William Cone

William Cone, eldest son of William and Sarah Strand After the death of his father William Bullock Cone in 1852 on the Bridle Path, William, his brothers and sister and step-mother Caroline lived on in the home that their father had bought at Ferry Road. It would have been to 14 year old  William that his younger siblings looked to their lead, Fred 12 yrs, George 10 and Sarah Ann 6. It was said that as a boy, William was a good swimmer and once got into a row for paddling his sister across the Heathcote River in a tub. Their step mother Caroline remarried in 1859, the three brothers moved out and  took a separate house on Ferry Road and 16 year old Sarah Ann kept house for them and also at Ashley mid year 1860, until her own marriage in 1862.
     
With the unsettled state of Taranaki, anyone residing within 15 miles of Christchurch Land office and able to serve  was posted on the militia list of 1860  - William Cone, Ferry Road, Farmer.

As early as 1857 William applied along with brother Fred for land and 25 acres were granted to him on 19 April, 1859 at Halswell and Fred bought 20 acres next to William. William Cone and Mr George Bartrum, (brother-in-law of Thomas William Pursey who later married Sarah Ann) were in partnership with 20 acres at Hoon Hay which they bought for 93. William later sold out his half share to George Bartrum in 14th October 1863. At the same time as his purchase at Halswell, William bought another 25 acres at McTeague Road - this was sold in 16 September 1865 for 165. He had purchased a  further 25 acres for 130 and this was sold on 30 September 1864 for 275. All the land at Halswell was likely to have been very wet and undrained so William would have been keen to purchase a drier place and as land was being subdivided and sold for settlement he decided to move north. He and brother George joined a number of early settlers who bought on the north bank of the Ashley River. William bought 25 acres on 6 December 1860 from John McFarlane who owned a large estate at Ashley - he paid 3.10s an acre.(Sect 2848 Ashley River, Mt Grey Downs) This was on the left side of the road which was named after him, going north of the Ashley river, Cones Road and went to the corner where you turn left to go to Loburn. At the point where the road crossed the river, it became known as Cones Ford.  William was possibly the first to operate a threshing mill north of the Ashley River and among the first settlers to farm in the area.

Intentions to Marry - Christchurch District Application dated Sept 24, 1861 - William Cone, Batchelor, Farmer aged 23, dwelling at Ferry Road 4 days, intention to marry at St Andrews Presbyterian Church, Christchurch to Isabella Parish of Ferry Road aged 21 years, daughter of William and Hannah Parish, living there 10 years. Witnesses to the marriage which actually occurred on 30th September were Ambrose Cant, a Christchurch carpenter and Esther Cant, householder. The minister was Charles Fraser.

On the 12th of August /September 1864, William took possession of a further 40 acres paying 130,  on the right side of the road from the Ashley river bridge and continuing on past the road turning off to the Ashley township, northwards. This is where sister Sarah Ann and Thomas  William Pursey first lived after their marriage. It is thought very likely that William farmed the property for some time before the sale was recorded (1862) as this was often done in those days. The first owner of the property was Mr John McFarlane and after the Purseys took possession of their own property across the road (Sect 2849)  in 1865 William Cone moved into the house they had vacated on the corner of the road that leads to the Ashley township and continued farming there until 1894 when he retired to Wellington. He used to drive a threshing mill, one of the first to operate north of the Ashley. While William was doing threshing for other farmers, Thomas Pursey, his brother-in-law looked after his farm.

Among those listed as having farms under crop at the end of 1866 were both George and William Cone, and Thomas Pursey, the husband of Sarah Ann. The Purseys lived closer to the Ashley River on the opposite side of the road.
William became a member of the Ashley Road Board in 1870 - 74, largely as a result of his concern over the Ashley crossing. By this time there were about 70 small farmers in the area and the Ashley river bed crossing beside William was known as Cones Ford. It was often washed out, leaving those living on  the north bank isolated. William was constantly called out to help people in difficulty. Doctors could not get to patients, stock would become marooned on the wrong bank, farmers attending Rangiora sales and the shops would get stranded there and there were accidents with drays and horses. It was said that 16 people were drowned along the stretch of the Ashley over the years and there was a growing demand by the Loburn settlers under the chairmanship of James A Cunningham for a dray bridge resulting in a public  meeting being held at Flynns Hotel, Ashley in 1877 to discuss feasibility and to approach government.
The river flowed gently from its gorge near Oxford and it meandered for part of its twenty mile course to the sea between terraced banks. However near Rangiora the ground  flattened and when the river rose, swollen by southerly rains, farmers lost land, fences and tracks. The Ashley school in 1874 was threatened so the building was moved and the area around Kowhai became inundated. 
Another meeting held in 1878 by Loburn farmers again aired their dissatisfaction - the problems of access for priest and grain buyer, doctor and drover, the many accidents at the ford and the need for a safe and regular route to the Rangiora shops, agencies and market.
Other agencies refused to be involved and so the Ashley Road Board decided to build a cart bridge in 1879. This was opened on 20 October but by 1890 after flooding washed away one end and with the constant cost of upkeep, it stood derelict and years of disputes continued.

Long suffering public were again forced to use the ford or to stable their horses there and walk over a footbridge which was added to the railway bridge.
The Lyttleton Times reported in December 1886 that William Cone was brought before the Rangiora Court. He was charged by the Ashley Roads Board under the Amended Public Works Act, that he had allowed gorse to spread from his section onto the public road bounding it. The clerk of the board stated that William not complied when asked to grub it out - the fence was partly gorse and partly stakes and wire. William successfully defended himself against this allegation stating he had never planted gorse along his boundary and the gorse had spread from the road on to his property. The case was dismissed.

Cone Road, north end looking back towards the Ashley River

On the 25th July 1874, William sold 27 acres, part of his Ashley  land,  to brother George and here George built the sod hut. William had originally purchased this land for 30 and was  before Fawcetts Road - the corner used to be known as Cones Corner. He and wife  Isabella who died June 1889 and later with his second wife Maria, lived on the corner (Cones Corner)  of the road north of the traffic bridge over the Ashley river above Rangiora. William never had more than 87 acres in total and in 1892 he bought the section in Ashley Street opposite the Salvation Army Hall from brother George for 75 - George had paid 100 for it, and here he retired to in 1894. He bought land at Kowai 23/10/1875 - this was sold 27/2/1901. He had bought another section also in 1902 for 52.10s near his house but not touching Ashley or High Street and here he kept  his horse.  William died 18th September 1905 aged 67 of peritonitus and is buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery, East Belt Rangiora alongside his first wife Elizabeth. The graves are about 50 metres from the road in the older part of the cemetery and has a headstone.

William and Isabella Cone grave, Rangiora Cemetery William and second wife Maria whom he married March 26th. 1890 at Christchurch, left Rangiora after his retirement. In the New Zealand Directory he is living at 8 Princes Street in Mount Victoria, Wellington in 1896. He returned and was a witness/signatory on George's will dated 1/6/1898 with occupation "Gentleman, Wellington".
By 1901 he and Maria had returned to Rangiora where he died in 1905. William left his estate to Maria, "Minnie" nee Walton, daughter of Richard Walton and Mary Ann Crane - she was known as the "little woman" who after Williams death,  sold the section and the house near it for 470 on 2 September, 1908 to W A Burt, father of Elsie Cone.  The  87 acre farm at Ashley was sold to Mr Whiteside for 1018 on the 17 February 1908 and Minnie went to live in Wellington where she put her money into house property but it was said she lost the lot.


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