Unknown no more. Mrs Kirby, Geraldine Cemetery, N.Z. 

Timaru District Council online database of burial records

Geraldine Cemetery
Reference 15691
Section General Block M Plot 56
New Row 204 New Plot 56
Sorry, no photographs available for this plot (means no headstone).
Surname Kirby
Forenames Mrs
Age at Death 0 Unknown
Date of Death Unknown
Date of Interment Unknown
Mrs. Sarah KIRBY
Maiden name: Sarah WRIGHT
Born c. 1819 in c. Wellington, Somersetshire, England
Arrived at Lyttelton on the Canterbury in June 1851
Married George Shute in 1852. Also a passenger on the Canterbury.
George drowned in Lyttelton Harbour 12 May 1852
Child: Sarah SHUTE born Nov. 28 1852 in Lyttelton
1854 Sarah Wright marries Michael KIRBY
Mrs Kirby died 7 Aug. 1910
Aged 90 (Timaru DC database).

Timaru Herald, 16 August 1910, Page 7
One of the oldest the inhabitants of Geraldine, and a pioneer settler of Canterbury, passed away on Sunday night in the person of Mrs Kirby relict of the late Mr Michael Kirby, who in the early days was employed by Messrs J. Anderson and Co.. of Christchurch, as a blacksmith Mrs Kirby landed at Lyttelton in 1850 [sic] from the ship Canterbury, and lived for some time at the port, where she was married to Mr George Shute, but her husband was drowned within a week of their wedding. She later on removed to Christchurch, and having married the late Mr Kirby, they subsequently removed to Temuka, and then to Geraldine, where she has resided and enjoyed the respect of her neighbours for 47 years. She leaves four married daughters - Mrs Howard of Geraldine, Mrs Brown of Temuka, Mrs Gardner of Oamaru, and Mrs Sadler, whose husband is a minister of the Primitive Church in England. She also leaves a number of grandchildren and of great-grandchildren. The funeral will leave her late residence at 2 p.m. to-morrow for the Primitive Methodist Church, and thence to the Geraldine Cemetery.

Otago Daily Times 12 September 1910, Page 4
The death is reported in the Temuka Leader of Mrs Kirby, at the age of 91 years. Mrs Kirby had spent 61 years in New Zealand. Her Into husband was one of the first French settlers at Akaroa, and 35 years ago he went to South Canterbury with his wife, and settled at Geraldine.

George SHUTE

Oamaru Mail, 3 March 1896, Page 1
MISSING FRIENDS. The following intimations as to missing friends are from Lloyd's Weekly of January 19 and 26 :
Wright (Sarah) left Wellington, Somersetshire, for Auckland about 1848 married George Shute, who was drowned. Her brother Joseph asks for news.

The Canterbury arrived in Lyttelton 18 October 1851 with 143 souls on board including George Shute, 23, agricultural labourer for Mr  Vigers and Sarah Wright, 31, domestic servant for Mr Vigers. George and Sarah married in 1852. George was from Devon.

Miss Sarah Wright married George Shute in 1852 and he drowned in Lyttelton Harbour on return from his wedding trip. Daughter Sarah Shute was born Nov. 28 1852.

Lyttelton Times 3 July 1852 Page 6
An Inquisition was taken on Monday before the Coroner and a Jury upon the body of George Shute, who was drowned on the 12th May. It appeared from the evidence of two men who were in the Dingy when the accident occurred, that John McKenzie, who was also drowned, was leaning on a tea-chest, when his elbow slipped, the boat lurched and tilled, and the two men were seen no more. Mrs. Shute and one man clung to the gunwhale. A Maori canoe picked them up, and the other man swam ashore. The unfortunate man was only married a few days previous to the accident, and was returning to the head of the Bay when it occurred. Verdict, " accidental death."

Lyttelton Times 14 August 1852 Page 7
An Inquisition was held on Thursday on the remains of a man found cast up on the shore of the Little Sandy Bay, next Rhodes' Bay, in this harbour. From the advanced state of decomposition, it was at first thought recognition would be impossible, but the boots, the remains of a pair of trousers, and a leather belt, all that remained of his clothes, enabled James Mackenzie to identify the remains as those of his brother, John Mackenzie, who was drowned by the capsizing of a boat on his way to Governor's Bay, in company with the unfortunate George Shute, who, our readers will recollect, was lost on his return from his wedding trip about ten weeks ago. Verdict, accidentally drowned.

Kirby changed his name from Courville and was linked to French settlement in Akaroa.
 In 1854 Mrs. Sarah Shute married Michael Kirby and settled in South Canterbury.


Lyttelton Times, 21 January 1854, Page 7
Married. — On Tuesday, the 17th inst., at Lyttelton, Mr. Michael Kirby, blacksmith, to Mrs. Sarah Shute.

Temuka Leader 7 July 1900 Page 2 DEATH
Kirby —On the 5th July, 1900, at Christchurch, Michael Kirby, the beloved husband of Sarah Kirby, of Geraldine, aged 79 years.

Date of death: Thursday, 5 July 1900
Cemetery: Sydenham
Date of burial: Sunday, 8 July 1900
Block number: 3E
Plot number: 22
Age: 79
Occupation: BLACKSMITH
Years in New Zealand: unknown

Press, 14 July 1900, Page 7
There died at Geraldine on Thursday the 5th inst. at the age of 79, Mr Michael Kirby, who was one of the oldest blacksmiths, if not the oldest, in Canterbury. He came from Canada over fifty years ago, and first worked at his trade at Akaroa. He was afterwards employed at Messrs J. Anderson and Sons' Canterbury Foundry, and lived in a cottage on the site now occupied by the "Press" office. For about thirty years he has resided at Geraldine where he carried on the business of a shoeing and general smith until failing health compelled him to give it up a short time ago. He was a Frenchman by birth, and not having gone through the formality of naturalisation, he was refused the old age pension, though he had been in the colony over fifty years, and since he resided at Geraldine had led a steady, industrious, and in every way exemplary life. He leaves a widow and family of married daughters. [NZ BDMs: Death 1900 Kirby Michael 78Y ]

Michel Courville / de Courville or Corval was born approx 1821 in Paris, France. He worked as a blacksmith for a boat building company in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, before coming to New Zealand on a whaling ship anytime between 1839 and 1849. In New Zealand his name was anglicised to Michael Kirby. He is said to have possessed a typical gallic temperament.  


Did Michel Courville jump ship from an American whaler in Akaroa in the early 1840s and made his way to Lyttelton changing his name to Michael Kirby as he didn't want to be found? He would have been fluent in French and English. He never applied  to be naturalised - citizenship. 


NZ BDMs online. Look under stillbirths for DOB. Some of them are late registrations and others probably reregistrations in the name of the adoptive parents for adopted children, not ordinary late registrations.Only three children births registered to Sarah and Michael Kirby. Maybe Louisa was a late registration.
1854/1225 Kirby NR
1856/5616 Kirby NR
1860/11299 Kirby Louisa
probably missing another birth


1852 Sarah Wright married George Shute. George died in 1852.
1854 Sarah Shute married Michael Kirby
1873 Eliza Ann Kirby married Henry Rogers Howard in 1873
1878 Louisa Kirby married John Brown 1st Jan. 1878
1890 Caroline Kirby married Thomas Gardiner

BEZZANT/HOWARD - William George Bezzant (parents: Henry Montague Bezzant-Honore Welch) born Timaru 1889 and his wife married in 1914 in Geraldine. Her name was Harriet Alice Howard (parents: Henry Rogers Howard-Eliza Hannah Kirby) born 1888 in Geraldine. (Grandparents: Michael Kirby also known as Michel Courville and his wife Sarah Wright.) She lived in Timaru for a lot of her life and Michael Kirby was a blacksmith at Geraldine.

Daughter of Sarah and Michael Kirby - Eliza Hannah HOWARD nee KIRBY

Henry Rogers Howard b. in England and d. Oct. 19th 1916 aged 82 years and is buried in Geraldine. In NZ for forty years.
Also written on his headstone
Also his wife Eliza Hannah died July 17th 1940. Aged 85 years.
Also their sons John Rogers and James Mann killed in action France.

NZ BDMs. Births. Children of Eliza Hannah and Henry Rogers HOWARD:

Year born Surname Given Name
1874 Howard Amelia Eliza 
1875 Howard Henry Courville parents listed as Eliza Anna and Henry Rogers Howard
1877 Howard George William 
1879 Howard Frederick John 
1881 Howard Louisa Elizabeth 
1884 Howard Ernest William 
1886 Howard Elizabeth Sophia 
Note James is not registered.
1888 Howard Harriet Alice 
1891 Howard John Rogers 
1892 Howard Lucy Catherine 
1894 Howard Mabel Caroline 

James Mann Howard
Born on 18 December 1887, s/o Henry Rogers Howard and Elizabeth Hannah Howard, 50 Lindsay Street, Christchurch. James married Ina Myrtal Pierce on 2 November 1915 by Rev. Hamilton in Geraldine. 52610 Private James Howard enlisted in the NZEF 28 March 1917. His medical exam described him as being Anglican, 5ft. 3½ inches tall, 125lb, with a chest measurement of 31 inches. He was of medium complexion with blue eyes and brown hair. James was KIA in the field in France on 21 April 1918.  Ina re-married in 1920 to Jack Frederick Fletcher CARVER.

John Rogers "Jack"  Howard
Born in Geraldine on 10 March 1891, s/o Eliza Hannah and Henry Rogers Howard. Jack became a farrier for blacksmith and coach builders J.C. Martin in Geraldine and listed shoeing smith among his list of accomplishments at the time of his enlistment on 13 August 1914. Sergeant John Rogers Howard, No.2/67A, was killed in action on 1 October as the Allies pushed towards Cambrai.

Michael KIRBY - Blacksmith

By 1862 Michael Kirby owned a house and section near the Opihi River at Arowhenua, on the triangular section opposite the Arowhenua hotel. Michael Kirby, a French Canadian, had a smithy on a triangular section opposite the Arowhenua Hotel in 1866 and a smithy on the west side of Talbot St, Geraldine from 1883 to 1889.

Timaru Herald, 12 August 1865, Page 1
M. Kurby begs to inform the Inhabitants of Arowhenua and the surrounding District that he has commenced Blacksmithing in all its Branches, at the Arowhenua

Timaru Herald, 28 June 1876, Page 2
NOTICE OF DISSOLUTION OF PARTNERSHIP. The partnership existing between Michael Kirby and Thomas Eaton Blacksmiths, Geraldine, will be DISSOLVED on the 1st July, 1876. All accounts owing to the above firm must be paid on or before that date, if not they will be sued for. KIRBY & EATON.

Timaru Herald, 12 July 1876, Page 2
NOTICE. ALL ACCOUNTS DUE to the late firm of KIRBY & EATON, Blacksmiths, Geraldine, to be PAID ; TO MR W, C. ANDREWS, Geraldine, whose receipt will be a sufficient discharge. W. PRIEST & CO., Timaru.

Press, 10 February 1868, Page 3 GERALDINE.
The fall of rain in this district on Monday was immense, more like the continuous pour from waterspouts than the falling of rain. The damage in and near the township by the rising of the river is not so great as at the Temuka, but still it is considerable, as a great deal of property belonging to small holders has been damaged and destroyed. Large numbers of sheep, principally belonging to Mr Cox, have been drowned, and all the crops more or less injured. A house belonging to a man named Donald Macdonald, near the bush, with £40 or 50 therein, the hard earned savings of the owner, was swept clean away. Captain Macpherson has had a quantity of fencing, and McKenzie and Co. of the steam saw mills, had their stockyard carried off, and about half-a-mile of a race, used for the purpose of carrying water to the steam-engine has not been seen since the flood. In the township, McIntyre, blacksmith, and Clouston, wheelwright, who lived in houses adjoining each other, had to leave their homes and seek shelter in Mr Cox's. Carts standing in front of their shops floated away and have not been found again. The two houses were almost filled with a deposit of shingle, and a correspondent on Thursday rode over the top of a dray which had been completely buried in a like manner. Taylor, carpenter, Kirby, and others, had to leave their houses and seek refuge from the flood. The bridge near Francis's has been destroyed. Kelman's house was washed away; the inmates escaping with their lives. The river rose about seventeen feet during the flood.

Press, 17 March 1911, Page 9 TEMUKA PAST AND PRESENT.
Mr M. Kirby, who had previously worked for Mr John Anderson in Christchurch, had a blacksmith's shop on the bank of the river near the Arowhenua Hotel.

Geraldine County Rate Roll, 1896-97 - Michael Kirby
Property Description Lot 40 DP 19 Main Road, Geraldine
Rating District Geraldine Town Board
Roods 2
Perches 11
Pounds 50  

Spelling variations: Kirby, Kurby, Kerby, Nerby

Talbot St., Geraldine 1910

Sarah Shute daughter of Sarah Shute later Mrs Sarah Kirby by her first husband George Shute. At age 16 Sarah Shute married Henry Cooper Peckham in 1868 and she died in 1873 aged 20. Had five children maybe a set of twins. Henry Peckham was born in Ireland in 1837. Coach Road, Geraldine was previously known as Peckham’s Road. Also there was Peckham's crossing. Henry Peckham was elected to the Geraldine School board committee in 1873. Children of Sarah and Henry Peckham were all born in Geraldine, N.Z.:
1872 Henry Ventlia Peckham b. 28 Feb. 1872 in Geraldine and d. 17 April 1911 aged 39. He drowned in the Victoria River Downs at  Dashwood Crossing over Campbell Creek, whilst crossing with mail from Katherine to Wave Hill, N.T. Buried Elsey Cemetery, Mataranka, NT., Australia. aka The Fizzer. His lasts words were "Save the mail!" He was buried on the banks of the river but was reinterred at Elsey in 1944 when the Army (NT Force, Brigadier Dollery) made moves to restore some of the graves of the characters of We of the Never Never to a central Elsey Cemetery. The headstone reads:- In loving memory of the Fizzer - Henry Ventlia Peckham b 28.2.1872 d 17.4.1911 - "With God all things are possible".
1869 Mary Peckham
1870 Agnes Peckham
1872 Susan Peckham
1873 George Robert Peckham died age 4 weeks.

Timaru Herald 1873 DEATH
PECKHAM - On Thursday, 23rd October, at Geraldine, Sarah, wife of Henry Peckham. Adelaide papers please copy. [Interment Geraldine Cemetery 27 Oct. 1873. Plot 15 no headstone]
[In plot 17 is George Robert Peckham died 19 Oct. 1873 and interred 18 Nov. 1873. No headstone.]

Sunday 26th Nov. 1873 Rev. James Preston of Geraldine wrote:
21 Tuesday.... Called to see Deane; at Dr Fishe’s, Mrs Peckham, Mrs Dale, all of whom were ill in bed.
24th Friday.... I called to see Peckham & his family.
26th Sunday.... I read the burial service over Mrs Peckham — a large funeral.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb