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Sheet No: 181

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Adair Polson-Genge

Posted: 04 Jun 2018

181 Minni Henry
“On the 26th January 1845 was born Mina, legitimate daughter of Alexander McKenzie, cooper and of Janet Gordon at West Helmsdale” (Birth registration, Parish of Loth). Mina (known more as Minnie) grew up in Helmsdale with ten brothers and sisters.
In 1863, aged 19, Mina emigrated to New Zealand on the ship Canterbury, arriving at Lyttelton on 6 January 1864. She was accompanied by her brother James McKenzie and her first cousins John Polson (my great grandfather) and Catherine Polson. Mina was a witness to the wedding of Catherine Polson, who married Murdoch Bruce in 1868 at Christchurch. James McKenzie moved to Central Otago. He had his own mining claim at St Bathans, where he died in 1887.
Mina must have worked as a domestic or similar in the Canterbury area. Then, on 22 Apr 1870, she married James Henry and settled down in Springston, where for many years her husband had a blacksmithing business.
Mina and James had two children. Margaret (Maggie), born in 1871, who became a music teacher. Later in life, she married Ebenezer Ducat. John, born in 1876, ran an engineering business in Christchurch.
Three more of Mina’s siblings came to New Zealand. Her sister Alexandrina McKenzie and her husband Robert McKay arrived at Port Chalmers in 1877 on the Canterbury. She came north to be near her sister, and also settled at Springston. Their brother, Adam McKenzie and his wife Isabella, were also on the Canterbury. They stayed in Dunedin. A younger brother, Alexander, came around the same time and went to work with his brother James at St Bathans. He sadly developed consumption and came to live more comfortably with Mina and James until his death in 1881, aged 24 years.
When Maggie Henry married in 1922, Mina left the Springston district and went to live with her daughter and son-in-law at Helmsdale Cottage in Cust. They were given a farewell social function at which a large number of friends, neighbours and well-wishers were in attendance. After a “good programme of musical items” and “during the interval, the chairman made a presentation to Mrs and Miss Henry of two beautiful easy chairs, and in doing so spoke of the high esteem in which the guests are held. This, he said, was proved, as visitors were present from Lincoln, Springston South and other places. He wished the guests long life and happiness in their new home. An apology was received from Mrs. Henry, who, on account of advanced, years, was unable to be present” (Ellesmere Guardian, 18 October 1922, p.3).
Mina died at Cust on 4 Dec 1926. Her obituary noted that, “Mrs Henry, although of a quiet disposition, was a very kind and noble woman and ever ready to help any in need. She leaves behind her a host of friends” (Ellesmere Guardian, 24 December 1926, p.5).
She is buried with her husband, daughter and son-in-law in the Springston cemetery, Nearby, her sister and brother are also buried. Sadly, we have no photos of Mina.