Here I'm going to concentrate on the New Zealand branch of the Curtis family but will add pages so you can connect back to Prince Edward Island and the branches of the family that went to "The Island" from England.


Our first NZ Curtis was Gersham George Curtis who was born on the 4th February 1821 somewhere in Surrey, England. He was the son of William John Curtis and Ann Woods. His family sailed to PEI when he was very young. From all accounts he was a bit of the "black sheep" of the family but there is no information available to back this up, to my knowledge. At this stage I know nothing of his childhood or schooling, but assume the latter was reasonably extensive as his obituary, in the Westport Times and Evening Star on 1st July 1901, would indicate.


To the left is a photograph of Gersham with his son Alfred. This is the only known photo we have of him as yet. If you know of any others we would love a copy to share with the rest of the family.
On the 25th February 1847, Gersham (also spelt Gershom) was married to Elizabeth Jane Molyneux, the daughter of Henry Molyneux and Sarah Moore. (see Molyneux family for more info on her)  Gersham and Elizabeth had three children while living on PEI - Mary Ellen born 6th November 1847, William George born 24th May 1849, and Henry John born 17 February 1854.  At this point in time Gersham decides to leave Prince Edward Island for warmer lands.  I believe land was pretty difficult to come by at this stage and there was quite a lot of shipping going between PEI and NZ about this time.  Two years prior to leaving PEI Gersham's father had died and Otto and Owen Curtis, as executors of Williams estate, deeded a 5 acre parcel of land to Gersham, providing he paid four pound yearly to his mother for her support for the remainder of her life.

Gersham went shares in the purchase of a schooner, the LADY GREY with two other gentlemen.  The details of this can be found by clicking on the above schooner's name as can the details of the trip out to New Zealand.

The Lady Grey left PEI for NZ on 1st December, 1854 (another source says they left on the 26th November) arriving in Nelson on 22nd July 1855.

The family lived up in Brook St. for at least three years and later moved over to Collingwood.

Gersham can be found on the 1856-1857 and 1858-1859 Jury List as Gorsham Curtis, Miller, Nelson.  Also in 1857 he was a lay preacher in Nelson. By  the time the 1959 Nelson Directory was published he was listed as one of 9 Collingwood Inn proprietors (Aorere Hotel) and one of three storekeepers.  He is also to be found as one of three members of the Education Committee in the area.

At Christmas 1858 town Lots were offered for sale and found ready buyers in business men and speculators, and amongst them are the names of Gouland, Renwick, Curtis, Poynter, Weld, Levien, Davidson, Johnson, Buxton and Duppa. For many years owners of this land payed rates, but as time went on and the town never materializedand holdings were finally abandoned. In 1858 there were 8 hotels in Collingwood, and applications for licences were considered at a meeting before the reident magistrate. Some hotels had changed hands during the year. The following men applied for 12 o'clock licences: J. Milne Commercial Hotel, James Crooks The Golden Age, G. Curtis The Aorere Hotel, and Hercus & Whitehead for the Tasman Hotel. In April 1857 N.T. Lockart opened the Aorere Hotel opposite the harbour, with G. Clarke as manager, were parties proceeding to the diggings could be comfortably accommodated. Bullock drays started or the diggings every day.

During the Collingwood period, his wife, Elizabeth Jane, wrote three letters back to her sister on PEI.  These letters have been preserved and give a bit of background to their life at the time. These can be viewed on the Elizabeth Jane Molyneux page.

During the years at Collingwood two more children were born, Alfred Samuel born on the 9th July 1859 and Charles Edward Moore on the 8th December 1861.

It would seem that Gersham did not do too well financially in Collingwood, and leaving his wife and family ventured down to the Goldfields in Otago.  At some stage he must have returned to Collingwood, collected his family and headed over to he West Coast.

Tracking his movements from here has not been an easy task. In the 1873 Almanac of the Grey District (as of Aug. 1872) Gersham was residing in Arnold Ferry.  Ferries were used across the rivers before bridges were built. In 1871 Gersham owned the Arnold Ferry - a horse drawn ferry across the Arold River. It was at Arnold Ferry that his wife Elizabeth died of a liver disease on 28th November 1871. She had resided in NZ 16 years and left Mary Ellen aged 24 who had married Charles Ferdinand Patterson the previous year, William George aged 22 who had also married the previous year, Henry John aged 17, Alfred Samuel aged 12 and Charles Edward Moore aged 9 yrs. The exact location of Arnold Ferry is yet a mystery after many inquiries in the area.  With the introduction of tracks, roads and railways from Greymouth to Brunner ferries became obsolute as they were replaced by bridges.

In the 1880 Directory Gersham is a carpenter at Inangahua Junction and by 1893 the Buller/Grey Electoral Rolls have him residing in Russell St. Westport  along with Henry, his son and Henry's wife Elizabeth Hannah, with his stated occupation a Labourer. 1899 Stones Directory lists Gershom Curtis, labourer, Westport. on the 14th February 1895 he wrote a letter to his son Alfred. He would have been 76 years old at this time. A copy of the letter can be read on the Gersham Curtis page.
He resided the last years of his life living with his son, Henry John, at Henry's residence in Peel St., Westport.
Gersham died in Westport on the 20th June 1901.  He is buried in an unmarked grave on the river side of the Orowaiti Cemetery in Westport. 


145 Peel St., Westport - residence of Henry John Curtis and his wife.
MARY ELLEN CURTIS
Mary Ellen, the oldest of Gersham and Elizabeth's offspring, was born on the 6th of November 1847 on Prince Edward Island and died on the 20th November 1918 in Ashhurst, NZ.

She married Charles Ferdiand Patterson on 27th January 1870 at Trinity Church, Greymouth.  Charles was a boatman at the time. They moved up to the North Island with their four children some time after 1878. There is a letter in existence that was written to her niece in 1899. For more on this family go to the Mary Ellen Curtis page.

One wonders if Mary Ellen had the responsibility for looking after the two  younger brothers when her mother dying a year after her marriage. The boys would have been 10 and 12 yrs old at the time.
Here, in the front of the house at 145 Peel St., is Henry John Curtis and his wife Elizabeth Hannah.
The occassion was the marriage of their oldest daughter.
Their sons (from left to right) are Arthur John, Alfred Robert, Henry John (seated), and Edwin.  A portrait photo was also made of Henry John and Elizabeth from this same photograph.

MARY ELLEN CURTIS
Photo curtesy of Nola Slelton
CHARLES EDWARD MOORE CURTIS



HENRY JOHN CURTIS
       
Henry John was the third child and second son of Gersham and Elizabeth. He was born on the 17th February 1854 in Prince Edward Island. He died on the 21st June 1922 in Westport and is buried at the Orowaiti Cemeteery in Westport. In the 1873 Almanac of the Grey District (as of Aug. 1872) Henry John was residing in Arnold Ferry. In the 1880 Directory he is listed as a miner at Inangahua Junction. By the 1893 Electoral Roll for Buller/Grey he is a miner at Westport and the same for the 1900 Directory. There is a full page of information about Henry John that you can access by clicking on his highlighted name.



                                                                       WILLIAM GEORGE CURTIS

WILLIAM GEORGE CURTIS was born May 24, 1849, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Died May 03, 1935, 152 St. Hill Street, Wanganui, New Zealand; m. (1) ELIZABETH MATILDA JONES, 1870, Greymouth, New Zealand; b. 1843, Wales; d. November 20, 1877, Arnold Junction, New Zealand; m. (2) CHRISTINA CLARK, November 10, 1879, Taylorville, New Zealand; b. 1861; d. March 14, 1943 Wanganui.

From Greymouth and surrounds Presbyterian marriages:
William George CURTIS 29 yrs. widower, farmer married 10 Dec 1879 at the private dwelling of Alice Clark, Taylorville to Christina Clark, 18, spinster, Witnesses - Thomas Penman/Peyman of Coal Creek and Ruth Clark, Taylorville.


































                                                                                     Photo curtesy of Shireen Schofield
                                                                                                               email




                                                                         CLYDE VIVIAN CURTIS

From Greymouth and surrounds Presbyterian marriages:
Clyde Vivian CURTIS 22 yrs. bachelor, clerk, b. Stillwater, residing and usual residence Greymouth, son of Alfred Samuel, gold mining expert and Maud nee Bice, married 11 Feb 1919 in the manse, Greymouth to Rosina Jane Armstrong, 20, spinster, shop assistant, b. Taylorville, Brunnerton, residing and usual address Greymouth, daughter of James, mine manager, and Catherine nee Allan. Witnesses - Arnold Curtis, weighman, Stillwater, Catherine Curtis, domestic, Stillwater. Minister John W Smyth.



                                                                    ELIDA FLORENCE CURTIS

From Greymouth and surrounds Presbyterian marriages:
James Hazeldine 29 yrs. bachelor, carrier, b. Tinsley, Lancashire, residing and usual residence Greymouth, son of Solomon, labourer and Eliza Ann nee Bate, married 15 Jul 1914 St Johns Church, Greymouth to Elida Florence Curtis, 22, spinster, domestic, b. Stillwater, residing and usual address Greymouth, daughter of Charles, labourer, and Annie nee Newth. Witnesses - Clement Rundle, surfaceman, Greymouth and Melba Curtis, Cobden, home duties.  Minister William Trotter.