Tuer Family History

Written by Arnold's daughter, Rata Taylor, June 2001

Arnold Pursey Tuer, 1916 WW1Arnold Pursey Tuer was born at Loburn. His parents were Joseph Alfred Tuer and Ellen Matilda Tuer (nee Pursey) the eldest daughter of Sarah Ann (nee Cone) and Thomas William Pursey.
John and Frances Tuer Arnold's grandparents were John and Francis Tuer (nee Richardson) who had married 1854 in the Parish Church of Crosby, Ravensworth, Westmoreland, England. They moved to USA some time after their marriage where Joseph Alfred Tuer was born on the 17th October, 1860. John Tuer was said to have died in U.S.A. however it is now believed that he stayed and remarried and Frances with her little son Joseph about 2 years of age, returned to England. The mother Frances Tuer set up a little shop in the village of Hoff in Westmoreland. Frances died at the age of 52 years and was buried at Lawrence churchyard on the 23rd September of 1887.
As a boy, Joseph won a scholarship and went to the Penrith Grammar School and he was also a choir boy. He decided to immigrate to New Zealand, and a relative said he sold his bike and his watch to get the fare. He arrived in New Zealand about 1881 and went to work at Ashley for the Dixons, who lived near the Purseys. It was here that he met Ellen Matilda Pursey and they married at the home of the Purseys, on the 31st December, 1885. Joseph was 25 years of age and Ellen 22 years.
After their marriage, Joseph and Ellen farmed at Loburn on 253 acres, bought for 6.10.0 per acre, and except for the deposit of 50, all the finance was borrowed. They had five children,
Elsie Amelia who later married Edward (Ted) John Phillips, a farmer of Glenroy; George Alfred who married Isabella Adamson of Southbrook. He became a flourmiller and was in charge of Aulsebrooks at Christchurch. Their third child Arnold Pursey born in 1896 followed by Victor Albert who married Minnie Rountree later in life and lived in Christchurch. The fifth child Vera Josephine married Redvers Withers of Southbrook.
Joseph was only 38 years of age when he died in 1899 leaving Ellen with four children and expecting her fifth child Vera. The farm property was passed to Ellen and she leased it to her two single brothers, Fred and Bert Pursey.
Tuer family, 1948Elsie and George attended Loburn school.Probably for support reasons, Ellen eventually shifted back to Southbrook, sometime in 1900. She purchased a house and seven acres of land for 340 and again 1905, moved to another smaller property at Station Road, South brook purchased for 125. The other property she again leased. Arnold, now that they were closer to the relatives, began his schooling after the August holidays in 1902 at Southbrook. Not much is known of his school days - we do know that the Southbrook school had a good swimming pool and about 1907 began a yearly inter-club carnival. Rangiora at that stage did not have a pool, so people came from further afield and the best swimmers came to participate. Arnold was a keen swimmer and he also played rugby - his position being half-back.
In 1910 at the age of 13 years he went to work on a farm at Burnham for about 3 months. His wage was 5/- a week. He then returned to his home area and worked for about 6 months for Henry Barker, a farmer of Loburn, for 15/- a week. Phillip Watkins and partner Samuel Webber had a blacksmith and woodworking business on Burt and Ashley street. The two forges employed a blacksmith, wheelwright, a horse shoer, coachbuilder, coach painter. Arnold started the blacksmithing trade at Watkins and Webber and was paid 7/6d a week for the first year, 12/6d the second year and 17/6d the third year. He did the striking of the iron standards for the approaches to the Ashley traffic bridge. Railway irons were used for this, cut in half with a cold chisel. The ends were heated in forges, the flanges cut off, the ends given another good heat and then drawn out to a point. All the holes for the wires were drlled by hand. This workshop built a large number of new gigs and carts, repaired old ones and tyred and repaired wheels. Arnold lived with his grandparents Sarah Ann and Thomas William Pursey from the age of 16 until 18 years of age.
During that third year of his blacksmithing experience, he left the shop and went onto a threshing mill and received 33 clear for eleven weeks work. For four seasons he worked on the same threshing mill and for a time on the clover-sheller. He moved to Woodville on a dairyfarm for 2 months about 1915 and received 0/- a week as pay. He moved back again to Christchurch and worked about 6 months in a horse shoeing shop in Ferry Road and finally again moved back to the shop at Rangiora.
As he was now 20 years old, he went in to the Army Camp in 1916 and there followed war service for about 2 1/2 - 3 years. He tells of these experiences in a letter to his cousin Cyril Waters in 1981. "We had moved from the mud of Flanders to the Somme, where there had been no fighting for some time, and on this day, sixty three years ago, Fred (Waters) and I and four others were having a rest in a roomy clean dug-out with about five feet of earth on top. We were behind the front line, but well within the range of the German guns which were firing over where we were, and in a direct line. In the dug-out, Fred and I were lying together on our backs, and the other four chaps were playing card on the end of the dug-out. There would have been a space between them and me of about 6 feet. I was thinking we were not in a very good place because if the Germans shortened the range of their guns a little, they could easily hit us. No sooner I had thought this, when a shell hit the roof, immediately above Fred and myself. We were covered with earth from our neck down to our ankles, arms also. I had no sooner thought that when a shell hit the roof in the middle of Fred and me. We were covered with earth from our neck down to our ankles, arms were too. The shell exploded as soon as it hit the ground and it was only a light one which we used to call a "whiz-bang". Five of us never got a scratch on us but Fred - it may have been the way he was lying and perhaps he got more weight of earth on him. Anyway he went to the dressing station which was not far away and they sent him out. One week afterwards I was wounded in the right arm. I did not see Fred again for about four months when he was on leave in England. During that four months he was mostly in what you wuld call rest camps. It must have been about the middle of September when I got leave from hospital just before I was to return to New Zealand and went to Edinburgh and when I was going to the Soldier's Hostel I met Fred coming out of it - he was going to Glasgow so I went with him and we had some of our leave together there. The last time I saw Fred was on the Glasgow railway station - he was going to Lochlomand and I to the hospital and then back to NZ. When I returned my mother had to tell me that Fred had been killed, a terrible shock to me. During the time in France together and as far as I remember, Fred had no sickness - he was strong. Not many could stand it for long - in and out of the trenches."
Arnold was discharged from the army 4th February, 1919.
After his war experience and return to home, Arnold worked in the threshing mill again for 8 weeks. He then took on a blacksmithing job at Cust for 12/- a day, and was there about 6 months when he had an accident riding a motor bike. After his recovery, he went into partnership with Bert Fisher in a small blacksmith shop at Papanui for about 2 years. Sometime during the year in 1922, Arnold moved to Hororata to live as he had leased the blacksmith shop from its owner Mr F Smith of Glentunnel. The rent was 25/- a week and was reduced later to 15/- a week. Here, he had a very busy life, shoeing horses and doing other work in the trade.
Marriage of Arnold and Amelia Tuer, April 8, 1925 At Hororata, Arnold met Mrs Amelia Chapman, a widow with a child Ella who was about 5 years of age. Mrs Chapman's husband Gilbert had died of war injuries in France 29th of August, 1918. Amelia and Gilbert had lived at Glenroy and after his death, "Millie" as Amelia was known, moved to Hororata. Millie was the sister of Edward John Phillips who married Arnold's sister Elsie Amelia Tuer. Millie and Arnold married on April 8, 1925 at Christchurch and continued to lived in the Hororata home. Their first child Ira Victor was born 1927 and later Allan Campbell in 1929. In 1932, Arnold, Amelia and Ella went overseas for a trip. Arnold visited relatives in Westmoreland, England and Amelia and Ella visited Chapman relatives and also Philips relatives in both Scotland and the Orkney Isles.
On their return to New Zealand, Arnold had the opportunity to purchase a farm of 456 acres. This had previously been owned by Neave and Jane Chapman (Ella's grandparents) and after several changes in ownership was on the market again. The sale was finalised in 1934 and the following year Rata May was born. Meantime Arnold found that trade in the blacksmith shop began to decline as motor transport and tractors took over in place of the horses, and now electric and gas welding was being done by the garages. In 1936, Arnold sold out his lease of the Hororata blacksmith shop to Bert Fisher who carried on for about three years before he finally closed the business.
About 1940, Arnold and the family shifted from the home in Hororata to the farm. A teamster, Jack Gibson and his wife and daughter had lived on the farm -but as Jack was "called up" for WW2, the Tuer family moved to the Hororata house. The three children Ira, Allan and Rata (who had just started school) continued their education at Hororata, but now had a three mile bicycle ride, which in a nor-westerly was not so easy.

Ira ploughing with a 6 horse team Allan and his team of dogs
When Ira finished his school days he became the teamster and looked after the horses and did all the cultivation work on the farm. Allan who enjoyed working with the sheep and with dogs, and did most of the sheep work for his father. It was a good combination. Later, Ira and Allan also did a considerable amount of sheep-shearing for local farmers, as well as helping out with other seasonal work. In 1945 there was a notorious snow storm after a Nor-west gale during the winter, trees were laid low and the farms in the area were covered with 2 to 2 1/2 feet of snow on the plains. Frost after frost came at night and there was no thaw for weeks. This made for severe transport difficulties, much hard work and many sheep died as a result of a lack of green feed. In 1954 Rata left home to commence the General Nursing course at Christchurch Hospital. She worked at Oamaru Hospital and then Bethany Maternity Hospital at Christchurch. She did midwifery training and later had three years of District Nursing for the Nurse Maude Association. A period of time was spent also helping on the farm. By 1970, Arnold because of his increasing age, sold the farm to his two sons Ira and Allan, and in the next few years, two other adjoining blocks of land were purchased from neighbours. Rata married Joseph Taylor in 1972 and went to live in Christchurch. They have a family of four children, Godfrey, Hudson, Joanna and Shiloh who they fostered from 2 years of age.
Left to right - Ira, Rata, Joe, Arnold, Alan and Dorothy, Amelia, Ella and Tom; Front - David, Ruth and PaulArnold and Millie Tuer

Descendants of Arnold and Millie Tuer

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