9 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town

pounds a section. These

pounds a section. These sections, an area of 2¼ acres, all fronted West Belt. About eighteen months later he made a handsome profit when he sold three to Joseph Henry Sluis for 180 pounds, but the rest remained in his name until his death in 1895. Of these seven sections only two can be assumed to have had a house built on them before the end of the 19 th century, and the cottages, albeit somewhat altered, still stand as No. 29 and No. 31 West Belt. James Stark, who never settled in Lincoln, was living on a ten acre block in Spreydon when he died in 1895. His estate, administered by the Public Trustee, included property in the Christchurch area, in Lincoln, a farm near Ashburton, as well as considerable cash assets, indicating that he was a wealthy man. His will, housed in the Christchurch office of Archives New Zealand, is written on a scrap of paper in a firm hand, a marked contrast to the weak and spidery signature beneath, suggesting that he dictated the will on his death bed. Robert Mackey, a farmer living on the corner of Ellesmere Road and the Lincoln-Tai Tapu Road, bought five sections in Block II sometime in the 1860’s for 40 pounds. He also bought two sections in Block VII at about the same time. These transactions, never registered, were acknowledged by FitzGerald when Mackey’s affairs were being wound up following his death in Christchurch at the age of 43. It did not take long to dispose of his estate for Messrs H. Matson and Co. reported that a large crowd attended a successful auction of his farm and chattels 1 . The farm with its “fair homestead” was sold to William Stoddart for 2921 pounds, much more than the original purchase price of 850 pounds, sixty young cattle sold for seven pounds a head, and the farm implements fetched good prices. Mackey’s sections in Block II were sold at about the same time, one to William Stoddart for 26 pounds, and four to a Weedons butcher for a total of 71 pounds These five sections did not change hands again until the early years of the 20 th century at prices similar to those paid to his trustees; clearly none had been built on during the 19 th century. The sections in Block VII were also sold, one in 1877 for 26 pounds and the other in 1878 32 pounds. The Sluis’s were the most active in the buying and selling of Lincoln real estate, but unlike Cornelius Kelliher, James Stark and Robert Mackey, they generally bought sections sold earlier to others by FitzGerald. Most purchases were registered in Jemsina’s name, perhaps indicating that it was Jemsina’s money which made their activities possible, as it was when they bought the Perthshire Arms hotel. Their buying began in 1873 and ended in 1906 when Joseph sold the last of their purchases in Block IX to Cornelius Kelliher. From 1873 and 1800 they usually paid prices 12

anging between 12 pounds 10 shillings and 20 pounds for each section, although for two they paid 130 pounds and 160 pounds respectively, suggesting that the vendor had already built a house on that section. They bought sections in every Block in the subdivision except in Block IV, but most heavily in Blocks VIII and IX, and of these they quit most before the beginning of 1890 although their eleven properties in Block IX were retained until 1906 when they were sold to Cornelius Kelliher. Joseph and Jemsina Sluis, bought the Perthshire Arms hotel from William Alexander Arklie in 1871 (discussed later), and must have been familiar figures in the village for many years. Besides their interest in real estate they were busy hoteliers who hosted dinner parties following ploughing competitions, fairs, shows and cricket matches as well as providing on site refreshments during these various events. Because facilities for meetings were limited in the early years the hotel also provided space for committees to meet and to discuss their plans. They were married in St. Michael’s Church in Christchurch in 1869 and although Joseph is recorded as a farmer in the marriage register, the deed of sale held by LINZ records him as a carrier living in Christchurch. In any event they must have moved to Lincoln in 1871 when they bought the hotel. Joseph was born in Holland and Jemsina was born in England. Jemsina died in 1894 and a year later Joseph moved to Dallington where he remarried. He died in Christchurch in 1935. 5. The Jennings family pose outside their Maurice Street home 13

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