9 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town

There was a blacksmith

There was a blacksmith in the village from the beginning. Patrick O'Reilly announced in The Press of 11 November 1862 that he had "commenced business as a blacksmith and farrier" in William Street and in addition to shoeing horses he would mend farm implements and machinery and had available a supply of medicines for horses. Although he gave William Street as his address, he appears to have built his home and smithy in Robert Street, (behind Hammer Hardware) which he bought from FitzGerald in October 1861. T.W. Adams, who in 1863 was working on the Pannett farm, now part of the Lincoln University Dairy Farm, remembered 1 that Patrick’s sod house and smithy were not far from the future site of the railway station built twelve years later near the junction of Robert Street and South Belt. Patrick soon moved from Lincoln to Weeden [Weedons] and then to Little River 2 where he was employed as a blacksmith at White’s timber mill before settling in Akaroa 3 where he died in 1884 at the early age of 44. He was active in Akaroa affairs and at the time of his death was a member of the Akaroa town council. He was an enigmatic character, for according to T.W. Adams Lincoln folk thought he was a Presbyterian despite his obvious Irish background. However, a son was baptised by Father Chervier in Little River, and he was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Akaroa thus clearing up the question of his religious affiliation. 8. Charles Restall – Lincoln Wheelwright 18

The next blacksmith was Keith Forbes Gray who in June 1865 bought a quarter acre section in William Street for 15 pounds 4 . He too did not stay long, and a year later sold to William Keith Watson of Lincoln and George Johnston of Muddy Creek, near Doyleston, for 140 pounds 5 , suggesting that Gray had erected substantial buildings, perhaps a home and a smithy, before selling. The Watson and Johnston partnership was short-lived and two years later Watson was sole owner of the business as well as the section next door (now No.12 and No.14 William Street). At first the business flourished and he opened a smithy in Springston 6 where he employed two men in addition to five at Lincoln. The Lincoln business was worked with three fires and a fitting shop, 20 feet x 13 feet, containing a lathe with a 10 inch centre and a 15-foot bed. He was a well regarded smith whose ploughs and other implements won prizes at local shows and competed 7 with some success in ploughing matches. A Watson plough located beside the Lincoln library in Gerald Street stands as a memorial to him and those early settlers who ploughed and worked the land. Unfortunately the business failed and in 1872 receivers sold it to blacksmith Charles McPherson of Cashel Street, Christchurch, for 100 pounds 8 . The McPhersons came from Scotland in 1869, and lived in Prebbleton and Christchurch before moving to Lincoln. Unlike his predecessors Charles was in for the long haul and remained in Lincoln for nearly forty years, eventually selling to Charles Thomas Restall, of whom more later, and John Herbert Restall on 24 February 1909. The McPhersons were active in village life. Charles, who would have been known to many farmers, was an early supporter of the library, a member of the school committee and involved for many years with the annual sports day. Mrs McPherson was a faithful member of the Presbyterian church and at her memorial service the officiating minister commented that she was one of the oldest and most loved residents of Lincoln village 9 . The rapid growth of the district in the 1860s meant that there was a need for some form of lodging for the travelling public and so in January 1863 James Rowell applied for a conditional licence for a house at the northwest corner of Springs Road and Boundary Road (RS 2927). Although the application was unsuccessful he appears to have provided some form of accommodation, for a time at least, because William Rayers advertised that his conveyance, operating between Lincoln and Christchurch, left Rowell's accommodation house every Saturday at 8 am and began the return trip from Christchurch at 2 pm. It is not known for how long the accommodation house lasted, but when Richard Waterlow was declared bankrupt 10 in 1865 he 19

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