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DIAMOND WEDDING.

EARLY DAV REMINISCENCES

Tho celebration of diamond weddings does not often occur, but- such an event took place lasjt week,.- the happy couple beingJAfr. ana M*sl' A. J. Denton, who reside in Wainui road, Gisborne. For 60.3:ears they have travelled the road of life-together,, and. excepting for a slight deaThesS, they are hale and hearty, and as, -full of energy as many much younger than themselves. , .Mr. Denton has attained to the ripe age of .83 years, whilst Mrs.* Denton is *Rve . years younger than her husband. When ai Herald i*epOrter called onjthem yesterday afternoon for it chat stfj&ut "the early days, he found Mrs. Denton busily engaged in her domestic duties; in fact, she was' busy at the wash tub, and -.Mr. Denton was working in the gar..den. Of an Vmassuming disposition, the old couple are held in the highest esteem by a wide circle of Mends, .who .will jom in extending to . them hearty congratulatings ~ upon the distinction they have gained of celebrating their Sliamond wedding. Possessed of a clear .memory, both Mr. -arid 3ifw.., Denton .were ablet to recall incidents of the early days quite readily, and' the information thus gleaned forms art interesting page in the history of the pioneering years. Born in Suffolk on February 10, 1834, Mr. Denton descended from an old

family, the Dentons having paid rent , for the Rushbrook Park farm, on the London road, one and a-ha^f. miles from \Bnry, for upwards of iSOyeai*. The hiembers of the family -of Mr. Denton's generation are gradually diminishing, iand there now remain alive*, in addition .\to himself, a sister, Mrs. Clothier (nee Alice Denton), who resides in Invercar- . gill, and a cousin who resides m England. v-.lt was iu one of the first four ships '.that arrived at Lyttelton that Mr. came to New Zealand, in 1850. r ,Four ships— Sir George Seymour, Randolph. Cressy, and Charlotte Jane-^-pnt ilinto Plymouth... together. The; first to ..start out from that piort' tos-'ifce Chacr'iotte '..Jane'; then/followed the r l ßandplph-j ■vihe Sir George Seymour was Lhetft, there y<being about 12 or 14 hours between the of the jthree ships, 1 whilst, the ,-,Cressv J the day, after the third ''ship-* The Voyage of the ,,;Srf-. George -jSevmour (Captain Goodson), which occupied 108 days, was full of" 'incident. a ln addition to the Deiiton family, our ,' t .respected townsman being then close oh t,.17 years o\ ajge, there^were many pas'..'sengers on board, -all -the accoinmoda- ■ n tion being occupied. Tfie -father and .*. mother, two sisters, and the youngest ."^brother, a small boy, Were in the interim mediate class, whilst Mr.-, ftenton and >A two other brothers were iri 'the steer-' ;7age. the single (men's.. qharters. ", "Whdu off. th© Canary .Islanjis,," , statied Mr. Denton, Mn* the course of his 2 narrative, "a fire took place through a {lV lamp capsizing_ down the hold. I was J, the first to give. Ihe alaftn. I wanted to ; '.Co below and*, .help, but the . captain stopped me, aad. -said I. would be of # ' more use- on deck. The sailors went „ down the hold. . and, after an hour and n a-half's fightalfgr.the five was exUn- .., guished. When th« "line" was crossed y <the usual ceremony was gone* through, '-', and shorjjy after * crossing we sighted y the Randolph. We hail one of her pasp senger.**. on board n>ur ship,, so ,we came £ . up t<> tlhe Randolph as<ilose as, possible ..' and transferred, . the .passenger, a\. M*. Davy,- who was- a % surveyor, : .When rounding the Capa jpf Good Hope 'we into very rough weather, and. in the middle of one night the wheel rope broke- . and the ship .^e^s^nping rouh£.,,They were not long, iu . getting som«e u ;tackje . on, and fixed up tpe wheel. The -next " excitement was when we sighted Stewart Island. We wene tacking,, and, ran close into shore. We could -see the trees, and all at once saw what I took to be a. whale. I*said to one of the sailors . who *as sitting beside me, "There's a whale." He looked, and* exclaimed, "A whale be hanged," aiid •riished away, and had. the ship, put about . as quickly as he could, and the ship just got oleaar. It was. a big; rock, and %a coirdd. throiy stones on to it as w« passed. We were' tacking about foiKßome time-; . I think we came up td Slj&lslancl, twice. At last . Big Akaroa wan-' made, six or seven o'clock in* ute meaning., -We r sailed down tide Lvtt'eitoh' h'a#bolr, ; and found three big jjhips-^what we called big ships then — lyihg at anchor. There was a little man-of-war/ with Sir Goo. Grey aboard, the\Gharkfoe.*JJanie r which had put in ov£i* night, ahead of and th© Randolph, which put* in about 9 o'clock .in the morning. • We dropped anchor just about '-won. • -That was ohi December 17, 1850. \The fourth ship, the Cressy, was eleven "day* behind us." The passengers weife taken ashore in rowing boats. They had a 'barracks to go into, but the single men were not allowed to stay there very long, so they went out and built mud -nttts."

"I first went to -work oii the rpad at "Kissing' Point, '* said Mr. Denton. "It was the first wages I earned. We worked eight hetffs a day for 4s a day. We thought we wer© going to make a pile after* coming from; England, where the wages were only aboutt'ls 6d a day." He afterwards want to RiceaHon to do harvesting for Mr. Deans. Thisi was the second harvest field -he- had worked in in the -same, vear, -for when -his father came to bring niflT*hcuge\b4Core leaving England he 'was working! in a harvest field. Incidentally, , Miy. Denton mentioned that he was the first of tha immigrants to uso the plough at Christchurch. .They, brought ploughs out from Home with them. Of cnurse^they were single-furrow ploughs, which w« r e drawn by bullocks. This was iu 1851, when they had one of the worst winters he experienced!, there". He. fras*. ploughing near the Riccarton racecouYse, and lived in a hut built on a bullock waggon. It was rainproof, but ve>y cold. In that year calamity seemed to. fall f upon the fainily, as most of them WmnieMtfcCjms of fever. One of* his sisters died* fitefc, and then his brother, £d.waxd. .The latter had lived'- with' a'yoiiiijfr man' named ' Beecham^who came out -with them) foi a eod whare, which stood where 1 tifoe | Christchurch Cathedral now stands. Beecham was also carried off By the ■fever. The mother was the next victim, all these deaths occurring within a few months. Mr. Denton apd his brother Fred kept jjp the fof> he stated, had ifc-not been for their •work they would "have been hard up. Fred then took bad, and* then himself,, and their .fathei-^ijireed them. At that '- time Dr. Ounchey came out, and it was he -who puUed^them through, and also saved the . father, who took seriously ill Aome time later. The Utter, however, died five years afterwards at the- age of 69 years.' Tlie two brothers purchased 50 acres at £3 an acre, -on the Hesketh river, and went to live there. "It was then," added the eld gentleman with a merry, twinkle- in his eye, "that we boys made a' mistake — w« got married. It wasy-however, one of the profitable kind of* mistakes, for Mrs. Denton has proved a help-meet in every*' :way." ■*'...- It was on^March 3, 1857, that Julia Wilson, a girl -of 18 summers, -became the happy brideTSt^Arthur John Dentbn. ] The marriage took • plaoe in St. Michael's Church, the minister being, Dean Jacobs, , and tho wedding festivities took plaoe in a small sod cottage with a thatched* roof , a dance being held on the clayi floor of a barn, to the music of an old-fashioned fiddlef One of the most interesting things that now

adorn the walls of 'Mr. and Mis. Denton's comfotUi.liU: lil tie home <>n Kaiti is a painting ol' that i-ottnge and barn, on ground that- i's now on-npied by gentlemen's villas. Mrs. Denton, who was horn in the Midland Countios in England, came out to New Zealand with her parents eleven months after her husband, iu the ship Sir George Pollock (Captain Wilkins). In all the vicissitudes that attended the pioiTeering days Mrs. Denton did her share, even to helping in tho fencing-iu of the farm and the breaking-in of bullocks.

Mr. Denton lived in Canterbury for about 14 years, and then went to Oamaru. where he had bought some land. After farming at Oamaru for about seven years he sold out and went to work on the railway at plate-laying.; He followed this occupation for a couple of years, and then went in for plough*ing' again, the' double-furrow implement^ having by this time been introduced.! Mr.^arid Mrs. Denton came to Poverty BaySabout 18 years ago. After managing their son's farm at Waimata for about, six years they came to Gisborne, and have been residing on Kaiti ever since. They celebrated their golden, wedding there ten years ago, when most of the members of' the family gathered for the occasion. , In relating some of his experiences,* Mr. Denton said when they left Saltwater Creek, in Canterbury, 'for Oamaru they travelled in a dray drawn by two bullocks. It wai a rough track, and the journey occupied about two weeks; At nights they camped under the waggon. After they left Riccarton racecourse they never saw a fence until they got to Oamaru. It was all open tussock ' countrv.

Food was Very dear in. the early days, and they lived principally on fish and wild pork. Flour came from America, and it cost £2 a- barrel. When they first landed a 2lb loaf cost 4d, meat was 4d a lb, a wine glass of "grog" was 4d, whilst a. pint of J?eer was Is. Prices went up some time after that. To get from Lyttelton to Christchurch on their arrival from Home they haid, to .walk over a bridle track. A large party of them set. out, and it wag while 'they were camped at what was known as the "bricks," near > - Christchurch, that the .first immigrant child was born in that district, the mother being Mrs. Thacker. • Prior to his marriage Mr. Denton was shepherding on the well-known Glenmark Station, tb which he had taken' the first mob of 1000 ewes fron*i the north of Canterbury. • Mr. and Mrs. Denton have reared a family, of five girls (all married) and five boys (all married but one), another girl 'having., been accidentally drowned in infancy. The surviving children are :-— Williams, Opoutama : Mrs. W. Scarf, Timaru: Mrs. W. S. Helen), Ashburton: Mrs. H. F. Badelev, Oamaru; Mrs. J. M. Foss, Gisborne: Mr. F. A. Denton Tarewa; Mr. Arthur Denton, Waiohika; Mr. T. Denton, Waerenga-a-hika; Mi*. H. Denton, Tolaga Bay, the latter being the only unmarried member of the family. There ave 53 surviving- grandchildren, and a large number of great-grandchildren, some of whom are serving at the front, whilst the aged couple know of at least one great-great-grandchild.

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DIAMOND WEDDING. Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLIV, Issue 14245, 13 March 1917

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