St Pauls Papanui Cemetery - Christchurch City Libraries

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St Pauls Papanui Cemetery - Christchurch City Libraries

There was a prize fight … in the sandhills near the Empire Bridge. On the

morning of the occurrence my father sent me over to the Crown Prosecutor

to inform him what was taking place and wanted to know if he would like to

see the fun. Rather to my father’s surprise, he acquiesced and I drove them

there …. When the combatants were brought to court, the Crown Prosecutor,

having been a witness, was unable to prosecute and it fell to the hands of Mr.

W. T. Travers.

When road boards (very rudimentary local authorities) were established, Thomson

became chairman of the Avon Road Board.

William Thomson, a captain in the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry, died, at 48, on 20

April 1866. His military funeral was the greatest such event up to that time in the

history of the province.

The Press reported on the funeral:

A very large crowd accompanied the remains of Mr. Thomson … to its final

resting place at Papanui. The … funeral was … conducted with miltary

honours. The procession formed at Mr. Thomson’s late residence,

‘Scottstown’, shortly after three o’clock in the following order: - the firing

party; the band, playing the Dead March in Saul; the body on the gun carriage

of the artillery drawn by four horses with postillions (members of the

deceased’s company), the horse of the deceased with the

accoutrements …relatives and members of the Executive Council, Yeomanry

Cavalry, Volunteers and friends, numbering about 200, as well as several

carriages. The burial service was read by the Bishop, and, after the body had

been lowered into the grave, three volleys were fired over it. The funeral was

very largely, representatives of all classes being present to pay a last tribute of

respect to the deceased.

Thomson had scarcely breathed his last when candidates came forward for the

position of Provincial Auditor. John Ollivier carried off the prize.

Thomson had large debts in association with the Canterbury standard. The family had

to move out of and sell their property immediately after William’s death. They later

lived at a house called ‘Cardowan’ at 64 Opawa Road.

With William are buried his wife, Georgiana, 75, who died on 13 January 1894;

children, David, 22, who died on 22 March 1876; Georgiana, who was born on 24

May 1853 and died on 24 January 1942; and Alice, who was born on 6 August 1860

and died on 26 July 1950.

St. Paul’s Papanui Cemetery

2007

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