Archiver > GRIERSON > 2005-01 > 1106369586

From: "Alan-MacGregor Grierson" <>
Subject: Jane Grierson was born in Kirkpatrick Durham, Dumfries-shire, Scotland c1800
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2005 23:53:08 -0500

A SHORT HISTORY of James and Elizabeth’s life

James Caradus was born in Ayrshire Scotland in 1823. His mother Jane Grierson was born in Kirkpatrick Durham, Dumfriesshire about 1800 and died in Glasgow in 1861. It is noted that the spelling of "Caradus" in official records relating to Jane, vary from Caradus to Carradus. His father Thomas Caradus was an 'Englishman' who died about 1836. Nothing else is known about him. A Thomas Carradus was born in 1793, just over the border from Dumfriesshire, in Borrowdale, Cumberland England, to a Thomas and Mary Carradus, but there is no evidence to date to show that this was James's father. After the death of Thomas, the family obviously fell on hard times and this was the motivation for James [and sister Mary Ann] seeking to start a new life in New Zealand.

Elizabeth Russell was born in Perth, Perthshire in 1832. By word of mouth, from generation to generation, it is said that Elizabeth's mother was descended from a sister of Rob Roy McGregor, who had changed her surname to Patterson. This women was a Great Great Grandmother of Elizabeth Russell. Balquidda the village in which Rob Roy is buried is a small place 35 miles north of Perth where the Russell’s came from. The Russell's also decided to start a new life for themselves and children in New Zealand.

Due to high unemployment in Scotland, the Commissioner of Emigration was sent up from London to recruit two shiploads of families, destined for the new capital of New Zealand, Auckland. Family groups and people with trades who might benefit the new capital were chosen. James Caradus at the age of 19 travelled on the Duchess of Argyle and his future wife Elizabeth Russell, aged 10 travelled on the Jane Gifford, with her parents David and Elizabeth and two younger brothers.

The two vessels had sailed from Greenock, in mid-June 1842, over a week apart, and arrived together in Auckland on the 9th October 1842, after long arduous voyages of 3½ to 4 months. The Duchess of Argyle was only 40 metres long and a mere 667 tons. There were 305 men, women and children on board, in cramped conditions. The Jane Gifford was even smaller, 588 tons with 280 persons aboard.

James and Elizabeth were married on 10th October 1848 (the 6th anniversary of their arrival in Auckland), when he was 25 and she only 16. They established their first home in Robinson St in the Village of Parnell, above St Georges Bay and not far from Mechanics Bay where James worked as a rope-maker. James and Elizabeth had 15 children, of whom seven died in infancy, as was not uncommon in those days. However, they both lived long rewarding lives, he to the age of 83 and she to 80, which was remarkable for that period.

James became an expert rope-maker and in 1850 started his own ‘Ropewalk’ in Hobson St, making a wide variety of twines and ropes from dressed New Zealand flax. He exhibited several specimens of his work at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and received a medal and an honourable mention. His name appears in the 'Museum of New Zealand' (Te Papa) at the top of a glass panel featuring enlargements of pages from the catalogue. The item lists the five specimens of twine he exhibited.

Eventually, it became so difficult to obtain supplies of dressed flax from the Maoris that he gave up the ropemaking trade in 1852 and built a small house for the family in Napier Street Freemans Bay. After unsuccessfully seeking work as a carpenter, he went to the goldfields in Otago, Ballarat in Australia and finally Thames, but without luck. While he was away, Elizabeth ran a small General Store he built on the front of their house in Napier Street. The shop stayed in the family until 1910. It was unfortunately pulled down in the 1969, to make way for the Southern Motorway.

In later years, James and Elizabeth achieved a more settled existence renting out small cottages he built in the Freemans Bay area. They shared a common interest in temperance and social work, and the poor area they lived in afforded many opportunities. They attended the Pitt Street Wesleyan Church and ran the Freemans Bay Mission in Union Street for many years

When Elizabeth was in her 50's and 60's she was a prominent member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in Auckland. This group also took a very active part in working for women's suffrage. New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the vote in 1893 and, one hundred years later in 1993, Elizabeth Caradus was recognised nationally as one of the 21 Suffragists - The Women who worked for the Vote. During the celebrations, and for some time afterwards, her photo hung with others in the entrance hall of the NZ Parliaments executive wing ‘The Beehive’ in Wellington. (Refer: )

Numerous descendants are now spread throughout New Zealand, with a number in Australia and Canada.

The only photograph of James & Elizabeth, C1900

James CARADUS born 12.02.1823 - died 23.12.1906
Elizabeth CARADUS born 26.04.1832 - died 05.11.1912.
Their grave is in the ‘Wesleyan section’ of the Symonds St Cemetery, Auckland, near the Grafton Bridge.

By Neil Caradus, from ‘Courage and Perseverance’: the Russell - Caradus Story.

by Ailsa Caradus, 1975

Sent via the WebMail system at

[This E-mail scanned for viruses by]

This thread: