Monday, 31 October 2011

Research Enquiries

Can you help us with these family history enquiries?

Thomas & Julianna Price
A descendent of the Price's asked which hotels they owned. We were able to find out that they owned the Otautau Hotel in 1875. Thomas died in 1879 but Julianna owned the Crown Hotel in 1884. She also owned the Wairio Hotel around that period. While Thomas had planned to build a hotel on the Otautau-Riverton railway line, his son was listed as the owner of the Fairfax Hotel before it burned down in 1881.

So this leaves us with the question as to who built the Otautau Railway Hotel. Alistair McLachlan of the Wallace Early Settler Association in Riverton says it was a man named Smith. Do you know more about that?

George & Christina Kelly
Our next enquiry was from a woman wanting to know about a house owned by George & Christina Kelly who used to live on Clitheroe Street. George became the Wallace County Clerk in 1916. He was then called to serve in World War I. He became ill and didn't finish training and was given his clerk job back.

The house in question is not a typical Otautau house. I've asked around and have heard it might've been in Winton, Invercargil or Gore. But no one thinks it was in Otautau. Have you seen this house? If so, where is it? Or, if you know anything about the Kelly's and their time in Otautau, please let us know.

John & Jessie Johnston
Our next enquiry was for John Smith Johnston and his wife Jessie Isabella (nee Walsh or Welsh). John came over from Scotland and died in 1920, age 79. They lived in the Yellow Bluff area along the Aparima River. After John died, Isabella seems to have moved to MacAndrew Street.

Three of their boys served in World War I, and one of them, Peter, died at Passchendale in 1917. He's listed on the Otautau War Memorial.

If you know anything of interest to these family history researchers, please contact us so that we can pass the information along.

We're open Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm-4pm, and by request. Your comments are always welcome!


Delwyn Blondell said...

One of my relatives married Sophia Smith in 1878. Sophia was listed as a publican's daughter from Otautau. The marriage was witnessed by George and Martha Smith. Maybe it was this family that were associated with the Railway Hotel

Cathy said...

That could indeed be true! A Martha Smith is buried at the Old Otautau Cemetery (aged 78 in 1899) but I don't see a husband yet. That would make her 58 when Sophia was born - if that was her daughter. Might just be a relative. I'll look into it more. Thanks for posting and giving those names.

Cathy said...

Oops, i read that wrong. She was married in 1878 so could easily have been Martha's daughter. Good one!

Cathy said...

Could it have been a John and Martha Smith who were the witnesses to the marriage rather than George? They might be Sophia's parents. We have a John and Martha Smith buried in the old Otautau Cemetery. They immigrated to NZ in 1862 with their family, from Wiltshire, England. I think John and his son, John junior, were both publicans in Otautau. If Sophia was a daughter to John and Martha, do you have any information on her brother, John junior? He seems to be have disappeared after a while and we don't know whether he ever married or had children. You can email us on if you'd like to talk further. Thanks!