Sarah Harris to sisters. New Plymouth, 
My daughter Frances Emma I should have told you was born in the timber house before we had it removed Feb 14th 1842 & was christened by Bishop Selwyn 1842, Mrs Merchant & self, sponsors. So we lived on in our cottage very happy as long as there was work for Ned who when at home put in various kinds of vegetables & did all sorts of odd jobs to make us comfortable, boxes for tables & seats which we got from the store as ours were burnt.
The loss by the fire was a very serious trouble to us. The few settlers had nothing to sell or give & the store required money for goods which had to be earned first. So I collected a great many burnt articles & made cloth shoes for the children & many little things sewed together came in useful until we could receive an outfit from England, which arrived twelve months after & when the box was opened what delight it was with the dear children standing round exclaiming as each article was taken out. Oh! That’s for me. That’s for Baby, that’s for papa & Oh! what a nice dress for mama etc etc. And so there was great joy & I felt grateful to the Great Grace of all things for his goodness in permitting us to receive it safely. With a thousand thanks to you & Mr. H’s family who I intend writing, trusting you & my dear Father & sisters are all well, Ever your
Affectionate Sister SH
Harris Family History. Compiled by various hands 1871-1934. Briant Papers. Notebook, pp. -.
My daughter Frances Emma I should have told you was born in the timber house
Frances Emma Harris (1842-1892) became a painter and a teacher, as did her sisters Emily and Ellen Harris. From Sarah’s letter it appears the family was living in Dr Weekes’ portable timber house when Frances was born 14 Feb, and that the house was relocated to their section at Te Henui shortly afterwards. George Augustus Selwyn (1809-1878), missionary and first bishop of New Zealand, arrived in Auckland in May 1842. He began a six-month visitation tour on foot and by horseback, ship, small boat and canoe that included the New Plymouth settlement in Oct 1842 (Te Ara).
until we could receive an outfit from England, which arrived twelve months after
The barque Timandra arrived in Taranaki 23 Feb 1842. She was the fourth of the Plymouth company ships, leaving Plymouth 2 Nov 1841 with 212 passengers. It seems likely that the Harris and Hill families would have taken advantage of the voyage to send Edwin and Sarah replacement goods after receiving news of the fire of May 1841. A glimpse of Sarah Harris occurs in the diary of Anne Flight, who was a cabin passenger on the Timandra with her husband Josiah and small daughter Annie. The Flights were living in a tent on the foreshore in the days after their arrival: ‘Wednesday 2 [Mar 1842]. Very fine weather. Captn. And Dr. called on us. Gents busy in having things from ship. Annie came from Mrs. Carrington’s quite well. Mrs. C. very kind, and she has been with them since Saturday. Mrs. Harris called. Brig from Sydney anchored yesterday.’