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DEATH OF THE HON. H. B. GRESSON.

On Thursday night, there passed away in the person of Mr Henry Barnes Gresson, the earliest occupant of the Supreme Court bench in Canterbury, and one who was intimately connected -with the early days oi the province. He was born on January 31st, 1809, in the county of Meatb, Ireland. His father was a rector of a parish in that county, and educated him at home up to the age of fourteen, when he was sent to a private school in West Meath, remaining there three years. He matriculated at Trinity College, Dublin, and took his B.A. degree. Mr Gressou studied with a viexv to the profession of a barrister, and was called to the Irish Bar in Trinity term, 1833. In London sjkl Dublin he obtained experience in his profession, and, in conjunction with a brother barrister, published a book on Irish Equity Pleading. In 1852, accompanied by bis family, Mr Gresson arrived at Auckland, and thence proceeded to Lyttelton. At this period tnere were no regular sessions of th© Supreme Court held, Mr Justice Stephen occasionally coming to Lyttelton from Wellington, but there xvas scarcely any civil business. Mr Gresson practised his profession for some time, his office and residence being situated on the corner of Worcester and Manchester streets, opposite the present Congregational Church. He had a large business, including much of the legal work in connection with the Anglican Church. .Shortly after his arrival in Canterbury, Mr Gresson was appointed Provincial Solicitor and Crown Prosecutor, which offices he continued to hold until December, 1857, when he accepted the office of Acting-Judge of the Southern Districts, including Wellington, Nelson, Westland, Canterbury, and Otago. About 1874 a resolution was passed by a Joint Committee of the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives, that the judicial districts of the Judges should be altered. Mr Justice Gresson retired from the office of Judge, preferring to remain and make his home in Canterbury. Until he became Judge he held a fellowship of Christ's College, and was at different periods President of the Philosophical Institute, and Chairman of the Board of Governors of Canterbury College, of which be was one of the original members. He also beid the position of Chancellor of the Diocesa of Christchurch. He was a great lover of flowers, and whilst residing on 'his station, called "Waihora," near Woodend, he took great interest in the breeding of pnza cattle and Leicester sheep. For some time after his retirement he lived in tho vicinity of Rangiora, but for some years posD ha rEsidtd at Fendalton. He wss ninety-two years of age on the day of his decease.

Mr Gresson took the greatest possible interest in church matters, and amongst one of tho latest public functions be attended xvas this Cci'cinony in connection with the resumption of operations for the completion of Christchurch. Cathedral. On that occasion he was provided with a seat close to his Excellency th© Governor, and though bearing signs of his great ago, he took the liveliest interest in the proceedings. Mr Gresson was extremely benevolent, and was liberal in his support of more than oils charity. Amongs* a wide circle of friends he was held in the highest esteem,, and very general regret is felt at his decease.

In the second session of the Provincial Council, opened October 10th, 1854, the Tvsecutive having resigned, a new Executive, comprising Messrs John 'Hall, H. G. Garland, S. Bealey, and H. B. Gresson was .appointed. On May Bth, 1855 —the Provincial Council then meeting in Mr J. Brittan's house—the Hall Government resigned, aud Sir Brittan accepted the task of forming a new executive, and did so on being joined by Messrs H. Packer and H. B. Gresson. Mr Gresson retained the Kolicitorship to 1857, in which .year, oil March 31st, he was appointed Chairman of the Court of Sessions of the Peace, and he xvas gazetted a Justice of the Peace on May 15th. He was appointed by Governor Gore Brown a Judge of the Supreme Court. He held his first Court in* Lyttelton. On September 4th, 1858, the Hon. A. J. John.Fton xvas appointed Puisne Judge for Wellington and Nebon, and Mr Gresson for Canterbury r.nd Otago. At this time the rnsans of communication xvas very difficult, and their Honours had soma difficulty in getting about, as well as some, very bad cases to deal with. In the beginning of March the late Mr Justice Gresson arrived, it is said, overland from Nelson, having taken this unusually active expeditious and independent method of fulfilling bis duties of Judge of the Supreme Court in the provinces of the Middle Island. At the first sitting of the Court of Appeal in New Zealand, held at Christchurch in the Provincial Council Chamber on February 10th, 1863. Chief Justice Arney presided, and the other judges were Mr Justice Johnston and Mr Justice Gresson.

The funeral took place on Saturday afternoon. On arrival at the St. BarUabas's churchyard at Woodend'. the hearse nnd three mourning coaches from Fendalton were met by a large concourse of the residents of the toxrnship and district. The chief mourners were Misses Gresson. Mrs Gordon, and grandsons of the Hon. Mr Gresson, the Hon. C. C. Bowen. and MrT. J. Maling. Among those present were:—Messrs H. P. Hill. H. A. Adlev, Palmer Chapman, T. McDonald, T. Wilson, R. Liggett, S. Dawe, T. H. Beckett, W. Wiggins, J*. Thornton, C. Leech. T. H. Bruce. C. Skevington, W. Morris, W. Little, J. L. Wilson. N. Stokes, J. Judson, B. Mocdv. *s. B. Archer, H. Cleaver. J. Petri?, "F. Horreil, D. Hexvitt, Rev. W. Blathwayt. W. Morris, J. Kesson, Merton. aud many others, as well as several ladies; also Lieut. W. Uru, Messrs C. Fluty, T. Green, and J. Te Aik, representing the Maori runanga. The coffin of highly polished kauri was carried into the churchyard by Messrs G. MacDonald, John and Cuthbort Gresson. V. Mathias. J. Thirlwell, and Wickens. The burial liturgy xvas read by Rev. Canon Harper and Rev. T. A. Hamilton, vicar of Fendalton. A hymn was sung and the "Dead March" was played on the organ. There was a large assemblage at the grave. Many handsome wreaths of white flowers were laid on tba new mound next to Mrs Gresson's grave (she having died on June 11th. 1889, at the age of 79), from Mrs C. C Bowen, Mrs Croasdaile Bowen, Mrs Scott, Mr and Mrs Beckett, Mr and Mrs Bullock, Rev. "and Mrs Gossett. Mr and Mrs Wigram, Mr and Mrs C. Hobbs, Mrs C. Meares. Mr and Mrs W. D. Andrews, Mr and Mrs F. H. Davis, Mrs Bennett, Mrs Palmer Chapman. Mrs Walter Potts, Mr and Mrs T. W. Stringer, Mr F Orn, Mrs Gibbs, the Bruce children, Mr Watt, Misses Bowie, Mr and Mrs McOxven, Mr and Mis N. B. Archer, Mr and Miss F. Horrell, Mrs Stackwood. Mr and Mrs F. H. Wilson, Mrs T. McDonald, Mrs Eder, children of Fendalton school and teachers, Mr and Mrs Schumacker, Mr and Mrs Worsley, Mr end Mrs Wickens. Mr and Mrs T. G. Russell. Mr and Mrs H. 0. D. Meares, Mr and -ors Chadxvick, Fendalton Young Men's Club, Mr and Mrs F. A. Archer, Mr and Mrs T. Shand. Mr and Mrs Beckett. Mrs Hewinson. Mr and Mrs J. Thornton. Mr F. Am, and many others subsequently came to hand. The Rev. Canon Harper, at Kaiapoi and Woodend, made feeling reference to the death of Mr Gresson. The Ilev. T. A. Hamilton, preaching at tbe Church of St. Barnabas, Fendalton, on Sunday morning, spoke of the i.ite Justicfe Gresson's long and noble life, and of the irreparable loss the parish Lad suffered in bis death, especially in the cause of missions. HL« kiadiy aynipathy was ever rsady, and bin hand open to all cases of need and distress. Universally baloved, he had lived in the very presence of God, and left the remembrance of a saintly life.

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Bibliographic details

DEATH OF THE HON. H. B. GRESSON., Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 10881, 4 February 1901

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DEATH OF THE HON. H. B. GRESSON. Press, Volume LVIII, Issue 10881, 4 February 1901

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