Elizabeth Pickering and the Henry family of Fiji

This article was originally published in Pickering Chronicles, January 2016, Issue 3. Pickering Chronicles: vuvale tawayalani is a newsletter for the descendants of Charles Pickering of Rewa, Fiji.

Elizabeth Henry née Pickering (1838-1898)

By Dulcie Stewart

Elizabeth_Pickering

Elizabeth Pickering. Photo courtesy of Anne Cole.

Elizabeth Marama Pickering was the daughter of Charles Pickering II and Burakaria[1] of Burebasaga village in Rewa.[2] She was born between 1838 and 1841 at Levuka.[1] [3]

Elizabeth is believed to be Charles IIs first born and according to Anne Cole she “…was the first part-European lady in the Pickering family”.[4]

The Rounds family oral history suggests that around 1856 our ancestor Charles Rounds (my great-great grandfather) wanted to marry Elizabeth but settled for her younger sister Francis Pickering when Elizabeth refused his request for marriage.[5]

Captain Henry. Photo courtesy of the Fiji Museum.

Captain Henry. Photo courtesy of the Fiji Museum.

Elizabeth went on to marry Captain George Matthew Henry on November 4 1858 at New Rowby, Ovalau.[6] He was born around 1819 in Tahiti to Irish missionary Reverend William Henry and Ann Shepherd.[7][30]

Captain Henry arrived in Fiji in 1857 from Victoria, Australia where he was a trader. He first settled in Lomaloma, Lau[8] where his and Elizabeth’s first born, George was born in 1860[9], followed by Sarah in 1864.[10]

By 1867 the Henry family were living in Tui Cakau, Ratu Goleanavanua’s house at Wairiki in Taveuni.[11] Henrietta (born 1874) and Annie (born 1877) , the youngest children of Elizabeth and Captain Henry’s where born at Vatukali, Taveuni.[4]

The family eventually moved in the 1880’s to Rewa where the extended Pickering family lived.

Captain Henry was a trader, planter, boat builder, land speculator and labour recruiter.[12] He owned a boat which was one of the ‘smartest little vessels in the group’.[13] He took passengers around Fiji, most probably during his trips from Vuna Point in Taveuni to Levuka to sell his own produce or trade.

As a land speculator Captain Henry bought and sold land, and negotiated land purchases for white settlers. In 1872 he acted as an interpreter for the deed and documents regarding the sale of land by Tui Cakau to Thomas Shute.[14]

Elizabeth was present at the signing of the deeds. During the exchange of money between Tui Cakau and Shute, Elizabeth grabbed a portion of the money Captain Henry was counting and said, “This is my vota vota,” but immediately after pushing it back, saying “I am only joking”.

Tui Cakau replied, “No, you are a woman, and I do not take money back again when I give it,” and insisted on her taking 10l.

On which she said, “If you are so careless with your money I will take it.”[14]

The documents were signed at John King’s resident adjoining Pacific[Levuka] Hotel, which King owned. King was married to Elizabeth’s sister. Unfortunately King’s wife was not named and is cited only as “King was my wife’s sister’s husband (Chinaman)”.[14] It is believed that Sarah Pickering was married to John King[15] however this needs to be verified.

Captain Henry died from bronchitis on November 26 1888 in Tovutovu*, Rewa and is buried at Kasavu, Rewa.[7] A couple of years later Elizabeth married Abraham Ryder on June 5 1890 in Rewa.[16]

Elizabeth died from influenza on December 20 1898 at Tovutovu and was buried the next day at Kasavu.[1]

*Tovutovu was also referred to as Natovutovu and was sometimes spelt as Tovu Tovu. Situated on the banks of the Rewa River next door to Kasavu, Tovutovu was the Ryder family property. Members of the extended Pickering family lived at Tovutovu.

Children of Elizabeth Pickering & George Henry

George Henry (1860-1900)

Henry. Photo courtesy of the Fiji Museum.
Henry. Photo courtesy of the Fiji Museum.

George Henry was born on April 21 1860 at Lomaloma, Vanuabalavu in Lau.[17][18]

George married Mary Pickering, daughter of William Pickering and Caroline Waqa on November 27 1884 at Viuna, Taveuni.[19] William Pickering was Elizabeth’s brother.

At the time of George’s marriage he was living in Vatukali but later moved to Kasavu[9] where Mary and the extended Pickering family lived. George, Mary and their children eventually lived between Kasavu and Tovutovu.[20]

George was a carpenter[18] and a boat builder.[9] On February 8 1900 he died from brain fever at Kasavu and was buried there.[18] Mary Pickering remarried, marrying Sam Heritage in 1901.[21]

George and Mary’s children:

George Henry (b. 1885-Not known)
Philip Henry (b. 1888-1893)
Caroline Henry (b. 1891-Not known)
Anna Henry (1893-1895)
Annie Henry (b. 1895-Not known)
Marama Henry (1899-1901)

Sara Henry (1864-1880)

Sara Rosa Henry was born on March 23 1864 and died at the age of 16 from natural causes on September 6 1880 at Vatu Kali, Cakaudrove.[10]

Henrietta Henry (1874-1902)

Henrietta Henry was born about 1874 at Vatu Kali in Vanua Levu.[22] She was also known as Etta, Hetta and Ada.

In 1890, Henrietta was living in Rewa but moved to Levuka after she married George Wise on May 5 1890 at Vagadace, Levuka.[23] Born between 1867 and 1871 on Naigani Island[24], George was the son of Charles Wise and Ema Krausse.[25] He was a carpenter and a boat builder.[26]

Henrietta died on October 29 1902 from natural causes in Vagadaci and was buried at the Vagadaci Cemetery.[27] Almost a year later George married Ada Bower on September 5 1903.[25]

Henrietta and George’s children:

Charles Wise (1891-?)
Sarah Wise (1892-? )
Benjamin Wise (1894-? )
Richard Wise (1894- ?)
Emma Wise (1896-1897)
Emma Wise (1897-before 1902)
Unnamed child (1900-1900)
George Wise (1901- ?)

Annie Henry (1877-1904)

Annie Henry. Photo by F. W. Cain.
Annie Henry. Photo by F. W. Cain.

Annie Henry (birth name Ann) was born on October 16 1877 at Vatu Kali in Vanua Levu.[3]

She married boat captain James Thomas on September 12 1896 at Rewa.[28] James was the son of Charles Thomas and Eta Matthews and was born between 1868 and 1870 at Nabulu, Noco, Rewa.[28][29] Annie and James lived at Tovutovu.

Annie and James’ children:
Louisa Thomas (1896-Not known)
Eta Thomas (1899-Not known)
Charlie Thomas (1904-1904)
Jessie Tai Pickering (?), adopted

Jessie Tai Pickering was the daughter of William Pickering and Cordelia Ryder. William’s father was Charles Pickering III, brother of Elizabeth Pickering.[5]

Henry Family

Henry

Ann and Rev. Henry. Detail of painting by Robert Smith.

George Henry’s father William Henry (1770-1859) was a missionary of the London Missionary Society who in 1876 sailed to the South Pacific in the Duff for Tahiti with other missionaries. Reverend Henry travelled between Tahiti and Australia and lived in both countries with his family. He married Sarah Maben of Dublin, by whom he had four surviving children. After his wife died in 1812 he made a brief visit to Sydney in 1813 when he married Ann Shepherd they had six sons and four daughters.[30]

William Henry’s papers including a diary and will are held at the State Library of New South Wales.

The original painting by Robert Smirk was commissioned by the Directors of the London Missionary Society in 1798 to commemorate the grant of land to build a mission in Tahiti which occurred in March 16, 1797. The National Library of Australia has a copy of the original.

The photographs of Captain Henry and George Henry are from the Fiji Museum Photograph Collection of settlers in Fiji. The photographs were taken between 1871 and 1887 and the captions only identified them as ‘Captain Henry’ and ‘Henry’. At this stage I cannot be 100% certain that the photographs are of Captain George Henry and his son George Henry. If anyone can positively identify them, please leave a comment below.

If you would like to cite this article:

Stewart, Dulcie (2016). Elizabeth Pickering and the Henry family of Fiji, Fragmented Identities. Retrieved from https://fragmentedidentities.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/elizabeth-pickering-henry-fiji.

References:

[1] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Death, 126/1898 Death of Elizabeth Ryder.  Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[2] Unknown source.

[3] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Birth, ?/1877 Birth of Anne Henry.  Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[4] Anne Cole (2014, January 21). Reply to “Some time ago the photo of a lady with one…” posted by Anne Cole (2014, January 21) [photograph] on Kailomas in Fiji [Facebook closed group]. Retrieved 5 September 2014 from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=805142486168420.

[5] Rounds, Dennis. (2007-2015). The Rounds Family – Fiji. (private online family tree).

[6] Methodist Missionary. Marriage of George Henry and Marama Pickering, 4 November 1858 in Ovalau, Fiji. Wesleyan Register of Marriages (Dec 1851 – Feb 1868), Ovalau Circuit, Ref no. Lomai/C/1(b). National Archives of Fiji, Suva, Fiji.

[7] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Death, 37/1888 Death George Matthew Henry.  Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[8] Young, John. (1984). Adventurous spirits: Australian migrant society in pre-cession Fiji. St Lucia, QLD: University of Queensland Press.

[9] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Birth, 86/1885 Birth of George Henry.  Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[10] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Death, 35/1880 Death of Sarah Henry.  Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[11]Fiji. Executive Council. Appendix C, Case no. 59, Vakawau, p. 180/512. Minutes of the Executive Council and Legislative Council of Fiji 1875-1880 [MIC7389, Reel 1]. (Australian Joint Copying Project reel PRO.2945-PRO.2948.). Great Britain. Public Record Office. CO., London.

[12] Scarr, Deryck. (2001). A history of the Pacific islands: passages through tropical time. Curzon, Richmond.

[13] Britton, Henry (1870). Fiji in 1870: being the letters of the Argus special correspondent, with a complete map and gazetteer of the Fijian Archipelago. Samuel Mullen, Melbourne.

[14] Great Britain. Parliament House of Commons. Sessional Papers. Case no.904, Vunisawana, p. 247. Fiji. Correspondence relative to land claims in Fiji. [C.3584] [C.381]. House of Commons Papers Online, ProQuest.

[15] Hicks, Ally, personal communication, 2014.

[16] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Marriage, 1890 Marriage of Abraham Ryder and Elizabeth Pickering. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[17] [Fiji. Land Claims Commission]. [1875-1882]. Report on lands at Yagasa Islands, claimed by Matthews and Henry in Land Claims Commission Reports, 1875-1882 (Folder Land Claim R#973). National Archives of Fiji, Suva, Fiji.

[18] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Death, 21/1900 Death of George Henry. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[19] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Marriage, 1884 Marriage of George Henry and Mary Pickering. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[20] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Birth, 4/1891 Birth of Caroline Henry. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[21] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Marriage, 1901 Marriage of Sam Heritage and Mary Pickering. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[22] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Birth, 15/1891 Birth of Charles Wise; Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Birth, 93/1894 Birth of Richard Wise. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[23] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Marriage, 1890 Marriage of George Wise and Henrietta Henry. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[24] From Birth records of children.

[25] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Marriage, 1903 Marriage of George Wise and Ada Bower. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[26] Fiji General Death, Fiji General Death, 43/1897 Death of Ema Wise. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[27] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Death, 194/1902 Death of Ada Wise.

[28] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Marriage, 1896 Marriage of James Thomas and Annie Henry.

[29] Fiji Register-General’s Office. Fiji General Birth, 141/1896 Birth of Louisa Thomas. Family History Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

[30] Niel Gunson, ‘Henry, William (1770–1859)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,
http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/henry-william-2236/text2297

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About Dulcie Stewart

#TeamFiji based in Brisbane. Artist/blogger/family historian.
This entry was posted in My Family Research and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Elizabeth Pickering and the Henry family of Fiji

  1. Yasmin Harvey says:

    Fantastic resource, I am a descendent and wish I could’ve shown my grandmother Thelma Movick this to supplement! Thank you

  2. Thank you so much, this was shared during a recent Henry family reunion in Nadi. Truly valuable resource and an insight to our origins. Vinaka vaka levu!
    Shane Laginikoro (mother nee: Henry)-direct descendant.

  3. George Henry says:

    Thank you from me too. I also am a descendant and it was great to see this info. Many thanks.

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