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Thomas Prosser was born 05 Nov 1850 to parents Samuel and Caroline Prosser and baptised on 24 Apr 1853 at Saint Thomas Charterhouse, Finsbury, London, England. The family lived at White St. St Luke.
The family immigrated to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia leaving from Southampton on the "Hornett" in May 1857 and lived at 23 Little Bourke Street, West Melbourne in Prahran and father Samuel died Sept 1862. Thomas's 4 older brothers had left for New Zealand the previous month and mother Caroline moved with her remaining children to Wellington the following year.
1876 Wanganui Herald, 6 Dec. 1876: The Licensing Court sat at Patea yesterday. A transfer from Thomas Lloyd to Thomas Prosser of the license of the Whenuakura Hotel was granted.
1880 Evening Post, 19 Apr. 1880: RESIDENT MAGISTRATE'S COURT. (Before Mr. T. A. Mansford, R.M.) SELLING LIQUOR WITHOUT A LICENSE. P. J. McKenna was charged with having on the 3rd of March, at Pahautanui, sold alcoholic liquors without being duly licensed to do so. Thomas Prosser, driver of the coach, was called in corroboration of the previous witness, but knew little about the matter. The Magistrate said there was a doubt, and it must be dismissed.
1882 Hawera & Normanby Star 18 Jan. 1882: PROSSER'S EMPIRE HOTEL, OPUNAKE. This Hotel is one of the finest on the Coast, being fitted and furnished with every convenience, and affords superior accommodation to settlers, travellers, and private families. An excellent Billiard Table. Attached to the above is a first-class Stable, with 20 stalls, loose boxes. etc, under the management of Mr. Thomas Prosser. Buggies, Saddle Horses on hire. Also, a large paddock, well fenced and watered. No responsibility. SAMUEL PROSSER, Proprietor. (This ad was used from '82 till end of '84)
1887 Electoral rolls; T Prosser; residing Porirua; Ferry driver
1887 Evening Post, 10 Jan. 1887: Mr. F. Bradey, J.P., presided at a sitting of the Magistrate's Court held at Pahautanui on Saturday. Thomas Prosser was fined Is, with 7s costs, for having allowed a mare and foal to stray on the main road.
Brees, Samuel Charles, 1810?-1865; Melville, Henry, 1792-1870. [Brees, Samuel Charles] 1810-1865: Porirua Harbour [Between 1842 and 1845. Drawn by S C Brees. Engraved by Henry Melville. London, 1847 Plate] 35. Ref: E-070-011. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/22338266
Crawford, James Coutts, 1817-1889 :View from above London's. [Porirua, 1863]. Wairarapa and Wellington sketchbook 1863. Ref: E-171-033/034. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://beta.natlib.govt.nz/records/22857911
1890 Porirua Ferry Driver 1890, driver, Porirua Ferry
1892 - Occupation - Labourer
1892 Wanganui Herald, 14 November 1892: A man, named Thomas Prosser, was drowned at Porirua Harbour on Saturday. He had won a sum of money at the local Race Meeting, and had been drinking hard. It is supposed that he stood up in the boat and fell out. The body was washed ashore afterwards. (Report re drinking is disputed by inquest evidence).
Inquest into death 15 Nov 1892 Thomas Prosser
The inquest was held at the dwelling house of Andrew Honyman Bennie known by the name of Porirua Hotel at Porirua Provincial District of Wellington on 15th. November 1892 before Henry Wingmon Robinson Coroner. Joshua Henry Prosser sworn as interpreter
Amelia Solomon ( Amiria Horomona ) being sworn saith that: I am a married woman & live at the Pah Porirua. About 6 to half past am. on Saturday I heard a Maori man at the Pah call out that the man was missing out of the boat. I had not noticed the boat before but when I looked I saw a boat in the harbour empty not far out from the boat shed. I knew the boat. It was Joshua Prosser’s boat. I could not see that there was any one in the water. I ran round to where I thought the boat would come to land. I got the boat. I got a boy to go with me. The oars were in the rowlocks but drawn in & the handles resting on the seat. There was some water in the boat which was bumping against the railway line--The water was very rough & a lot of wind. Signed Amiria Horomona
Maria Solomon ( Horomona ) being sworn saith: "I am a widow & live at the Pah Porirua. On Friday last between 4 & 5 PM. I saw the boat (Joshua Prosser’s) go away from the Pah with the deceased Tom Prosser in it by himself. He went over to the boat shed. I saw him land there. I did not see him again. He made the boat fast. The boat was usually kept at the Pah. I did not see the boat again until the last witness brought it back. Prosser was well able to pull the boat. He was not drunk - I do not know that he often got drunk.
Signed - Marara Horomona
Kerihoma te Kairangi being sworn saith: I am a shearer & live at the Pah Porirua. I knew the deceased Tom Prosser for more than ten years. I saw him on Friday between 4 & 5 PM. He came to my house. My house is near the water. He asked me whose boat that was pointing to one. I said that it was Joshua Prosser’s. He asked me who took the boat there. I said that a native named Pi Toitoi did so he asked me where Toitoi’s house was. I told him. He went there to fetch the oars & rowlocks. He was about half an hour away. He then came back to my house & asked one of the women to go out in the water & get the boat for him. I sent my boy out to the boat & he brought it in to the shore. Maria asked him where he was going with the boat. He said to the boat shed. He went from my house to the boat & got in & pulled over to the shed. I saw him land there. He pulled away very well. It was pretty windy. I did not see Tom Prosser any more that night. Next morning at 10 minutes to 6 I saw some one in the boat coming over from the shed. He was pulling & keeping his boats nose to the wind. It was a windy morning & very rough. A few minutes later I looked again & there was no one in the boat. I kept watching the boat for I thought the man might be stooping down. But I did not see the man again. I could not see if there was any one in the water. It is more than a mile across from the Pah to the shed. I never saw Tom Prosser again. I am sure there was only one person in the boat. When I saw there was no one in the boat I called out to the other natives. Prosser seemed quite sober on the Friday afternoon. Signed - Kerihoma te Kairangi
Andrew Honyman Bennie being sworn saith: I am a hotel keeper at Porirua I keep the Porirua Hotel. I knew the deceased Thomas Prosser for a long while. The last time I saw him alive was on Thursday last between 11&12 in the day. He bought a bottle of whiskey & took it with him. He was perfectly sober. On Saturday morning I heard from his brother that he was missing. The deceased was a very temperate man. I never saw him in my house drink anything but sarsaparilla. Signed A.H.Bennie
Arthur Simmons being sworn saith: I am a labourer & live at Porirua. I knew the deceased. I last saw him alive at about 9 O’clock on Friday morning. I did not know of his being in a boat or at the Pah on Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning about 1/4 to 11 I noticed smoke coming from his chimney. He lived near me. He lived alone. I did not see him go out of his house. Signed Arthur Simmons
Pemley Simmons being sworn saith: I am a married woman & live at Porirua. I knew the deceased. I last saw him on Friday last at about 6 pm on the Porirua road near his own house. He came from the direction of the boat shed & went into his own house. He seemed sober but his face was very red. I did not speak to him. Signed Mrs. Simmons
Walter Baskiville being sworn saith: I am a Constable of Police & am stationed at Pahautanui (old spelling for Pauahatanui). On Saturday morning in consequence of information I came to Porirua & began to search for the body of the deceased. I searched all Sunday & until 1pm. on Monday, when the body of the deceased was hauled in with a net which had been cast where we thought it likely the body would be. When we got the body out I found the eyes & tongue had been eaten away by fishes. There were also marks of fish bites on the face & on the backs of the hands. I recognised the body as that of Thomas Prosser whom I well knew. There were no marks on the body except for fish bites. In the vest pocket was half a sovereign also a knife. I found nothing else. The body was fully clad, the coat a very thick one was partly pulled off the shoulders. I could not be sure whether this had been occasioned by the dragging of the net or whether he had before falling into the water been in the act of taking off his coat. I brought the body to where it now lies. The coat was unbuttoned - buttons not torn off.
Signed Walter Baskiville
The Jurors were George Gillow ( Foreman ) George Stevens, D. Braid, Joshua Dixon, William Peckham, William Dormer
The Coroner found on 12th day of November ( 1892 ) that the said Thomas Prosser accidentally fell from a boat into the waters of Porirua Bay & there & then in the said waters was suffocated & drowned & the Jurors aforesaid on their oaths aforesaid do say that the said Thomas Prosser thus came to his death by no malice or violence of men, but accidentally, casually & by misfortune & not otherwise. Signed by H. W. Robinson, Coroner & all the Jury
Boating Fatality at Porirua
Inspector Thomson has received from Constable Baskiville particulars of the death by drowning of Thomas Prosser at Porirua Saturday last. The constable states about 11 o'clock on Saturday morning he received a telephone message from Mr Hennie of Porirua that Thomas Prosser, a labourer, living at Porirua, had been seen crossing the bay in a boat about 3.40 that morning, going in the direction of the native village, by a Maori named Kerehomi and that the boat was shortly afterwards drifting in the Bay. Aided by many Natives and Europeans he made a diligent search for the body of the deceased by dragging but without success. It appears he goes on to say, that on Thursday morning Prosser bought a bottle of whisky at the hotel, saying it was for his brother, Mr Joshua Prosser and he was not seen again until 4 o'clock on Friday evening. At that hour he called at the Native village and got a boy to bring in a boat that was some distance out. He then got into it and pulled across to the Porirua Boating Club's shed about a mile across the bay, and was seen to land. He was then seen by several people going from the shed to his house about 6 o'clock in the evening. It was not known for what purpose he took the boat. He was not seen the next morning, the hour being so early that no-one would be likely to notice him going from his house to the boat shed, a distance of about a mile. It was, says the constable, an unusual thing to see Mr Prosser under the influence of drink; as a rule he was very temperate, more especially of late years. He found that deceased had slept in his cottage on Friday night, at least he assumed so from the appearance of the bed; the boots that he had worn on the Friday evening were in the house, but his working boots were missing. The bay was very rough on Saturday morning. A later telegram states that the body was found in Porirua Bay about 1 o'clock on Monday afternoon.
Thomas died aged 42 years and had been 27 years in the colony. He was bur. 15 Nov 1892 at Tawa Cemetery
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