William WILLETTSwas born at Stafford, Staffordshire, England in January 1804. His parents are unknown at present. William married Mary TANDY, possibly born in Bristol, Gloucestershire July 1808 and was where they were married in October 1836. (He is said to have married? Sarah JONES in about 1830, but we have no more details of her?) It is likely that William's marriage to Mary was his first, as a copy of their marriage certificate states they were both unmarried.
[ photo of Mary and William ]
Their two eldest children, William b. October 1837 and James b. May 1839, were born in Bristol, Gloucestershire. Samuel William was born on their voyage to New Zealand in March 1843, aboard the ship "Westminster", about five days from Auckland. They arrived at Auckland on 1 April 1843. Sarah Maria b. July 1845 and Elizabeth Ruth b. November 1848, were born on their farm in Epsom, Auckland and was said to have been sited in the vicinity of the Costley Block, Greenlane Hospital (land deeds records missing). Not known at present where the rest of the children were born. Mary Ann was born April 1851, Louisa b. October 1852, John? b. about 1855?, Caroline? b.1857 and Sophia Maria b.1858. They moved to a farm at Remuera (no details) and later to one at the site now occupied by Wilson Home, Takapuna, where they remained.
There is a story written by Charles Goldsworthy, as told to his mother, Elizabeth Ruth by her parents. It tells of an incident with a pirate ship on their voyage in the "Westminster". I haven't found any other written evidence of this incident, apart from notes from the log? of the ship "Theresa", in which it states they were chased by a pirate ship off the Azores. The "Theresa" departed about the same time as the "Westminster" and reached New Plymouth, New Zealand in 'autumn' 1843.
It appears two of the younger children, Caroline? and John?, had been playing on the beach below the farm at Takapuna, and had been in contact with a mattress, which had been thrown overboard from an arriving ship. This mattress had apparently been infected with the typhoid fever which the children caught and died soon after. Items of bedding, etc that were in contact with anyone infected with disease aboard ship, had to be thrown overboard before they reached Auckland.
William married Ann Bergina Caroline FULLER (b. about 1840) in October 1857 at St Pauls, Auckland. They had seven children: Mary, William James, Joseph Samuel, Walter John, Emily, Violet and Frederick Charles Adolphus. William's second marriage was to Sarah Elizabeth PHILLIPS (nee BRIGHT) in April 1892.
James married Maria Ellen DAVIES (b. about 1846) in December 1864 at St Andrews, Auckland. There were three children: Herbert, Cyril Harold and Evelyn Victoria.
Samuel William married Jemima
FINLAYSON in 1875.
Elizabeth Ruth married Richard
GOLDSWORTHY (b. December 1843 in Jermyn? St, Auckland) in February
1866 at Trimmer's house, Parnell, Auckland. They had 12 children:
Richard Henry, William John, Laura, Elizabeth Mary, Charles, Clara Anna,
Hilda Louisa, Evaline, Baby boy, Edith Mabel May, Elsie Lilian and Gladys
John? born about 1855 and died about 1865.
Caroline? born 1857 and died August 1865 at Takapuna, Auckland.
Sophia Maria born 1858 at
Takapuna and died at Thames,
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