William John Eatwell (1859-1941)

John & Jessie Eatwell

William John Eatwell (1859-1941)

Also known as John.

John was born in Aldbourne Wiltshire on the 1st April 1859. It seems the nature of that day was carried on with a wicked sense of humour evident to this day.

With his parents and family, John left the UK and travelled to New Zealand on the Mataura in 1875. ( The Mataura was also known as the Dunfillan )



Passenger List from the Mataura 1875

The family consisted of John Eatwell (snr) (40yrs), his wife Ann (40), and children Ann (17), John (15), Ellen (12), Emily (10), Jane (8), Rose (4), and Kate (1). We believe that Kate died on board the ship.


After arriving in New Zealand, John aged 15, went to work for Lucas’s at Nelson Evening Mail but had to leave later to help on the farm his father had leased at the foot of the Maitai Valley (see below), on what we called ‘Richardson's Estate’. They milked cows for town supply. Eventually John took over and with his sisters made a successful job of that. They were not emigrants without money. In 1885, John’s father took a bush section in Stanley Brook, building a house. He always called himself a sheep farmer, as he did very little cropping and only milked cows enough for home supply - milk, cream, butter with very little over to sell.

John (Charl’s Father) married Mary Ann Jessie Vercoe in 1891 she was 23 and he was 32. They were a very devoted couple. She was killed in an accident when she went driving with some cousins in Blenheim on her way home from seeing Bert off in Wellington, leaving with Expeditionary force in January 1917. The horse vehicle was hit by a car driven by her cousin George Newman on his way home from the races (he had been drinking also) and she was thrown out on her head on the road. She lived unconscious for a week or two, Bert did not know (that his mother had been killed) until he got to England, or wherever they landed. There was no way of communicating in those days en route on troop ships. Her death was a very great blow to the family, and indeed the whole of Stanley Brook, as she was dearly loved there.


I 1883 John's father was able to lease 320 acres in Stanley Brook.
Lease in 1883

And later when they moved to Paraparaumu they had to sell various bits and pieces.


John's Tree

Click on the image to see it in full view.



Nelson Evening Mail

Mr W.J. Eatwell

The death of Mr William John Eatwell, who arrived in Nelson from England on the Mataura in 1876, has occurred at the residence of his daughter, Mrs P.A. Jordan, Dovedale.

He came to New Zealand at the age of 15. His first employment was with the "Evening Mail", after which he joined his parents, who had taken up farming in the Maitai Valley. In 1885 he took a bush section at Stanley Brook and built the homestead which has been in the possession of the family ever since. He married Jessie Vercoe in 1890. Mr Eatwell took a prominent part in public affairs and devoted much time to them. For some years he was connected with the Government Valuation Department. He was res-ponsible for starting the library at Stanley Brook, which was considered one of the largest in the Dominion for a district of its size. For many years he served on the school committee, and he was a member of the Masonic Lodge for a long period. He took a keen interest in the Church of England and was one of the prime movers in getting the church built at Stanley Brook. He is survived by the following sons and daughters: Mrs PA Jordon (Dovedale), Mrs LH Mytton (Wood-stock), Messrs HJ Eatwell (Paraparaumu), WS (Paraparaumu), and CA (Collingwood).