Jane Manson was the wife of John Manson, son of Samuel and Jean Manson who had accompanied William Deans to New Zealand from Scotland in 1840. After two years as employees of the Deans brothers at Riccarton (the first 3 years were in Wellington), the Mansons and another family named the Gebbies, moved onto their own land on Banks Peninsula which we know as Teddington.
John’s 4 older sibling’s birth places show the history of the family beautifully. Anges and Robert were born in Riccarton, Scotland and Marion was born at sea on the journey over to New Zealand. Jeannie was next; she was the first European child born on the Canterbury Plains. These 4 children would have grown up at the Deans farm along side the Gebbie’s children in those real early years.
John was next, the first to be born at Teddington in 1845. What adds to his story is that the family had only been in Teddington a week at the time of his arrival. When you read about the journey the Mansons and Gebbies took to get to Teddington, I’m sure Jean was very uncomfortable.
They left Riccarton in canoes, heading down the Avon River to The Bricks (Oxford and Barbadoes Street Bridge), then transferred to a Whaler’s Boat. As the families, including William Deans sailed around from Sumner to Lyttelton Harbour, weather began to get rough so the women and the children were off-loaded to shelter in a cave as the men went bravely on. It wasn’t a wise choice as the boat capsized. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt but William Deans credited a crate of tea drifting close by to being his savior as he floated on it to safety. A week later, Jean gave birth to John and 12 more siblings followed.
*Photo taken by Annette Bulovic*