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  • Writer's pictureDavid Brougham

New Zealand Settler John Brougham and his 80 Grand children

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Peter Brougham Wyly in his research, A Gathering of Broughams but not a clean sweep, picks up the early life of John Brougham (page 126) who was born in Co. Kildare, Ireland about 1811 (from the 1841 English census entry). John clearly had itchy feet and needed to explore countries far and wide. At some point he came over to England and settled in the Manchester area. He married Maria Hughes at Ashton Under Lyne on 28th September 1834 and had two children James, born about 1835, and John, born 1841.


The family set sail for New Zealand on the 6 November 1841 on the Martha Ridgeway which arrived in Nelson, 7 April 1842. Sadly there was an outbreak of dysentery on board, John, their youngest son, dies on route to the promised land along with 6 other children and 4 adults. For John, sadly the sadness didn’t end there because 3 years later his wife Maria dies on 30 October 1845 and is the first to be buried in St Thomas’ church in Motueka.


Happily, John remarries 18 months later on 2nd Feb 1847, Maria Emily Franklin, born abt. 1825 in London England, the daughter of Benjamin and Mary Ann (nee Godsall). They went on to have 6 children, Edward (abt. 1848-1937), Thomas Godsall (1849-1939), Charles John (1851-1936), Henry (1853-1923), Graham (abt.1856-1938), Emily Sarah (1861-1934?).


The death notice for John Brougham in the The Colonist is quite illuminating:


Nelson 10 Feb 1898 Death of an old settler.
John Brougham who came to the colony on the 'Martha Ridgeway' landed in Nelson in the early part of 1842 and in common with other settlers had to endure many hardships and struggles in the early history of the settlement. He was naturally a kind hearted man and always lived a retired and quiet life but did not make himself prominent in taking part in public matters but by his straight forward and honorable dealings he gained the respect of all he came in contact with
Many years ago he became partially disabled through an accident and consequently was unable afterwards to cope with the struggles of life as formerly. He joined the Oddfellows Society in Richmond prior to the Motueka Lodge being formed, but after the formation he withdrew and became a member at Mote.
His remains will be interred in the old cemetery on Thurs 10. He leaves six sons ,one daughter and about 80 grandchildren.

I came across an excellent blog recently, Rustlings in the Wind by Anne McFadgen, from New Zealand, and found that she picks up their story, describing in great detail what happens to John and his descendants. It’s great to see how our research can be connected in this way from opposite ends of the world, and as a result can be brought alive. Do pick up their story on Anne’s excellent blog - it is a fascinating read.


Footnote: John Brougham (1811-1898) is thought to be one of 4 sons to Edward Brougham of County Kildare, Ireland, and Mary (nee Knowles). The other sons were Timothy (1806-1862), he went to be a gunner in India, Edward born about 1810, moved to Manchester, and James born about 1814 and later married in Manchester. This parentage of Edward and Mary Brougham is yet to be proved through documentation so is currently just assumed.


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