Two Roycroft brothers and two of their brothers-in-law, all miners at Te Aroha
Hart, P. (2016). Two Roycroft brothers and two of their brothers-in-law, all miners at Te Aroha. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 156). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10495.1
James and William Roycroft commenced their mining careers at Thames, where they were notable athletes, especially James. But James also became notable for being accused of theft, violence, and excessive drinking. Both men moved to Waiorongomai in 1882, but as their involvement in mining continued to be mostly unprofitable they were also carters, contractors, and timber cutters and merchants. Their financial struggles never ceased, and William was forced into bankruptcy. James continued to drink to excess, and when his wife attempted to use legal means to stop this he used violence against her. Two brothers-in-law also mined at Waiorongomai for a time. Axel Leonard Forsman became a struggling farmer instead of a miner. When in Thames, he had been involved in petty squabbles and minor offences. His son Robert, a carpenter as well as a miner, imagined he had found oil near Waiorongomai. The most that was recorded about his children’s lives was his daughter’s ‘wonderful egg’ trick on her parents. John Henry Emett also had a variety of occupations and struggled financially; his mining at Waiorongomai in the 1890s was no more successful than the others’. After leaving Waiorongomai, the families settled elsewhere, especially at Waihi, without achieving prosperity. James continued to drink to excess and to ill treat his wife, and was again accused of being a thief. His widow would struggle to cope with her large family after his death. In all these cases, their lives had features typical of many other working class people of the time.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart
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