Captain Thomas Hanson, free "Duke of Portland" 1807

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Captain Thomas Hanson (Hansen), free "Duke of Portland" 1807

Birthplace: London, Middlesex, England (United Kingdom)
Death: January 30, 1837 (73)
house of Mr John Cadman, Lower George St, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Hansen and Mary Hansen
Husband of Hannah Hansen, free "Duke of Portland" 1807
Father of Thomas Hansen, ll and Hannah King
Brother of Mary Hansen and Rebecca Graham Hansen

Managed by: Private User
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About Captain Thomas Hanson, free "Duke of Portland" 1807

Q. Was Captain Thomas Hansen born in Denmark? A. No. Older generations of the Hansen family generally believed that Captain Hansen had been born in Denmark. The late Charlie Martin tried to confirm this in the 1960s and drew a blank. Later, when other people started researching at Mormon Family History Centres, the true facts emerged. Parish registers for St. Peter's Cornhill, London, show that a Thomas Hansen was baptized there on 8th May 1763 which generally coincides with his accepted year of birth being 1762. The baby's parents were Thomas and Mary Hansen. The following is an extract from The First Family by Ron Martin: At that time there was a large Scandinavian community living in London, centred around Well Close Square in Wapping. They had come to London after the great fire in London in 1666. They were the London end of the supply of timber from Northern Europe needed to rebuild the town. By the time Thomas was born his family could have been in London for nearly 100 years. Samuel Marsden spoke about Captain Hansen as 'an Englishman'. We know that he married in London and that his two children were born there. No evidence has come to light of a Danish birthplace.

Master of the brig Active which carried the first missionaries to New Zealand on board.

"The First Family" is the title to the family history for the Hansens and Kings who settled in the Bay of Islands in 1814.

The original Hansen family of four had previously lived in the East End of London until July 1807 when they arrived at Port Jackson NSW in the convict ship Duke of Portland. The parents were Captain Thomas and Mrs Hannah Hansen, along with a 22 year old son Thomas and 15 year old Hannah. They were free settlers and were expecting to take up a land grant.

Thomas Snr., a master mariner, was finally granted 100 acres in the parish of Bankstown near Parrramatta. His surname was spelt Hanson on the land grant which accounts for the spelling of Hanson Street in a more modern subdivision in present day Fairfield.

It was common practice for newly arrived settlers to acquire more land, either by a further grant or by purchasing it from other settlers. One of these blocks was close to land owned by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, Chief Chaplain for New South Wales. The Hansen family probably attended church in Mr Marsden's big parish.

After five years in the convict colony, 20 year old Hannah Hansen entered into matrimony with a trainee missionary, John King. John had been living and working in Parramatta during the previous two years. They were married by Mr Marsden in his church of St John's on 10th November 1812 and the following year, he baptized their first child, Philip Hansen King.

John King had been a shoemaker back in Oxfordshire where he was born in 1787. He had learned his trade from his own father before deciding to become a missionary in the South Pacific. After further training in rope making and flax dressing, King and one other recruit named William Hall sailed off with Samuel Marsden in the convict ship Ann, bound for New South Wales and eventually, the proposed mission in New Zealand.

Marsden's third recruit for the New Zealand mission was Thomas Kendall who arrived from England in New South Wales in October 1813. For the next year, all three recruits worked at their respective occupations while Marsden finalized his plans for taking the Gospel to New Zealand.

A ship was needed for carrying the missionary families, stores, provisions, goods and chattels across the Tasman. Marsden was able to purchase a small brig named Active for the purpose. The original master was Captain Peter Dillon who commanded the first voyage to the Bay of Islands in mid 1814. Hall and Kendall had been sent on their own to make sure that it would be safe to send a whole contingent of wives, children and others to establish a settlement under the protection of Chief Ruatara.

Finally, in November 1814, the Active set out on her second voyage to New Zealand with Captain Thomas Hansen in command, replacing Dillon. This time, the brig carried a total of 35 passengers, crew and returning natives plus an incredible collection of cattle, livestock, poultry, goats, cats and dogs according to passenger John Liddiard Nicholas. He listed all the people on board the Active as follows:

Thomas Hansen Snr., master

Hannah Hansen, his wife

Thomas Hansen Jnr., their son

John Liddiard Nicholas, friend of Marsden

Samuel Marsden, Chief Chaplain of New South Wales

William Hall Snr., missionary

Dinah Hall, his wife

William Hall Jnr., their son

Thomas Kendall, missionary

Jane Kendall, his wife and their three sons � two of whom were incorrectly named by Nicholas but they were Thomas, Basil and Joseph.

John King, missionary

Hannah King, his wife

Philip Hansen King, their infant son

Walter Hall, convict prisoner and blacksmith

Henry aka Patrick Shaffery, convict prisoner and labourer

Richard Stockwell, convict prisoner and servant to the Kendalls

Duaterra, Shunghi and Korra-korra, Chiefs in the Bay of Islands

Tui, Jacky Miti, Tommy, Young Shungi and Tenana, all New Zealanders

Alexander Ross and John Hunter, crew

Thomas Hamilton and William Campbell, crew

War-ra-kee and Tommy, (New Zealanders) plus Dicka-hee and Punee, crew.

When the Hansen Family had arrived in Australia as free settlers in July 1807, the Rev Samuel Marsden had already been in the penal colony for some 13 years. At the age of 28 he had been appointed as an assistant chaplain to the Rev Richard Johnson who later returned to England leaving the chaplaincy in the capable hands of Samuel Marsden.

Marsden has been born in West Yorkshire in 1765 to a pious couple who followed the Wesleyan faith. As a young man, Samuel worked for his Uncle John Marsden who was a blacksmith. By the time he was 21, he had become deeply affected by the current religious revivals and he decided to train as a clergyman with the Church of England. William Wilberforce, the great campaigner against slavery, was one of the influential people behind Marsden's decision to spread the Gospel of Christ to people of the South Pacific. Once he had made up his mind on the subject, he proposed to Elizabeth Fristan, was married forthwith and the young couple embarked on the long voyage to Australia, arriving at Port Jackson with a brand new baby daughter.

The Marsden Family had taken their first long leave back to England during 1807-09. During this time, Samuel initiated his plans for creating the first mission settlement in New Zealand and returned to New South Wales a happy man with his first two recruits, Hall and King. On the convict ship Ann, Marsden met up with a very sick Chief Ruatara who had been badly mistreated and let down by a number of people. Marsden nursed him back to health on the long voyage and then took him to his home in Parramatta until the Chief could return to his own home.

Once home, Marsden heard the terrible news of the Boyd massacre at Whangaroa in the Bay of Islands and he had to shelve the plans for his proposed mission because of the dangers. Then, in October 1813, the third recruit named Thomas Kendall arrived from England with his wife and children.

All three recruits had been approved by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and they formed the nucleus of New Zealand's first mission station. They spent the next 12 months in Parramatta while Marsden finalized his plans for taking the Gospel to New Zealand.

A further account of Thomas Hansen can be found at, as follows:

Thomas Hansen (snr). Very little is known of the early years of Thomas Hansen except that he was born in London in 1762 (of Danish ancestors) and went to sea, attaining the rank of Master Mariner. It is possible, as some believe, that he served for a time as an officer with the British East India Company, although no proof of this is available. He married Hannah (née Coats) in England about 1784 and two children were born of the union: Thomas the "younger" in 1785, and Hannah, in 1791, both being baptised in the Church of England, Stepney. In 1807 the family arrived in Australia aboard the ship 'Duke of Portland' as free settlers with a grant of 100 acres of land for farming; later Captain Hansen obtained command of the Church Missionary Society's brig 'Active'Captain Hansen commanded the second voyage of the 'Active' to the Bay of Islands, leaving Sydney on 14 November 1814, carrying a number of Missionary Society members and others to witness the definite founding of the New Zealand Mission, promoted and organised by Samuel Marsden. Hansen's involvement with the society was in part due to the fact his daughter Hannah had married John King, one of the missionaries taking up residence in the new country.Captain Hansen continued to command the 'Active' for several voyages, but eventually left the employ of the Missionary Society to live out his time in Sydney. Nothing much more is known of him at that time other than the fact that he owned a house in George Street and retired there. He had served as Master of a number of vessels including the colonial brig 'Lady Nelson' and the schooner 'Isabella'. He died in 1837, his wife Hannah 14 years earlier. (Condensed from 'The Subritzky Legend', by Mike Subritzky.)

Emigated to New South Wales in July 1807 Master of the brig Active which carried the first missionaries to New Zealand on board. Christened: 8 May 1763, St. Peter's,Cornhill,London,England

Hansen family

Arrived: 1814 Country of origin: England Area in New Zealand: Te Puna Source: Book; The First Family

Thomas Hanson Snr was born in London in 1762, he married Hannah Coats in 1784 in London. They emigrated to Australia on the 'Duke of Portland' as free settlers in July 1807. Thomas purchased land and was granted other land. The Hansen's were next door neighbours with the Marsdens. In 1812 his daughter Hannah and John King were married by Rev Samual Marsden. Thomas sold his land and gave up farming to go back to sea.

Thomas was the commander of the 'Active' when it sailed for New Zealand arriving December 18th 1814. On board was his wife Hannah, daughter and son-in-law Hannah and John King and his son Thomas jnr amongst other passengers. After off-loading everyone at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands, Thomas sailed down to the Thames and back again. Samuel Marsden formerly purchased land from the natives for the mission on February 24th 1815. Thomas snr also purchased land but this was later disallowed in the Old Land Court in 1841 for lack of evidence. Thomas made many trips around the pacific taking missionaries to their stations but was dismissed by Rev S Marsden at the end of 1816 after Hannah Hansen who always accompanied her husband on these trips, was allegedly bossing him around and drinking.

Thomas continued working as master on ships. Hannah was caught gun-running and sentenced to 7 years in Newcastle but was bound over to her husband. She was 67yrs old at the time.

Hannah died in May 1823 aged 71yrs whilst they were living at Cadman's wharf, George St, Sydney.

Thomas died in 1837. His obituary reads: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 2nd February 1837 Died at the house of Mr John Cadman, Lower George St, much respected by all who knew him, Mr Thomas Hanson, late commander of the schooner Isabelle, at the advanced age of 74 yrs. Mr Hanson emigrated to this colony about 25 years since and resigned his employment under government, two years since from ill health.

Thomas Hansen Jnr Thomas,born 1785 was christened at Stepney in London. He arrived as crew on the boat 'Active' with his father in 1814. Young Thomas stayed with the mission in New Zealand when his parents departed on the 'Active' in February 1815. Later that year he traveled back to Sydney with his parents and sister where he met and married Elizabeth Atkinson Tollis, daughter of Corp Thomas Tollis and a convict, Betty Atkinson. In 1815, Elizabeth was 16 years old. The young couple returned to New Zealand in Feb 1816. Their first child, a daughter named Hannah King Hansen was born Jan 1817.

Thomas and Elizabeth's children were not schooled at the mission even thought it was just next door, for the mission station taught the Maori and the children of the missionaries only. It is thought that some of the children received some schooling later at Paihia or Waimate North.

Butler employed Hansen who was living on 4acres next to the mission station. In 1825 only the Hanson and the King families were left at Oihi after the Kendalls and the Halls returned to Sydney. By the end of the 1820's the mission was focused at Paihia, Kerikeri and Waimate North.

Thomas later diversified to carpentering and bushwork. He helped build Kemp house in Kerikeri and milled timber for John Logan Campbell.

Thomas also worked on ships occasionally and kept up with who's who on the ships coming and going. He was always interested in finding husbands for his daughters amongst them and was known to ask for handouts like shoes for the children. Thomas and Elizabeth never left New Zealand after arriving back in 1816 and Thomas helped provide an early bridge between the ship's captains and local Maori as the missionaries drew a line at common people who might like the odd drink or two.

Thomas, unlike the missionaries he worked for, did not grow rich by buying more land than he could use, but unlike the missionaries whose families seemed beset by illness and misfortune, his family flourished and grew and grew.

Elizabeth Atkinson Hansen died on March 25th, 1867 aged 69yrs. Thomas died at Russell where he had been living with one his children on March 8th 1874 aged 89yrs but was buried at Oihi according to his wishes.

Children; (1) Hannah King Letheridge nee Hansen formerly Clapham Hannah married George Clapham, Captain of a whaler in 1837. They settled at Kerikeri until 1845 when they went to Sydney. George remained a captain and often sailed to the Navigator Islands out of Sydney. George died and Hannah remarried to Jeremiah Letheridge in Sydney and they returned to New Zealand. She had a son and two daughters to George. The two elder children died in Sydney and the younger returned with her mother to New Zealand.

(2) Thomas Hansen (3rd) Thomas was baptised by Rev. Butler in 1819. He went to Sydney for a few years as a young man and returned to the Bay of Islands where he had a cattle station at Mimiwhangata or Purerua. He had married 1852 in Sydney to Elizabeth Huckstepp, a dressmaker from London. They didn't have any children and often lived apart. Thomas was found to be very convivial company and was famous for his hospitality. He died at Russell in 1894. His niece, Hannah Mountain nee Clapham and her husband George Pinn Mountain took over the farm.

(3) Jane Flowerday nee Hansen Jane was baptised in 1820 by Rev. Butler. She married Charles Flowerday who was on the whaler 'Harriet' in 1838. She was 19 and he was 39.Charles became a baker. Apart from fleeing Russell in 1845,they resided there until their deaths.

(4) William Brind Hansen William was baptised 3rd June 1823 by Rev John Butler at Kerikeri. He migrated to Australia and married Jane Cheers in NSW. He died in Queensland in 1889 and had a total of eleven children.

(5) Edward Hansen Edward was born at Oihi on June 24th, 1823 and became a butcher and had his own business in Kawakawa. He married in 1847 to Mary Ann Cains, born 1829 in Sydney, she had been eight years old when she came with her family to New Zealand. They had eleven children and retired to Opotiki where Edward is buried. Mary Ann died at Kawakawa. Edward was an enthusiastic student of the local Maori Chief and learnt the genealogy of the tribe.

(6) Harriet Hansen Harriet was born in 1824 and baptised in 1827. She married Samuel Bowyer in Whangaroa in 1847. They lived at Kaeo and had thirteen children. Harried died in 1911 and Samuel in 1891.

(7) Martha Hansen Martha born 1826, was baptised in 1829. She married Mr Reed and had three children, the to Mr Wood and had two sons, and finally to a Mr White.

(8) Phillip Hansen Phillip born 1828, died 1891. He emigrated to America.

(9) Dinah Hansen Dinah was born 1831 and died 1910. She married Daniel Poole and they had seven children. They were married at Paihia by Rev. Henry Williams in 1850.

(10) Amy Hansen Amy was born in 1832 and died in 1920. She married William Baker and they eight children. William was a boatbuilder and they lived at Russell.

(11) John Tollis Hansen was born in 1834 and died in 1910. He married Martha Lang and they purchased land near where the old mission station was built and farmed there till they died. They had thirteen children.

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Captain Thomas Hanson, free "Duke of Portland" 1807's Timeline

May 8, 1763
London, Middlesex, England
May 30, 1785
London, Middlesex, England
September 2, 1792
Shadwell, Stepney, London, England
January 30, 1837
Age 73
Sydney, NSW, Australia