Emma Gaskins (or Gascoine) and Thomas Hutt were the parents of Mary Ann Hutt, (married to Joseph Alfred Abbott) and are one of our “first families” to arrive in New Zealand in April 1863.
When Emma Gaskins was born in 1831 in Cumnor, Oxfordshire, her unwed mother, Rachel Gaskins/Gascoine, was 19. She was baptised on the 7th August 1831 in Cumnor. In 1849, at the age of 18, she gave birth to a baby daughter named Maria Gaskins – father not named on baptism register. She then married? (no record yet found) Thomas Hutt and they had 12 children together. Following her arrival in New Zealand, she lived at South Moeraki Downs in Cust, North Canterbury. Emma sadly died during surgery to remove an ovarian mass on 24th February 1873 in Christchurch, North Canterbury, at the age of 42, and was buried in Barbados Street Cemetery in an unmarked grave in Christchurch, Canterbury.
Emma’s mother Rachel, also had a son named Lot Gaskins – father unknown, either a full or half brother to Emma. However sometime before 1841 Rachel married a man named Lot Clifton and the family were living on a tiny island in middle of the Thames River near the little Oxfordshire village of Northmoor. Noah’s Ark is a gorgeous spot, no longer an island as joined to the mainland. This special place is steeped in a fascinating history. I can thoroughly recommend the book “The Water Gypsy – How a Thames Fishergirl became a Viscountess” by Julie Ann Godson. The book details the history of the site and the colourful characters who once worked, lived and loved there. Click here to see a picture of Noah’s Ark Island as it looks today including the foundations of the old Ridge house. According to Godson, aside from the main dwelling house, this small tenement would likely have included barns, a piggery, dairy, malthouse, boathouse, orchard, vegetable gardens. There was also a weir here and at one time a riverside inn.
The people that lived in this area were river people and at the time, the Thames was a busy highway linking many villages and cities. There is no doubt that Emma and Thomas had a very close association with this iconic river.
On the 1841 census, Emma (8) and Lot (5) are shown to have two little half brothers added to the family. William (3) and Daniel Clifton (5 mths).
On 17th January 1849, Emma (18) gives birth to her baby daughter Maria Gaskins at Noah’s Ark – father unnamed.
On Census night – 30th March. 1851, Emma is 19 years old and a servant at a settlement just down the river named Farmoor, living and working for Charles Tubb, his mother Martha and sister Elizabeth. There are two other young men working on the property – Charles Harriss (21) and Caleb Bateman (15).
This same year, Thomas Hutt (20) her future husband, is living with the Stone family on the other side of the river a few kms away in his childhood hamlet of Draycott Moor near Longworth in Berkshire. He’s working as an agricultural labourer. His brother Albert is also living and working with him at the Stone’s property.
Meanwhile back in Northmoor which is about half way between Farmoor and Draycott Moor, toddler Maria is living with her grandparents Rachel and Lot Clifton. Her grandparents have added another 4 children to their brood over the previous decade and there are now 10 living in the household. Rachel, Lot Snr, Lot Jnr, William, Daniel, Sarah, David, James, Thomas and little granddaughter Maria.
Skip forward 10 years to the 1861 census. Judging by the birthplace of their children, Thomas and Emma must have moved to Alperton, Middlesex around 1852 then on to Ealing near London.
Work is becoming more and more scarce in rural areas…hamlets and small holdings that were originally designed to provide for the needs of one large family are strained by the time those children have children of their own…
Like many families desperate for work, Emma and Thomas have moved to the outskirts on London and are living at Ealing Common. By now they have 5 children. Henry (9), John (7), George (3), Charles (4 mths) and Mary Ann (5).
Little Emily Hutt was born, 7th November 1862 just a month before the entire family bravely said goodbye to the Old Country and headed to New Zealand on 10th December 1862. Read all about Thomas and Emma Hutt’s journey and arrival in New Zealand here.
Photo courtesy David Smith grandchild of Emily Clifton (daughter of Lot Gaskins and Emma Griffin).
COMING SOON!!! More about Emma’s life in New Zealand post 1863.