1879. The Rev. James Preston diaries - a South Canterbury circuit preacher.

His diaries are like a census of the Geraldine District & Mackenzie Districts.


5th January 1879  -  28th December 1879

1871     1872     1873      1874      1875     1876     1877  1878

112.
5 Janry 1879, New Year, 1st Sunday.

I held service in Geraldine Church 1 1 am. Administered the Holy Communion. Baptized a child. At 3 pm I held service in the Valley Church. On my way baptized a child. At 6 pm I held service in Woodbury Church.
Day 12th, Sunday, 2nd in month. Went on Saturday to Mt Peel. I held service in Mt Peel Church on the 12th at 11 am. Administered the Holy Communion to abt 10 communicants. Went on to Scotsburn School House. Held service at 3 pm. Baptized Mrs Beak's daughter's baby. Went on to Geraldine. Held service at 6—30 pm, Present only a small congregation.
Day 19th, 3d Sunday in month. I held service for Mr Clinton in Temuka 11 am. Administered Holy Communion. At 6—30 I held service at Winchester. Administered the Holy Communion
Day 26th, 4th Sunday in month... I held service at St Thomas' Church, Woodbury, 11 am. Administered Holy Communion. At 3—30 I held service at the Chapel Peel Forest.
23d... The date of Sunday school Festival. It went Off well. Day fine & lots of children & people. At 6—30 I held service at Geraldine.
Feby 2nd 1879, First Sunday in Month. I held service in the Church Geraldine 11 am. Administered the Holy Communion. At 3 I held service in the Valley Church. At 6 pm I held service in St Thomas' Church Woodbury.
Feby 7th... Started for Burkes Pass. Staid at Mr Wigley's. I called upon the people in the Kakahu Valley.
8th... I called at Raincliff Station & all the people at Fairlie Creek. Looked at the new Church; found it not yet finished. Staid all night with Mr Guillingham.
Sunday 9th. I held service in Mr Guillingham's house 10 o'clock. Administered the Holy Communion. Rode on to Burkes Pass Church. Held service there at 3 pm. Met Mr Marchant the new Road Board clerk & new Lay Reader. Staid with him all night.
Monday 10th... I went over the Pass.  Called at Sawdon Station & went on to the Ferry & called at Gammock's station, York river. Arrived at Mr Saunders' station at about 6 o' clock. Found him at home. Very kind & hospitable. Held service in the evening. About 6 people present.
Tuesday 11th... I returned by the Takepo Ferry. Called at Mr Smith's station in the Pass & on Mr Marchant.
Went on to Ashwick Station. Found McPherson at home. Staid all night.
Wednesday... I went to Alberry Station. called upon Winter & Goodwin & others on my way. Found Mr Rennels, young  Richardson & Mr Shaw the surveyor all there. Had no service as the men were at work so late.

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Thursday... I started for home. Called on my way at Rockwood, Mr Sealey's farm. Saw the married couple there (name Rutherford). Promised Mrs Rutherford to baptize three children for her on my next visit. Went over the hill behind the house. Got on the top & lost my way as there is nothing to direct you, no track, & wire fences everywhere. Rode about 2 miles south & about a quarter mile north & came to the conclusion that I had better go through a gateway not far from the place where I first reached the top of the hill. made over ploughed ground for leading spur. Got entangled in the wire fences. Rode for about an hour around fences & up & down rough gullies & at last got to a deep gully with rocks & bush in it. Tied my horse up to reconoitre. Found a way over at last, & led my horse over. At last I got to another gateway on to a track, & arrived at Mr Wigley's about 1 pm. Had lunch & proceeded on my journey. Found Mr Wigley's waterproof coat; left it at the farm. Arrived at home about 6 o clock.
Sunday the 16th of Feby, 3d in month... I held service at Temuka & Winchester. Administered Holy Communion in both places.
Sunday 23d of Febye....I held service at Woodbury 11 am. Administered Holy Communion to about 10 communicants. At 3-30 pm I held service at Peel Forest. At 6—30 pm I held service at Geraldine.
March 1st 1879... Went to the Church with my wife, Moyes & Arthur & the other children to distribute the Prizes etc to the Sunday School children. Mrs Brown from Timaru was present. Distributed 26 Prizes to the children & pupil teachers. Addressed the children before & after the presentation. Mrs Postlethwaite distributed peaches after leaving the Church.
March 2nd 1879, Sunday. I held service in the Church Geraldine 11 am. Administered the Holy Communion to about 15 people. I held service in the Valley Church 3 pm & in the Church Woodbury 6 pm.
5th Wednesday... I called upon all the people around the Waihi Bush. Baptized a child.
Thursday 6th... Took Mrs Brown (Parson Brown) to her son's home to stay. (Henry Brown).
Friday 7th... I had the unpleasant duty to perform of pounding Dawson's cattle. He bought them from me in the public sale yards, or rather Mr ...dell (?) , and they returned after the sale & jumped my gate & broke it. At the earnest request of the man who who was with them I allowed them to stay in my paddock until the next, morning early  - but to day Dawson has never offered to remove them. I saw his wife Mrs Dawson on Wednesday & she promised to see after them. I saw Dawson myself on Thursday & he said he would take them away,

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waited until Friday morning at 10 o 'clock when I sent them up to the pound.  Went with Mrs Preston to Mt Peel (Mr Acland's) where we stayed until Sunday the 9th of March... I held service in Mt Peel Church at 11 am. Administered the Holy Communion. Held service in Scotsburn School House at 3 pm, and in the Church Geraldine at 6—30 pm.
16th March... I held service in the Church Geraldine 11 am, in the School House Kakahu 3-30 pm.
23d March... I held service in the Church Woodbury 11am. Administered the Holy Communion. In the Chapel Peel Forest 3—30 pm; in the Church Geraldine 6—30 pm.
28th of March 1879... The Bishop of Christchurch came to Woodbury & consecrated the Church. The Church was prettily decorated with flowers & evergreens and the service was very impressive. Revd Mr Clinton from Temuka & myself were the only clergymen present to assist the Bishop. Miss Fish played the Harmonium in the absence of Mrs Clement Tancred.  The offertory amounted to 10 pounds. There were 15 communicants.
March 30th Sunday. I went over to the Rangitata (sic) Railway Station to hold a service. Got about 10 or 12 people together in the goods shed. Held service & baptized Shider's (?) baby. Returned to Geraldine.
Held service in the Church Geraldine 6—30 pm.
April 6th, Sunday. I held service in the Church Geraldine 11 am. Administered the Holy Communion to about 16 communicants. At 3 pm I held service in the Valley Church. At 6 pm I held service in the Church Woodbury.
April 13th 1879, Easter Sunday... St Mary's Church & St Thomas' Church both very prettily decorated. I held service in St Mary's 11 am. Present a very large congregation. Administered the Holy Communion to 1 5 communicants. I held service in St Thomas' Church Woodbury 6 pm. The Church was nicely lighted with the new lamps. A good congregation was present. About 9 people stayed to the Holy Communion.
On Monday the 14th, I attended an Easter meeting at Woodbury. Present about 8 Ch: members. Chose officers for the year & agreed to meet again on Monday the 28th inst.
April 17th, I attended the annual Easter meeting in the Church Geraldine. Present about 10 people. Elected Church officers for the year & passed the accounts. Adjourned the meeting for a month to allow Mr Barker to g:ive a more perfect account of the stipend fund etc.
The 10th, Friday, went, to Orari to call upon Mr Wm McDonald.
Saturday 19th... Went to McKenzie Country. Called in at Raincliff Station. Got as far as Ashwick Station. Staid all night.


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Sunday 20th... I went up to the Pass Church to hold service. Service 11 am. Good congregation. Returned to Ashwick for lunch. Met Mr & Mrs J. Raine. All started together to Fairlie Creek. Held service in the new Union Church at 3 pm. Present a large congregation. Collected 5 pounds odd for the Church Fund. It commenced to rain at 4 o' clock. I went to Sherwood Downs Station with Mr J. Raine & staid there until Tuesday 22nd.
Monday evening. I held service at the Station. About 20 people present.
Tuesday... A fine day. Mr Raine could not come to the meeting at Fairlie Creek owing to his sheep being in the yard. Went alone. Found a good number assembled, Mr Barclay among the number. I opened the meeting with Prayer, and was proposed as Chairman. Declined. Proposed Mr D. McClean who was elected. All things went off well considering. The Presbyterians stated their case in reference to collecting funds for their clergyman; said they must have 100 pounds; the whole amount collected for both the Ch: of England & Presbyterian ministers during the year up to date. Agreed to separate in reference to the stipend fund, they to collect 100 pounds if they could, & the Ch: of England to collect $50 as usual. The Ch: Building Fund showed a debt of about 63 pounds which sum both Churches agreed to join in paying off. Staid Tuesday night at Mr Guillingham's.
Wednesday, I returned home. Called in at Raincliff Station. Saw Mrs Pack & Colnl. Pack. Mrs Pack was rather peculiar in her religious views, "Plymouth Sister". Held a short service. Present Mrs Pack, Mrs McKay, the manager's wife, governess & children. Got home about 6 o'clock. Baptized a baby on the way in the Kakahu Township.
24th, Thursday. Archdeacon Harper came to Induct me into the Parish of Geraldine. Had the service at night. Present a good congregation & good Choir. Commenced with usual evening prayer etc & Hymns, then the Induction service consisting of Letters of Induction being read by the Archdeacon as the deputy of the Bishop, then the minister standing in front of the Communion rails with Church Wardens on right & left, receiving the keys of the Church & Parsonage from the hands of the senior Ch: Warden. Made the usual written reply to the Church Warden's address. The ceremony closed with collect & address from the Achdeacon & Hymn.
29th, Friday...  Went to see Ferm [?] Found him worse. Archdeacon Harper returned to Timaru by the evening train.
27th Sunday... I held service at St Thomas' Church, Woodbury 11am. Administered the Holy Communion to 6 communicants. Lunched with Mr C. Tancred. Went on to Peel Forest. Held service at the Forest 3—30 pm,.Went to Geraldine afterwards & held service at 6-30pm. 
28th Monday... I went to Woodbury. Called at Mr Newtown's [?], M. A. McDonald's, Mr Tancred's, Flatman's & attended the Vestry meeting at 7—30. A good meeting. Funds of Church  in a very satisfactory state.

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29th... I drove to Woodbury. Saw Edward Welch who is evidently dying. Got him some wine & Brandy out of the Benevolent
Aid Fund. Paid Mr Flatm the sum of for 1 gal of Port wine & 1 gal of Best Brandy for sick people. Gave Edward Welch a bottle of each out of it. Called on Mrs Harris & then drove over to Orari to see Mr Wm McDonald who is very ill with Rheumatic fever or something like it. Mr W. K. McDonald died of typhoid fever.
May 4 .... I held service in the Church Geraldine 11 am, 16 Holy Communion ; in the Church Pleasant Valley 3 pm; in the Church Woodbury 6 pm.
May 11th... I held service at Mt Peel Ch: 11 am, at Scotsburn School House 3 pm, at Geraldine evening 6—30.
May 18th I held service in the Ch: Geraldine 11 am, in the School House Kakahu 3-30 pm.
May 25th... I held service in the Church Woodbury 11 am, in the School House Peel Forest 3-30, in the Ch: Geraldine
6-30 pm.
June 1st 1879... Whit Sunday. I held service in the Church at Geraldine 11 am, 18 communicants; in the Church Pleasant Valley 5 pm; in the Church Woodbury 6 pm.
June 8th. Trin: Sunday. I held service in the Church Burkes Pass 3-30; in Ch: Fairlie 11 am, 6 communicants.
June 9th... Went to Mr Goodwyn's. Staid all night.
10th... Went to Mr Raine's station & had service 8 pm. Called upon a number of people about Fairlie Creek & other places
& returned home with Mrs Goodwyn through Four Peaks Pass. Found it very slippery with ice etc. Staid one night at Four Peaks Station.
June 15th... I held service at Geraldine 11 am, in the School House Kakahu 3-30.
June 22nd. I went to Woodbury. Stormy with snow. Had no service in morning. Owing to severe weather I did not go I did not go to Peel Forest.Held service instead in the Ch: Woodbury at 3 pm, in the Ch: Geraldine 6—30.
June 29th 1879... A great storm of rain. Country all flooded.  Could scarcely get to the Church at Geraldine. No service at Rangitata Railway Station or at Geraldine. I held service in the Church Geraldine 6-30.
July 6th... I held service in the Ch; Geraldine 11 am, 14 commts.; in the Ch: Pleasant Valley 3 pm; in the Ch: 'Woodbury 6 pm.

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13th... I held service in the Ch: Geraldine 6—30, in the Ch: Mt Peel 11 am, 6 commts., in the Chapel Peel Forest 3—30. A severe snowstorm came on on Friday when my wife & I & Rosey were in Timaru (having driven in). I left my wife in Timaru & returned home by train to go to Mt Peel. Ground deep in snow, 4 or 5 inches at Geraldine & 6 at Peel Forest. Got to Mr Acland's at night after calling on Mr A. Hawdon & others at the Forest. Very cold. Held service as usual.
July 20th... 3d Sunday in month. I held service in the School House Kakahu 3—30, in the Church Geraldine 11 am. Called to see Mr Kelland.
27th... I held service in the Church Woodbury 11 am, 8 comm.; in the Chapel Peel Forest 3-30; in the Ch; Geraldine 6-30.
Augst 3d.. 1st Sunday in month, I held service in the Church Geraldine, Holy Comm., 11 am, 19 comms.; in the Ch: Pleasant Valley 3 pm; in the Ch: Woodbury 6 pm.
8th ... Started for the McKenzie Country. Called on all the people in Gapes Valley & Kakahu Bush etc, Staid all night at Raincliff Station. Held service 8 pm. Heard from Mr McKay that the Communion service I had lost 5 years before had been found on the hills near the Opuha river on the Raincliff Run. Mr Smith the surveyor found it.
Augst 9th... I got to Mr Guillingham's after calling on all the Fairlie Creek people.
10th... I held service in the Church Fairlie Creek 11 am, 7 commts. Holy Communion. Sermon on death of men lost in the snow. Rode on to Burkes Pass. Held service there at 3 pm. Sermon on the melancholy death of Mr Smith's son & Morrison, a shepherd, who were lost in the avalanche of snow on the Burkes Pass hills. Called upon all the people in the Pass. Staid all night with Mr Marchant.
11 Monday.. I called upon all the people on the road down, & lunched at Mr Cooper's house. Called upon H. Freme who is very ill. Got to Albury Station at night. Held service 8 pm.
12 Tuesday... Started about 11 o'clock for Mr Rutherford's station. Called upon no one as the weather was so unfavourable. Baptized Mr J. Rutherford's child, having got the consent of Mr Clinton to do so.
13th Wednesday... Ground white with snow. Did not start owing to the weather.
14 Thursday Left Mr J. Rutherford's for Fairlie Creek. Staid with Mr Goowyn all night. Called on my way to his house on a few people -Mr Giles & others.
15 Friday... Ground again white with snow, a heavy fall on the hills. It will stop the search party finding the bodies of J. Smith & Morrison for some weeks.  They know now where

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they are buried, for they have tracked them to the place where the avalanche went down. I started home at about 12 0 ' clock. Ground still covered with snow. Rode out of it on the Raincliff Run. Went straight through owing to the weather. Many of the creeks very high, but got through without swimming.
17 Sunday... I held service in the Church Geraldine 11 am, in the School House Kakahu 3 pm, in the Church Geraldine 6-30 pm.
22nd Friday. I held my first Confirmation Class Geraldine. Present 9 candidates - 6 girls & 3 boys.
24th Sunday... I held service at Geraldine 6-30 pm. Did not hold service at Woodbury or Peel Forest owing to the state of the weather (No congregations).
27th... I held my first Confirmation Class at Woodbury. Present one candidate.
29th. I held my 2nd Class at Geraldine; present 14 candidates.
 31st... I went to the Rangitata Station, Held service in the goods shed. Present about people. Had lunch with the station master. Went on to Peel Forest. Held service in the School House at Scotsburn 3 pm. Present a large congregation. Went to Mt Peel to see Mr Acland. Staid all night with him.
Sep 3rd. ...I held the 2nd class for Confirmation candidates at Woodbury at 3 pm. 3 present.
5th... I held my 3rd class, Confirmation candidates at Geraldine 3 pm. 15 present.
7th Sunday.. I held service Geraldine 11 am, Valley 3 pm, Rev L.L. Brown for me Woodbury 6 pm.
14th Sunday I held service Mt Peel Ch; 11am, Peel Forest 3—30 pm, Geraldine 6—30 pm.
21st Sunday... I held service Geraldine 11 am, Kakahu 3-30 pm
28th Sunday... I held service Woodbury 11 am. Administered the Holy Communion to about 9 communicants. I held service 3—30 Peel Forest, 6—30 Geraldine.
October 5th, Sunday... I held service 11 am Geraldine, 3 pm the Valley, 6 pm Woodbury
October 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Looking up my Conformation candidates throughout the district. Called on the Bishop at Mr Tripp's on the 9th. Distributed books to the candidates (Bp. Wilson on the Lord's Supper), and tracts etc. Held my last confirmation class at Woodbury on Wednesday the 8th and my last at Geraldine on the 10th. Gave all the candidates "BP. Wilson on the Lord's Supper ", 26 in all.

119.   1879
October 12th, Sunday... A beautiful day. The Bishop arrived early and all the candidates were in their places in good time. 26 in all - 13 boys & 13 girls.
The service was beautiful & very satisfactory. The Bishop returned to lunch at the Parsonage & Moyes drove him down to Temuka for the evening service there. Mr Clinton had only 7 candidates at Temuka.
List of Confirmation candidates confirmed in St Mary's Church, Geraldine, by the Primate of N.Z., Bishop Harper.

Girls
Annie Hardcastle
Margaret Alice McKenzie
Mary Ann Brown
Helene Sophia Gripp
Edith Mortimer Tatam
Hannah Mortimer Tatam
Catherine Mary Howard Tripp
Sarah Elizabeth Hawke
Mary Stephens
Mary Cordy
Letitia Weavers
Eva Palmer
Fanny Fifield
Boys
Finlay Bethune
John Brown
Walter Wm Scott
George Williams
Frederick Skoffsky
Frederick Wm Cooling
Henry Moyes Preston
Archibald Shand
Alexander Goold
Hang Mark Gripp
Thomas Howden
Joseph Fifield
Alfred Scott

October 19th...
Wet day. Very poor congregation in the Ch.' Geraldine. Held service 11 am. Owing to the rain did not hold service in the School House Kakahu. Took Bonny & rode over to Raincliff Station on my way to Burkes Pass. Held an evening service for the benefit of McKay's family. Got up at 5 am [20th] & after some trouble caught my horse, saddled it & rode 20 miles to Ashwick Station (Got there at 8—30 am). Found Mr Grey at home. Had breakfast at 9 am, & as my horse was lame, borrowed another from Mr Grey to ride to the Pass Township to celebrate the marriage between John Thomas Burgess & Sarah Smith Nimon. The horse bucked when I got on, but I stuck on all right. Brown said that it would be quiet after the first start. Got up to the Pass by 10—45. Found Mr Barclay the Presbyterian Minister there, ready to perform the ceremony if I did not appear (at the time, viz. 11 am). Got everything arranged & performed the ceremony. The Church was full of people; about 60 partook of the Breakfast altogether. It was a grand affair for the Pass. I mounted my horse again & was disagreeably surprised to come in for a regular bucking match. Men shouted "Stick to him", dogs barked & surrounded me & the horse. I stuck to him but I got awfully knocked about. After the battle was over & I had recovered myself, & my hat which had fallen off, I felt I had damaged my arm a little (It was very painful for some days after.) It no doubt was good fun for the Burkes Pass people to see a Parson sitting a buck jumper & getting knocked about, but it was all on one side I thought to myself. I won't borrow a horse again if I can help it. It may be good fun for others, but it is nothing the sort for me. I got to Mr Grey's again all right & left the horse & got my own and rode as far as Mr Cooper's. Staid with him all night.

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Oct 21st, Tuesday... I made an exchange with Mr Cooper for his horse (Rhoney) for mine (Boony), as my horse was very lame on one of its hind legs and not likely to get better sufficiently for my purpose. I gave him 15 pounds cash into the bargain. It was a good sum, but I must have a horse to ride & "Rhoney" is a very suitable one for my purposes. Rode on my new horse to Raincliff Station in about two hours & a half. Staid there about an hour. Left about 5o'clock & an arrived home about 8 pm. , having ridden to celebrate the marriage about 85 miles there & back in two days & two hours.
22nd Wednesday... I celebrated another marriage in the Church at Geraldine (Wallars & Scholkowky.)
26th Sunday... I heal service at Woodbury 11am. Administered the Holy Communion. At 3-30 I held service Peel Forest. At 6-30 I held service Geraldine.
Nov 2nd... I held service at Geraldine 11 am. Administrated the Holy Commn. I held service at Pleasant Valley 3 pm. I held service at Woodbury 6 pm.
Nov 8th, Saturday... I went to Mt peel. Called upon various people on the road. Staid all night at Mr Acland's.
9th, Sunday... I held service at Mt Peel 11am, at Scotsburn School House 3 pm, at Geraldine 6-30 pm.
Nov 16th, 3d Sunday in Month... I held service in Geraldine 11 am, at Kakahu 3-30pm.
23rd, 4th Sunday in month... I held service Rangitata Station, Peel Forest School House. Staid all night with Mr Hawdon. Saw Mrs Hawdon the older[sic] who was staying there a few days.
Dec 7th, 1st Sunday in Month... Had service at Geraldine 11 am, Holy Communion; the Valley 3 pm; Woodbury 6 pm.
Dec ? Started for Burkes Pass.
Dec 15, Monday... I went to Albury Station.
Thuesday day 16th... I went to Raine's Station, Sherwood Downs. Held service there.
Wednesday 17th... I went to Mr Cooper & asked him to exchange horses again & offered him his horse back for mine, allowing him 5 pounds for the use if his horse during the time I had it. He would not do it. His horse being a take in, I must do my best to sell it for what it will fetch, I will look out for Mr Thornhill Cooper in future.

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Dec 18th Thursday... I returned home by Four peaks Pass. Called in all the houses on my way to Mr Slack's. Staid at Mr Slack's all night with my wife & some of the children who had been invited to spend the day.
Dec 21st, Sunday, 3d Sunday in month... Held service Geraldine 11 am, Kakuhu 3 pm, Woodbury 6 pm.
Dec25th, Xmas Day... St Mary's Church, Geraldine, was nicely decorated. I held service at 11 am. A very good congregation. Holy Communion.
Dec 28th, Sunday... I had service at Woodbury 11am, Holy Communion; Peel Forest 3-30 pm; Woodbury 6 pm.

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