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

Biography contributed by Katherine Blakeley

Martha Parsons was born in 1868 in New Zealand – the daughter of William Parsons, a carter, and Martha Kennedy.

She married John Robertson, a labourer and seaman, in 1886 – they had two children.

Their marriage was not a happy one – John was 'an intemperate man, ill treated her and put her out of the house.'

In 1893, around the time that Martha signed the suffrage petition in Bluff, John left the family and travelled to New South Wales where he married Harriet Newport.

When John returned to New Zealand his new wife became suspicious and she followed him to Bluff where she found that he already had a wife.

A warrant was issued for John’s arrest.

In 1896 Martha filed for a divorce on the grounds of bigamy, the divorce was granted.

Her neighbour Ann Calder (See 341 A Calder) gave evidence on Martha’s behalf.

Martha re-married in 1896 to Christopher Robinson Powley, a restaurant keeper.

She died on 26 April 1935 and Christopher died the following year they are buried together in the Invercargill Eastern Cemetery.


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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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