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Descendants of Johan Fredrik (Fredrik) MORTENSEN

Second Generation :: Notes

2. Marthe Mathilde ("Tilla") MORTENSEN

Remained in Norway when her family emigrated to NEw Zealand.

Emigrated to Australia, then to New Zealand.

Death: Hawkes Bay Herald Wed 15 Oct 1879 & Hawkes Bay Herald Wednesday 29 Jan 1879
Bush Advocate 28 Oct 1890

Tues 28 Oct 1890
SOWRY : On 26 Oct at the residence of Mr BERGERSEN, Palmerston North, Martha Matilda, wife of Joseph SOWRY of Woodville.

We regret to announce the death of Mrs SOWRY of Woodville. As the result of her recent exertions at a recent entertainment, the deceased lady caught a cold, being in a weak state of health, which settled on her lungs. She had gone with Mr SOWRY and some friends for a drive. On her arrival there she became so ill she had to be confined to bed and medical aid was called in. Her illness rapidly assumed a critical form and unconsciousness set in. Twice she rallied and gave hope of recovery, only, however to sink again and at 5 am on Sunday morning she expired at the early age of 38 years. Mrs SOWRY was a daughter of Mr MORTENSEN of Norsewood, had been married for eleven years, and leaves a family of four.

George Fredrick Maximillian Wolfgang WILLING

Height 5ft 7in, hair color dark brown.

George Willing came from Saxe-Meiningen in Germany. He migrated to Australia on the ship "John Bertram" on 25th August 1871. It would appear that he was an assisted immigrant with either all or some of his passage paid by the Australian government. He was employed at Foulden Plantation as an engineer, Foulden being a large sugar plantation. He died on the 28th August 1875 being drowned in the Pioneer River.

8. Emma Elise Mathilde WILLING

Also known as Emma SOWRY.

John Thomas SMITH

Also known as Frederick John SEABRIGHT.

John Smith changed his name to Frederick John SEABRIGHT at the time he left England in 1888. He is buried in the same plot as John Craigie GIFFORD, the brother of his brother-in-law Arthur Gifford GIFFORD. As Frederick John SEABRIGHT he began work in New Zealand as a temporary clerk in the Chief Post Office Wellington on 14 April 1890. He became a cadet with the Post Office at Woodville on 21 April 1890. He became a cadet in Napier 1 September 1891. He became a clerk in Napier 1 April 1893.

James Edward DOBBS

It would appear that James Edward arrived in New Zealand on board the sailing ship "Trevelyan" with his wife and then two children on 30th December 1883, landing at Port Chalmers after a three month journey from Glasgow. He was then 23 years old, his wife Selina the same age, a baby girl Selina aged 7 months and a 2 year old boy called Albert, known to the family as Herbert and also according to the British Census of 1881. It was an assisted passage and it is quite likely the ship was chartered for the specific purpose of bringing assisted families to this country. There were 283 people on board including the women and children. Selina's maiden name was Markley. Their marriage took place at Croydon, England on 1st February 1880. James Edward came from Spalding, England. At the time of the marriage breakup all the children stayed with James.

James farmed at Ngawapurua, south of Woodville. James later owned a transport business with his son Alf supplying construction gangs along the line from Turangarere to Ohakune. This would be between 1904 to 1908. They had 12 wagons and over 80 horses. The Main Trunk line was finished on 7th August 1908. Alf and Maude moved to Tirau - a farm of some 1,700 acres. In 1909 James and Emma moved to Tirau and Alf and Maude moved on, ending up on a farm in Puahue outside of Te Awamutu. Later, James and Emma moved to a property in Matangi that had stables: they trained and raced race horses as well as milking a dairy herd. Jim kept up-to-date with the latest models in motor vehicles. In 1928 they moved to a farm in Arapohue, out of Dargaville. This was a dairy unit, however limestone on the farm was quarried and sold at a handsome profit. James died at Arapohue at age 81. His coffin was transported to Cambridge by road. When they reached Blanche Morgan's place in Mt. Albert Road, Sandringham, the coffin was placed under a tree on the back lawn to keep it cool over night while the driver went inside. James and Leonard (his son) are buried in the same plot in Hautapu, Cambridge, while Emma is in the plot right beside. A memorial stone, in the shape of an angelic child holding a cross, marks Jim and Leonard's grave, but no memorial stone is in place for Emma.

Robert Owen HENTY (OWEN)

The correct spelling is probably Robert Owen HENTY. However it is spelt this way on his son Robert's Birth Certificate: Robert Owens HENTYS. However Martha was only able to put an X rather than sign her name in English, so the information given to the Registrar was only verbal. He may have misunderstood with her Norwegian accent. It is clear that Marthe and Robert were never married as their child Robert has the word illegitimate written on his birth certificate.

Robert later changed his name to Robert OWEN.

9. Robert Owen WILLING

Also known as Robert OWEN.

Robert Owen WILLING was born in Norsewood taking his mother's name. His birth certificate shows his father as Robert Owens HENTYS. However, his mother was unable to write in English so was only able to supply the Registrar the information verbally. It may well be that his father was Robert Owen HENTY.

At a very young age Robert was fostered by Tora and Hans GUNDERSEN who lived in lower Norsewood. The cottage was situated on the right side of the main road facing east, in the dip. His mother had taken employment as a housekeeper for Joseph Sowry in Woodville. However when Robert was aged about 4 Marthe went to collect Robert but he and the Gundersen's were heart-broken, so he stayed. Robert went to work at an early age after completing his education at Norsewood School. He was employed on the original land owned by his uncle Hans Mortensen at Garfield just south of Norsewood. At the outbreak of the Boer War he joined a group at Norsewood who rode their horses to Wellington where horses and men were shipped to South Africa. The Nominal Roll shows that Robert was in the 9th Contingent, H Squadron. His next of kin is shown as Alfred Hulina of Norsewood. His Boer War Medal reads:- South Africa 1902. Transvaal. Victoria Regina ET IMPERATRIX 7481 Tpr R Owen NZ Mr 9th Cont. Robert returned to Norsewood but not to the farm. Later he joined the Police Force in Auckland and married in 1906. A letter from the Police dated 16 Sep. 1993 reads: I have found the following information on Robert Owen from the Police Staff Description Book Vol 1 1877 - 1920 and the Police Station Book 1890 -1947. It is all that I have available. Born: 13 July 1878 Norsewood, New Zealand. Appointed to Police 1 December 1903. Sworn in: 26 November 1903. Age: 25. Previous occupation: Labourer. Height: 5'9 and a half inches. Fair complexion, dark brown hair, blue eyes. Single when sworn, married 13 June 1906. Religion: Church of England. Previous service: 9th New Zealand contingent in South Africa. Medals: 1925 22 years service.
1933, 30 years service.
Long Service Medal. Rank: Constable.
Service: Auckland started 28 January 1903
Parnell " 02 June 1906
Ongarue " 26 September 1908
Ongaonga " 11 January 1913
Foxton " 01 October 1920
His last three postings were at one-man stations, and true to Police tradition at the time he had extra duties there which included: Ongarue: Inspector of Factories & Clerk of Court at Matere. Ongaonga: Inspector of Factories, Napier District. Foxton: Clerk of Court, Inspector of Sea Fishing, Inspector of Factories, Inspector of Ms, Probation Officer and officer to regulate traffic and navigation on the Manawatu River.

Robert Owen retired at Foxton on No.2 Pension, 31 July 1939, later moving to Wellington where he died in 1951.

It is interesting to note that Robert dropped the name Willing (his mother's married name) and used the surname Owen. Just when he did this is unknown. His daughter Elsie in all her research never picked up this change of name. She was of the opinion that Marthe had married a Robert Owen. However this marriage never took place. His birth certificate at the Dannevirke Court House clearly shows this fact.
Full Database Record ID 5400
Surname owen
Given Names robert
Contingent Ninth
Unit North Island Regiment - H Squadron
Ship Devon 19 March 1902
Rank private
Occupation labourer
Address norsewood hawkes bay
Next of Kin hulina mr alfred
Relationship to Soldier friend
Next of Kin Address same
Reg No 7481
County/City waipawa

5400 owen robert Ninth North Island Regiment - H Squadron Devon 19 March 1902 private labourer norsewood hawkes bay hulina mr alfred friend same 7481 waipawa

Two final large contingents from New Zealand, the Ninth and Tenth, arrived in South Africa in 1902, too late to see any significant action.

Joseph SOWRY


Joseph Sowry was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1837 and came to New Zealand in 1862 on the ship "Zealandia", landing at Lyttelton on May 24th. A builder and architect, he spent some time in the South Island and Wellington before he moved to Waipawa in 1871 to supervise the building of the first station buildings on the railway line from Napier. In 1876 he organised the Woodville Small Farm Association to settle the new town-ship of Woodville in the Seventy-Mile Bush. He settled in Woodville and took a prominent part in the development of the district, serving as chairman, secretary or committeeman of many local organisations. He was Chairman of the Town Board, and when Woodville was constituted a borough in 1887 he was elected to the position of Mayor, a post he held until 1889. He continued to assist the Council as Borough Overseer and Engineer until his death in 1904 at the age of 66. Married three times, it was said that he was so happy with his first wife that he could not bear to remain single. He married Hannah Strother at Leeds in 1858 and they had twelve children, the oldest Annie having passed away prior to his departure for New Zealand. After Hannah's death in 1879 Joseph married a widow Martha Mathilde Willing (nee Mortensen). They had four daughters. Martha died in 1890 and the following year Joseph married Rhoda Mitchell, but no children were born to this marriage. Taking a prominent role in the establishment of the Methodist Church in Woodville, he was an office-bearer until the time of his death. Carrying over his religious zeal into public life he gave generously of his time and talents in the pioneering and progress of Woodville. Sowry Road, Woodville, is named in his honour. Today his photo hangs in the Woodville museum and many other photos there give testimony to his ability as an architect and builder in early Woodville.

Extract from The "HAWKES BAY HERALD", Wednesday, November 26, 1879.
MARRIAGE SOWRY - WILLING - On November 21, at Rose Farm Woodville, by the Rev. H. R. Wilkinson, Joseph Sowry, contractor and builder, to Martha M. Willing; both of Woodville.

"HAWKES BAY HERALD" Tuesday, March 15, 1904:

Late last evening one of Woodville's pioneer settlers peacefully passed away, namely, Mr. Joseph Sowry. Some twenty-six or twenty-seven years ago he applied to the superintendent, the Hon. J. D. Ormond, on behalf of some 33 would-be settlers for a piece of unsold bush-land of 2500 acres on the north side of the township, which was granted to what was known as the Woodville Small Farms Association in lots of from 50 to 150 acres, and with only two or three exceptions these settlers and their families are with us still, and are doing well, the credit of whose selection is greatly due to the late Mr. Sowry. He took a lively interest in all that concerned the progress of the settlement, in its material, educational and moral advancement. He took an active part in forming a road board and as the township grew, it was formed into a town board and ultimately into a borough, and in each successive stage he has acted as chairman and mayor for a number of years. In the early days he also represented the Woodville riding of the Waipawa county. Latterly he was Inspector of Works for the Borough Council, and it is to his foresight that many of the improvements in the town are due. Through failing health his resignation was received a few weeks ago. He was also chairman of the Woodville School Committee for many years evincing great regard for the welfare of the children of the district. The cause of temperance found in him a staunch friend and advocate, and through him the Rechabite Tent was established in Woodville. His religious zeal was also conspicuous. In the brave days of old when the roads were unformed and in some places were nigh impassable (Mc Lean street North to wit) even on horseback, he opened his house on the Sunday afternoons to the occasional visits of Methodist ministers to hold services, and this was continued until the school was built and the roads made passable. Thus were laid the foundations of a settlement, which, although small, is a credit to the colony, and in all this he had a part. The deceased was 66 years of age, and leaves a widow and several sons, daughters and grandchildren. Others, too, will mourn that he is gone.

Joseph Sowry is buried, along with members of his family, in the old Gorge Cemetery in Woodville. The grave is clearly marked by a wooden picket fence.

George Hounsell, Methodist, was the officiating Minister.

11. Lavina Fredrika ("Lovey") SOWRY

No children.

Lovey reared Margaret, Mabel's daughter.

Lovey ran a tea-room in Woodville, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

12. Mabel Beatrice SOWRY

Her death siteing shows cause of death as: Shock following operation for inducing premature labour on account of deformity of pelvic bones. 2 days. Medical Att: Sidney C. GODFREY M.B.C.M. Waipukerau. Officiating Min: Rev. Wm. BECKETT, Methodist.

Informant; M. SOWRY, brother, Woodville, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. ( This will be Marmaduke SOWRY).

13. Ivy Woodvine SOWRY

The Death Certificate shows informant as Emma Willing SOWRY (Agent duly authorised in writing by father). Officiating Minister: E.Ovenden PERRY, Methodist Free Church. Ivy was only 7 days old. Medical attendant: Henry WILLIAMS M.D. Surgeon.

3. Augusta Fredrikke ("Gussie") MORTENSEN

Known as Augusta Friderikka FREDERIKSDATTER (Norway); Augusta Frederika MORTENSEN (New Zealand), Augusta Frederika REDWARD (marriage), "Gussie" (nick name).

One of first settlers at Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

15. James Frederick REDWARD

Papers Past 3rd April 1878.doc
Date: Sat, 1 Feb 2003 07:09:04 +1300
Papers Past 3rd April 1878

REDWARD-At norsewood, on the 29th March, the wife of Mr F W Redward of a son.

21. Claude Raymond ("Ray") REDWARD

Member of the Rechabites and Order of St John.

23. Ellen Florence ("Flo") REDWARD

No issue.

Flo and Harry lived in Penrose Street, Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.

4. Karl Frithjof ("Charlie") MORTENSEN

One of first settlers at Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Some time between 1880 and 1890 Karl Frithjoff MORTENSEN and his wife Julia had bought two pieces of land from the SKOTTE family.

It is said, here in New Zealand, by family that Karl abandoned his family and moved to Australia, none of the family have been able to trace him or find where he died. After leaving his wife he was never heard of again in New Zealand.

Some records (eg, at claim that Karl died at Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. This is INCORRECT. He abandoned his family and moved overseas.

It is possible he went to Australia on the "S.S. Talune" and changed his name to Frithjof MORTON. He had another family there.


Waipawa Court
- Karl F. MORTENSEN - stealing a pocket book the property of B.B. JOHNSON


Julia owned a large house in Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand. She converted it into a boarding house.

28. George William MORTENSEN

Never married.

29. Oswald Archibald ("Arch") MORTENSEN

Never married.

31. Leonard Gordon MORTENSEN

Never married.

6. Hans Peter MORTENSEN

One of first settlers at Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Letters by Hans MORTENSEN available from National Library.,02801

Wise's New Zealand Postal Directory shows Hans P. MORTENSEN living at Makino in 1892-1893 Directory.

Listed as "MORTENSEN, Hans Pedar, S. Norsewood, farmer" in 1905 Elecoral Role for District of Waipawa


Also Known As: Olene; Oline MORTENSEN (marriage); "Lena" (nickname).

Born in Norway of Swedish parents.

Incorrectly listed in Norwegian emigration records and passenger list as child of August and Amalie ANDERSEN.

One of first settlers at Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Listed as "MORTENSEN, Olive [sic], S. Norsewood, married" in 1905 Elecoral Role for District of Waipawa

Last address: "Fernhills", Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (original MORTENSEN block; section 71).

Elizabeth (Lizzie) KING

Memorial to our pioneer ancestors:

Elizabeth was widowed in 1918. She later married Hans MORTENSEN and went ot live at "Fernhills", Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

Photographs: O.E. BALL, "The Families of 'Fernhills' and their Garfield Neighbours. Pioneers of Norsewood", Published by O.E. BALL, New Zealand, 1997. ISBN 0-473-04427-7, Page 73. Elizabeth with her 5 siblings and her mother Clara KING (nee SMITH). Also, Elizabeth with her first husband, Leonhard ANDERSEN.

7. Axel Guttorm MORTENSEN

One of first settlers at Norsewood, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand.

When Axel first married, he and Clara lived in the small cottage that stood in the front paddock of Fernhills.

Axel was a lover of good music, as also were his daughters.

Axel had a weakness for alcohol. After his separation from Clara, Hans had the unfortunate job of telling Axel that he would have to leave "Fernhills," as his drinking was becoming unacceptable. He begged his brother not to send him away but Hans' new wife Elizabeth could take no more. Axel lived for several years among the tribal Maories and became fluent in the Maori language. When Axel was dying in the Napier Hospital, his daughter Evelyn refused to go to him.

Richard ANDERSEN, husband of Bella, paid for Axel's funeral.



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