The Campbells in New Zealand

On 25 August 1840 Moses, Jessie and their five children, John, aged 8, Colin 6, Louisa 5 and the twins Isabella (Tibbie) and Susan 1 (their first-born child, also Susan, had dies in 1837 aged 7) embarked on the Blenheim at Greenock near Glasgow. The voyage out is documented in Jessie’s journal. The major happening was the death of Isabella (Tibbie) on 23 October. Jessie’s entry in her diary for that day tells us just how much this affected her. They came via the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia and landed at what is now Kaiwharawhara in Port Nicolson (Wellington) 27 December. They had originally intended to South Africa where Moses had served in the army, but he was offered land in New Zealand and they came here instead. They lived in Petone for almost a year as they were unable to get clear title to the land they had bought. During this time Moses went to Sydney with some others to see if they could hurry things along and on 13 May 1841, just a week after he left, their third son William was born. Then on 20 November 1841 they embarked on the Clydeside and sailed for Wanganui. Most of their belongings went with them, all their luggage, poultry, 3 goats, 2 kids and 2 cows with the rest of the cattle to follow by land. That means that the cattle were to be walked from Wellington to Wanganui, quite an undertaking at the time. The ship got into serious difficulties when it grounded on the north spit of the Wanganui River and there was concern for the passenger’s safety but fortunately it floated free. Jessie said she was much more worried by this than at any time during the voyage from Scotland. It is interesting to note that Jessie’s cousin John Cameron, who had also come out on the Blenheim, had decided to walk up the coast having had enough of sailing. Moses and Jessie moved into a house which had been occupied by a missionary, in Jessie’s opinion the best house in the town. To add to their worries their son John became very ill on the way up. He developed St. Vitus Dance, according to Dr. Wilson who attended him, brought on by worms and an accumulation of bile. He recovered very rapidly and grew into a big strong boy. Later they built a house near what is now called Cook’s Gardens, then called Middle Hill. The plans for the house were drawn by the now indispensable John Cameron, who included a room for himself. Jessie had a very high opinion of him and in a letter to her mother expressed the hope that he would stay with them until he found himself a wife. They had been settled in their new house for just three weeks when their fourth son, Ewen, was born on 27 May 1843. He was the first white child to be baptised by the Rev. Richard Taylor in Wanganui.