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Joseph Zillwood's Geni Profile

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Joseph Zillwood

Birthdate: (50)
Birthplace: Cholderton, Wiltshire, England
Death: October 19, 1854 (50)
Akaroa, Christchurch City, Canterbury, New Zealand (Shot himself in the mouth)
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Zillwood and Elizabeth Zillwood
Husband of Elizabeth Zillwood and Ellen Catherine Zillwood
Father of Elizabeth Ann Zillwood; Thomas Zillwood; Mary Ann Zillwood and William Zillwood
Brother of Mary Ann Zillwood

Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About Joseph Zillwood

Joseph Zillwood (1804?–1854) was a New Zealand policeman, farmer and innkeeper. He was baptised in Cholderton, Wiltshire, England in December 1804. After marrying his second wife Betsy Rose in 1836, they moved to France where their first two children were born. They emigrated to New Zealand in 1839, with their daughter dying en route. They lived in Wellington, where two more children were born before his wife died in 1845. Becoming chief constable at Akaroa, he put his eldest son out to work and the younger two children into care, but struggled to pay for this from his reduced wages. Zillwood also worked as Akaroa's postmaster. He married again in 1850, and was reunited with his younger children, one of whom died in 1853. Later that year the local police force was halved and Zillwood lost his job. He turned to drink as his financial situation worsened, and his wife left him mid 1854.

After arranging his affairs, he shot himself in the mouth on Friday 13 October 1854 while on suicide watch and died of his wounds after several days of suffering. His body was buried at night without funeral rites after an inquest found him guilty of felo de se. This appears to be the earliest reported felo de se in New Zealand.

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Joseph Zillwood's Timeline

December 23, 1804
Cholderton, Wiltshire, England
Cholderton, Wiltshire, England
February 26, 1838
Age 34
Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France
July 31, 1839
Age 35
Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, Upper Normandy, France
July 9, 1841
Age 37
Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
Age 40
October 19, 1854
Age 50
Akaroa, Christchurch City, Canterbury, New Zealand