RICHARD CHARLES* PELVIN was known as Charles, 2nd son of Richard and Elizabeth Pelvin, was born 25 May 1859 in Maidstone, Kent. He immigrated with his family on the "Lancshire Witch" arriving at Timaru 1863.

He married JANET GEDDES (her birth registerd as Janet but she was always know as Jessie) on 14 April 1887 at the home of the bride's parents, John  and Janet (nee Gebbie) Geddes at Mt. Harris, Waimate. Witnesses were brother James Richard Pelvin, of Wakakahi, Waitaki and Jessie's sister Bella Geddes. The officiating minister was Rev Wm McKee.

JOHN GEDDES immigrated from Scotland - he left 21 Feb 1863 from Melbourne on the ship STORMCLOUD and arrived at Port Chalmers, a miner aged 30.  He married JANET GEBBIE who was born at Wilsontown, Lanark, Scotland on 08 Jun 1863 at Green Island where Jessie was born the following year on 16 Aug 1864, the eldest of 12 children. John worked for 12 years at Shag Valley just north of Waikouiti before moving north to Mt Harris out of Waimate.

Charles and Jessie lived at Taiwai, Glenavy where their 14 children were born and with brother Fred Pelvin operated traction engines and a threshing mill in the Waikakahi district from the Waihao River boundary to the Waitaki as far up as the stone wall. They also did chaff cutting and hauled grain and wood to the railway at Glenavy.

A popular musician, at age 22, Charles competed in the New Year Caledonian Society Games in the bagpipe section, "Strathspeys and reels in Highland costume" and he was in demand playing the violin at dances, concerts and socials.
In May 1891, 13 householders met in the Waitaki village settlement school. The finacial report showed a small balance in hand. The committee elected were Messrs M. Harvey, J. McCabe, R. C. Pelvin, M. Leonard, B. Fahey, Joseph Bates, and D. Wallace and at the meeting of the new committee held afterwards, Mr R. C. Pelvin was elected chairman, and Mr D. Wallace secretary and treasurer.
In May 1894, at the auction sale of freehold properties, Messrs Vallange, Christie, and Co. reported selling on account of Mr J. Gray, sections 42, 43, and 44, in the town of Glenavy, the blacksmith's shop, store, and other improvements, for �200 to Mr Richard Pelvin.
Charles Pelvin (with beard) and brother Fred
On the 14th January 1899 papers reported an accident - the traction engine belonging to Charles and driven by Fred capsized over a bank. They were taking it to Waimate for repairs and running short of water in the Gorge, they pulled up beside a waterhole to fill the boiler. The hose was too short to reach the water from their position, and when trying to get nearer, the engine ran over the bank into the hole with Fred underneath in about six feet of water. Charles had jumped off, but the Fred held on, and, strange to say, although the engine turned over twice, he fortunately was not hurt. Luckily, not stunned, Fred managed to crawl out backwards from beneath the engine, and his brother then pulled him out on the bank.  The cause of the mishap was the breaking of the steering gear. Mr Adams was passing at the time, and drove the two men to town when it was found that no serious injury occured, but the engine was considerably damaged - it was a difficult job to get it out of the hole.

Casual labourers were employed to help work on threshing mill - at Redcliff, one stole money and a bottle of gin from Mrs McWhinney, of Red cliff. He was promptly arrested, convicted and sentenced in the Magistrate's Court at Waimate to seven days imprisonment also �21 for which he was remanded till later.

The Waitaki Settlement School was the community centre of the district. In April 1900 householders attended to assess it's record credit balance - the general account amounted to �3 19s 2d, and prize fund account 5s 4d. Nine householders were nominated for the new committee. A ballot taken found  successful applicants were Messrs C Pelvin, C Morrison, M. Harney, M. Leonard, J McEwan, and Messrs Forde and Wallace were re-elected secretary and chairman respectively .

Charles took an interest in all affairs which touched the lives of residents. In 1900, he was the President of the Waitaki Mutual Improvement and at a fortnightly meeting held at the school, after submitting to the meeting the rules drafted by the committee, a social programme followed with songs rendered, and Mr Pelvin gave a recitation.  Involvement of new members was encouraged and after a programme was drawn up for next night, the enjoyable meeting terminated with a vote of thanks to the chair.

Jessie and Charles died at Oamaru, North Otago where they are buried at the Oamaru Cemetery, Block 196 Plots 46 and 47.

Their headstone reads " In remembrance of Jessie Pelvin who died 30th December 1936 aged 74 years. Also her dear husband Richard Charles, died 16 May 1939 aged 79 years".

Click here for their children.


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