Topic: Thomas Garmonsway (1843-1918)

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Thomas Garmonsway was in the 2nd Waikato Militia. He was my second great grandfather - Debbie McCauley

Thomas Garmonsway was born at Stockport Barricks in Lancashire, England, on 12 June 1843. His parents were Edward Watts Garmonsway and Letitia Ann King who married in St John's Parish, Church of Ireland, Limerick, on 10 January 1831.

Thomas emigrated to New Zealand with his family when he was aged nine. They left from Gravesend bound for Auckland, New Zealand on 14 January 1852 aboard the Inchinnan. During the voyage a severe outbreak of measles and chicken pox occurred and his younger sister Jane was one of twenty-three who died. The ship reached Auckland after a voyage of 135 days on 27 May 1852.

On 20 August 1863 Thomas enlisted in the Waikato Militia (2nd Regiment - No. 256) from Howick. The previous month, in July 1863, Governor George Grey and the colonial government had invaded the Waikato. Four regiments of Waikato Militia were raised to serve in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato districts. The enlisted men, if not already in the North Island of New Zealand, were to be given free passage to a designated port and promised land in the settlements that would be established. In March 1864, information was received that Māori entrenching parties were building fortifications at Ōrākau. The nearest imperial forces hurried to the site and were joined by the 2nd Waikato Regiment. ‘Rewi’s last stand’ at Ōrākau Pa took place between 31 March and 2 April 1864. The following month, in June 1864, sites were selected for the Regiments:

  • 1st Regiment: Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty.
  • 2nd Regiment: Alexandra (now Pirongia) and Kihikihi in the Waikato.
  • 3rd Regiment: Ngaruawahia, Te Kowhai and Cambridge in the Waikato.
  • 4th Regiment: Hamilton in the Waikato.

Once the town sites were selected, farms were surveyed and allotments distributed according to rank. The Militia was disbanded in 1867 and replaced by the Armed Constabulary. On 10 May 1867 the Daily Southern Cross reported that Thomas had received a Crown Grant at Alexandra - West 66. Alexandra became 'Pirongia' in 1896 due to confusion with its namesake in Otago.

Thomas married Albertina Meyer (1863-1940) at St John's Church, Te Awamutu, on 14 August 1880 (reg. 1880/1949). She was aged 17, Thomas was aged 36. The minister was Edward James Phillips, the witnesses were Albertina's parents Hermann Meyer (Farmer Paterangi) and Minnie Meyer. The couple went on to have thirteen children together:

  1. Thomas Albert Garmonsway (1881-1977). Born on 4 November 1881 (reg. 1881/11126) at Paterangi, Te Awamutu. He fought in the South African conflict (Boer War 1899-1902). Thomas married Mildred Caroline Bell (1894-1978) on 2 August 1915 (reg. 1915/3078) in Otorohanga [separating in 1931]. He died, aged 95, in New Plymouth on 24 June 1977 (reg. 1977/40411).
  2. Jane Garmonsway (1883-1973). Born on 9 November 1883 (reg. 1883/15375). She married Edwin Bell (c1878-1953) in Cambridge on 11 April 1901 (reg. 1901/1200). Jane died on 6 September 1973 (reg. 1973/49091).
  3. Edward Watt Garmonsway (1885-1967). Born on 20 June 1885 (reg. 1885/8131). Edward served in World War I (1914-1918). He married Euphemia Lyle Butler in 1920 (reg. 1920/11774). Edward died, aged 82, on 13 September 1967 (reg. 1967/29287).
  4. William Henry Garmonsway (1886-1957). Born on 1 August 1886 (reg. 1886/9985). He married Emily Charlotte Beere in 1906 (reg. 1906/601). William died, aged 72, on 30 September 1957 (reg. 1957/35438).
  5. Charles Frederick Garmonsway (1888-1888). Born on 27 December 1887 (reg. 1888/1601). He died six weeks later (reg. 1888/441).
  6. Harold Gordon Garmonsway (1889-1918). Born 18 January 1889 (reg. 1889/17525). Harold was aged 29 when he killed during World War I (1914-1918) near Pas de Calais in France on 27 March 1918 (reg. 1918/28052).
  7. Charles Vincent Garmonsway (1890-1969). Born on 20 October 1890. He married Margaret Alice Galvan (1895-1973) in 1917 (reg. 1917/3361). Charles died on 2 November 1969.
  8. Alice Albertina Garmonsway (1892-1983). Born 11 July 1892. She married Richard John Smith in 1911 (reg. 1911/4748). Alice died on 19 August 1983 (reg. 1983/32758).
  9. Roy Leslie Garmonsway (1894-1966). Born on 28 February 1894 (reg. 1894/2419). He married Elizabeth Cicely Taylor. Roy died, aged 72, on 24 March 1966 (reg. 1966/26486).
  10. Eva Hilda May Garmonsway (1895-1992). Born on 8 July 1895 (reg. 1895/18422). She married Irwin Kingdon. Eva died in 1992 (reg. 1992/53346).
  11. Kenneth Lionel Keith Garmonsway (1898-1992). Born on 1 December 1898 (reg. 1899/19170). He never married. Kenneth died in 1992 (reg. 1992/44057).
  12. Alwina Clarill Hazel Garmonsway (1900-1983). Born on 30 November 1900 (reg. 1901/3115). She married Hermann Rudolph Wendt (-1948) in 1917 (reg. 1917/4805). She had a relationship with David Leonard Hurst. She bigamously married John McClennan on 19 December 1925 (reg. 1925/9249). She later married George William Hutchins. Alwina died on 4 August 1983 (reg. 1983/41202) and was buried in Hamilton Park Cemetery.
  13. Frederick Trevor Garmonsway (1903-1973). Born on 23 August 1903 (reg. 1903/7723). He married Marjorie Weatherell in 1931 (reg. 1931/6058). Frederick died on 28 April 1973 (reg. 1973/39528).

Thomas died, aged 75, in Paterangi, Te Awamutu, on 23 June 1918 (reg. 1918/3059) and was buried in Paterangi Cemetery. His death notice appeared in the Waikato Times on 25 June 1918:

GARMONSWAY - On June 23rd, 1918, Thomas, dearly-beloved husband of Albertina Garmonsway, of Paterangi, in his 76th year. Funeral will leave his later residence, Paterangi, at 2 p.m., tomorrow (Wednesday) for Paterangi cemetery. Friends please accept this intimation - Hunder Bros., undertakers.

Two years later, in 1920 (reg. 1920/11412), Albertina married David Reid. At the time of her death, Albertina was living in Leamington, Cambridge. She died, aged 76, on 10 March 1940 (reg. 1940/17408) and was buried in Hautapu Cemetery (Block D, Plot 240). 



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

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Daily Southern Cross (10 May 1867, p. 5).

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.

Waikato Times (25 June 1918, p. 4)

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Thomas Garmonsway (1843-1918)

Note:Regiment No: 256
First Names:Thomas
Last Name:Garmonsway
Date of Birth:12 June 1843
Place of Birth:Stockport Barricks, Lancashire
Country of birth:England
Date of death:23 June 1918
Place of death:Paterangi, Te Awamutu
Place of burial:Paterangi 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
Spouses name:Albertina Meyer
Spouses date of birth:9 October 1863
Spouses place of birth:Germany
Spouses date of death:10 March 1940
Spouses place of death:Leamington, Cambridge
Date of marriage:14 August 1880
Place of marriage:St John's Church, Te Awamutu
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
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, Waikato
Military Service:Waikato Milita (2nd Regiment)