A family not at war- 1914

Photographs provided by John and Mary Green

A peaceful idyll in New Zealand about 1914. The older man, with a cap, in the centre is John Davies aged about 72 at that time, he died 2 years later. He had had an interesting life, born in Chester the son of a travelling book salesman he married in 1864 in Wrexham, Wales, with Louisa Charlotte Davies, so far she seems to be an unrelated Davies.

I featured some of his life a few months ago in the tale of the tobacconist and hairdresser, but research has added quite a lot to his profile. He lived after marriage in Oswestry, his wife had died in 1900 and he emigrated to New Zealand with some of his daughters in 1907.

Sitting on the swing on the left is his youngest daughter Lillie May with her daughter Vera, Richard Thomas Haylock Daniels, husband and father is standing next to John. John’s second youngest daughter Alice Selina is on the left, she never married but kept house for the family. Lillie was apparently quite a character, she had two shops in Auckland, drove around in a model T Ford and took trips to Seattle.

The other side of the photograph has John’s oldest daughter Louisa Charlotte who was also interesting. It seems she eloped to the US with a cousin, William Henry Davies. There is, so far, little evidence of this apart from a baptism of a daughter Stella Irene in Pennsylvania, she is the young girl on the right of the photograph. They also had another daughter May who was possibly born in New York and died in New Zealand, age 16, her burial record states her birth in Oswestry but this seems to be incorrect, there are no UK or US records.

It is unclear what happened to William Henry but Louisa seems to have met Ronald McDougall Malcolm in the US, he was from Glasgow, he went to New York in 1893 and returned in 1900, he may have stayed with John Davies in Oswestry for a while. There is no marriage record of him marrying Louisa but when she emigrated she was listed as Louise Malcolm. Ronald is sat on the right swing.

It is unclear why John and some daughters went to New Zealand but they seem to have enjoyed life, the family that stayed in England were also quite successful it seems, many ran their own business.

One of my hopes was to find John and his wife were cousins, this might help get around the brickwall of her parents, so far though it seems not to be so. It could be that they link several generations earlier but tracing Davies lines is almost as bad as tracing Jones families.