Albert Frederick Williams Wills (1823 - 1896) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Calstock, Cornwall
Death: Died in Upper Moutere, Tasman, New Zealand
Managed by: Jason Wills
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Immediate Family

About Albert Frederick Williams Wills

Albert Frederick Williams Wills was born August 1823 at Calstock, Cornwall, England. Immigrating to New Zealand with his parents in 1842 on the Timandra. Albert married Ann Joll on 26 December 1850 at the Wesleyan Chapel, New Plymouth, New Zealand. Ann Joll and her family had also immigrated to New Zealand on the Timandra, [see Joll story]. Albert farmed land at Paraiti Road and Corbett Road, Bell Block. As mentioned above Albert had a good rapport with the Maori people, acting as an interpreter. In his obituary it says he defended the rights of the natives. All of his influence was exerted to prevent war between the two races. To the last he emphatically declared that war could not be justified. But when war did come Albert joined the native department and was officer in charge of the native contingent. In January 1860 Albert was elected to represent the Grey and Bell Districts in the Provincial Council. This was as well as being chairman of the Road Board. During the early stages of the Land Wars, Albert and his family had to take refuge in New Plymouth, where they were listed as being placed on rations. Also listed was the fact that the rebel Maori had burnt Albert’s house, situated at that time as three quarters of a mile from Bell Block stockade. With a lull in the fighting the settlers began returning to their properties, to repair and rebuild their homes and farms. Albert was granted two sections, 107 acres, in the Hua Survey District, on 31 December 1861. But, with the continued threat of hostilities and the district on a war footing Albert Wills decided to make a fresh start in the Nelson region, away from the war zones of the North Island. Albert’s brother, James and his family had shifted to the region in August 1862 and most have reported to his brother the favourable conditions for developing farmland. Albert and his family, along with his parents, departed New Plymouth on the ship Wonga Wonga for Nelson on 10 September 1863.

Albert took up 117 acres in Lower Moutere, in what became known as Wills Road. Initially he erected a slab hut. In time he acquired more land, bringing his total holding to 461 acres. The property became known as Holstein Farm. He built two substantial houses and a sawmill. The main homestead was two storeyed, and was lived in by subsequent owners until demolished after World War 1. In July 1866 Albert stood for the Moutere Roads Board, but was disqualified due to not having paid his rates. In January 1867 the Board allowed Albert to pay his rates in work. Still, he was disqualified again in July 1868, but duly elected to the Board in August 1869. Albert was granted £20 towards making a road to his property, subject to him being responsible for £40 worth of work including a bridge. By 1875 this road was officially known as Wills Road.

Albert and Ann were to have twelve children, seven when they arrived at Moutere. Their next child, David Samuel, born 1865, died the same year. The next child, Emily Brooming, born 1866, died on 10 March 1868 aged two, after eating tutu berries. The next daughter and son born to Albert and Ann were named after the deceased children, quite common for the time. Albert and Ann cared for his parents. Six weeks before his father’s death in December 1869, Albert bought a four-person plot in the Upper Moutere Cemetery. In the 1882 freeholders census for New Zealand. Albert Wills is listed as a farmer at Lower Moutere in Waimea county, with 417 acres, valued at £938. Quite a sum in those days.

Albert died at home on 24 September 1896. He had been in a coma four days. Cause of death was stone in the bladder, but had also suffered from nephritis, inflammation of the kidneys. Albert was buried in the family plot at Upper Moutere Cemetery on 27 September 1896. Ann survived Albert by 23 months, dieing on 11 August 1898 at Lower Moutere from heart problems and congestion of lungs. She had also suffered from bronchitis for forty years. The Rev Thomas John Wills inherited Holstein Farm, but with his death in February 1902, his widow with a young family, sold the property outside the family in December 1903.

In summary Albert Wills was a true pioneer in the early days of New Zealand. Fluent in the Maori language he had a great respect for then and vice versa. Only one bad incident is reported with the Maori people when one of the farm workers killed a pig belonging to a local Rangatira [chief]. The Taranaki Herald newspaper reported that the Chief, with all his men armed presented himself at the gate of Mr Wills senior. He [the Chief] was very excited, and brandished his tomahawk, vowed vengeance. It was Albert Wills who with courage faced the chief and defused the situation.

Albert, along with his father and brothers, had great skills as farmers, as already mentioned by the Taranaki Herald. Through their own labour they cleared the land, sowed crops, built fences and houses. Turning a wilderness in a semblance of order. Anti war, Albert still did his duty, leading the native contingent, and with no improvement in hostilities, shifted the family south to begun all over again. Clearing the land, milling the timber in the process, building more houses, and putting in a road and bridge. Still he found time to represent his district on Roads Boards in Taranaki and Moutere, also serving on the Provincial Council in Taranaki.

source: http://www.auckram.gq.nu/index.htm

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Albert Wills's Timeline

1823
August 1, 1823
Calstock, Cornwall
August 31, 1823
Calstock, Cornwall
1841
November 2, 1841
Age 18
Plymouth, UK

Family set sail on the Timandra from England heading to New Zealand

1850
December 26, 1850
Age 27
Wesleyan Chapel, New Plymouth, New Zealand
1852
March 21, 1852
Age 28
New Plymouth, New Plymouth District, Taranaki, New Zealand
1853
October 30, 1853
Age 30
1855
July 27, 1855
Age 31
1857
March 28, 1857
Age 33
New Plymouth, New Plymouth District, Taranaki, New Zealand
1858
September 19, 1858
Age 35
New Plymouth, New Plymouth District, Taranaki, New Zealand
1861
March 10, 1861
Age 37