James Nicholls and Elizabeth Rowe


Frederick Nicholls was born on 8 May 1877 at East Clive, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, to James and Elizabeth Nicholls.

James and Elizabeth emigrated to New Zealand from Cornwall in 1872. They landed from the SS Chile at Napier, Hawke's Bay in December 1872.

James was born on 10th May 1846 at Carnon Downs in the Parish of Feock, near Truro. His father was Henry Nicholls, a carpenter or sawyer. His mother was Jane Nicholls (nee Leverton) [birth cert].

Elizabeth was born in 1846 or 1847 in Plymouth, Devonshire. Her father was John Rowe, who was deceased by the time Henry and Ellizabeth married in 1868 [marriage cert].

They married at the Parish church of Saint George in Truro on 18th July 1868. James was listed as a labourer. Both James and Elizabeth signed by marking their mark, indicating they could not write. The witnesses were a William Styles, and a Sarah Jose [marriage cert].

The Cornwall 1871 Census, the year before they came to New Zealand, lists them as living in Feock Parish, near Truro. At that time they had three children; James, Clara and Frederick.

We learn from "The Farthest Promised Land" by Rollo Arnold (1981, VUP Wellington) that:

" ... 150 of Brogdens' recruits were farewelled, with considerable excitement at Truro railway station, in September 1872, on the way to join the Chile,..." (p221).

"The Chile sailed from London on 12 September 1872, and reached Napier on 28 December 1872, with 220 assisted immigrants, of whom 192 had been recruited by Brogdens, mainly from Cornwall". (p 116).

"Brogdens won the contract for the first sections of the railway, and we have already considered some members of their first party of navvies for this work, those reaching Napier on the Chile in December 1872." (p 312)

James and Elizabeth lived at East Clive in Hawke's Bay, and had eight sons and four daughters.

James died on 25th January 1903, and is buried at the Havelock North cemetery in Hawkw's Bay.

Elizabeth survived her husband by another 29 years and died at East Clive on 19th August 1932. An obituary was published in a Hawke's Bay newspaper.


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