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James Belcher

Nicknames: "Jim"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
Death: Died in Hamilton, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Belcher and Elizabeth Belcher
Husband of Mary Belcher
Father of Emily Rhoda Hawke; John Belcher; Florence Gillbanks; David William Belcher; Ellen Belcher and 9 others
Brother of Mary Belcher; Emma Sophia Belcher; Elizabeth Belcher; Margaret Caroline Stanbury; Albert Belcher and 6 others

Occupation: Iron Worker, Bushman, Farmer, Cheese maker
Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About James Belcher

James was the oldest son of Thomas Belcher and Elizabeth Knight of Cinderford, Gloucestershire. Before he emmigrated to New Zealand his occupation is listed on the U.K. census as carrier of Iron, Iron miner and Furnace Keeper.

James was married to Mary Ann Heaven in 1867 in Newnham. Emily Rhoda was their first born child and they had four more children up to 1874. Times would have been very hard and James was only earning a few shillings a week. It was at that time James, then age 28, Mary 25, Emily 6, Mary 4, Anne 3, John1.1/2 Florence 8mths and Joseph Belcher, (James’s young brother) age 15 all immigrated to New Zealand on the Merope. The Merope arrived at Lyttleton 27th September 1874.

James and his family settled in Little River 50ks from Christchurch on Banks Peninsula where for the first few years he worked as a bushman and mill hand at White’s Mill. In the late 1870s James bought a block of land near Little River where he commenced Dairy farming. To provide for his ever growing family James then started to make cheese and he would travel to Christchurch once a month to exchange the cheese for provisions. This was a horrible trip in those days due to the bad roads and would take him several days.

In about 1885 James sold his farm in Little River and bought a block of land in Cardiff Road near Stratford, Taranaki. His brother Joseph also bought land close by in Waingongoro Road. This land had to be cleared of heavy timber and would have taken quite a long time and been a lot of hard work to become farmland.

In 1886 Stratford experienced a horrific fire storm and unfortunately James lost a lot of property in the fire. His house was saved but he lost Sheds, fencing, horses, provisions and grass seed. Although his family had escaped unharmed this must have been quite a blow to them all.

James went on to buy another two blocks of land in 1893. He was a successful dairy farmer and was an original founder and shareholder of the Lowgarth Cheese factory which was established in 1896. This was one of the first Dairy factories in the Taranaki area.

James was very proud to share his birthday with King George V and in 1901 he travelled all the way to Auckland when the then Prince came to New Zealand.

James sold up some of his land in Cardiff in 1902 and then about 1903 shifted to Raglan and carried on Dairy farming there. He was also associated with establishing a cheese factory in Raglan.

Singing and Dancing was one of James’s passions and when he had had a couple of drinks would entertain his family by tap dancing and singing on the kitchen table. This story was told by his Grandson, Tom Hawke who must have admired his Grandfather for this as Tom himself would try the same thing, (Not good). You must remember of course that in those days kitchen tables were almost as large as dance floors today.

James worked his farm until he was in his late 80s and spent his last years in the home of his daughter Ellen Brinkworth where he still pottered about in the garden. He died in 1938 at the great age of 92.

DNA Code: Hapolo Group I1 393 14 390 22 19 14 391 10 385a 13 385b 14 426 11 388 14 439 11 389-1 12 392 11 389-2 28 458 15 459a 8 459b 9 455 8 454 11 447 22 437 16 448 19 449 28 464a 12 464b 15 464c 15 464d 15 460 10 GATA H4 10 YCA 1-a 19 YCA 1-b 21 456 14 607 14 576 16 570 20 CDY 35-37 442 12 438 10

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James Belcher's Timeline

1846
June 3, 1846
Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
June 26, 1846
Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
1867
October 22, 1867
Age 21
Newham, Gloucestershire, England
1868
June 11, 1868
Age 22
Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, England
1870
1870
Age 23
England
1871
July 10, 1871
Age 25
England
1872
October 18, 1872
Age 26
Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, England
1873
April 1, 1873
Age 26
Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England
1876
November 25, 1876
Age 30
Little River, New Zealand
1877
May 10, 1877
Age 30
New Zealand