The George Seymour
John Church (1837-1918) moved to Canterbury when he was 12 with his parents Israel, an agricultural labourer, and Esther (30), and his brother William (9) and sister Martha (1). According to records, in 1900 John lived at Park Road, Addington.
According to the family, the Churches were assigned on arrival to Barracks A, Room 2. Three weeks later, on January 6, 1851, Israel went to a hut at Polphills Wood to work. William, John’s brother, attended Lyttelton schools but died of appendicitis, aged 11, and is buried at Lyttelton.
On December 26, 1864, John married Elizabeth Lowe at Trinity Church, Lyttelton. Elizabeth had migrated from Perth, Scotland, as a domestic servant in 1863. At the time of his marriage, John was employed as an excavator, and the family assumes that he was working on the construction of the Lyttelton tunnel (1861-1867).
For most of his life, John was employed by the Railways, living in Railway houses at Cust, Sockburn and for many years at Park Road, Addington (now Grove Road). At one point John was employed as cross-keeper at Hazeldean Road and lived there at the crossing-keeper’s house.
Elizabeth and John had six children − Euphemia (b. 1866), twins Martha and Mary (b. and d. 1868), Mary Ann (b. and d. 1869), John Crombie (b. 1870) and Esther Wilhemina (b. 1873).
In 1901 Elizabeth died and a year later John, aged 65, married Elizabeth Hutton, aged 63, at St Mary’s Church, Addington. John Church died at Park Street on November 5, 1918, aged 81, after a long illness and is buried at plot No. 585a, Addington cemetery.1