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Dixon Family - Known History

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Known Facts...

My Nana (Stella McNaught; 1m Dixon; nee Ward) was the daughter of Norman James Ward (b13 May 1881) and Sarah Reid. Norman and Sarah married at Milton on 18 may 1904. They had seven children: Beulah, Dorrie, Stella Thelma (my Nana), Rhoda Pollock, Grace and Norman. My Great Aunt Rhoda is the last surviving child and still resides in Oamaru of New Zealand today.

My Great Grandfather Norman Ward was the son of William Benjamin Ward who was born in England in May 1836. His father (my Great great Grandfather) was a green grocer. His given name was not known, although a 1878 photo exists of his 63rd birthday, making his birthdate in the year 1815!

William had a brother Henry in London with whom he corresponded in later life. William joined the barque 'Philip Laing' as a cabin boy when he was only 11 years old, and in November 1947 he sailed to NZ. He sailed on her for the next 9 years and was discharged from her at Wellington in 1856 at the age of 20.

He had a reputation as an expert wood maker and sail maker...

His wife to be Agnes Swan was also of an adventurous spirit.

Agnes was born in Paisley Scotland in 1 January 1844. Her father Robert was a cattle dealer. Agnes set off as an 'assisted immigrant' (government archives show she owed 14 pounds). She was only 16 when she left unaccompanied from Greenock, Scotland, on board the 'Henrietta' on 30 May 1860. She arrived in Otago on 24 September 1860.

She then left Dunedin and went to Oamaru where she met William.

By this time William had refurbished a surf boat in Wellington and sailed it down to Oamaru. He was working by helping unload the larger ships and taking goods to shore in his boat.

William and Agnes married and both survived to celebrate their golden wedding on 5 February 1911. They had nine (!) children of whom my maternal great grandfather, Norman, was one.

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