suffrage_petition
Surname: 
Stewart
Given names: 
Janet
Given address: 
66 Stanmore Road
Sheet No: 196
Town/Suburb: 
Linwood
City/Region: 
Christchurch
Notes: 

Biography and image contributed by Jeff Downs (great-great-great-grandson of Janet Stewart – on the Robinson line), using primary resources and acknowledging research by Judy Hawkins and Noel Morrison.

Janet Stewart

Janet McNaughton was born to Peter McNaughton and Helen Arthur at Butterstone, Perthshire, Scotland on 6 December 1817 (baptised at New Scone).

She married John Stewart (b 24 March 1814 at Middle Dalguise, son of James Stewart, labourer and Grace Ramsay) at Caputh on 28 November 1835. Janet and John Stewart had eleven children.

By 1841 census the family was living at Nether Hatton on the Duke of Atholl’s estate. John worked as an agricultural labourer for a tenant farmer James McNaughton, Janet’s uncle.

By the time of the 1851 census they were living in Dunkeld and John was working as a carrier. Their youngest two sons and daughter were born at Dunkeld.

Janet and John Stewart emigrated in 1859 on the Cresswell with New Zealand government assistance during a wave of migration from Britain. They arrived at Lyttelton on 12 September with five of their six girls (Helen, Susan Ann, Margaret, Grace and Mary Jane) and their five boys (James, John, Peter, Robert Williamson and Arthur). The fate of their oldest daughter Janet (born in 1836) is not known after 1851 when she was a servant in Linlithgow.

In October 1860 John leased 52 acres at Halswell from Dr Alfred Charles Barker with conditions including full fencing and cultivability at the end of seven years. In August 1866 he signed over the lease to his son-in-law William Robinson, because by 1864/65 John and Janet were breaking in their own freehold swamp land at Brookside for crops and livestock. Hatton Farm was extended several times to 220 acres (89 hectares) on what is now Stewarts Rd and Buckleys Rd.

In 1867 Janet and John took in William Robinson and his two children (William Arthur and Jessie Ellen) after the sudden death of Susan Ann Robinson (nee Stewart) following the birth of their second daughter (also called Susan Ann) who died at six weeks. The grandparents played a large role in bringing up those children.

The Stewart family was closely involved with education and religion in the growing Brookside community. John played a part in the establishment and governance both of the South Selwyn (later called Brookside) School from 1867 and the Brookside Presbyterian Church from 1867 as part of the Leeston Parish. The precursor Sabbath School was started by John Stewart and John Cunningham in 1865. Arthur and Mary Jane Stewart, and Arthur Robinson were foundation pupils at the South Selwyn School which was initially based in the Presbyterian Church.

John retired from farming in 1878 when he sold his 220 acres to John Boag of ‘Middlerigg’, who had married their daughter Grace. The sale conditions included free lifetime-occupancy of the original homestead and a small paddock for John and Janet. Retirement together was short: John Stewart died at home on 20 Dec 1880 aged 66. He was buried at Addington Cemetery in Christchurch alongside the two sons (Arthur and Robert) who predeceased him in 1877.

In about 1882 Janet borrowed from the estate and bought a house she called ‘Hattonville’ at 16 Clothier St Linwood Christchurch. It was later described as 'about seven minutes’ walk from the city; being a good 6-roomed House, pretty design, in good order, with plenty outbuildings, together with about ½ acre land' in The Press 19 May 1903 auction notice. Here she accommodated both boarders and grandchildren at times. She ‘retired from housekeeping’ in March 1889 according to a clearing sale notice in The Press 7 March 1889. The 66 Stanmore Rd address on the suffrage petition was that of her daughter Margaret Lamb.

Janet Stewart died at her Linwood home on 4 January 1903 aged 85. She was buried in the family plot at Addington Cemetery four days later. An obituary in the Christchurch Press on 7 January described her as 'of a retiring disposition', and a woman who 'identified herself closely with most philanthropic organisations'. Janet and John had realised their dream of owning farm land in New Zealand and providing similar opportunities for their family.

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

How to cite this page

'Janet Stewart', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/suffragist/janet-stewart, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 7-Sep-2018

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