Given names: 
Given address: 
Bluff Harbour
Sheet No: 341

Biography contributed by Katherine Blakeley

Jessie Cumming Ross was born on 31 December 1862 in Edinkillie, Morayshire, Scotland – the daughter of James Ross, a labourer, and Jessie Robertson.

She emigrated to Otago in the 1880s and she married James McKenzie, a quarryman, on 18 August 1886 at James’ aunt’s home in Greenhills.

They lived in Greenhills near Bluff and had two children, one who died in infancy.

In 1889 James died in an explosion at the quarry where he worked, he is buried with their son in the Bluff Cemetery.

When Jessie signed the suffrage petition she was working as a storekeeper in Greenhills.

She married again in 1899 to Hendry Charles Colyer – they had three children.

In 1901 Hendry was charged with rape – the charge was thrown out and he was found not guilty.

Jessie died in Invercargill on 25 September 1937 – she is buried with two of her daughters in the Invercargill Eastern Cemetery.

Hendry died in the Seacliff Mental Hospital in 1943, he is buried in the Andersons Bay Cemetery, Dunedin.


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

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