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THE FIRST FAMILIES

PETER JNR and his wife SUSANNAH HENDRY BOYD (1818-1879) had 6 children.


Peter's wife Susannah was born in Paisley the daughter of James Boyd Jnr, a soldier and Marion Galloway, whose father James Galloway was a farmer of Hamilton.  In 1853 Peter and Susannah, together with their three young children, moved to Victoria, Australia, following the Bendigo gold rush.

They returned to New Zealand in 1856. Peter's occupation was listed as a gunsmith in the family Bible, however on both the Birth and Death certificates his occupation is given as a sawyer.

The year 1857 saw a move from Wellington to Queen Charlotte Sound and later to Dunedin on 12 February 1863, arriving in Hampden five days later.  Here they finally settled and made their  home

A family legend suggests that Peter had been a wealthy man and had made a small fortune in the gold fields.  However, he tended to squander his money on, amongst other things, banquets.  After the tables had been set up he would find something wrong and in a fit of temperament overturn them, demanding that the caterers start all over again.  Like his ancestors, the Celts of old he must have been fond of  banqueting.

MARGARET DORREEN and her husband THOMAS MCKAY had 7 children

Margaret's husband Thomas McKay was born at Paisley on the 12 August 1812, and christened at High Church Paisley.  He was a son of William Gordon McKay and Christian Monro.  Family legend has it that William served as a captain in the Scots Greys and was killed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Margaret, Thomas and their two small sons, William and Thomas, followed her parents and brothers out to New Zealand.  They first arrived in Auckland, on the Duchess of Argyle which departed from Greenock, Scotland on 9 June 1842 arriving at Auckland on 9 October 1842,  They remained in Auckland until after the Maori Wars - after Hone Heke had cut the flagpole down.  Their third son, Alexander was born there. 

They then returned to Scotland on the barque "Mary" or "Mary of Glasgow" about 1846-47.  They remained in Scotland just on a year and again sailed for New Zealand on the Phillip Laing.  This ship carried the first emigrants recommended by the Free Church of Scotland under the auspices of the New Zealand Land Company to settle what was to become the city of Dunedin. 

However, they did not find Dunedin to their liking and moved to the Hutt.
Thomas soon set himself up as a butcher but throughout his life he remained proud of the fact that he had started out as a Paisley weaver.

In about 1863 their sons, chasing the lure of gold, set forth to the goldfields of Otago. Margaret, Thomas and the rest of the family followed them at the end of that decade.  They too settled in Hampden, along with Peter Jnr and his family.

Margaret died on the 2 February 1871.  Later in 1890 Thomas went to Napier accompanied by his youngest unmarried daughter Margaret.  He passed away there on 23 August 1912 at the age of 100 years.

Their eldest son William (Bill) McKay will always be remembered when the sport of racing forms the topic of conversation and old time happenings are recalled.  He began at an early age to take a keen interest in turf matters and soon established himself as a trainer. 

For many years he prepared and rode some of the most notable cross country performers of his time.  He also rode a contestant in the first New Zealand Grand National Steeplechase.


THOMAS DORREEN and his wife JANETTE LOVE had 8 children

Thomas, born in Elderslie worked as a weaver before he married Janette Love four weeks before they set sail for New Zealand. 

According to family legend Janette was the illegitimate daughter of Sir Francis Lovat and a young woman whose name is not known, but who was reputed to be of good birth.  She was very young and Lovat's parents would not consent to the marriage.  Janette's mother is said to have died a few weeks after the birth and the baby was brought up by a couple and well educated at Sir Francis' expense.

Thomas worked as a labourer/farmer and owned a small farmlet at the Hutt.  After the early death of Janette in 1858 he appears to have moved, probably to Otaki and then on to Longburn, near Palmerston North. 

The rest of his family arrived in the Palmerston North district at about the same time, a few remaining to settle permanently in the area.

His eldest son eventually owned a Hotel at Ashhurst,  another son John farmed and carried out veterinarian work at Bunnythorpe, and Henry the youngest eventually retired to Palmerston North after farming and being very active in community affairs in the Waipukurau district.

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