Topic: Robert Bruton Atkinson (1827-1872)
Robert Bruton Atkinson died in Tauranga in 1872. A coroner's inquest found that he "died by the visitation of God". He was buried by Archdeacon Alfred Brown in Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā).
Robert Bruton Atkinson was born in Hertfordshire, England in 1827. His parents were Robert Hall and Selina Atkinson (nee Bruton).
On 9 July 1850 he married Sarah Eliza Baker in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England. Their children include:
- Robert Herbert Atkinson (c1857-1907). Born in c1857. Robert died in New Zealand in 1907(reg. 1907/3888).
- Walter Henry Atkinson (1855-1923). Born in Collingwood, Victoria, Australia in 1855. Walter married Sarah Ann Cousens (1860-1939) at St Mary's Church in New Plymouth on 17 June 1885. He died in Wellington, New Zealand, on 17 February 1923.
- Amy Alexandra Atkinson (1865- ). Born in Tauranga, New Zealand on 27 October 1865 (reg. 1866/12260).
Robert and Eliza arrived in New Zealand where Rober joined the 1st Waikato Regiment as Staff Sergeant.
Sarah Eliza died in Tauranga on 8 May 1866 (reg. 1866/5231), seven months after giving birth to her daughter Amy. Her death notice reads:
ATKINSON Died, age 39 years, at Camp Te Papa, Tauranga, Sarah Eliza Atkinson, late of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, wife of Robert Bruton Atkinson, Staff Sergeant, 1st Waikato Regiment (New Zealand Herald, 18 June 1866, p. 3).
Sarah was buried in Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā).
Robert was found dead by his son, Robert Herbert Atkinson, at around 8.30pm on 9 September 1872 (reg. 1872/9246). He was lying facedown on the floor, his nose broken, with one leg on the bed. The attending doctor thought he had been dead for around two days. He surmised that Robert suffered an epileptic fit during which he fell out of bed, catching a foot on his bedpost and was choked with blood from his broken nose before he could recover from the fit.
Information from the inquest into his death mentions that when he lived in Victoria, Australia, he was subject to fits, but had not suffered on whilst in New Zealand. James Salt was the last person to see Robert alive at 7pm on 7 September 1872.
Robert was buried in Mission Cemetery (Otamataha Pā) by Archdeacon Alfred Brown. He does not have a headstone.
The Bay of Plenty Times reported:
The funeral of Mr. Atkinson took place on Tuesday, the same day the inquest was held, several members of the Tauranga Light Horse, to which corps deceased belonged, as well as a number of the Rifle Volunteers under Lieutenants Samuels and Morrison, all in uniform, attending the procession to the Te Papa cemetery. The service was read by the Ven. Archdeacon Brown. A party of cavalry troopers, under Lieutenant Connor, at the conclusion of the service fired the customary number of volleys over the grave. As an instance of the good feeling existing between the two corps, it should be mentioned that some difficulty at first having been experienced in collecting a firing party from deceased’s own corps, in consequence of most of the members residing out of town, at the suggestion of Sergeant-Major Downey, the infantry volunteered to supply the deficiency; but their services in this respect were not required, and were thankfully declined by Lieutenant Connor. Nevertheless, they assisted the bearers of the coffin to its resting place (14 September 1872, p. 3).
Bay of Plenty Times (11 September 1872). Inquests.
Bay of Plenty Times (14 September 1872). Funerals.
New Zealand Herald (18 June 1866). Deaths.