy Smith, Alfred Moore managed a store in New Plymouth (ATL. MS-Papers-88-362-3). A more extensive note, also in Percy Smith’s papers at the Turnbull Library, gives a frank assessment of his cousin’s character:

Alfred William Moore born at Redborne 23 Jany 1834. He migrated to New Zealand, arriving at New Plymouth in Jany 1857, and stayed at my fathers farm of Okoare until the war broke out in 1860. He was not gifted with much energy and therefore has not made his way in the world. When the war broke out in 1860 he moved to Nelson, where he married Catherine Harris (born 24 June 1839) daughter of Edwin Harris, an artist, and an old neighbour of ours at Okoare, 4 March 1863. He subsequently returned to New Plymouth abt 1866 Where he now (1900) lives. He died after a lengthy illness on the 24 August 1912 and his wife the 5 April 1913. (ATL. MS-Papers-88-362-1)

Alfred and Catherine (Kate) Moore lived at present-day 355 Devon St East, New Plymouth, on the North-Eastern corner of Devon St East and Hobson Street (NZ Directories). August and Mary Weyergang lived two blocks away at present-day 196 Devon St East, between Gover and Eliot Streets, on the south side of Devon St) (Puke Ariki. ARC2005-115). Kate’s son Hugh Harris Moore (1870-1905) and Mary’s son Carl Herman Alexander Weyergang (1872-1932) are ruled out as agents for gathering subscriptions to publish their Aunt Emily’s books, perhaps because Mary herself is preparing to take on the role. See section 8.

It will be best to try the booksellers, either Miss Cottier or Gilmour
John Gilmour, stationer, Devon St (Taranaki Almanac 1888: 143). The same almanac lists Miss Cottier, stationer, Brougham St, Book Club and Subscription Library (134). An advertisement for the business reads:

Miss Cottier, Bookseller, Stationer. Books neatly bound. News agent. Brougham Street. Newspapers and periodicals direct from England every mail regularly supplied. Fancy Repository — a large and elegant assortment of fancy goods, crewels, wool, silk, arrasenes, etc. Agent for Madame Weigel’s cut paper patterns (16).

Ann Elizabeth (Eliza) Cottier (1840-1914) was born in the United States and came to New Plymouth from England in 1874 to join her father James and brother William who were already resident in New Plymouth (Taranaki Biography Files). Miss Cottier’s stationery business flourished between 1875 and 1902 to judge from newspaper advertisements and entries in the Taranaki almanac. An obituary reads:

We regret to have to record the death, which occurred on Sunday, of Miss Cottier, a very old and respected settler of New Plymouth. The deceased lady for many years carried on a fancy goods business in Brougham Street, from which she retired some years ago, when she went for a trip to America, where she was born. On her return she settled down in New Plymouth, where she has resided ever since. Her death was somewhat sudden and unexpected, for only a few days ago she was about the town in her usual health. (Taranaki Herald 23 Mar 1914: 2)

See ‘Miss Cottier, independent bookseller’ (28 May 2020).

Mr Rowan he knew very well as he had been with him to the Chatham Islands
Mary continues her account of Percy Smith’s connections with Captain Frederick Rowan and his wife Ellis. Smith was appointed Taranaki district surveyor in 1865 and would have known Rowan there before his marriage. He conducted surveys in Taranaki in 1865–66 and on Pitt Island in 1868, and was at the Chatham Islands when Te Kooti escaped on the Rifleman to Poverty Bay. (DNZB)

August has been very ill indeed
Carl Philip August Alexander Weyergang (1829-1904) of Laurenberg on the Elbe, Germany. August Weyergang emigrated to New Zealand via Australia in 1855, arriving in Nelson where he became a naturalised British subject in 1856. He taught French at Nelson College and had business interests ranging from importing furniture to exporting iron-sand and mining plumbago (black lead). By 1864 he was in New Plymouth, where he became a tobacconist and later a wine and spirit merchant. August Weyergang and Mary Rendel Harris were married at St Mary’s in New Plymouth in 1871. August was also a noted musician and singer. His business failed in 1894 and the Weyergang’s moved to a rural property in South Taranaki at Awatuna, near Eltham. After August’s death in 1904, Mary and her sons moved to Hawke’s Bay where Herman and Otto became orchardists. The Harris and Weyergang family album includes many portrait photographs of August’s German family.

I got about 20 prizes out of 30 exhibits
Like her sisters Mary was an avid gardener, exhibiting flowers and produce in local horticultural shows. The seventh annual show of the Taranaki Horticultural Society opened 12 Dec 1888 at the Alexandra Hall in New Plymouth, two weeks later than usual because of the lateness of the season and recent bad weather. Mary was named as one of eight principal exhibitors. Her prize-winning exhibits included pot plants, a wide range of cut flowers and the epergne she mentions in her letter to Emily. Daughter Gretchen Weyergang won first prize for a hand bouquet competition for children under the age of 16 (Taranaki Herald 12 Dec 1888: 2 and 13 Dec 1888: 2). Mary’s flower garden and fernery feature in an advertisement that appeared some years later when the Weyergangs left new Plymouth for Awatuna:

FOR SALE. THAT pleasantly situated Dwelling House in Devon-street East, Section 1442, containing seven rooms, back kitchen and pantry; three brick and stone chimneys, detached wash house with brick chimney, fowlhouse, well stocked flower garden and small fernery. Water laid on. For price and conditions apply to A. WEYERGANG, 614a On the premises. (Taranaki Herald 20 Mar 1894: 2)

Full Navigation

Section 1: August 1885
Section 2: September-November 1885
Section 3: January-March 1886
Section 4: March-July 1886
Section 5: August-November 1886
Section 6: August-December 1888: You Are Here
Section 7: January 1889
Section 8: February-August 1889
Section 9: September-October 1889
Section 10: November-December 1889
Section 11: January-February 1890
Section 12: August 1890-February 1891