James Clothier
The George Seymour

Original information:
James Clothier emigrated as an infant with his parents Samuel, an agricultural labourer (1825-1889), and Ann (27), and his brother Edward (4). According to records, Samuel was a farmer in Clarkeville. At some point, James bought a Kaiapoi farm known as “Cherry’s Farm’’. In 1900, Mrs Clothier was reportedly living in Southland.

Readers' response:
According to the family, James Clothier was born in Castle Cary, Somerset, England, on August 4, 1850. James was the third of eight children born to Samuel (March 21, 1825-June 19, 1889) and Ann (c. 1824-August  30, 1870).  Samuel was the son of Edward Clothier, a market gardener or agricultural labourer, and Jane Hooper. The parents of Ann (also known as Mary Ann) were James and Elizabeth Rose. The couple met and married in Newfoundland, Canada, on May 7, 1847, and had one son, Edward.1 The couple then moved to England, where they had James and another son, Henry, who lived only one month.

Samuel and Ann were supported by William Guise Brittan, who paid for their fares and provided Samuel with work as a farm manager. 

One of Samuel’s first tasks was to set out Cathedral Square, which was originally going to be the site for Christ’s College. It took him 10 hours labour. Around 1874 he helped on the construction of the Clarkeville Anglican Church, which was originally called the Chapel of Ease.2

According to the family, William Brittan was the key to the family’s success and Samuel was a good worker. Samuel and Ann lived in a cob cottage at the southern end of Brittan’s farm, which is now Clothier Street. Samuel also built the cob walls of the original fence or the building itself at Holy Trinity Church, Avonside. The family lived in Christchurch for about four years and then moved to Kaiapoi.3  There is a road west of Clarkeville called Clothiers Road, which is where the family lived.4

The Clothiers had seven more children − William Henry (May 19, 1852-July  30, 1932), Mary Jane (April 3, 1854-August 2, 1931), George Charles (June 11, 1856-January 7, 1931), Louisa Ellen (January 21, 1859-October 1927), Elizabeth Ann (June 26, 1861-June 3, 1893), Jesse Albert (August 19, 1863-April  26, 1943) and Frederick Obed (August 1, 1866-November  23, 1939).5

The family confirms that James did buy a 75-acre farm known as Cherry Farm in the Clarkeville area. Apparently this land was damaged in a flood and the fences were washed away. The family is unsure whether James owned the land at this time, although it was named Clothiers Corner. The land was worth £1300 in 1882. It is possible that James was involved in a Hawarden firm known as Clothier Bros.

In October 1880, aged 30, James married Margaret Gillies, aged 23, who was from the Isle of Skye, the daughter of Archibold Gillies, a labourer, and Annie McDonald. James died on February 13, 1935, in Hamilton. His brother, George, lived in the Waikato.6


1:L. C. Cherry, family tree
2: Marjorie Kennedy, unpublished family tree
3: Margaret Minchin, unpublished family history
4: Marjorie Kennedy, unpublished family tree
5: L. C. Cherry, family tree
6: Margaret Minchin, unpublished family history