Jemima Stinson (previously Ashmore)

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Jemima Stinson (previously Ashmore) (Oxenham)

Birthplace: Plymouth, England
Death: Died in Carterton, Wellington, New Zealand
Place of Burial: Carterton, Wairarapa, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Oxenham and Elizabeth Oxenham
Wife of George Hamilton Coglan; Richard Burgess Sayer; John Ashmore and Benjamin Stinson
Mother of Richard Nicholas Sayer; George Henry Sayer; Sarah Elizabeth Braggins; Mary Eliza Renall; John Oxenham Ashmore and 1 other
Sister of Mary Ann Oxenham; Elizabeth Oxenham; Nicholas Oxenham; Catherine Allen; George Oxenham and 5 others

Managed by: Jason Wills, Away on holiday in ...
Last Updated:

About Jemima Stinson (previously Ashmore)


  • Baptism: 25 June 1837, St Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire, England
  • Burial: Clareville Cemetery, Carterton, Wairarapa, New Zealand
  • Cause of Death: Natural causes
  • 3rd youngest of 12 children

In April, 1839, Jemima, along with siblings John & Sarah, applied to emigrate to South Australia. Their sisters Kate & Elizabeth had made the journey to Adelaide on the HMS Buffalo three years previously. They instead decided to go to New Zealand and left Gravesend, Kent, on 9th September, 1839. Jemima and Sarah, now aged 15 and 19 respectively, had both given the same address in England, of 27 Orange Street, Portsmouth. They travelled aboard the 'Aurora' which arrived in Port Nicholson, Wellington on 22nd January, 1940, the first emigration ship from England to arrive in New Zealand.

Jemima's brother, John, was listed as occupation, Shipwright. Both Jemima and Sarah were listed as Sempstresses, one of the occupations that received assisted passage. It is said that they sewed their crinoline wedding dresses on the ship on the way over. Jemima's embarkment number was 386.

Jemima was married at age 16 to George Hamilton Coglon, on June 4, 1840, by the Rev. John McFarlane. Coglon was from Sydney and ran the 'Australian Tavern' in Petone Bay, Wellington. Story has it he was a brute and a drunkard and Jemima despised him. George was drowned in a boating accident in Petone Harbour in 1841, although there were stories of a drunken brawl.

As chief constable of Wellington, Richard Sayer was in charge of rowing across the Petone to inform Jemima of her widowhood. The story has it that when Sayer told her the news, she went upstairs supposedly to be alone, and Sayer heard strange noises from upstairs, and saw the chandelier swaying. He went up stairs and found Jemima dancing for joy, her shoes kicked off. Sayer is said to have joined in the dance, and certainly within a few weeks, they were married. The chandelier stayed in the family for several generations. Jemima was widowed again on Boxing Day, 1854.

Still only 28, and widowed twice, Jemima married John Ashmore on April 30, 1855. John Ashmore's work brought Jemima and her family to Wairarapa in 1859. He was commissioned by the Wellington Provincial Council to build the 'Black Bridge' over the Waiohine River, and worked on it (with his stepson Richard Nicholas Sayer) until he ran out of funds in 1858. After losing his contract they continued to live on their few cleared acres. Jemima was believed to have spoken fluent Maori, and was friendly with many of the local Maori people. One Maori chief came to her house and put a special Maori carving on her table. When any Maori during the war came to her house with evil intentions, they saw the carving and left so she and her children were never hurt.

They moved out of the area a year later when Ashmore had refused to pay local Maori for grazing rights and Ngati Kahungunu leader Ngatuere Tawhirimatea Tawhao threatened to burn his house down. The 14 year old Richard Sayer, a friend of Ngatuere, remained, living at subsistence level as a hunter. (Richard's house is now a Historic Place Category 1 building: Sayer's Slab Whare, Arcus Road, Carterton.)

John Ashmore died in 1864. Jemima remarried 23 April 1866 to Benjamin Stinson, in Carterton, Wairarapa, New Zealand. He was 3 years younger than Jemima, a widower, and unable to write. He was reported to have had 6 children, and along with Jemima's children, they had a total of 15.

Births Deaths and Marriages Online

  • Death Registration Number 1864/4569: Ashmore, John, 55Y
  • Marriage Registration Number 1866/6781: Jemima Ashmore, Benjamin Stinson


view all 13

Jemima Stinson (previously Ashmore)'s Timeline

October 3, 1826
Plymouth, England
June 4, 1840
Age 13
Wellington, New Zealand
May 8, 1842
Age 15
Wellington, New Zealand
Age 17
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
May 8, 1847
Age 20
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
May 8, 1850
Age 23
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
December 23, 1851
Age 25
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
April 30, 1855
Age 28
April 16, 1857
Age 30
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
April 23, 1866
Age 39
Carterton, New Zealand