Topic: Edward Watts Garmonsway (1809-1875)

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In 1852 Edward Watts Garmonsway joined the Royal New Zealand Fencibles, sailing to New Zealand with his family aboard the 'Inchinnan'. Edward was my third great grandfather - Debbie McCauley

Edward Watts Garmonsway (1809-1875)

Edward Watts Garmonsway was born in Shoreditch, London, on 21 June 1809. He was the son of John and Rosanna Jane Garmonsway (nee Willson) who married in the Bishopgate area of London on 30 June 1793. Edward was christened in St Leonard's parish, Shoreditch, on 9 July 1809.

At the age of seventeen, on 10 February 1827, Edward joined the army. He served first with the 56th Regiment of Foot, stationed in Limerick, Ireland. It is here that he met his future wife, Letitia Ann King, daughter of Ann King (1795-1868). Letitia was born on 21 December 1809 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, and was baptised on 25 January 1810 at St John's, Portsea, Hampshire. They married in St John's Parish, Church of Ireland, Limerick, on 10 January 1831.

In around 1835 Edward was stationed in Falmouth, Jamaica and in October 1935 he was court martialed for 'highly unsoldiered and disgraceful conduct while in charge of a Regimental Guard'. His sentence was 14 days in prison and he was reduced from the rank of Corporal to Private.

In March 1837, Edward transferred to the 8th Regiment. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1841. According to his papers he also served in North America and India. He was discharged in July 1848 for medical reasons. His discharge papers describe him as aged 39, height 5ft 8½inches, brown hair, hazel eyes and fair complexion. The family returned to England.

As a British army pensioner (presumably a "Chelsea pensioner" receiving an invalids benefit) Edward joined the Royal New Zealand Fencibles as a soldier/settler. Those who joined signed on as armed settlers for a period of seven years, and with their families, received free passage to New Zealand and upon arrival a cottage and a small land holding which was their's upon completion of the period of service.

Edward and his family left from Gravesend bound for Auckland, New Zealand on 14 January 1852 aboard the Inchinnan in a complement comprising 78 ex-army pensioners, 68 women and 113 children. On embarkation the surviving children accompanying their parents were: John (1835), Edward Jr. (1840), Thomas (1843), Caroline (1845) and Jane (1849).

Only 11 days after departure, before the vessel had even cleared the Bill of Portland in the English Channel, a sixth child, Martha, was born on 25 January 1852. During the voyage a severe outbreak of measles and chicken pox occurred and Jane was one of twenty-three who died before the vessel reached Auckland after a voyage of 135 days on 27 May 1852.

Edward served as a constable during the voyage for which he was paid £2.

The Inchinnan was the last of nine ships to arrive in New Zealand with the Fencible Force. The seaside village of Howick where Edward was to be stationed was already settled. It was one of a chain of such fencible settlements. Sergeants and Corporals in the Howick Fencibles corps were granted one acre lots in the village which were to become their property after seven years of service were fulfilled. The dwellings the Fencibles lived in after they first arrived were just Raupo Whares but cottages were later built. Edward Watts Garmonsway owned lots 42 and 43 in Howick village.

The children of Edward and Letitia Garmonsway:

  1. Edward Thomas Garmonsway (1832-1835). Born in Limerick, Ireland on 24 January 1832, he was baptised St. Mar's Cathedral, Limerick. Edward died, aged 3, in Jamica on 17 November 1835.
  2. Francis Garmonsway (1834-1834). Francis was born on 1 January 1834. He died 6 weeks later on 12 February 1834.
  3. John Henry Garmonsway (1835-1915). Born in Shoreditch, London, England, on 3 June 1835, he was christened at St Leonard's, Shoreditch, London, on 25 December 1835. He married Crichton Petrie in Auckland on 19 December 1859. On 16 September 1864 John enlisted in the Waikato Militia (2nd Regiment - No. 1295)John died, aged 81, on 29 July 1915 (reg. 1915/5175). He was buried in Waikumete Cemetery in Auckland.
  4. Sarah Garmonsway (1839-1840). Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 10 April 1839. She died ten months later on 24 February 1840.
  5. Edward Watts Garmonsway (1840-1935). Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, on 10 December 1840. On 28 October 1864 he enlisted in the Waikato Militia (2nd Regiment - No. 1311). Edward died, aged 95, on 4 July 1935 and was buried in Pironga Cemetery on 6 July 1935
  6. Thomas Garmonsway (1843-1918). Born at Stockport Barricks, Lancashire, England, on 12 June 1843. On 20 August 1863 he enlisted in the Waikato Militia (2nd Regiment - No. 256). He married Albertina Meyer (1863-1940) on 14 August 1880. Thomas died, aged 75, in Paterangi, Te Awamutu, on 23 June 1918 (reg. 1918/3059) and was buried in Paterangi Cemetery.
  7. Caroline Garmonsway (1845-1925). Born in Portsmouth, England, on 14 November 1845. She married Thomas Rogers (1841-1907) on 20 April 1862 (reg. 1862/5006). Caroline died in Mt Eden, Auckland, aged 80, on 23 January 1925 (reg. 1925/1162).
  8. Charles Garmonsway (1848-1848). Born on 30 April 1848. Charles died six months later on 17 October 1848.
  9. Jane Garmonsway (1849-1852). Born 17 August 1849. Jane died aboard the Inchinnan on 29 April 1852 of Intestine Ulceration as a result of either measles or chicken pox. She was buried at sea.
  10. Martha Garmonsway (1852-1930). Born aboard the Inchinnan on 26 January 1852 (reg. 1852/1724). She married Charles Frederick Schrafft (c1846-1930) on 27 April 1871. Martha died, aged 76, on 13 December 1930 (reg. 1930/9341).
  11. Letitia Ann Garmonsway (1854-1935). Born in Howick, New Zealand, on 9 August 1854 (reg. 1854/2122) and baptised there on 19 November 1854. On 2 March 1875 (reg. 1875/647) she married James McConnachie (c1850-1946). She later married William Moore. Letitia died, aged 76, on 29 October 1935 (reg. 1935/21688).

On 20 October 1865 Edward joined three of his sons and enlisted in the Waikato Militia (2nd Regiment - No. 1403) from Alexandra. Edward's British Military Pension records show that the family moved to Alexandra in April 1866. His land grand was East 407. The Militia was disbanded in 1867 and replaced by the Armed Constabulary. Alexandra became 'Pirongia' in 1896 due to confusion with its namesake in Otago.

Edward died at Paterangi, aged 64, on 16 September 1875 (reg. 1875/4323). Letitia died in Pirongia, aged 73, on 25 January 1892 (reg. 1892/675). They are both buried in Pirongia Cemetery.



Auckland Libraries (NZ Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary of New Zealand 1863-1871).

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Descendants of Letitia Ann King (2004) by J. Raymond.

Edward Garmonsway and Letitia King: Their descendants. A booklet to commemorate the Garmonsway family reunion held 16-17 April 1983 in Cambridge, N. Z. (1983) by Barbara Kelly, Julie Fox and Peter Wood.

Inchinnan Passenger List

The Royal New Zealand Fencibles: 1847-1852 (1997) by Ruth Alexander.

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Edward Watts Garmonsway (1809-1875)

First Names:Edward Watts
Last Name:Garmonsway
Date of Birth:21 June 1809
Place of Birth:Shoreditch, London
Country of birth:England
Date of death:16 September 1875
Place of death:Paterangi
Place of burial:Alexandra [Pirongia since 1896]
Family Surname:Garmonsway
First settled:Howick, Auckland
Date of Arrival:27 May 1852
Name of the ship:Inchinnan
Date of sailing:14 January 1852
Port of arrival:Auckland
Sailed from:Gravesend
Spouses name:Letitia Ann King
Spouses date of birth:21 December 1809
Spouses place of birth:Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Spouses date of death:25 January 1892
Spouses place of death:Pirongia, Waikato
Spouses place of burial:Alexandra [Pirongia since 1896]
Spouses nationality:English
Date of marriage:10 January 1831
Place of marriage:St. John's Church of Ireland, Limerick
Fathers name:John Garmonsway
Fathers date of death:by 1845
Fathers nationality:English
Mothers name:Roseanna Jane Willson
Mothers date of birth:1765 (christened: 10 November 1765)
Mothers place of birth:London, England
Mothers date of death:5 February 1840
Mothers place of death:Shoreditch Workhouse, England
Mothers nationality:English
Name of sibilings:Thomas Richard Garmonsway (1803), Michael Garmonsway (1807), Francis Garmonsway (1795), John Garmonsway (1796), Richard Garmonsway (1797), Charles Garmonsway (1799), and Grace Garmonsway (1801)
Name of the children:Thomas Garmonsway, Letitia Ann Garmonsway, Caroline Garmonsway, Charles Garmonsway, Jane Garmonsway, Edward Thomas Garmonsway, Francis Garmonsway, John Henry Garmonsway, Sarah Garmonsway, Martha Garmonsway, and Edward Garmonsway
Military Service:Royal New Zealand Fencible and Waikato Milita (2nd Regiment)