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ROSS, JOHN

John Ross 2 May 1830 - 15 August 1910

John Ross was born in Peterhead, Scotland on 2 May 1830. He was the middle of 3 boys, the other two being named Wiliam Rainy and James.

His father was Hugh, who is recorded on John’s birth certificate as a “Seaman”. His mother was Elizabeth (nee Cardno).

John left Peterhead and traveled to London where he married Jane Dickenson in 1858. Their first son, who made the journey to NZ with them as a 2 year old, was named John Thomas Dickenson Ross. He was a New Year baby, born on 1 Jan 1861.

On his birth record, John, is shown as a “licensed victualler” or a grocer in today’s terminology, who lived at 77A Poplar High St, Poplar, a suburb in the East End of London. John’s death record, however, shows him as a “mariner”.

On 23 June 1863, John, his wife Jane and their 2 year old son, also John, boarded the Harwood in London. They set out with about 50 others for Bluff.

The family’s departure from London was recorded in the front cover of a bible presented to the younger John by his uncle.

The inscription said:

Presented
To
John Thomas Dickenson Ross
On his leaving England
For
New Zealand
June 23 1863
By
His affectionate Uncle
Thomas Dickenson

JTD Ross
Birthday 1. 1. 1861

Records show the intrepid family arrived safe and sound in Bluff on 18 September.

They must have been very happy with their choice of new abode since John and Jane lived in the Southern regions of New Zealand until their deaths in 1910. John Thomas Dickenson Ross moved to Newcastle Australia, probably in the 1880’s.

We don’t know much about how the young Ross family fared in those early days in Bluff.

However we do know the family grew. Three more children were born, George in 1865, Sarah Jane in 1868 and Elizabeth in 1871.

It appears the family moved, since there are records of the 3 younger children being enrolled in Port Chalmers and Sawyers Bay schools in 1881. The given address at that time was Port Chalmers, near Dunedin.

The National maritime Museum in Greenwich, London holds art work of the Harwood (pictured). It is described as:

Clipper ship Harwood 510 Tons.Old mount without melinex.Produced by Dutton, Thomas Goldsworth [artist & engraver]; Day & Son [engravers] and Foster, William [publisher].Lithograph, coloured.Height 302mm, width 458mm.Parts height 480mm, width 634mm.Museum negative number: X860.Hand-coloured.
Depiction:water transport: sailing vessel: clipper [British].Harwood 1857 [British].

The photograph shows the Ross family. John and Jane Ross (front centre) are shown with their son John Thomas Dickenson Ross (rear centre) and his wife Lily (far left) and grandchildren. Believed to have been taken in Newcastle Australia in about 1903.

Ian Ross


The Ross Family
Image courtesy of:
Ian Ross

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