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WALLACE FAMILY

The Wallace family unwittingly started it’s association with New Zealand in 1846. On 24 February of that year, Arthur Wallace and his brother John Alexander McKane Wallace sailed from Chatham in Kent as prison guards on the convict ship ‘Palmyra’ They were both privates in the 65th regiment (2nd Yorkshire North Riding), also known as the ‘Royal Bengal Tigers’, probably the best-known of the Imperial regiments to serve in New Zealand.

Both brothers had enlisted in Northern Ireland, as had a younger brother, James,who had left Chatham in 1845.

John Alexander McKane Wallace. enlisted 21/12/1840 at Antrim, Co. Antrim at the age of 21 years. He married in 1843 in Belfast, Northern Ireland to Esther Mayes (or Maise).

Arthur Wallace enlisted - 14/2/1840 at Antrim, Co. Antrim at the age of 19 years.

A further detachment, including 51 women and 75 children sailed from Gravesend on 19 September, 1846 on the freight ship ‘Sir Robert Peel’, arriving in Auckland on 14 January, 1847, and it is likely that Esther Wallace was on this ship.

After departure from Chatham, the ‘Palmyra’ called at Portsmouth on 17 March, leaving there on 1 May, and arriving at Hobart Town in Van Diemen’s Land on 22 August. From there a detachment of the regiment went to Sydney on 17 September, embarking on the ‘’Java’ on 8 November en route to New Zealand, arriving in Auckland 27 November. The reason for the regiment being sent to New Zealand was the outbreak of the fighting in the Bay of Islands and in the Hutt Valley.

It appears that Arthur Wallace met and married Mary Plunkett in Australia whilst his regiment was based there.

From her death certificate it would appear that Mary was born in about 1826, and there are records of three girls named Mary Plunkett arriving in Australia in the early 1840s who would have been about the right age.. 

a) Mary Plunkett was born about 1825 in Suadlingloah, Co. Cavan, daughter of James Plunkett and Ann. She arrived on the ship “Runnymede” on 30/8/1841 under the protection of Sir Arthur James Plunkett. She was a dairy-maid, aged 16 and was one of a number of girls brought out as servants on this ship.

 
On the same ship was Thos. Plunkett, aged 19 from Swadlingburn, Co. Cavan – son of James and Anastalie Plunkett. Hew as a farm laborer, and RC and able to read.

 
b) Mary Plunkett born about 1824 arrived 14/2/1840 on the “Adam Lodge” She was born in Kilmanham, W. Dublin, daughter of Edward, a shoemaker, and Judy Miles. She is described as “apparently 16, but not knowledge. Brought out by Government. A house and child maid.

c) Mary Ann Plunckett, born c 1815. Arrived on the “Hope” 30/8/1841, daughter of Thomas Plunckett and his wife. There was also a sister Bridget. Family came from Tipperary,

The first Mary is the most likely one, as Mary’s death certificate in 1882 shows her birthplace as Dublin.

It appears that Arthur Wallace met and married Mary Plunkett in Australia whilst his regiment was based there. From her death certificate it would appear that Mary was born in about 1826, and there are records of three girls named Mary Plunkett arriving in Australia in the early 1840s who would have been about the right age. 

a) Mary Plunkett was born about 1825 in Suadlingloah, Co. Cavan, daughter of James Plunkett and Ann. She arrived on the ship “Runnymede” on 30/8/1841 under the protection of Sir Arthur James Plunkett. She was a dairy-maid, aged 16 and was one of a number of girls brought out as servants on this ship. 

On the same ship was Thos. Plunkett, aged 19 from Swadlingburn, Co. Cavan – son of James and Anastalie Plunkett. Hew as a farm laborer, and RC and able to read.

b) Mary Plunkett born about 1824 arrived 14/2/1840 on the “Adam Lodge” She was born in Kilmanham, W. Dublin, daughter of Edward, a shoemaker, and Judy Miles. She is described as “apparently 16, but not knowledge. Brought out by Government. A house and child maid. 

c) Mary Ann Plunckett, born c 1815. Arrived on the “Hope” 30/8/1841, daughter of Thomas Plunckett and his wife. There was also a sister Bridget. Family came from Tipperary. 

The first Mary is the most likely one, as Mary’s death certificate in 1882 shows her birthplace as Dublin.

Arthur and John were the sons of William Wallace, and Catherine McKane, who married about 1817. Their family is as follows:
John Alexander McKane Wallace born 1819 Connor Baptised 17/10/1819 Antrim
Arthur Wallace born 1821 Donegore
William Wallace born 27 January 1822 at Trench Townland Baptised 3 March 1822
James Wallace born 31 August, 1827 at Ballyrobin Baptised 2 September 1827
Mary Ann Wallace born 23 November, 1828 at Trench Townland. Baptised 14 December,1828
Thomas Wallace born 27 December 1831 at Trench Townland. Baptised 4 January,1832

The two elder boys were baptised in the neighbouring parish of Mill Row Presbyterian church in Antrim town..

On John Wallace’s death certificate his mother’s maiden name is given as ‘Weaver’, but this is probably Catherine McKane’s occupation. I suspect that William was a soldier, but have not been able to ascertain the regiment to which he may have belonged.

A researcher on the Internet who is involved in the McKane (various spellings) DNA project has located a McKain family from Ballywatt in north Antrim who may be part of our family. 

William McKain was born 1759 in Co. Antrim, and died 1826 in Ballywatt. He was buried in Ballyrashane Parish Graveyard, Co. Derry. He was the son of (8) McCain. 

Mary McKane was buried in Ballyrashane Parish Graveyard, Co. Derry. 

Children of William McKain and Mary McKane. 

1) Hugh McKain was born 1780 in Co. Antrim, and died in Ballywatt. He married Rachel Patton, who was born 1806 in Co. Antrim, and died 1878 in Ballywatt.

2) Alexander McKane was born in Ballywatt, and died in Ballyrobin. He married Nancy Moore. She was born 1807 in Risk, Co. Antrim, and died 1865 in Ballyrobin.

3) Unknown McKain ws born in Co. Antrim and died in USA

4) Unknown McKain was born in Co. Antrim and died in USA.

5) Mary McKain was born 1793 in Ballywatt, and died in 1873 in Ballywatt.

6)  Margaret McKain was born in 1797 in Ballywatt, and died 1888 in Ballywatt.

7) Anne McKain.

8) Jenny McKain. She married James McBride 1846 in Ballymoney reg. office 0275. He was born in Co. Antrim and died in Australia.

9) Martha McKain. She married Charles Lawrence. He was born 1798 in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, and died 1800 in Ballycastle, Co Antrim.

10) Unknown McKain.  

What is interesting is that Alexander McKane died in Ballyrobin, where at least one of the children of William Wallace and Catherine McKane was born. Also one of their sons was John Alexander McKane Wallace. Was the unknown McKain “our” Catherine ? The above children do not appear to be chronological order. Catherine McKane married about 1815/16 as far as I can guess, and could well have been born about around 1795.

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On Esther Mayes’s death certificate in 1893, her mother’s maiden name was given as Agnes Millar. We have found no record of Esther’s birth, but there is a record of a birth of a Maria Maze in Antrim on 13/4/1826, daughter of George Maze and Agnes Miller. Almost certainly Maria would have been a sister of Esther.

Mary Wallace lived in Te Aro in Wellington from 1848 until 1855, and it was here that the three eldest children of Arthur and Mary were born, William in 1848, Stephen Richard in 1851 and John Henry in 1853. In 1855 Mary and the boys travelled to Wanganui on the steamer “Mary Jane,” and it was here that Elizabeth (1856) and Arthur Alexander (1858 and usually known as Archie) were born. In Wellington the local Catholic priest Father O’Reilly was a tolerant man, and the boys were conditionally baptised in the Catholic church, but were brought up as Protestants. (Elizabeth, later Mrs Brough and the youngest son, Arthur, were raised as Catholics) Things were different when they arrived in Wanganui, as the local priest, a Frenchman named Father Besant, had very different views on mixed Protestant/Catholic marriages, and apparently he and Arthur had a terrific argument. It was about this time that Arthur and Mary split up (the marriage was “annulled”) and in 1862 Mary married William McDowell, who had also served in the 65th regiment.

Arthur took his discharge in 1864. He died on 1 August, 1876 in Wanganui Hospital, aged 57, and was buried at Heads Road cemetery. For the previous few years he had been living on the farm "Tutu Totara" near Marton, which was owned by Major Marshall, formerly quarter-master Geeneral of the 65th Regiment

John Alexander McKane Wallace served in Wellington and Wanganui before taking his discharge at the cost of 20 pounds on 5 May, 1849 at Wanganui. He received a land grant on No 2. Line at Matarawa, east of Wanganui, and later bought the adjoining farm as well, which had belonged to the Gilfillan family. The farm was named “Firgrove” after a district in Antrim.

Arthur and Mary’s son William, born in 1848, left home at 12 to milk cows for Mr Wicksteed at Ka-iwi. He and his two brothers joined the Wanganui Yeomanry Cavalry. Later, probably late in 1868, William transferred to the Armed Constabulary. As a member of the Colonial Forces he was involved in fighting in the Taranaki area, and further up the Wanganui River. In 1868 there was fierce fighting against the Maori under Titokawaru at Te Ngutu o te Manu in South Taranaki, and it was here that Richard was kiled in 1868. He and others killed in this engagement were buried at Waihi Redoubt near Hawera. Later William took part in engagements at Otautu, Moturoa, Taurangaika, Fraser Road, Whakamaru, Opotiki and Te Porere. Much of this is recorded in James Cowan’ book “The New Zealand Wars,” as James Cowan drew on William’s reminiscences in 1918 while writing the book, and visited several battle sites with William.

William received a land grant of 80 acres at Mokoia in 1868 (the regulation amount for a sergeant) but the land was abandoned to the Maoris for a time. William Wallace married his cousin Mary Jane Wallace in 1870, and worked in Hawera on road and railway construction until the land was returned to him in 1871. He farmed this land until 1891, when he sold it for one pound an acre, and moved to a farm at Meremere, inland from Hawera, on the West Coast Lease Land Scheme.

William and Mary Jane’s children were:

John Alexander McKane Wallace 1871
Catherine (Sissy) Wallace 1872
Richard Wallace 1875
Janet Wallace 9/11/1876
William Wallace 5/7/1878
Esther Wallace 11/6/1880 Whakamaru
Allan Wallace 15/5/1882
Jane (Jessie) Wallace 25/2/1884
Garfield Wallace 1886
Norman Wallace 1887
Walter Wallace 1889

Norman Wallace died at Messines Ridge in Flanders, Belgium in 1917.