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George Devey: a Te Aroha carpenter and his family

A cabinetmaker, George Devey brought his wife and young family to New Zealand in 1864, accompanied by his brother Jess, a blacksmith. After settling in Thames, from 1883 onwards they lived in Te Aroha, where George erected houses, built coaches, and was the local undertaker. He had the most minimal involvement in local mining possible: acquiring an interest in one claim. His unmarried brother was a blacksmith at Waiorongomai, but would die prematurely of cancer. George was a leader of the Methodist community, in particular supervising the Sunday School at Waiorongomai for many years. He was involved in the wider community, and lived long enough to be regarded as one of the ‘old-timers’. Despite suffering from three accidents earlier in life, he would live until the age of 97. His wife Ann first achieved prominence in 1877 for assaulting a teacher because one of her daughters had been chastised. In Te Aroha she worked as a nurse for many years, and was fondly remembered, although previously, when at Thames, her nursing was in part responsible for a maternal death. After she died, the community ensured that her memory was kept alive. Outlines are given of the careers of their sons and daughters. One daughter, Caroline Ida, married a mostly successful businessman, but another, Laura, suffered from mental problems caused by ‘disappointment in love’. Although she found happiness with her second husband, a miner, her life was cut short in tragic fashion.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). George Devey: a Te Aroha carpenter and his family. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 135). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart

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