Topic: Sarah Ann Crawford (nee Birkett) (1869-1956)

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Sarah Ann Crawford (nee Birkett) served the Katikati community as a midwife, even delivering several of her own grandchildren. She was my second great grandmother - Debbie McCauley.

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Sarah Ann Birkett was born in Webb Street, Wellington, on 23 August 1869 (reg. 1869/19540). Her parents were Edward and Ellen Birkett (nee Hart) who married in Wellington on 5 December 1853. Ellen Hart had arrived in Wellington on 4 August 1841 aboard the Tyne with her parents Edward and Sarah Hart. Her father Edward was the cook on the voyage, his occupation listed as ‘bricklayer’.

At Hawera on 24 February 1883 (reg. 1883/225), Sarah married John Crawford (1860-1937). Sarah was aged 16, John was aged 21. John was born at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, on 24 March 1860. He arrived in Auckland, aged four years, on the Steinwarden on 14 October 1864 with his mother Kezia and her second husband George Tippett.

The children of Edward and Sarah Ann Crawford:

  1. Arthur John Crawford (1883-1963). Born at Awhitu, Waiuku, in 1883 (reg. 1883/15155). Arthur marred Winifred Ellen Murphy (1888-1958) in 1907. Their grandson, James Robert Gatenby, died in the Vietnam War on 5 June 1969. Arthur died in Opunake on 12 July 1963. He is buried in the Opunake Cemetery.
  2. William Crawford (1885-1944). Born at Opunake in 1885 (reg. 1885/17913). William marred Mary Ann Judson (1895-1923) in Hawera in 1913. Mary became very ill and was nursed in Katikati by William's mother Sarah. Mary died in Sarah's home in Katikati in 1923 and was buried in the Katikati Cemetery. William married Margaret Ann Gatenby (1900-1947) in Opunake in 1925. He died in Cambridge, aged 59, on 23 September 1944 and was buried in Hautapu Cemetery.
  3. Edward James Crawford (1887-1944). Born in Opunake on 6 September 1887 (reg. 1887/9368). In 1910 he had a child with Elizabeth Wilson (1893-?).  Edward served during World War I (1914-1918). He married Frederica Martha Sarah Reynolds (nee Baker) (1901-1955) on 26 January 1928 (reg. 1928/8132). Edward died in Katikati, aged 57, on 10 December 1944 (reg. 1944/28437) and is buried in Katikati Cemetery (Anglican Plot No. 119).
  4. Colin Godfrey Crawford (1889-1943). Born at Opunake on 6 September 1889 (reg. 1889/12353). Colin married Ethel Rose Weston (1888-1963) at Taneatua on 24 April 1912 [Ethel was born in Te Puke in 1888 to George and Harriet (nee Tippett), George a Te Puke Carrier, Harriet though to be Te Puke's first district nurse]. Colin died in Katikati from a heart attack on 9 July 1943. He was buried in Katikati Cemetery.
  5. Charlotte Emma Kezia Crawford (1891-1911). Born at Opunake in 1891 (reg. 1891/13645). Charlotte never married. She died of appendicitis in Rotorua in May 1911. She was buried in Rotorua Cemetery.
  6. George Henry Crawford (1893-1953). Born at Opunake in 1893 (reg. 1893/15127). George married Florence Matilda Walker (nee Healey) (1883-1955) in 1913. He died in Hamilton on 8 August 1953 and was buried in Hamilton East Cemetery.
  7. Frederick Kahui Crawford (1895-1960). Born in Opunake on 26 October 1895 (reg. 1895/9568). He served during World War I (1914-1918). He married May Campbell (1899-1962) on 1 November 1922 (reg. 1922/7517). Frederick died in New Plymouth, aged 64, on 22 August 1960 (reg. 1960/28976). He is buried in Te Henui Cemetery in New Plymouth.
  8. Eileen May Crawford (1902-1977). Born at Opunake in 1902 (reg. 1902/13507). She married Henry Young (1898-1948) in 1924. He died at Mangakino in 1948. She married John Maxwell Smyth (1925-2001) in 1956. He died in Tokoroa. Eileen died in Tokoroa on 2 June 1977 and was buried in Tokoroa Cemetery. 
  9. Reginald Crawford (1905-1958). Born at Opunake in 1905 (reg. 1905/16184). Reginald married Eva Lowry (1905-1980) in 1927. He was accidentally killed in Tauranga on 24 October 1958. Reginald was buried in the Tauranga Anglican Cemetery.
  10. Allen Crawford (1906-1986). Born at Opunake in 1906 (reg. 1906/18956). He served during World War II (1939-1945). Allen married Mavis Joy Thomas (1927-2008) in 1957. He died in Hamilton on 3 January 1987. Allen was buried in Hamilton Park Cemetery on 6 January 1987 (RSA-16-129). 
  11. Ellen Edith Crawford (1907-1997). Born at Kaponga on 25 November 1907 (reg. 1908/1899). Ellen married Patrick Walter Pemberton (1905-1981) in 1926. Ellen died in Auckland in 1997. She was cremated at Manukau Cemetery.
  12. Eileen Pearl Wilson (1910-1945). Born at 37 Thompson Street, Wellington on 13 February 1910. She was the daughter of Edward James Crawford from his relationship with Elizabeth Wilson (1893-?). Eileen was raised by her paternal grandparents John and Sarah. She married Lennard John George McCauley on 25 November 1936. Eileen died in Katikati on 29 September 1945. Her death certificate lists Sarah and John as her parents.

Sarah and John lived for a time in Awhitu near Waiuku, where their son Arthur was born and where John worked in the Kauri milling industry. They then returned to Opunake where another five children were born. In around 1900 Sarah possibly worked as a cook in a boarding house  for bush workers in Mokau, whilst John worked in bush camps. Moving to Taneatua in around 1911, they farmed there until 1915. 'At Taneatua, Sarah had to row her children across the river each day to school and back' (Nicholls, p. 14). 

In 1915 they bought a farm at Waihou, Te Aroha. The Crawford family moved to Katikati in around 1918 where John and Sarah purchased a farm a few hundred metres up Lockington Road on the left.

A Katikati Advertiser article dated 18 April 1989 records that ‘to help the new family, local money lender George Alley agreed to let them live at “Greenwood”, his own property on Rea Road’. This relates to son Colin, his wife Ethel and their children. In return, George Alley ran bullocks on the Crawford farm (The Crawfords of Katikati, 1989, p. 5).

Sarah served as a District Nurse and midwife in Katikati for many years, even delivering several of her own grandchildren.

'John enjoyed fishing and spent many of his Sundays on the Tauranga Harbour. While at Katikati, John suffered a stroke which left him partially paralysed' (The Crawfords of Katikati, 1989, p. 2). Edward James Crawford was discharged from the army on 7 June 1919 due to his father's stroke. Their son Edward purchased a farm on Wrights Road, Katikati, and his brother Colin Godfrey a farm on Lockington Road, Katikati (Cullen, p. 7).

In the early 1920s Sarah and John bought a boarding house next to the Rotorua Railway Station. After several years the boarding house was sold and they retired to live with their daughter Ellen and her husband Patrick Pemberton at Hamilton and Paterangi, Te Awamutu (Nicholls, p. 14).

John died, aged 76, on 27 July 1937 (reg. 1937/15047). He was buried in Hamilton East Cemetery on 29 July 1837 (BB-M-085). Sarah moved in with her son Allen and his wife Mavis in Hamilton.

According the Nicholls (1981); 'In her later years she [Sarah] did wonderful crochet work for her family and grandchildren, which is still in use today. She had a happy and charming disposition, a sense of humour and was loved by all' (p. 14).

Sarah died at Hamilton, aged 87, on 12 February 1956 (reg. 1956/29570). She was buried in Hamilton East Cemetery on 14 February 1956 (BB-M-085).



Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Hamilton Cemetery Records: John Crawford

Hamilton Cemetery Records: Sarah Ann Crawford

Marriage Certificate: Sarah Birkett to John Crawford (1883).

The Crawfords of Katikati (April 1989).

The Descendants of Ellen Hart and Edward Birkett by Charles Norman Nicholls (1981).

The Origins of the Crawfords from Kati Kati by Vaughan Cullen (n.d.).

This page was archvied at perma cc August 2017

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Sarah Ann Crawford (nee Birkett) (1869-1956)

First Names:Sarah Ann
Last Name:Birkett
Date of Birth:23 August 1869
Place of Birth:Webb Street, Wellington, New Zealand
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:12 February 1956
Place of death:Hamilton, New Zealand
Place of burial:Hamilton East Cemetery
Family Surname:Crawford
Spouses name:John Crawford
Spouses date of birth:24 March 1860
Spouses place of birth:Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
Spouses date of death:27 July 1937
Spouses place of death:Hamilton, New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Hamilton East Cemetery
Date of marriage:24 February 1883
Place of marriage:Hawera
Fathers name:Edward Birkett
Fathers date of birth:c1832
Fathers place of birth:Kent, England
Fathers date of death:2 September 1902
Fathers place of death:New Zealand
Mothers name:Ellen Hart
Mothers date of birth:1832
Mothers place of birth:Maidstone, Kent, England
Mothers date of death:29 August 1929
Mothers place of death:New Zealand