|In 1876, my gggrandfather, Hugh McKerrow,
from Lanark, a former tent loom foreman and early Glasgow constible
decided to leave his beloved Scotland. He packed up his wife, Janet White,
and their children (Mary , William , Hugh , Julia , Andrew
, and Janet )and boarded the Oamaru in Clyde on 23 Sept. When dreams
of their new life in New Zealand, the McKerrows said goodbye to first Mary
as she was moved to the single women's end of the ship and next to
William, off to the single males oppisite end.
Based on a diary left by J. Findlayson [?
Jane], life on board ship was full and eagarly looked forward to everyday
was the posting of the miles they had come. After getting over seasickness
and through a storm in the Bay of Biscany, life settled down to a routine
of sorts. Little Mary [McKerrow] is mentioned in the diary as she was a
bit distressed over not being able to enter the married quarters to help
her father with her brothers and sisters when a new baby brother was
However, a week later Hugh McKerrow soon
found a job with the survey department, perhaps under his cousin James
McKerrow and the family settle into life in Mornington, Dunedin.
James and Mrs. Mckerrow came to NZ in 1859
in the steerage section of the Cheviot. He survaied millions of NZ acres
and McKerrow Mt., McKerrow Range, and McKerrow Lake are all named after
him. We believe that at least two more daughters were born to Hugh and
Janet before her death in Aug. 1882. Hugh struggled on between working and
raising his growing family.
Elizabeth Deegan, born 22 Oct 1866 near
Munlochy Bay, Ross-Shire Cromarty Scotland, was the daughter of British
Army 1st Sargent Instructor for the Ross-Shire Rifle Volunteers, James
Deegan (b. 1822, St. Paul's Parish, Dublin) and his wife Isabella Fraser
(b. 1838, Knockbain, Ross-shire. She left Greenock on the "Nelson' in
Aug. 1883 and arrived at Port Chalmers on 20 Oct. 1883. She was listed as
being an 18 yr old, general servant, but as you can see from her birthday,
she was fudging a bit. Somehow, shipm
"I'm going to write to Papa
And oh, how glad he'll be
to recieve a little leter
That's written all by me.
I'll tell him of my dolly.
She's sleeping on the floor
I'm afraid the noise might wake her
So please don't slam the door.
I'll send him lots of kisses
And one bright shinning curl
And ask him to remember
His darling little girl"
Bella passed her first standard on 20 Oct
1893 at North Invercargill School, and the second standard on the 14 Aug.
1894 at Oteramika Gorge School. Hugh had become a gauger there. Bella's
older brothers cut giant ferns in such a manner as to form them into mazes
for the girls amusement. she loved Alexander the very best, she wrote. Of
course Bella missed her father who was away working much of the time, but
Christmas 1894 saw the family at a party with good neighbors. Hugh was
said to have had a fine voice and he entertained the party with his song,
"Far Away, Far Away" Bella was left with a warm, loved, and much
contented feeling that evening. On 3 Jan 1895, brother Hugh Findlay James
Deegan McKerrow was born. Alas, their peaceful life was not to last. On 20
July 1895, 60 year old Hugh McKerrow passed away from heart disease. He
left 12 living children, all in NZ. However, he also left a young widow
with no other family in NZ, but her step children and her own four young
ones. Elizabeth Deegan Mckerrow was in the "Things to Remember
When we lived in Gold Hill and I was
fifteen or sixteen, mother fell of her skis doen the soft hole that is
around the trees. Just one skis slipped off and she hurt herself pretty
bad-so bad that an abscess formed in her groin. There was fifteen or
twenty feet of snow on the ground so we couldn't get her out, and no
doctor would come in. Father went to town which took several days and
telephoned or telegraphed his brother, a doctor in Boston, who gave father
directions in how to keep on as we had been doing and then if necessary to
thurp his pocket knife and lance the place. The abcess was as large as a
coffee cup in the center. Father and I lanced that abcess without an
anaesthetic but with morphine by mouth. We quickly plunged the knife in
and brought it out in such a way that it made an incision and we drained
over a cup of pus out of it and put in a drainage which we changed
everyday. She got well and never did have any trouble with it after. Whew!
What an experience. I had to do most of it." What a young women".