Topic: Charles Thomas Garmonsway (1871-1967)

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In 1964, at the age of 93, Charles wrote a letter to his cousin in which he remembers early days at Alexandra (Pirongia since 1896). Charles was my first cousin thrice removed - Debbie McCauley.

Looking strange? see an archived version here

Charles Thomas Garmonsway was born in Onehunga on 1 August 1871. His parents were John Henry and Crichton Garmonsway (nee Petrie) who married in Auckland on 19 December 1959 (reg. 1859/1379).

On 4 January 1902 he married Annie Florence Edith Bradshaw (1881-1983) (reg. 1902/3371).

The three children of Charles Thomas Garmonsway:

  1. Annie Edith May Garmonsway (1902-?). Born in 1902 (reg. 1902/8450). In 1939 she married Cecil Innes Pellew (1909-1988).
  2. Charles Robert Garmonsway (1905-1996). Born on 15 July 1905. In 1935 he married Dulcie Frederica Bowler (1904-1976). Charles died at the age of ninety, in 1996 (reg. 1996/54510).
  3. Nellie Florence Garmonsway (1908-?) Born in 1908 (reg.1908/18887). In 1932 she married Sydney Clive Messenger (1903-1982).

Charles and Annie divorced in 1917.

At the age of 93 Charles wrote a letter to his cousin Janie dated 20 October 1964, in which he recalls the early days at Alexandra (now Pirongia). He sent it from c/- S.C. Messenger in Silverdale, Auckland (original held by Te Awamutu Museum):

My dear Cousin Janie, Here I am to give you an answer to your very welcome letter that came to me a week ago, and to let you know what a surprise it was to me. First of all I am going to advise you that my chances of ever getting up to join your people in your big gathering to celebrate the Centenary of Alexandra, [Pirongia since 1896] is very remote indeed. My health has not been too good over this last couple of months. I feel that the journey would be too much for me. I would very much like to pay a visit to the old town of my boyhood days. I can't see many of my old pals remaining alive today? I have run out a rough sketch of the old town as I remember it as far back as 1880 and I hope you will be able to follow it out. I have also made a list of pioneer names and trades as well as I can remember. I write quite often to Clarice as I remember sending her a list of names of the old Alexandra band, and should you card I am sure that Clarice would only be too pleased to let you have a copy of them. There was 16 of us in the band, and I was the youngest member. Today I feel sure that I may be the only one living. We had the pleasure of playing the late King Tāwhiao out of Pirongia on his way to England, but I can't just say what year that was. He left Te Awamutu by there for Auckland. We played him halfway to Te Awamutu as we were met by the Te Awamutu Band who played him the rest of the way to his rail at Te Awamutu and the Band Master was Mr Selbey. Our Band Master was Mr Muller. I well remember the capture of the Maori Te Mahuki and his 12 followers right in the township, and I also remember the capture of the murderer Te Winiata who was captured by a half-cast Bob Barlow [Robert Barlow]. I am not able to give you any dates of these captures. You have put to me rather a big question in asking me to give you the time and date of the laying down of arms in Pirongia by the Maori. I can remember the instance very well but as for the time and date I would not like to express my opinion. Still, I might venture to say that it would be between 1880 and 1882 as it all happened before our family left to live in Auckland and that was in 1882. Mother died on the 14 August 1884 and from there we returned to Pirongia, and to give you any further information as to happenings from there on I would need to write a book, so I find at my age (93) this task would be rather too much for me, so I'll finish here and once more than you for your kind letter, and with a hope that you will be able to understand my letter and also my sketch and the list  of old names. I remain, your loving cousin, Charlie Garmonsway.

Notes on the letter:

Included with the letter was the following sketch by Charles:

Early Pirongia by Charles Thomas Garmonsway (1871-1967)

Charles died in Auckland on 20 May 1967 (reg. 1967/34719). His ashes were scattered at Waikumete Cemetery.

this page was archived at perma cc March 2017 https://perma.cc/p22b-58pm

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Charles Thomas Garmonsway (1871-1967)


Year:1964
First Names:Charles Thomas
Last Name:Garmonsway
Date of Birth:1 August 1871
Place of Birth:Onehunga, Auckand
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:20 May 1967
Place of death:Auckland, New Zealand
Place of burial:Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland
Occupation:storeman
Spouses name:Annie Florence Edith Bradshaw
Spouses date of birth:3 December 1881
Spouses place of birth:New Zealand
Spouses date of death:1983
Spouses place of death:New Zealand
Date of marriage:4 January 1902
Fathers name:John Henry Garmonsway
Fathers date of birth:3 June 1835
Fathers place of birth:Shoreditch, London, England
Fathers date of death:29 July 1915
Fathers place of death:New Zealand
Mothers name:Crichton Petrie
Mothers date of birth:c1847
Mothers date of death:14 August 1885
Mothers place of death:Alexandra [Pirongia since 1896], New Zealand