Last December the archives posted on its blog site the intriguing story of Mr Rose’s watch, and speculated as to how it may have ended up in an antique shop in a small village near Rome. At the time we were not certain if Mr Rose had any siblings apart from his half-sisters, as early baptismal records from the Port Chalmers Church that Mrs Rose probably attended are no longer extant. Nor did we know for certain whether William and his wife had had any children, as none had been mentioned in his obituary in the church journal ‘The Outlook’, and we do not hold records for the churches he attended in Oamaru and Christchurch.
I never gave up looking for more information however, and just before Christmas last year I was excited to see an entry on the Roots Web forum dated April 2001, which requested information on the descendents of Charles and Mary McIntosh, immigrants to New Zealand from Scotland sometime between 1857 and 1863, and Thomas and Henry Knott, Elizabeth Knott and her second husband John Francis Burn, and their children George Burn, Alfred Burn and Louisa Alice Burn.
The enquirer was a descendent of Anne McDougall McIntosh and John Rose, son of Elizabeth Knott and her first husband William Rose, married in 1859 in Dunedin, so naturally I was very keen to contact her to see if she could throw any light on the history of Mr Rose’s watch. Given that the entry had been posted a long time ago I wondered if I would ever hear from her. Due to the vagaries of email traffic it did take some months, so whilst waiting for a reply I searched our parish archives for the marriage certificate of John Rose and Anne McDougall McIntosh. I found it in the records of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Dunedin, the very same congregation that had presented the watch to William Horace Rose in 1879.
John’s marriage took place on the 20th May 1884, at the house of Mr McIntosh in Eglington, Mornington. According to the information on the certificate Anne was born in Scotland, to Charles McIntosh (occupation ‘Settler’) and Mary McIntosh (nee McDougall). John’s birth place was simply given as New Zealand. The two witnesses were William Horace Rose, and Martha McIntosh, one of Anne’s sisters.
The surprise information on the certificate was the name of William and John’s father, which was given as ‘Wilhelm Herman Rose’ (When he married Elizabeth Knott in Dunedin in1859 he gave his name simply as William Rose). This suggested that he might have immigrated to New Zealand from some part of Germany, perhaps Prussia, but since I could not find any information on his death, either in the early Otago newspapers, or official records, William’s arrival in Otago, and his manner of death currently remain a mystery.
The Communion Roll of St. Andrew’s Church proved a fruitful source for information on all three related families. I found that William and John Rose, with his Burn half-brothers and sisters became successive members of the congregation from 1876 onwards, and that their Dunedin address Eglington was also where the McIntosh family was listed as living. After tracking John through the roll from 1877 I found a note against his and his wife’s name which stated ‘Gone to Melbourne’, though no date was given. That explained the Australian connection! Their mother Elizabeth appeared on the roll just once in 1884, and no mention is made of her death in April 1885.
Anne McIntosh’s parents were amongst the very first members of the congregation, Charles being admitted in 1863 and Mary in 1864. The parish they came from was Arbirlot, and their disjunction certificate was signed by a Rev. R.S. Thomson. When I searched through the various registers (Fasti) for the Church of Scotland I found that Arbirlot was a Free Church of Scotland parish, which had ‘come out’ in the Disruption of 1843. Rev. Thomson was ordained to the charge in 1858, which told me that the McIntosh family could not have arrived in New Zealand any earlier than that, otherwise their certificate would have been signed by Rev. John Kirk, the first minister of the parish (1843-1858).
What led Charles and Mary to leave their small village with their family to make the long and arduous voyage New Zealand is a matter of conjecture, but hard times, and encouragement from supporters in Scotland of the Otago Settlement might have played a role. All four of Charles and Mary’s daughters appear on the communion rolls, and evidence from an early St. Andrew’s parish history dated 1913 shows that Charles McIntosh, William and John Rose, and George Burn, were all members of the Deacons’ Court, while Alfred Burn was a much respected Superintendent of the Sunday School. William and John Rose both resigned their positions in 1888, William to go north, and John to prepare perhaps for his move to Melbourne, or set up his business.
St. Andrew’s Church, under the ministry of Rev. Rutherford Waddell was a lively and socially aware congregation, with a strong Sunday School and Bible Class. Given the ages of William and John Rose when they joined the congregation (16 and 15), it is possible that John met Anne McIntosh through Bible Class attendance, or church social functions.
Earlier this month I finally heard from John Rose’s great-great granddaughter in Australia, who explained that she had received my original email, and replied, but these had obviously gone astray. Now with her generous help I was able to put together a more complete history of the Rose/Burn family.
Whilst I had not found John Francis Burn in the St. Andrew’s Church records, I knew from his Dunedin cemetery records that he had arrived in the country in 1860 from Plymouth, in England, and from his marriage certificate that he was a boatman or seaman. Now I learnt that the Burn children were born at Port Molyneaux, and lived at Romahapa, where John Burn was appointed Deputy Harbour Master in 1868. This position was disestablished in 1877 and the family returned to Dunedin, where John Burn took up the position of Custom House Officer.
John Rose named his house in Melbourne ‘Romahapa’, as the family had very fond memories of their childhood there. According to a history of the South Clutha Presbyterian parish a little wooden church was built near the Romahapa cemetery in 1856, and services were conducted regularly there until 1866, when churches were erected at Port Molyneaux and Puerua.
Unfortunately no early church records from Port Molyneaux still exist, so I was not able to check baptismal registers or communion rolls for the Rose/Burn family, but given their later participation in the life of St. Andrew’s Church it would be surprising if the children had not gone to church with their parents and attended Sunday School.
As the communion roll showed, John, his wife and two small sons, named Walter John Rose and Charles William Rose, moved to Melbourne, possibly in 1890, where he either established or carried on the engineering business started in Dunedin. As a fitter John had gained employment with the firm of Reid and Gray, who made agricultural implements. His half-brother George Burn also worked for the firm, and when he left Dunedin for Gore he set up business for himself as an engineer and agricultural implement maker.
According to John’s great-great granddaughter the Rose family remained active members of the Presbyterian Church in Australia, continuing the commitment to the faith displayed by the first generation of Rose and Burn children
William Horace Rose and his wife Margaret McDowell (who had no family of their own) made regular visits to Melbourne over the years to see John and his growing family. Their two nephews, four great nephews, and two great nieces must have been a source of pride and joy to William and Margaret, and current family thought is that he might have bequeathed his watch to his great-nephew John Paterson Rose, who went to live and work in Rome as an artist. He and his wife died in Rome, leaving no children, so it is possible that the watch was either given to a friend, or sold after their deaths as part of their estate.
In December 2009 I wrote that it was a pity that we would never know how Mr Rose’s watch went to Rome. Nice to know but what is more important is learning about the lives of the settlers – how they got here, the tragedies of early deaths, and the commitment to the Presbyterian church shown their service in the church courts.
By Jane Bloore