Topic: Edward Watts Garmonsway (1840-1935)

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Edward Watts Garmonsway was a member of the 2nd Waikato Militia during the New Zealand Wars. He was my third great uncle - Debbie McCauley.

Edward Watts Garmonsway was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, on 10 December 1840 to Edward Watts and Letitia Ann Garmonsway (nee King) who married in St John's Parish, Church of Ireland, Limerick, on 10 January 1831.

His father joined the Royal New Zealand Fencibles as a soldier/settler and the family received free passage to New Zealand. They left from Gravesend bound for Auckland, New Zealand on 14 January 1852 aboard the InchinnanDuring the voyage a severe outbreak of measles and chicken pox occurred and Edward's younger sister Jane (1849-1852) was one of twenty-three who died before the vessel reached Auckland after a voyage of 135 days on the 27 May 1852.

On 28 October 1864 Edward enlisted in the Waikato Militia (2nd Regiment - No. 1301) from Alexandra. and saw action during the New Zealand Wars. His land grand was West 42. 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.

He had a son with Māori wahine, Wehewehe Te Keene

The child of Edward Watts Garmonsway:

  1. Maru Edward Garmonsway (1884-1956). Married Mere Mareti Pitiroi (Mary) in 1910. Maru died on 6 July 1956. He was buried in Hamilton East Cemetery on 7 July 1956 (Hamilton East Cemetery Records Online).

The 1882 Return of Freeholders lists Edward as a carter of Alexandra [Pirongia since 1896], his land valued at £8. After his discharge from the Militia he started a carrying business between Pirongia and the Te Awamutu railway station, operating it for over fifty years. He was apparently well known with his wagon and team of horses. He unloaded coal in huge chaff sacks from the steamer which delivered goods to the wharf at the bottom of Crozier Street; 'many a boy was taken for a days outing on the wagon which never went faster than walking pace. Old Ned would take the boys to the Railway Tearooms, run by Langmuirs, buy them soft drinks and biscuits and give them a picnic, with the highlight of the day coming when the boys could take the horses reins as they returned home late at night'.

Edward was a foundation member of the Alexandra Racing Club and the old Alexandra Brass Band. He played the big drum in the brass band with his brother John Henry Garmonsway, who played the Baratone, and nephew Charles who played the Pickelo. This band played the farewell for the Maori King Tāwhiao (1822-1894) in 1884 when he led a party to England to petition Queen Victoria.

In the New Zealand Wises Directory of New Zealand for 1906 and 1918 Edward is listed as a carter at Pirongia. ‘Old Ned’ as he was affectionately known throughout the Waikato, was a Pirongia area resident for more than seventy years. 

Edward died, aged 94, on 4 July 1935 (reg. 1935/19027). He was buried in Pironga Cemetery on 6 July 1935. His obituary in the local newspaper reads: 

DEATH AT NINETY-FIVE OF MR E GARMONSWAY The Death occurred at Piroinga last Thursday of Mr Edward Garmonsway, aged 95. Well known among the older Waikato settlers, Mr Garmonsway was born in India in 1840. With his parents he went to England in 1848 and three years later the family left for New Zealand. Mr Garmonsway lived in Auckland until 1863 when, as a member of the 3rd [2nd - ed] Waikato Regiment he was sent to Alexandra, now known as Pirongia, where he experienced some stirring incidents during the progress of the Maori Wars. On one occasion after having walked eight miles to Te Awamutu he was informed that his home had been surrounded by hostile Maoris and it was only after strenuous effort that his family was brought to safety at the redoubt at Te Awamutu.



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

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Descendants of Edward Garmonsway (2001) by J. Raymond.

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. by Barbara Kelly, Julie Fox and Peter Wood (1983).

Hamilton East Cemetery Records Online

Inchinnan Passenger List

Nominal and Descriptive Rolls of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Waikato Regiments 1863-1867 (ISBN: 978-0-473-12920-0).

NZ Militia, Volunteers and Armed Constabulary of New Zealand 1863-1871

Personalities of Alexandra (Pirongia).

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Edward Watts Garmonsway (1840-1935)

Note:Regiment No: 1301
First Names:Edward Watts
Last Name:Garmonsway
Date of Birth:10 December 1840
Place of Birth:Nova Scotia
Country of birth:Canada
Date of death:4 July 1935
Place of death:Pirongia, New Zealand
Place of burial:Pironga Cemetery
Date of Arrival:27 May 1852
Name of the ship:Inchinnan
Date of sailing:14 January 1852
Port of arrival:Auckland
Sailed from:Gravesend
Fathers name:Edward Watts Garmonsway
Fathers date of birth:21 June 1809
Fathers place of birth:Shoreditch, London, England
Fathers date of death:16 September 1875
Fathers place of death:Paterangi, New Zealand
Mothers name:Letitia Ann King
Mothers date of birth:21 December 1809
Mothers place of birth:Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Mothers date of death:25 January 1892
Mothers place of death:Pirongia, New Zealand
Name of the children:Maru Edward Garmonsway
Military Service:Waikato Milita (2nd Regiment)