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Ann Cooper and Eric Parker, 2002
Joseph Bayes & Family in New Zealand
It took the Bayes family 112 days to reach Auckland in New Zealand. This is where they settled as a temporary measure until they were able to acquire land. Joseph busied himself with building and repair work around Auckland to begin with.

In 1886 Joseph walked from Auckland and found a piece of virgin forest land, at Red Beach of 700 acres in extent at a price of 4½d an acre, a total cost of £13. 2s 6d. It had been a leasehold property in the care of a Mr. William Manning but a freehold was arranged and Joseph struck the deal. He then brought his family to the property by boat.

He must have been a good man of business, as he sold about half his holding shortly afterwards for 7½d. an acre, making a total of £10.18s 9d. This meant that his 350 acres had cost him £2. 3s. 9d. nett. The boundary of this block of property was, the full extent of Red Beach Road, along Whangaparaoa Road to the beginning of Vipond Road and then down to the sea.

The early years were very hard going. Joseph and Eliza worked together felling trees to make a clearance on which to raise cattle and build a livelihood. The family income consisted solely of the proceeds from dairy produce, timber and the gum from the root of the kauri tree. The holding was called Silverdale.

Joseph's craft in stone, brick and tiles could make little contribution in a land of timber buildings with corrugated iron roofs.

Four daughters were born to Joseph and Eliza within 10 years of their arriving in New Zealand. Ellen (Mrs Roper), Elizabeth (Mrs. Hames), Dora (Mrs. Wilkes) and Eva, who remained unmarried and was an invalid.

Regular correspondence was maintained between New Zealand and England which continued into the 20th Century and is ongoing.

Annie Bayes, Joseph's eldest daughter met a William Turley, on board the Famenoth and was married to him soon after reaching New Zealand. She had 9 children, one of whom died as an infant.

In 1901 their son Arthur, Joseph's second son, was thrown from a horse and sustained fatal injuries with resulting grief in the family.

Later in 1904 Joseph, who was never really a farmer at heart, Eliza and the younger members of the family moved to Takapuna near Auckland where they built one of the first brick houses in this growing city.

Son William remained at Silverdale to carry on the growing business and farming interest with Nellie (nee Gilshceman), his wife whom he had married in 1908, who became a mother of 6 sons and 2 daughters. This couple worked hard at breaking the land with the help of their family but always found time to 'praise the Good Lord for all his blessings.' William died in 1944 and Nellie lived to be 101 and died in 1984. A very handsome brick seat has been built in her memory and is situated on the Red Beach water front. Red Beach has become a residential development with some of the roads being named after places in Northamptonshire, Rushden Terrace, Chelver(s)ton Terrace etc.

In the 1940's the farm was taken over by Mr. Ernie Bayes and subdivided later. The family is still in the area.

Joseph died at 14, Eversleigh Road, Takapuna on 25th September 1925 and was buried in "O'Neills Point Cemetery" on Tuesday September 26th 1925 at 12 noon in Plot 006 Row D. Register entry 941. Aged 83.

Eliza died at 14, Eversleigh Road, Takapuna on April 16th 1940 and was buried in "O'Neills Point Cemetery" on Thursday 18th April 1940 at 12 noon in Plot 006 Row D. Register entry 1228. Aged 86.

This family still retains its links with relatives in England into the 21st century.


This story is incomplete, I hope that one day the evidence will come to hand to complete it. There are many questions unanswered.

Whether or not I have proved a link with John the Baptist is problematical and the link with John Bunyan is somewhat a flight of fancy. For myself, I would like to think that John Bunyan had local links, as he is one of my hero's of all time, however I rather think that there must have been another catalyst locally, that started the Baptist Church.

Rushden is a fascinating place, as far as religion is concerned. There have been so many sects, chapels and Churches in this village, and I conclude that there must have been a great number of free thinking individuals in its past.

Joseph Bayes was obviously a very strong man, his confidence in going to the other side of the world shows his faith in God taking care of him and his family.

I have been unable to find out if he went on an "Assisted Passage" scheme, or whether he travelled independently. He must have had some capital from the sale of his home and business so I think it pretty certain that he paid his own way.

Which railway station did he depart from? The family seem to think it was either Ditchford or Irthlingborough. The evidence we have is that members of the Baptist congregation assembled at the station and sang "God be with you till we meet again" to speed the family of its way. I hardly think they would have walked to either Ditchford or Irthlingborough, it would seem logical to me that Irchester was more likely the point of departure. We will have to wait and see if this information turns up. Having said this however, I have been told by an elderly, ex railway employee, that the agents that canvassed for customers for the "Assisted Passage" scheme, chartered whole trains to pick up their passengers at local stations and transport them to the ship head. So far I have not been able to find out if this is correct, I will keep looking.

The log attributable to Joseph Bayes that is included in this document has an obvious error in the chronology. According to this document he saw Gough Island on November 20th 1882 before crossing the line on the 24th of November. When it should have been the other way round, the line was crossed on November 4th and Gough Island on Novemnber 20th. This suggests that he either wrote the log after the journey had ended and got his paper work mixed up or there was a mistake in a transcription somewhere down the line. The correct order of the journey is given in the account printed in the New Zealand Herald, presumably from the ships log, which would have been accurate as it was written up on an hourly basis.

What this document has proved to me is that Joseph Bayes was a Good Man and a good man of business. He bought 700 acres of land for £13.2s6d, sold half of it for £10.18s9d, making his remaining 350 acres cost him £2.3s9d. at a cost of just under 1 .l/2d an acre - not bad. I wonder what the developers of Red Beach paid for it?

It must also be said that faith in the almighty never left him and I finish this little tribute by entering here the words of a doxology, that no doubt Joseph Bayes must have sung many times.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him, all creatures here below, Praise Him above, Ye Heavenly Host, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Ann Cooper, 2002


I will tell you all I know about Joseph Bayes of Rushden.

My Maternal Grandmother was Miss. Elizabeth Sargent, (later Brooks) daughter of Thomas and Emma, and a relative of the Bayes family, also, her Uncle John Sargent had taken as his first wife Miss. Rebecca Bayes (Aunt Ree). I believe she was a sister of Joseph's; Rebecca lived in Little Street before her marriage.

The Bayes family were staunch Baptists, as were the Sargents. In September 1882 they ' would attend the "Top Meeting" in Little Street. Later, in 1901 the congregation moved to the present splendid Park Road Baptist Chapel, built by Frederick Bayes.

Joseph Bayes lived in the Wellingborough Road area. I am sure he was in the building trade, as were others in his family.

I was told that Eliza Colson was his third wife. He already had two little boys when he married her. Work was hard to come by in the early 1880's and the decision to emigrate was made. Possessions dispersed, bedding packed, a cabin reserved on a sailing ship and a farewell meeting at the old chapel on the eve of their departure. Ardent and emotional were the prayers offered for them.

Below is an extract from the Sunday School Minute Book of this event:

6  September. Tea and meeting was held to give Mr. Joseph and Mrs Bayes and family an affectionate and prayerful farewell, who were leaving us for New Zealand.

The teachers left the school to present Mr and Mrs. J. Bayes Sept 21 to go to New Zealand when a testament was presented to them as an expression of the teachers love to them for the past and best wishes for their future well being on the other side of the globe, which was written by the Pastor, Mr. Davis, then printed and framed.

They were to have a long, uncomfortable journey, as there were only primitive conditions on the ship.

My Great Great Uncle, John Sargent, suggested that Joseph kept a diary of the voyage, which he did and sent it afterwards to John who copied it, returning the original.

Many years later, after the death of Uncle John's second wife Sarah in 1943, old papers and rubbish were burning on a bonfire when my father, John Blunt, Sarah's executor, noticed an old school exercise book which he instantly retrieved from the flames and found to his delight that it was the diary of the voyage of Joseph Bayes. He had heard so much about him from my mother's old relatives.

I gave the late George Bayes the diary to take with him when he visited Australia, presumably he left it with the family there.

John's daughter Eliza, lived with us until her death in about 1920, so you understand my interest.

I was always told that Joseph and Eliza had an unshakeable faith, that God would be with them if they believed in him and kept his commandments. Incidentally, the farewell chorus on these departures was "God be with you till we meet again," sung with great feeling (At the Railway Station).

Before the family set off for their distant Country, they stayed at my Great Great Great Grandfather's home in Rectory Road (John Sargent, Senior) for a last farewell. His two daughters, Ann and Eliza, said that they were serene and behaved as if they were making a friendly call before a short outing. Ann had been affianced to Joseph's Uncle but he died of what was called "galloping consumption", an illness that was fatal in a very few weeks. I think the little family were setting off from Ditchford Station or possibly Irthlingborough.

I read the diary carefully and realised how well their Baptist discipline had prepared them for their undertaking, strictly teetotal, the Bible their guide to daily living. They had an arduous, dangerous journey.

Work was difficult to obtain when they arrived and a home had to be built when they settled. Houses were of wood, not Joseph's native bricks or stone.

During the 1914-18 War, one of Eliza and Joseph's grandsons came to Rushden from France where he was in the army and he stayed with Uncle John and Aunt Sarah. He had a very good "leave" and I am glad to say he survived the "Great Slaughter".

Some years ago I met descendants of Eliza and Joseph when they came to stay with Phyllis Sidey, grand daughter of John and Rebecca Sargent. She was The Park Road Baptist's missionary in India. I often see her daughter and two sons; they are 3rd or 4th cousins.

I believe that Joseph and Eliza were "fruitful and multiplied" and left a goodly progeny behind them and I am gratified that "The Old Top Meeting" , founded by our forefathers, has had such a good influence in this land across the sea.

Joseph and Eliza never saw England again.

My Great Great Great Grandfather, John Sargent, was a founder and first secretary of Rushden Temperance Society, because he could read and write and was a devout Baptist.

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