George Waters

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George Waters

Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: South West England
Death: October 27, 1873 (62)
Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand
Place of Burial: Wellington, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of William Waters and Waters
Husband of Susan Waters
Father of Louisa Anne Gray; Susan Jane Feek; Samuel Waters; Richard William Waters; Eliza Jane/Mary Waters and 3 others
Brother of Thomas Waters

Occupation: 1842: Sign, house and ornamental paineter and glazier. 1847: drapery and clothing.
Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About George Waters

George Waters Born Bath Somerset Plumber and agricultural labourer

  • 1811 George Waters is born in Bath, Somerset England
  • 15th October 1835 George Waters, bachelor of the Parish of St James married Susan Lankasheer, spinster of the Parish of St James on the 15th October 1835. They were married by Banns and the witnesses are recorded as William Hoare and Jane Lankesheer
  • 1836 Louisa Ann Waters is born
  • 1841 Susan Jane Waters is born
  • 6th June 1841 English Census: Household: St James Parish, Bath, Somerset George Waters 30 Susan Waters 28 Louisa Waters 4 Susan Waters 4 Months Thomas Waters 16
  • 13 October 1841 Departed Gravesend, England: on the Birman. ships constable. George would have been very busy as a constable, because there were several arrests and much violence on the journey out, as recorded by the Ship's doctor in his diary.

The Emigrants Depart From Gravesend "Adieu! Adieu! My native shore Fades o'er the waters blue; The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar And shrieks the wild sea-mew. Yon sun that sets upon the sea We follow in his flight; Farewell a while to him and Thee My native land--Good night." -Byron. [Note: This account of the Birman's departure is taken from Louis E. Ward's book Early Wellington. Full details of the book are given at the end of this excerpt.] In the ship Birman, leaving Gravesend about a year after the despatch of the New Zealand Company's first chartered expeditionary ship Tory we find a typical example of an emigrant ship, and of the conditions under which intending settlers lived during their lengthy journey to a strange country. From a letter published in 1848 (No. 257, Vol. 9 of Chamber's Journal) is taken the following arresting sketch of the sailing of the Birman. The black and lofty hulk of a three-master ship of 800 tons register was lying in the river off Gravesend, waiting for the captain. Its destination was New Zealand, with a small stock of merchandise and 200 emigrants on board. The scene on deck, to inexperienced landsmen's eyes, was one of inextricable confusion. A heavy shower had fallen about half an hour before; the decks, filthy with mud and mire, brought on board by visitors and lagging emigrants, were crowded and blocked up in all directions with stores of every description, mingled in indescribable disorder, amidst coils of rope and cable links, chairs, spare poles and timber, casks, boxes, bales and packages soddened with rain. Invisible, but imprisoned pigs were mingling their squeals and grunts in testimony of their disapproval, while a few others, either not yet housed or broken loose, took their chances with the human population, and grunted amongst the cordage for the few vegetables scattered about. Near the entry to the first cabin stood a couple of immense hencoops, cruelly crammed with live occupants, whose ragged and ruffled heads, projecting through the rails, gave token of unusual contact with rough weather and rougher usage. Aloft in the rigging hung whole quarters of oxen newly slain, and the occasional bleating of sheep, stowed away in some undiscoverable recess, gave proof of the praiseworthy determination to stick to fresh provisions as long as it was possible to do so. Though a sparkling rain was still falling, the deck was populated with emigrants and parties of friends about to be sundered in a few brief moments, many of them probably for ever. Some were buoyant with hope, and enjoyed the anticipation of employment, and plenty, to which it was too evident they were strangers. Others were downcast and cut a sorry figure to appear courageous; some were weeping bitterly; some were joking with uproarious but forced merriment; some made their way, as well as they could, towards the open hatchway, over piles of packages and through parties of miserable leave-takers, and got down the ladder into the huge belly of the ship. A few candles glimmered here and there through its enormous length; but the darkness was too great to distinguish anything in the immediate vicinity of the hatchway. As vision grew accustomed to gloom, we saw scenes of disorder greater than on deck above. Every kind of receptacle, box, basket, bundle and cask of all shapes and sizes, were scattered on the floor, and amongst them lounged or squatted, as best they could, more than a hundred people of various callings, ages, and of both sexes. Some had tramped it for miles and were resting in the oblivion of sleep, in spite of the din of voices and the lumbering of heavy articles about and around them. Others had just arrived, and were busily engaged in the vain attempt to find vacant spaces whereon to settle themselves and their provisions and goods. Some clamouring to be shown their berths, while others complained of the locality allotted them, far from the hatchway, and in almost total darkness. Crowds of little children who could scarcely walk, tottered about amongst the lumber, prattling and pleased with the novelty; aged men and women sat calm and still amidst the hubbub, waiting for their turn to be disposed of. A grandmother of a large party of self-exiles bound to the Antipodes, sat on a small bundle sucking the end of an empty dudeen; close by sat a pretty and interesting young girl upon a blue, spotless trunk, writing a letter, an upturned cask her table, her inkstand a tea-cup. Her tears fell faster upon the paper than the words from her pen; which at intervals she laid down to wring her hands and hide her anguished head in her handkerchief. "Come, old girl," said a bystander at length, "let me finish it for you; I'll tell our friends how merry we all are"--and he took the pen from her hand and assisted her tenderly up the ladder for a mouthful of fresh air. He then sat down and completed the epistle. A small recess, about six and a half feet in width and height, formed the whole accommodation for each family for the next four or five months, clean and comfortable as expectations warranted. Circumstances prevented better accommodation. Having inspected domestic arrangements and deposited their contributions to the marine larder, some pushed aside the curtains that enclosed their compartment, and went for a tour of inspection. The sun was now shining brightly down the hatchway; some of the lumber was now stored away; many were on deck, but the place was still crowded, and it was a job to make way through groups busy in packing and arranging. Some of the berths situated far away from the light of day, and visible only by the gleam of a dull candle suspended in a horn lantern, seemed too awfully dismal. Between the berths, on each side of the vessel, piles of merchandise and ballast, reaching almost breast high, extended nearly the entire length of the interior. Around the light of a single lantern suspended from a crossbeam, were congregated about a dozen middle-aged men of the class of small tradesmen, singing--"When passing through the waters deep, I ask in faith His promised aid." The confused and incessant noises were above and around them as the oldest of the band raised his hand and solemnly said, "Let us pray." As his peroration progressed, the perspiration streamed down his channelled features and lterally dropped upon his clothes. It was a scene such as a Rembrandt might have embodied in a glorious picture. The gleaming light on the face of the suppliant, partially obscured by the shadow of his raised hand, the deep dense darkness of the background, the dim discovered forms of the distant figures of the group; the statue-like motionless physiognomy of the nearer distances contrasted with the supplicating earnestness of the speaker; all together supplied the materials for a composition such as that monarch of the dark masters delighted to portray. The morning sun was shining on the hills above Gravesend when the black looking hulk, for so many days an object of curiosity and interest, had disappeared from the river. Anticipations for a fair wind were not realised; seasickness was prevalent as rough weather was encountered. The nights were most miserable and discouraging, and the majority of the passengers were longing to set foot ashore, and regretting having committed themselves to the hateful sea. The ship had been driven back twice in attempting to start from the Downs, and the passengers were looking forward with horror to a third attempt which was to be made that night. Their apprehensions were groundless, for after a successful attempt they cleared the Downs next day and proceeded onward on a speedy and a prosperous voyage. The ship arrived at the Cape of Good Hope on the last day of the year, and the passengers who had been tossing for weeks on the billows, were delighted with the place. Soft bread and fresh meat, a luxury, were now to be had, and some were fortunate enough to obtain wine at fourpence and sixpence a bottle, and fine mutton and beef at three-halfpence a pound. Some desired to finish their journey and stay there, as employment was plentiful, provisions were cheap, but rents were high and the weather was as warm there in December as the English summer. The passengers had parted with seasickness, and now had voracious appetites. Grog was served up on Christmas Day, and they pleasurably anticipated a pint of wine on New Year's Day. Services were conducted on board by the doctor [James Motherwell], who officiated as chaplain. Games were initiated by some of the energetic ones, resulting, in most cases, in the formation of friendships that in after life withstood the trials and vicissitudes of an early colonist's life. Source: Early Wellington Compiled by Louis E. Ward Reprinted 1975 by Capper Press, Christchurch, New Zealand. pp8-10.

  • “Port Nicholson, July 28th, 1842. “Dearest Annie, “After leaving the Cape we had a good voyage until nearing New Zealand. The captain diverted from the right course, and we were nearly wrecked; and should have run on some reefs but for the timely warning of a stranger who put off in a boat and was just in time to intercept us while within a few hundred yards of the sunken reef. The right track was discovered and we at length reached the harbour in safety. “On getting on shore, we found what a wretched place we had come to. “The building intended for our occupation had been appropriated by a ship load of emigrants who had the good fortune to arrive before us. The result was that we were crammed into a large empty storeroom, just like an old barn, filthy beyond description, and overrun with rats. “Here a space was chalked out for each family on the rough flooring, and here our little property, together with rations for a fortnight were conveyed, and we were finally left for good and all to shift for ourselves. “There were heart-breaking scenes. The most sanguine lost heart, and many women wept and wrung their hands. “I could have done the same, but my husband wore such a dismal face that I forebore. “We arranged our things as well as we could and curtained our corner off. Then went into the bush close by, cut some small twigs, made a broom, and swept the floor and walls. Our example was followed by others, and we found ourselves better off than on board ship as we could get in and out as we chose. We were banished to this outlandish place at the end of the earth and thought we would never stay here. We found the natives a fine lot of people: dark brown skin, and most of them tattooed in fanciful patterns, which suffices for clothes for some of them. Some are dressed in loin cloth and tattoe.”
  • Wellington, October, 1841. Dearest Annie , “My husband rented a small piece of land, 60 × 24; barely sufficient for the site of a decent home, for £9 per year, and has built a small house on it, and has opened up a store. We sell whatever was bought and do business with Maoris and Pakeha, who daily flock to the store. We sell clothing, bread, potatoes, which page 105 latter we buy from the Maoris. My husband earns a little at carpentry. Some of our fellow passengers are half starved for want of employment, and were in a miserable position in winter, when storms and tempests of rain prevailed. Once we could not venture out of doors for weeks together. We were sometimes soaked to the skin, for we could not hold an umbrella up. “Gross immorality prevails amongst the Colonists. Some seem to have left every moral and religious obligation behind them. Bishop Selwyn has lately landed here; he is much liked at present. I hope his example and exertions, which are very much wanted, will be of general use. I retain my health wonderfully. My husband is well and picking up the language. The Maoris are fond of us, because we are uniformly kind to them. They call me ——, and are quite as familiar as you could be.” Wellington,
  • 3 Jan 1842 Waters was one of the few men taken ashore at Capetown by the Captain. Went ashore to obtain provisions. The general passengers were not allowed to go ashore, for fear that they may not return to the ship.
  • 1 March 1842 Arrived Wellington, New Zealand
  • December 11th, 1843. Extracts:— Dearest Annie, “The country appears all mountains and vales. Trees everywhere which are always in full leaf, there being never sufficient frost to kill the foliage. As our stock increased, we had to use our building to accommodate it. We hired a house of two rooms, built of clay and thatched with toi-toi. Work is not too plentiful, about two days employment during the week for each. Auction sales take place on the arrival of vessels. Our credit being good we buy from natives and Colonists, some of whom sell the clothes from their backs through destitution. Some in good circles in England have parted with everything, lead miserable and degraded lives, skulking in the bush and drowning their sorrows in drink—when able.…
  • 1st October 1847 First Department Store. You got your fruit and frilleries in the same store in the good old days: Oranges! Fine Oranges!! On Sale, Ex Frolic, 1,400 Dozen Oranges, A very superior assortment of Ladies' Shawls, Turnovers, Ginghams, &c. Also a well selected assortment of Hosiery, consisting of articles best adapted for the Spring and Summer. A choice selection of Ribbons. George Waters, Dixon Street. However, one has seen in these modern days camp-ovens, jew's-harps, saddles, and chemises in the one big room in a backblocks store, in the King Country and up the East Coast. The convenient old Johnny-all-sorts warehouse still serves our needs here and there.
  • 20th april 1852 Sheriffs Sale In The Supreme Court Of New Zealand Between John James Peacock, Plaintiff, and George Waters, Defendent. By virtue of a writ of Fieri facias issued out of the supreme court, aforesaid at Wellington, the Sheriff will cause to be sold on the premises of the above named defendent, situated in Dixon street, Te Aro, on Friday next, the 23rd instant, at one o'clock precisely, (unless this execution be previously stayed), a quantity of Drapery and other Articles of the Goods, and Chattels of the above named defendent.
  • Dated at the Sheriff's Office, Wellington, this 20th day of April, 1852. Henry St. Hill Sheriff. 20th April 1852 Estate of Mr George Waters Persons indebted to this Estate are requested to pay the amounts of their debts to the trustees, Messrs. Kenneth Bethune, George Hunter, and William Hickson, within fourteen days from the date of this notice, to prevent legal proceedings. Robert Hart Solicitor to the Estate. Wellington, April 20th, 1852.
  • 22nd September 1852 The Creditors of Mr. George Waters are requested to attend at Messrs. Bethune & Hunter's Office, Exchange Buildings, on Saturday next, the 25th inst, at 3 o'clock precisely. Robert Hart, Solicitor to the Estate Exchange Buildings September 22nd, 1852.
  • 25th september 1852 owing to 'bad times' he called a meeting of his creditors, who all agreed to give him more time, he was anxious to pay all that he owd, however he didnt sign any contracts, which enabled them to take him to court.
  • 13th May 1858 George attends the wedding of his daughter Louisa and Alexander Gray of Foxton. He signs as a witness.
  • 22nd april 1863 George is put on trial for selling ammuntion to the Otaki Maori resistance movement. Bail is refused. He is found guilty and sentenced to 3 years jail.
  • 25th July 1863 Wellington Last week police suceeded in apprehending, in Wellington, one of the gentry concerned with the sale of ammuntion to the Otaki Natives. A fortnight since information was conveyed to police that supplies were being obtained from thence. In consequence of some of the Otaki Natives having split, Mr George waters, store keeper was apprehended and a quantity of ammuntion seized the examination took place on Friday, and the prisoner was remanded until this day. we trust that his accomplices will be descovered and an inquiry will be dilligently made as to the source from whence he obtained the ammuntion. He is probably only the tool of others.
  • 1864 Wellington Street and Trade Directory South Side: Waters G Painter
  • 14th march 1865 After spending 2 years in jail a petition with 650 signatures asks the governor to commute the sentence of George Waters for selling ammuntion. His original sentence was 3 years.
  • 27th October 1873 George dies aged 65
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George Waters's Timeline

South West England
April 5, 1837
Age 26
Bath, Somerset, England
November 1841
Age 30
Bath, Somerset, England
June 15, 1844
Age 33
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
June 20, 1847
Age 36
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
May 17, 1849
Age 38
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
Age 38
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
August 8, 1851
Age 40
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
October 23, 1854
Age 43
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand