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Annie Cowan Guildford & Arthur Westbury

 Annie Cowan Westbury

ANNIE COWAN GUILDFORD (b: July 18, 1876, Sandymount, Otago, was the first child born to Henry John and Jane nee Cowan; she d: Feb 29, 1908 at Wanganui)

Annie received her schooling first at  Dunedin's George Street School.; Admiss; 26 Sep 1881, parent H J Guildford; home address N E V; and in 1884 Fortrose School, Invgl. then attended Kennington School 1885 - 1887.

Annie's parents next lived at Brunswick and it was here aged 17 yrs, Annie met and in 1893 mar: ARTHUR WESTBURY (he was b: Mar 16, 1865 at Worcester, England) At Invercargill he attended the Invercargill Middle School in 1875. At this time Arthur and his brother Edward Westbury (b: 1868  at Worcester) were both employed at Woodlands as ploughmen.

Arthur's parents were Frederick William Westbury (1835-1917) occ: labourer and mother Hannah Maria nee Eason (1842-1889) left London on the ship "Bebington"  (Captain Bruce) from London on 15 Jun 1873 for Port Chalmers arriving on 26 Sep 1873. They along with some others on this voyage signed promissory notes on board prior to sailing and were engaged to work for Messrs Brogden and Sons. The family lived first at Invercargill where children Eliza Catherine (b:1883) Anne Maria (b: 1880) Charles Ernest (b 1877 - d: diphtheria Jun 1889) They lived at Woodlands and mother d: 16 Sep 1887 and she was bur: there. Father William occ. platelayer, d: 12 Nov 1917 Woodslands, 83 yrs and was bur: with his wife.


Frederick, daughter Annie, Mother Annie Cowan Westbury, Henry John and Arthur

Arthur and Annie Westbury had 4 children in quick succession - Annie (b: Jan 08, 1895 Invercargill) Henry John (b: May 29, 1896, Otautau) Arthur (b. Apr 1, 1898, Otautau) and Frederick William Westbury b. Apr 26, 1900 Orepuke. Work took Arthur away from home for much of this time.

Southland Times, 10 Sep 1904: Axe and Saw Notes: The Southland Timber Co.'s mill at Otapiri Gorge is situated some seven miles behind Centre Bush in the Hokonui Hills, Southland. The mill was started a number of years ago by Mr John Thompson, who for many years was sawmilling, in the Catlins River district. After working the mill successfully for some time he sold out to the present owners. The bush, however, like many of our areas in Southland, is being rapidly cut out, and before another twelve months has elapsed tho mill will, have run its course, and it is said that when this does occur it will be removed to the Otautau district, where the Company have an up-to-date mill in operation. The hands are all competent. J. Carroll is sawing and Sam Gill is tailing out. F. Smoothie is driving. tbe engine, and J. Jacobson carries the slabs, which at times are by no means small. W. Dryden works the planing machine and generally supervises the mill. Mr W. H. Mason has charge of the yard, and Messrs Butts.Bros., J. Dally and  Arthur Westbury  constitute the staff. The sawn output is taken by waggon to Centre Bush.

Annie had an unhappy marriage and while at her parents boarding house at Spey Street in Invercargill, she met George Aitken after he returned from overseas. George (full name may possibly be Arthur George Aitken) who served in South Africa Boer War and on his return, was living with his mother Mrs Agnes Aitken at Jackson St, East Invercargill. George and Annie were to find happiness together. He distanced her from her past by taking her and the children to live at Wanganui where Annie had family support - Guilford first cousins, the family of her uncle James.

Sadly their time they shared together was not to last and she died 29 Feb 1908 at Wanganui Hospital and was bur: at Aramoho Cem. George registered her death under her assumed name i.e. "Annie Cowan Aitken aged 32 years".    

Repercussions swiftly followed after George's public declaration of his regard for Annie - below, the court proceedings at which husband Arthur was required to attend.

Wanganui Herald, 5 May 1908: Mr E. L. Stanford, S.M., was occupied for some time this morning in hearing a case in which a man named Aitken was charged, under section 44 of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1875, with having caused some false particulars to be supplied to the Registrar in reference to the death of a Mrs Westbury. Evidence was given by Mr Westbury and the Deputy-Registrar (Mr C. E. Hylton) after which the accused made a statement frankly admitting his guilt, and he was remanded for sentence to the next sitting of the Supreme Court at Wanganui.

Wanganui Herald, 26 May 1908: SENTENCE: Geo. Aitken, pleaded guilty in the lower court to making a false entry in the declaration of the death of Mrs Westbury, who had lived with him for several years as his wife. Mr Treadwell appeared on his behalf, and after pointing out the mitigating circumstances of the case, asked his Honor to deal leniently with his client. His Honor said the prisoner had committed a very foolish act, but the circumstance justified his Honor in not imposing any sentence of imprisonment. First - because the accused had undertaken the support of the woman and her children during a period in which they were practically abandoned by husband and father, and despite the accused living improperly with the woman, he had supported her properly and respectably, while the father did not care what became of his wife and children by neither making inquiry nor troubling himself about them. The second mitigating feature was that the woman died, and on her deathbed, requested Aitken to keep her identity from the public, and this had no doubt influenced the accused for the sake of the mother and children. Thirdly, the prisoner had been of good character, and did not evidently appreciate the fact that he was committing a serious breach of the law. In certain cases of false declaration under the marriage, births and deaths regulations, there might be an element of criminality, which would prevent, entirely, a judge from dealing leniently with the matter, but in the present case, that was absent. The public however should not think such an act could be committed with impunity, there being heavy penalties provided. He inflicted a fine of 2, with 2 guineas costs. Westbury's expenses, in coming up from the South Island to give evidence, were not allowed, his Honor stating that the man was not entitled to sympathy in that matter. Mr Treadwell undertook to pay the amount, and prisoner Aitken was discharged.

Dec 1912: Mr G. Aitken, who owns a herd of 130 cows and supplies to the Stanley Park Dairy Co. did well last month, his cheque amounting to 210. George never married and took an interest in the community and was a steward in 1919 for the Waverley-Waitotara racing club and the Dog Trial club. and d: 1851 aged 75 yrs He was crem. Wanganui Aramoho Cem. Pt 1 K.01.11

Jun 1908: After Annie's death, Arthur returned to Orepuke with his children. Difficult financial times followed: Arthur Westbury, Te Tumutu, sawmill hand, was declared bankrupt. He found employment as a drover and daughter Annie looked after the family. 

Jan 1926: Arthur is appointed Wallace County Pound-keeper - he is now 71yrs living at Orepuke - this position he held until his death in 1935.

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